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1 11 F 




VOL. 1. 




London : 

Piintcd l)y A. Spottiswoode, 

New- Street- Square. 









Boundaries and Extent of India - - - I 

Natural Divisions - - - - ib. 

Hindostan and the Deckan - - - ib. 

Natural Divisions of Hindostan - - - 2 

Natural Divisions of the Deckan - - - 3 

Superficial Measurement and Population of India - 4 

Climate and Seasons - - - - 7 

Natural Productions - - - - 9 

Trees - - - - - ib. 

Spices, &c. - - - - - 11 

Agricultural Produce - - - - ib. 

Animals - - - - - 15 

Minerals - - - - - 17 



Preliminary Observations - - - 19 

Chap. I. Division and Ewi'loyment of Classes. 

BraniiiiK - - - . 2.'i 

Cshatryas - - - 30 

A ^ 

0<^ ,/3<-v^9 


Veisyas - - - - 30 

Sudras - - - - 31 

Mixture of Classes - - - 34 

Chap. II. Government. 

The King - - - 37 

Administration of tlie Government - 38 

Revenue - - - - 40 

The Court - ~ - 43 

Policy - - - - 45 

War - - - - 46 

Chap. III. Administration of Justice. 

General Rules - - - 49 

Criminal Law - - - 51 

Civil Law - - - 58 

Mode of Proceeding - - ib. 

Law of Evidence - - - 59 

Mode of Proceedings resumed - 60 

Debts - - - - 61 

Interest of Money - - - 62 

Contracts - - - ib. 

Sale without Ownership - - ib. 

Disputes between Master and Servant - 63 

Disputes about Boundaries - - ib. 

Relations between Man and Wife - ib. 

Inheritance - - -66 

Chap. IV. Religion. 

The Vedas - - - 71 

Monotheism - - - 72 

Religion of Menu - - - 73 

Creation - - . - 74 

Inferior Deities and Spirits - - 75 

Man - . _ - 76 

Ritual Observances - - - 77 

Moral Effect - - .86 


Chap. V. Manners and State of Civilisation. 

State of Women - - - 88 

Manners - - - - 90 

Arts of Life - - - 92 

General Remarks - - - 94 

Origin of the Hindus, and Formation of 

their Society - - -95 

Peculiarities relating to the Bramins - 100 

BOOK 11. 


Chap. I. Changes in Cast. 

Changes in the four great Classes - 105 

Mixed Classes - - - 108 

Monastic Orders - - - 1 11 

Chap. II. Changes in the Government. 

Administration - - - 120 

Revenue Divisions - - - ib. 

Description of a Township - - 121 

Its Privileges - - - 122 

Government of a Township b}- one Head 124 

Duties of the Headman - - 125 
Village Establishment; the Accountant, 

Watchman, &c. - - - ib. 

Government by a Village Community - 127 

Classes of Inhabitants - - 128 

Village Landholders - - 129 

Permanent Tenants - - - 131 

Temporary Tenants - - 13.'{ 

Hired Labourers - - . ib. 

Shopkeepers, &c. - - - 131' 
Probable Origin and Decline of the V'il- 

lagc Coiiiuiiiiiitics - - il). 

Public Land Rpvcnue - - 136 

A .'3 


Property in the Soil - - 141 
Other Branches of the Revenue - 143 
Alienations - - - l^* 
Lands alienated for military Service - 145 
Lands for military Service among the Raj- 
puts - - - - 147 
Lands for Services not military - 149 
Lands held free of Service - - ib. 
Tributary and other dependent Territories 150 
Zemindars, what - - - 151 
Changes in War and Policy - - 152 

Chap. III. Changes in the Law. 

Changes in the written Law - - 160 

Civil Law - - - ib. 

Changes in Practice - - 162 

Criminal Law - - - ib. 

Local Laws - - - 163 

Chap. IV. Puesent State of Religion. 

Changes since Menu - - 165 

The Puranas - - - 168 

Present Objects of Worship - - 169 

Siva - - - 171 

Devi or Bhavani _ - - 173 

Vishnu and bis Incarnations - - 175 

Riima - - - - 177 

Crishna - - - - 178 

Other Gods - - - 181 

Good and bad Spirits - - 183 

Local Gods - - - ib. 
General Character of the Hindu Religion 184 

Future State - - - 189 

Moral Effects - - - 190 

Sects - - - - 192 

New Ritual - - - 196 

Ascendancy of the Monastic Orders - 1 99 

Religion of the Baudhas and Jainas - 200 
Comparative Antiquity of those Religions 

and that of Brama - - 212 



Chap. V. Present State of Philosophy. 

Six principal Schools - -219 

Sankya Schools (atheistical and theistical) 221 
Purpose of Knowledge - - ib. 

Means of attaining Knowledge - 222 

Principles - - - ib. 

Constitution of animated corporeal Beings 223 
Intellectual Creation - - 224- 

General View of the Sankya Doctrine - 225 
Separate Doctrines of the atheistical and 

theistical Branches - - 227 

Yogis - - - - 229 

Vedanta School - - - 230 

God the sole Existence - - 231 

Logical Schools - - - 234- 

Their Points of Resemblance to Aristotle 235 
General Classification - - 236 

Heads or Topics, and their Subdivisions - ib. 
Metaphysical Opinions - - 239 

Doctrine of Atoms - - - ib. 

Resemblance to some of the Greek Schools, 
especially to Pythagoras - - ib. 



Chap I. Astronomy and Mathematical Science. 

Antiquity of the Hindu Astronomy - 245 

Its Extent - - - 247 

Geometry ... 250 

Arithmetic . . _ 251 

Algebra - - - - ib. 

Originality of Hindu Science - - 253 

Chap. II. (Jeography - - - 258 

Chai'. hi. Chkonology 

Mytiiological I'cnnds - 2(i3 

A 4 


Impossibility of fixing early Dates, even 

by Conjecture . . _ 264 

Solar and lunar Races - - 265 

Materials subsequent to the War of the 

" Maha Bharat " - - - 266 

Kings of Magada - - - ib. 

Chandragupta contemporary with Seleu- 

cus, and Asoca with Antiochus 268 

Date of Nanda's Reign - - 273 

Date of the Death of Budha - - ib 

Probable Date of the " Maha Bharat " - ib. 
Dates after Chandragupta - - 274 

Coincidence with Chinese Annals - 275 

Obscurity after a. d. 4-36 - - 276 

Eras of Vicramaditya and Salivahana - 277 

Chap. IV. Medicine - - . . 279 

Chap. V. Language. 

Shanscrit - 


- 282 

Other Languages 

of India 

- 284 

Chap. VI. Literature. 



- 286 

The Di-ama 


- 287 

Sacred Poetry 


- 296 



- 297 



- 300 

Pastoral - 


- 301 



- 302 

Tales and Fables 


- ib. 

Chap. VII. Fine Arts, 



- 304 

Painting - 


- 305 



- 306 



- 307 

Chap. VIII. Other Arts. 

Weaving - 


- 317 

Dyeing - 


- ib. 

Working in Gold 


- ib. 




. Agriculture 

- 319 

[. Commerce. 

External Commerce 

- 322 

Trade from the West Coast - 

- 323 

Coasting Trade 

- 325 

Trade from the East Coast 

- 326 

Hindu Settlements in Java and 


eastern Islands 

- 327 

Trade in Times subsequent to the Greeks 32S 

Exports in ancient Times - - ib. 

Imports - - - - 329 

Inland Trade - - - ib. 

Chap. XI. Manners and Character. 

Difference of Indian Nations - - 330 

Villages - - - - 333 

Habits of Villagers - - - 334 

Towns - - - - 335 
Food and Manner of eating of all Classes 337 

Indoor Amusements - - 339 

Houses - - - - 340 
Ceremonial and Conversation of the upper 

Classes - - - ib. 

Entertainments and Pomp of the Ricli - 342 

Fairs, Pilgrimages, &c. - - 346 

Gardens and Natural Scenery - - 347 
Manner of Life of the Townspeople and 

Festivals of all Classes - - 351 

Exercises _ » . 352 

Dress . - - - 354 

Women _ - - - 355 

Slavery - _ - - 356 

Ceremonies of Marriage - - 358 

Education _ . - 359 

Names - - - . 361 

Funerals - - _ - 362 
Sattis .... 364 

Horcditary Thieves - - 368 

Bhats and Cliarans - - - 371 



Mountaineers and Forest Tribes - 372 

Character - - - 375 

Comparison of the Hindu Character in 

ancient and modern Times - - 390 



Chap. I. Hindostan. 

Races of the Sun and Moon - - 396 

Rama - - - - ib. 

War of the " Maha Bharat " - - 397 

Kingdom of Magada (Sandracottus) - 399 

Mahva (Vicramaditya) - - 405 

Bhoja - - - - 406 

Guzerat - - - - 408 

Canouj - - - - 4,09 

Other Principalities - - 410 

Table - - - - 412 

Chap. II. The Deckan. 

Early State and Divisions of the Deckan 416 

Dravida, or the Tamul Country - 418 

Carnata, or Canarese Country - ib. 

Telingana, or Teluga Country - 419 

Maharashtra, or Maratta Country - ib. 

Orissa, or U'rya Country - - ib. 

Kingdoms and Principalities in the Deckan 420 

Pandya - - ~ - ib. 

Chola - - - - 421 

Chera - . . 422 

Kerala - - - - ib. 

The Concan - - - 423 

Carnata and Telingana - - ib. 

Belala Rajas - - - ib. 

Yadavas ... - 424 




Chalukyas of Carnata - - 4'24 

Chalukyas of Calinga - - - 425 

Kings of Andra - - - - ib. 

Orissa ----- 426 
Maharashtra, or Maratta Country - 429 

Tagara - - - - - ib. 

Salivahana - - _ . 431 

Deogiri ----- 432 

Appendix I. On the Age of Menu and of the Ve'das. 

Age of the Vedas - - - 435 

Age of the Code or Institutes - - 437 

Appendix II. On Changes in Cast, 

Doubts regarding the Foreign Descent of 

any of the Rajput Tribes - - 440 

Scythian Settlers in India - - 444* 

Appendix III. On the Greek Accounts of India. 

India bounded on the West by the Indus 447 
Indians to the West of that River - 450 

Greek Descriptions of India - - 456 

Authorities for those Descriptions - ib. 

Division into Chasses - - . 453 

Ascetics - - - _ 460 

Sudras ----- 455 
Absence of Slavery - - - ib. 

Number and Extent of the different States 466 
Manners and Customs - - - 469 

Favourable Opinion entertained by the 
Greeks of the Indian Character - 475 

Appendix IV. On the Greek Kingdom of Bactuia. 

Accounts of the Ancients - - 477 

Further Discoveries from Coins - - 479 

Appendix V. Notes on the Revenue System - 

- 485 





Chap. I. Arab Conquests. 
A. D. Page 

622. Rise of the Mahometan Religion - - - 497 

632—636. Conquest of Persia - - - - 504 

651. Extended to the Indus - _ . - ib, 

664'. First Incursion into India _ - . 50S 

711. Conquest of Sind by the Arabs - - - 509 

750. Their Expulsion - - - - - 518 

Causes of the slow Progress of the Mahometans in 

India - - - - - - ib. 

Tai'tar Nations - - - - - 521 

Turks in Transoxiana .... 525 

706 — 712. Arab Conquest of Transoxiana - - 526 

Chap. II. Dynasties formed after the breaking up 
OF the Empire of the Califs. 

820—872. The Taherites - - - - 528 

872—903. The Sofarides - - - - 529 

872—999. The House of Samani - - - ib. 

932—1055. The Buyades or Deilemites - - 530 

Alptegln, Founder of the House of Ghazni - 531 

961. His Rebellion - - - - - 532 

976. Sebektegin - - - - - ib. 

Invasion by Jeipal, Raja of Lahor - - 534 
Repelled ------ 535 

Hindu Confederacy - - - - ib. 

Defeated - - - - - - ib, 

Sebektegin assists tlt€ Samanis against the Eastern 

Tartars . . _ - - 535 

997. His Death - - - - - 538 



Chap. III. Sultan Mahmud. 


Disputed Succession . - - - 539 

999. Mahmud declares his Independence - - 541 

1001. His first Expedition to India - - - 543 

1004. Second Expedition . - - - 544 

1005. Third Expedition - - - - ib. 
Invasion of the Tartars under E'lik Khan - - 545 
Defeated by Mahmud ... - 546 

1008. Fourth Expedition - - - - 547 

Decisive Battle - - - - - ib. 

Temple of Nagarcot . . - - 549 

1010. Conquest of Ghor - - - -550 
Fifth Expedition to India - - - 551 

1011. Sixth Expedition - - - - ib. 
Capture of Tanesar - - - - ib. 

1013 and 1014 or 15. Seventh and Eighth Expeditions - ib. 

1016. Conquest of Transoxiana - - - - 552 

1017. Ninth Expedition to India - - - ib. 
Canouj ..---- 553 

1022 and 1023. Tenth and Eleventh Expeditions - 556 

Permanent Occupation of the, Panjab - - ib. 

1024 — 1026. Twelfth Expedition - - - 557 

Somnat - - - - - - 561 

Mahmud sets up a new Raja in Guzerat - - 562 

Distresses in the Desert on his Return - - 564 

First Revolt of the Seljuks - - - 567 

1027. Suppressed - - - - - ib. 

1029. Conquest of Persia by Mahmud - - - ib. 

1030. His Death .... - 568 

His Character - - - - - 569 

Composition of his Court and Army - - 579 

TurLs - - - - - - ib. 

Persians _---■-- 582 
Relation of the different Nations to the Government 583 




!hap. IV, Other Kings of Ghazni and Ghor. 

(1030 TO 1206.) 

A. n. 



Sultan Mohammed 

- 588 

Sultan iMasaiid - 

- ib. 

Rise of the Seljuks 

- ib. 

Their Wars with Masaud 

- 590 


Deposition and Death of Masaud 

- 591 

Sultan Modud - 

- ib. 


Sultan Abul Hasan 

- 593 

105 1. 

Sultan Abul Rashid 

- ib. 


Sultan Farokhzad 

- 594 


Sultan Tbrahim - 

- ib. 

1089 < 

or 1100. Sultan Masaud II. 

- ib. 


Sultan Arslan - - - 

- ib. 


Sultan Behram . - - 

- 595 

Quarrel with Ghor 

- ib. 

Ghazni taken by the Ghorians 

- ib. 

Recovered by Behram 

- 596 

Cruel Execution of the King of Ghor 

- ib. 


Ghazni destroyed by the Ghorians 

- 597 

House of Ghazni retire to India 

- 598 


Sultan Khusru . - . 

- ib. 


Sultan Khusru Malik 

- ib. 

HOUSE OF GHOR 1186 TO 1206. 

Ala u din Ghori - - - - - 599 

Origin of the House of Ghor - - - ib. 

1152. Taking of Ghazni by tiie Seljuks - - -601 
Restoration of Ala u din - - - - ib. 

1153. Fall of the Seljuks - - - - ib. 

1156. Seif u din Ghori - - - - -602 

1157. Gheias u din Ghori - - - -603 
Foundation of the Mahometan empire in India - 604 

1 176. First Expedition to India under Shahab u din - ib. 

1186. Expulsion of the House of Ghazni from the Panjab 605 

Wars with the Hindus . _ . . 606 

The Rajputs - - - - - ib. 


A. D. Page 

1191. Defeat of Shahab u dm - - - -609 

1193. Return of Shahab u din to India •■ - -610 

Conquest of 4jmir - - - - 611 

Conquest of Delhi - - - - ib. 

1194<. Capture of Canoiij - - - -612 

Conquest of Oud, Behar, and Bengal - - 613 

1202 Shahab u din (or Mohammed) Ghori - - 614 

1203. Unsuccessful Invasion of Kharizm - - ib. 

Rebellions in India - . . . 615 

Subdued - - - - - - 616 

1206. Death of Shahab u din - - - - ib. 

Extent of his Conquests in India - - - 617 

Mahmud Ghori - - - - - ib. 

Dissolution of the Ghorian Empire - - ib. 


The appearance of a new history of India requires 
some words of explanation. 

If the ingenious, original, and elaborate work of 
Mr. Mill left some room for doubt and discus- 
sion, the able compositions since published by Mr. 
Murray and Mr. Gleig may be supposed to have 
fully satisfied the demands of every reader. 

But the excellence of histories derived from 
European researches alone does not entirely set 
aside the utility of similar inquiries conducted 
under the guidance of impressions received in In- 
dia ; which, as they rise from a separate source, 
may sometimes lead to different conclusions. 

Few are likely to take up these volumes, unless 
they are previously interested in the subject, and 
such persons may not be unwilling to examine it 
from a fresh point of view : if the result suggests 
no new opinions, it may at least assist in deciding 
on those contested by former writers. 

In the chcjicc of difficulties presented by the expression 
of A^^i;ltic w<)i-(l.s In Kuropcan letters, I liavc tluiii^lit it 
best to follow the system of Sir W. Jones, which is used by 
all the English Asiatic Societies, as well as by Mr. Colc- 

voL. I. a 


brooke, Professor "Wilson, and various other writers. But 

as I do not, in general, attempt to express the aspirates, 

gutturals, or other sounds wliich are peculiar to Asiatic 

languages, I have not found it necessary to copy all the 

minutltc of Sir W. Jones's orthography, or to distinguish 

particular consonants (as k and c), which, in his system, 

would represent very different sounds. 

The following list will explain the powers given to each 

letter : — 

A' as in far, farther. 

A as u in sun, study ; o in son, version ; and a itself in 
unaccented syllables, as in collar, Persian. 

E' as in there ; or as a in dare. 

E sometimes as in bell, then ; but much more frequently 
the indistinct sound of e in her, murderer, &c. 

I' as in machine, or as ee in deer. 

I as in hit, Imminent. 

0' as in holy, alone. 

O as in obey, symphony. It is the 6 shortened (the other 
short 0, as in hot, moss, is not known in Asiatic lan- 

U' as in rude, time ; or as the double o in pool, foolish. 

U the same sound short, as in pull, fuller. 

Y as in young, year. 

W as in war, will. 

El as in height ; or as i in bite. 

Eu as in Europe, feud. 

Oi as in boil, joiner. 

Ou as in house, sound. 

The consonants are the same as in English: except that 

g is always hard, as in God, give ; ch always as in church 

(not as in Christian, anchor) ; s always as in case, solstice 

(not like z, as in phrase) ; and t always as in tin, Latin 

(not like sh as in nation). 


In well-known words, I have retained tlie usual spelling ; 
as in Dellii (for Dilli or Dilili) ; Bombay (for Mumbai) : 
ISIysore (for Maheswar or INIaisur). Where the con-upt 
names are only applied to particular persons and places I 
have limited them in that manner. The famous rivers 
Indus and Ganges are so called ; wliile others, bearing the 
same Indian names, are written Sind and Ganga: the 
Arabian prophet is Mahomet, but all others of the same 
Arabic name are Mohammed: Tamerlane is used in 
speaking of the Tartar conqueror, but Tcimur on aU 
other occasions. 

There are other irregularities : gutturals and aspirates 
are sometimes used; and double consonants are put in 
some cases where the sound is single, as the double t in 
Attoc, which is pronounced as in matter ; wliile in general 
double consonants are sounded separately, as in book- 
keeping, hop-pole, or drum-maker. In names with which 
I am not myself acquainted, I am obliged to take the 
spelling of the author by whom they are mentioned. 






India is bounded by the Hemalaya mountains, the introd. 
river Indus, and the sea. b^^. 

Its lencjth from Cashmir to Cape Comorin is ariesand 

^ _ _ ' extent of 

about 1900 British miles ; and its breadth from the India. 
mouth of tlie Indus to the mountains east of the 
Baramputra considerably upwards of 1500 British 

It is crossed from east to west by a chain of Natural 


mountains, called tliose of Vindya, which extends 
between the twenty-third and twenty-fifth parallels 
of latitude, nearly from the desert north-west of 
Guzerat, to the Ganges. 

The country to the north of this chain is now iiindostan 
called Hindostan, and that to the south of it, the Deckan. 

♦ Tlu! Moj^ul omporors fixod the Ncrbadda for tlio limit of 
their provinces in those two great divisions, l>iit the division of 
the iiulioiis is made Ijy the Viiidja mountains. It is well re- 
marked by Sir VV. Jones and Major Rennell, that both banks of 
rivers in Asia are generally irdiabited by the same eomnuinity. 

VOL. I. ]{ 


iNTROD. Hindostaii is composed of the basin of tlie In- 
Naturai dus, tliut of tlic Gaiigcs, tlie desert towards the 
HhidolTanf Iiitlus, aiid the high tract recently called Central 

The upper part of the basin of the Indus (now 
called the Panjab) is open and fertile to the east 
of the Hydaspes, but rugged to the west of that 
river, and sandy towards the junction of the five 
rivers. After the Indus forms one stream, it flows 
through a plain between mountains and the de- 
sert, of which only the part within reach of its 
waters is productive. As it approaches the sea, 
it divides into several branches, and forms a fertile 
though ill-cultivated delta. 

The basin of the Ganges (though many of the 
streams which water it have their rise in hilly 
countries, and though the central part is not free 
from diversity of surface) may be said on the whole 
to be one vast and fertile plain. This tract was 
the residence of the people who first figure in the 
history of India ; and it is still the most advanced 
in civilisation of all the divisions of that country. 

A chain of liills, known in the neighbourhood 
by the name of Aravalli, is connected by lower 
ranges with the western extremity of the Vindya 

The rule applies to Europe, and is as true of the Rhine or the 
Po as of the Ganges and the Nile. Rivers are precise and 
convenient limits for artificial divisions, but they are no great 
obstacles to communication ; and, to form a natural separation 
between nations, requires the real obstructions of a mountain 


mountains on the borders of Guzenit, and stretches introd. 
up to a considerable distance beyond Ajmir, in 
tlie direction of Delhi ; forming the division be- 
tween the desert on tiie west and the central table 
land. It would be more correct to say tlie level of 
the desert ; for the south-eastern portion, including 
Jodpur, is a fertile country. Except this tract, all 
between the Aravalli mountains and the Indus, 
from the Satlaj or Hysudrus on the north to near 
the sea on the south, is a waste of sand, in which 
are oases of different size and fertility, the greatest 
of which is round Jessalmir. The narrow tract of 
Cach intervenes between the desert and the sea, 
and makes a sort of bridge from Guzerat to Sind. 

Central India is the smallest of these four natural 
divisions. It is a table land of uneven surface, 
from 1500 to 2500 feet above the sea, bounded 
by the Aravalli mountains on the west, and those 
of Vindya on the south ; supported on the east by 
a lower range in Bundelcand, and sloping gradually 
on the north-east into the basin of the Ganges. It 
is a diversified but fertile tract. 

The Vindya mountains form the southern limit Natural 
of Hindostan ; but beyond them, separated by the or the 
deep valley of the Nerbadda, is a parallel chain 
called Injiidri or Satpura, whicii must be crossed 
before we reach the next natural division in the 
valley of the Tapti. This small tract is low ; but 
the rest of the Deckan is almost entirely occupied 
by a table land of triangular form, about the level 
of that of Central India, su])ported on all sides by 

I! 2 



iNTROD. ranges of hills. The two longest ranges, which 
run towards the south, follow the form of the pen- 
insula, and between them and the sea lies a low 
narrow tract, forming a sort of belt round the 
whole coast. The hills which support the table 
land are called the Ghats. The range to the west 
is the highest and most marked ; and the low 
tract beneath it narrowest and most rugged. 

The table land itself is greatly diversified in 
surface and fertility. Two parts, however, are 
strongly distinguished, and the limit between them 
may be marked by the Warda, from its source in 
the Injadri range, north-west of Nagpur, to its 
junction with the Godaveri, and then by the joint 
rivers to the sea. All to the north and east of 
these rivers is a vast forest spotted with villages, 
and sometimes interrupted by cultivated tracts of 
considerable extent. To the south-west of the 
rivers, the country, though varied, is generally 
open and cultivated. 

Guzerat and Bengal are regarded by the natives 
as neither included in Hindostan nor the Deckan ; 
they differ greatly from each other, but each has 
a resemblance to the part of Hindostan which 
adjoins it. 

Though the Deckan, properly speaking, includes 
all to the south of the Vindya mountains, yet, in 
modern practice, it is often limited to the part be- 
tween that chain and the river Kishna. 
Superficial The Superficial extent of India is estimated at 

measure- . 

mentand 1,^287,483 squarc miles. The population maybe 


taken at 140,000,000 ; but this is the presetit po- intuod. 
pulation ; in very early Hindu times it was cer- population 
tainly much less, and in later days probably much of India, 

* These estimates cannot pretend to accuracy. Hamilton 
(^Description of Hindostan, vol. i. page 37.) conjectured the 
number of square miles to be 1/280,000, and the population 

An official Report laid before the Committee of the House of 
Commons on Indian affairs, October 11. 1831, will (if certain 
blanks be filled up) make the extent in square miles 1,2875483, 
and the population 140,722,700. Tlie following are the par- 
ticulars : — 

Bengal Lower provinces - 
Bengal U])per provinces - 
Bengal cessions from Bertir 

Total Bengal 
Madras - - - 

Bombay - - - 

Total British possessions - 512,873 93,200,000 

Allied States - - - 614,610 (3.) 43,022,700 

Ranjlt Sing possessions in the 

l^anjitb - 
Sind . _ . . 100,000 1,000,000 

Square Miles. 







(1.) 3,200,000 






(2.) 6,800,000 

^ I (4.) 60,000 3,500,000 

Total of all India - -1,287,483 140,722,700 

The superficial extent of the British territories and those of 
the allies is given in the above Report ; the former from actual 
survey, and the latter partly from survey and ])artly from com- 

The population of the British territories is also from the 
Report, and is founded on official estimates, except in the fol- 
lowing instances, where I computed the numbers. 

(1.) Tin; cessions from Brriir amount to near 86,000 sipiare 
miles; of these, 30,000 on the Ncrbadda are comparatively Mell 

IJ 3 


iNTROD. The population is very unequally distributed. 
In one very extensive district of Bengal Proper 
(Bardwan), it was ascertained to be 600 souls to 
the square mile.* In some forest tracts, ten to 
the square mile might be an exaggeration. 

Though the number of large towns and cities 

peopled ; and I have allowed them sixty souls to the square 
mile. The remaining 56,000 are so full of forests, that I have 
only allowed twenty-five souls to the square mile. 

(2.) For one district, under Bombay (the Northern Concan), 
the extent is given from survey, but without a guess at the 
population. I have allowed the same rate as that of the adjoin- 
ing district (the Southern Concan), which is 100 to the square 
mile. It is probably too much, but the amount is so small as to 
make the error immaterial. 

(3.) No estimate is given of the population of the allied 
states, some parts of which have 300 or 400 souls to the square 
mile, while othei's are nearly deserts. On consideration, I allow 
seventy souls to the square mile, which makes the population 

(4.) The area and population of Sind, and the jwpulation of 
the Panjab are taken from Burness Travels, vol. ii. p. 286. and 
vol. iii. p. 227. The extent of the Panjab is little more tlian a 
guess, which I have hazarded, rather than leave the statement 

The extent of Europe is about 2,793,000 square miles, and 
the population 227,700,000. (" Companion to the Almanack for 
1829," from Walkenaer and Balbi.) If we deduct the 1,758,700 
square miles in Russia, Sweden, and Norway, as proposed by 
Major Rennell, for the sake of comparison, we find the rest of 
Europe containing 1,035,300 square miles, and India 1,294,602, 
being nearly a third greater than Europe. But Europe, when 
freed from the northern wastes, has the advantage in popula- 
tion ; for, after deducting Russia, Sweden, and Norway, about 
60,518,000 souls, Europe has still 167,182,000 souls, and India 
only 140,000,000. 

* Mr. Bayley, Asiatic Researches, xii. 549. 


in India is remarkable, none of them are very introd. 

populous. In their present state of decline, none 
exceed the population of second-rate cities in 
Europe. Calcutta, without its suburbs, has only 
265,000 inhabitants ; and not more than two or 
three of the others can have above 200,000 fixed 

A tract, extending from 8° north latitude to 35°, climate 

^Ilcl SGtlSOIlS- 

and varying in height from the level of the sea to 
the summits of Hemalaya, must naturally include 
the extremes of heat and cold ; but on the general 
level of India within the great northern chain, the 
diversity is comparatively inconsiderable. 

The characteristic of tiie climate, compared to 
that of Europe, is heat. In a great part of the 
country the sun is scorching for three months in the 
year t ; even the wind is hot, the land is brown 
and parched, dust flies in whirlwinds, all brooks 
become dry, small rivers scarcely keep up a stream, 
and the largest are reduced to comparatively nar- 
row channels in the midst of vast sandy beds. 

In winter, slight frost sometimes takes place for 
an hour or two about sunrise ; but this is only in 
the parts of the country which lie far north, or are 
much elevated above the sea. At a low level, if 

* For CalcuUa, see the Report of the House of Coniiuons, 
October 11. 1831. For Benares, see Asiatic Researches, xvii. l-Yt. 
479., where it is stated that 20(),0()() eonstitutcs the fixed po- 
pulation of the city and suburbs, and tiuit 1 {)(),()()() more may 
come in on the greatest occasions of jjilgrinuige. 

•j- The tliermometer often rises above 100° during jjart i)f llic 
liottetit days. It lias been known to reach 120°. 

]{ 4. 


iNTROD. towards the south, the greatest cold in winter is 

only moderate heat ; and on an average of the 
whole of India, it is not much more than what is 
marked tempei'ate on our thermometers ; while the 
hottest time of the day even at that period rises 
above our summer heat. The cold, however, is 
much greater to the feelings than would be supposed 
from the thermometer. 

In the months which approach to neither ex- 
treme, the temperature is higher than in the heat 
of summer in Italy. 

The next peculiarity in the climate of India is 
the periodical rainy season. The rains are brought 
from the Indian Ocean by a south-west wind, (or 
monsoon, as it is called,) which lasts from June to 
October. They are heaviest near the sea, especially 
in low countries, unless in situations protected by 
mountains. The coast of Coromandel, for instance, 
is sheltered from the south-west monsoon by the 
Ghats and the table land, and receives its supply 
of rain in October and November, when the wind 
blows from the north-east across the Bay of Bengal. 
The intenseness of the fall of rain can scarcely be 
conceived in Europe. Though it is confined to 
four months, and in them many days of every month, 
and many hours of every day, are fair, yet the whole 
fall of rain in India is considerably more than 
double that which is distributed over the whole 
twelve months in England. 

The variations that have been mentioned divide 
the year into three seasons : the hot, the rainy, and 


the cold, or rather temperate ; which last is a good introd. 
deal longer than either of the other two. 

The fertile soil and rich productions of India Natural 
have long been proverbial. tions. 

Its forests contain many timber trees, among Trees, 
which the teak is, for ship building, and most 
other purposes, at least equal to the oak. The sal 
is a lofty and useful timber tree : sandal, ebony, 
and other rare and beautiful woods are found in 
different quantities, but often in profusion. Ban- 
yan trees, cotton trees *, sissoo (or black wood 
trees), mangoes, tamarinds, and other ornamental 
and useful trees are scattered over the cultivated 
country. The babul, (Mimosa Arabica, or gum 
arabic tree,) with its sweet scented yellow flower, 
grows in profusion, both in the woods and plains, 
as do two kinds of acacia and various other flower- 
ing trees. Mulberries are planted in great num- 
bers, and are the means of furnishing a large supply 
of silk. The cocoa, palmyra, and other palms are 
common. The first of these yields a nut filled with 
a milky fluid, and lined with a thick coating of 
kernel, which is serviceable as food, and on account 
of the oil which is manufactured from it to a vast 
extent. The sJiell is used for cujjs and other ves- 
sels, some of which are in universal use. The thick 

* This is not tlio low .siirul) wliicli bears coninioii cotton, but 
a lofty tree covered at one time uitli Howers of glowing crimson, 
and at anotiu-r with pods, in wldch tiie seeds are encased in a 
substance resenibling cotton, but bgiiter and more silky in its 


iNTiioD. husk, in wliich the nut is enveloped, is composed 
of fibres, which form a valuable cordage, and make 
the best sort of cable. The wood, though not 
capable of being employed in carpenter's work, is 
peculiarly adapted to pipes for conveying water, 
beams for broad but light wooden bridges, and 
other purposes, where length is more required than 
solidity. The bamboo, being hollow, light, and 
strong, is almost as generally useful : when entire, 
the varieties in its size make it equally fit for the 
lance of the soldier, the pole of his tent, or the 
mast which sustains the ensign of his chief; for 
the ordinary staff of the peasant, or for the rafter 
of his cottage. All scaffolding in India is com- 
posed of bamboos, kept together by ropes instead 
of nails. When split, its long and flexible fibre 
adapts it to baskets, mats, and innumerable other 
purposes ; and when cut across at the joints, it 
forms a bottle often used for oil, milk, and spirits. 

The wood of the palm is employed in the same 
manner as that of the cocoa tree : its leaves also are 
used for the thatch, and even for the walls of cot- 
tages ; while the sap, which it yields on incision (as 
well as that of the bastard date tree), supplies a 
great proportion of the spirituous liquor consumed 
in India. 

The mahua (a timber tree of the size of an oak, 
which abounds in all the forests) produces a fleshy 
flower, from which also a great deal of spirit is dis- 
tilled ; while it is still more important as an article 
of food among the hill tribes. To return to the 


palms, another beautiful specimen bears a nut, ^>-'t'>^Q"- 
which, mixed with the pungent and aromatic leaf 
of the bitel vine, and the gum called catechu, is 
chewed by all classes throughout India. Sago is 
the produce of another kind of palm. 

The mountains of Hemalaya present a totally 
different vegetation. Pines, oaks, and other forest 
trees of Europe and Asia, rhododendrons, and many 
other magnificent shrubs, abound throughout the 
c]]ain, often on a gigantic scale. 

Pepper and cardamums grow in abundance on spices,&c. 
the western coast, and cinnamon on Ceylon : capsi- 
cum, ginger, cummin, coriander, turmeric, and vari- 
ous other spices are everywhere a common produce 
of the fields. We are indebted to India for many 
well-known aromatics, and the wildest hills are 
covered with a highly scented grass, the essential 
oil of which is supposed by some to have been 
the spikenard of the ancients. Many trees supply 
medicines — as camphor, cassia fistularis, aloes, 
&c. ; others yield useful resins, gums, and varnishes. 

The woods are filled with trees and creepers, 
bearing flowers of every form and hue ; while the 
oleander, gloriosa superba, and many other beauti- 
ful shrubs, grow wild in the open country. The 
lotus and water lily float on the surflice of the lakes 
and ])onds ; and there are many sweet-scented flow- 
ers, the perfume of which, though otherwise ex- 
quisite, is in general too powerful for Europeans. 

Whole ])lains are covered with cotton, tobacco, Apiicni- 

, .' . . tural |.,o- 

ainl po])|)ies lor opium j even roses arc giown, ni ,i„cc. 


iNTROD. some places, over fields of great extent, for atar 
and rose-water. Sugar-cane, though still more 
abundant, requires rich and well watered spots, and 
is not spread over the face of the country like the 
productions just mentioned. Large tracts of land 
are given up to indigo, and many other more bril- 
liant dyes are among the produce of the fields. 
Flax, mustard, sesamum, pal ma Christi, and other 
plants, yield an ample supply of oil, both for culi- 
nary and other purposes. 

The principal food of the people of Hindostan is 
wheat, and in the Deckan, jowar and bajra * : rice, 
as a general article of subsistence, is confined to 
Bengal and part of Behar, with the low country 
along the sea all round the coast of the Peninsula : 
in most parts of India it is only used as a luxury.t 
In the southern part of the table land of the Deckan, 
the body of the people live on a small and poor 
grain called ragi.t 

Though these grains each aflford the principal 

* Jowar (Holcus sorgum). It grows on a reedy stem to the 
height of eight or ten feet, and bears irregularly shaped clusters 
of innumerable round grains, about twice as big as mustard seed. 
It is common all over the Levant, under the name of durra (or 
dourrah) ; and in Greece, where it is called kalamboki; there is 
likewise a coarse sort in Italy, called melica rossa, or sorgo 

Bajra (Holcus spicatus) resembles a bulrush, the head being 
covered with a round grain, smaller, sweetei", and more nourish- 
ing than that of jowar. 

-j- It was probably the circumstance of our early settlements 
in Bengal and on the coast of Coromandel that led to the com- 
mon opinion that rice is tlie general food of India. 

j: Cynosurus corocanus. 


supply to particular divisions, they are not confined ixtrod. 

to their own tracts, Bajra and jowar are almost 

as much consumed as wlieat in Hindostan, and 

are grown, though in a less degree, in the rice 

countries ; wheat is not uncommon in the Deckan, 

and is sown in the rice countries : rice is more or 

less raised all over India in favourable situations, 

as under hills, or where a great command of water 

is obtained by artificial means. 

Barley is little eaten, and oats, till lately, were 
unknown ; but there are several smaller sorts of 
grain, such as millet, panicum Italicum, and other 
kinds, for which we have no name. Maize is a 
good deal grown for the straw ; and the heads, 
when young and tender, are toasted and eaten as 
a delicacy by the villagers ; but I doubt if the grain 
is ever made into bread. 

There are many kinds of pulse, of which there 
is a very great consumption by people of all ranks ; 
and a variety of roots and vegetables *, which, with 
a large addition of the common spices, form the 
ordinary messes used by the poor to give a relish 
to their bread. Many fruits are accessible to the 
poor ; especially mangoes, melons, and water me- 
lons, of which the two last are grown in the wide 
beds of the rivers during the dry weather. Gourds 
and cucumbers are most abundant. They are sown 

* As the egg plant or brinjal, the love apple or tomato, yams, 
sweet potatoes, carnjts, radishes, onions, garlic, spinach, and 
many other sorts, wild and cultivatcMJ, known or unknown in 


iNTROD. round the huts of the poor, and trailed over the 
roofs, so that tlie wliole building is covered with 
green leaves and large yellow flowers. The mango, 
which is the best of the Indian fruits, is likewise 
by much the most common, the tree which bears 
it being every wiiere planted in orchards and singly, 
and thriving without any further care. Plantains 
or bananas, guavas, custard apples, jujubes, and 
other fruits of tropical climates, are also common.* 
Grapes are plentiful, as a garden fruit, but not 
planted for wine. Oranges, limes, and citrons are 
also in general use, and some sorts are excellent. 
Figs are not quite so general, but are to be had 
in most places, and in some (as at Puna, in the 
Deckan,) they are, perhaps, the best in the world. 
Pine apples are common everywhere, and grow 
wild in Pegu.t 

Horses, camels, and working cattle are fed on 
pulsct Their forage is chiefly wheat straw ; and 

* One of the most remarkable, and in some places the most 
common, is the jack, an exceedingly rich and luscious fruit, 
which grows to the weight of sixty or seventy pounds, directly 
from the trunk of a tall forest tree. 

f Several Chinese fruits have lately been introduced with suc- 
cess, and some European ones, of which tlie peach and straw- 
berry are the only kinds that are completely natui'alised. The 
apples are small and bad ; and pears, plums, &c. do not succeed 
at all. 

X In Hindostan it is a sort called channa, of which each pod 
contains a single pea on a low plant, from the leaves of which 
the natives make vinegar. It is the Cicer arietinum of botanists, 
and exactly the Cece of Italy. In the Deckan the pulse used is 
culti, a small hard pea, which must be boiled before it is eaten, 
even by animals. 


that of the jowar and bajra, which being full of ^^"^^"p- 
saccharine matter, is very nourishing. Horses get 
fresh grass dried in the sun ; but it is only in par- 
ticular places that hay is stacked. 

There are, in some places, three harvests ; in 
all, two. Bajra, jowar, rice, and some other grains 
are sown at the beginning of the rains, and reaped 
at the end. Wheat, barley, and some other sorts 
of grain and pulse ripen during the winter, and are 
cut in spring. 

Elephants, rhinoceroses, bears, and wild buf- Animals. 
faloes are confined to the forests. Tigers, leo- 
pards, panthers, and some other wild beasts are 
found there also, but likewise inhabit patches of 
underwood, and even of high grain, in tlie culti- 
vated lands. This is also the case with wild 
boars, hyenas, wolves, jackalls, and game of all 
descriptions, in the utmost abundance. Lions are 
only found in particuhu' tracts. Great numbers of 
many sorts of deer and antelopes are met with in 
all parts. Monkeys are numerous in the woods, 
in the cultivated country, and even in towns. 
Porcupines, ichneumons, a species of armadillo, 
iguanas, and other lizards, are found in all places ; 
as are serpents and other reptiles, noxious or inno- 
cent, in abundance. 

There are horses in plenty, but they are only 
used for riding. For every sort of draught 
(ploughs,, carts, guns, native ciiariots, Sec), and for 
carriage of all sorts of baggage and merchandise, 
almost the wliok' dependence is on oxen. The 



frequency of rugged passes in some parts, and the 
annual destruction of the roads by the rains in 
others, make the use of pack cattle much greater 
than that of draught cattle, and produce those 
innumerable droves which so often choke up the 
travellers* way, as they are transporting grain, salt, 
and other articles of commerce from one province 
to another. 

Camels, which travel faster, and can carry more 
bulky loads, are much employed by the rich, and 
are numerous in armies. Elephants are also used, 
and are indispensable for carrying large tents, 
heavy carpets, and other articles which cannot be 
divided. Buffaloes are very numerous, but they 
are chiefly kept for milk, of which great quantities 
(in various preparations) are consumed * : they are 
not unfrequently put in carts, are used for plough- 
ing in deep and wet soils, and more rarely for 
carriage. Sheep are as common as in European 
countries, and goats more so. Swine are kept by 
the lowest castes, poultry are comparatively scarce, 
in small villages at least, from the prejudice of the 
Hindus against fowls ; but the common fowl is found 
wild in great numbers, and resembles the bantam 
kind. The peacock also is common in a wild state. 
White cranes and egrettes are extremely numerous 
throughout the year ; and grey cranes, wild geese, 

* The commonest of these are clarified butter (ghi), and a 
sort of acid curd (dahi) which is called yourt in the Levant. 
Cheese is scarcely known, and butter never used in its natural 


snipes, ortolans, and other birds of passage, come ^troix 
in incredible numbers at their season. Eagles are 
found in some places, as are various kinds of 
falcons. Vultures are very common, and kites 
beyond number. JNIost English birds are common 
(except singing birds) ; besides parrots, or rather 
peroquets, and various birds of splendid plumage, 
for which we have not even names. 

Fish is abundant, and is a great article of food in 
Beno-al, and some other countries. 

Crocodiles are often seen both in rivers and 
large ponds. 

None of the minerals of India have attracted Minerals. 
attention except diamonds and iron. The steel 
of India was in request with the ancients : it is 
celebrated in the oldest Persian poem, and is still 
the material of the scymitars of Khorasan and 
Damascus. The inferior stones, — opals, ame- 
thysts, garnets, chrysolites, beryls, cornelians, 
agates, &c., are found in considerable quantities. 
Most of the pearls in the world, and all the best, 
are taken up from beds near Ceylon. Rock salt is 
found in a range of mountains in the Panjab ; and 
salt is made in large quantities from the water of 
the Samber Lake in Ajmir, and from that of the 
sea. Saltpetre is so abundant as to supi)ly many 
other countries. 

The conformation of the countries and the pecu- 
liarities of climate and seasons have great effect 
on military operations in India. The i)asses 
through the cliuins of Iiills that intersect the 
VOL. I. f 


iNTROD. country regulate the direction of the roads, and 
often fix the fields of battle. Campaigns are gene- 
rally suspended during the rains, and resumed at 
the end of that season, when grain and forage are 
abundant. The site of encampments is very greatly 
affected by the supply of water, which must be 
easy of access to the thousands of cattle which 
accompany every army, chiefly for carriage. One 
party is often able to force his enemy into action, 
by occupying the water at which he intended to 
halt. A failure of the periodical rains brings on 
all the horrors of famine. 



menu's CODE. 

As the rudest nations are seldom destitute of some book 
account of the transactions of their ancestors, it is 

a natural subject of surprise, that the Hindus ^^^^y ob- 
should have attained to a high pitch of civiUsation, servations. 
without any work that at all approaches to the 
character of a history.* 

The fragments which remain of the records of 
their transactions are so mixed with fable, and so 
distorted by a fictitious and extravagant system 
of Chronology, as to render it hopeless to deduce 
from them any continued thread of authentic nar- 

No date of a public event can be fixed before the 
invasion of Alexander ; and no connected relation 
of the national transactions can be attempted until 
after the Mahometan conquest. 

But notwithstanding this remarkable failure in 

* The history of Cashmir scarcely forms an exception. 
Though it refers to earlier writings of the same nature, it was 
begun more than a century after the Mahometan conquest of 
Ca'ihmtr : even if it were ancient, it is the work of a small se- 
questered territory on the utmost borders of India, which, by 
the accounts contained in the history itself, seems to have been 
long liable to be affected by foreign manners ; and the example 
seems never to have been followed by the rest of the Iliiulus. 

VOL. I. *C 2 


BOOK the annals of the early Hindus, there is no want of 

information regarding their laws, manners, and 

religion ; which it would have been the most useful 
object of an account of their proceedings to teach ; 
and if we can ascertain their condition at a remote 
period, and mark the changes that have since taken 
place, we shall lose very little of the essential part 
of their history. 

A view of the religion of the Hindus is given, 
and some light is thrown on their attainments in 
science and philosophy, by the Vedas, a collection 
of ancient hymns and prayers which are supposed 
to have been reduced to their present form in the 
fourteenth century before the Christian aera ; but 
the first complete picture of the state of society 
is afforded by the code of laws which bears the 
name of Menu, and which was probably drawn up 
in the ninth century before Christ.* 

With that code, therefore, every history of the 
Hindus must begin. 

But to gain accurate notions even of the people 
contemporary with the supposed Menu, we must 
remember that a code is never the work of a single 
age, some of the earliest and rudest laws being 
preserved, and incorporated with the improvements 
of the most enlightened times. To take a familiar 
example, there are many of the laws in Blackstone, 
the existence of which proves a high state of re- 
finement in the nation ; but those relating to witch- 

* See Appendix I. " On the Age of Menu." 


craft, and the wager of battle, afford no corre- book 

spondent proof of the continuance of barbarism ^__ 

down to the age in which the commentaries were 

Even if the whole code referred to one period, it 
would not show the real state of manners. Its 
injunctions are drawn from the model to which it 
is wished to raise the community, and its prohibi- 
tions from the worst state of crime which it was 
possible to apprehend. It is to the general spirit 
of the code, therefore, that we must look for that 
of the age ; and even then, we must soften the 
features before we reach the actual condition of 
the people. I have adhered to the usual phrase- 
ology in speaking of this compilation ; but, though 
early adopted as an unquestionable authority for 
the law, I should scarcely venture to regard it as 
a code drawn up for the regulation of a particular 
state under the sanction of a government. It seems 
lather to be the work of a learned man, designed to 
set forth his idea of a perfect commonwealth under 
Hindu institutions. On this supposition it would 
show the state of society as correctly as a legal 
code ; since it is evident that it incorporates the 
existing laws, and any alterations it may have in- 
troduced, with a view to bring them up to its pre- 
conceived standard of perfection, must still have 
been drawn from the opinions which prevailed when 
it was written. Tliese considerations being j)re- 
mised, I shall now give an outline of the in- 
formation contained in Menu; and, afterwards, a 

c 3 


BOOK description of the Hindus as they are to be seen in 

present times. 

The alterations effected during the interval will 
appear from a comparison of the two pictures ; and 
a view of the nation, at a particular point of the 
transition, will be afforded from the accounts which 
have been left to us by the Greeks. 





The first feature that strikes us in the society de- chap. 
scribed by Menu is the division into four classes * ^ 
or casts (the sacerdotal, the military, the indus- 
trious, and the servile). In these we are struck 
with the prodigious elevation and sanctity of the 
Bramins, and the studied degradation of the lowest 

The three first classes, though by no means 
equal, are yet admitted into one pale : they all 
partake in certain sacred rites, to which peculiar 
importance is attached throughout the code ; and 
they appear to form the whole community for whose 
government the laws are framed. The fourth class 
and the outcasts are no further considered than as 
they contribute to the advantage of the superior 

A Bramin is the chief of all created beings ; the Ui 
world and all in it are his : through him, indeed, 

* Tlic word class is adopted here, as being used in Sir W. 
Jones's translation of Menu ; but cast is the term used in India, 
and by tlie old writers on that country. It is often written 
caste in late books, and has sometimes been mistaken for an 
Indian word, l)ut it is an English word, found in Johnson's Dic- 
tionary, and derived from tin; Spanish or Portuguese — casta, 
a breed. 

c 4< 


BOOK Other mortals enjoy life \; by bis imprecations be 
' could destroy a king, witb bis troops, elepbants, 
borscs, and cars"; coidd frame otber worlds and 
regents of worlds, and could give being to new 
jrods and new mortals.' A Bramin is to be treated 
witb more respect tban a king.'' His life and 
person are protected by tbe severest laws in this 
world % and the most tremendous denunciations for 
the next.*^ He is exempt from capital punishment, 
even for the most enormous crimes.^ His offences 
against other classes are treated witb remarkable 
lenity ^ while all offences against him are punished 
with tenfold severity.' 

Yet it would seem, at first sight, as if the Bra- 
mins, content with gratifying their spiritual pride, 
bad no design to profit by worldly wealth or power. 
Tbe life prescribed to them is one of laborious 
study, as well as of austerity and retirement. 

Tbe first quarter of a Bramin's life he must spend 
as a student''; during which time he leads a life of 
abstinence and humiliation. His attention should 
be unremittingly directed to the Vedas, and should 
on no account be wasted on worldly studies. He 
should treat his preceptor with implicit obedience, 
and witb humble respect and attachment, which 

.-V Chap. I. 96. 100, 101. ^ Chap. IX. 313. 

c Chap. IX. 315. '> Chap. II. 139. 

e Chap. IX. 232., and Chap. VIII. 281—283. 

f Chap. XI. 205— 208. Chap. IV. 165— 169. 

g Chap. VIII. 380. ^ chap. VIII. 276. 378, 379. 

i Chap. VIII. 272. 283. 325. 377. Chap. XI. 205, 206. 

k Chap. II. 175—210. 


ought to be extended to his family. He must chap. 

perform various servile offices for his preceptor, . 

and must hibour for himself in bringing logs and 
other materials for sacrifice, and water for oblations. 
He must subsist entirely by begging from door to 
door. ' 

For the second quarter of his life, he lives with 
his wife and family, and discharges the ordinary 
duties of a Bramin. These are briefly stated to 
be, reading and teaching the Vedas ; sacrificing 
and assisting others to sacrifice ; bestowing alms, 
and accepting gifts. 

The most honourable of these employments is 
teaching." It is remarkable that, unlike other reli- 
gions, where the dignity of tlie priesthood is derived 
from their service at the temples, a Bramin is con- 
sidered as degraded by performing acts of worship 
or assisting at sacrifices, as a profession." All Bra- 
mins are strongly and repeatedly prohibited from 
receiving gifts from low-born, wicked, or unworthy 
persons." They are not even to take many presents 
from unexceptionable givers, and are carefully to 
avoid making it a habit to accept of unnecessary 
presents.'' When the regular sources fail, a Bra- 

' These rules are now observed by professed students only 

— if by them. 

'" Cliap. X. 75, 76. H5. 

" Chap. III. 180. Cliap. IV. 205. A fedin- whieh still 
subsists in full foree. 

» Chap. iV. 84-. Chap. X. lOf), 110, 1 iT. Chap. XI. 191- 

— 197. 

P Chap. IV. IHH. 



BOOK mill may, for a mere subsistence, glean, or beg, or 
cultivate, or even (in case of extreme necessity) he 
may trade ; but he must in no extremity enter into 
service ; he must not have recourse to popular con- 
versation, must abstain from music, singing, dancing, 
gaming, and generally from everything inconsistent 
with gravity and composure.'' 

He should, indeed, refrain from all sensual enjoy- 
ments, should avoid all wealth that may impede 
his reading the Vedas ■", and should shun all worldly 
honour as he would shun poison.* Yet he is not 
to subject himself to fasts, or other needless seve- 
rities.' All that is required is, that his life should 
be decorous and occupied in the prescribed studies 
and observances. Even his dress is laid down with 
minuteness ; and he may easily be figured (much 
as learned Bramins are still), quiet and demure, 
clean and decent, " his hair and beard clipped, his 
passions subdued, his mantle white, and his body 
pure ;" with a staff and a copy of the Vedas in his 
hands, and bright golden rings in his ears." When 
he has paid the three debts, by reading the scrip- 
tures, begetting a son, and performing the regular 
sacrifices, he may (even in the second portion of 
his life) make over all to his son, and remain in 
his family house, with no employment but that of 
an umpire.'' 

q Chap. IV. 63, 64-. ■• Chap. IV. 16, 17- 

s Chap. II. 162. t Chap. IV. 34. 

» Chap. IV. 35, 36. ' Chap. IV. 257. 


The third portion of a Bramin's life he must chap. 

spend as an anchorite in the woods. Clad in bark, 

or in the skin of a black antelope, with his hair and 
nails uncut, sleeping on the bare earth, he must 
live ** without fire, without a mansion, wholly si- 
lent, feeding on roots and fruit." He must also 
submit to many and harsh mortifications, expose 
himself, naked, to the heaviest rains, wear humid 
garments in winter, and in summer stand in the 
midst of five fires under the burning sun."^ He 
must carefully perform all sacrifices and oblations, 
and consider it his special duty to fulfil the pre- 
scribed forms and ceremonies of religion. 

In the last period of his life, the Bramin is 
nearly as solitary and abstracted as during the 
third. But he is now released from all forms and 
external observances : his business is contem- 
plation : his mortifications cease. His dress more 
nearly resembles that of ordinary Bramins ; and his 
abstinence, though still great, is not so rigid as be- 
fore. He is no longer to invite suffering, but is to 
cultivate equanimity and to enjoy delight in medi- 
tation on the Divinity ; till, at last, he quits the 
body " as a bu'd leaves the branch of a tree at its 

Thus it appears that, during three fourths of a 
Bramin's life, he was entirely secluded from the 
world, and, during the remaining fourth, besides 
having his time completely occupied by ceremonies 

^ Chap. VI. 1— '29. " Chap. VI. '.VA, to tlic cud. 


BOOK and in reading the Vedas, he was expressly debarred 
' from the enjoyment of wealth or pleasure and from 
the pursuit of ambition. But a little further ac- 
quaintance with the code makes it evident that 
these rules are founded on a former condition of 
the Bramins ; and that, although still regarded as 
tlie model for their conduct, they had already been 
encroached on by the temptations of power and 

The King must have a Bramin for his most con- 
fidential counsellor^ ; and by Bramins is he to be 
instructed in policy as well as in justice and all 
learning.'' The whole judicial authority (except 
that exercised by the King in person) is in the 
hands of Bramins ''; and, although the perusal of 
the sacred writings is not withheld from the two 
nearest classes, yet the sense of them is only to be 
obtained through the exposition of a Bramin.*" 

The interpretation of the laws is expressly con- 
fined to the Bramins ; and we can perceive, from 
the code itself, how large a share of the work of 
legislation was in the hands of that order. 

The property of the sacred class is as well pro- 
tected by the law as its power. Liberality to 
Bramins is made incumbent on every virtuous man% 
and is the especial duty of a King.* Sacrifices and 

^ Chap. VII. 58. =' Chap. VII. 43. 

*■ Chap. VIII. 1. 9, 10, 11. and 60. ^ Chap. X. I. 

d Chap. XII. 108—113. 

e Chap. XI. 1—6. Chap. IV. 226—235. 

f Chap, VII. 83—86. 



oblations, and all the ceremonies of religion, in- chap 
volve feasts and presents to the Bramins^, and 
those gifts must always be liberal : *' the organs 
of sense and action, reputation in this life, happi- 
ness in the next, life itself, children, and cattle, are 
all destroyed by a sacrifice offered with trifling gifts 
to the priests.'"" Many penances may be com- 
muted for large fines, which all go to the sacred 
class.' If a Bramin finds a treasure, he keeps it all ; 
if it is found by another person, the King takes it, 
but must give one half to the Bramins.*" On failure 
of heirs, the property of others escheats to the 
King, but that of Bramins is divided among their 
class.^ A learned Bramin is exempt from all tax- 
ation, and ought, if in want, to be maintained by 
the King.*" 

Stealing the gold of Bramins incurs an extra- 
ordinary punishment, which is to be inflicted by 
the King in person, and is likely, in most cases, to 
be capital." Their property is protected by many 
other denunciations ; and for injuring their cattle, 
a man is to suffer amputation of half his foot." 

g Chap. III. 123—14-6., especially 138 and 143. 

'' Chap. XI. 39, 40. Priest is the word used by Sir W. Jones 
throughout his translation ; but as it lias been shown that lew 
Bramins performed the public offices of religion, some other 
designation would have been more appropriate. 

i Chap. XI. 117. 128—139. " Chap. VIII. 37, 38. 

1 Chap. IX. 188, 189. '" Chap. VII. 133, 134. 

" Chap. VIII. 314— 31G. Chap. XI. 101. 

Chap. Vin. 325. 



BOOK The military class, though far from being placed 

. _ on an equality with the Bramins, is still treated 

Cshatiiyas. y^[{\i honour. It is indeed acknowledged that the 
sacerdotal order cannot prosper without the mili- 
tary, or the military without the sacerdotal ; and 
that the prosperity of both in this world and the 
next depends on their cordial union. ^ 

The miUtary class enjoys, in a less degree, with 
respect to the Veisyas, the same inequality in 
criminal law that the Bramin possesses in respect 
to all the other classes.'' The King belongs to this 
class, as probably do all his ordinary ministers."^ 
The command of armies and of military divisions, 
in short, the whole military profession, and in 
strictness all situations of command, are also their 
birthright. It is indeed very observable, that 
even in the code drawn up by themselves, with the 
exception of interpreting the law, no interference 
in the executive government is ever allowed to 

The duties of tlie military class are stated to be, 
to defend the people, to give alms, to sacrifice, to 
read the Vedas, and to shun the allurements of 
sensual gratification.' 
Veisyas. Thc I'auk of Vcisyas is not high ; for wliere a 

Bramin is enjoined to show Iiospitality to strangers, 
he is directed to show benevolence even to a 7ner- 

p Chap. IX. 322. q Chap. VIII. 267, 268. 

'■ Chap. VII. 5^. s Chap. I. 89. 



cliant, and to give him food at the same time with chap. 
his domestics.' 

Besides largesses, sacrifice, and reading the 
Vedas, the duties of a Veisya are to keep herds of 
cattle, to carry on trade, to lend at interest, and to 
cultivate the land." 

The practical knowledge required from a Veisya 
is more general than that of the other classes ; for 
in addition to a knowledge of the means of breed- 
ing cattle, and a thorough acquaintance with all 
commodities and all soils, he must understand the 
productions and wants of other countries, the ' 
wasces of servants, the various dialects of men, and 
whatever else belongs to purchase and sale.'' 

The duty of a Sudra is briefly stated to be to Smira^ 
serve the other classes "'j but it is more particularly 
explained in different places that his chief duty is 
to serve the Bramins "" ; and it is specially permitted 
to him, in case of w^ant of subsistence and inability 
to procure service from that class, to serve a 
Cshatriya ; or if even that service cannot be ob- 
tained, to attend on an opulent Veisya.^ It is a 
general rule that, in times of distress, each of the 
classes may subsist by the occupations allotted to 
those beneath it, but must never encroach on the 
employments of those above it. A Sudra has no 
class beneath him ; but, if other employments fail. 

t Chap. III. 112. " Chap. I. 90. 

V Chap. IX. 329—332. '" Chap. I. 91. 

« Chap. IX. 334. y Chap. X. 121, 


JJOOK. he may subsist by handicrafts, especially joinery 
' and masonry, painting and writing/ 

A Sudra may perform sacrifices with the omission 
of the holy texts ^ ; yet it is an offence requiring 
expiation for a Bramin to assist him in sacrificing.'^ 
A Bramin must not read the Veda, even to himself, 
in the presence of a Sudra.'' To teach him the law, 
or to instruct him in the mode of expiating sin, 
sinks a Bramin into the hell called Asamvrita. 

It is even forbidden to give him temporal advice.^ 
No offence is more repeatedly or more strongly 
inveighed against than that of a Bramin receiving 
a gift from a Sudra : it cannot even be expiated 
by penance, until the gift has been restored.^ A 
Bramin, starving, may take dry grain from a Sudra, 
but must never eat meat cooked by him. A Sudra 
is to be fed by the leavings of his master, or by his 
refuse grain, and clad in his worn-out garments.^ 

He must amass no wealth, even if he has the 
power, lest he become proud, and give pain to 

a Chap. X. 99, 100. I do not observe in Menu the permission 
which is stated to be somewhere expressly given to a Sudra to 
becomeatrader ora husbandman (Colebrooke, Asiatic Researches, 
V. 6S.). Their employment in husbandry, however, is now so 
common, that most people conceive it to be the special busi- 
ness of the cast. 

•> Chap.X. 127, 128. 

c Chap.X. 109, 110, 111. Chap. XI. 42, 43. 

'^ Chap. IV. 99. e Chap. IV. 80, 81. 

f Chap. XI. 194— 197. Chap.X. 111. 

s Cliap. X. 125. " Chap.X. 129. 


If a Sudra use abusive language to one of a chap. 

superior class, his tongue is to be slit.' If lie sit on 

the same seat with a Braniin, he is to have a gash 
made on the part offending.^ If he advise him 
about his religious duties, hot oil is to be dropped 
into his mouth and ears.' 

These are specimens of the laws, equally ludi- 
crous and inhuman, which are made in favour of 
the other classes against the Sudras. 

The proper name of a Sudra is directed to be 
expressive of contempt ■", and the religious penance 
for killing him is the same as for killing a cat, a 
frog, a dog, a lizard, and various other animals." 

Yet, though the degraded state of a Sudra be 
sufficiently evident, his precise civil condition is by 
no means so clear. Sudras are universally termed 
the servile class ; and, in one place, it is declared 
that a Sudra, though emancipated by his master, is 
not released from a state of servitude, " for," it is 
added, " of a state which is natural to him, by 
whom can he be divested ? " " 

Yet every Sudra is not necessarily the slave of 
an individual ; for it has been seen that they are 
allowed to offer their services to whom they please, 
and even to exercise trades on their own account : 
there is nothing to lead to a belief that they are 
the slaves of the state ; and, indeed, the exemption 

I Chap. VIII. 270. " Chap. VIII. 281. 

1 Chap. VIII. 272. ■" Chap. II. fil. 

" Chap. XI. 1:51, 132. " Chap. VIII. Ilk 

VOL. I. D 


BOOK of Sudras from the laws against emigration '', shows 
_____ that no perfect right to their services was deemed 
to exist any where. 

Their right to property (which was denied to 
slaves '') is admitted in many places ' : their per- 
sons are protected, even against their master, who 
can only correct them in a manner fixed by law, 
and equally applicable to wives, children, pupils, 
and younger brothers.' 

That there were some Sudra slaves is indis- 
putable ; but there is every reason to believe that 
men of the other classes were also liable to fall into 

The condition of Sudras, therefore, was much 
better than that of the public slaves under some 
ancient republics, and, indeed, than that of the 
villains of the middle ages, or any other servile 
class with which we are acquainted. 
Mixture of Thou^'h the line between the different classes 


M^as so strongly marked, the means taken to prevent 

their mixture do not seem to have been nearly 

so much attended to as in after times. The law 

in this respect seems rather dictated by jealousy of 

the honour of the women of the higher classes 

than by regard for the purity of descents. 

Men of the three first classes are freely in- 
/ • • • 

^ dulged in the choice of women from any inferior 

P Chap. II. 24. <> Chap. VIII. 416. 

■■ For one instance, Chap. IX. 157. 
* Chap. VIII. 299, 300. 


cast', provided they do not give them the first chap. 

place in their family." But no marriage is per- 

mitted with women of a higlier class : criminal 
intercourse with them is checked by the severest 
penalties ' ; and their offspring is degraded far 
below either of its parents."' The son of a 
Bramin, by a woman of the class next below him, 
takes a station intermediate between his father 
and mother"; and the daughters of such connec- 
tions, if they go on marrying Bramins for seven 
generations, restore their progeny to the original 
purity of the sacerdotal class ^ ; but the son of a 
Sudra by a Bramin woman is a Chandala, " the 
lowest of mortals "% and his intercourse with 
women of the higher classes produces "a race 
more foul than their begetter." ' 

The classes do not seem to have associated at 
their meals even in the time of Menu ; and there 
is a striking contrast between the cordial festivity 
recommended to Bramins with their own class, 
and the constrained hospitality with which they 
are directed to prepare food after the Bramins for 
a military man coming as a guest.'' 

But there is no prohibition in the code against 

t Chap. II. 238—240. Chap. III. 13. 

u Chap. III. 11—19. V Chap. VIII. 36G. 374—377. 

«• Chap. X. 1 1 — 19. " Chap. X. G. 

' Chap. X. 6k ' Chap. X. 12. 

i» Chap. X. 29,30. All marriages with women of lower 
classes is now prohibited. 

1^ Chap. HI. 110— iirj. 

I) '2 


BOOK eating with other classes, or partaking of food 

cooked by them (which is now the great occasion 

for loss of cast), except in the case of Sudras ; and 
even then the offence is expiated by living on water 
gruel for seven days/ 

Loss of cast seems, in general, to have been 
incurred by crimes, or by omitting the prescribed 
expiations for offences. 

It is remarkable that, in the four classes, no 
place is assigned to artisans : Sudras, indeed, are 
permitted to practise mechanic trades during a 
scarcity of other employment, but it is not said to 
whom the employment regularly belongs. From 
some of the allotments mentioned in Chap. X., it 
would appear that the artisans were supplied, as 
they are now, from the mixed classes : a circum- 
stance which affords ground for surmise that the 
division into casts took place while arts were in too 
simple a state to require separate workmen for 
each ; and also that many generations had elapsed 
between that division and the code, to allow so im- 
portant a portion of the employments of the com- 
munity to be filled by classes formed subsequently 
to the original distribution of the people. 

c Chap. XI. 153. 




The government of the society thus constituted chap 

was vested in an absolute monarch. The open- 

ing of the chapter on government employs the ^'^^ ^^"s- 

boldest poetical figures to display the irresistible 

power, tiie glory, and almost the divinity of a 


He was subject, indeed, to no legal control by 
human authority ; and, although he is threatened 
with punishment in one place'', and spoken of as 
subject to fine in another^ ; yet no means are pro- 
vided for enforcing those penalties, and neither the 
councils nor the military chiefs appear to have pos- 
sessed any constitutional power but what they de- 
rived from his will. He must, however, have been 
subject to the laws promulgated in the name of the 
Divinity ; and the influence of the Bramins, both 
with him and with his people, would afford a strong- 
support to the injunctions of the code. 

Like other despots, also, he must have been 
kept within some bounds by the fear of mutiny and 

=» Chap. VII. 1—13. " (liap. VII. 27— 2J). 

<= Chap. VIII. 336. 

'^ In the " Toy Cart," ;i diaiiia wiiLttn about llic ooimneiicf- 
nicnt of our era, the King is (Ictliroiicd, for tyranny, by a cow- 

I) 3 




tration of 
the go- 

The object of the mstitution of a King is de- 
clared to be, to restrain violence and to punish evil- 

*' Punishment wakes when guards are asleep." 

•' If a King were not to punish the guilty, the 
stronger would roast the weaker like fish on a 

*' Ownership would remain with none j the 
lowest would overset the highest."'' 

The duties of a King are said generally to be, to 
act in his own domains wdth justice, chastise foreign 
foes with rigour, behave without duplicity to his 
friends, and with lenity to Bramins.*^ 

He is respectfully to attend to the Bramins, and 
from them to learn lessons of modesty and com- 
posure ; from them, also, he is to learn justice, 
policy, metaphysics, and theology. From the 
people he is to learn the theory of agriculture, 
commerce, and other practical arts.^ 

He is to withstand pleasure, restrain his angry 
passions, and resist sloth. 

He is to appoint seven ministers, or rather coun- 
sellors (who seem to be of the military class), and 
to have one learned Bramin distinguished above 
them all, in whom he is to repose his full confidence. 
He is to appoint other officers also, among whom 

herd ; and in another drama, the " Uttara Rama Charitra," the 
great monarch Rama is compelled by the clamours of his people 
to banish his beloved queen. — See Wilson'^ Hindu Theatre. 

^ Chap. VII. 13—26. f Chap. VII. 32. 

s Chap. VII. 43. 


the most conspicuous is the one called " the Am- chap. 

. . II. 
bassador," though he seems rather to be a minister 

for foreign affairs. This person, Uke all the others, 
must be of noble birth ; and must be endued with 
great abilities, sagacity, and penetration. He should 
be Iionest, popular, dexterous in business, ac- 
quainted with countries and with the times, hand- 
some, intrepid, and eloquent. 

Tlie army is to be immediately regulated by 
a commander in chief; the actual infliction of 
punishment by the officers of justice ; the treasury 
and the country by the King himself; peace and 
war by the Ambassador." The King was doubt- 
less to superintend all those departments ; but 
when tired of overlooking the affairs of men, he 
might allow that duty to devolve on a well quali- 
fied prime minister.' 

His internal administration is to be conducted 
by a chain of civil officers, consisting of lords of 
single townships or villages, lords of ten towns, 
lords of 100 and lords of 3000 towns. 

These are all to be appointed by the King, and 
each is to report all offences and disturbances to 
his immediate superior. 

The compensation of a lord of one town is to be 
the provisions and other articles to which the King 
is entitled from the town ; that of a lord of ten 
villages two })lougiis of land ; the lord of lUO is to 

'' Cliap. VII. 51—69. ' Clia]). VII. 1 11. 

D 4 





have the land of a small village ; and of 1000, that 
of a large town." 

These officers are all to be under the inspection 
of superintendents of high rank and great authority. 
There is to be one in every large town or city ; and 
on them it depends to check the abuses to which 
the officers of districts (it is said) are naturally 

The country is also to be partitioned into mili- 
tary divisions, in each of which is to be a body of 
troops, commanded by an approved officer"", whose 
territorial limits do not necessarily correspond with 
those of any of the civil magistrates. 

The revenue consists of a share of all grain and 
of all other agricultural produce ; taxes on com- 
merce ; a very small annual imposition on petty 
traders and shopkeepers ; and a forced service of a 
day in each month by handicraftsmen." 

The merchants are to be taxed on a consider- 
ation of the prime cost of their commodities, the 
expenses of travelling, and their net profits. 
The following are the rates of taxation : — 
On cattle, gems, gold, and silver, added each 
year to the capital stock, one fiftieth ; which in 
time of war or invasion may be increased to one 

k In the first case the compensation is derived from the small 
fees in kind, which still form the remuneration of the village 
officers ; in the other three cases, it consists of the King's share 
of the produce of the land specified. 

' Chap. VII. 119—123. '" Chap. VII. 114. 

n Chap. VII. 137, 138. 


On grain, one twelfth, one eighth, or one sixth, chap. 

" according to the soil and the labour necessary to 
" cultivate it."* This also may be raised, in cases of 
emergency, even as far as one fourth ; and must 
always have been the most important item of the 
public revenue. 

On the clear annual increase of trees, flesh meat, 
honey, perfumes, and several other natural produc- 
tions and manufactures, one sixth." 

The King is also entitled to 20 per cent, on the 
profit of all sales." Escheats for want of heirs have 
been mentioned as being his, and so also is all pro- 
perty to which no owner appears within three years 
after proclamation.'' Besides possessing mines of 
his own, he is entitled to half of all precious minerals 
in the earth.' He appears, likewise, to have a right 
of pre-emption on some descriptions of goods." 

It has been argued that, in addition to the rights 
which have just been specified, the King was re- 
garded in the code as possesshig the absolute pro- 
perty of the land. This opinion is supported by a 
psssage (VIII. 39.) where he is said to be "lord 
paramount of the soil ; " and by another, where it 
is supposed to be directed that an occupier of land 
shall be responsible to the King if he fails to sow 
it. (VIII. 213.) 

o Chap. VII. 127—132. p Chap. \'III. .'398. 

q Chap. VIII. 'Mh ^ Chap. VIII. 39. 

• Chap. VIII. -A'JD. 


* The words betweon inverted commas arc an addition l)y 
the atu'icnt commentator Culluca. 


BOOK In reply to this it is urged, that the first quota- 

. tion is deprived of its force by a similar passage 

(VII. 7.), where the King is said to be " the re- 
gent of the waters and the lord of the firmament." 
The second is answered by denying its correct- 
ness ; but even if undisputed, it might only be a 
provision against the King's losing his share of the 
produce in consequence of the neglect of the pro- 
prietor. A text is also ])roduced in opposition to 
the King's claim, in which it is stated that *' land is 
the property of him who cut away the wood;" or, 
in the words of the commentator, " who tilled and 
cleared it." (IX. 44.) But the conclusive argu- 
ment is, that the King's share being limited, as 
above, to one sixth, or at most one fourth, there 
must have been another proprietor for the remain- 
ing five sixths or three fourths, who must obviously 
have had the greatest interest of the two in the 
whole property shared.' 

It is remarkable, however, that so little allu- 
sion is made in tlie code to the property of indi- 
viduals in land, although so many occasions seem 
to require it. It is directly mentioned in a pas- 
sage about boundaries (VIII. Q6Q—Q65.), and in 
another place (IX. 49. 52 — 54.) an argument is 
illustrated by supposing seed belonging to one man 
to be sown in land belonging to another ; and in 

t The arguments in favour of individual jiroprietors are stated 
in Wilkss Historijof Mijsorc, i. chap, v., and Appendix, p.483. ; 
and those in favour of the King, in BlilVs History of British 
India, i. 180. 


IV. 230. Q33., gifts of land are spoken of as if in chap. 

the power of individuals to confer them ; but the 

last two passages may be construed to refer to vil- 
lages, or to the King. 

In the division of inheritances, and the rules 
about mortgages, in describing the wealth of in- 
dividuals, and in disposing of the property of 
banished men, otlier possessions are mentioned, 
but land never alluded to. 

Were it not for the passage first quoted (VIII. 
QQo — 2G5.^, we might conclude that all land was 
held in common by the village communities, as is 
still the case in many parts of India ; and this may, 
perhaps, have been the general rule, although in- 
dividuals may have possessed property by grants 
of land from the villages or of his share of the pro- 
duce from the King. 

The King is recommended to fix his capital in a The Court. 
fertile part of his dominions, but in an immediate 
neighbouriiood difficult of access, and incapable of 
supporting invading armies. 

He should keep his fortress always well gar- 
risoned and provisioned. In the centre should be 
his own palace, also defensible, ** well finished, and 
brilliant, surrounded witii water and trees." 

lie is then to choose a queen distinguished for 
birth and beauty, and to appoint a domestic 

He is to rise in the last watch of the night, and, 
after sacrifices, to hold a court in a hall decently 

» Cliiip. VII. G!i— 78. 


BOOK splendid, and to dismiss his subjects with kind 

looks and words. This done, he is to assemble his 

council on a mountain or a terrace, in a bower or 
a forest, or other lonely place without listeners ; 
from which women and talking birds are to be 
carefully removed. He is then, after manly ex- 
ercises and bathing, to dine in his private apart- 
ments, and this time and midnight are to be allotted 
to the regulation of his family, to considering ap- 
pointments, and such other public business as is 
most of a personal nature."' 

He is now, also, to give sometime to relaxation ; 
and then to review his troops, perform his religious 
duties at sunset, and afterwards to receive the 
reports of his emissaries. At length he withdraws 
to his most private apartments to supper ; and 
after indulging for some time in music, is to retire 
to rest.'' 

This rational and pleasing picture is broken by 
the mention of many of those precautions which 
must take from all the enjoyments of an Asiatic 
monarch. His food is only to be served by trust- 
worthy persons, and is to be accompanied by anti- 
dotes against poison. He is to be armed when he 
receives his emissaries ; even his female attendants 
are to be searched, for fear of hidden weapons 5 
and whether at home or abroad, he is to be con- 
stantly on his guard against the plots of his 

w Chap. VII. 145— 151. "' Chap. VII. 216— 225. 


Foreign policy and war are the subjects of many chap. 
of the rules for p'overnnient. Tliese are interest- 

ing, from the clear proofs which they aftbrd of the ^"•''=y' 
division of India, even at that early period, into 
many unequal and independent states ; and also, 
from the signs which they disclose of a civilised 
and gentle people. The King is to provide for 
his safety by vigilance, and a state of preparation ; 
but he is to act on all occasions without guile, and 
never with insincerity.'' The arts which may be 
employed against enemies are four; presents, sow- 
ing divisions, negotiations, and force of arms : the 
wise, it is said, prefer the two last.'' 

The King is to regard his nearest neighbours 
and their allies as hostile, the powers next beyond 
these natural foes as amicable, and all more re- 
mote powers as neutral.'' It is remarkable that, 
among the ordinary expedients to be resorted to in 
difficidties, the protection of a more powerful prince 
is more than once adverted to.'' 

Yet this protection appears to involve unquali- 
fied submission ; and on the last occasion on which 
it is mentioned, the King is advised, if he thinks 
it an evil, even when in extremities, to persevere 
alone, although weak, in waging vigorous war with- 
out fear.'' 

Vast importance is attached to spies, both in 
foreign ])olitics and in war. Minute instructions 

y Cliaj). \'II. lO.'i, 101. ^ Chap. VII, 109. 

a Chap. VII. l.;.S. ^ Chaj). VII. IGO. 

c Chap. VIII. 17.3, 116. 


BOOK are given regarding the sort of persons to be em- 
' ployed, some of whom are of the same description 
that are now used in India, — active artful youths, 
degraded anchorets, distressed husbandmen, de- 
cayed merchants, and fictitious penitents/ 
War. 'pi^g rules of war are simple ; and, being drawn 

up by Bramins, they show nothing of the practical 
ability for which the Indians are often distinguished 
at present. 

The plan of a campaign resembles those of the 
Greek republics, or the early days of Rome ; and 
seems suited to countries of much less extent than 
those which now exist in India. 

The King is to march when the vernal or au- 
tumnal crop is on the ground, and is to advance 
straight to the capital. In another place 100 
bowmen in a fort are said to be a matcii for 10,000 
enemies ; so far was the art of attack behind that 
of defence : a siege, therefore, is out of the ques- 
tion ; but, if not opposed, the King is to ravage 
the country, and intrigue with the enemy's chiefs, 
until he can bring his foe to an action on favour- 
able terms ", or, what is still more desirable, bring 
him to terms by negotiation. 

Armies were composed of cavalry and infantry. 
The great weapon of both was probably the bow, 
together with the sword and target. Elephants 
were much employed in war ; and chariots seem 
still to have formed an important branch of the 

<i Chap. VII. 15L « Chap. VII. 181-197. 


Several different orders of march and battle are chap. 
briefly given. The King is advised to recruit his ' 

forces from the upper parts of Hindostan, where 
the best men are still found. He is in person to 
set an example of valour to his troops, and is re- 
commended to encourage them, when drawn up for 
battle, wath short and animated speeches. 

Prize property belongs to the individual who 
took it ; but when not captured separately, it is to 
be distributed among the troops.*^ 

The laws of war are honourable and humane. 
Poisoned and mischievously barbed arrows, and fire 
arrows, are all prohibited. There are many situa- 
tions in which it is by no means allowable to destroy 
the enemy. Among those who must always be 
spared are unarmed or wounded men, and those 
who have broken their weapon, and one who asks 
his life, and one who says, *' I am thy captive." 
Other prohibitions are still more generous : a man 
on horseback or in a chariot is not to kill one on 
foot ; nor is it allowed to kill one who sits down 
fatigued, or who sleeps, or who flees, or who is 
fighting with another man.^ 

The settlement of" a conquered country is con- 
ducted on equally liberal principles. Immediate 
security is to be assured to all by proclamation. 
The religion and laws of the country are to be 
maintained and respected ; and as soon as time lias 
been allowed for ascertaining tiiat the con{[uered 

f Clia]). VII. fjG, 97. « Cluip. \'1I. UO—9'.). 


BOOK people are to be trusted, a prince of the old royal 
' family is to be placed on the throne, and to hold 
his kingdom as a dependence on the conqueror. *" 

It is remarkable that, although the pay of the 
Kind's household servants is settled with some mi- 
nuteness', not a syllable is said regarding that of 
the army, or the source from which its support is 
derived. The practice of modern Hindu nations 
would lead us to suppose that it was maintained 
by assignments of land to the chiefs ; but, if that 
practice had existed at the time of the code, it is 
impossible that so important a body as those chiefs 
would have formed should not have been alluded 
to in discussing the internal administration ; even 
if no rules were suggested for regulating their at- 
tendance and for securing some portion of the 
King's authority over the lands thus alienated. It 
is possible that the army may have been paid by 
separate assignments of land to each individual 
soldier, in the same manner as the local troops of 
the small states in the south of India (which have 
been little visited by the Mahometans) are still : 
• ' and this opinion derives some support from the 
payment of the civil officers having been provided 
for by such assignments." 

From one passage it would appear that the 
monarchy descended, undivided, to one son, pro- 
bably (according to Hindu rule) to him whom his 
father regarded as most worthy. 

h Chap. VII. 201— 203. ' Chap. VII. 126. 

^ See Chap. VII. 119., already referred to. 



Justice is to be administered by the Kino; in chap 

person, assisted by Bramins and other counsellors ^ ; 

or that function may be deputed to one Bramin, General 

aided by three assessors of the same class.*" There 

is no exception made for the conduct of criminal 

trials, but it maybe gathered from the general 

tone of the laws, that the King is expected to take 

a more active share in this department than in the 

investigation of civil causes. 

From the silence of the code regarding local 

administration, it may perhaps be inferred that the 

King's representative fills his place in the courts of 

justice, at towns remote from the royal residence." 

a Cliap. Vlir. 1, 2. b Chap. VIII. 9-11. 

c The early practice of the Hindus recorded in other books « 
leaves this question in some uncertainty; for, in those books, it 
appears that there were local judges appointed by the King in 
different parts of the country; and also a provision for arbitra- 
tions, to be authorised by the judges, in three gradations — first, 
of kinsmen ; secondly, of men of the same trade ; and thirdly, of 
townsmen : an appeal from the first lying to the second, and 
from the second to the third. Appeals lay from all three to the 
local court, from that to the chief court at the capital, and 
from that to the King in his own court, composed of a certain 
number of judges, to whom were joined his ministers, and his 
domestic ehajilain (who was to direct his conscience^; but, 
VOL. I. E 


BOOK The King is entitled to five per cent, on all debts 
" admitted by the defendant on trial, and to ten per 
cent, on all denied and proved.'^ This fee probably 
went direct to the judges, who would thus be 
remunerated without infringing the law against 
Bramins serving for hire. 

A King or judge in trying causes is carefully to 
observe the countenances, gestures, and mode of 
speech of the parties and witnesses. 

He is to attend to local usages of districts, the 
peculiar laws of classes and rules of families, and 
the customs of traders : when not inconsistent 
with the above, he is to observe the principles 
established by former judges. 

Neither he nor his officers are to encourage liti- 
gation, though they must show no slackness in 
taking up any suit regularly instituted.* 

A King is reckoned among the worst of criminals 
who receives his revenue from his subjects without 
affording them due protection in return. '^ 

The King is enjoined to bear with rough lan- 
guage from irritated litigants, as well as from old 
or sick people, who come before him.^ 

He is also cautioned against deciding causes 
on his own judgment, without consulting persons 

though these might advise, the decision rested with the King. 
The precise date when this system was in perfection is not 
stated. — Colebrooke on the Hindu Courts of Judicature, 
Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. ii. 23.166. 

d Chap. VIII. 139. «= Chap. VIII. 41—46. 

f Chap. VIII. 307. g Chap. VIII. 312. 


learned in the law ^ ; and is positively forbidden to ^^{^^' 

disturb any transaction that has once been settled 

conformably to law.' In trials he is to adhere to 
established practice." 

1. Criminal Law. 

The criminal law is very rude, and this portion Criminal 
of the code, together with the religious penances, 
leave a more unfavourable impression of the early 
Hindus than any other part of the institutes. 

It is not, however, sanguinary, unless when in- 
fluenced by superstition or by the prejudice of 
cast ; and if punishments are, in some cases, too 
severe, in others they are far too lenient. Muti- ' 
lation (chiefly of the hand) is among the punish- 
ments, as in all Asiatic codes. Burning alive is • 
one of the inflictions on offenders against the 
sacerdotal order ; but it is an honourable distinc- • 
tion from most ancient codes that torture is never 
employed either against witnesses or criminals. 
But the laxness, confusion, and barbarism which 
pervade this branch of the law seem to prove that 
it was drawn from the practice of very early times ; 
and the adoption of it at the time of the com])ila- 
tion of these institutes shows an unimproved con- 
dition even then, though it is not unlikely that 
parts of it were early superseded by an arbitrary 
system more conformable to reason, as is the case 
in Hindu countries in modern times ; and by no 

'■ Chap. VI I r. 390. i Cliai). IX. '1\V.\. 

k Chai). VIII. 4-5. 

E 'Z 


BOOK means improbable that the bloody laws in favour 

of religion and of the priesthood, though inserted 

in the code by the Bramin author, as the ideal 
perfection of a Hindu criminal law, may never 
have been acted on by any Cshetrya King.' 

The punishments, though not always in them- 
selves severe, are often disproportioned to the 
offence ; and are frequently so indistinctly or con- 
tradictorily declared as to leave the fate of an 
offender quite uncertain. 

Both these faults are conspicuous in the follow- 
ing instance : — Slaying a priest, drinking spirits, 
• stealing the gold of a priest, and violating the bed 
of one's natural or spiritual father, are all classed 
under one head, and subject to one punishment.™ 
That punishment is at first declared to be, branding 
on the forehead, banishment, and absolute exclu- 
sion from the society of mankind (unless previously 
expiated by penance ", in which case the highest 
fine is to be substitued for branding) ; and this is 
declared applicable to all the classes." Yet it is 
immediately afterwards directed that, when expia- 
' tion has been performed, a priest guilty of those 
offences shall pay the middle fine, and shall in no 

1 In the " Toy Cart/' the earliest of the Hindu dramas, and 
written about the commencement of our era, this extravagant 
veneration for Bramins no where appears. The King sentences 
one of that class convicted of murder to be put to death ; and 
though he is afterwards deposed by a successful rebellion, and 
although the Bramin's innocence is proved, this open defiance 
of the laws of Menu is not made a charge against the de- 
throned prince. 

™ Chap. IX. 235. » Chap. IX. 237. « Chap. IX. 240. 


case be deprived of his effects or the society of ^^^j|^- 

his family ; while it is pronounced that the other 

classes, even after expiation, shall, in case of pre- 
meditation, suffer death.'' 

Still more inconsistent are the punishments for 
adultery and what are called overt acts of adul- ' 
terous inclination. Among these last are included, 
talking to the wife of another man at a place of 
pilgrimage, or in a forest, or at the confluence of 
rivers ; sending her flowers or perfumes ; touching 
her apparel or her ornaments, and sitting on the 
same couch with her'' ; yet the penalty is banish- 
ment, with such bodily marks as may excite aver- 

For adultery itself, it is first declared, without 
reserve, that the woman is to be devoured by dogs, • 
and the man burned on an iron bed' ; yet, in the 
verses next following, it appears that the punish- 
ment of adultery without aggravation is a fine of 
from .000 to 1000 panas.' 

The punishment, indeed, increases in proportion 
to the dignity of the party offended against. Even a 
soldier committing adultery with a Bramin woman, 
if she be of eminently good qualities, and properly 
guarded, is to be burned alive in a fire of dry grass 
or reeds." These flat contradictions can only be 
accounted for by su])posing that the compiler ])ut 

P Cliap. IX. '2n, 'IVL '' Cliap. VIII. .'556, .'5.57. 

^ Chap. Vill. 352. •* Cliaj). VIII. 371, 372. 

t Chap. VII. :i7G. 382—385. 
" Chap. VIII. 377. 



BOOK down the laws of different periods, or tliose sup- 
ported by different authorities, without considering 
how they bore on each other. 

There is no express punishment for murder. 
From one passage" it would appear that it (as well 
as arson and robbery attended with violence) is 
capital, and that the slighter punishments men- 
tioned in other places were in cases where there was 
no premeditation ; but, as the murder of particular 
descriptions of persons is afterwards declared ca- 
pital^, it remains doubtful what is the punishment 
for the offence in simple cases. 

Theft is punished, if small, with fine ; if of 
greater amount, with cutting off the hand ; but if 
the thief be taken with the stolen goods upon him, 
it is capital.^ 

Receivers of stolen goods, and persons who har- 
bour thieves, are liable to the same punishment as 
the thief.^ 

It is remarkable that, in cases of small theft, the 
fine of a Bramin offender is at least eight times as 
great as that of a Sudra, and the scale varies in 
a similar manner and proportion between all the 
classes." A King committing an offence is to pay 
a thousand times as great a fine as would be ex- 
acted from an ordinary person. *" 

Robbery seems to incur amputation of the limb 
principally employed. If accompanied with vio- 

X Chap. VIII. 344—347. ' Chap. IX. 232. 

^ Chap. IX. 270. =* Chap. IX. 278. 

b Chap. VIII. 337, 338. '^ Chap. VIII. 336. 


lence it is capital ; and all who shelter robbers, or chap. 

. . III. 

supply them with food or implements, are to be ' 

punished with death. 

Forging royal edicts, causing dissensions among 
great ministers, adhering to the King's enemies, 
and slaying women, priests, or children, are put 
under one head as capital. '^ 

Men who openly oppose the King's authority, 
who rob his treasury, or steal his elephants, horses, 
or cars, are liable to capital punishment ; as are 
those who break into a temple to steal.'' 

For cutting purses, the first offence is cutting 
off the fingers, the second the hand, the third is 

False evidence is to be punished with banishment 
accompanied by fine, except in case of a Bramin, 
when it is banishment alone.^ 

Banishment is likewise the sentence pronounced 
upon men who do not assist in repelling an attempt ' 
to plunder a town'', to break down an embankment, 
or to commit robbery on the highway. 

Public guards, not resisting or apprehending 
thieves, are to be punished like the thieves.' 

Gamesters and keepers of gaming-houses are 
liable to corporal punishment." 

■J Chap. IX. 232. « Chap. IX. 280. 

f Chap. IX. 277. »? Chap. VIII. 120—123. 

'' Chap. IX. 271'. If this hiw does not refer to foreign 
enemies, it sliows tluit gang robbery, now so well known under 
the name oi decnili/, existed even when tliis code was compiled. 

I Chap. IX. 272. ^- Chap. IX. 224. 

F 1. 



BOOK Most other offences are punished by fines, though 
sometimes other punishments are substituted. 

No fine must exceed 1000 panas, or fall short of 

Defamation is confined to this sort of penalty, 
except with Sudras who are liable to be whipped. 
It is to be observed, however, that this class is 
protected by a fine from defamation, even by a 

Abusive language is still more distinguished 
for the inequality of punishments among the casts, 
but even in this branch of the law are traces of a 
civihsed spirit. Men reproaching their neighbours 
with lameness, blindness, or any other natural in- 
firmity, are liable to a small fine, even if they speak 
the truth." 
y Assaults, if among equals, are punished by a fine 

of 100 panas for blood drawn, a larger sum for a 
wound, and banishment for breaking a bone.° The 
prodigious inequalities into which the penalty runs 
between men of different classes has already been 

Proper provisions are made for injuries inflicted 
in self-defence ; in consequence of being forcibly 
obstructed in tlie execution of one's duty, or in 
defence of persons unjustly attacked.'' 

Furious and careless driving involves fines as 

1 Chap. VIII. 138. " Chap. VIII. 267—277. 

n Chap. VIII. 274. ° Chap. VIII. 284<. 

P Page 24. i Chap. VIII. 348, &c. 


different in desjree as the loss occasioned by the chap. 

* . "^ III. 
death of a man and of the lowest animal/ 

Persons defiling the highways are subject to 
a small fine, besides being obliged to remove the 

Ministers taking bribes in private aflf^airs are 
punished by confiscation of their property.' 

The offences of physicians or surgeons who 
injure their patients for want of skill; breaking 
hedges, palisades, and earthen idols ; mixing pure 
with impure commodities, and other impositions 
on purchasers, are all lumped up under a penalty 
of from '250 to 500 panas." Selling bad grain 
for good, however, incurs severe corporal punish- 
ment''; and, what far more passes the limits of 
just distinction, a goldsmith guilty of fraud is or- 
dered to be cut to })ieces with razors.^ 

Some offences not noticed by other codes are 
punished in this one with whimsical disregard to 
their relative importance ; forsaking one's parents, • 
son, or wife, for instance, is punished by a fine of 
600 panas ; and not inviting one's next neighbour 
to entertainments on certain occasions, by a fine of 
one masha of silver/ 

The rules of police are harsh and arbitrary. Be- 
sides maintaining ])atrols and fixed guards, open 
and secret, the king is to have many spies, who 

r Chap. VIII. 290—298. •* CIki]). IX. 2H2, 283. 

• Chap. IX. 2:51. " Ciiap. IX. 281—287. 

" Chap. IX. 2'Jl. > Chap. IX, 292. 
^ Chap. VII. 389. 'M2. 


BOOK ai'e to mix with the thieves, and lead them into 
' situations where they may be entrapped. When 
fair means fliil, the prince is to seize them and put 
them to death, with their relations : the ancient 
commentator, Culluca, inserts, '* on proof of their 
guilt, and the participation of their relations ; " 
which, no doubt, would be a material improvement 
on the text, but for which there is no authority.' 
' . Gamesters, public dancers, and singers, reviiers 
of scripture, open heretics, men who perform not 
the duties of their several classes, and sellers of 
spirituous liquors, are to be instantly banished the 

2. Civil Law. 

Civil law. The laws for civil judicature are very superior 

to the penal code, and, indeed, are much more 

rational and matured than could well be expected 

of so early an age. 

Mode of Cases are first stated in which the plaintiff is to 

proceeding. , . . , -i c ^ 

be nonsuited, or the decision to go by default*' 
against the defendant ; and rules then given in 
case the matter comes to a trial. 

The witnesses must be examined standing in the 
middle of the court-room, and in the presence of 
the parties. The judge must previously address a 
particular form of exhortation to them, and warn 
them in the strongest terms of the enormous guilt 
of false evidence, and the punishment with which 

■'^ Chap. IX. 252—269. " Chap. IX. 225. 

c Chap. VIII. 52—57. 


it will be followed in a future state/^ If there are chap. 
no witnesses, the judge must admit the oaths of 

the parties.*' 

Tlie law of evidence in many particulars re- Law of 

. evidence. 

sembles that of England : persons having a pecu- 
niary interest in the cause, infamous persons, me- 
nial servants, familiar friends, with others disquali- 
fied on slighter grounds, are in the first instance 
excluded from giving testimony ; but, in default of 
other evidence, almost every description of persons 
may be examined, the judge making due allow- 
ances for the disqualifying causes.* 

Two exceptions which disgrace these otherwise 
well-intentioned rules have attracted more atten- 
tion in Europe than the rules themselves. One is 
the declaration that a giver of false evidence, for 
the purpose of saving the life of a man of whatever 
class, who may have exposed himself to capital 
punishment^ shall not lose a seat in heaven ; and, 
though bound to perform an expiation, has, on the 
whole, performed a meritorious action." 

The other does not relate to judicial evidence, 
but pronounces that, in courting a woman, in an 
affair where grass or fruit has been eaten by a cow, 
and in case of a promise made for the preservation 

J Chap. VIII. 79-101. e Chap. VIII. 101. 

( Chap. VIII. Gl— 72. 

K The ancient coiiiinentator, Ciilliica, inserts, after " capital 
punishment," tlie words " through iii!uivert(,'ncc or error;" which 
proves that, in his time, the words of the text were repugnant 
to tiie moral feeling of the community. 

'• Chap. VIII. 1U3, 101. 





Mode of 
ings i-e- 

of a Bramin, it is no deadly sin to take a liglit 


From these passages it has been assumed that 

the Hindu law gives a direct sanction to perjury ; 
and to this has been ascribed the prevalence of 
false evidence, which is common to men of all re- 
ligions in India : yet there is more space devoted 
in this code to the prohibition of false evidence 
than to that of any other crime, and the offence 
is denounced in terms as awful as have ever been 
applied to it in any European treatise either of 
rehgion or of law." 

A party advancing a wilfully false plea or defence 
is liable to a heavy fine: a judicious rule, which 
is pushed to absurdity in subjecting to corporal 
punishment a plaintiff who procrastinates the pro- 
secution of his demand.' Appeals to ordeal are 
admitted, as might be expected in so superstitious 
a people." 

i Chap. VIII. 112. 

^ " Marking well all the murders comprehended in the crime 
of perjury, declare thou the whole truth with jirecision." — 
Chap. VIII. 101. 

" Whatever places of torture have been prepared for the 
slayer of a priest, those places are ordained for a witness who 
gives false evidence." — Chap. VIII. 89. 

" Naked and shorn, tormented with hunger and thirst, and 
deprived of sight, shall the man who gives false evidence go 
with a potsherd to beg food at the door of his enemy." — 
" Headlong, in utter darkness, shall the impious wretch tumble 
into hell, who, being interrogated on a judicial inquiry, answers 
one question falsely." — Chap. VIII. 93, 91'. 

' Chap. VIII. 58, 59. ■" Chap. VIII. 114—116. 


The followinf? statement of the principal titles chap. 

P .... . HI. 
of law implies an advanced stage of civilisation, , . 

and would not, in itself, be deficient in clearness 
and good sense, if it were not for the mixture of 
civil and criminal suits: — 1st, debt on loans for 
consumption ; 2d, deposits and loans for use ; 3d, 
sale without ownership ; 4th, concerns among part- 
ners ; 5th, subtraction of what has been given ; 
6th, nonpayment of wages or hire ; 7fh, non- 
performance of agreements ; 8th, rescission of sale 
and purchase ; 9th, disputes between master and 
servant; 10th, contests on boundaries; 11th and 
I'Sth, assault and slander; 13th, larceny; 14th, 
robbery and other violence ; 15th, adultery ; l6th, 
altercation between man and wife, and their seve- 
ral duties ; 17th, the law of inheritance ; 18th, 
gaming with dice and with living creatures." 

Soine of these heads are treated of in a full and 
satisfactory manner, while the rules in others are 
meagre, and such as to show that the transactions 
they relate to were still in a simple state. I shall 
only mention a few of the most remarkable provi- 
sions under each head. 

A creditor is authorised, before complaining to Uebts. 
the court, to recover his property by any means in 
his power, resorting even to force within certain 

This law still operates so strongly in some Hindu 
states, that a creditor ini])ri.sons his debtor in his 

" C'liiq). VIJI. 1— 7. " Chap. VIII. 48— .W. 



Interest of 

BOOK private house, and even keeps him for a period 
' without food and exposed to the sun, to compel 
him to produce the money he owes. 

Interest varies from '■2 per cent, per mensem for 
a Bramin to 5 per cent, for a Sudra. It is reduced 
to one half when there is a pledge, and ceases 
altogether if the pledge can be used for the profit 
of the lender.'' 

There are rules regarding interest on money 
lent on bottomry for sea voyages, and on similar 
risk by land ; and others for preventing the accu- 
mulation of interest on money above the original 
amount of the principal. '^ 

Various rules regarding sureties for personal ap- 
pearance and pecuniary payments, as well as re- 
ffardino; contracts, are introduced under this head. 

Fraudulent contracts, and contracts entered into 
for illegal purposes, are null. A contract made, 
even by a slave, for the support of the family of 
his absent master, is binding on the master.' 

A sale by a person not the owner is void, unless 
made in the open market ; in that case it is valid 
if the purchaser can produce the seller, otherwise 
the right owner may take the property on paying 
half the value.^ 

A trader breaking his promise is to be fined ; or, 
if it was made on oath, to be banished.' 


Sale with- 
out owner- 

p Chap. VIII. 140—143. 
r Chap. VIII. 158—167. 
t Chap. VIII. 219, &c. 

Chap. VIII. 151. 156, 157. 
Chap. VIII. 197—202. 


A sale may be unsettled by either party within chap. 
ten days after it is made, but not later." __«__ 

Disputes between master and servant refer al- Disputes 
most entirely to herdsmen and their responsibilities Jasler and 
about cattle." ^'■""'^"*- 

Boundaries of villages are to be marked by na- Disputes 
tural objects, such as streams, or by planthig trees, boundaries. 
digging ponds, and building temples along them, 
as well as by other open marks above ground, and 
secret ones buried in the earth. In case of dis- 
putes, witnesses are to be examined on oath, in the 
presence of all the parties concerned, putting earth 
on their heads, wearing chaplets of red flowers, 
and clad in red garments. If the question can- 
not be settled by evidence, the King must make 
a general inquiry and fix the boundary by autho- 

The same course is to be adopted about the 
boundaries of private fields.^ 

The rules regarding man and wife are full of Relations 
puerilities ; the most important ones shall be stated man and 
after a short account of the laws relating to mar- 

Six forms of marriage are recognised as lawful. 
Of these, four only are allowed to Bramins, which 
(though differing in minute particulars) all agree 
in insisting that the father shall give away his 
daughter without receiving a price. The remain- 

" Chap. VIII. '2W, X c|,;,j,, VIII. '^29— 23k 

' Chap. \III. 215— 2G5. 




BOOK ing two forms are permitted to the military class 

alone, and are abundantly liberal even with that 

limitation. One is, when a soldier carries off a 
woman after a victory, and espouses her against her 
will ; and the other, when consummation takes 
place by mutual consent, without any formal cere- 
mony whatever. Two sorts of marriage are for- 
bidden : when the father receives a nuptial present^ ; 
and when the woman, from intoxication, or other 
cause, has been incapable of giving a real consent 
to the union.* 

A girl may be married at eight, or even earlier ; 
and, if her father fails to give her a husband for 
three years after she is marriageable (?. e. capable 
of being a parent), she is at liberty to choose one 
for herself.'' 

Men may marry women of the classes below them, 
but on no account of those superior to their own."" 
A man must not marry within six known degrees 
of relationship on either side, nor with any woman 
whose family name, being the same, shows her to 
be of the same race as his own.'^ 

The marriage of people of equal class is per- 
formed by joining hands ; but a woman of the 
military class, marrying a Bramin, holds an arrow 

' There is, however, throughout tlie code, a reniai'kable 
wavering on this head, the acceptance of a present being in 
general spoken of with disgust, as a sale of the daughter, while, 
in some places, the mode of disposing of presents so received, 
and tlie claims arising from them, are discussed as legal points. 

a Chap. III. 20— 34. " Chap. IX. 88—93. 

c Chap. III. 12—19. d Chap. III. 5. 


in her hand ; a Veisya woman a whip ; and a chap. 
Sudra, the skirt of a mantle.'' 

The marriage of equals is most recommended, 
for the first wife at least : that of a Bramin with a 
Sudra is discouraged ; and, as a hrst wife, it is 
positively forbidden.^ 

Marriage is indissoluble, and the parties are 
bound to observe mutual fidelity.^ 

From the few cases hereafter specified, in which 
the husband may take a second wife, it may be in- 
ferred that, with those exceptions, he must have 
but one wife. A man may marry again on the 
death of his wife ; but the marriage of widows is 
discouraged, if not prohibited (except in the case 
of Sudras). 

A wife who is barren for eight years, or she who 
has produced no male children in eleven, may be 
superseded by another wife.^ 

It appears, notwithstanding this expression, that 
the wife first married retains the highest rank in 
the family.'' 

Drunken and immoral wives, those who bear 
malice to their husbands, or are guilty of very great 
extravagance, may also be superseded.' 

A wife who leaves lier husband's house, or neg- 
lects him for a twelvemonth, without a cause, may 
be deserted altogether.'' 

e Chap. III. 44. f Chap. IX. 46, 47. 101, lO'i. 

K Chap. IX. 81. " Chap. IX. 122. 

' Chap. IX. HO. k Chap. IX. 77— 7J). 

VOL. I. F 





A man going abroad must leave a provision for 
his wife/ 

The wife is bound to wait for her absent hus- 
band for eight years, if he be gone on rehgious 
duty ; six, if in pursuit of knowledge or fame ; and 
three, if for pleasure only.™ 

The practice of allowing a man to raise up issue 
to his brother, if he died without children, or even 
if (though still alive) he have no hopes of progeny, 
is reprobated, except for Sudras, or in case of a 
widow who has lost her husband before consum- 

The natural heirs of a man are the sons of his 
body, and their sons, and the sons of his daughters, 
when appointed in default of heirs male to raise up 
issue to him.° 

The son of his wife, begotten by a near kinsman, 
at some time when his own life had been despaired 
of, according to the practice formerly noticed'', 
(which, though disapproved of as heretical, would 

1 Chap. IX. 74. 

'" Chap. IX. 76. CuUuca, in his Commentary, adds, " after 
those terms she must follow him ; " but the code seems rather 
to refer to the term at M-hich she may contract a second mar- 
riage. From the contradictions in the code regarding mar- 
riages of widows (as on some other subjects) we may infer that 
the law varied at different places or times ; or rather, perhaps, 
that the writer's opinion and the actual practice were at 
variance. The opinion against such marriages prevails in 
modern times, and irust have done so to a great extent in that 
of Culluca. 

" Chap. IX. 59—70. ° Chap. IX. 104-. 133. 

p Chap. IX. 59, &c. 


appear to be recognised when it has actually taken chap. 
place,) is also entitled to inherit as a son.'' 

On the failure of issue of the above description, 
an adopted son succeeds : such a son loses all claim 
on the inheritance of his original father ; and is 
entitled to a sixth of the property of his adoptive 
one, even if, subsequently to his adoption, sons of 
the body should be born. ' 

On failure of the above heirs follow ten descrip- 
tions of sous, such as never could have been thought 
of but by Hindus, with whom the importance of a 
descendant for the purpose of performing obsequies 
is superior to most considerations. Among these 
are included the son of a man's wife by an un- 
certain father, begotten when he himself has long 
been absent, and the son of his wife of whom she 
was pregnant, without his knowledge, at the time 
of the marriage. The illegitimate son of his 
daughter by a man whom she afterwards marries, 
the son of a man by a married woman who has 
forsaken her husband, or by a widow, are also ad- 
mitted into this class ; as are, last of all, his own 
sons by a Sudra wife.' These and others (ten in 

1 Chap. IX. 1 1.5. Perhaps this recognition is intended to be 
confined to the son of a Sudra wife, in whom such a proceeding 
wouhl l)e legal ; but it is not so specified in the text, and the 
language of the code on this whole subject is contradictory. 
The practice is at the present day entirely forbidden to all 

r Chap. IX. 141, 14-2. 168, 169. 

• Chap. IX. l.W— 161. 167— IHO. The whole of these 
sons, except the son of a man's own body, and his adopted 

F 2 



BOOK all) are admitted, by a fiction of the law, to be 
' sons, though the author of the code himself speaks 
contemptuously of the affiliation, even as affording 
the means of efficacious obsequies. ' 

On the failure of sons come brothers* sons, who 
are regarded as standing in the place of sons, and 
who have a right to be adopted, if they wish it, to 
the exclusion of all other persons." On failure of 
sons, grandsons, adopted sons, and nephews, come 
fathers and mothers ; then brothers, grandfathers, 
and grandmothers "" ; and then other relations, such 
as are entitled to perform obsequies to common 
ancestors ; failing them, the preceptor, the fellow- 
student, or the pupil ; and, failing them, the Bra- 
mins in general ; or, in case the deceased be of 
another class, the King. ^ 

A father may distribute his wealth among his 

sons, are entirely repudiated by the Hindu law of the present 

t Chap. IX. 161. " Chap. IX. 182. 

^ Chap. IX. 185. 217. 

^ Chap. IX. 186 — 189- The dependence of inheritance on 
obsequies leads to some remarkable rules. The first sort of 
obsequies are only performed to the father, grandfather, and 
great grandfather. Preference is given to those who perform 
obsequies to all three ; then to those who perform them to 
two, then to one. Those who perform obsequies to none of the 
three are passed over. A great great grandson, by this rule, 
would be set aside, and the succession go to some collateral 
who was within three degrees of the great grandfather. After 
those who perform the first sort of obsequies come the more 
numerous body, who only perform the second. — Orietital 
Magazine, vol.iii. p. 179. Colebrooke'* Digest, vol.iii. p.623. 


sons while he lives, (it is not stated whether arbi- chap. 

trarily or in fixed proportions ;) but his power to 

make a will is never alluded to. ^ 

When a man dies, his sons may either continue 
to live together with the property united, or they 
may divide it according to certain rules. If they 
remain united, the eldest brother takes possession 
of the property, and the others live under him as 
they did under their father. In this case, the ac- 
quisitions of all the sons (who have not formally 
withdrawn) go to augment the common stock.* 

If they divide, one twentieth is set aside for the 
eldest son, one eightieth for the youngest, and one 
fortieth for the intermediate sons ; the remainder 
is then equally divided among them all. Unmar- 
ried daughters are to be supported by their bro- 
thers, and receive no share of the Other's estate^; 
but share equally with their brothers in that of 
tlieir mother." 

This equality among the sons is in case of 
brothers of equal birth ; but otherwise the son of 
a Bramin wnfe takes four parts; of a Csiietriya, 
three ; a Veisya, two ; and a Sudra, one. 

One such share, or one tenth, is the most a 

^ Chap. IX. 101-. Even the power to distribute rests only on 
the autliority of Culluca. 

a Chap. IX. 103 — 105. Tliere are exceptions to this rule; 
but it is still so effective that, in recent times, the humble rela- 
tions of a man who had raised himself to be prime minister 
to the Peshwa, were admitted to be entitled to share in his 
immense property, which they so little contributed to acipiire. 

•' Cha].. IX. Il'J—llS. c Chaj.. IX. 192. 


BOOK son of a Sudra mother can take, even if there are 
' no other sons/ 

Eunuchs, outcasts, persons born deaf, dumb, or 
bhnd ; persons who have lost the use of a Umb, 
madmen, and idiots, are excluded from succession, 
but must be maintained by the heirs. 

The sons of excluded persons, however, are 
capable of inheriting.'' 

d Chap. IX. 151 — 155. In these rules, throughout the code, 
great confusion is created by preference shown to sons and 
others who are " learned and virtuous ; " no person being 
specified who is to decide on tlieir claims to those qualities. 

e Chap. IX. 201—203. 




The religion taught in the Institutes is derived chap. 
from the Vedas, to which scriptures they refer in ' 

every page. 

There are four Vedas ; but the fourth is rejected The vddas. 
by many of the learned Hindus, and the number 
reduced to three. Each Veda is composed of two, 
or perhaps of three, parts. The first ^ consists of 
hymns and prayers ; the second part " of precepts 
which inculcate religious duties, and of arguments 
relating to theology.*" Some of these last are 
embodied in separate tracts, which are sometimes 
inserted in the second part above mentioned, and 
sometimes are in a detached collection, forming a 
third part.** 

Every Veda likewise contains a treatise explain- 
ing the adjustment of the calendar, for the purpose 
of fixing the proper period for the performance of 
each of the duties enjoined. 

The Vedas are not single works : each is the 
production of various authors, whose names (in the 
case of liymns and prayers at least) are attached 
to their compositions, and to whom, according to the 

^ Called Mantra. i' Bralimaiia. 

c Colebrooke, Asiatic Ji\ scarr/ics, vol. viii. p. 387. 
"• Upanishad. 

F 1. 


BOOK Hindus, those passages were separately revealed. 

. They were probably written at different periods ; 

but were compiled in their present form in the 
l^th century before Christ.^ 

They are written in an ancient form of the 
Shanscrit, so different from tliat now in use that 
none but the more learned of the Bramins them- 
selves can understand them. Only a small portion 
of them has been translated into European lan- 
guages ; and although we possess a summary of 
their contents (by a writer whose judgment and 
fidelity may be entirely depended on ^), sufficient 
to give us a clear notion of the general scope of 
their doctrines, yet it does not enable us to speak 
with confidence of particulars, or to assert that no 
allusion whatever is made in any part of them to 
this or that portion of the legends or opinions which 
constitute the body of the modern Hindu faith. 

Mono- The primary doctrine of the Vedas is the Unity 

of God. " There is in truth," say repeated texts, 
" but one Deity, the Supreme Spirit, the Lord of 
the Universe, whose work is the universe." ^ 

*= See Appendix, I. 

^ Mr. Colebrooke, Asiatic JResearc/tes, vol. viii. p. 369. 

s Professor Wilson, Oxford Lectures, p. 11. The following 
view of the divine character, as presented in the Vedas, is given 
by a learned Bramin, quoted by Sir William Jones: — "Perfect 
truth ; perfect happiness ; without equal ; immortal ; absolute 
unity ; whom neither speech can describe nor mind compre- 
hend ; all-pervading ; all-transcending ; delighted w ith his own 
boundless intelligence ; not limited by space or time ; without 
feet, moving swiftly ; without hands, grasping all worlds ; 
without eyes, all-surveying ; without ears, all-hearing ; without 



Among the creatures of the Supreme Being are chap. 

some superior to man, who should be adored, and 

from whom protection and flivours may be obtained 
through prayer. The most frequently mentioned 
of these are the gods of the elements, the stars, 
and the planets ; but other personified powers and 
virtues likewise appear. " The three principal 
manifestations of the Divinity (Brahma, Mshnu,and 
Siva), with other personified attributes and ener- 
gies, and most of the other gods of Hindu mytho- 
losv, are indeed mentioned, or at least indicated, 
in the Veda ; but the worship of deified heroes is 
no part of the system." ^ 

Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are rarely named, 
enjoy no pre-eminence, nor are they ever objects 
of special adoration ' ; and Mr. Colebrooke could 
discover no passage in which their incarnations 
were suggested. 

There seem to have been no images and no 
visible types of the objects of worship." 

The doctrine of Monotheism prevails through- Rcrigionof 
out tiie Institutes ; and it is declared towards the 

an intelligent guide, understanding all ; without cause, the first 
of all causes; all-ru;iiig; all-powerful; the creator, preserver, 
transformer of all things: such is the Great One." — Sir 
W. Jones's Works, vol. vi. p. H8. 

*• Colebrooke on the Veda.s, Asiatic Researches, vol. viii. 
p. 494. 

' I'rofes»6r Wdson, Oxford I, vet arcs, p. 12 

1^ Ibid. p. 12.; and sec also Preface to the \'isltita Parana, 
p. 2. 


BOOK close that, of all duties, " the principal is to obtain 

from the Upanishad a true knowledge of one 

supreme God." ' 

But although Menu has preserved the idea of the 
unity of God, his opinions on the nature and 
operations of the Divinity have fallen off from the 
purity of their original. 
Creation. This is chieflv apparent in his account of the 
creation. There are passages in the Vedas which 
declare that God is " the material, as well as the 
efficient, cause of the universe ; the potter by 
whom the fictile vase is formed ; the clay out of 
which it is fabricated : " yet those best qualified to 
interpret conceive that these expressions are not 
to be taken literally, and mean no more than to 
assert the origin of all things from the same first 
cause. The general tendency of the Vedas is to 
show that the substance as well as the form of all 
created beings was derived from the will of the 
Self-existing Cause.'" 

The Institutes, on the contrary, though not 
very distinct, appear to regard the universe as 
formed from the substance of the Creator, and 
to have a vague notion of the eternal existence of 
matter as part of the divine substance. According 
to them, " the Self-existing Power, himself un- 
discerned, but making this world discernible, with 
five elements and other principles, appeared with 
undiminished glory dispelling the gloom." 

I Chap. XII. 85. ■" Wilson, Oxford Lectures, p. 48. 


'* He, having willed to produce various beings chap. 
from his own divine substance, first with a thought ' 

created the waters, and placed in them a pro- 
ductive seed." " 

From this seed sprung the mundane egg, in 
which the Supreme Being was himself born in the 
form of Brahma. 

By similar mythological processes, he, under the 
form of Brahma, produced the heavens and earth, 
and the human soul ; and to all creatures he gave 
distinct names and distinct occupations. 

He likewise created the deities "with divine 
attributes and pure souls," and " inferior genii 
exquisitely delicate." ° 

This whole creation only endures for a certain 
period ; when that expires, the divine energy is 
withdrawn, Brahma is absorbed in the supreme 
essence, and the whole system fades away." 

These extinctions of creation, with correspond- 
ing revivals, occur periodically, at terms of pro- 
digious length.'' 

The inferior deities are representatives of the inferior 


elements, as Indra, air ; Agni, fire ; Varuna, 
water ; Prithivi, earth : or of heavenly bodies, 
Surya, the sun ; Chandra, the moon ; Vrispati 
and other planets : or of abstract ideas, as Dherma, 
God of Justice ; Dhanwantara, God of Medicine." 

>' Book I. 5. 7. " Chap. I. 8—22. 

I' Chap. I. 51-57. ' Cljap. I. 73, 74. 

' Chaj). IX. 'iO'.'j — Dll., and otlur ])laces. 






None of the lieroes who are omitted in the Veda, 
but who now fill so prominent a part in the Hindu 
Pantheon (Rama, Crishna, Sec), are ever alluded to. 

Even the deities of which these are incarnations 
are never noticed. Brahma is more than once 
named, but Vishnu and Siva never. These three 
forms of the Divinity occupy no conspicuous place 
among the deities of the Vedas ; and their mystical 
union or triad is never hinted at in Menu, or pro- 
bably in the Vedas. The three forms, into some 
one of whicli all other deities are there said to be 
resolvable, are fire, air, and the sun.' 

Altogether distinct from the gods are good and 
evil genii, who are noticed in the creation rather 
among the animals than the divinities. " Bene- 
volent genii, fierce giants, bloodthirsty savages, 
heavenly choristers, nymphs and demons, huge 
serpents and birds of mighty wing, and separate 
companies of Pitris, or progenitors of mankind." ^ 

Man is endowed with two internal spirits, the 
vital soul, which gives motion to the body, and the 
rational, which is the seat of passions and good 
and bad qualities ; and both these souls, though 
independent existences, are connected with the 
divine essence which pervades all beings." 

It is the vital soul which expiates the sins of the 
man. It is subjected to torments for periods pro- 
portioned to its offences, and is then sent to trans- 

s Colebrooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. viii. 395- 

t Chap. I. 37. 

" Chap. I. 14, 15. Chap. XII. 12— 14. 24., &c. 



mio-rate throuo-h men and animals, and even plants; chap. 


the mansion beino' the lower the greater has been ' 

its guilt, until at length it has been purified by 
suffering and humiliations, is again united to its 
more pure associates", and again commences a 
career which may lead to eternal bliss. 

God endowed man from his creation with "con- 
sciousness, the internal monitor '"^ ; " and "made a 
total difference between right and wrong," as well 
as between pleasure and pain, and other opposite 
pairs. "" 

He then produced the Vedas for the due per- 
formance of the sacrifice ordained from the begin- 
ning. But it does not seem necessary to enter 
further into the metaphysical part of the work of 

The practical part of religion may be divided 
into ritual and moral. 

The ritual branch occupies too great a portion Ritual ob- 

. servances. 

of the Hindu code, but not to the exclusion of 
the moral. 

There are religious ceremonies during the preg- 
nancy of the mother, at the birth of the chikl, and 
on various subsequent occasions, the ])rincipal of 
which is the shaving of his head, all but one lock, 
at the first or third year." But by far the most 
important ceremonial is the investiture with the 
sacred thread, which must not be delayed beyond 

V Chap. XII. IG— 22. ^' Chap. I. 11-. 

" Chap. I. 2f5. ' Cliap. II. '26—35. 


BOOK sixteen for a Bramin, or twenty-four for a mer- 

chant/ This great ceremony is called the second 

birth, and procures for the three classes who are 
admitted to it the title of " twice-born men," by 
which they are always distinguished throughout 
the code. It is on this occasion that the persons 
invested are taught the mysterious word 6m, 
and the gayatri, which is the most holy verse of 
the Vedas, which is enjoined in innumerable parts 
of the code to be repeated either as devotion or 
expiation ; and which, indeed, joined to universal 
benevolence, may raise a man to beatitude without 
the aid of any other religious exercise.^ This 
mysterious text, though it is now confined to the 
Bramins, and is no longer so easy to learn, has 
been well ascertained by learned Europeans, and 
is thus translated by Mr. Colebrooke " : '* Let us 
meditate the adorable light of the Divine Ruler ; 
may it guide our intellects.*' 

From fuller forms of the same verse, it is evident 
that the light alluded to is the Supreme Creator, 
though it might also appear to mean the sun. 

It is not easy to see on what its superior sanctity 
is founded, unless it may at one time have com- 
municated, though in ambiguous language, the 
secret of the real nature of God to the initiated, 
when the material sun was the popular object of 

^ Chap. II. 36—40. <' Chap. 11. 74—87. 

'' Asiatic Researches, vol. viii. p. 400. 

c There are many commentaries on this text, and some 


Every Bramin, and, perhaps every twice-born 
man, must batlie daily ; must pray at morning and 
evening twiliglit, in some unfrequented place near 
pure water ''; and must daily perform five sacra- 
ments, viz. studying the Veda ; making oblations 
to the manes and to fire in honour of the deities ; 
giving rice to living creatures ; and receiving guests 
with honour." 

The Gods are worshipped by burnt-offerings of 
clarified butter, and libations of the juice of the 
moon plant, at which ceremonies they are invoked 
by name ; but although idols are mentioned, and 
in one place desired to be respected *, yet the 
adoration of them is never noticed but with dis- 
approbation ; nor is the present practice of offer- 
ing perfumes and flowers to them ever alluded to. 
The oblations enjoined are to be offered by Bra- 
mins at their domestic fire, and the other cere- 
monies performed by themselves in their own 

Most of the other sacraments are easily dis- 

difference of opinion as to the sense. The following interpre- 
tation is given by Professor Wilson, in a note on the " Hindu 
Tiicatrc," vol. i. p. 181. : — "Let us meditate on the supreme 
splendour of that divine sun, who may illuminate our under- 
standings." And the following is published as a literal trans- 
lation by Ram Mohan Rai (Transh/tioti of the Vedas, p. 117.): 
— "We meditate on that supreme spirit of the splendid sun 
who directs. our understandings." 

^ Chap. II. 101— 101-. ' Clia]). 111. G!), 70. 

f Chap. IV. I'M. K Chap. III. 82, &e. 




BOOK patched, but the reading of the Vedas is a serious 

They must be read distinctly and aloud, with a 
calm mind and in a respectful posture. The read- 
ing is liable to be interrupted by many omens, and 
must be suspended likewise on the occurrence of 
various contingencies which, by disturbing the 
mind, may render it unfit for such an occupation. 
Wind, rain, thunder, earthquakes, meteors, eclipses, 
the howling of jackals, and many other incidents, 
are of the first description : the prohibition against 
reading where lutes sound or where arrows whistle, 
when a town is beset by robbers, or when terrors 
have been excited by strange phenomena, clearly 
refers to the second." 

The last sacrament, that of hospitality to guests, 
is treated at length, and contains precepts of polite- 
ness and self-denial which would be very pleasing 
if they were not so much restricted to Bramins 
entertaining men of their own class.' 

Besides the daily oblations, there are monthly 
obsequies to the manes of each man's ancestors. 
These are to be performed "in empty glades, na- 
turally clean, or on the banks of rivers and in soli- 
tary spots." The sacrificer is there to burn certain 
offerings, and with many ceremonies to set down 
cakes of rice and clarified butter, invoking the 
manes to come and partake of them. 

He is afterwards to feast a small number of 

'» Chap. IV. 99—126. ' Chap. III. 99— 1 18. 


Bramins (not however his usual friends or guests), chap. 

He is to serve them with respect, and they are to 

eat in silence. 

" Departed ancestors, no doubt, are attendant 
on such invited Bramins, hovering around them 
like pure spirits, and sitting by them when they 
are seated." " 

No obsequies are to be performed for persons of 
disreputable or criminal life, or for those who ille- 
gally kill themselves ' ; but, on the other hand, 
there is a striking ceremony by which a great 
offender is renounced by his family, his obsequies 
being solemnly performed by them while he is yet 
alive. In the event of repentance and expiation, 
however, he can by another ceremony be restored 
to his family and to civil life." 

Innumerable are the articles of food from which 
a twice-born man must abstain ; some for plain rea- 
sons, as carnivorous birds, tame hogs, and other 
animals whose appearance or way of living is dis- 
gusting ; but others are so arbitrarily fixed, that a 
cock, a mushroom, a leek, or an onion, occasions 
immediate loss of cast " ; while hedgehogs, por- 
cupines, lizards, and tortoises are expressly de- 
clared to be lawful food. A Bramin is forbidden, 
under severe penalties, to eat the food of a hunter 
or a dishonest man, a worker in gold or in cane, or 
a washer of clothes, or a dyer. The cruelty of a 

k Chap. III. 189. ' Chap. V. 89. 

"« Chap. XI. 182—187. " Chap. V. 18, 19. 

VOL. I. a 


BOOK hunter's trade may join him, in the eyes of a Bra- 

min, to a dishonest man ; but, among many other 

arbitrary proscriptions, one is surprised to find a 
, physician °, and to observe that this learned and 
beneficent profession is always classed with those 
which are most impure. 

What chiefly surprises us is to find most sorts of 
flesh permitted to Bramins'', and even that of oxen 
particularly enjoined on solemn festivals.'* 

Bramins must not, indeed, eat flesh, unless at 
a sacrifice ; but sacrifices, as has been seen, are 
among the daily sacraments ; and rice pudding, 
bread, and many other things equally innocent, are 
included in the very same prohibition.' 

It is true that humanity to animals is every where 
most strongly inculcated, and that abstaining from 
animal food is declared to be very meritorious, 
from its tendency to diminish their suflferings ; but, 
though the use of it is dissuaded on these grounds', 
it is never once forbidden or hinted at as impure, 
and is in many places positively declared lawful.' 

The permission to eat beef is the more remark- 
able as the cow seems to iiave been as holy in 
those days as she is now. Saving the life of a cow 
was considered to atone for the murder of a Bra- 

Chap. IV. 212. P Chap. V. 22—36. 

*i Chap. V. 41, 42. ■• Chap. V. 7. 

s Chap. V. 43—56. 

^ " He who eats according to law commits no sin, even if he 
every day tastes the flesh of such animals as may lawfully be 
tasted, since both animals which may be eaten, and those who 
eat them, were equally created by Brahma." (V. 30.) 



mill"; killing one required to be expiated by three chap. 

months' austerities and servile attendance on a herd 

of cattle/ 

Besides these restraints on eating, a Bramin is 
subjected to a multitude of minute reguhitions 
relating to the most ordinary occupations of life, 
the transgressing of any of wliich is nevertheless 
to be considered as a sin. 

More than half of one book of the code is filled 
with rules about purification. 

The commonest cause of impurity is the death 
of a relation ; and this, if he is near, lasts for ten 
days with a Bramin, and for a month with a Sudra. 

An infinity of contacts and otiier circumstances 
also pollute a man, and he is only purified by 
bathing, and other ceremonies, much too tedious 
to enumerate."^ Some exceptions from these rules 
show a good sense which might not have been 
expected from the framers. A King can never be 
impure, nor those wliom he wishes to be freed from 
this impediment to business. The hand of an 
artist employed in his trade is always pure ; and 
so is every commodity when exposed to sale. 
The relations of a soldier slain in battle are not 
impure ; and a soldier himself, who falls in the dis- 
charge of his duty, performs the highest of sacri- 
fices, and is instantly freed from all impurities." 
Of all pure things, none impart that quality better 

Chap. XI. 80. ^ Chap. XI. 109-117. 

^ Book V. 57. to th<; end. " Chap. V. 93—98. 



BOOK than purity in acquiring wealth, forgiveness of in- 
juries, Hberahty, and devotion.' 

Penances, as employed by the Hindus, hold a 
middle place between the ritual and moral branches 
of religion. They help to deter from crimes, but 
they are equally employed against breaches of re- 
ligious form ; and their application is at all times 
so irregular and arbitrary as to prevent their being 
so effectual as they should be in contributing to the 
well-being of society. 

Drinking spirits is classed in the first degree of 
crime. Performing sacrifices to destroy the inno- 
cent only falls under the third. 

Under the same penance with some real offences 
come giving pain to a Bramin and " smelling things 
not fit to be smelled." ^ 

Some penances would, if compulsory, be punish- 
ments of the most atrocious cruelty. They are 
sufficiently absurd when left, as they are, to the 
will of the offenders, to be employed in averting 
exclusion from society in this world or retribution 
in the next. For incest with the wife of a father, 
natural or spiritual, or with a sister, connection 
with a child under the age of puberty, or with a 
woman of the lowest class, the penance is death by 
burning on an iron bed, or embracing a red-hot 
metal image.^ For drinking spirits the penance 
is death by drinking the boiling hot urine of a 

>Chap. V. 107. z Chap. XI. 55— 68. 

■•^ Chap. XI. 104, 105. 171. ' Chap. XI. 92. 



The other expiations are mostly made by fines <^'^^p- 

and austerities. The fines are ahnost always in 

cattle to be given to Bramins, some as high as a bull 
and 1000 cows. 

They, also, are oddly enough proi)ortioned : for 
killing a snake a Bramin must give a hoe ; for kill- 
ing an eunuch, a load of rice straw. 

Saying "hush" or "pish" to a superior, or 
overpowering a Bramin in argument, involve each 
a slight penance. Killing insects, and even cutting- 
down plants and grass (if not for a useful purpose), 
require a penance ; since plants also are supposed 
to be endued with feeling.'' 

One passage about expiation is characteristic in 
many ways. " A priest who should retain in his 
memory the whole Rig Veda would be absolved * 
from all guilt, even if he had slain the inhabitants 
of the three worlds, and had eaten food from the 
foulest liandsr^ 

Some of the penances, as well as some of the 
punishments under the criminal law, relate to 
pollutions which imply great corruption of manners 
in the people, or great impurity in the imagination 
of the lawgiver'' ; but they probably originate in 
the same perverted ingenuity which aj)pears in 
some of the European casuists. 

Others are of a more pleasing character, and 
tend to lessen oni' impression of" the force of super- 

•^ Chap. XI. 12.). to the end. '' Chaj). XI. 2(j2. 

'_ Chap. XI. 171-17'J, &c. 

G S 


BOOK stition even among; the Bramins. A man who 
I. Y . 
spends his money in gifts, even for his spiritual 

benefit, incurs misery hereafter if he have left his 
- family in want/ Every man who has performed 
penance is legally restored to society ; but all 
should avoid the communion of those whose of- 
fences were in themselves atrocious, among which 
are reckoned killing a suppliant and injuring a 
Moral The effect of the religion of Menu on morals is, 


indeed, generally good. The essential distinction 
between right and wrong, it lias been seen, is 
strongly marked at the outset, and is in general 
well preserved. The well-known passages relating 
to false evidence, one or two where the property 
of another may be appropriated for the purposes of 
sacrifice\ and some laxity in the means by which 
a King may detect and seize offenders', are the 
only exceptions I recollect. 

On the other hand there are numerous injunc- 
tions to justice, truth, and virtue ; and many are 
the evils, both in this world and the next, which are 
said to follow from vicious conduct. The upright 
man need not be cast down though oppressed with 
penury, while " the unjust man attains no felicity, 
nor he whose wealth proceeds from false evi- 

The moral duties are in one place distinctly de- 

f Chap. IX. 9, 10. s Chap. XI. 190, 191. 

h Chap. XL 11 — 19. i Chap. IX. 256-269. 

k Chap. IV. 170—179. 



clared to be superior to the ceremonial ones.' The <^Yv^' 

punishments of a future state are as much directed 

against the offences which disturb society as against 
sins affecting religion. 

One maxim, however, on this subject, is of a less 
laudable tendency ; for it declares that the men 
who receive from the gov^ernment the punishment 
due to their crimes go pure to heaven, and become 
as clean as those who have done well." 

It may be observed, in conclusion, that the 
morality thus enjoined by the law was not, as now, 
sapped by the example of fabled gods, or by the 
debauchery permitted in the religious ceremonies 
of certain sects. 

From many passages cited in different places, it 
has been shown that the code is not by any means 
deficient in generous maxims or in elevated senti- 
ments ; but the general tendency of the Bramin 
morality is rather towards innocence than active 
virtue, and its main objects are to enjoy tranquility, 
and to prevent pain or evil to any sentient being. 

I Chap. IV. 201. '" Chap. VIII. 318. 

G 4 




BOOK In inquiring into the manners of a nation, our 
' attention is first attracted to the condition of the 


State of women. This may be o-athered from the laws re- 
lating to marriage, as well as from incidental regu- 
lations or observations which undesignedly exhibit 
the views under which the sex was regarded. 

The laws relating to marriage, as has been seen, 
though in some parts they bear strong traces of a 
rude age, are not on the whole unfavourable to the 
weaker party. The state of women in other re- 
spects is such as might be expected from those 

A wife is to be entirely obedient and devoted 
to her husband, who is to keep her under legal 
restrictions, but to leave her at her own disposal 
in innocent and lawful recreations/ When she 
has no husband, she is to be in a state of similar 
dependence on her male relations^ ; but, on the 
other hand, the husband and all the male relations 
are strictly enjoined to honour the women : " where 
women are dishonoured, all religious acts become 
fruitless;" — "where female relations are made 
miserable, the family very soon wholly perishes ; " 

a Chap. IX. % &c. " Chap. V. 147, &c. 


but " where a husband is contented with his wife, chap. 

and she with lier husband, in that house will for- 

tune assuredly be permanent." The husband's in- 
dulgence to his wife is even regulated on points 
which seem singular in a code of laws ; among 
these it is enjoined that she be *' constantly sup- 
plied with ornaments, apparel, and food, at festivals 
and jubilees. '"" 

\Mdo\vs are also under the particular protection 
of the law. Their male relations are positively for- 
bidden to interfere with their property. (III. .52.) 
The King is declared the guardian of widows and 
single women, and is directed to punish relations 
who encroach on their fortunes, as thieves. (VIII. 
28, 29.) 

There is little about domestic manners except as 
relates to the Bramins, and they, as usual, are placed 
under austere and yet puerile restrictions. A man 
of that class must not eat with his wife, nor look 
at her eating, or yawning, or sitting carelessly, or 
when setting off her eyes with black powder, or 
on many other occasions.'* 

In all classes women are to be *' employed in 
the collection and ex})cnditure of wealth ; in pu- 
rification and female duty ; in the prei)aration of 
daily food, and the superintendence of household 

*' By confinement at home, even under affec- 
tionate and observant guardians, they are not 

c Clio}.. III. 55—01. " Chap. IV. 43, &c. 





secure ; but those women are truly secure who 
are guarded by their own inchnations."" 

There is not the least mention of sattis ; indeed, 
as the widows of Bramins are enjoined to lead a 
virtuous, austere, and holy life'^, it is plain tliat 
their burning with their husbands was never 
thought of. 

The only suicides authorised in the code are for 
a Bramin hermit suffering under an incurable dis- 
ease, who is permitted to proceed towards a cer- 
tain point of the heavens with no sustenance but 
water, until he dies of exhaustion^ ; and for a 
King, who, when he finds his end draw near, is to 
bestow such wealth as he may have gained by legal 
fines on the Bramins, commit liis kingdom to his 
son, and seek death in battle, or, if there be no 
war, by abstaining from food.*' 

Few more particulars can be gleaned regarding 
manners. The strict celibacy imposed on the 
Bramin youths seems to have excited a just dis- 
trust of their continence : a student who is en- 
joined to perform personal services, and to kiss the 
feet of his spiritual father's other near relations, is 
directed to omit those duties in the case of his 

^ Chap. IX. 11, 12. '■ Chap. V. 156—158. 

g Chap. VI. 31. 

'> Chap. IX. 323. It is singular that the practice of self- 
immolation by fire, which is stated by Mr. Colebi'ooke ( Trans- 
actions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 458.) to have been 
authorised by the Vedas, and is related by the ancients to have 
been practised by Calanus, is novvhei'e mentioned in the code. 


}'Oung wife ; he is desired to be always on his chap. 

guard when in company with women, and to be- , 

w^are how he trusts himself in a sequestered place 
even wdth those who should be the most sacred in 
his eyes.' 

Some notion of the pleasures most indulged in 
may be formed from those against which a King 
is cautioned. (VII. 47.) Among them are hunt- . 
ing, gaming, sleeping by day, excess with women, 
intoxication, singing, instrumental music, dancing, 
and useless travel. Some little light is also thrown 
on manners, by the much-frequented places where 
thieves, quacks, fortune-tellers, and other im- 
postors are said to haunt. They include cisterns 
of water, bakehouses, the lodgings of harlots, 
taverns and victualling shops, squares where four 
ways meet, large well-known trees, assemblies, and 
public spectacles. 

Minute rules are given for the forms of saluta- 
tion and civility to persons of all classes, and in 
all relations. 

Great respect is inculcated for parents'' and for " 
age ; for learning and moral conduct, as well as 
for wealth and rank. " Way must be made for a 
man in a wlieeled carriage, or above ninety years 
old, or afflicted with disease, or carrying a burden, 
for a woman, for a priest (in certain cases), for 
a prince, and for a bridegroom.'" 

I Chap. 11. 21 1— 215. k Cliap. II. 225-237. 

" Cliai). II. 130—138. 


BOOK I scarcely know where to place, so as to do jus- 
' tice to the importance assigned to it in the code, 
the respect enjoined to immemorial custom. It is 
declared to be " transcendant law," and " the root 
of all piety.""" It is, indeed, to this day the vital 
spirit of the Hindu system, and the immediate 
cause of the permanence of these institutions. 
Learning is greatly honoured throughout the code, 
and the cultivation of it is recommended to all 
classes. It is true the Vedas, and the comment- 
aries on them, with a few other books, are the only 
ones to which the student is directed ; but lie is to 
learn theology, logic, ethics, and physical science 
from those works" ; and we know that those sub- 
jects are discussed in the tracts appended to each 
Veda : each is also accompanied by a treatise en- 
tirely relating to astronomy ; and, from the early 
excellence of the Bramins in all these branches of 
learning, it is probable that they had made consi- 
derable ])rogress even when this code was formed. 

Arts of life. The arts of life, though still in a simple state, 
were far from being in a rude one. Gold and 
gems, silks and ornaments, are spoken of as being 
in all families." Elephants, horses, and chariots 
are familiar as conveyances for men, as are cattle, 
camels, and waggons for goods. Gardens, bowers, 
and terraces are mentioned ; and the practice, 
still subsisting, of the construction of ponds and 

■" Chap. I. lOS — 110 " Chap. XII. 98. 105, 106. 

o Chap. V. Ill, 112. Chap. VII. 130. 


orchards by wealthy men for the pubUc benefit, is chap. 
here, perhaps, first enjoined." Cities are seldom ' 

alluded to, nor are there any regulations or any 
officers beyond the wants of an agricultural town- 
ship. The only great cities were, probably, the 

The professions mentioned show all that is 
necessary to civilised life, but not all required for 
high refinement. Though gems and golden orna- 
ments were common, embroiderers and similar work- 
men, who put those materials to the most delicate 
uses, are not alluded to ; and painting and writing 
could scarcely have attained the cultivation which 
tliey reached in after times, when they were left 
among the trades open to a Sudra in times of 

Money is often mentioned, but it does not ap- 
pear whether its value was ascertained by weight 
or fixed by coining. The usual payments are in 
pcmas, the name 7ioi(' applied to a certain number 
of the shells called couris, which are used as change 
for the lowest copper coins. 

The number of kinds of grain, spices, ])erfumes, ' 
and other productions, are proofs of a highly cul- 
tivated country ; and the code in general presents 
the picture of a peaceful and flourishing com- 
munity. Some of the features which seem to 
indicate misgovermnent are undnninished at tiie 
present day, but affect the society in a far less 

I' (l.ap. IV. 22fJ. 


BOOK degree than would seem possible to a distant ob- 

server. On tlie other hand, the frequent allusions to 

times of distress give ground for a suspicion that 
the famines, which even now are sometimes the 
scourge of India, were more frequent in ancient 

There is no trace of nomadic tribes, such as still 
subsist in most Asiatic countries. 
General Of all aucicnt ttatious, the Egyptians are the one 


whom the Hindus seem most to have resembled ; 
but our knowledge of that people is too limited to 
reflect light on any other with which they might 
be compared.'' 

It might be easier to compare them with the 
Greeks, as painted by Homer, who was nearly 
contemporary with the compilation of the code ; 
and, however inferior in spirit and energy, as well 
as in elegance, to that heroic race, yet, on con- 
trastins: their law and forms of administration, the 
state of the arts of life, and the general spirit of 
order and obedience to the laws, the eastern nation 
seems clearly to have been in the more advanced 
stage of society. Their internal institutions were 
less rude; their conduct to their enemies more 
humane ; their general learning was much more 
considerable ; and, in the knowledge of the being 
and nature of God, they were already in possession 
of a light which was but faintly perceived even by 

"i The particular points of resemblance are set forth by 
Heeren. — Historical Eesearches (Asiatic Nations), vol. iii. 
p. 411. to the end. 


the loftiest intellects in the best days of Athens, chap. 

Yet the Greeks were polished by free communica- 

tion with many nations, and have recorded the 
improvements which they early derived from each ; 
while the Hindu civilisation grew up alone, and 
thus acquired an original and peculiar character, 
that continues to spread an interest over the higher 
stages of refinement to which its unaided efforts 
afterwards enabled it to attain. It may, however, 
be doubted, whether this early and independent 
civilisation was not a misfortune to the Hindus ; 
for, seeing themselves superior to all the tribes of 
whom they had knowledge, they learned to de- 
spise the institutions of foreigners, and to revere 
their own, until they became incapable of receiv- 
ing improvement from without, and averse to 
novelties even amongst themselves. 

On looking back to the information collected Ougm of 

^ . the Hindus 

from the code, we observe the three twice-born and forma- 
classes forming the whole community embraced by society. 
the law, and the Sudras in a servile and degraded 
condition. Yet it appears that there are cities 
governed by Sudra Kings, in which Bramins are 
advised not to reside', and that there are " whole 
territories inhabited by Sudras, overwhelmed with 
atheists, and deprived of Bramins."' 

Tlie three twice-born classes are directed invari- 
ably to dwell in the country between the Himawat' 

■■ Chap. J\'. fil. » Chap. VI II. '22. 

» Ilenialuva. 


BOOK and the Vindya mountains", from the eastern to 
' the western ocean. 

But, though the three chief classes are confined 
to this tract, a Sudra distressed for subsistence may 
sojourn wherever he chooses." 

It seems impossible not to conclude from all 
this, that the twice-born men were a conquering 
people ; that the servile class were the subdued 
aborigines ; and that the independent Sudra towns 
were in such of the small territories, into which 
Hindostan was divided, as still retained their in- 
dependence, while the whole of the tract beyond 
the Vindya mountains remained as yet untouched 
by the invaders, and unpenetrated by their re- 

A doubt, however, soon suggests itself, whether 
the conquerors were a foreign people, or a local 
tribe, like the Dorians in Greece ; or whether, in- 
deed, they were not merely a portion of one of the 
native states (a religious sect, for instance) which 
had outstripped their fellow citizens in knowledge, 
and appropriated all the advantages of the society 
to themselves. 

The different appearance of the higher classes 
from the Sudras, which is so observable to this day, 
might incline us to think them foreigners ; but, 

u Still so called, and forming the boundaries of Hindostan 
proper, on the south, as Hemalaya does on the north. The 
leo-islator must have had an indistinct idea of the eastern ter- 
mination of the range. 
V Chap. II. 21—24. 


without entirely denying this argument (as far, at chap. 
least, as relates to the Bramins and Cshetriyas), we ' 

must advert to some considerations wliich greatly 
weaken its force. 

The class most unUke the Bramins are the 
Chandalas, who are, nevertheless, originally the 
offspring of a Bramin mother ; and who might 
have been expected to have preserved their resem- 
blance to their parent stock, as, from the very low- 
ness of their cast, they are prevented mixing with 
any race but their own. Difference of habits and 
employments is, of itself, sufficient to create as 
great a dissimilarity as exists between the Bramin 
and the Sudra ; and the hereditary separation of 
professions in India would contribute to keep up 
and to increase such a distinction."' 

It is opposed to their foreign origin, that neither 
in the code, nor, I believe, in the Vedas, nor in 
any book that is certainly older than the code, is 
there any allusion to a prior residence or to a 
knowledge of more than the name of any country 
out of India. Even mythology goes no further 
than the Hcmalaya chain, in which is fixed the 
habitation of the gods. 

The common origin of the Shanscrit language 
with those of the west leaves no doubt that there 

^ Observe tlic diffcronce which even a few years can prochice 
between two individuals, wiiu were alilce when they began bCe; 
between a soldier of a well-disciplined regiment, for instance, 
and a man of the least active and healthy classes in a manu- 
facturing town. 

VOL. I. H 


BOOK was once a connection between the nations by 
whom they are used ; but it proves nothing re- 
garding the place where such a connection sub- 
sisted, nor about the time, which might have 
been in so early a stage of their society as to pre- 
vent its throwing any light on the history of the 
individual nations. To say that it spread from a 
central point is a gratuitous assumption, and even 
contrary to analogy ; for emigration and civihsation 
have not spread in a circle, but from east to west. 
Where, also, could the central point be, from which 
a language could spread over India, Greece, and 
Italy, and yet leave Chaldea, Syria, and Arabia 
untouched ? 

The question, therefore, is still open. There is 
no reason whatever for thinking that the Hindus 
ever inhabited any country but their present one ; 
and as little for denying that they may have done 
so before the earliest trace of their records or 

Assuming them to be a conquering tribe, 
whether foreign or native, the institution of cast, 
and other Hindu peculiarities, may have arisen 
from their situation, without premeditation or 
design. On taking possession of a new settlement, 
the richer or more warlike members of the com- 
munity would continue to confine themselves to 
the profession of arms, while the less eminent 
would betake themselves to agriculture, arts, and 
commerce. As in all rude tribes in the old or new 
world, there would be priests and soothsayers, who 


would pretend to a knowledge of the designs of chap. 

the Supreme Being, and of tlie means of propi- 

tiating him ; but these would at first be individuals 
possessed of more sagacity than their neighbours ; 
and, though they might transmit their art to their 
sons, it would be some time before their number 
and power had so far increased as to enable them 
to confine the sacred character to particular flimi- 
lies. The pride of the mihtary order would prevent 
their degrading their blood by marriages with the 
industrious classes, — a feeling which long operated 
in many European nations as effectually as the 
rules of cast. The priests would not be left be- 
hind in this assumption of superiority, and would 
be borne out by the necessity of preserving the 
purity of a race consecrated to the service of the 
Deity. The conquered people, as in all similar 
cases, would remain a class apart, at first cultivating 
the land for the. use of the conquerors, but after- 
wards converted by the interest or convenience of 
their masters into free tenants. So far, except for 
the separation of the priesthood, the progress of 
society would have been the same with the early 
stages of most nations in ancient times or in the 
middle ages. The first striking difference appears 
in the permanence of the Hindu institutions, 
which were fixed at a certiiin point, and admitted 
of no subsequent alteration or improvement. The 
origin of this stability seems to have lain in the 
union and consequent power of the ])riestho()d, 
when once fijrmed into a separate class, and 

II '2 


BOOK in their close alliance with the secular ruler. 

The Prince's laws came forth with the sanction of 

the Divinity, and perhaps as revelations from 
heaven : they, therefore, admitted of no dispute ; 
and, as they embraced religious as well as moral 
and civil duties, they took a complete control 
over the conduct and consciences of those subject 
to them, and cast the whole into a mould from 
which it could never after vary. To effect their 
purpose, the priests would invent the genealogy of 
casts and other fables calculated to support the 
existing institutions, or to introduce such alter- 
ations as they thought desirable ; and, while they 
raised the power of the chief to the highest pitch, 
they would secure as much influence to their own 
order as could be got without creating jealousy or 
destroying the ascendancy which they derived 
from the public opinion of their austerity and 
virtue. The immediate causes of this powerful 
combination, and the particular means by which it 
was brought about, are beyond our powers of con- 
jecture ; but, if we suppose that the Catholic 
church had been without a separate head at the 
time of its alliance with Charlemagne, and that 
the clergy, retaining their other restrictions, had 
been allowed to marry and bring up their progeny 
in their own profession, it is not difficult to imagine 
a course which would lead to the result which we 
see exemplified in the Hindus. 

It would be some time before the existing 
usages and the occasional regulations of the Prince 


came to be embodied in a code ; and afterwards chap. 

alterations would be silently made to suit the ' 

changes in the progress of society or in the policy 
of the rulers : even new codes incorporating the 
old ones might long be framed without occasioning 
doubts of the Divine autliority for the whole ; but 
at length the text of the code would become 
fixed, and ail subsequent innovations would be 
effected by glosses on the original, or by new laws 
promulgated by the royal authority. 

To all appearance the present code was not 
compiled until long after the community had 
passed the earliest stages of civilisation. 

In makinc: a o-eneral review of the code, we are PecuiiarU 
struck with two peculiarities ni its relation to the to tue Bia- 
Bramins, by whom it seems to have been planned. 
The first is the little importance attached by them 
to the direction of public worship and religious 
ceremonies of all sorts. Considering the rever- 
ence derived by the ministers of religion from 
their apparent mediation between the laity and 
the Divinity, and also the power that might be 
obtained by means of oracles, and other modes of 
deception, it might ratiier have been expected that 
such means of influence should be neglected by 
the })riestliood, in the security arising from long 
possession of temporal authority, than renounced 
in an early code, the main object of which is to 
confirm and increase the power ol'the Bramins. 

The effects of this neglect are also deserving of 
observation. It was natural that the degradation 

11 3 


BOOK of public worship sliould introduce the indifference 
' now so observable in the performance of it ; but it 
is surprising that the regular practice of it by all 
classes should still be kept up at all ; and that, on 
some occasions, as pilgrimages, festivals, &c., it 
should be able to kindle enthusiasm. 

The second peculiarity is the regulation of all 
the actions of life, in a manner as strict and minute 
as could be enforced in a single convent, main- 
tained over so numerous a body of men as the 
Bramins, scattered through an extensive region, 
living with their families like other citizens, and 
subject to no common chief or council, and to no 
form of ecclesiastical government or subordination. 
Various causes contributed to support this disci- 
pline, which, at first, seems to have been left to 
chance, — the superstitious reverence for the Divine 
law, which must in time have been felt even by 
the class whose progenitors invented it ; their strict 
system of early education ; the penances enjoined 
by religion, perhaps enforced bythe aid of the civil 
authority ; the force of habit and public opinion 
after the rules had obtained the sanction of anti- 
quity ; but, above all, the vigilance of the class 
itself, excited by a knowledge of the necessity of 
discipline for the preservation of their power, and 
by that intense feeling of the common interest of 
the class which never, perhaps, was so deeply seated 
as in the heart of a Bramin. 

In spite of these forces, however, the Bramin 
discipline has gradually declined. Their rules have 


been neglected in cases where the temptation was chap. 

strong, or the risk of loss of influence not apparent, .. 

until the diminished sanctity of their character has 
weakened their power, and has thrown a consider- 
able portion of it into the hands of men of other 
classes, who form the great body of the monastic 

II ]■ 





Though the Hindus have preserved their cus- 
toms more entire than any other people with whom 
we are acquainted, and for a period exceeding that 
recorded of any other nation, yet it is not to be 
supposed that changes have not taken place in the 
lapse of twenty-five centuries. 

I shall now attempt to point out those changes ; 
and, although it may not always be possible to dis- 
tinguish such of them as may be of Mahometan 
origin, I shall endeavour to confine my account to 
those features, whether in religion, government, or 
manners, which still characterise the Hindus. 

I shall preserve the same order as in the code, 
and shall commence with the present state of the 




It is, perhaps, in the division and employment chap. 

of the classes that the greatest alterations have 

been made since Menu. changes m 

the four 

Those of Cshetriya and Veisya, perhaps even of g'eat 
Sudra, are alleged by the Bramins to be extinct ; 
a decision which is by no means acquiesced in by 
those immediately concerned. The Rajputs still 
loudly assert the purity of their descent from the 
Cshetriyas, and some of the industrious classes 
claim the same relation to the Veisyas. The 
Bramins, however, have been almost universally 
successful, so far as to exclude the other classes 
from access to the Vedas, and to confine all learn- 
ing human and divine to their own body. 

The Bramins themselves, although they have 
preserved their own lineage undisputed, have, in a 
great measure, departed from the rules and prac- 
tice of their predecessors. In some particulars 
they are more strict than formerly, being denied 
the use of animal food*, and restrained from inter- 

♦ Somo casts of Bramins in Iliiidostan oat certain descrip- 
tions of tiesli that lias been ottered in sacrifice. In sucii cir- 
cumstances rtesh is everywhere lawful food; but, in the Deckan, 
this sort of sacrifice is so rare that probably few Bramins ever 
witnessed it. 


BOOK marriages with the hiferior classes ; but in most 

II. ... 
respects their practice is greatly relaxed. The 

whole of the fourfold division of their life, with 
all the restraints imposed on students, hermits, 
and abstracted devotees, is now laid aside as re- 
gards the community ; though individuals, at their 
choice, may still adopt some one of the modes of 
life which formerly were to be gone through in 
turn by all. 

Bramins now enter into service, and are to be 
found in all trades and professions. The number 
of them supported by charity, according to the 
original system, is quite insignificant in proportion 
to the whole. It is common to see them as hus- 
bandmen, and, still more, as soldiers ; and even of 
those trades which are expressly forbidden to them 
under severe penalties, they only scruple to exer- 
cise the most degraded, and in some places not 
even those.* In the south of India, however, 
their peculiar secular occupations are those con- 
nected with writing and public business. From 
the minister of state down to the village ac- 
countant, the greater number of situations of this 
sort are in their hands, as is all interpretation of 
the Hindu law, a large share of the ministry of 
religion, and many employments (such as farmers 
of the revenue, &c.), where a knowledge of writing 
and of business is required. 

In the parts of Hindostan where the Mogul 

* Ward, vol. i. p. 87. 


system was fully introduced, the use of the Persian chap. 
language has thrown public business into the hands ' 

of Mussulmans and Cayets.* Even in the Nizam's 
territories in the Deckan the same cause has in 
some degree diminished the employment of the 
Bramins ; but still they must be admitted to have 
everywhere a more avowed share in the govern- 
ment than in the time of Menu's code, when one 
Bramin counsellor, together with the judges, made 
the whole of then' portion in the direct enjoyment 
of power. 

It might be expected that this worldly turn of 
their pursuits would deprive the Bramins of some 
part of their religious influence ; and, accordingly, 
it is stated by a very high authority t that (in the 
provinces on the Ganges, at least) they are null as 
a hierarchy, and as a literary body few and little 
countenanced. Even in the direction of the con- 
sciences of families and of individuals they have 
there been supplanted by Gosayens and other 
monastic orders, t 

Yet even in Bengal they appear still to be the 
objects of veneration and of profuse liberality to 
the laity. § The ministry of most temples, and the 
conduct of religious ceremonies, must still remain 
with them ; and in some parts of India no dimi- 

* A ca-^t of Sudras; see page 110. 

f Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. vj). 310, 

t Ibifl. vol. xvii. p. 311. 

§ Ward's Hindoos, vol i. i)p. G8 — 71. 


BOOK nution whatever can be perceived in their spi- 


ritual authority. Such is certainly the case in the 
Maratta country, and would appear to be so like- 
wise in the west of Hindostan.* The temporal 
influence derived from their numbers, affluence, 
and rank, subsists in all parts ; but, even where 
the Bramins have retained their religious authority, 
they have lost much of their popularity. This 
seems to be particularly the case among the Raj- 
puts t, and is still more so among the Marattas, 
who have not forgiven their being supplanted in 
the government of their country by a class whom 
they regard as their inferiors in the military 
qualities, Avhich alone, in their estimation, entitle 
men to command. 
Mixed The two lowest classes that existed in Menu's 


time are now replaced by a great number of casts 
of mixed, and sometimes obscure, descent, who, 
nevertheless, maintain their divisions with greater 
strictness than the ancient classes were accustomed 
to do, neither eating together, nor intermarrying, 
nor partaking in common rites. In the neigh- 
bourhood of Puna, where they are probably not 
particularly numerous, there are about 150 different 
casts, t These casts, in many cases, coincide with 
trades ; the goldsmiths forming one cast, the car- 

* Tod's Rdjasthdn, vol. i. pp.511, 512. 

f Ibid. ; and see also Malcolm's Central India, vol. ii. 
p. 124-. 

X Steele, Summary of the Laws and Customs of Hindoo 
Casts, preface, p. xi. 


})enters another, &c. This is conformable to chap. 

Menu, who assigns to each of the mixed classes 

an hereditary occupation. 

The enforcement of the rules of cast is still 
strict, but capricious. If a person of low cast were 
to step on the space of ground cleared out by one 
of the higher classes for cooking, the owner would 
immediately throw away his untasted meal, even 
if he had not the means of procuring another. 

The loss of cast is faintly described by saying 
that it is civil death. A man not oi?ly cannot 
inherit, nor contract, nor give evidence, but he is 
excluded from all the intercourse of private life, as 
well as from the privileges of a citizen. He must 
not be admitted into his father's house ; his nearest 
relations must not communicate with him ; and he 
is deprived of all the consolations of religion in 
this life, and all hope of happiness in that which 
is to follow. Unless, however, cast be lost for an 
enormous offence, or for long continued breach of 
rules, it can always be regained by expiation ; and 
the means of recovering it must be very easy, for 
the effects of the loss of it are now scarcely ob- 
servable. It occurs, no doubt, and prosecutions 
are not unfrcquent in our courts for unjust ex- 
clusion from cast; but in a long residence in India 
I do not remember ever to have met with or heard 
of an individual placed in the circumstances which 
I have described. 

The greatest change of all is, that tliere no 
longer exists a servile class. There are still pra'- 


BOOK dial slaves in the south of India, and some of the 
' mountain and forest districts elsewhere. These 
may possibly be the remains of the ancient Sudras, 
but in other parts of the country all classes are 
free. Domestic slaves form no exception, being 
individuals of any class reduced by particular cir- 
cumstances to bondage. 

Though scrupulous genealogists dispute the 
existence of pure Sudras at the present day, yet 
many descriptions of people are admitted to be 
such, even by the Bramins. The whole of the 
Marattas, for instance, belong to that class. The 
proper occupation of a Sudra is now thought to 
be agriculture ; but he is not confined to that em- 
ployment, for many are soldiers ; and the Cayets, 
who have been mentioned as rivalling the Bramins 
in business and every thing connected with the 
pen, are (in Bengal, at least) pure Sudras, to whom 
their profession has descended from ancient times.* 
The institution of casts, though it exercises a 
most pernicious influence on the progress of the 
nation, has by no means so great an effect in ob- 
structing the enterprise of individuals as European 
writers are apt to su|)pose. There is, indeed, 
scarcely any part of the world where changes of 
condition are so sudden and so striking as in India. 
The last Peshwa had, at different times, two prime 
ministers : one of them had been either an officia- 
ting priest or a singer in a temple (both degrading 

* Colebrooke, Asiatic Besearches, vol. v. p. 58. 


employments), and the other was a Siidra, and chap. 

originally a running footman. The Raja of Jeipur's 

prime minister was a barber. The founder of the 
reigning family of Holcar was a goatherd ; and that 
of Sindia a menial servant ; and both were Sudras. 
The great family of Rastia, in the Maratta country, 
first followed the natural occupations of Bramins, 
then became great bankers, and, at length, military 
commanders. Many similar instances of elevation 
might be quoted. The changes of professions in 
private life are less observable ; but the first good 
Hindu miniature painter, in the European manner, 
was a blacksmith. 

A new cast may be said to have been introduced Monastic 

■^ , orders. 

by the establishment of the monastic orders. 

The origin of these communities can only be 
touched on as a matter of speculation. 

By the rules of Menu's code, a Bramin in the 
fourth stage of his life, after having passed through 
a period of solitude and mortification as an an- 
choret*, is released from all formal observances, 
and permitted to devote his time to contemplation. 
It is probable that persons so situated might 
assemble for the purpose of religious discussion, 
and that men of su})crior endowments to the rest 
might collect a number of hearers, who would live 
around them without forming any religious com- 
munity. Such, at least, was the progress from 
single monks to ccnobites, among the early Chris- 

* Sec J);ig<! 27. ol' tliis voluiiic. 



BOOK tians. The assemblies of these inquirers might in 
time be attended by disciples, who, though not 
Bramins, were of the classes to whom the study of 
theology was permitted, each, however, Hving inde- 
pendently, according to the practice of his own 
class. This would seem to be the stage to which 
these religious institutions had attained in the time 
of Alexander, though there are passages in the 
early Greek writers from which it might be in- 
ferred that they had advanced still further towards 
the present model of regular monastic orders.* 
Unless that evidence be thought sufficient, we 
have no means of conjecturing at what period 
those assemblages formed themselves into religious 
communities, subject to rules of their own, distinct 
from those of their respective classes. The earliest 
date to which the foundation of any such order 
can be traced in the Hindu books is the eighth cen- 
tury of our sera ; and few of those now in exist- 
ence are older than the fourteen th.t Some orders 
are still composed of Bramins alone, and a few 
among tliem may be regarded as the representatives 
of the original societies adverted to in the last 

* See Appendix III. It appears, in the same place, that 
these assemblies included persons performing the penances 
enjoined to Bramins of the third stage of life (or anchorets), 
who, by the strict rule laid down for them, were bound to live 
in solitude and silence. 

f It may, perhaps, be construed into an indication of the 
existence of such orders in Menu's time, that in Book V. v. 89. 
funeral rites are denied to heretics, ivho loear a dress of religion 
unauthorised hj the Veda. 


page ; but the distinguishing peculiarity of the chap. 

great majority of the orders is, that all distinctions , 

of cast are levelled on admission. Bramins break 
their sacerdotal thread ; and Cshetriyas, Veisyas, 
and Sudras renounce their own class on entering 
an order, and all become equal members of their 
new community. This bold innovation is supposed 
by Professor Wilson to have been adopted about 
the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fif- 
teenth century. 

The Hindu orders do not present tlie same re- 
gular aspect as similar fraternities in Europe, and 
do not so easily furnish marked characteristics to 
distin2:uish them from the rest of mankind or from 
each otiier. Tiiere is not even a general name for 
the class, though that of Gosayen (which, in strict- 
ness, should be confined to one subdivision) is 
usually applied to the whole. They can all be 
recognised by their dress, as all wear some part of 
their clothes (generally the turban and scarf) of a 
dirty orange colour, except a few, who go quite 
naked : all are bound by some vows ; and all ac- 
cept (though all do not solicit) charity. 

These are, jierhaps, tlie only particulars which 
can be asserted of" them all ; but by far tiie greater 
number have many other features in common. An 
order generally derives its character from a parti- 
cular spiritual instructor, wliosc doctrines it main- 
tains, and by whose rules of life the members are 
bound. Many of" these founders of orders have 
been likewise founders of sects; for which reason, 

vol.. f. I 


BOOK tlie tenets of Gosayens are seldom purely orthodox. 
' They vary greatly in numbers, some being con- 
fined to a small knot of votaries in one part of the 
country, and others spread in numbers over all 

Most of them possess convents, to which, in 
some cases, landed property is attached. They 
derive an additional income from the contributions 
of devout persons, from money collected by beg- 
ging, and, in many cases, from trade, which is 
often carried on openly, but more frequently in a 
covert manner. These convents are all under a 
mohant (or abbot) who is generally elected by 
his own community or by the other mohants of 
the order ; but who is sometimes hereditary, and 
often named by his predecessor. Admission into 
an order is not given until after a probation of a 
year or two. The novice is in a manner adopted 
by a particular instructor, or guru, who has often 
several such disciples ; all subject, as well as the 
guru himself, to the head of the convent. One 
order in Bengal admits of males and females living 
in one convent, but under strict vows of chastity. 

Many of the Gosayens who belong to convents 
nevertheless spend much of their lives in wander- 
ing about, and subsist by begging. Other Go- 
sayens lead an entirely erratic life ; in some cases 
still subordinate to mohants, and in others, quite 
independent and free from all rules, except such 
as they impose on themselves. But among these 
last are to be found some of the most austere 


religionists ; those, in particular, who retire to the char 

heart of forests, and live entirely unconnected 

with mankind, exposed to the chance of famine, if 
no charitable person should think of them, and to 
still greater danger from the beasts of prey that 
alone inhabit those wild and solitary tracts.* 

Few of the orders are under very strict vows ; 
and they have no attendance on chapels, general 
fasts, vigils, or other monkish observances. Most 
are bound to celibacy ; but many allow their 
members to marry, and to reside with their famihes 
like laymen. One order, particularly devoted to 
Crishna, in his infant form, hold it to be their 
duty to indulge in costly apparel and choice food, 
and to partake of every description of innocent 
enjoyment ; and these tenets are so far from lower- 
ing their character that their influence with their 
followers is unbounded, and they are amply supplied 
with the means of living according to their liberal 
notions of religious duty. 

Some orders, however, differ widely from these 
last ; such are those of which individuals hold up 
one or both arms until they become fixed in that 
position, and until the nails grow through the 
liands ; those who lie on beds of spikes, who vow 
perpetual silence, and who expose themselves to 
other voluntary mortifications. 

* Mr. Ward on tlic Hindoos, vol. iii. p. ^1-2. ; where he 
states that he was informed, on a spot on Siigar IsUmd, that six 
of these hermits had ))een carri(Mi off by tigers in the preceding 
three months. 

I ^2 


BOOK Some few affect every sort of filth and pollution, 
and extort alms by the disgust which their pre- 
sence creates, or by gashing their limbs with knives. 

Others, as has been said, go naked, and many 
nearly so. Of this description are the Nagas, who 
serve as mercenary soldiers, often to the number of 
several thousands, under their own leaders. 

These people do not profess to take arms for the 
advancement of their religion, but serve any chief 
for hire ; and are, in general, men of violent and 
profligate habits, but with the reputation of despe- 
rate courage. Their naked limbs smeared with 
ashes, their shaggy beards, and their matted hair, 
artificially increased and twisted round the head, 
give a striking appearance to these martial de- 
votees. When not hired, they have been known 
to wander about the country, in large bands, plun- 
dering and levying contributions. In former days 
the British possessions were more than once in- 
vaded by such marauders. 

But these armed monks sometimes assemble in 
great numbers, without being formed into bands or 
associated for military service ; and the meeting of 
large bodies of opposite sects has often led to san- 
guinary conflicts. At the great fair at Hardwar, 
in 1760, an affray, or rather a battle, took place 
between the Nagas of Siva and those of Vishnu, 
in which it was stated, on the spot, that 18,000 
persons were left dead on the field.* The amount 

* Captain Raper, Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 455. 


must, doubtless, have been absurdly exaggerated, cii^ap. 

but it serves to give an idea of the numbers en- 


One description of Gosayens, of the sect of Siva, 
are Yogis (see p. ^29.) ; and attempt, by medita- 
tion, and by holding in the breath, and other mum- 
meries, to procure a union with the Divinity. The 
lowest of this class pretend to work miracles ; and 
some are even professed mountebanks, who go 
about the country with monkeys and musical in- 
struments, and amuse the populace with juggling 
and other tricks of dexterity. Another sort is 
much more remarkable. These profess to be en- 
thusiastic devotees, and practise their imposture, 
not for money, but to increase their reputation for 
sanctity. Among them are persons who manage, 
by some contrivance hitherto unexplained, to re- 
main seated, for many minutes, in the air, at as 
great a distance from the ground as four feet, with 
no other apparent support but what they derive 
from slightly resting on a sort of crutch with the 
back of one hand, the fingers of which arc all the 
time employed in counting their beads.* 

Among the Gosayens there are, or have been, 
some few learned men : many are decent and in- 
offensive religionists, and many respectable mer- 
chants ; but many, also, are shameless and inn)or- 

* The most autliciilic accoiiut of one of flirsc is r|uote(l liy 
Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. p. 18G., from a 
statement by an eye-witness in the Asiatic Montlihj Journal for 
Marcli, 182U. 

I 3 


BOOK tunate besrcrars, and worthless vaojabonds of all 

II »& ' » 

" descriptions, attracted to the order by the idle and 
wandering life which it admits of. In general, the 
followers of Vishnu are the most respectable, and 
those of Siva the most infected by the offensive 
qualities of the class. It is to the credit of the 
good sense of the Hindus that these devotees fall 
off in public esteem exactly in proportion to the 
extravagance and eccentricity of their observances. 
The veneration of some of the Vaishnava sec- 
tarians for their mendicant directors is carried to 
an almost incredible pitch. In Bengal, some of 
them consider their spiritual guide as of superior 
importance, and entitled to greater regard than 
their Deity himself. * 

The want of a common head to the Hindu reli- 
gion accounts for the lax discipline of many orders, 
and the total absence of rules among single Beiragis 
and Yogis, and such lawless assemblages as those 
formed by the military Nagas.t 

* Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. p. 119. The 
above account is chiefly from Professor Wilson's essay in vols, 
xvi. and xvii. of the Asiatic Researches ; with some particulars 
from Ward's Hindoos, and some from the account of theGosayens 
in the Appendix to Steele's Summary. See Appendix, on 
" Changes in Cast." 

f The same laxity prevailed at different periods among the 
Christian orders, and called forth the interference of the popes 
and councils. 

In the early ages of the church the Sarabaites belonged to no 
convent, and were under no rule ; but roamed about the country, 
subsisting by charitj', and often practising every sort of de- 
bauchery : and this licence continued until the middle of the 


The same circumstance has preserved the inde- chap. 

pendence of these orders, and prevented their ' 

falling, like the monks of Europe, under the au- 
thority of the ecclesiastical body ; and to their 
independence is to be ascribed the want of concord 
between them and the sacerdotal class. The rivalry 
tluis engendered miglit have produced more serious 
effects ; but the influence which the Bramins derive 
from their possession of the literature and law of 
their nation lias had an operation on the orders, as 
it has on other Hindus ; and, in recognising the 
code of Menu, and the religious traditions of tlieir 
country, they could not withhold their acknow- 
ledgment of the high station to which the class 
liad raised itself by the authority of those writings. 

ninth century, when all professed monks were compelled to 
enter themselves as members of particular convents. Even 
members of convents sometimes led the same vagabond life, 
until restrained by authority (^Histoire du Cterge Seciilier et 
Regulier, vol. ii. p. 15.; Muratori, 75th Dissertation, vol. iii. 
part 2. pp.80. 94.) New orders multiplied among the Christians 
with as little restraint as among the Hindus, until they were 
prohibited under Innocent III. a. d. 1215. {Muratori, p. 97.) 
Commerce was carried on, even in recent times, to a great 
extent by the Jesuits; and was one of the arguments in favour 
of the suppression of the order. (Ranke, History of the Popes, 
vol. iii. pp.138. 206.) As late as the last century some, even 
of the strictest orders, admitted into their comnmnity a class 
whicli took certain vows, and wore a monastic dress, but were 
allowed to live in the world, and to exercise professions ; even 
married persons were not exclu<led. 

1 4' 



CHAP. 11. 





The modern Hindu government differs from that 
described by Menu, less in consequence of any de- 
liberate alterations, than of a relaxation of the 
systematic form which was recommended by the 
old lawgiver, and which, perhaps, was at no time 
exactly conformed to in the actual practice of any 

The chief has no longer a fixed number of mi- 
nisters and a regular council. He has naturally 
some heads of departments, and occasionally con- 
sults them, and his prime minister, on matters 
affecting the peculiar province of each. 

Traces of all the revenue divisions of Menu *, 
under lords of 10 towns, lords of 100, and lords of 
1000 towns, are still to be found, especially in the 
Deckan ; but the only one which remains entire 
is that called Perganneh, which answers to the 
lordship of 100 towns. Even the officers of the 
old system are still kept up in those divisions, and 
receive a remuneration in lands and fees ; but they 

* As many of the notes on this account of the revenue 
system are long, and not required for a general understanding 
of tiie subject, I have thought it best to place them in an ap- 
pendix, to which reference will be made by letters of the 



are no longer the active agents of the government, chap. 

and are only employed to keep the records of all 

matters connected with land. (A) It is generally 
supposed that these officers fell into disuse after 
the Mahometan conquest ; but as, like every thing 
Hindu, they became hereditary, and liable to divi- 
sion among heirs, the sovereign, Hindu as well as 
Mussulman, must have felt their inadequacy to 
fulfil the objects they were designed for, and the 
necessity of replacing them by officers of his own 
choosing, on whom he could rely. 

At present, even Hindu territories are divided 
into governments of various extent, which are again 
divided and subdivided, as convenience requires. 
The King names the governors of the great divi- 
sions, and the governor chooses his own deputies 
for those subordinate. 

The governor unites all the functions of admi- 
nistration ; there being no longer military divisions 
as in Menu's time ; and no courts of justice, but at 
the capital (if there). 

But among all these changes, the townships re- 
main entire, and are the indestructible atoms, from 
an anrgre^-ate of which the most extensive Indian 
empires are composed. 

A township is a compact piece of land, varying Description 

•11-11 • 1 • ri-ii ofatown- 

m extent, iniiabitcd by a smgle community. liie siiip. 
boundaries are accurately defined and jealously 
guarded. The lands may be of all descriptions ; 
those actually under cultivation and those neglect- 
ed ; arable lands never yet cultivated ; and land 


BOOK which is altogether incapable of cultivation. These 
' lands are divided into portions, the boundaries of 
whicl) are as carefully marked as those of the town- 
sliip ; and the names, qualities, extent, and pro- 
prietors of which are minutely entered in the 
records of the community. The inhabitants are 
all assembled in a village within the limits, which 
in many parts of India is fortified, or protected by 
a little castle or citadel. 
Its privi- Each township conducts its own internal affairs. 


It levies on its members the revenue due to the 
state ; and is collectively responsible for the pay- 
ment of the full amount. It manages its police, 
and is answerable for any property plundered 
within its limits. It administers justice to its own 
members, as far as punishing small offences, and 
deciding disputes in the first instance. It taxes 
itself, to provide funds for its internal expenses ; 
such as repairs of the walls and temple, and 
the cost of public sacrifices and charities, as well 
as of some ceremonies and amusements on fes- 

It is provided with the requisite officers for con- 
ducting all those duties, and with various others 
adapted to the wants of the inhabitants ; and, 
though entirely subject to the general government, 
is in many respects an organised commonwealth, 
complete within itself This independence, and 
its concomitant privileges, though often violated 
by the government, are never denied : tiiey afford 
some little protection against a tyrannical ruler, 


and maintain order within their own limits, even char 
when tlie general government has been dissolved. " 

I quote the following extract from a minute of 
Sir Charles Metcalfe, as well for the force of his 
language as the weight of his authority : — 

" The village communities are little republics, 
having nearly every thing they can want within 
themselves, and almost independent of any foreign 
relations. They seem to last where nothing else 
lasts. Dynasty after dynasty tumbles down ; re- 
volution succeeds to revolution ; Hindoo, Patau, 
Mogul, Mahratta, Sik, English, are all masters in 
turn ; but the village community remains the same. 
In times of trouble they arm and fortify them- 
selves : an hostile army passes through the country : 
the village communities collect their cattle within 
their walls, and let the enemy pass unprovoked. 
If plunder and devastation be directed against 
themselves, and the force employed be irresistible, 
they flee to friendly villages at a distance ; but, 
when the storm has passed over, they return and 
resume their occupations. If a country remain 
for a series of years the scene of continued pillage 
and massacre, so that the villages cannot be inha- 
bited, the scattered villagers nevertheless return 
whenever the power of peaceable possession re- 
vives. A generation may pass away, but the suc- 
ceeding generation will return. The sons will take 
the places of their fathers ; the same nia for the 
village, the same positions for the houses, the same 
lands will be reoccupied by tiie descendants of 


BOOK those who were driven out when the village was 

'. de})0])ii]ated ; and it is not a trifling matter that 

will drive them out, for they will often maintain 
their post through times of disturbance and con- 
vulsion, and acquire strength sufficient to resist 
pillage and oppression with success. This union 
of the village communities, each one forming a 
separate little state in itself, has, I conceive, con- 
tributed more than any other cause to the pre- 
servation of the people of India through all the 
revolutions and changes which they have suffered, 
and is in a high degree conducive to their happiness, 
and to the enjoyment of a great portion of freedom 
and independence."* 
Govern- A towusliip ill its simplcst form is under a 

township Headman (B), who is only spoken of in Menu 
head. as an agent of the King, and may have been 

removable at his pleasure. His office has now 
become hereditary ; and though he is still regarded 
as an officer of the King, he is really more the 
representative of the people. The selection of an 
individual from the proper family rests sometimes 
with the village community, and oftener with the 
government; but to be useful to either he must 
possess the confidence of both. He holds a portion 
of land, and receives an annual allowance from the 
government ; but the greater part of his income is 
derived from fees paid by the villagers. So far is 
he identified with the village, that he is held per- 

* Sir C.T. Metcalfe, Rejjort of Select Commillec of House of 
Cotnmons, 1832, vol. iii. Appendix 84. p, 331. 


sonally responsible for its engagements, and thrown chap. ■ 
into prison in all cases of resistance or failure of ' 

the revenue. 

The headman settles with the government the Duties ot 

. the bead 

sum to be paid to it for the year ; and apportions man. 
the payment among the villagers according to the 
extent and tenures of their lands. He also lets 
such lands as have no fixed occupants, partitions 
the water for irrigation, settles disputes, appre- 
hends oifenders, and sends them to the govern- 
ment officer of the district ; and, in short, does all 
the duties of municipal government. 

All this is done in public, at a place appro- 
priated for the purpose ; and, on all points affect- 
ing the public interest, in free consultation with 
the villagers. In civil disputes the headman is 
assisted by arbitrators named by the parties, or by 
assessors of his own choice. His office confers a 
great deal of respectability with all the country 
people, as well as influence in his own village. It 
is saleable ; but the owner seldom parts with it 
entirely, reserving the right of presiding at certain 
ceremonies and other honorary privileges, when 
compelled to dispose of all the solid advantages. 

The headman is assisted by different officers, of village 

. . establish- 

whom the accountant and the watcinnan are the ment; the 

most important. watchman, 

The accountant (C) keeps the village records, *"" 
which contain a full description of the nature of 
the lands of the village, with the names of the 
former and j)rcsciit hoklers, the rent, and other 


BOOK terms of occupancy. He also keeps the accounts 
"' of tlie village community and those of the villagers 
individually, both with the government and with 
each other. He acts as notary in drawing up 
deeds for them, and writes private letters for those 
who require such a service. He is paid by fees on 
the inhabitants, and sometimes has an allowance or 
an assignment of land from the government. 

The watchman (D)is the guardian of boundaries, 
public and private. He watches the crops, is the 
public guide and messenger, and is, next to the 
headman, the principal officer of police. In this 
capacity he keeps watch at night, observes all 
arrivals and departures, makes himself acquainted 
with the character of every individual in the 
village, and is bound to find out the possessor of 
any stolen property within the township, or to 
trace him till he has passed the boundary, when 
the responsibility is transferred to the next neigh- 

These duties may seem beyond the powers of 
one man ; but the remuneration is hereditary in a 
particular family, all the members of which con- 
tribute to perform the service.* They are always 
men of a low cast. 

* This is the only office in which the sort of joint tenancy 
described is beneficial. In most others the sharers act in turn : 
in that of the accountant the evil is most conspicuous, as the 
records are lost or thrown into confusion by frequently changing 
hands, and none of the coparceners is long enough in office to 
be perfect in his business. 


The money-changer may also be considered an ^^^j^^- 

assistant of the headman, as one of his duties is to 

assay all money paid. He is also the silversmith 
of the village. Besides these, there are other 
village officers, the number of which is fixed by 
the native name and by common opinion at twelve ; 
but, in fact, it varies in different villages, and the 
officers included are not always the same. 

The priest and the astrologer (one of whom is 
often the schoolmaster), the smith, carpenter, 
barber, potter, and worker in leather, are seldom 
wanting The tailor, washerman, physician, mu- 
sician, minstrel, and some others, are not so ge- 
neral : tlie dancing girl seems only to be in the 
south of India. 

The minstrel recites poems and composes verses. 
His most important character (in some places at 
least) is that of genealogist.* Each of these vil- 
lasre officers and artisans has a fee, sometimes in 
money, more frequently a portion of produce, as 
a handful or two out of each measure of grain. 

This is the mode of village government, when Govcm- 

*- . mcnt bv a 

there is nobody between the tenant and the prince ; viiiapcom- 
but in one half of India, especially in the north 
and the extreme south, there is in each village a 
community which represents, or rather which con- 
stitutes, the township ; the other inhabitants being 

* The widely extended entail o\' all property in India, and the 
complicated restrictions on the intermarriage of families, make 
the business of a gcnealof^ist of much more serious concern in 
that country than it is with us. 




Classes of 

their tenants. (E) These people are generally re- 
garded as absolute proprietors of the soil, and are 
admitted wherever they exist to have a hereditable 
and transferable interest in it ; but, as the com- 
pleteness of their proprietary right is doubtful, it 
will be convenient to preserve the ambiguity of 
their native name, and call them " village land- 
holders." (F) 

Where they exist, the village is sometimes go- 
verned by one head, as above described ; but more 
frequently eacli branch of the family composing 
the community (or each family, if there be more 
than one) has its own head, w^ho manages its 
internal affairs, and unites with the heads of the 
other divisions to conduct the general business of 
the village. The council thus composed fills pre- 
cisely the place occupied in other cases by the 
single headman, and its members share among 
them the official remuneration allowed to that 
officer by the government and the villagers. Their 
number depends on that of the divisions, but 
seldom exceeds eight or ten. Each of these heads 
is generally chosen from the oldest branch of his 
division, but is neither richer nor otherwise dis- 
tinguished from the rest of the landholders. 

Where there are village landholders, they form 
the first class of the inhabitants of villages ; but 
there are four other classes of inferior degree : — 
2. Permanent tenants. 3. Temporary tenants. 4. 
Labourers. 5. Shopkeepers, who take up their 
abode in a village for the convenience of a market. 


The popular notion is that the village land- chap. 
holders are all descended from one or more in- ' 

dividuals who first settled the village ; and that viiia,-c 
the only exceptions are formed by persons who crs. 
have derived their rights by purchase, or other- 
wise, from members of the original stock. The 
supposition is confirmed by the fact that, to this 
day, there are often only single families of land- 
holders in small villages, and not many in large 
ones (G) ; but each has branched out into so many 
members, that it is not uncommon for the whole 
agricultural labour to be done by the landholders, 
without the aid either of tenants or labourers. 

The rights of the landholders are theirs col- 
lectively ; and, though they almost always have a 
more or less perfect partition of them, they never 
have an entire separation. A landholder, for in- 
stance, can sell or mortgage his rights ; but he 
must first have the consent of the village, and the 
purchaser steps exactly into his place and takes up 
all his obligations. If a family becomes extinct, 
its share returns to the common stock. 

In some villages the rights of the landholders 
are held in common, the whole working for the 
community, and sharing the net produce, after 
satisfying the claims of the government. In some 
they divide the cultivated lands, but still with 
mutual res])onsibility for the dues of government, 
and sometimes with periodical interchanges of liicir 
portions ; and in others they make the scpaialion 

VOL. I. K 


BOOK between the portions of cultivated land complete, 
' retaining only the waste land and some other rights 
in common ; but, at times, they divide the waste 
land also. In dividing their lands they do not 
in general give one compact portion to each land- 
liolder, but assign to him a share of every descrip- 
tion of soil ; so tliat he has a patch of fertile land 
in one place, one of sterile in another, one of 
grazing ground in a third, and so on, according to 
the variety of qualities to be found within the 
village. (G'J 

Their rights are various in different parts of the 
country. Where their tenure is most perfect, they 
hold their lands subject to the payment of a fixed 
proportion of the produce to government, or free 
of all demand. When at the lowest, they retain 
some honorary exemptions that distinguish them 
from the rest of the villagers. (H) 

There are many instances where the govern- 
ment has taken advantage of the attachment of the 
landholders to their land to lay on them heavier 
imposts than other cultivators are willing to pay. 
Even then, however, some advantage, actual or 
prospective, must still remain ; since there is no 
tract in which village landholders are found in 
which their rights are not occasionally sold and 
mortgaged. One advantage, indeed, they always 
enjoy in the consideration shown towards them 
in the country, which would induce a family to 
connect itself by marriage with a landholder who 
laboured with his own hands, rather than with a 


wealthy person, equally unexceptionable in point chap. 
of cast, but of an inferior class of society. 

So rooted is the notion of property in the village 
landholders, that, even when one of them is com- 
pelled to abandon his fields from the demand of 
government exceeding what they will pay, he is 
still considered as proprietor, his name still re- 
mains on the village register, and, for three ge- 
nerations, or one hundred years, he is entitled to 
reclaim his land, if from any change of circum- 
stances he should be so disposed. 

In the Tamil country and in Hindostan, a tenant 
put in by the government will sometimes volun- 
tarily pay the proprietor's fee to the defaulting and 
dispossessed landholder.* 

In all villages there are two descriptions of Permanent 
tenants, who rent the lands of the village land- 
holders (where there are such), and those of the 
government, where there is no such intermediate 
class. These tenants are commonly called ryots 
(I), and are divided into two classes, — permanent 
and temporary. 

The permanent ryots are those who cultivate 
the lands of the village where they reside, retain 
them during their lives, and transmit them to their 
children. (K) 

They have often been confounded with the vil- 
lage landholders, thoug^li the distinction is marked 

* Mr. Ellis, Report nf Select Committee, 18.'i2, vol. iii. |).37G.; 
Mr. I'ortcscuc, Selections, vol. iii. p. ^O.l. 


BOOK jj^ .^ji cases wliere any proprietor's fee exists. In 
it no tenant ever participates.* 

Many are of o})inion that they are the real 
proprietors of the soil ; while others regard them 
as mere tenants at will. All, however, are agreed 
within certain limits ; all acknowledging, on the 
one hand, that they have some claim to occupancy, 
and on the other, that they have no right to sell 
their land. 

But, though all admit the right of occupancy, 
some contend that it is rendered nugatory by the 
right of the landlord to raise his rent ; and others 
assert that the rent is so far fixed, that it ought 
never to go beyond the rate customary in the sur- 
rounding district. 

The truth probably is, that the tenant's title was 
clear as long as the demand of the state was fixed ; 
but that it became vague and of no value wdien the 
public assessment became arbitrary. At present, 
the permanent tenant is protected by the interest 
of the landlord ; he will pay more than a stranger 
for lands long held by his family, and situated in 
a village where he has a house ; but if driven to 
extremities, he could easily get a temporary lease, 
in another village, on lighter terms. (L) 

It is thought by some that the permanent 
tenants are the remains of village landholders re- 
duced by oppression ; others think they are tem- 

* Mr. Ellis, Report of Select Committee of House of Com- 
mons, 1832, vol, iii. p. 385. 


porary tenants who have gained their rights by chap. 

long possession. It is probable that both conjee- 

tures are partially right ; as well as a third, that 
their tenure was, in many instances, conferred on 
them by the landholders at the first settlement of 
the township. 

The temporary tenant (M) cultivates the lands Temporary 

1-1111 tenants. 

of a village different from that to which he belongs, 
holding them by an annual lease, written or under- 
stood. The first description of land being occu- 
pied by the resident tenant, an inferior class falls 
to his share, for which there is little comj)etition ; 
for this reason, and on account of his other disad- 
vantages, he gets his land at a lower rent than the 
permanent tenant. 

There is another sort of tenant who deserves to 
be mentioned, though of much less importance 
than either of the other two. (N) These are per- 
sons whose cast or condition in life prevents their 
enijaQ-inji' in manual labour, or their women from 
taking part in any employment that requires their 
appearing before men. In consideration of these 
disadvantages, they are allowed to hold land at a 
favourable rate, so as to admit of their availing 
themselves of their skill or capital by the help of 
hired labourers. (O) 

The services and remuneration of hired labourers niud 
are naturally various ; but they differ too little from 
those of other countries to recpiire explanation. 

It need scarcely be rej)eated that each of these 
classes is not necessarily found in every village. 

K 3 


BOOK One village may be cultivated entirely by any one 
' of them, or by all, in every variety of proportion. 
shopkoep- Sliookeepers, &c. are subiect to a around-rent, 

^TS, &C. ^ ! n • , 1 

and sometimes a tax besides, to the person on 
whose land they reside. They are under the 
general authority of the headman as a magistrate, 
but have little else to do with the community. 
Probable j^ sccms hi^'hlv probable that the first villages 

oiitiiii and o ^ i ^ i r» •n 

(leciine of fouudcd by Hindus were all in the hands of village 

the village . . , . n ^ • 

communi- commumtics. In the early stage or their progress 
it was impossible for single men to cut fields out 
of the forest, and to defend them against the attacks 
of the aborigines, or even of wild beasts : there 
was no capital to procure the services of others ; 
and, unless the undertaker had a numerous body 
of kindred, he was obliged to call in associates who 
were to share in the profits of the settlement ; and 
thence came the formation of village communities, 
and the division of the land into townships. 

The unoccupied waste, as in all other cases 
where society has assumed a regular form, must 
no doubt have belonged to the state ; but the 
King, instead of transferring this property to the 
intended cultivators for a price paid once for all, 
or for a fixed annual rent or quit-rent (as is usual 
in other countries), reserved a certain proportion 
of the produce, which increased or diminished 
according to the extent and nature of the cultiva- 
tion. The rest of the produce belonged to the 
community of settlers ; but if they found they had 
more good land than they could themselves till, 


they would endeavour to make a profit of it through chap. 

the labour of others. No method seemed easier ^ 

than to assign it to a person who should engage to 
pay the government's proportion, with an addi- 
tional share to the community ; but while land was 
plenty, and many villages in progress, no man 
would undertake to clear a spot unless he was to 
enjoy it for ever ; and hence permanent tenants 
would arise. Temporary tenants and labourers 
would follow as society advanced. The subdivision 
of property by inheritance would have a natural 
tendency to destroy this state of things, and to 
reduce all ranks to the condition of labourers ; but 
as long as there was plenty of waste land, that 
principle would not come into full operation. 

But for this, the village community would re- 
main unaltered as long as the King's proportion of 
the j)roduce was unchanged. When he raised his 
demand, tlie profits of the landholders and perma- 
nent tenants diminished ; and when it rose above 
a certain point, both classes cultivated their land 
at a loss. If this continued they were obliged to 
throw up their lands, and seek other means of 

As the highest proportion claimed by the King, 
which at the time of Menu's code was one sixtii, 
is now one half, it is easy to account for tiic anni- 
hilation of many village communities, and the 
shattered condition ol' others. The lands aban- 
doned by the landholders reverted to the state. 

But though this progress may have been very 
K 4. 


BOOK general, it need not have been universal ; con- 
' qiiered lands already cultivated would become the 
property of the Prince, and might be cultivated on 
his account by the old proprietors reduced to serfs. 
Even at this day, the state constantly grants lands 
to speculators, for the purpose of founding villages, 
without recognising a body of landholders. The 
terms of these grants are various ; in general, they 
provide for total or partial exemption from revenue 
for a certain number of years ; after which the 
payment is to be the same as in neighbouring vil- 

Other processes must also have taken place, as 
we perceive from the results, though we cannot 
trace their progress. In Canara, Malabar, and 
Travancore, the land is held in absolute property 
by single individuals, subject to a fixed payment 
to the state. 
Public land ^i^Q Sovereign's full share is now reckoned at 

revenue. " 

one half; and a country is reckoned moderately 
assessed where he takes only one third. 

This increase has been made, not so much by 
openly raising the King's proportion of the crop 
as by means of various taxes and cesses, some 
falling directly on the land, and others more or 
less circuitously affecting the cultivator. Of the 
first sort are taxes on ploughs, on cattle, and 
others of the same description : of the second, 
taxes on the use of music at certain ceremonies, 
on marriages with widows, &c., and new taxes on 
consumption. Besides these, there are arbitrary 


cesses of both descriptions, which were professedly chap. 

laid on for temporary purposes, but have been 

rendered permanent in practice. Of this kind are 
a cess on all occupants of land, proportioned to 
their previous payments, and a cess on the emolu- 
ments of village and district functionaries. 

As there is no limit to these demands, but the 
ability of those on whom they fall to satisfy them, 
the only defence of the villagers lies in endeavour- 
ing to conceal their income. For this purpose 
they understate the amount of produce, and con- 
trive to abstract part without the knowledge of 
the collector; more frequently they conceal the 
quantity of land cultivated, falsifying their records, 
so as to render detection impossible, without a 
troublesome and expensive scrutiny, involving a 
survey of the land. The landholders, where there 
are such, possess other indirect advantages, the 
extent of which the government is seldom able 
to ascertain. Some degree of connivance on the 
collector's part is obtained by bribes, which are 
levied as ])art of the internal expenses, and charged 
as "secret service;" an item into which it is a 
point of honour, both with the villagers and with 
future collectors and auditors, never to inquire. 

It is only by tlie existence of such abuses, coun- 
terbalancing those on the part of the government, 
that we can account for land yielding a rent and 
being saleable when ap))arently assessed to the 
utmost of its j)Owers of bearing.* 

* As in tli(,' village (l(Hcril)til liy .Mr. Ilodgsoi) (^Tnoisucliuns 


BOOK In the confusion produced by these irregularities 
' on both sides, the principle of proportions of the 
produce is lost sight of; and in most parts of 
India tlie revenue is annually settled by a refer- 
ence to that paid in former years, with such alter- 
ations as the pecuHarity of the season, or the 
occurrence of any temporary advantage or calamity, 
may render expedient. 

When the parties cannot agree by this mode of 
settlement, they liave recourse to a particular in- 
quiry into the absoUite ability of the village for 
the year. The land being classed (as has been 
mentioned) according to its fertility, and the faci- 
lities it possesses for cultivation, the surplus re- 
maining after the expense of production can be 
conjectured : a sufficient proportion is set aside for 
the maintenance of the cultivator; and the rest, 
after deducting village expenses, &c., goes to the 
government. As a final resource, when all other 
amicable means fail, an appeal is made to an 
actual division of the crops ; but this mode of 
adjustment is so open to frauds that it is generally 
avoided by both parties ; except, indeed, in places 
where long connection between the representative 
of the government and the people has established 

of the Boyal Asiatic Society, vol. ii. p. 77.)' where the land- 
holders pay 57^ per cent, of their produce. See also Mr. Chaplin 
and the Deckan collectors, and ^Ir. Elphinstoue for Guzerat, 
both in the selections published by the East India Company ; 
Mr. Hamilton Buchanan for Deinajpur and other districts 
under Bengal, in his separate reports. 


mutual confidence, in which case the division of chap. 
the crop is the most popular of all settlements. 

If the result of the contest with the government 
officers is the imposition of a burden beyond the 
patience of the cultivators, the whole body by 
common consent abandon their lands, leave their 
village, and refuse to enter into any engagement 
M'ith the government. The public officers then 
have recourse to conciliation and intimidation, 
and when necessary, to concession : force would 
be reckoned very oppressive, and, if used, would 
be ineffectual : the most it could do would be to 
disperse the villagers, and drive them into other 

It may easily be supposed that such modes of 
settlement cannot be carried on without much 
interference with the internal constitution of the 
township. In general the government officer car- 
ries on his exactions through the headman, but 
interferes when necessary to support him against 
individuals ; but he sometimes suspends the head- 
man from his duties, and takes the details of im- 
posing and collecting the public revenue for the 
time into his own hands. Appeals and complaints 
are also incited to afford pretences for extortion in 
matters connected with justice and police ; so that 
under a bad government the ])rivileges of the 
townships are often reduced to insignificance. 

All these evils are aggravated in many parts of 
India by the system of farming the revenue. The 
governments of provinces in such cases are con- 


BOOK ferred on the person who engages to give security 

for the largest annual payment to tlie treasury. 

This contractor in like manner farms his subdivi- 
sions to the highest bidder ; and these last, in their 
turn, contract with the headmen for fixed payments 
from the villages, leaving each of them to make 
what profit he can for himself. By these means 
the natural defender of the cultivators becomes 
himself their principal oppressor ; and, if the 
headman refuses the terms offered to him, the case 
is made worse by the transfer of his office to any 
stranger who is willing to accept the contract. 

It is by such exactions that village landholders 
have in many cases been reduced from masters of 
the township to mere tenants of the crowm ; and 
in some have been obliged to fly from their lands, 
to avoid being compelled to cultivate them under 
terms which it was impossible for them to bear. 

Hitherto each sharer in the village has been 
supposed to be acting on his own rights ; but the 
King and the landholders are each entitled to 
alienate their share in the advantages derived from 
it. The headman and accountant also, if not 
others of the village functionaries, can sell their 
offices and official emoluments. Thus a new de- 
scription of persons is introduced into the town- 
ship ; but the new comers occupy precisely the 
station of their predecessors. The grantee of the 
King's share becomes entitled to receive his pro- 
})ortion of the produce, but does not supersede 
the headman in his local duties, still less interfere 


with private occupants ; the new landholder takes chap. 

up all the relations of the old ; and the headman, 

accountant, kc, must henceforth be taken from the 
new family, but his functions undergo no change. 

The purposes of the King's alienations will be 
explained a little further on. 

This account of the different occupants of the Property 

ill the soil. 

land naturally leads to the much agitated ques- 
tion of the property in the soil ; whicli some sup- 
pose to be vested in the state ; some, in the great 
Zemindars ; some, in the village landholders ; and 
some, in the tenants. 

The claim of the great Zemindars will be shown, 
in its proper place, to be derived from one of the 
remaining three ; among whom, therefore, the dis- 
cussion is confined. 

Property in land seems to consist in the exclu- 
sive use and absolute dis})osal of the powers of the 
soil in perpetuity ; together with the right to alter 
or destroy the soil itself, where such an operation 
is possible. These privileges, combined, form the 
abstract idea of property ; which does not repre- 
sent anv substance distinct from these elements. 
Where t/ie^ are found united, there is property, 
and nowhere else. Now the King possesses the 
exclusive right to a proportion only of the produce. 
This right is permanent, and the King can dispose 
of it at his ])leasure ; but he cannot interfere with 
the soil or its j)roduce beyond this limit. If he 
requires the land for buildings, roads, or other 
public purposes, he takes it as magistrate, and 


BOOK ought to give compensation to his fellow share- 

holders, as he can on emergency seize carts, boats, 

&c., and can demolish houses in besieged towns, 
although in those cases he has no pretensions what- 
ever to property. 

As much of the produce as comes into the hands 
of the landholder, after the King's proportion is 
provided, is his ; and his power to dispose of his 
right to it for all future years is unrestrained. The 
tenant has what remains of the produce after the 
King's proportion and the landlord's rent is paid ; 
and this he enjoys in perpetuity ; but the right is 
confined to himself and his heirs, and cannot be 
otherwise disposed of. 

Neither the landholder nor the tenant can de- 
stroy, or even suspend, the use of the powers of 
the soil : a tenant forfeits his land when he fails 
to provide a crop from which the other sharers 
may take their proportions ; and a landholder 
guilty of the same default would be temporarily 
superseded by a tenant of the community's or the 
King's, and, after a certain long period, would be 
deprived of his right altogether. 

From all this it is apparent that, where there 
are village communities and permanent tenants, 
there is no perfect property in any of the sharers. 
Where there are neither communities nor per- 
manent tenants, the King doubtless is the full and 
complete proprietor ; all subsequent rights are 
derived from his grant or lease. The extent of 
those grants varies with circumstances ; but when 


they are given without reserve and in perpetuity, chap. 

they constitute a perfect form of private property. 

Many of the disputes about tlie property in the 
soil have been occasioned by applying to all parts 
of the country, facts which are only true of par- 
ticular tracts ; and by including, in conclusions 
drawn from one sort of tenure, other tenures totally 
dissimilar in their nature. Many also are caused 
by the assumption, that where the government 
attends to no rights, no rights are now in being. 
Yet those rights are asserted by the sufferers, and 
not denied by those who violate them ; and often, 
in favourable circumstances, recover their former 
efficiency. Practically, the question is not in whom 
the property resides, but what proportion of the 
produce is due to each party ; and this can only 
be settled by local inquiries, not by general rules 
founded on a supposed proprietary right, nor even 
on ancient laws long since forgotten. 

The Kind's share in the produce of all land, and other 

'-' '■ n ^ brandies of 

his rent on such as belongs to the crown, form by the Kind's 
far the greatest i)art of the public revenue. Ihe 
rest is derived from various sources : of these, 
some are drawn from the land, as the cesses and 
taxes above alluded to ; and others from classes 
unconnected with agriculture ; as taxes on shops 
and trades, and houses in towns, or on articles of 
consumption, market duties, transit duties on the 
great roads, sea customs, and a few others. Most 
of them, especially the transit duties, are fertile 
sources of o})pression and vexation, and yield little 






clear })rofit in return for so much evil. These 
revenues are generally collected by the village and 
other local authorities ; but some of them, espe- 
cially transit duties and customs, are often farmed 
to separate contractors. 

It has been mentioned that the King can alienate 
his share in a village. In like manner he often 
alienates large portions of territory, including nu- 
merous villages as well as tracts of unappropriated 
waste. But in all these cases it is only his own 
rights that he makes over : those of the village 
landholders and permanent tenants (where such 
exist), of district and village officers, and of per- 
sons holding by previous grants from himself or his 
predecessors, remaining unaffected by the transfer."* 
These grants are made for the payment of troops 
and civil officers, for the support of temples, the 
maintenance of holy men, or for rewards of public 
service. Lands given for the two first purposes 
are called Jagirs, This mode of remunerating the 
services of certain officers, and of providing for 
holy men, is as old as Menu. When it came to be 
applied to troops is uncertain. It w^as in use in 
Bijayanagar, and other states of the south of India, 
when they were overturned by the Mussulmans ; 
but the more perfect form in which it is now found 

* Want of advertence to this circumstance has led to mis- 
takes regarding the property in the soil. The native expression 
being " to grant a village," or " a district," it has been inferred 
that the grant implied tlie wliole, and excluded tlie notion of 
any other pi-oprietors. 


among the Marattas is probably of modern date. chap. 

Such grants originate in the convenience of giving 

an assimiment on a district near the station of the ^^"^''^ , 

•-^ alienated 

troops, instead of an order on the general treasury 5 for military 

in r> ' 11*^ service. 

a mode of transfer particularly adapted to a coimtry 
\vhere the revenue is paid in kind. 

These assignments at first were for specific sums 
equal to the pay due ; but when they had long 
been continued, and were large enough to swallow 
up the whole revenue of a district, it was natural 
to simplify the arrangement, by transferring the 
collection to the chief of the military body. This 
was done with every precaution to prevent the 
chiefs appropriating more than the pay of the 
troops, or exercising any power not usually vested 
in other collectors. The system adopted by the 
Marattas gives a full illustration of the means re- 
sorted to for this purpose. 

According to their plan, the number and de- 
scription of troops to be maintained by each chief 
was prescribed ; the pay of each division carefully 
calculated ; allowances made for officers, sometimes 
even to the extent of naming individuals ; a sum 
was allotted for the personal expenses of the chief 
himself J and every particuhu* regarding the terms 
of service, the mode of mustering, and other ar- 
rangements, was laid down. A portion of territory 
was then selected, of which tiie share belonging to 
government should be sufficient, after deducting 
the expenses of collection and other charges, to 

VOL. I. L 


BOOK sLipjily the amount which had been shown to be 
' requisite ; and the whole territory yielding that 
amount v;as made over to the chief. The chief 
was now placed in the situation of the governor of 
a revenue division, and exercised all the other func- 
tions which are now united in the holder of that 

The power to interfere for the protection of 
subordinate rights was, however, retained by the 
government, as well as a claim to any revenue 
which the tract assigned might yield beyond the 
amount for which it was granted. Those stipu- 
lations were enforced by the appointment of two 
or more civil officers, directly from the government, 
to inspect the whole of the chief's proceedings, as 
well in managing his troops as his lands. 

Notwithstanding all these precautions, the usual 
consequences of such grants did not fail to appear. 
The lands had from the first a tendency to become 
hereditary ; and the control of the government 
always grew weaker in proportion to the time that 
had elapsed from the first assignment. The ori- 
ginal principle of the grant, however, was never 
lost sight of, and the necessity of observing its con- 
ditions was never denied. 

These grants aflPected but a moderate proportion 
of the territory of the state ; the rest of which 
was administered by local officers directly mider 
the prince, according to the form laid down in 
Menu. The allotment of lands was adopted as a 
means of paying the troops, and not of governing 


the country ; so that, although there were fiefs, chap, 
there was no feudal system. 

But, though this was the progress of landed as- 
signments in settled countries, they took another 
course in the case of foreign conquests. In some 
instances a chief was detached by the invaders, to 
occupy a remote part of the country, and to sub- 
sist his troops on its resources ; and was allowed 
to remain undisturbed until his family had taken 
root, and had become tenants on condition of ser- 
vice instead of mere officers on detachment. Ex- 
amples of this nature may be found among the 
Hindu governments in the south of India, and in 
abundance and perfection among the Marattas ol 
later times. 

Even in these cases of foreign conquest, how- 
ever, the intermediate tenure is the exception, and 
not the rule ; the main portion of the territory 
remaining under the direct administration of the 

But a course of proceeding yet remains, which 
carries the principle of alienation to a greater 
extent, and leads to a system which (with every 
caution in applying familiar names to remote in- 
stitutions) it is impossible not to caW feudal. 

It is that which prevails among the Rajputs. Lands fi,r 
With them, the founder of a state, after reserving "ervic"^ 
a demesne for himself, divided the rest of the ="\'""r"'^' 


country among his relations, according to the 
Hindu laws of partition. The chief to whom 
each share was assigned owed military service and 

L 2 


BOOK general obedience to the prince, but exercised 
' unlimited authority within his own lands. He, in 
his turn, divided his lands on similar terms among 
his relations, and a chain of vassal chiefs was thus 
estabhshed, to whom the civil government as well 
as the military force of the country was com- 
mitted. (P) 

This plan differs from the feudal system in 
Europe, as being founded on the principle of 
family partition, and not on that of securing the 
services of great military leaders ; but it may 
not always have originated in conquest, and when 
it did, the clannish connection which subsists be- 
tween the members of a Rajput tribe makes it 
probable that command among the invaders de- 
pended also on descent ; and that the same kins- 
men who sliared the chief's acquisitions had been 
the leaders of the tribe before the conquest by 
which they were gained. 

The origin of present possession in family claims 
is still alive in the memory of the Rajput chiefs, 
who view the prince as their coparcener in one 
point of view, though their sovereign in another. 
Tliis mixed relation is well shown by the follow- 
ing passage, in a complaint from certain chiefs of 
Marwar against the Raja : — " When our services 
are acceptable," say they, " then he is our lord : 
when not, we are again his brothers and kindred, 
claimants and laying claim to the land." * 

• Colonel Tod, vol. i. p. 198. Rajasthan. 


The rule of partition was adhered to after the chap. 

conquest, and each chief, m succession, was obhged 

to provide an appanage for the younger mem- 
bers of his father's family. A\'hen any of those 
claimants remained inadequately provided for, he 
was assisted to set out on military adventures, 
and to found new states, by conquests in other 
countries. (Q) 

The example of granting lands, which was set in 
the case of the Raja's fiimily, came to be extended 
to strangers : many fiefs are now held by Rajputs 
of entirely distinct tribes * ; and one of the first 
order seems, in later times, to have been bestowed 
on a Mussulman. t (R) 

From the accounts given by the Mahometans 
of the state of Sind, during their early invasion in 
A. D.7II, it seems not improbable that the species 
of feudal system preserved among the modern 
Rajputs was then widely extended, t 

Lands for services not military, besides those Eamisfor 

. . services not 

already noticed to local omcers, are, to m misters military. 
and other persons engaged in the administration ; 
and also to great officers of the household, and 
licrcditary personal attendants. 

Other alienations are, to temples or religious })er- held 

■, n • , free of 

sons, or to meritorious servants and to favourites, service. 
Though very numerous, they are generally of small 
extent: often single villages; sometimes only ])ar- 

• * Colonel Tofl, vol. i. j). 1G(). 
t III 1770. Colonel Toil, vol. i. \).'1()0. 
X See Book V. Clia)). I. 

L 3 




tial assignments on tlie government share of a vil- 
lage ; but, in some cases, also, especially religious 
grants, they form very large estates. Religious 
grants are always in perpetuity, and are seldom 
interfered with. A large proportion of the grants 
to individuals are also in perpetuity, and are re- 
garded as among the most secure forms of private 
property ; but the gradual increase of such in- 
stances of liberality, combined with the frequency 
of forged deeds of gift, sometimes induces the 
ruler to resume the grants of his predecessors, and, 
more frequently, to burden them with heavy taxes. 
When these are laid on transfers by sale, or even 
by succession, they are not thought unjust; but 
total resumptions, or the permanent levy of a fixed 
rate, is regarded as oppressive. The reaction must 
have begun long ago ; for the ancient inscriptions 
often contain imprecations on any of the descend- 
ants of the granter who shall resume his gift. 
It is probable that in all times there were heads 
dependent of hill aud forest tribes who remained independent 
of the Hindu monarchies, since even the more 
vigorous governments of the Moguls and the 
British have not always been able to reduce such 
chiefs to subjection. There were certainly others 
who, though they acknowledged a sovereign, and 
paid him a real or nominal tribute, or fiu'nished a 
regular quota of troops, or merely gave general 
assistance, yet retained the internal administration 
of their country, yielding different degrees of obe- 
dience according to circumstances. 

and other 


The number of these lialf subdued cliieftains chap. 
was from time to time increased on tlie breaking ' 

up of different Hindu states, when some of the 
governors of districts and the military feudatories 
were able to hold out against the conqueror, and 
to maintain themselves in different degrees of in- 
dependence. Others of the same classes, and, still 
more, persons who farmed the public revenue, con- 
trived to keep their stations by rendering them- 
selves useful to the ruling power ; and, without the 
least pretensions to independence, were admitted 
to have a sort of hereditary right or interest in 
their districts, as long as they administered them 
satisfactorily, and })aid the revenue demanded by 
the government. 

It is these three descriptionsof persons, together Zemindai 
with others who have risen under the Mahometans, 
that form the great class known in English contro- 
versy by the name of Zemindars *, whose rights 
have been discussed with so much heat and con- 

* The Persian word zenilii-dar, means haver, holder, or keeper 
of the laud, but by no means necessarily implies ownership ; the 
termination ddr being applied to a jjcrsou in any charge, down 
to the meanest ; as khezdneh-ddr, treasurer ; hdlo-dcir, governor 
of a fort; choh-ddr, mace-bearer; db-ddr, water cooler, &c. 
It is said by Mr. Stirling {Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 239.) 
that, until Aurangzllj's time, the term zemindar was confined 
to such chiefs as enjoyed some degree of independence. In 
modern times it is uot limited to that class; fur in tlii' D(!ckan 
it is most gen(;rally ap]>lied by the natives to \\w district officers 
(desmuks, &c.): and in our provinces iu Ilindostan to the 
village landholders. 

L 1' 


BOOK fusion, and who will aejain be noticed as the re- 

II. . . . . 
quisilc occasions arise. 

War. Til e art of war is greatly changed. At the time 

of the Mahometan invasions from Ghazni, tlic 
Hindus were capable of systematic pkms, pursued 
through several campaigns, and no longer confined 
to inroads of a few weeks' duration. The use of 
ordnance afterwards made another great alteration ; 
and the introduction of regular battalions entirely 
changed the face of war. Setting aside that Eu- 
ropean improvement, their discipline, so far as 
relates to order of march and battle, is worse than 
that described in Menu ; but they now show a 
skill in the choice of ground, an activity in the 
employment of light troops, and a judgment in 
securing their own supplies and cutting off those 
of the enemy, of which there is no sign in the long 
instructions laid down in the code. 

The spirit of generosity and mercy which per- 
vades the old laws of war is no longer to be found ; 
but war in India is still carried on with more 
humanity tiian in other Asiatic countries ; and 
more so by the Hindus than the Mahometans. 

The longer duration of their campaigns renders 
the military part of their life much more marked 
than it was formerly. Some of the Maratta chiefs, 
in particular, have lived entirely in the field, and 
had no other capital but their camp. From this 
circumstance, the numbers assembled are out of all 
proportion to the fighting men ; and, when they 
move, they form a disorderly crowd, spread over 


the country for ten or twelve miles in length, and chap. 

one or two in breadth, besides parties scattered to 

the right and left for forage or plunder. 

The main body is, in some places, dense, and 
in others rare, composed of elephants and camels, 
horse and foot, carts, palankeens, and bullock- 
carriages, loaded oxen, porters, women, children, 
droves of cattle, goats, sheep, and asses, all in the 
greatest conceivable disorder, and all enveloped in 
a thick cloud of dust that rises high into the atmo- 
sphere, and may be seen for miles. 

Where there are regular infantry, they march in 
a body, or, at least, by regiments ; and the guns 
form a long line, occasioning continual obstruc- 
tions from the badness of the roads or the breaking 
down of carriages. The rest of the troops straggle 
among; the bag-gaofe. Two tall standards, accom- 
panied by kettle-drums (all, perhaps, on elephants), 
represent a body which ought to be from 500 to 
5000 horse, but are followed by from 5 to 50. The 
other horsemen belonging to them are riding singly 
or in groups, each, perhaps, with his spear poised 
on his shoulder, to the imminent danger of those 
who press behind, while the owner is joking with 
his companion, or singing in a voice that may be 
heard amidst the surrounding din. 

The whole is generally so loosely spread that a 
horseman might go at a full trot from the rear to 
the head of the column, and have way made for 
him as he advanced, excej)t at passes of ravines, or 


BOOK narrow parts of the road, where he and everybody 
' else must often suffer most tedious delay. 

Partial halts occasionally take place towards the 
front, when the quarter-master general is nego- 
tiating with a village how much it is to give him 
not to encamp on its lands ; and, towards the rear, 
as individuals wish to smoke, or to take other rest 
or refreshment. 

Now and then a deer or a wild boar runs through 
the line : shouts and commotion precede and follow 
his course ; sticks are thrown, shots are fired, and 
men spur through the crowd, without much thought 
of the risk of life or limb to themselves or others. 

AVith all this want of order, its good intelligence 
and numbers of light troops prevent a native army 
from being surprised on the line of march. 

It would be difficult, in our wars, to find an in- 
stance even of the baggage of a native army being 
cut off, unless when fairly run down by a suc- 
cession of hard marches. On the contrary, these 
apparently unwieldy masses liave often gained great 
advantages from the secrecy and celerity of their 
movements. Heider, Tippoo, and the Marattas 
frequently overwhelmed separate detachments by 
attacking them when believed to be in some dis- 
tant quarter ; and as often have they slipped 
through difficult passes, and I'avaged the country 
in the rear of our general, when he thought he 
was driving them before him towards their own 

When they reach their ground, things are ar- 


ranged better than would be expected in such a chap. 

scene of confusion. Conspicuous flags are pitched, 

which mark the place allotted to each chief or each 
department ; and every man knows what part of 
his own line belongs to liim. 

The camp, when pitched, is a mixture of regu- 
larity and disorder. The bazars are long and re- 
gular streets, with shops of all descriptions, as in a 
city. The guns and disciphned infantry are in lines, 
and the rest scattered about, without any visible re- 
gard to arrangement. The tents are mostly white 
but often striped with red, green, or blue, and some- 
times wholly of those colours. 

Those of the poor are low, and of black woollen, 
sometimes merely a blanket of that description 
thrown over three spears stuck in the ground; 
though the owners of spears are seldom so ill 

The tents of the great are splendid : they are 
disposed in courts formed of canvass screens ; and 
some are large and lofty, for j)ublic receptions ; 
while others are low, and of moderate size, with 
quilted, and sometimes double walls, that secure 
privacy, while they exclude the dust and wind. 

They are coimected by covered passages, and 
contain every accommodation that woidd be met 
with in a palace. A Maratta court, indeed, a})- 
pears to much greater advantage in their camps 
than in their cities. Yet, with all this magnifi- 
cence, there is some of their usual carelessness and 
indifference to making anything complete : these 



^^^^ canvass palaces are often so ill pitched that they are 

quite incapable of resisting the tempests of par- 

ticLilar seasons. Sindia's whole suite of tents have 
been known to be levelled with the ground at mid- 
night, and his women obliged to seek shelter from 
the wind and rain in some low private tent that 
happened to have resisted the finy of the elements. 

The intended proceedings for the next day are 
announced by fakirs or gosayens, who go about the 
camp proclaiming a halt, or the hour and direction 
of the movement ; and who stop on the march to 
beg, exactly at the point where the welcome sight 
of the flags of the proposed encampment disposes all 
to be liberal. 

The armies are fed by large bodies of Banjaras, 
a tribe whose business it is to be carriers of grain, 
and who bring it from distant countries and sell it 
wholesale to the dealers. 

Smaller dealers go about to villages at a moderate 
distance from the camp and buy from the in- 
habitants. The government interferes very little, 
and native camps are almost always well supplied. 

The villages in the neighbourhood of the camp 
are sure to be plundered, unless protected by safe- 
p'uards. The inhabitants fly with such property as 
they can carry, the rest is pillaged, and the doors 
and rafters pulled down for firewood : treasure is 
dug for if the place is large ; and, even in small 
villages, people try if the ground sounds hollow, in 
hopes of finding tlie pits in which grain is buried ; 
or bore with iron rods, such as are used by our 


surveyors, and ascertain, by the smell, whether the chap. 

rod has passed through grain. A system like this 

soon reduces a country to a desert. In a tract 
often traversed by armies the villages are in ruins 
and deserted ; and bushes of diiferent ages, scat- 
tered over the open country, show that cultivated 
fields are rapidly changing into jungle. The large 
towns are filled with fugitives from the country ; 
and their neighbourhood is generally well cul- 
tivated, being secured by means of compositions 
with the passing armies. 

The most important part of the Hindu battles is, 
now, a cannonade. In this they greatly excel, and 
have occasioned heavy loss to us in all our battles 
with them ; but the most characteristic mode of 
fighting (besides skirmishing, which is a favourite 
sort of warfare) is a general charge of cavalry, which 
soon brinc's the battle to a crisis. 

Nothing can be more magnificent than this sort 
of charge. Even the slow advance of such a sea 
of horsemen has something in it more than usually 
impressive ; and, when they move on at speed, the 
thunder of the ground, the flashing of their arms, 
the brandishing of their spears, the agitation of 
their banners rushing through the wind, and the 
rapid approach of such a countless multitude, pro- 
duce sensations of grandeur which the imagination 
cannot surpass. 

Their mode is to charge the front and the flanks 
at once ; and the manner in whicli they perform 
this manoeuvre has sometimes ealletl forth the ad- 



BOOK miration of European antagonists, and is certainly 
surprising in an undisciplined body. The whole 
appear to be coming on at full speed towards their 
adversary's front, when, suddenly, those selected for 
the duty, at once wheel inwards, bring their spears 
by one motion to the side nearest the enemy, and 
are in upon his flank before their intention is sus- 

These charges, though grand, are ineffectual 
against regular troops, unless they catch them in 
a moment of confusion, or when tliey have been 
thinned by the fire of cannon. 

Horse are often maintained (as before men- 
tioned) by assignments of the rent or revenue 
belonging to government, in particular tracts of 
country, but oftener by payments from the treasury, 
either to military leaders, at so much a horseman 
(besides personal pay, and pay of subordinate offi- 
cers), or to single horsemen, who, in such cases, 
are generally fine men, well mounted, and who 
expect more than ordinary pay. Some bodies are 
mounted on horses belonging to the government; 
and these, although the men are of lower rank than 
the others, are the most obedient and efficient part 
of the army. 

The best foot now-a-days are mercenaries, men 
from the Jamna and Ganges, and likewise Arabs 
and Sindians ; especially Arabs, who are incom- 
parably superior to most other Asiatics in courage, 
discipline, and fidelity. 

Their own way of carrying on sieges is, probably, 


little improved since Menu : individuals creep near chap. 
the wall, and cover themselves by digging, till they _______ 

can crouch in safety, and watch for an opportunity 
to pick off some of the garrison ; batteries are gra- 
dually raised, and a shot fired from time to time, 
whicli makes little imperssion on the works : a 
blockade, a surprise, or an unsuccessful sally, more 
frequently ends the siege than a regular assault. 

The modern system of government and policy Policy. 
will appear in so many shapes hereafter, that it is 
quite unnecessary to enter on the subject in this 




BOOK The code of Menu is still the basis of the Hindu 

jurisprudence ; and tiie principal features remain 

Changes in onaltcrcd to the present day. 

the written ^ '' 

la^^- The various works of other inspired writers, how- 

ever, and the numerous commentaries by persons 
of less authority, together with the additions ren- 
dered necessary by the course of time, have intro- 
duced many changes into the written law, and have 
led to the formation of several schools, the various 
opinions of which are followed respectively in 
different parts of India. 

In all of these Menu is the text-book, but is re- 
ceived according to the interpretations and modi- 
fications of approved commentators ; and the great 
body of law thus formed has again been reduced 
to digests, each of authority within the limits of 
particular schools. 

Bengal has a separate school of her own ; and, 
although the other parts of India agree in their 
general opinions, they are still distinguished into 
at least four schools : those of Mithila (North Be- 
har) ; Benares ; Maharashtra (the Maratta country) ; 
and Dravida (the south of the Peninsula). 

All of these schools concur in abolishing mar- 


riages between unequal casts ; as well as the prac- chat. 

tice of raising up issue to deceased brothers, and 

all the species of sons mentioned in Menu, except 
a son of the body and one by adoption. Most of 
them, however, admit a species of adoption un- 
known to Menu, which is made by a widow in 
behalf of her deceased husband, in consequence of 
real or supposed instructions imparted by liim 
during his life. Some schools give the power to 
the widow independent of all authorisation by the 

All the schools go still further than Menu in 
securing to sons the equal division of their family 
property. Most of them prevent the father's 
ahenating ancestral property without the consent 
of his sons, and without leaving a suitable mainten- 
ance for each of them ; all prohibit arbitrary divi- 
sion of ancestral property, and greatly discourage 
it even when the property has been acquired by 
the distributor himself The Dravida school jxives 
to the sons exactly the same rights as to the father, 
in regard to the disposal of all his property, and 
puts them on a complete equality with him, except 
in the present enjoyment.* 

All, except Bengal, in certain cases, still with- 
hold the power of making a will. 

The law now goes much more into particulars 
on all subjects than in Menu's time. Land is 
often mentioned under a variety of forms, and some 

* Mr. ICllis, Trfnisdfiiaiis {if Madras I/itcraii/ Sac/c/i/, ]). I 1. 
VOL. I. M 


BOOK of the relations between landlord and tenant are 
' fixed. 

Attornies or pleaders are allowed : rules of 
pleading are prescribed, which are spoken of with 
high praise by Sir William Jones.* 

Different modes of arbitration are provided ; and, 
although many of the rudest parts of the old fabric 
remain, yet the law bears clear marks of its more 
recent date, in the greater experience it evinces 
in the modes of proceeding, and in the signs of a 
more complicated society than existed in the time 
of the first code. 

The improvements, however, in the written law 
bear no proportion to the excellence of the original 
sketch ; and the existing code of the Hindus has 
no longer that superiority to those of other Asiatic 
nations which, in its early stage, it was entitled to 
claim over all its contemporaries. 
Changes in Many great changes have been silently wrought 
prac ice. ^j^i^Qut auy alteration in the letter of the law. The 
eight modes of marriage, for instance, are still per- 
mitted ; but only one (that most conformable to 
reason and to the practice of other nations) is ever 
adopted in fact. 
Criminal Thc Criminal law, also, which still subsists in all 

its original deformity, has (probably for that very- 
reason) fallen into desuetude, and has been replaced 
by a sort of customary law, or by arbitrary will. 
The regular administration of justice by perma- 

* Colebrooke's Digest, preface, p. xii. 


nent courts, which is provided for in Menu, and of •^^^jj^- 

which the tribunals, with their several powers, are . 

recorded by later writers *, is hardly observed by any 
Hindu government. The place of those tribunals 
is in part taken by commissions appointed in a 
summary way by the prince, generally granted 
from motives of court favour, and often composed 
of persons suited to the object of the protecting 
courtier. In part, the courts are replaced by 
bodies of arbitrators, called Panchayets, who some- 
times act under the authority of the government, 
and sometimes settle disputes by the mere consent 
of the parties. The efficiency of these tribunals is 
in some measure kept up, notwithstanding the 
neglect of the government, by the power given by 
Menu to a creditor over his debtor, which still sub- 
sists, and affords a motive to the person withhold- 
ing payment to consent to an inquiry into the 

On the whole, there cannot be the least doubt 
that civil justice is much worse administered in 
Hindu states at the present time than it was in the 
earliest of which we have any certain knowledge. 

Besides rules of Menu which have been altered Local laws. 
in later times, many local customs are now observ- 
able, of which no notice is taken in the Institutes. 

Most of tliese are unimportant; but some relate 
to matters of the first consequence, and are pro- 
bably remains of tlie laws wliicli j)revailed in the 

• See Mr. Colebrooke on IliiHlu (Courts of Justice, Trans- 
actions of Tidijal Asiatic Soc/rfi/, vol. ii. p. IGG. 

M 'J 


BOOK nations where they are now in force before the 
" introduction of Menu's code, or of the authority 
of the Bramins. Perhaps tlie most remarkable in- 
stance of this sort is to be found among the Nairs 
of Malabar, where a married woman is legally per- 
mitted to have unrestrained intercourse with all 
men of equal or superior cast ; and where, from 
the uncertainty of the issue thus produced, a man's 
heirs are always his sister's sons, and not his 

* Dr. F.Buchanan's Journey through the Mysore, &c. vol. ii. 
p.411, 412. 




The principal changes in religion since Menu chap. 

are — 

The ne2:lect of the principle of monotheism : ^''^"ses 

oil ^ sinccMcnu. 

The neglect of some gods, and the introduction 
of others : 

The worship of deified mortals : 

The introduction (or at least the great increase) 
of sects, and the attempt to exalt individual gods 
at the expense of the others : 

The doctrine that faith in a particular god is 
more efficacious than contemplation, ceremonial 
observance, or good works : 

The use of a new ritual instead of the Vedas ; 
and the religious ascendancy acquired by the mo- 
nastic orders. 

The nature of these changes will appear in an 
account of the Hindu religion as it now stands, 
which is essential to an understanding of the ordi- 
nary transactions of tlie people. 

There is, indeed, no country where religion is 
so constantly brought before the eye as in India. 
Every town has temi)les of all descriptions, from 
a shrine, which barely holds the idol, to a pagoda 
with lofty tow(;rs, and spacious courts, and colon- 

M .'3 


BOOK nades. To all these votaries are constantly repair- 
■ ing, to hang the image with garlands, and to pre- 

sent it with fruits and flowers. The banks of the 
river, or artificial sheet of water (for there is no 
town that is not built on one or other), has often 
noble flights of steps leading down to the water, 
which are covered, in the early part of the day, 
with persons performing their ablutions, and going 
through their devotions, as they stand in the stream. 
In the day, the attention is drawn by the song, or 
by the graceful figures and flowing drapery of 
groups of women, as they bear their oflferings to a 

Parties of Bramins and others pass on similar 
occasions ; and frequently numerous processions 
move on, with drums and music, to perform the 
ceremony of some particular holiday. They carry 
with them images borne aloft on stages, represent- 
ations of temples, chariots, and other objects, which, 
though of cheap and flimsy materials, are made 
with skill and taste, and present a gay and glitter- 
ing appearance. 

At a distance from towns, temples are always 
found in inhabited places ; and frequently rise 
among the trees on the banks of rivers, in the 
heart of deep groves, or on the summits of hills. 
Even in the wildest forests, a stone covered with 
Vermillion, with a garland hung on a tree above it, 
or a small flag fastened among the branches, ap- 
prises the traveller of the sanctity of the spot. 

Troops of pilgrims and religious mendicants are 


often met on the road ; the mendicants distin- chap. 

guished by the dress of their order, and the 

pilgrims by bearing some symbol of the god to 
whose shrine they are going, and shouting out his 
name or watchword whenever they meet with 
other passengers. The numerous festivals through- 
out the year are celebrated by the native princes 
with great pomp and expense ; they afford occasions 
of display to the rich, and lead to some little show 
and festivity even among the lower orders. 

But the frequent meetings, on days sacred to 
particular gods, are chiefly intended for the 
humbler class, who crowd to them with delight, 
even from distant quarters. 

Tiiough the religion presented in so many 
striking forms does not enter, in reality, into all 
the scenes to which it gives rise, yet it still exer- 
cises a prodigious influence over the people ; and 
has little, if at all, declined in that respect, since 
the first period of its institution. 

The objects of adoration, however, are no longer 
the same. 

The theism inculcated by the Vedas as the true 
faith, in which all other forms were included, has 
been su])j)lanted by a system of gross polytheism 
and idolatry ; and, though nowhere entirely for- 
gotten, is never steadily thought of, except by 
pliiloso))hcrs and divines. 

The followers of the Vedas, though they ascended 
beyond the early worshi)) of the elements and the 
powers of nature to a knowledge of the real cha- 

M 4 


BOOK racier of the Divinity, and though anxious to 
. ditHise their own doctrines, did not disturb tlie 

popular belief ; but, actuated either by their charac- 
teristic res2)ect for immemorial usage, or, perhaps, 
by a regard for the interests of the priesthood (from 
which the most enlightened Bramin seems never 
to liave been free), they permitted the worship of 
the established gods to continue, representing them 
as so many forms or symbols of the real Divinity, 
At the same time, they erected no temple and 
addressed no worship to the true God. The con- 
sequence was such as was to be expected from the 
weakness of human nature : the obvious and pal- 
pable parts of their rehgion prevailed over the 
more abstruse and more sublime : the ancient 
polytheism kept its ground, and was further cor- 
rupted by the introduction of deified heroes, who 
have, in their turn, superseded the deities from 
whom they were supposed to derive their divinity. 
The Pii- The scriptiu'es of this new religion are the Pu- 

ranas, of which there are eighteen, all alleged by 
their followers to be the works of Vyasa, the com- 
piler of the Vedas ; but, in reality, composed by 
different authors between the eighth and sixteenth 
centuries, although, in many places, from materials 
of much more ancient date. They contain tlieo- 
gonies ; accounts of the creation ; philosophical 
speculations ; instructions for religious ceremonies; 
genealogies ; fragments of history ; and innumer- 
able legends relating to the actions of gods, heroes, 
and sages. Most are written to support the doc- 



trines of particular sects, and all are corrupted by chai'. 

sectarian fables ; so that they do not form a con- 

sistent whole, and were never intended to be com- 
bined into one general system of belief. Yet they 
are all received as incontrovertible authority ; and, 
as they are the sources from which the present 
Hindu religion is drawn, we cannot be surprised 
to find it full of contradictions and anomalies. 

The Hindus, as has been said, are still aware of r'^scnt 

' objects of 

the existence of a Supreme Being, from whom all woisiiip. 
others derive their existence, or, rather, of whose 
substance they are composed ; for, according to 
the modern belief, the universe and the Deity are 
one and the same. But their devotion is directed 
to a variety of gods and goddesses, of whom it is 
impossible to fix the number. Some accounts, 
with the usual Hindu extravagance, make the 
deities amount to 330,000,000 ; but most of these 
are ministering angels in the different heavens, or 
other spirits who have no individual name or cha- 
racter, and who are counted by the million. 

The following seventeen, however, are the })rin- 
cipal ones, and, perhaps, the only ones universally 
recognised as exercising distinct and divine func- 
tions, and therefore entitled to worship * : — 

1. Brahma, the creating principle; 

2. Vishnu, the preserving principle; 

3. Siva, the destroying principle ; 

With tlic'ir corresponding female divinities, who 

* K(;mic<ly's Ucscarclics into the Iliiiduo Mytliolugj', i>. ;J57. 


BOOK are mythologically regarded as their wives, but, 

— nictapliysically, as the active powers which develope 

the principle represented by each member of the 
triad ; namely, — 

4. Sereswati. 

5. Lakshmi. 

6. Parvati, called also Devi, Bhavani, or Durga. 

7. Indra, god of the air and of the heavens. 

8. Varuna, god of the waters. 

9. Pavana, god of the wind. 

10. Agni, god of fire. 

11. Yama, god of the infernal regions and judge 
of the dead. 

12. Cuvera, god of wealth. 

13. Cartikeia, god of war. 

14. Cama, god of love. 

15. Surya, the sun. 

16. Soma, the moon. 

17. Gunesa, who is the remover of difficulties, 
and, as such, presides over the entrances to all 
edifices, and is invoked at the commencement of 
all undertakings. 

To these may be added the planets, and many 
sacred rivers, especially the Ganges, which is per- 
sonified as a female divinity, and honoured with 
every sort of worship and reverence. 

The three first of these gods, Brahma, Vishnu, 
and Siva, form the celebrated Hindu triad, whose 
separate characters are sufficiently apparent, but 
whose supposed unity may perhaps be resolved 
into the general maxim of orthodox Hindus, that 


all the deities are only various forms of one Su- chap. 

■^ IV. 
preme Being.* 

Brahma, thougli he seems once to have had 
some degree of pre-eminence, and is the only one 
of the three mentioned by Meniit, was never 
much worshipped, and has now but one temple in 
India \ : though invoked in the daily service, his 
separate worship is almost entirely neglected. § 

His consort, Sereswati, being goddess of learning 
and eloquence, has not fallen so completely out of 

It is far different with Vishnu and Siva. They 
and their incarnations now attract almost all the 
religious veneration of the Hindus ; the relative 
importance of each is eagerly supported by nu- 
merous votaries ; and there are heterodox sects of 
great extent which maintain the supreme divinity 
of each, to the entire exclusion of his rival. 

Siva is thus described in the Puranas. || *' He sha. 
wanders about, surrounded by ghosts and goblins, 
inebriated, naked, and with dishevelled hair, co- 
vered with the aslies of a funeral pile, ornamented 
with human skulls and bones, sometimes laughing 
and sometimes crying." The usual pictures of 

* Kennedy's Researches, p. 211. Colebrookc, Asiatic lie- 
searches, vol. vii. p. 279. 

-f- Kennedy's Researches, p. 270. 

\ Tod's llajastlian, vol. i. p. 774. 

§ Ward on the Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 2G. 

II Quoted in Kennedys Jiescarc/ies, p. 291. 


i?o()K liim correspond with these gloomy descriptions, 
' witli the addition that he has three eyes, and bears 
a trident in one of his hands ; his hair is coiled up 
like that of a religious mendicant ; and he is repre- 
sented seated in an attitude of profound thought. 
This last particular corresponds with the legends 
relating to him, which describe him as always ab- 
sorbed in meditation, and as consuming with the 
fire of his eye those who dare to disturb him in his 
state of abstraction. But although these accounts 
accord so well with his character of destroyer, the 
only emblem under which he is ever worshipped is 
intended to mark that destruction as only another 
name for regeneration. 

It is meant for the same symbol of the creative 
principle that was employed by the ancients ; but 
is, in fact, a low cylinder of stone, which occupies 
the place of an image in all the temples sacred to 
Siva, and which suggests no suspicion of its original 
import. Bloody sacrifices are performed to Siva, 
though discouraged by the Bramins of his sect ; 
and it is in honour of him, or of his consort, 
that so many self-infllicted tortures are incurred on 
certain days in every year. On those occasions, 
some stab their limbs and pierce their tongues 
with knives, and walk in procession with swords, 
arrows, and even living serpents thrust through the 
wounds ; while others are raised into the air by 
a hook fixed in the flesh of their backs, and are 
whirled round by a moveable lever, at a height 


which would make tlieir destruction inevitable, if chap. 
the skin were to give way.* 

The nature of Siva's occupations does not indi- 
cate much attention to the affairs of mankind ; and, 
according to the present Hindu system, there is no 
god particularly charged with the government of the 
world ; the Supreme Being, out of whose substance 
it is formed, taking no concern in its affairs : but 
tlie opinion of the vulgar is more rational than that 
of their teachers ; they mix up the idea of the 
Supreme Being with that of the deity who is the 
particular object of their adoration, and su})pose 
him to watch over the actions of men, and to re- 
ward the good and punish the wicked both in this 
world and in the next. 

The heaven of Siva is in the midst of the eternal 
snows and glaciers of Keilas, one of the higliest 
and deepest groups of the stupendous summits of 

His consort, Devi or Bhavani, is at least as Dtvior 


much an object of adoration as Siva; and is repre- 
sented in still more terrible colours. Even in the 
milder forms in which she is generally seen in the 
south of India, she is a beautiful woman, riding on 
a tiger, but in a fierce and menacing attitude, as if 
advancing to the destruction of one of the giants, 
against whom her incarnations were assumed. But 
in another form, occasionally used every where, 

* Ward's Hindoos, vol. iii. p. l/;. ; and Bisliop I Icbcr's Journal, 
vol. i. p. 77. 


BOOK and seemingly the favourite one in Bengal, she is 
— — ^ represented with a black skin, and a hideous and 
terrible countenance, streaming with blood, en- 
circled with snakes, hung round with skulls and 
human heads, and in all respects resembling a fury 
rather than a goddess. Her rites in those coun- 
tries correspond with this character. Human sa- 
crifices were formerly offered to her*; and she 
is still supposed to delight in the carnage that is 
carried on before her altars. At her temple, near 
Calcutta, 1000 goats, besides other animals, are 
said to be sacrificed every month,! At Binda- 
bashni, where the extremity of the Vindya hills 
approaches the Ganges, it used to be the boast of 
the priest that the blood before her image was 
never allowed to dry. 

In other respects the worship of Devi does not dif- 
fer much from that of the other gods ; but it some- 
times assumes a form that has brought suspicion or 
disgrace on the whole of the Hindu religion. I al- 
lude to the secret orgies, which have often been 
dwelt on by the missionaries, and the existence of 
which no one has ever attempted to deny. On those 
occasions, one sect of the worshippers of Devi, 
chiefly Bramins (but not always, for with this sect 
all cast is abolished), meet in parties of both sexes, 
to feast on flesh and spirituous liquors, and to in- 
dulge in the grossest debauchery. All this is ren- 

* Mr. Blaquiere, Asiatic Hesearches, vol. v. p. 371. 
f Ward's Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 126. 


dered doubly odious by being performed with some ^^^^,^- 

semblance of the ceremonies of religion ; but it is 

probably of rare occurrence, and is all done with 
the utmost secrecy; the sect by which it is to- 
lerated is scarcely ever avowed, and is looked on 
wdth horror and contempt by all the orthodox 
Hindus. Besides these votaries of Devi, and en- 
tirely unconnected with her worship, there are 
some few among the varieties of religious mendi- 
cants who consider themselves above all law, and 
at liberty to indulge their passions without incurring 
sin. These add to the ill repute of the religion of 
the Hindus ; and it is undeniable, that a strain of 
licentiousness and sensuality mixes occasionally 
with every part of their mythology ; but it is con- 
fined to books and songs, and to temples and 
festivals, which do not flill under every one's ob- 
servation. A stranger might live among them for 
years, and frequent their rehgious ceremonies and 
private companies, without seeing any thing inde- 
cent ; and their notions of decorum, in the inter- 
course of persons of different sexes, is carried to a 
pitch of strictness which goes beyond wliat is con- 
sistent with reason or with European notions. 

To return to the gods of the Hindus : Vishnu visinui mui 
is represented as a comely and placid young man, nations. 
of a dark azure colour, and dressed like a king of 
ancient days. He is painted also in the forms of 
his ten ])rincij)al incarnations, which I may mention 
to illustrate the genius of Hindu fiction. 

The first was that of a lish, to recover the Vcdas, 


iu)OK which had been carried away by a demon in a de- 
' hige ; another was that of a boar, who raised on 
his tusks the world, which had sunk to the bottom 
of the ocean ; and another was a tortoise, that sup- 
ported a mountain in one of the most famous 
legends. The fourth had rather more of human 
interest. An infidel tyrant was about to put his 
son to death for his faith in Vishnu. In his last 
interview, he asked him, in derision of the omni- 
})resence of his favourite divinity, whether he was 
in that pillar, pointing to one of those that su})- 
ported the hall. The son answered that he was ; 
and the incensed father was about to order his 
execution, when Vishnu, in the shape of a man, 
with the head and paws of a lion, burst from the 
pillar and tore him to pieces. The fifth was, when 
a king, by force of sacrifices and austerities, had 
acquired such a power over the gods that they 
were compelled to surrender to him the earth and 
sea, and were waiting in dread till the conclusion 
of his last sacrifice should put him in possession of 
tlie heavens. On this occasion Vishnu presented 
himself as a Bramin dwarf, and begged for as much 
ground as he could step over in three paces : the 
Raja granted his request, with a smile at his dimi- 
nutive stature ; when Vishnu at the first step strode 
over the earth ; at the second, over the ocean ; and 
no space being left for the third, he released the 
Raja from his promise, on condition of his de- 
scending to the infernal regions. The sixth in- 
carnation is Paris Ram, a Bramin hero, who made 


war on the Cshetriya, or military class, and extirpated chap. 

the whole race. The seventh was Rama. The 

eighth was Balla Rama, a hero who delivered the 
earth from giants. The ninth was Bndha, a teacher 
of a false religion, whose form Vishnu assumed for 
the purpose of deluding the enemies of the gods : 
a character which plainly points to the religion of 
Budha, so well known as the rival of that of the 
Bramins. The tenth is still to come. But all liis 
other forms are thrown into the shade by the in- 
carnations of Rama and Crishna, who have not only 
eclipsed their parent Vishnu, in Hindostan at least, 
but have superseded the worship of the old element- 
ary gods, and indeed of all other gods, except Siva, 
Surya, and Ganesa.* Rama, thus identified with Rama. 
Vishnu by the superstition of his admirers, was a 
king of Oud, and is almost the only person men- 
tioned in the Hindu traditions whose actions have 
something of an historical character. He is said to 
have been at first excluded from his paternal king- 
dom, and to have passed many years in religious 
retirement in a forest. His queen, Sita, was 
carried off by the giant Ravana ; for her sake he 
led an army into the Deckan, penetrated to the 
island of Ceylon, of which Ravana was king, and 
recovered Sita, after a complete victory over her 
ravisher. In that expedition his allies were an 
army of monkeys, under the command of Hunman, 

* Colebrooko, Asiatic Tlcscurches^ vol. vii. |). 2S0. ; Wilson, 
Iliid. vol. xvi. jip. 4. '2.0. 

vol.. I. N 


BOOK whose figure is frequently seen in temples, and 
' who, indeed, is at least as much worshipped in the 
Deckan as Rama or any of the other gods. Rama's 
end, however, was unfortunate ; for, having, by 
his imprudence, caused the death of his brother 
Lachmen, who had shared with him in all his 
dangers and successes, he threw liimself, in de- 
spair, into a river, and, as the Hindus say, was re- 
united to the Divinity. He still, however, retains 
his individual existence, as is shown by the separate 
worship so generally paid to him. Rama is repre- 
sented in his natural form, and is an object of 
CrKhna. general adoration. But in this respect he fldls far 
short of the popularity of another deified mortal, 
who is not included in ten great incarnations, and 
whose pretensions are by no means so obvious 
either as a king or a conqueror. He was born of the 
royal family of Mattra, on the Jamna ; but brought 
up by a herdsman in the neighbourhood, who con- 
cealed him from a tyrant who sought his life.* 
This is the period which has made most impression 
on the Hindus, who are never tired of celebrating 
Crishna's frolics and exploits as a child — his steal- 
ing milk, and his destroying serpents ; and among 
whom there is an extensive sect which worships 
him under his infant form, as the supreme creator 
and ruler of the universe. Crishna excites equal 
enthusiasm, especially among his female worship- 
pers, in his youth, which he spent among the 
gopis, or milkmaids, dancing, sporting, and playing 

* Tod's Rajasthiin, vol. i. p. 533. 


on the pipe ; and captivated the hearts, not only chap. 

of his rural companions, but of the princesses of 

Hindostan, who had witnessed his beauty.* 

As he advanced in years he achieved innumer- 
able adventures, and, among the rest, subdued the 
tyrant, and recovered his inheritance ; but, being 
pressed by foreign enemies, he removed his resi- 
dence to Dwarii<a, in Guzerat.t He afterwards 
appeared as an ally of the family of Pandu, in 
their w-ar with their relations the Curust, for the 
sovereignty of Hastinapur ; a place supposed to be 
north-east of Delhi, and about forty miles from the 
point where the Ganges enters Hindostan. 

This war forms the subject of the great Hindu 
lieroic poem, the " Maha Bharat," of which Crishna 
is, in fact, the hero. It ended in the success of the 
Pandus, and in the return of Crishna to his capital 
in Guzerat. His end also was unfortunate ; for he 
was soon involved in civil discord, and at last was 
slain by the arrow of a hunter, who shot at him by 
mistake, in a thicket. § 

Crishna is the greatest favourite with the Hindus 

* See Sir W. Jones, Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 259. ; and 
the translation by the same elegant scholar of the song of Jaya 
Deva, which, in his hands, affords a pleasing specimen of Hindu 
pastoral poetry. Ibid. vol. iii. j). 185. 

f Alj.stract of the "Mahit Bharat," in Ward's Hindoos, vol. iii. 
|). 148.; Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 101.; 
Colonel VVilford, Ibid. vol. vi. p. 508. 

I Ward, vol. iii. j). 14-8. 

§ Tod, on the uiitliority of a Hindu history, Rajnslhdn, 
vol. i. p. 50. 

N 2 


BOOK of all tlieir divinities. Of the sectaries who revere 
' Vishnu, to the exclusion of the other gods, one 
sect almost confine their worship to Rama ; but, 
though composed of an important class, as includ- 
ing many of the ascetics, and some of the boldest 
speculators in religious inquiry, its numbers and 
popularity bear no proportion to another division 
of the Vaishnava sect, which is attached to the 
worship of Crishna. 

This comprises all the opulent and luxurious, 
almost all the women, and a very large proportion 
of all ranks of the Indian society.* 

The greater part of these votaries of Crishna 
maintain that he is not an incarnation of Vishnu, 
but Vishnu himself, and likewise the eternal and 
self-existing creator of the universe, t 

These are the principal manifestations of Vishnu ; 
but his incarnations or emanations, even as acknow- 
ledged in books, are innumerable ; and they are 
still more swelled by others in v/hich he is made to 
appear under the form of some local saint or hero, 
wjiom his followers have been disposed to deify. 

The same liberty is taken with other gods : Can- 
doba, the great local divinity of the Marattas, (re- 
presented as an armed horseman,) is an incar- 
nation of Sivat ; and the family of Bramins at 
Chinchor, near Puna, in one of whose members 

* Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. pp. 85, 86. 

t Ibid. p. 86, &c. 

:}; Mr. Coat's Bombay Transactions, vol. iii. p. 198. 


godhead is hereditary, derive their title from an chap. 
incarnation or emanation of Ganesa. * .^ , 

Even villages have their local deities, which are 
often emanations of Siva or Vishnu, or of the 
corresponding goddesses. Bat all these incar- 
nations are insignificant, when compared to the 
great ones of Vishnu, and above all to Rama and 

The wife of Vishnu is Lakshmi. She has no 
temples ; but, being goddess of abundance and of 
fortune, she continues to be assiduously courted, 
and is not likely to fall into neglect. 

Of the remaining gods, Ganesa and Siuya (the othergods. 
sun) are the most generally honoured. 

They both have votaries who prefer them to all 
other gods, and both have temples and regular 
worship. Ganesa, indeed, has probably more tem- 
ples in the Deckan than any other god except 
Siva. Surya is represented in a chariot, with his 
head surrounded by rays. 

Ganesa, or Ganpatti, is a figure of a fat man, 
with an elephant's head. 

None of the remaining nine of tlie gods enume- 
rated have temples, though most of them seem to 
have had them in former times.! Some have an 
annual festival, on wiiich their image is made and 
worsliipped, antl next day is thrown into a stream ; 

* Colebrpoke, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 282. ; Cajjlain 
Moore, Ibid. p. 381. 

f Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. j). 20. 

N 3 

182 HISTORY or india. 


BOOK others are only noticed in prayers.* Indra, in 
])articular, seems to have formerly occupied a 
much more distinguished place in popular respect 
than he now enjoys. He is called the Ruler of 
Heaven and the King of Gods, and was fixed on 
by an eminent orientalist as the Jupiter of the 
Hindus t ; yet is now but seldom noticed. 

Cama, also, the god of love, has undergone a 
similar fate. He is the most pleasing of the Hindu 
divinities, and most conformable to European ideas 
of his nature. Endowed with perpetual youth and 
surpassing beauty, he exerts his sway over both 
sods and men. Brahma, Vishnu, and even the 
gloomy Siva, have been wounded by his flowery 
bow and his arrows tipped with blossoms. His 
temples and groves make a distinguished figure in 
the tales, poems, and dramas of antiquity t; but he 
now shares in neglect and disregard with the other 
nine, except Yama, whose character of judge of 
the dead makes him still an object of respect and 

Each of these gods has his separate heaven, and 
his peculiar attendants. All are mansions of bhss 
of immense extent, and all glittering with gold 
and jewels. 

That of Indra is the most fully described ; and, 
besides the usual profusion of golden palaces 
adorned with precious stones, is filled with streams, 

* Ward's Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 28, &c. 

\ Sir W. Jones, Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 241. 

X Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. p. 20. 



groves, and gardens, blooms with an infinity of ^^^^>^- 

flowers, and is perfumed by a celestial tree, which 

grows in the centre, and fills the whole space with 
its fragrance. 

It is illumined by a light far more brilUant than 
that of the sun ; and is thronged with Apsaras 
and Gandarvas (heavenly nymphs and choristers). 
Angels of many kinds minister to the inhabitants, 
who are unceasingly entertained with songs and 
dances, music, and every species of enjoyment. 

Besides the angels and good genii that inhabit Good and 

° . , . bad spirits. 

tlie different heavens, there are various descrip- 
tions of spirits spread through the rest of the 

The Asuras are the kindred of the gods, dis- 
inherited and cast into darkness, but long struggling 
against their rivals ; and bearing a strong resem- 
blance to the Titans of the Grecian mythology. 

The Deityas are another species of demon, 
strong enough to have mustered armies and carried 
on war with the gods.* 

The Rakshasas are also gigantic and mahgnant 
beings ; and the Pisachas are of the same nature, 
thougli perliaps inferior in power. Bhutas are 
evil spirits of tlie lowest order, corresponding to 
our ghosts and other gobhns of the nursery ; but 
in India believed in by all ranks and ages. 

A most extensive body of divinities is still to Local gods 
be noticed ; although they are not individually 

• Sec in particular the legend oi Jlialaiidara, Kennedy's Itc- 
searchcsy p. 4-5G. 

N 1- 



BOOK acknowledixed except in confined districts, and 

11. . . 
. iiltlioLigh the legality of their worship is sometimes 

denied by the 13ramins. These are the village 
gods, of which each village adores two or three, 
as its especial guardians ; but sometimes as its 
dreaded persecutors and tormentors. They bear 
some resemblance to the penates or lares of the 
Romans ; and, like them, they are sometimes the 
'ecognised gods of the whole nation (either in 
their generally received characters, or in local in- 
carnations) ; but much oftener they are the spirits 
of deceased persons, who have attracted the notice 
of the neighbourhood. 

They have seldom temples or images, but are 
worshipped under the form of a heap of earth. 

It is possible that some of them may be ancient 
gods of the Sudras, who have survived the esta- 
blishment of the Bramin religion.* 

Such is the outline of the religion of the Hindus. 
To give a conception of its details, it would be 
necessary to relate some of the innumerable le- 
gends of which their mythology is composed, — 
the churning of the ocean by the gods and asuras, 
for the purpose of procuring the nectar of immor- 
tality, and the subsequent stratagem by which the 

character of 
the Hindu 

* Dr. Hamilton Buchanan paid much attention to this sub- 
ject in his survey of certain districts in Bengal and Behar. He 
found the village gods were generally spirits of men of the 
place who had died violent deaths ; often of Bramins who had 
killed themselves to resist or revenge an injury. — ^ISS. at the 
India House, published in part by Mr. Montgomery Martin. 


gods defrauded their coadjutors of the prize ob- chap. 
tamed ; the descent of the Ganges from heaven ' 

on the invocation of a saint ; its falling with 
violence on the head of Siva, wandering for years 
amidst his matted locks, and tumbling at last in a 
mighty stream upon the earth witii all its train of 
fishes, snakes, turtles, and crocodiles ; the produc- 
tion of Ganesa, without a flither, by the intense 
wishes of Devi ; his temporary slaughter by Siva, who 
cut off his head and afterwards replaced it with that 
of an elephant, the first that came to hand in the 
emergency; — such narratives, with the quarrels of 
the gods, their occasional loves and jealousies; their 
wars with men and demons ; their defeats, flights, 
and captivity ; their penances and austerities for the 
accomplishment of their wishes ; their speaking 
weapons ; the numerous forms they have assumed, 
and the delusions with which they have deceived 
the senses of those whom they wished to injure ; 
— all this would be necessary to show fully the 
religious opinions of India ; but would occupy a 
space for which the value of the matter would be 
a very inadccpiate compensation. 

It may be sufficient to observe, that the ge- 
neral character of these legends is extravagance 
and incongruity. The Greek gods were formed 
like men, with greatly increased powers and facul- 
ties, and acted as men would do if so circum- 
stanced ; but with a dignity and energy suited to 
their nearer approach to })erfection. The Hindu 
gods, on the other IkurI, tiiough endued witli 


HOOK liiiman passions, have always something monstrous 
' in tlieir appearance, and wild and capricious in 
their conduct. They are of various colours — red, 
yellow, and blue ; some have twelve heads, and 
most have four hands. They are often enraged 
without a cause, and reconciled without a motive. 
The same deity is sometimes powerful enough to 
destroy his enemies with a glance, or to subdue 
them with a wish ; and at other times is obliged 
to assemble numerous armies to accomplish his 
purpose, and is very near failing after all.* 

The powers of the three great gods are coequal 
and unlimited ; yet are exercised with so little 
harmony, that, in one of their disputes, Siva cuts 
oft' one of Brahma's heads. t Neither is there any 
regular subordination of the other gods to the 
three, or to each other. Indra, who is called the 
King of Heaven and has been compared to Ju- 
piter, has no authority over any of the rest. These 
and more incongruities arise, in part, from the 
desire of different sects to extol their favourite 
deity ; but, as the Puranas are all of authority, 
it is impossible to separate legends founded on 
those writings from the general belief of all classes. 
With all this there is something in the gigantic 
scale of the Hindu gods, the original character of 
their sentiments and actions, and the peculiar 
forms in which they are clothed, and splendour 

* Story of Shiva and Jhalandara, Kennedi/s ResearcJies, p. 456. 
f Kennedy's Researches, p. 295. ; and Wilson, Asiatic Re- 
searches, vol. xvi. p. 4. note. 


with which they are surrounded, that does not fail <^hap. 
to make an impression on the imagination. 

The most singular anomaly in the Hindu re- 
ligion is the power of sacrifices and religious 
austerities. Througli them a religious ascetic can 
inflict the severest calamities, even on a deity, by 
his curse ; and the most wicked and most impious 
of mankind may acquire such an ascendancy over 
the gods as to render them the passive instru- 
ments of his ambition, and even to force them to 
submit their heavens and themselves to his sove- 
reignty. Indra, on being cursed by a Bramin, 
was hurled from his own heaven, and compelled 
to animate the body of a cat.* Even Yama, the 
terrible judge of the dead, is said, in a legend, 
to have been cursed for an act done in that capa- 
city, and obliged to undergo a transmigration into 
the person of a slave. t 

The danger of all the gods from the sacrifices 
of one king has appeared in the fifth incarnation 
of Vishnu ; another king actually conquered the 
tln-ee worlds, and forced the gods, except the 
three chief ones, to fly and to conceal themselves 
under the shapes of different animals t ; while a 
third went still further, and compelled the gods to 
worship him.§ 

These are a few out of numerous instances of 
a similar nature ; all, doubtless, hivented to show 

* Ward, v(»l. iii. p. f}l. t Il)icl. p. .'^S. 

X Kennedy's Rcseurcliehi, p. '.iGH. § Ward, vol. iii. i). 7-3. 


BOOK tlie virtue of ritual observances, and thus increase 
. the consequence and profits of the Bramins. But 

tliese are rather the traditions of former days, than 
the opinions by which men are now actuated in 
relation to the Divinity. The same objects which 
were formerly to be extorted by sacrifices and 
austerities are now to be won by faith. The 
followers of this new principle look with scarcely 
disguised contempt on the Vedas, and all the de- 
votional exercises there enjoined. As no religion 
ever entirely discards morality, they still inculcate 
purity of life, and innocence, if not virtue ; but 
the sole essential is dependence on the particular 
god of the sect of the individual teacher. Im- 
plicit faith and reliance on him makes up for all 
deficiencies in other respects ; while no attention 
to the forms of religion, or to the rules of morality, 
are of the slightest avail without this all-important 
sentiment. This system is explained and incul- 
cated in the Bhagwat Gita, which Mr. Colebrooke 
regards as the text-book of the school. 

It is an uncommon, though not exclusive, fea- 
ture in the Hindu religion, that the gods enjoy 
only a limited existence : at the end of a cycle of 
prodigious duration, the universe ceases to exist ; 
the triad, and all the other gods lose their being; 
and the Great First Cause of all remains alone in 
infinite space. After the lapse of ages, his power 
is again exerted ; and the whole creation, with all 
its human and divine inhabitants, rises once more 
into existence. 


One can hardly believe that so many rude and chap. 

puerile flibles, as most of those above related, are 

not the relics of the earliest and most barbarous 
times ; but even the sacred origin of the Christian 
religion did not prevent its being clouded, after 
the decay of learning, with superstitions propor- 
tionately as degrading; and we may therefore 
believe, with the best informed orientalists, that 
the Hindu system once existed in far greater 
purity, and has sunk into its present state along 
witli the decline of all other branches of know- 

In the above observations I have abstained from 
all reference to the religion of other countries. It 
is possible that antiquarians may yet succeed in 
finding a connection, in principles or in origin, 
between the mythology of India and that of Greece 
or of Egypt ; but the external appearances are so 
different, that it would quite mislead the imagina- 
tion to attempt to illustrate them by allusions to 
either of those superstitions. 

It only remains to say a few words on the belief Future 
of the Hindus relating to a future state. Then- 
peculiar doctrine, as is well known, is transmigra- 
tion ; but they believe that, between their different 
stages of existence, they will, according to their 
merits, enjoy thousands of years of happiness in 
some of the lieavens already described, or suffer 
torments of similar duration in some of their still 
more numerous hells. Hope, however, seems to 
be denied to none : the most wicked man, after 





Moral ef- 

being purged of his crimes by ages of suffering and 
by repeated transmigrations, may ascend in the 
scale of being, until he may enter into heaven 
and even attain the highest reward of all the good, 
which is incorporation in the essence of God. 

Their descriptions of the future states of bliss and 
penance are spirited and poetical. The good, as 
soon as they leave the body, proceed to the abode of 
Yama, through delightful paths, under the shade of 
fragrant trees, among streams covered with the lotos. 
Showers of flowers fidl on them as they pass ; and 
the air resounds with the hymns of the blessed, 
and the still more melodious strains of angels. 
The passage of the wicked is through dark and 
dismal paths ; sometimes over burning sand, some- 
times over stones that cut their feet at every step : 
they travel naked, parched with thirst, covered 
with dirt and blood, amidst showers of hot ashes 
and burning coals ; they are terrified with frequent 
and horrible apparitions, and fill the air with their 
shrieks and wailing.* The hells to which they 
are ultimately doomed are conceived in the same 
spirit, and described with a mixture of sublimity 
and minuteness that almost recalls the *' Inferno." 

These rewards and punishments are often well 
apportioned to the moral merits and demerits of 
the deceased : and they no doubt exercise con- 
siderable influence over the conduct of the living. 
But, on the other hand, the efficacy ascribed to 

* Ward on the Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 374-. 


faith, and to the observance of the forms of devo- ^^^^• 

tion, and the flicihty of expiating crimes by pe- 

nances, are, unfortunately, prevailing characteristics 
of this religion, and have a strong tendency to 
weaken its effect in supporting the principles of 

Its indirect influence on its votaries is even more 
injurious than these defects. Its gross superstition 
debases and debilitates the mind ; and its exclusive 
view to repose in this world, and absorption here- 
after, destroys the great stimulants to virtue afforded 
by love of enterprise and of posthumous fame. 
Its usurpations over the provinces of law and 
science tend to keep knowledge fixed at the point 
to which it had attained at the time of the pre- 
tended revelation by the Divinity ; and its inter- 
ference in the minutiae of private manners extir- 
pates every habit and feeling of free agency, and 
reduces life to a mechanical routine. When indi- 
viduals are left free, improvements take place as 
they are required ; and a nation is entirely changed 
in the course of a few generations without an effort 
on the part of any of its members ; but when reli- 
gion has interposed, it requires as much boldness 
to take the smallest step, as to pass over the inno- 
vations of a century at a stride ; and a man must 
be equally prepared to renounce his faith and the 
communion of his friends, whether he merely makes 
a change in his diet, or embraces a whole body of 
doctrines, rehgious and })()litical, at variance witli 
those estabhshcd among his countrymen. 


BOOK It is within its own limits that it has been least 
' successful in opposing innovation. The original 
revelation, indeed, has not been questioned ; but 
different degrees of importance have been attached 
to particular parts of it, and different constructions 
put on the same passages ; and as there is neither 
a ruling council nor a single head to settle disputed 
points, and to enforce uniformity in practice, va- 
rious sects have sprung up, which differ from each 
other both in their tenets and their practice. 
Sects. There are three principal sects * : the Saivas 

(followers of Siva), the Vaishnavas (followers of 
Vishnu), and the Saktas (followers of some one 
of the Saktis ; that is, the female associates or 
active powers of tlie members of the triad). 

Each of these sects branches into various sub- 
ordinate ones, depending on the different cha- 
racters under which its deity is worshipped, or on 
the peculiar religious and metaphysical opinions 
which each has grafted on the parent stock. The 
Saktas have three additional divisions of a more 
general character, depending on the particular 
goddesses whom they worship. The followers of 
Devi (the spouse of Siva), however, are out of all 
comparison more numerous than both the others 
put together. 

Besides the three great sects, there are small 

* Almost the whole of the following statements regarding 
the sects are taken from Professor Wilson's essays on that sub- 
ject, in vols. xvi. and xvii. of the Asiatic Researches. 


ones, which worship Siirya and Ganesa respect- chap. 

ively ; and others which, though preserving the 

form of Hinduism, approach very near to pure 

The Sikhs (who will be mentioned hereafter) 
have founded a sect involving such great inno- 
vations, that it may almost be regarded as a new 

It must not be supposed that every Hindu be- 
longs to one or other of the above sects. They, 
on the contrary, are alone reckoned orthodox, 
who profess a comprehensive system opposed to 
the exclusive worship of particular divinities, and 
who draw their ritual from the Vedas, Puranas, 
and other sacred books, rejecting the ceremonies 
derived from other sources. To this class the 
apparent mass of the Braminical order, at least, 
still belongs.* But probably, even among them, 
all but the more philosophic rehgionists have a 
bias to one or the other of the contending divini- 
ties ; and the same may be said more decidedly 
of all such of the lower casts as are not careless of 
every thing beyond the requisite ritual observances. 
It has been remarked that incarnations of Vishnu 
are the })rincipal objects of popular predilection. 
In all Bengal and Hindostan it is to those incar- 
nations that the religious feelings of the people are 
directed ; and, though the temples and emblems 

* Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. p. 2. 
VOL. 1. O 


BOOK of Siva are very common, the worshippers are few, 

, and seem inspired with Httle veneration. 

Siva, it appears, has always been the patron god 
of the Bramin class, but has never much excited 
the imaginations of the people.* Even where his 
sect ostensibly prevails, the great body of the in- 
habitants are much more attracted by the human 
feelings and interesting adventures of Rama and 
Crishna. The first of the two is the great object 
of devotion (with the regular orders at least) on 
the banks of the Jamna and the north-western 
part of the Ganges ; but Crishna prevails, in his 
turn, along the lower course of the Ganges t, and 
all the centre and west of Hindostan.t Rama, 
however, is every where revered ; and his name, 
twice repeated, is the ordinary salutation among 
all classes of Hindus. 

The Siiivas, in all places, form a considerable 
portion of the regular orders : among the people 
they are most numerous in the Mysore and Ma- 
ratta countries. Further south, the Vaishnavas 
prevail ; but there the object of worship is Vishnu, 
not in his human form of Rama or Crishna, but 
in his abstract character, as preserver and ruler of 
the universe. § Saktas, or votaries of the female 
divinity, are mixed with the rest ; but are most 

* Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. p. 169. 
t Ibid. p. 52. 
X Tod's Rajasthan. 

§ Buchanan MSS. at the India House. These may be either 
the strictly orthodox Hindus, or followers of Ramanuj. 


numerous in particular places. Three fourths of chap 
the population of Bengal worship goddesses, and ' 

most of them Devi.* 

In most of these instances the difference of sects, 
though often bitter, is not conspicuous. Europeans 
are seldom distinctly aware of their existence, un- 
less they have learned it from the writings of Mr. 
Colebrooke, Mr. Wilson, or Dr. Hamilton Buchanan. 
Even the painted marks on the forehead, by which 
each man's sect is shown, although the most singular 
peculiarity of the Hindu dress, have failed to con- 
vey the information they are designed for, and have 
been taken for marks of the cast, not the sect, of 
the wearer. 

Persons desirous of joining a sect are admitted 
by a sort of initiation, the chief part of which con- 
sists in whispering by the guru (or religious in- 
structor) of a short and secret form of words, 
which so far corresponds to the communication of 
the gayatri at the initiation of a Bramin. 

The sects are of very different degrees of an- 

The separate worship of the three great gods 
and their corresponding goddesses is probably very 
ancient t ; but when the assertion of the supremacy 

* Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. p. 210. 221. 

f Ibid. p. 218. The same gontlcimui points out a con- 
vincing proof of the early worshij) of tlie spouse of Siva. A 
temple to her, under her title of Comari (from which the 
neighbouring proinontory. CajJC Coniorin, derives its name), is 

o 2 


BOOK of one or other began (in which the peculiarity of 

the present sects consists) is not so clear. It is 

probably much more modern than the mere se- 
parate worship of the great gods. 

It seems nearly certain that the sects founded 
on the worship of particular incarnations, as Rama, 
Crishna, &c., are later than the beginning of the 
eighth century of the Christian era.* 

The number of sects has, doubtless, been in- 
creased by the disuse of the Vedas, the only source 
from which the Hindu religion could be obtained 
in purity. The use of those scriptures was con- 
fined to the three twice-born classes, of which two 
are now regarded as extinct, and the remaining 
one is greatly fallen off from its original duties. 
It may have been owing to these circumstances 
that the old ritual was disused, and a new one 
has since sprung up, suited to the changes which 
have arisen in religious opinion. 

It is embodied in a comparatively modern col- 
lection of hymns, prayers, and incantations, which, 
mixed with portions of the Vedas, furnishes now 
what may be called the Hindu service. t It is 
exhibited by Mr. Colebrooke, in three separate 

mentioned in the " Perijolus," attributed to Arrian, and probably 
written in the second century of our era. 

* They are not mentioned in a work written in the eleventh 
century, but professing to exhibit the tenets of the different 
sects at the time of Sancara Acharya, who lived in the eighth 
century Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. p. 14. 

f Ward's Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 362. 


essays, in' the fifth and seventh volumes of the chap. 
Asiatic Researches. • ' 

The diiference between the spirit of this ritual 
and that of which we catch occasional views in 
Menu is less than might have been expected. 
The Ions: instructions for the forms of ablution, 
meditation on the gayatri, &c., are consistent with 
the religion of the Vedas, and might have existed 
in Menu's time, though he had no occasion to 
mention them. The objects of adoration are in 
a great measure the same, being deities of the 
elements and powers of nature. The mention of 
Crishna is, of course, an innovation ; but it occurs 

Among other new practices are meditations on 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, in their corporeal form ; 
and, above all, the frequent mention of Vishnu 
with the introduction of the text *' Thrice did 
Vishnu step, &c.," a passage in the Vedas, which 
seems to imply an allusion to the fifth incarnation*, 
and, perhaps, owes the frequent introduction of it 
to the paucity of such acknowledgments. Mr. 
Colebrooke avowedly confines himself to the five 
sacraments which existed in Menu's time ; but 
there is a new sort of worship never alluded to in 
the Institutes, which now forms one of the prin- 
cipal duties of every Hindu. This is the worship 
of images, before whom many prostrations and 
other acts of adoration must daily be pertbrmcd, 
accompanied with burning incense, ofi^erings of 

* Sec page 176. 
O .3 


BOOK flowers and fruits, and sometimes of dressed 
' victuals. Many idols are also attired by their 
votaries, and decorated with jewels and other orna- 
ments, and are treated in all respects as if they 
were human beings. 

The Hindu ceremonies are numerous, but far from 
impressive ; and their liturgy, judging from the spe- 
cimen afforded by Mr. Colebrooke, though not with- 
out a few fine passages, is in general tedious and 
insipid. Each man goes through his daily devotions 
alone, in his own house, or at any temple, stream, or 
pool, that suits him ; so that the want of interest in 
his addresses to the divinity is not compensated by 
the effect of sympathy in others. Although the 
service (as it maybe termed) is changed, the occa- 
sions for using it remain the same as those formerly 
enumerated from Menu. The same ceremonies 
must be performed from conception to the grave ; 
and the same regular course of prayers, sacrifices, 
and oblations must be gone through every day. 
More liberty, however, is taken in shortening them 
than was recognised in Menu's code, however it 
might have been in the practice of his age. 

A strict Bramin, performing his full ceremonies, 
would still be occupied for not less than four hours 
in the day. But even a Bramin, if engaged in 
worldly affairs, may perform all his religious duties 
within half an hour ; and a man of the lower 
classes contents himself with repeating the name 
of his patron deity while he bathes.* 

* Ward on Uie Hindoos. 


The increase of sects is both the cause and chap. 
consequence of the ascendancy of the monastic 

orders. Each of these is in general devoted to ;^;;;';J;j,^ 
some particuhir divinity, and its importance is "^^""^^f" 
founded on the veneration in which its patron is 
held. They therefore inculcate fliith in that 
divinity as the means of attaining all wishes and 
covering all sins ; and, in addition to this, they 
claim for themselves through life an implicit sub- 
mission from their followers, such as the Bramin 
religious instructor in Menu required from his 
pupil during his period of probation alone. 

To this is to be ascribed the encroachments 
which those orders have made on the spiritual 
authority of the Bramins, and the feelings of rivalry 
and hostility with which the two classes regard 
each other. 

The Bramins, on their part, have not failed to 
profit by the example of the Gosayens, having 
taken on themselves the conduct of sects in the 
same manner as their rivals. Of the eighty-four 
Gurus (or spiritual chiefs) of the sect of llamanuj, 
for instance, seventy-nine are secular Bramins.* 

The power of these heads of sects is one of the 
most remarkable innovations in the Hindu system. 
Many of tliem in the south (especially those of 
regular orders) have hu'ge establishments, sup- 
ported by grants of land and contributions from 
their flock. Their income is chiefly s})ent in 

* IJuchaiian'.s .luurncy, vol. i. p. 111. ; \(il. ii. p, 7i, 75. 
o 4 



BOOK charity, but they maintam a good deal of state, 
especially on their circuits, where they are accom- 
panied by elephants, flags, &c., like temporal dig- 
nitaries, are followed by crowds of disciples, and 
are received with honour by all princes whose 
countries they enter. Their function is, indeed, 
an important one, being no less than an inspection 
of the state of morals and cast, involving the duties 
and powers of a censor. * 

Religion of the Bdudhas and Jdinas. 

There are two other religions, which, although 
distinct from that of the Hindus, appear to belong 
to the same stock, and which seem to have shared 
with it in the veneration of the people of India, 
before the introduction of an entirely foreign faith 
by the Mahometans. 

These are the religions of the Baudhas (or wor- 
shippers of Budha) and the Jains. 

They both resemble the Bramin doctrines in 
their character of quietism, in their tenderness of 
animal life, and in the belief of repeated trans- 
migrations, of various hells for the purification of 
the wicked, and heavens for the solace of the good. 
The great object of all three is, the ultimate at- 
tainment of a state of perfect apathy, which, in 
our eyes, seems little different from annihilation ; 
and tlie means employed in all are, the practice of 

t Buchanan's Journey, vol. i. p. 21., and other places 


mortification and of abstraction from the cares and chap. 


feelings of humanity. 

The differences from the Hindu belief are no 

less striking than the points of resemblance, and 

are most so in the religion of the Baudhas. 

The most ancient of the Baudha sects entirely TheBdud- 

has, or 

denies the being of God ; and some of those which Budhists. 
admit the existence of God refuse to acknowledge 
him as the creator or ruler of the universe. 

According to the ancient atheistical sect, nothing 
exists but matter, which is eternal. The power of 
organisation is inherent in matter ; and although 
the universe perishes from time to time, this quality 
restores it after a period, and carries it on towards 
new decay and regeneration, without the guidance 
of any external agent. 

The highest rank in the scale of existence is 
held by certain beings called Budhas, who have 
raised themselves by their own actions and austeri- 
ties, during a long series of transmigrations in this 
and former worlds, to the state of perfect inactivity 
and apathy whicli is regarded as the great object 
of desire. 

Even this atheistical school includes intelligence 
and design among the properties inlierent in every 
particle of matter ; and another sect * endeavours 
to explain those qualities more intelligibly by 
uniting them in one, and, perhaps, combining 
them with consciousness, so as to give them a sort 

• Tlie Piiljiiikas. 


BOOK of personality ; but the being formed by this com- 
' bination remains in a state of perpetual repose, his 
qualities operating on the other portions of matter 
without exertion or volition on his part. 

The next approach to theism, and generally in- 
cluded in that creed, is the opinion that there is a 
Supreme Being*, eternal, immaterial, intelligent, 
and also endued with free-will and moral qualities ; 
but remaining, as in the last-mentioned system, in 
a state of perpetual repose. With one division of 
those who believe in such a Divinity, he is the sole 
eternal and self-existing principle ; but another 
division associates matter witli him as a separate 
deity, and supposes a being formed by the union 
of the other two to be the real originator of the 

But the action of the Divinity is not, in any 
theory, carried beyond producing by his will the 
emanation of five (or some say seven) Budhas from 
his own essence ; and from these Budhas proceed, 
in like manner, five (or seven) other beings called 
Bhodisatwas, each of whom, in his turn, is charged 
with the creation of a world. 

But so essential is quiescence to felicity and per- 
fection, according to Budhist notions, that even the 
Bhodisatw^as are relieved as much as possible from 
the task of maintaining their own creations. Some 
speculators, probably, conceive that each consti- 
tutes the universe according to laws which enable 

* Called A'di Budha^ or supreme intelligence. 


it to maintain itself; others suppose inferior agents ^Uy ^ ' 

created for the purpose ; and, according to one 

doctrine, the Bhodisatwa of the existing workl 
produced the well-known Hindu triad, on whom 
lie devolved his functions of creating, preserving, 
and destroying. 

There are different opinions regarding the Bud- 
has, who have risen to that rank by transmigra- 
tions. Some think with the atheistical school that 
they are separate productions of nature, like other 
men, and retain an independent existence after 
arriving at the much desired state of rest ; while 
the other sects allege that they are emanations from 
the Supreme Being, through some of the other 
Budhas or Bhodisatwas, and are ultimately re- 
warded by absorption into the divine essence. 

There have been many of these human Budhas 
in this and former worlds * ; but the seven last are 
particularly noticed, and above all the last, whose 
name was Gotama or Sakya, who revealed the pre- 
sent religion, and established the rules of worsliip 
and morality ; and who, although long since passed 
into a higher state of existence, is considered as 
the religious head of the world, and will continue 
so until lie lias completed his allotted period of five 
thousand years. 

Beneath this class of Budhas are an infinite num- 
ber of different degrees, ap])arently consisting of 
mere men who have made aj)proaches towards the 

* Mr. Hodgson (Asidlir Rcscdrchcs, vol. xvi. p. IKJ.) gives a 
list of" lliO liu(iliu.s of tlif first ordur. 


BOOK liigher stages of perfection by the sanctity of their 

Besides the chain of Budhas, there are innu- 
merable other celestial and terrestrial beings, some 
original, and others transferred, unchanged, from 
the Hindu Pantheon.* 

The Budhists of different countries differ in 
many particulars from each other. Those of Ne- 
pal seem most imbued with the Hindu supersti- 
tions, though even in China the general character 
of the religion is clearly Indian. 

The theistical sect seems to prevail in Nepal t, 
and the atheistical to subsist in perfection in Cey- 

In China, M. Abel Remusat considers the 

* The above account of the Baudha tenets is chiefly taken 
from the complete and distinct view of that religion given by- 
Mr. Hodgson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. p. 435 — 445. ; but I 
have also consulted his "Proofs, &c" and his other papers in the 
Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of London, and in the 
Journal of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta; as well as those of 
M.Abel Remusat, in the Journal des Savans for a. d. 1831, 
and in the Nouveau Journal Asia tiqice for the same year ; those 
of M. Csoma di Koros, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Cal- 
cutta ; those of M. Joinville and INIajor Mahoney in vol. vii. of 
the Asiatic Researches; together Avith Professor Wilson's ob- 
servations in his history of Cashmir (^Asiatic Researches, 
vol. xvi.), and in his account of the Jains (vol. xvii.) ; and like- 
wise the answers of Baudha priests in Uphams Sacred and 
Historical Books of Ceylon, vol. iii. 

f Mr. Hodgson. 

\ See answers to questions in Upham, vol. iii. I presume 
these answers may be depended on, whatever may be the case 
with the historical writings in the same work. 


atheistical to be the vulgar doctrine, and the ^^^f^- 

theistical to be the esoteric* 

The Baiidhas differ in many other respects from 
the Bramins : they deny the authority of the 
Vedas and Puranas ; they have no cast ; even the 
priests are taken from all classes of the community, 
and bear much greater resemblance to European 
monks than to any of the Hindu ministers of reli- 
gion. They live in monasteries, wear a uniform 
yellow dress, go with their feet bare and their 
heads and beards shaved, and perform a constant 
succession of regular service at their chapel in a 
body ; and, in their processions, their chaunting, 
their incense, and their candles bear a strong 
resemblance to the ceremonies of the Cathohc 
church, t They have nothing of the freedom of 
the Hindu monastic orders ; they are strictly bound 
to celibacy, and renounce most of the pleasures of 
sense t; they eat together in one hall ; sleep sitting 
in a prescribed posture, and seem never allowed to 
leave the monastery, except once a-week, when 
they march in a body to bathe §, and for part of 
every day, when they go to beg for the com- 
munity, or rather to receive alms, for they are 

* Journal ties Savans for November, 1831. 

f M r. Davis, Transactions oftlie Royal Asiatic Society, aoI. ii. 
p. 4-91.; Turner's Tibet. 

\ Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. iii. p. 273. 

§ Mr. Davis, Transactions of tlie Royal Asiatic Society , vol. ii. 
p. 495. ; and Knox, Ibid. vol. iii. p. 277. 


BOOK not permitted to ask for anything.* The monks, 
however, only perform service in the temples at- 
tached to tlieir own monasteries, and to tliem the 
laity do not seem to be admitted, but pay their 
own devotions at other temples, out of the limits of 
the convents. 

Nunneries for women seem also, at one time, to 
have been general. 

The Baudha religionists carry their respect for 
animal life much further than the Bramins : their 
priests do not eat after noon, nor drink after dark, 
for fear of swallowing minute insects ; and they 
carry a brush on all occasions, with which they 
carefully sweep every place before they sit down, 
lest they should inadvertently crush any living 
creature. Some even tie a thin cloth over their 
mouths to prevent their drawing in small insects 
with their breath. t They differ from the Bramins 
in tlieir want of respect for fire, and in their ve- 
neration for relics of their holy men ; a feeling un- 
known to the Hindus. Over these relics (a few 
hairs, a bone, or a tooth) they erect those solid 
cupolas, or bell-shaped monuments, which are 
often of stupendous size, and which are so great a 
characteristic of their religion. 

The Budhas are represented standing upright, 

* Captain Mahoney, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 42. ; and 
Mr. Knox, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. iii. 
p. 277. 

f The laitj^ eat animal food without restraint ; even the priests 
may eat it, if no animal is killed on their account. 



but more generally seated cross-legged, erect, but ciiap 
in an attitude of deep meditation, with a placid 
countenance, and always with curled hair. 

Besides the temples and monuments, in countries 
where the Baudhas still subsist, there are many 
magnificent remains of them in India. 

The most striking of these are cave temples, in 
the Peninsula. Part of the wonderful excavations 
of Ellora are of this description ; but the finest is 
at Carla, between Puna and Bombay, which, froni 
its great length and height, the colonnades which 
run along the sides like aisles, and the vaulted and 
ribbed roof, strongly recalls the idea of a Gothic 
church. * 

The Baudhas have a very extensive body of 
literature, all on the Bramin model, and all ori- 
ginally from India, t It is now preserved in the 
local dialects of various countries, in many of which 
the long-established art of printing has contributed 
much to the diffusion of books. 

Pali, or the local dialect of Maghada (one of 
the ancient kingdoms on the Ganges, in which 
Sakya or Gotama flourished), seems to be the 
language generally used in the religious writings of 
the Baudhas, although its claim to be their sacred 

* The distinctions between the Baudhas and Hindus are 
mostly from an es.say by Mr. Krskinc, liomJxty Trmisactinns, 
vol. iii. p. .50.3, he. 

\ .Mr. Ilodf^son, A.sialir liisvdrchcs, vol. xvi. p. lii.'i. ; Dr. 
Buchanan, Ibid. vol. vi. p. 191. 225., and other places. 


BOOK language is disputed in favour of Shanscrit and of 
' other local dialects springing from that root. 

The jainas ^hc JcUHS hold ail intermediate place between 

or Jains. 

the followers of Budha and Brahma.* 

They agree with the Baudhas in denying the 
existence, or at least the activity and providence, 
of God; in believing the eternity of matter; in 
the worship of deified saints ; in their scrupulous 
care of animal life, and all the precautions which 
it leads to; in their having no hereditary priest- 
hood ; in disclaiming the divine authority of the 
Vedas ; and in having no sacrifices, and no respect 
for fire. 

They agree with the Baudhas also in consider- 
ing a state of impassive abstraction as supreme 
felicity, and in all the doctrines which they hold 
in common with the Hindus. 

They agree with the Hindus in other points ; 
such as division of cast. This exists in full force 
in the south and west of India ; and can only be 
said to be dormant in the north-east ; for, though 
the Jains there do not acknowledge the four 
classes of the Hindus, yet a Jain converted to the 
Hindu religion takes his place in one of the casts ; 
from which he must all along have retained the 
proofs of his descent; and the Jains themselves 
have numerous divisions of their own, the mem- 
bers of which are as strict in avoiding intermar- 

* The characteristics of the Jains, as compared with the 
Baudhas and Bramins, are mostly taken from Mr. Erskine, 
Bombay Transactions, vol. iii. p. 506. 



riages and other intercourse as the four classes of chap. 
the Hindus.* 

Though they reject the scriptural character of 
the Vedas, they allow them great authority in all 
points not at variance with their religion. The 
principal objections to them are drawn from the 
bloody sacrifices M'hich they enjoin, and the loss of 
animal life which burnt-offerings are liable (though 
undesignedly) to occasion, t 

They admit the whole of the Hindu gods, and 
worship some of them ; though they consider them 
as entirely subordinate to their own saints, who are 
therefore the proper objects of adoration. 

Besides these points common to the Bramins 
or Baudhas, they hold some opinions peculiar to 
themselves. The chief objects of their worship 
are a limited number of saints, who have raised 
themselves by austerities to a superiority over the 
gods, and who exactly resemble those of the 
Baudhas in appearance and general character, but 
are entirely distinct from them in their names and 
individual histories. They are called Tirtankeras : 
there are twenty-four for the present age, but 
twenty-four also for the past, and twenty-four for 
tiie future. 

Those most worshipped are, in some places, Ri- 

* De la Maine, Transactions of the Jloyal Asiatic Society, 
vol. i. p.413. ; Colobrooko, Ibid. p. 54-9. ; liuclianari, Ibid. ]). 531, 
5'i2.; W'lUou, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. y^.'l'M). 

f Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. \i. 'its. 
VOL. I. P 


BOOK shoba * j the first of the present Tirtankeras, but 

every where Parasnath and Mahavira, the twenty- 

thh'd and twenty-fourth of the number.f As all 
but the two last bear a fabulous character in their 
dimensions and length of life, it has been con- 
jectured, with great appearance of truth, that 
these two are the real founders of the religion. 
All remain alike in the usual state of apathetic 
beatitude, and take no share in the government of 
the world, t 

Some changes are made by the Jains in the 
rank and circumstances of the Hindu gods. They 
give no preference to the greater gods of the 
Hindus ; and they have increased the number of 
gods, and added to the absurdities of the system : 
thus they have sixty-four Indras, and twenty-two 
Devis. § 

They have no veneration for relics, and no 
monastic establishments. Their priests are called 
Jatis; they are of all casts, and their dress, though 
distinguishable from tliat of the Bramins, bears 
some resemblance to it. They wear very large 
loose white mantles, with their heads bare, and their 
hair and beard clipped ; and carry a black rod and 
a brush for sweeping away animals. They subsist 

* Major de la Maine, Transactions of the Hoyal Asiatic 
Society., vol. i. p. 424. 

f Professor Wilson, Asiatic Hesearc/ies, vol. xvii. p. 248. 

I Ibid. p. 270. 

§ Major De la Elaine, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, vol. i. p. 422. 


by alms. They never bathe, perhaps m opposition chap. 
to the incessant ablutions of tlie Bramins. ' 

The Jain temples are generally very large and 
handsome ; often fiat-roofed, and like private 
houses, with courts and colonnades ; but some- 
times resembling Hindu temples, and sometimes 
circular and surrounded by colossal statues of the 
Tirtankeras.* The walls are painted with their 
peculiar legends, mixed, perhaps, with those of 
the Hindus. Besides images, they have marble 
altars, with the figures of saints in relief, and 
with impressions of the footsteps of holy men ; a 
memorial which they have in common with the 

By far the finest specimen of Jain temples of 
the Hindu form are the noble remains in white 
marble on the mountain of A'bu, to the north of 
Guzerat. There are Jain caves also, on a great 
scale, at EUora, Nassik, and other places ; and 
there is, near Chinraipatan, in the Mysore, a 
statue of one of the Tirtankeras, cut out of a rock, 
which has been guessed at different heights, from 
fifty-four to seventy feet. 

The Jains have a considerable body of learning, 
resembling that of tlie Bramins, but far surpassing 
even the extravagance of the Braminical chro- 
nology and geograj)hy ; increasing to hundreds of 
milHons wliat was already sufficiently absurd at 

* Tlu!re is a magnificent one of this (U'scription near Aliiucd- 
rihild, l)uilt under grounrl, and said to have been designed lor 
concealed worshij) during the; iiersecution l)j' th(! Hindus. 

p u 


BOOK millions. Their sacred language is Magadi or 



Compaia- j^ ouestion has arisen, which of the three reli- 

tive anti- ■'■ 

quity of gions above described was first established in India. 

those re- 
ligions and It resolves itself into a discussion of the claims 

Brahma, of thosc of Budha and Brahma.* Admitting the 
common origin of the two systems, which the 
similarity of the fundamental tenets would appear 
to prove, the weight of the arguments adduced 
appears to lean to the side of the Bramins ; and 
an additional reason may perhaps be drawn from 
the improbability that the Baudha system could 
ever have been an original one. 

A man as yet unacquainted with religious feelings 
would imbibe his first notions of a God from the 
perception of powers superior to his own. Even 
if the idea of a quiescent Divinity could enter his 
mind, he w^ould have no motive to adore it, but 
would rather endeavour to propitiate the sun, on 
which he depended for warmth, or the heavens, 
which terrified him with their thunders. Still less 
would he commence by the worship of saints ; for 
sanctity is only conformity to religious notions 
already established ; and a religion must have ob- 
tained a strong hold on a people before they 
would be disposed to deify their fellows for a strict 
adherence to its injunctions ; especially if they 

* The arguments on both sides are summed up with great 
clearness and impartiality by Mr. Erskine, in the Bombay 
Transactions, vol. iii. p. 495 — 503. Even the summary is too 
long to be inserted in this place. 


neither supposed them to govern the world, nor to *^'^^^p- 
mediate with its ruler. ■ 

The Hindu religion presents a more natural 
course. It rose from the worship of the powers 
of nature to theism, and then declined into scepti- 
cism with the learned, and man worship with the 

The doctrines of tlie Sankhya school of philo- 
sophers seem reflected in the atheism of the 
Baudha ; while the hero worship of the common 
Hindus, and their extravagant veneration for reli- 
gious ascetics, are much akin to the deification of 
saints among the Baudhas. We are led, therefore, 
to suppose the Bramin faith to have originated in 
early times, and that of Budha to have branched 
off from it at a period when itsjorthodox tenets had 
reached their highest perfection, if not shown a 
tendency to decline. 

The historical information regarding these re- 
ligions tends to the same conclusion. The Vedas 
are supposed to have been arranged in their pre- 
sent form about the fourteenth century before 
Christ, and the religion they teach must have made 
considerable previous })rogress ; while scarcely one 
even of its most zealous advocates has claimed for 
that of Budha a higher antiquity than the tenth or 
eleventh century before Christ, and the best au- 
tlicnticatcd accounts limit it to the sixtii. 

All the nations professing the religion of Budha 
concur in referring its origin to India.* They 

* Tor the Cliiiicse, see De (iiiigiics, Me moires dc rAcddciiiie 



BOOK unite in representing the founder to have been 
Sakya Muni or Gotama, a native of Capila, north 
of Gorakpur. By one account he was a Cshetrya, 
and by others the son of a king. Even the Hindus 
confirm this account, making him a Cshetyra, and 
son to a king of the solar race. They are not so 
well agreed about the date of his appearance. The 
Indians, and the people of Ava, Siam, and Ceylon, 
fix it near the middle of the sixth century before 
Christ *, an epoch which is borne out by various 
particulars in the list of kings of Magada. 

The Cashmirians, on the other hand, place Sakya 
1332 years before Christ ; the Chinese, Mongols, 
and Japanese about 1000 ; and of thirteen Tibetian 
authors referred to in the same Oriental Maga- 
zine, four give an average of 2959 ; and nine of 
835 1 ; while the great religious work of Tibet, by 
asserting that the general council held by Asoca 

des Inscriptio7is, vol. xl. p. 187, Szc; Abel Remusat, Journal 
des Savcms for November, 1831 ; and the Summary in the 
Nonveau Journal Asiatique, vol. vii. p. 239, 240. ; and likewise 
the Essay in the next month, p. 241. For the Mongols, see 
M. Klaproth, Nouveau Journal Asiatique, vol. vii., especially 
p. 182 and the following pages. For Ceylon, see Tumour's 
Mahdwanso, with which the Scriptures of Ava and Siam are 
identical. (Introduction, p. xxx.) For Tibet, see M. Csoma de 
Kciros, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, vol. i. p. 1. 

* See Tumours Mahdivanso ; Chronological Table from 
Crawford! s Embassy to Ava (given in Princeps Usefid Tables, 

132.) ; see also. Useful Tables, pp. 77, 78. 

■\ See their various dates in the Oriental Magazine, vol. iv. 
p. 106, 107.; and Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 92. 


was 110 years after Budha's death *, brings down chap. 

that event to less than 400 years before Christ, as , 

Asoca will be shown, on incontestable evidence, to 
have lived less than 300 years before our era. t 

One Chinese author also differs from the rest, 
fixing 688 years before Christ t ; and the Chinese 
and Japanese tables, which make the period of 
Sakya's eminence 999 years before Christ, say 
that it occurred during the reign of Ajata Satru, 
whose place in the list of Magada kings shows 
him to have lived in the sixth century before 

These discrepancies are too numerous to be re- 
moved by the supposition that they refer to an 
earlier and a later Budha ; and that expedient is 
also precluded by the identity of the name, Sakya, 
and of every circumstance in the lives of the per- 
sons to whom such different dates are assigned. 
We must, therefore, either pronounce the Indian 
Baudhas to be ignorant of the date of a religion 
which arose among themselves, and at the same 
time must derange the best established part of the 
Hindu chronology ; or admit that an error must 
have occurred in Cashmir or Tibet, through which 
places it crcj)t into the more eastern countries, 
when they received the religion of Budha many 
centuries after the death of its founder. As th(? 

* Journal ol" llic Asiatic Sooiuty of Calcutta, vol. i. p. 6. 
f See p. -270, &c. 

J; D(; Ciuigiies, Memoircs de I.' Acddctiih: iles Jiiscrijilioiis, 
vol. xl. p. 19.3. 

P 1 



BOOK latter seems by much the most probable explana- 
— — « tioii we may safely fix the death of Budha about 
5.50 B. c. 

The Indian origin of the Baudhas would appear, 
independently of direct evidence, from the facts 
tliat their theology, mythology, philosophy, geo- 
graphy, chronology, &c., are almost entirely of tlie 
Hindu family ; and all the terms used in those 
sciences are Shanscrit. Even Budha (intelligence), 
and Adi Budha (supreme intelligence), are well- 
known Shanscrit words. 

We have no precise information regarding the 
early progress of tliis religion. It was triumphant 
in Hindostan in the reign of Asoca, about the 
middle of the third century before Christ.* It 
was introduced by his missionaries into Ceylon in 
the end of the same century, t 

It probably spread at an early period into Tar- 
tary and Tibet, but was not introduced into China 
until A. D. 65, when it was brought direct from 
India, and was not fully established till a.d. 810.t 

The progress of its decline in its original seat is 
recorded by a Chinese traveller, who visited India 
on a religious expedition in the first years of the 

* See Tumour s Mahdioanso, and translations of contem- 
porary inscriptions in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Cal- 
cutta for February, 1838. 

f In 307 B.C. Turnotirs Mahchvanso, Introduction, p. xxix., 
and other places. 

:{: De Guignes, Memoires de VAcademie des Inscriptions, 
vol. xl. p. 251, 252.; and Histoires des Huns, vol. i. part ii. 
p. 235, 236. 


fifth century after Christ.* He found Budhism chap. 

flourishing in the tract between China and India, 

but decUningin the Panjab, and hmguishing in the 
Jast stage of decay in the countries on the Ganges 
and Jamna. Capila, the birthphice of Budha, 
was ruined and deserted, — "a wilderness unten- 
anted by man." His reUgion was in full vigour in 
Ceylon, but had not yet been introduced into Java, 
which island was visited by the pilgrim on his re- 
turn by sea to China. 

The relisfion of Budha afterwards recovered its 
importance in some parts of India. Its adherents 
were refuted, persecuted, and probably chased 
from the Deckan, by Sancara Acharya, in the 
eighth or ninth century, if not by Camarilla, at an 
earlier period ; but they appear to have possessed 
sovereignty in Hindostan in the eighth century, and 
even to have been the prevailing sect at Benares as 
late as the eleventh century t, and in the north of 
Guzerat as late as the twelfth century of our era. t 

They do not now exist in the plains of India, 
but their religion is the established one in Ceylon, 
and in some of the mountainous countries to the 
north-east of the provinces on the Ganges. Budh- 
ism is also the faith of the Burman Empire, of 
Tibet, of Siani, and all the countries between 

* Journal of tlio Royal Asiatic Socioty, No. IX. p. 108, il-c, 
particuiuiiy p. lfJ9. 

f Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. j). '282. 

\_ Mr. Krskiiio, Jiomhrnf Tifinsactions, vol. iii. p. 5'.i'i., with 
Major Ketim:(ly'.s note. 


BOOK India and China. It is very general in the latter 

' country, and extends over a great part of Chinese 

and Russian Tartary ; so that it has been said, 

witli apparent truth, to be professed by a greater 

portion of the human race than any other religion. 

The Jains appear to have originated in the sixth 
or seventh century of our era ; to have become 
conspicuous in the eighth or ninth century ; got to 
the highest prosperity in the eleventh, and declined 
after the twelfth.* Their principal seats seem to 
have been in the southern parts of the peninsula, 
and in Guzerat and the west of Hindostan. They 
seem never to have had much success in the pro- 
vinces on the Ganges. 

They appear to have undergone several persecu- 
tions by the Bramins, in the south of India, at least. t 

The Jains are still very numerous, especially in 
Guzerat, the Rajput country, and Canara ; they are 
generally an opulent and mercantile class ; many of 
them are bankers, and possess a large proportion of 
the commercial wealth of India. 1^ 

* Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. p. 283. 

-|- Buchanan, vol. i. p. 81. 

:{: Tod's Rajastlutn, vol. i. p. 518. ; Professor Wilson, Asiatic 
Researches, vol. xvii. p. 294. See also Buchanan s Journey, 
vol. iii. pp. 19. 76—84. 131. 410. 




The subject of philosophy is not, one upon which chap 

Menu professes to treat. It is, however, incident- L_ 

ally mentioned in his first chapter, and it lias oc- 
cupied too great a portion of the attention of the 
Hindus of later days to be omitted in any account 
of their genius and character. 

The first chapter of the Institutes is evidently 
an exposition of the belief of the compiler, and 
(unhke the laws, which have been framed in various 
ages) probably represents the state of opinion as it 
stood in his time. 

The topics on which it treats — the nature of God 
and the soul, the creation, and other subjects, 
})hysical and metaphysical — are too slightly touched 
on to show whether any of the present schools of 
philosophy were then in their present form ; but 
the minute ])oints alluded to as already known, and 
the use of the terms still em})loyed, as if quite in- 
telligible to its readers, prove that the discussions 
which have given rise to their different systems 
were already perfectly familiar to the Hindus. 

"I'he present state of the science will be best six prin- 

..... , /< I cipal 

shown, by ui([uning uito the tenets or those schools. 


BOOK There are six ancient schools of philosophy re- 

cognised among the Hindus. Some of these are 

avowedly inconsistent with the religious doctrines 
of the Bramins ; and others, though perfectly or- 
thodox, advance opinions not stated in the Vedas. 
These schools are enumerated in the following 
order by Mr. Colebrooke.* 

1. The prior Mimansa, founded by Jaimani. 

2. The latter Mimansa, or Vedanta, attributed 
to Vyasa. 

3. The Niyaya, or logical school of Gotama. 

4. The Atomic school of Canade. 

5. The Atheistical school of Capila. 

6. The Theistical school of Patanjali. 

These two last schools agree in many points, and 
are included in the common name of Sankya. 

This division does not give a complete idea of the 
present state of philosophy. The prior Mimansa, 
which teaches the art of reasoning with the express 
view of aiding the interpretation of the Vedas, is, 
so far, only a school of criticism ; and its object, 
being to ascertain the duties enjoined in those scrip- 
tures, is purely religious, and gives it no claim to a 
place among the schools of philosophy. On the 
other hand, the remaining schools have branched 
into various subdivisions, each of which is entitled 
to be considered as a separate school, and to form 
an addition to tlie original number. It would be 
foreign to my object to enter on all the distinctions 

* Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. ji. 19. 


between those philosophical systems. An outline chap. 
of the two most contrasted of the six principal ' 

schools, with a slight notice of the rest, will be 
sufficient to give an idea of the progress made by 
the nation in this department of science. 

The two schools selected for this summary ex- 
amination are the Sankya and Vedanta. The first 
maintains the eternity of matter, and its principal 
branch denies the being of God. The other 
school derives all things from God, and one sect 
denies the reality of matter. 

All the Indian systems, atheistical as well as 
theistical, agree in their object, which is, to teach 
the means of obtaining beatitude, or, in other 
words, exemption from metempsychosis, and de- 
liverance from all corporeal incumbrances. 

Sankya School^ Atheistical and Theistical. 
This school is divided, as has been mentioned, Pnniosc of 


into two branches, that of Capila, which is athe- 
istical, and that of Patanjali, acknowledging God ; 
but both agree in the following opinions * : — 

Deliverance can only be gained by true and per- 
fect knowledge. t 

Tliis knowledge consists in discriminating the 
principles, perceptible and imperceptible, of the 
material world from the sensitive and cognitive 
principle, which is the immaterial soul.t 

• Mr. Colcbrooke, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Societyy 
vol. i. p. ?,\. 

I I hid. p. 2fi. 1 llii'l. 1). 27 




Means of 

True knowledge is attained by three kinds of 
evidence : perception, inference, and affirmation 
(or testimony).* 

The principles of which a knowledge is thus de- 
rived are twenty-five in number t, viz. : — 

1. Nature, the root or plastic origin of all ; the 
universal material cause. It is eternal matter ; 
undiscrete, destitute of parts ; productive, but not 

2. Intelligence ; the first production of nature, 
increate t, prolific ; being itself productive of other 

3. Consciousness, which proceeds from intelli- 
gence, and the peculiar function of which is the 
sense of self-existence, the belief that " I am.*' 

4 to 8. From consciousness spring five particles, 
rudiments, or atoms, productive of the five ele- 
ments. § 

9 to 19. From consciousness also spring eleven 
organs of sense and action. Ten are external ; 
five instruments of the senses (the eye, ear, &c.), 
and five instruments of action (the voice, the 

* Mr, Colebrooke, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Societi/, 
vol. i. p. 28. 

t Ibid. p. 29— 31. 

J The contradiction between the t\yo iirst terms might be 
explained by supposing that intelligence, though depending on 
nature for its existence, is co-eternal with the principle from 
which it is derived. 

§ Rather, rudiments of the perceptions by which the elements 
are made known to the mind ; as sound, the rudiment of ether ; 
touch, of air; smell, of earth, &c. — Wilson's Sanhhya Carika, 
p. 17. 


liands, the feet, &c.). The eleventh organ is in- chap. 

ternal, and is mind, which is equally an organ of 

sense and of action. 

20 to 24. The tive elements are derived from 
the five particles above mentioned (4 to 8). They 
are, space, air, fire, water, and earth. 

25. The last principle is soul, which is neither 
produced nor productive. It is multitudinous, 
individual, sensitive, unalterable, immaterial. 

It is for the contemplation of nature, and for Consti- 

. . tution of 

abstraction from it, that the union between the animated 
soul and nature takes place. By that union crea- beings'"' 
tion, consisting in the development of intellect, 
and the rest of the principles, is effected. The 
souPs wish is fruition, or liberation. For either 
purpose it is invested with a subtile person, com- 
posed of intellect, consciousness, mind, the organs 
of sense and action, and the five principles of the 
elements. This person is unconfined, free from all 
hindrance, affected by sentiments ; but incapable 
of enjoyment, until invested with a grosser frame, 
composed of the elements ; which is the body, and 
is perishable. 

The subtile person is more durable, and accom- 
panies the soul in its transmigrations.* 

The corporeal creation, consisting of souls in- 
vested with gross bodies, comprises fourteen orders 
of beings ; eight above, and five inferior to man. 

The superior orders are composed of the gods 

* Mr. Colchrofjkc, Tntusttctioiis of llic Jiaydl Asiatic Socicfi/, 
vol. i. \). 32. 


I300K and other spirits recognised by the Hindus ; the in- 

ferior, of animals, plants, and inorganic substances.* 

intLiiectuai Bcsldes the grosser corporeal creation, and the 

creation. or ' 

subtile or personal (all belonging to the material 
world), the Sankya distinguishes an intellectual 
creation, consisting of the affections of the intellect, 
its sentiments and faculties. 

These are enumerated in four classes, as ob- 
structing, disabling, contenting, or perfecting the 

The Sankya, like all the Indian schools, pays 
much attention to three essential qualities or modi- 
fications of nature. These are, 1. goodness ; 
2. passion ; 3. darkness. They appear to affect 
all beings, animate and inanimate. Through ^ooc?- 
72ess, for instance, fire ascends, and virtue and 

* Mr. Colebrooke, Transactions of the Hoyal Asiatic Society, 
vol. i. p. 33. 

■\ The catalogue is very extensive ; for, though the principal 
heads are stated at fifty, there appear to be numerous sub- 

The following may serve as a specimen, selected from that 
given by Mr. Colebrooke, which is itself very much condensed. 

1. Obstructions of the intellect are — error, conceit, passion, 
hatred, fear. These are severally explained, and comprise 
sixty-two subdivisions. 

2. Disabilities are of twenty-eight sorts, arising from defect 
or injury of organs, &c. 

3. Content, or acquiescence, involves nine divisions ; all ap- 
pear to relate to total or partial omission of exertion, to procure 
deliverance or beautitude. 

4. Perfecting the intellect is of eight sorts ; three consist in 
ways of preventing evil, and the remaining five are reasoning, 
oral instruction, study, amicable intercourse, and purity, internal 
and external. 


happiness are produced in man ; it is passion chap. 
which causes tempests in tlie air, and vice among ' 

mankind; darkness gives their downward tend- 
ency to earth and water, and in man produces 
stoHdity, as well as sorrow. 

Eight modes appertaining to intellect are derived 
from these qualities ; on the one hand, virtue, 
knowledge, dispassion, and power ; and on the 
other, sin, error, incontinency, and powerlessness. 
Each of these is subdivided : power, for instance, 
is eightfold. 

The opinions which have above been enume- 
rated, as mere dogmas of the Sankya philosophers, 
are demonstrated and explained at great length in 
their works. Mr. Colebrooke gives some speci- 
mens of their arguments and discussions ; the fault 
of which, as is usual in such cases, seems to be a 
disposition to run into over refinement.* 

In endeavouring to find out the scope of the General 

,.,. , , ., view of the 

Sankya system, which is somewhat obscured by sdnkya 
the artificial form in which it is presented by its 
inventors, we are led at first to think that this 
school, though atheistical, and, in the main, ma- 
terial, does not differ very widely from that whicli 
derives all things from spirit. From nature comes 
intelligence ; from intelligence, consciousness ; from 
consciousness, the senses and the subtile principles 
of the elements ; from these principles, the grosser 

* -Mr, Colebrooke, Transaclious of the Royal Asiatic Sucicti/, 
vol. i. jij). 3f5— 37. 

vor,. I. Q 



BOOK elements themselves. From the order of this pro- 

cession it would appear that, although matter be 

eternal, its forms are derived from spirit, and have 
no existence independent of perception. 

But this is not the real doctrine of the school. 
It is a property inherent in nature to put forth 
those principles in their order ; and a property in 
soul to use them as the means of obtaining a 
knowledge of nature ; but these operations, though 
coinciding in their object, are independent in their 
origin. Nature and the whole multitude of indi- 
vidual souls are eternal ; and though each soul is 
united with intellect and the other productions of 
nature, it exercises no control over their develop- 
ment. Its union, indeed, is not with the general 
intellect, which is the first production of nature, 
but with an individual intellect derived from that 
primary production. 

At birth, each soul is invested with a subtile 
body *, which again is clad in a grosser body. The 
connection between soul and matter being thus 
established, the organs communicate the sensations 
occasioned by external nature : mind combines 
them : consciousness gives them a reference to the 
individual : intellect draws inferences, and attains 
to knowledge not within the reach of the senses t : 
soul stands by as a spectator, and not an actor ; 
perceiving all, but affected by nothing ; as a mirror 

* Mr. Colebrooke, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, 
vol. i. p. 40. 

t Ibid. pp. 31, 38. 


which receives all images, without itself under- chap. 
going any change.* When the soul has completely " 

seen and understood nature, its task is performed : 
it is released, and the connection between nature 
and that individual soul is dissolved. Nature (to 
use an illustration from the text-book) exhibits 
herself like an actress : she desists when she has 
been perfectly seen ; and the soul attains to the 
great object of liberation. 

Thus it appears that the soul takes no part in 
the operations of nature, and is necessary to none 
of them : sensation, consciousness, reasoning, judg- 
ment, would all go on equally if it were away. 
Again : it is for the purpose of the liberation of 
the soul that all these operations are performed ; 
yet the soul was free at first, and remains un- 
changed at the end. The whole phenomena of 
mind and matter have therefore been without a 
purpose. In each view, the soul is entirely super- 
fluous ; and we are tempted to surmise that its 
existence and liberation have been admitted, in 
terms, by Capila, as the gods were by Epicurus, to 
avoid shocking the prejudices of his countrymen 
by a direct denial of their religion. 

The tenets hitherto explained arc common to separate 
both schools ; but Capila, admitting, as has been oftiie 
seen, the separate existence of souls, and allowing ana thc- 
that intellect is employed in the evolution of mat- br'mciics. 
ter, which answers to creation, denies that there 

* Mr. (.'olcbniokc, Transactions of ihc lioyal Asiatic Society, 
vol. i. p. VI. 



BOOK is any Supreme Being, either material or spiritual, 
by whose volition the universe was produced.* 

PatanjaU, on the other hand, asserts that, distinct 
from other souls, there is a soul or spirit unaffected 
by the ills with which the others are beset ; un- 
concerned with good or bad deeds or their conse- 
quences, and with fancies or passing tlioughts ; 
omniscient, infinite, unlimited by time. This being 
is God, the Supreme Ruler, t 

The practice of the two sects takes its colour 
from these peculiar opinions. The object of all 
knowledge with both is liberation from matter ; 
and it is by contemplation that the great work is to 
be accomplished. 

To this the theistical sects add devotion ; and 
the subjects of their meditation are suggested by 
this sentiment. While the followers of the other 
sect are occupied in abstruse reasonings on the 
nature of mind and matter, the deistical Sankya 
spends his time in devotional exercises, or gives 
himself up to mental abstraction. The mystical 
and fanatical spirit thus engendered appears in 
other shapes, and has influenced this branch of the 
Sankya in a manner which has ultimately tended 
to degrade its character. 

The work of Patanjali, which is the text-book 
of the theistical sect, contains full directions for 
bodily and mental exercises, consisting of intensely 

* Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 37. 
t Ibid. 


profound meditation on certain topics, accompanied chap. 

by suppression of the breath, and restraint of the 

senses, while steadily maintaining prescribed posi- 
tions. By such exercises, the adept acquires the 
knowledge of everything past and future, hidden 
or remote : he divines the thoughts of others, 
gains the strength of an elephant, the courage of 
a lion, and the swiftness of the wind ; flies in air, 
floats in water ; dives into the earth ; contemplates 
all worlds at a glance, and indulges in the enjoy- 
ment of a power that scarcely knows any bounds. 

To the attainment of these miraculous fliculties, 
some ascetics divert the efforts which ought to be 
confined to the acquisition of beatitude ; and others 
have had recourse to imposture for the power to 
surprise their admirers with wonders which they 
possessed no other means of exhibiting. 

The first description of these aspirants to super- Y6gis, 
natural powers are still found among the monastic 
orders, and the second among the lowest classes of 
the same body ; both are called Yogi, — a name 
assigned to the original sect, from a word meaning 
" abstracted meditation. 

" * 

• The above account of the Sankya school is chiefly taken 
from Mr. Colebrooke, Transactions of the Ttoyal Asiatic Society, 
vol. i. pp. 19 — 1-3. A translation of the text-book of the fol- 
lowers of Capila (the atheistic sect), orijrinally ])n'pared by 
Mr. Colebrooke, has appeared since it was first written, accom- 
panied by a translation of a gloss from the Siianscrit, and a very 
valuable commentary by Professor Wilson. A jnore general 
vew of tlie Sankya doctrines lias also a])peared in the O.iford 
Lectures of the last autiior, ])]). 19. .;!. I have endeavoured to 
])rofit bv those publications in correcting my first account. 



Veddntay or Uttara Mimansd School. 

The foundation of this school is ascribed to Vyasa, 
the supposed compiler of the Vedas, who lived 
about 1400 B. c. ; and it does not seem improbable 
that the author of that compilation, whoever he 
was, should have written a treatise on the scope 
and essential doctrines of the compositions which 
he had brought together : but Mr. Colebrooke is 
of opinion that, in its present form, the school is 
more modern than any of the other five, and even 
than the Jains and Baudhas ; and that the work in 
which its system is first explained could not, there, 
fore, have been written earlier * than the sixth 
century before Christ. 

Though the system of this school is supported 
by arguments drawn from reason, it professes to be 
founded on the authority of the Vedas, and appeals 
for proofs to texts from those Scriptures. It has 
given rise to an enormous mass of treatises, with 
commentaries, and commentaries on commentaries, 
almost all written during the last nine centuries. 
From a selection of these expositions, Mr. Cole- 
brooke has formed his account of the school ; but, 
owing to the controversial matter introduced, as 
well as to the appeals to texts instead of to luiman 
reason, it is more confused and obscure than the 
systems of the other schools. 

* Mr. Colebrooke, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society ^ 
vol. ii. pp. 3, 4. 


Its principal doctrines are, that " God is the chap. 
omniscient and omnipotent cause of the existence, 

continuance, and dissolution of the universe. Cre- Oodtho 

. so'^ exist- 

ation is an act of his will ; he is both the efficient ence. 
and the material cause of the world." At the 
consummation of all things, all are resolved into 
him. He is the " sole existent" and the " uni- 
versal soul." * 

Individual souls are portions of his substance : 
from him they issue like sparks from a flame, and 
to him they return. 

The soul (as a portion of the Divinity) is " in- 
finite, immortal, intelligent, sentient, true." 

It is capable of activity, though its natural state 
is repose. 

It is made to act by the Supreme Being, but in 
conformity to its previous resolutions ; and those 
again have been produced by a chain of causes 
extending backwards apparently to infinity.t 

The soul is encased in body as in a sheath, or 
rather a succession of sheaths. In the first, the in- 
tellect is associated with the five senses ; in the 
second, the mind is added ; in the third, the organs 
of sense and the vital faculties. Tliese tln-ee con- 
stitute the subtile body, which accompanies the 
soul through all its transmigrations. 

The fourth sheath is the gross body.t 

The states of the soul in reference to the body 

* Transactions of tlic Koyal Asiatic Society, vol. ii. p. M: 
t Ibid. p. 22. X Ibid. p. 35. 

(i 1- 


BOOK are these ; — When awake, it is active, and has to 

do with a real and practical creation : in dreams, 

there is an illusive and unreal creation : in pro- 
found sleep, it is enfolded, hut not blended, in the 
divine essence : on death, it has quitted the cor- 
poreal frame.* It then goes to the moon, is clothed 
in an aqueous body, falls in rain, is absorbed by 
some vegetable, and thence through nourishment 
into an animal embryo. t 

After finishing its transmigrations, the number of 
which depends on its deeds, it receives liberation. 

Liberation is of three sorts : one incorporeal and 
complete, when the soul is absorbed in Brahma ; 
another imperfect, when it only reaches the abode 
of Brahma ; and a third far short of the others, by 
which, while yet in life, it acquires many of the 
powers of the Divinity, and its faculties are tran- 
scendant for enjoyment, but not for action. These 
two last are attainable by sacrifice and devout medi- 
tation in prescribed modes. 

The discussions of this school extend to the 
questions of free will, divine grace, efficacy of works, 
of fiiith, and many others of the most abstracted 

Faith is not mentioned in their early works, and 
is a tenet of the branch of tlie Vcdanta school which 
follows the Bhagwat Gita. The most regular of 
the school, however, maintain the doctrine of 

* Transactions of tlie Royal Asiatic Society, vol. ii. p. S7. 
t Ibid. p. 25, 


divine grace, and restrict free will, as has been chap. 
shown, by an infinite succession of influencing mo- ' 

lives, extending back through the various worlds 
in the past eternity of the universe. 

It is obvious that this school differs entirely from 
that first mentioned, in denying the eternity of 
matter, and ascribing the existence of the universe 
to the energy and volition of God. But its original 
teachers, or their European interpreters, appear to 
disagree as to the manner in which that existence 
is produced. One party maintains that God created 
matter out of his own essence, and will resume it 
into his essence at the consummation of all things; 
and that from matter thus produced, he formed the 
world, and left it to make its own impressions on 
the soul of man. The other party says that God 
did not create matter, nor does matter exist ; but 
that he did, and continually does, produce directly 
on the soul a series of impressions such as the other 
party supposes to be produced by the material 
world. One party says that all that exists arises 
from God ; the other that nothing does exist ex- 
cept God. This last appears to be the prevailing 
doctrine among the modern Vcdantis, though pro- 
bably not of the founders and early followers of the 

Both parties agree in supposing the impression 
produced on the mind to be regular and systematic, 
so that the ideal sect reasons about cause and effect 
exactly in the same manner as those who believe in 
the reality of the ap])arent world. 


BOOK Both allow volition to God, and do not conceive 
' that there is anything in the nature of matter, or 
in his own relations, to fetter his will. 

Both agree in asserting that the soul was originally 
part of God, and is again to return to him ; but 
neither explains how the separation is effected : the 
idealists, in particular, fail entirely in explaining 
how God can delude a part of himself into a belief 
of its own separate existence, and of its being acted 
on by an external world, when, in fact, it is an in- 
tegral part of the only existing being.* 

Logical Schools. 

Logic is a favourite study of the Brahmins, and 
an infinity of volumes have been produced by them 
on this subject. Some of them have been by emi- 
nent authors, and various schools have sprung up 
in consequence ; all, however, are supposed to 
originate in those of Gotama and Canade. The 
first of these has attended to the metaphysics of 
logic ; the second to physics, or to sensible objects. 
Though these schools differ in some particulars, 
they generally agree on the points treated on by 
both, and may be considered as parts of one sys- 
tem, each supplying the other's deficiencies. 

* On the question regarding the ideal or material existence 
of the world (besides Mr. Colebrooke's paper in the Trans- 
actions of the Royal Asiatic Society^ vol. ii. pp. 38, 39.), see that 
of Colonel Kennedy, in vol. iii. p. 4'14., with the remarks of Sir 
Graves Haughton. 


The school thus formed has been compared to chap. 


that of Aristotle.* It resembles it m its attention ' 

to classification, method, and arrangement, and it Points of 

n 1 • • • resem- 

furnishes a rude form of the syllogism, consisting bianceto 
of five propositions, two of which are obviously 
superfluous. t 

In the logic of Canade*s school there is also an 
enumeration of what is translated " predicaments," 
which are six : — substance, quality, action, com- 
munity, particularity, and aggregation or intimate 
relation : some add a seventh, privation. The three 
first are among the predicaments of Aristotle, 
the others are not, and seven of Aristotle's are 
omitted. \ 

The subjects treated of in the two Hindu sys- 
tems are naturally often the same as those of Aris- 
totle, — the senses, the elements, the soul and its 
different faculties, time, space, &c. ; but many that 
are of the first importance in Aristotle's system are 
omitted by the Hindus, and vice versa. The de- 

* Mr. Colcbrooke, Transactions of tlie Boyal Asiatic Society, 
vol. i. p. 19.; Edinburgh Review for July, 183t, p. 363. 
t As, 1. The hill is fiery; 

2. For it smokes. 

3. What smokes is fiery, as a culinary hearth ; 

4. Accordingly, tlie hill is smoking; 

5. Therefore, it is fiery. 

The Hindus had also the regular syllogism, which seems a 
very natural step fnjm the above ; but as it was at a later 
period, the improvement niiyhl iiave been borrowed from the 

:J; Viz. passion, relation, (piantity, when, where, situation, 
and habit. 




tion ac- 
cording to 

Heads or 

1st Head — 

finitions of the subjects often differ, and the general 
arrangement is entirely dissimilar. 

One of the most remarkable coincidences is, that 
all the Hindu schools constantly join to the five 
senses a sixth internal sense (which they call mind), 
which connects the other five, and answers exactly 
to the common, or internal, sense of Aristotle. 

The arrangement of Gotama's school is much 
more complete and comprehensive than that of 
Canade, and some specimens of it may serve to 
give an idea of the minuteness to which their 
classification is attempted to be carried. 

The first distribution of subjects is into sixteen 
heads or topics. I can discover no principle on 
which it is made, except that it comprises the in- 
struments, modes, and some of the subjects, of dis- 
putation. It is as follows : — 

1. Proof. Q. That which is to be known and 
proven. 3. Doubt. 4. Motive. 5. Instance. 
6. Demonstrated truth. 7* Member of a re- 
gular argument or syllogism. 8. Reasoning by 
reduction to absurdity. 9« Determination or 
ascertainment. 10. Thesis or disquisition. 11. 
Controversy. 12. Objection. 13. Fallacious 
reason. 14. Perversion. 15 Futility. 16. Con- 

The subdivisions are more natural and sys- 

Proof (or evidence) is of four kinds : percep- 
tion, inference, comparison, and affirmation (or 


Inference is accain subdivided into antecedent, chap. 

* V. 

which discovers an effect from its cause : conse- 

2d Ileail — 
Objects of 

quent, which deduces a cause from its effect ; and 

Objects of proof are twelve in number: — 1. 
Soul. 2. Body. 3. The oro-ans of sensation. 4. P^oof; its 

'' '-' subdi- 

The objects of sense. 5. Intellect. 6. Mind. 7. ^isio'is- 
Activity. 8. Fault. 9. Transmigration. 10. Fruit 
of deeds. 11. Pain, or physical evil. 12. Libera- 

1. The first object of proof is soul ; and a full ^- ^°"^- 
exposition is given of its nature and faculties, and 

of the proofs of its existence. It has fourteen 
qualities: — number, quantity, severalty, conjunc- 
tion, disjunction, intellect, pain, pleasure, desire, 
aversion, volition, merit, demerit, and the faculty 
of imagination. 

2. The second object of proof is body ; which is 2. Body. 
still more fully discussed and analysed ; not without 

some mixture of what belongs more properly to 
physical science. 

3. Next follow the organs of sense, which are 3. Orj^nns 

. , • r • -IT of sense. 

said not to sprmg rrom consciousness, as is advanced 
by the Sankya school ; but which are conjoined 
with the sixth internal sense, as in that school ; 
while the five organs of action (which make up the 
eleven brought together by the Sankyas) arc not 
separately recognised here. 

4. The next of the subtlivisions of the second '^^ o''J'-'ct'» 
licad consists of the objects of sense, among which 


BOOK are the terms which form the predicaments of 

The first of these is substance, and is divided 
into nine sorts : — earth, water, light, air, ether, 
time, place, soul, mind. The qualities of each of 
these substances are fully examined ; after which 
the author passes on to the second predicament, 
quality. There are twenty-four qualities. Sixteen 
are qualities of body ; namely, — colour, savour, 
odour, feel, number, quantity, individuality, con- 
junction, disjunction, priority, posteriority, gravity, 
fluidity, viscidity, and sound : and eight of soul ; 
namely, — pain, desire, aversion, volition, virtue, 
vice, and faculty. Every one of these is examined 
at great length ; and, sometimes, as well as by the 
Grecian schools.* 

The remaining five predicaments are then de- 
fined, which completes the objects of sense. Each 
of the six remaining objects of proof are then ex- 
amined in the same manner, which exhausts the 
second head or topic. 
ndiiead— The third head or topic, doubt, is then taken 
in hand, and so on to the end of the sixteenth ; but 
enough has already been said to show the method 
of proceeding, and much detail would be required 
to afford any information beyond that. 

* Levity, for instance, is merely noticed as the absence of 
gravity ; while in Aristotle it is held to be a separate pi-inciple, 
having a tendency to rise as gravity has to descend. Sound is 
said to be propagated by undulation, wave after wave proceed- 
ing from a centre. 


The discussion of the above topics involves chap. 
many opinions, both on physical and metaphysical ' 

subjects ; thus the immateriality, independent ex- ^^J'^^J- 
istence, and eternity of the soul are asserted : God opinions. 
is considered as the supreme soul, the seat of eter- 
nal knowledge, the maker of all things, &c. 

The school of Canade, or, as it is also called, the Doctrine of 


atomic school, supposes a transient world com- 
posed of aggregations of eternal atoms. It does not 
seem settled whether their temporary arrangement 
depends on their natural affinities, or on the creative 
power of God.* 

It is impossible not to be struck with the identity i^^^sem- 

X •' blance to 

of the topics discussed by the Hindu philosophers someofn.e 
with those which eneraiired the attention of the schools, 

1 • ' r^ 1 • 1 1 • • especially 

same class m ancient Greece, and witli the simi- to Pytha- 
larity between the doctrines of schools subsisting ^'°''^''" 
in regions of the earth so remote from each other. 
The first cause, the relation of mind to matter, 
creation, fate, and many similar subjects, are mixed 
by the Hindus with questions that have arisen in 
modern metaphysics, without having been known 
to the ancients. Their various doctrines of the 
eternity of matter, or its emanation from the Di- 
vinity ; of the separate existence of the Supreme 
Being, or liis arising from the arrangements of 

* Colehrookc, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Socicti/, Vol. i. 
J). 10,j. For a full account of the logical school, see Transac- 
tions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. !)2., and fr lad win's 
Ayeen Acbcry, vol. ii. p. f}85. ; also, IVartl on titc Hindoos, 
vol.ii. p. 224-. 


BOOK nature ; the supposed derivation of all souls from 

God, and return to him ; the doctrine of atoms 

tlie successive revolutions of worlds j have all like- 
wise been maintained by one or other of the Gre- 
cian schools.* These doctrines may, however, 
have occurred independently to speculative men in 
unconnected countries, and each single coincidence 
may perhaps have been accidental ; but when we 
find a whole system so similar to that of the Hindus 
as the Pythagorean, — while the doctrines of both 
are so unlike the natural suggestions of human 
reason, — it requires no fliith in the traditions of 
the eastern journeys of Pythagoras to be persuaded 
that the two schools have oriijinated in a common 


The end of all philosophy, according to Pytha- 
goras, is to free the mind from incumbrances which 
hinder its progress towards perfection t ; to raise it 
above the dominion of the passions, and the influ- 
ence of corporeal impressions, so as to assimilate it 
to the Divinity, and qualify it to join the gods.t 
The soul is a portion of the Divinity §, and re- 
turns, after various transmigrations and successive 
intermediate states of purgation in the region of 
the dead, to the eternal source from which it 
first proceeded. The mind (Su/^o^) is distinct from 
the soul (^pr;v).|| God is the universal soul dif- 

* See Ward on the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 11 4. 

f Enfield's History of Philosophy, vol. i. p. 382. 

; Ibid p. 389. ' § Ibid. p. 393. 

II Ibid. p. 397. 


fused through all things, the first principle of the chap. 
universe ; invisible, incorruptible, only to be com- ' 

prehended by the mind.* Intermediate between 
God and mankind are a host of aerial beings, formed 
into classes, and exercising different influences on 
the affairs of the world. t 

These are precisely the metaphysical doctrines 
of India ; and when to them we join the av^ersion 
of Pythagoras for animal food, and his prohibition 
of it unless when offered in sacrifices t, his injunc- 
tions to his disciples not to kill or hurt plants §, 
the long probation of his disciples, and their myste- 
rious initiation, it is difficult to conceive that so 
remarkable an agreement can be produced by any 
thing sliort of direct imitation. 

Further coincidences mightbe mentioned, equally 
striking, though less important than those already 
adduced : such are the affinity between God and 
light, the arbitrary importance assigned to the 
s])herc of the moon as the limit of earthly changes, 
^'c. : and all derive additional importance from 
their dissimilarity to the opinions of all the Grecian 
schools that subsisted in the time of Pythagoras. || 

* Enfield's History of Philosophy, vol. i. j). 393. 

t Il)id. p. 39.5. See also Stanley s History of Philosophy. 

\ Kiififld, vol. i. p. 377., and Stcmleys School nf Philosophy, 
p. 520. 

§ Stanley, p. .320. 

II See, for the Ilimlu notions on li-^ht, the various interpret- 
ations of, and comments on, the Gayatri, especially <SVr W. Jones's 
Worhs, vol. vi. pp. 117. 421., (Joldroohe's Asia/ir Pesrarchcs, 
vol. viii. p. too. and note; Uam Mohun Koy'.-» translation of the 
VOL. I. R 


BOOK Some of the tenets of both schools are said to 
' have existed among the ancient Egyptians, and 

may be supposed to have been derived from that 
source both by Pythagoras and the Bramins. But 
our accounts of these doctrines in Egypt are only 
found in books written long after they had reached 
Greece through other channels. The only early 
authority is Herodotus, who lived after the philo- 
sophy of Pythagoras had been universally diffused. 
If, however, these doctrines existed among the 
Egyptians, they were scattered opinions in the 
midst of an independent system ; and in Greece 
they are obviously adscititious, and not received in 
their integrity by any other of the philosophers 
except by the Pythagoreans. In India, on the 
contrary, they are the main principles on w^hich 
the religion of the people is founded, to which all 
the schools of philosophy refer, and on which every 
theory in physics and every maxim in morality 

It is well argued by Mr. Colebrooke, that the 
Indian philosophy resembles that of the earlier 
rather than of the later Greeks ; and that, if the 

Vedas, p. 114.; Colebrooke, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, vol. ii. p. 26., and other places. For Pythagoras, see 
Enfield, vol. i. p. 394., and Stanley, p. 547. ; in both of which 
places he is said to have learned his doctrine from tlie magi or 
oriental philosophers. The opinions of both the Hindus and 
Pythagoras about the moon and aerial regions, are stated by 
Mr. Colebrooke, in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society^ 
vol. i. p. 578. ; for those of Pythagoras, see Stanley, p. 551. 


Hindus had been capable of learning the first doc- ^^^;^i'- 

trines from a foreign nation, there was no reason 

why they should not in like manner have acquired a 
knowledge of the subsequent improvements. From 
which he infers that " the Hindus were, in this 
histance, the teachers, and not the learners." * 

* Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 579. 
It may, perhaps, be observed, that the doctrines of Pythagoras 
appear to belong to a period later than Menu. The formation 
of a society living in common, and receiving common initiation, 
together with the pi'actice of burying the dead instead of burn- 
ing them, seem to refer to the rules of the monastic orders ; 
while the strictness regarding animal food has also a resemblance 
to the tendency of later times. 

R 2 

244" HISTORY OF india. 



BOOK Few of the subjects which follow are noticed by 
' Menu : we can, therefore, no longer attempt to 
mark the changes effected since his time, but must 
endeavour from other sources to trace the rise and 
describe the present state of each branch of inquiry 
as it occurs. 




The antiquity and the originality of the Indian chap. 
astronomy form subjects of considerable interest.' 

The first point has been discussed by some of ^f"*^j'^'"*^ 
the trreatest astronomers in Europe; and is still HimU'ias- 

" ^ tronomy. 


Cassini, Bailly, and Playfair maintain that ob- 
servations taken upwards of 3000 years before 
Christ, are still extant, and prove a considerable 
degree of progress already m.ade at that period. 

Several men, eminent for science, (among whom 
are La Place and De Lambre,) deny the authen- 
ticity of the observations, and, consequently, the 
validity of the conclusion. 

The argument is conducted entirely on astro- 
nomical principles, and can only be decided by 
astronomers : as far as it can be understood by 
a person entirely unacquainted witli mathematical 
science, it does not appear to authorise an award, 
to the extent that is claimed, in favour of the 

* Much iiifonnation on those subji^cts, but geiKirally witli 
views unf'avouiable to tlic Hindus, is givon in tiie iikistrations, 
by different hands, annexed to Mr. Ilugli Murray's Historical 
and IJcscriplive Account of British Jndia, — a work of grt at 
ability and value. 

R 3 


BOOK All astronomers, however, admit the great an- 

tiquity of tlie Hindu observations ; and it seems 

indisputable that the exactness of the mean mo- 
tions that they have assigned to the sun and moon 
could only have been attained by a comparison of 
modern observations with others made in remote 
antiquity.* Even Mr. Bentley, the most strenuous 
opponent of the claims of the Hindus, pronounces, 
in his latest work, that their division of the ecliptic 
into twenty-seven lunar mansions (which supposes 
much previous observation) was made 1442 years 
before our tera ; and, without relying upon his 
authority in this instance, we should be inclined 
to believe that the Indian observations could not 
have commenced at a later period than the fifteenth 
century before Christ. This would be from one to 
two centuries before the Argonautic expedition and 
the first mention of astronomy in Greece. 

The astronomical rule relating to the calendar, 
which has been quoted from the Vedas t, is shown 
to have been drawn up in the fourteenth century 
before Christ ; and Parasara, the first writer on 
astronomy, of whose writings any portion remains, 
appears to have flourished about the same time. 1^ 

* See Pond's La Place System of the World, vol. il. p. 252. 

f In Appendix I. See also Asiatic Researches, vol. viii. 
p. 489. ; vol. vii. p. 282. 

J This appears by his observation of the place of the Colures, 
first mentioned by Mr. Davis. (^Asiatic Hesearches, vol. ii. p. 268.) 
Sir W. Jones, in consequence of some further information 
received from Mr. Davis, fixed Parasara in the twelfth century 
before Christ (1181, B.C.); but Mr. Davis himself afterwards 


In our inquiries into tlie astronomy of the In- chap. 
dians, we derive no aid from tlieir own early au- ' 

thors. The same system of priestcraft, which has ^'^ extent. 
exercised so pernicious an influence on the Hindus 
in other respects, has cast a veil over their science. 
Astronomy having been made subservient to 
the extravagant chronology of the religionists, 
all the epochs which it ought to determine have 
been thrown into confusion and uncertainty ; no 
general view of their system has been given ; 
only such parts of science as are required for prac- 
tical purposes are made known ; and even of them 
the original sources are carefully concealed, and 
the results communicated as revelations from the 

explained (Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 288.) tliat, from the 
most minute consideration he could give the subject, the observ- 
ation must have been made 1391 years before the Christian 
ajra. Another passage quoted from Parasara shows that the 
heliacal rising of Canopus took place in his time at a period 
which agrees with the date assigned to him on other grounds. 
fColebrooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. ix. p. !356. See also 
Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 288., for the opinion of Mr. Davis.) 
Mr. Bentley, however, at one time suspected the whole of the 
V orks of Parasara to be modern forgeries (Asiatic Researches, 
vol. vi. p. 581.); and when he admitted tiicm afterwards (in 
his posthumous work), he \n\t a different interpretation on the 
account of the rising of Canopus, and placed him, on that and 
other grounds, in the year 576 before Christ. (Abstract of 
Ik-ntley's History, Oriental Marjazine, vol. v. p. 21-5.) The 
attempt maflo by Sir W. Jones to fix other dates, by means of 
the mythological histories into which the name of Parasara is 
introduced, does not appear successful. (Asiatic Researches, 
vol. ii. ]). .S99.) 

* Thus the " Siirya Sidlianta, ' the learned work ol an astro- 

II 4" 



BOOK From this cause, the data from which their tables 
were computed are never quoted ; and there is no 
record of a regular series of observations among 

If this system be an obstruction to our inquiries, 
it must have been much more so to the progress of 
science. The art of making observations was pro- 
bably taught to few ; still fewer would be disposed 
to employ an instrument which could not confirm, 
but might impair, the faith due to divine truths. 
They had none of the skill which would have been 

noraer of the fifth or sixth century, is only known to the Hindus 
as a revelation from heaven, received upwards of 2,164,900 
years ago. Their enigmatical manner of communicating their 
knowledge is as remarkable in the other sciences as in astro- 
nomy. Professor Playfair speaks thus of their trigonometry : — 
" It has the appearance, like many other things in the science 
of those eastern nations, of being drawn up by one who was 
more deeply versed in the subject than may be at first imagined, 
and who knew^ more than he thought it necessary to commu- 
nicate. It is probably a compendium formed by some ancient 
adept in geometry, for the use of others who were mere prac- 
tical calculators." Of their arithmetic the " Edinburgh Review " 
says (vol. xxix. p. 147.), " All this is done in verse. The 
question is usually propounded with enigmatical conciseness ; 
the rule for the computation is given in terms somewhat less 
obscuie ; but it is not till the example, which comes in the 
third place, has been studied, that all ambiguity is removed. 
No demonstration nor reasoning, either analytical or syntheti- 
cal, is subjoined ; but, on examination, the rules are found 
not only to be exact, but to be nearly as simple as they can 
be made, even in the present state of analytical investiga- 
tion." The same observation is applied to their algebra. 
Ibid. p. 151. 


tauslit, nor of the emulation wliicb would have chap. 

been excited, by the labours of their predecessors ; 

and when the increasing errors of the revealed 
tables forced them at length on observations and 
corrections, so far from expecting applause for 
their improvements, they were obliged, by the 
state of public opinion, to endeavour to make it 
appear that no alteration had been made.* 

In spite of these disadvantages, they appear to 
have made considerable advances in astronomy. 
As they have left no complete system which can 
be presented in a popular form, and compared with 
those of other nations, they must be judged of by 
mathematicians from the skill they have shown in 
treating the points on which they have touched. 
The opinions formed on this subject appear to be 
divided ; but it seems to be generally admitted 
that great marks of imperfection are combined, in 

* The commentator on the " Surya Sidhanta " (Asiatic Re- 
searches, vol. ii. p. 239.) shows strongly the embarrassment that 
■was felt by those who tried to correct errors sanctioned by re- 
ligious authority. In the same essay (p. 257.) it appears that, 
although the rational system had been established from time 
immemorial, it was still thought almost im])ious to opjjose it to 
the mythological one. A single writer, indeed, avows that the 
earth is self-balanced in infinite space, and cannot be supported 
by a succession of animals; but the others display no such con- 
troversial spirit, and seem only anxious to show that their own 
rational opini(jns were consistent with tiie previously established 
fables. In the " Edinburgh Review " (vol. x. j). 15!).) then' is a 
forcible illustration of the cH'ect of the system of religious 
fraud in retarding the progress of science; ; and from this is 
deduced a well founded argument for the early period at which 
the first discoveries must have been made. 





their astronomical writings, with proofs of very ex- 
_ traordinary proficiency. 

The progress made in other branches of mathe- 
matical knowledge was still more remarkable than 
in astronomy. In the " Surya Sidhanta," written, 
according to Mr. Bentley, in a. d. 1091, at the 
latest, but generally assigned to the fifth or sixth 
century *, is contained a system of trigonometry, 
which not only goes far beyond any thing known to 
the Greeks, but involves theorems which were not 
discovered in Europe till the sixteenth century.! 

Their geometrical skill is shown, among other 
forms, by their demonstrations of various properties 
of triangles, especially one which expresses the 
area in the terms of the three sides, and was un- 

* See Mr. Colebrooke (Asiatic Researches, vol. ix. p. 329. 
note) for the position of the vernal equinox when the " Surya 
Sidhanta " Avas Avritten, and Sir W. Jones (Asiatic Researches, 
vol. ii. p. 392.) for the period when the vernal equinox was 
so situated. Mr. Colebrooke thinks it contemporary with 
Brahma Gupta, whom he afterwards fixes about the end of the 
sixth century. 

f Such is that of Vieta, pointed out by Professor Playfair, in. 
his question sent to the Asiatic Society. (Asiatic Researches, 
vol. iv. p. 152.) Professor Playfair has published a memoir on 
the Hindu trigonometry (Transactions of the Royal Society of 
Edinburgh, vol. iv.), which is referred to by Professor Wallace^ 
with the following important observation of his own : — " How- 
ever ancient, therefore, any book may be in which we meet 
with a system of trigonometry, we may be assured it was not 
written in the infancy of science. We may therefore conclude 
that geometry must have been known in India long before the 
writing of the ' Surya Sidhanta.' " There is also a rule for the 
computation of the sines, involving a refinement first practised 
by Briggs, in the beginning of the seventeenth century. (British 
India, vol. iii. p, 403.,. in the " Edinburgh Cabinet Library.") 


known in Europe till published by Clavius (in the chap 
sixteenth century)*; and by their knowledge of 
the proportion of the radius to the circumference 
of a circle, which they express in a mode peculiar 
to themselves, by applying one measure and one 
unit to the radius and circumference. This pro- 
portion, which is confirmed by the most approved 
labours of Europeans, was not known out of India, 
until modern times, t 

The Hindus are distinguished in arithmetic by Arithmetic. 
the acknowledged invention of the decimal nota- 
tion ; and it seems to be the possession of this dis- 
covery which has given them so great an advantage 
over the Greeks in the science of numbers, t 

But it is in algebra that the Bramins appear to Algebra. 
have most excelled their contemporaries. Our 
accounts of their discoveries in that science are 
obtained from the works of Brahma Gupta (who 
lived in the sixth century), and Bhascara Acharya 

* Edinburgh Review, vol. xxix. p. 158. 

•j- The ratio of tlie diameter to the circumference is given in 
the " Surya Sidhanta," probably written in the fifth century 
(Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. '259.), and even by Mr. Bentley's 
account, in tiie eleventh. Tlie demonstrations alluded to in the 
preceding lines are generally by Brahma Gupta in the sixth 

:j: A writer in the " Edinburgh Review " (vol. xviii. j). 211.), 
•who discusses the subject in a tone of great hostility to tlic. 
Ilindi'i ])retensions, makes an observation which appears entitled 
to much consideration. He lays down the position, tiiat decimal 
notation is not a very old invention, antl points out the impro- 
babilify of its having escaped Pythagoras, if it had in his time 
Ijeen kiUMvn in India. 



BOOK (in the twelfth century)*, but both drew their ma- 
terials from Arya Bhatta, in whose time the science 
seems to have been at its height ; and who, though 
not clearly traced further back than the fifth cen- 
tury, may, in Mr. Colebrooke's opinion, not im- 
probably have lived nearly as early as Diophantus, 
the first Greek writer on algebra ; that is, about 
A.D. 360. 

But, whichever may have been the more ancient, 
there is no question of the superiority of the Hin- 
dus over their rivals in the perfection to which they 
brought the science. Not only is Arya Bhatta 
superior to Diophantus, (as is shown by his know- 
ledge of the resolution of equations involving 
several unknown quantities, and in a general me- 
thod of resolvins; all intermediate problems of at 
least the first degree!,) but he and his successors 
press hard upon the discoveries of algebraists who 
lived almost in our own time. Nor is Arya Bhatta 
the inventor of algebra among the Hindus ; for 
there seems every reason to believe that the science 
was in his time in such a state, as it required the 

* Mr. Bentley, in his last work, wishes to prove, by his usual 
mode of computation, that Bhaseara wrote in the reign of Akber 
(a.d. 1556); but the date in the text is mentioned in a Persian 
translation of one of his works presented to that very emperor 
by the celebrated Feizi, whose inquiries into Hindu science form 
the most conspicuous part of the literature of that age. (See 
Book IX. Chap. III.) Bhaseara is likewise quoted by many 
authors anterior to Akber, whose authenticity Mr. Bentley is 
therefore obliged to deny. 

f Edinburgh Review, vol. xxix. p. 142. 




lapse of ages, and many repeated efforts of inven- 
tion, to produce.* It was in his time, indeed, or 
in the fifth century, at latest, that Indian science 
appears to have attained its highest perfection.! 

Of the originality of Hindu science some opinions OHginaiUy 

o J * of Huuiii 

must have been formed from what has been already science. 

* Edinburgh Review, p. 143. 

f In the " Edinburgh Review " (vol.xxi. p. 372.) is a striking 
history of a problem (to find x so that a x- + b shall be a square 
numbei"). The first step towards a solution is made by Dio- 
phantus ; it is extended by Fermat, and sent as a defiance to 
the English algebraists in the seventeeth century ; but Avas 
only carried to its full extent by Euler; who arrives exactly at 
the point before attained by Bhascara in a.d. 1150. Another 
occurs in the same Review (vol.xxix. p. 153.), where it is stated, 
from Mr. Colebrooke, that a particular solution given by Bhas- 
cara (a. d. 1150) is exactly the same that was hit on by Lord 
Brounker, in 1657 ; and that the general solution of the same 
problem was unsuccessfully attempted by Euler, and only accom- 
plished by De la Grange, a.d. 1767; although it had been as 
completely given by Brahma Gupta in the sixth century of our 
sera. But the superiority of the Hindus over the Greek alge- 
braists is scarcely so conspicuous in their discoveries as in the 
excellence of their method, which is altogether dissimilar to 
that of Diophantus {Strachei/s Bija Ganita, quoted in the 
" Edinburgh Review," vol. xxi. pp. 374, 375.), and in the perfec- 
tion of their algorithm. (Colebrooke, Indian Algebra, quoted in 
the " Edinburgh Review," vol. xxix. p. 162.) One of their most 
favourite processes (that called cuttaca) was not known in Europe 
till published by Bacliet de Mezeriac, about the year 1621', and 
is virtually the same as that explained by Euler. (^Edinburcjh 
Review, vol. xxix. p. 151.) Their application of algebra to 
astronomical investigations and geometrical demonstrations is 
also an invention of their own; and tlu ir manner of conducting 
it is, even now, entitled to admiration. (Colebrooke, quoted by 
Professor Wallace, ubi supra, p. 108, 109. ; and Edinbartik 
Review, vol.xxix. p. 158.) 


BOOK said. In their astronomy, the absence of a general 

theory, the unequal refinement of the different 

portions of science which have been presented to 
us, the want of demonstrations and of recorded 
observations, the rudeness of the instruments used 
by the Bramins, and their inaccuracy in observing, 
together with the suspension of all progress at a 
certain point, are very strong arguments in favour 
of their having derived their knowledge from a 
foreign source. But on the other hand, in the first 
part of their progress, all other nations were in still 
greater ignorance than they ; and in the more ad- 
vanced stages, where they were more likely to have 
borrowed, not only is their mode of proceeding 
peculiar to themselves, but it is often founded on 
principles with which no other ancient people were 
acquainted ; and shows a knowledge of discoveries 
not made, even in Europe, till within the course of 
the last two centuries. As far as their astronomical 
conclusions depend on those discoveries, it is self- 
evident that they cannot have been borrowed ; and, 
even where there is no such dependence, it cannot 
fairly be presumed that persons who had such re- 
sources within themselves must necessarily have 
relied on the aid of other nations. 

It seems probable that, if the Hindus borrowed 
at all, it was after their own astronomy had made 
considerable progress ; and from the want of exact 
resemblance between the parts of their system and 
that of other nations, where they approach the 
nearest, it would rather seem as if they had taken 


up hints of improvement than implicitly copied the chap. 

doctrines of their instructors. 

That they did borrow in this manner from the 
Greeks of Alexandria does not appear improbable ; 
and the reason cannot be better stated than in 
the words of Mr. Colebrooke, who has discussed 
the question with his usual learning, judgment, 
and impartiality. After showing that the Hindu 
writers of the fifth century speak with respect of 
the astronomy of the Yavanas, (by whom there is 
every reason to think that, in this instance, they 
mean the Greeks,) and that a treatise of one of 
their own authors is called '* Romaka Sidhanta," 
very possibly in allusion to the system of the western 
(or Roman) astronomers, he goes on to say, " If 
these circumstances, joined to a resemblance hardly 
to be supposed casual, which the Hindu astronomy, 
with its apparatus of eccentrics and epicycles bears 
in many respects to that of the Greeks, be thought 
to authorise a belief that the Hindus received from 
the Greeks that knowledge which enabled them to 
correct and improve their own imperfect astro- 
nomy, I shall not feel inclined to dissent from the 
opinion. There does appear groinul for more than 
a conjecture that the Hindus had obtained a know- 
ledge of Grecian astronomy before the Arabs began 
to cultivate the science." 

In another place* Mr. Colebrooke intimates his 
opinion that it is not improbable that the Hindus 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. ix. \).'6\1. 


BOOK may have taken the hint of their solar zodiac from 
III. '' 

^ the Greeks, but adapted it to their own ancient 

division of the ecHptic into twenty-seven parts. 
Their astrology, he thinks, is almost entirely bor- 
rowed from the West.* 

From what has been already said, it seems very 
improbable that the Indian geometry and arithmetic 
have been borrowed from the Greeks, and there is 
no other nation which can contest the priority in 
those sciences. The peculiarity of tlieir method 
gives every appearance of originality to their dis- 
coveries in algebra also. 

In this last science, the claims of the Arabs have 
been set up against them ; but Mr. Colebrooke 
has fully established that algebra had attained the 
highest perfection it ever reached in India before 
it was known to the Arabians, and, indeed, before 
the first dawn of the culture of the sciences among 
that people, t 

Whatever the Arabs possessed in common with 
the Hindus, there are good grounds for thinking 

* In addition to the points alreadj' mentioned, in which the 
Hindus have gone beyond the other ancient nations, Mr. Cole- 
brooke mentions two in astronomy : one is in their notions 
regarding the precession of the equinoxes, in which they were 
more correct than Ptolemy, and as much so as the Arabs, who 
did not attain to their degree of improvement till a later period ; 
the other relates to the diurnal revolution of the earth on its 
axis, which the Bramins discuss in the fifth centurj', and which, 
although formerly suggested in ancient times by Heraclitus, 
had been long laid aside by the Greeks, and was never revived 
in Eui'ope until the days of Copernicus. 

\ Colebrooke's Algebra, Arithmetic, &c. 


that they received from the latter nation ; and chap. 

however great their subsequent attainments and 

discoveries, it is to be remembered that they did 
not begin till the eighth century, when they first 
sained access to the treasures of the Greeks. 

On these subjects, however, as on all connected 
with the learning of the Bramins, the decisions of 
the most learned can only be considered as opinions 
on the facts at present before us ; and they must all 
be regarded as open to question until our increased 
acquaintance with Shanscrit literature shall qualify 
us to pronounce a final judgment. 

The history of science, after all, is chiefly inte- 
resting from the means it affords of judging of 
the character of the nation possessed of it ; and in 
this view we find the Bramins as remarkable as 
ever for diligence and acuteness, but with the 
same want of manliness and precision as in other 
departments, and tlie same disposition to debase 
every thing by a mixture of fable, and by sacri- 
fice of the truth to the supposed interests of the 
sacerdotal order. 

vol,. [. 




BOOK The Hindus have made less progress in this than 
in any other science. 

According to their system, Mount Meru oc- 
cupies the centre of the world.* It is a lofty 
mountain of a conical shape, the sides composed 
of precious stones, and the top forming a sort of 
terrestrial paradise. It may have been suggested 
by the lofty mountains to the north of India, but 
seems no part of that chain, or of any other that 
exists out of the fancy of the mythologists. 

It is surrounded by seven concentric belts or 
circles of land, divided by seven seas. 

The innermost of tliose circles is called Jambud- 
wip, which includes India, and is surrounded by a 
sea of salt water, t 

The other six belts are separated from each other 
by seas of milk, wine, sugar-cane juice, &c., and 
appear to be entirely fabulous. 

The name of Jambudwip is sometimes confined 
to India, which at other times is called Bharata. 

That country, and some of those nearest to it, 

* Some consider Mount Meru as the North Pole : however 
this may be, it is, in all the geographical systems of the Hindus, 
the point to which every thing refers. 

f Col. Wilford, Asiatic Researches, vol, viii. pp. 291. 298, &c. 


appear to be the only part of the earth at all known chap. 
to the Hindus. 

Within India, their ancient books fnrnish geo- 
g-raphical divisions, with lists of the towns, moun- 
tains, and rivers in each ; so that, though indistinct 
and destitute of arrangement, many modern divi- 
sions, cities, and natural features can be recog- 

But all beyond India is plunged in a darkness 
from which the boldest speculations of modern 
geographers have failed to rescue it.* 

It is remarkable that scarcely one Shanscrit 
name of a place beyond the Indus cohicides with 
those of Alexander's historians, though many on 
tlie Indian side do. It would seem, therefore, as 
if the Hindus had, in early times, been as averse 
to travelling as most of them are still ; and that 
they would have remained for ever unconnected 
with the rest of the world if all mankind had been 
as exempt from restlessness and curiosity as them- 

The existence of Indian nations in two places 
beyond the Indus furnishes no argument against 

* The ill success with which this has been attempted may be 
judged of by an examination of Col. Wilford's Essay on the 
Sacred Isles in the West, especially the first part {Asiatic lie- 
searches, vol. vii'i. p. 267.); while the superiority of tlie mate- 
rials for a similar incjuiry within India is siiown by the same 
author's i'Lssay on Gangetic Ilindostan {Asiatic licscarches, 
vol. xiv. p. 3i73.), as well as by an essay in the Oriental Maga- 
zine, vol. ii. See also the four first chapters of the second book 
of the Vi.?hnu Purana, p. IGl. 

s '> 



BOOK this observation. Those near the sea coast were 

probably driven by political convulsions from their 

own country, and settled on the nearest spot they 
could find (see Appendix III.). Of those in the 
northern mountains we cannot guess the history ; 
but although both seem, in Alexander's time, to 
have lost their connection with India, and to have 
differed in many respects from the natives of that 
country, yet they do not appear to have formed 
any sort of acquaintance with other nations, or to 
have been met with beyond their own limits. 

At present (besides religious mendicants who 
occasionally wander to Baku the sacred fire on 
the Caspian, who sometimes go to Astrachan, and 
have been known to reach Moscow), individuals of 
a Hindu tribe from Shikarpur, a city near the 
Indus, settle as merchants and bankers in the 
towns of Persia, Turkistan, and the southern do- 
minions of Russia ; but none of these are given to 
general inquiry, or ever bring back any information 
to their countrymen. 

Few even of the neighbouring nations are men- 
tioned in their early books. They knew the 
Greeks, and applied to them the name of Ya- 
van, which they afterwards extended to all other 
conquerors from the north-west ; and there is 
good reason to think that they knew the Scythians 
under the name of Sacas.* But it was within 
India that they became acquainted with both those 

* Supposed to be the same with the Sacse of the ancient 
Persians, as reported by the Greeks. 



nations, and they were totally ignorant of the re- chap. 

ffions from whicli their visitors had come. The 

most distinct indication that I have observed of an 
acquaintance with the Romans is in a writer of the 
seventh or eighth century, quoted by Mr. Cole- 
brooke *, who states that the Barbaric tongues are 
called Parasica, Yavana, Raumaca, and Barbara, 
the three first of which would appear to mean ' 
Persian, Greek, and Latin. 

The western country, called Romaka, where it 
is said to be midnight when it is sunrise at Lanka, 
may perhaps be Rome also. It is mentioned in 
what is stated to be a translation from the *' Sid- 
hanta Sirimoni t," and must, in that case, have been 
known to the Bramins before they had much com- 
munication with the Mahometans. China they 
certainly knew. We possess the travels of a native 
of that country in India in the fourth century ; and 
the King of Magada is attested, by Chinese authors, 
to have sent embassies to China in the second and 
subsequent centuries. There is a people called 
China mentioned in Menu, but they are placed 
among the tribes on the north-west of India ; and, 

* Transaction!? of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 4^53. 

-j- Ward's Iliiidcxjs, vol. ii. p. 't.j?. Kuniaka is also men- 
tioned as meaning Rome by Co\.\X\\ford (Asiatic Jiesearc/ics, 
vol. viii. p. f5G7., and elsewhere) ; but it is to be observed that 
Rome and Italy are, to this day, quite unknown in the East. 
Even in Persia, Rum means Asia Minor; and the " Ca'sar of 
Rome" always meant the Byzantine Emperor, until tlie tith; 
was transferred to the Turkish Sultan. 

s 3 


BOOK moreover, the name of Chin was not adopted in the 

' country to which it belongs till long after Menu's 


Unless we put faith in the very learned and in- 
genious deductions of Colonel Wilford, it will be 
difficult to find, in the essays on geographical sub- 
jects which have been drawn from Shanscrit sources, 
any signs of an acquaintance with Egypt ; although 
the trade carried on for centuries by Greek and 
Roman navigators from that country might have 
been expected to have brought it into notice. 





The greater periods employed in the computation chap. 

of time by the Hindus need scarcely be discussed. . 

Thouo-h founded on astronomical data, they are Mythoio- 

O " gical pe- 

purely mythological, and do not deserve the atten- "ods. 
tion they have attracted from European scholars. 

A complete revolution of the nodes and ap- 
sides, which they suppose to be performed in 
4,320,000,000 years, forms a calpa or day of 
Brahma. In this are included fourteen manwan- 
taras, or periods during each of which the world 
is under the control of one Menu. Each m^an- 
wantara is composed of seventy-one maha yugas, 
or great ages, and each maha yuga contains four 
yugas, or ages, of unequal length. These last 
bear some resemblance to the golden, silver, 
brazen, and iron ages of the Greeks. 

This last division alone has any reference to the 
affairs of mankhid.* The first, or satya yuga, ex- 
tends through 1,728,000 years. The second, or 
treta yuga, througli 1,290,000 years. The third, 
called dwapar yuga, through 864,000 years ; and 
the last, or cali yuga, through 432,000 years. Of 
the last or cali yuga of the present manwantara 

• Mr. Davis, Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 22S— 2.'{1. 
S 4 


BOOK 4941 years have elapsed ; and within that period 
" most historical events are acknowledsred to have 

occurred. Some, however, are placed at earlier 
epochs ; and would be beyond the reach of chro- 
nology, if they could not be brought within more 
credible limits.* 
Tmpossi- We must, therefore, discard the yugas, alonff 

bllityof . ' ' .7 & ' & 

fixing early with tlic calpas aiid manwantaras, and must en- 
deavour to draw the chronology of the Hindus 
from such other sources as they have themselves 
presented to us. 

It has been shown that the Vedas were probably 
collected about fourteen centuries before Christ ; 
but no historical events can with any certainty be 
connected with that date. The astronomer Parasara 
may perhaps have lived in the fourteenth century 
before the commencement of our aera ; and with 
him, as with his son Vyasa, the compiler of the 
Vedas, many historical or mythological persons 
are connected ; but, in both cases, some of those 
who are made contemporary with the authors in 
question appear in periods remote from each 

* In fixing the date of the Institutes of Menu, (which appear, 
in fact, to have been written less than 900 years before Christ,) 
the Hindu chronologists overflow even the limits of the four 
ages, and go back nearly seven manwantaras, a period exceeding 
4,320,000 multiplied by six times seventy-one. (Asiatic Re- 
searches, vol. u. p. 116.) The " Surya Sidhanta " (Avritten in 
the fifth century of our sera) assumes a more modern date ; and, 
being revealed in the first, or satya yuga, only claims an anti- 
quity of from 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 years. 

Rama, who seems to be a real historical person, is fixed at 
the end of the second age, near 1,000,000 years ago. 


other ; and the extravao-ant duration assii^rned to chap. 

. ^ . . III. 
the lives of all holy persons, prevents the partici- 

pation of any of them from contributing to settle 

the date of a transaction. 

The next ground on which we might hope to Soiarand 
establish the Hindu chronology is furnished by 
lists given in the Puranas of two parallel lines of 
kings (the races of the sun and moon), which are 
supposed to have reigned in Ayodha, and in the 
tract between the Jamna and Ganges, respectively ; 
and from one or other of which all the royal 
families of ancient India were descended. These 
lists, according to the computation of Sir W. 
Jones, would carry us back to 3500 years before 
Christ. But the lists themselves are so contra- 
dictory as to prevent all confidence in either. The 
heads of the two are contemporaries, being brother 
and sister ; yet the lunar race has but forty-eight 
names in the same period, in which the solar has 
ninety-five ; and Crishna, whom the Puranas them- 
selves make long posterior to Rama, is fiftieth in 
the lunar race, while Rama is sixty-third in the 

The various attempts made to reconcile the lists 

* For the most improved copies of the lists sec Prinscp's 
Useful Tables, p. 94, &c. For the previous discussions, see Sir 
W.Jones, Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 128.; Colonel Wilford, 
Asiatic liescurches, \o\. y. taljle ojjposite, }>. 211., and p. 287. 
Mr. Ward, vol. i. p. 11-.; Dr. Hamilton liuchanans Hindoo 
Genealogies (a separate work) ; consult likewise Professor Wil- 
son's Preface to the Vishnu Puraria, p. Ixiv., 8cc., and the Purana 
itself, Book IV. chaps, i. and ii. j). 'Ml. 

QQQ history of INDIA. 

BOOK have only served to increase the discrepancy. The 
' narrative by which they are accompanied in the 
Puranas discredits them still further by absurdities 
and puerilities ; and, although many of the kings 
named may have reigned, and some of the tales 
related may be allusions to real history, yet no 
part of either, down to the time of Crishna and 
the war of the Maha Bharat, affords the least basis 
on which to found a system of chronology. 

From the time of the Maha Bharat we have 
numerous lists of kings in different parts of India, 
which present individually an appearance of pro- 
bability, and are in several instances confirmed by 
extraneous testimony. 

More frequently they are authenticated or illus- 
trated by religious inscriptions and grants of land. 
These last, in particular, are sculptured on stone 
or engraved on copper plates ; the latter very 
common and generally in good preservation. They 
not only record the date with great care and 
minuteness, but almost always contain the names 
of some of the predecessors of the prince who 
confers the grant. If sufficient numbers should be 
found, they may fix the dates of whole series of 
kings ; but, at present, they are unconnected frag- 
ments, which are of use in local histories, but give 
little help to general chronology. 
Kings of The line of Magada alone, besides receiving 

IMagada. . ^ 

striking confirmations from various quarters, pre- 
sents a connected chain of kings from the war of 
the Maha Bharat, to the fifth century after Christ, 


and thus admits of an approximation to the prin- chap 
cipal epochs within tliat period. __ 

Sahadeva was King of Magada at the end of 
tlie war of the Maha Bharat. 

The thirty-fifth king in succession from him was 
Ajata Satru, in whose reign Sakya or Gotama, the 
founder of the Budha religion, flourished. There 
can be Httle doubt that Sakya died about 550 be- 
fore Christ.* We have, therefore, the testimonies 
of the Burmese, Ceylonese, Siamese, and some 
other Baudha chronicles, written out of India by 
which to settle the aera of Ajata Satru. 

The sixth in succession from Ajata Satru, in- 
clusive, was Nanda, on whose date many others 
depend. The ninth from Nanda was Chandra 
Gupta; and the third from him was Asoca, a 
prince celebrated among the Baudhas of all coun- 
tries, as one of the most zealous disciples and pro- 
moters of their religion. 

It is by means of the two last princes that we 
gain a link to connect the chronology of India 
with tliat of Europe ; and are enabled (though 
still very loosely) to mark the limits of the period 
embraced by Hindu history. 

From some motive, probably connected with the 
desire to magnify Crishna, the Hindu authors have 
made the end of the war of the Maha Bharat and 
the death of that hero contemj)orary with the 
commencement of the cali yiig, or evil age ; and 

♦ Sc(; p. 215. 


BOOK this assertion, though openly denied by one of their 
' own authors*, and indirectly contradicted by facts 
stated in others, is still regarded as incontrovertible. 
Chandra- 111 applying the list of kings drawn from the 

temporary Puranas to thc Verification of this epoch, Sir W. 
leuc'usT Jones was struck with the resemblance between 
the name of Chandragupta and that of Sandra- 
cottus, or Sandracoptus, who is mentioned by 
European writers as having concluded a treaty with 
Seleucus. On a close examination, he was sur- 
prised to find a great resemblance in their histories; 
and assuming the date of Chandragupta to be the 
same as that of Seleucus, he was enabled to reduce 
those of preceding events to a form more consistent 
with our notions.! The arguments by which this sup- 
position may be supported are fully and fairly stated 
by Professor Wilson, t They are — the resemblance 
between the names just mentioned, and between 
that of Xandramas, by which Diodorus calls San- 
dracottus, and that of Chandramas, by which he is 
sometimes designated in Indian authors ; his low 
birth, and his usurpation, which are common to 
the Greek and Hindu stories ; the situation of his 
kingdom, as described by Megasthenes, who was 
ambassador at his court ; the name of his people, 
Prasii with the Greeks, corresponding to Prachi, 
the term applied by Hindu geographers to the 

* An historian of Caslimir. See note on the age of Yudashtir, 
Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. 

-j- Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. xxvii. 
X Hindu Theatre, vol. iii. p. 3. 



tract in wliicli Magada is situated; and of his chap. 

capital, which the Greeks call Palibothra, while 

the Hindus call that of Chandragupta Pataliputra. 
Subsequent discoveries, from Braminical sources, 
fixed the date of Chandragupta with somewhat 
more precision: Wilford placed him in 350 b.c, 
and AVilson in 315, and they received an unex- 
pected confirmation from the chronological tables 
of the Baudhas, procured from the distant countries 
of Ava and Ceylon. The first of these (from 
Crawford's "Ava,"*) places his reign between the 
years 392 and 376 b.c; and the other (in Tur- 
nour's *'Mahawanso,"t) between the years 381 and 
347 B.C. ; while the Greek accounts lead us to fix 
it between the accession of Seleucus in 312, and 
his death in 280 b.c.1: The difference between 
the Baudha and Greek dates, amounting to thirty 
or forty years §, is ascribed by Mr. Tumour to a 
wilful fraud on the part of the priests of Budha, 
who, though entirely free from the extravagances 
of Bramin chronology, have been tempted on this 
occasion to accommodate their historical dates to 
one which had been assumed in their religious tra- 
ditions. The effect of this inconsistency would 

* See Prinseps Useful Tables, p. 132. 

t Introduction, p. xlvii. % Clinton's Fasti. 

§ As the expedition of Seleucus was undertaken immediately 
after his reduction of Babylon (312 B.C.), we may suppose it to 
have taken place in 310 B.C.; and as Clumdragupta (according 
to the " Mahawanso") died in 317 b.c, there will be a discre- 
pancy to the extent of thirty-seven years, even if the last act of 
Chandragupta's life was to sign the treaty. 




and Asoca 
with An- 

not be sufficient to prevent our retaining a strong 
conviction of the identity of Chandragnpta and 
Sandracottus, even if no further proof had been 
obtained. All doubt, however, has been removed, 
by a discovery which promises to throw light on 
other obscure parts of Indian history. Many caves, 
rocks, and pillars, in different parts of India, are 
covered with inscriptions in a character wliich nei- 
ther European nor native had been able to decipher, 
and which tantalised the spectators like the hiero- 
glyphics of Egypt ; until Mr. Prinsep, who had 
long made them his study, without being able to 
find a key to them, happened to notice the brevity 
and insulated position of all the inscriptions sent 
from a particular temple ; and, seizing on this cir- 
cumstance, which he combined with a modern 
practice of the Baudhas, he inferred that each pro- 
bably recorded the gift of some votary. At the 
same time when he made this ingenious conjecture, 
he was struck with the fict that all the inscriptions 
ended in the same two letters ; and, following up 
his theory, he assumed that those letters were D 
and N, the two radical letters in the Shanscrit name 
for a donation. The frequent recurrence of another 
letter suggested its representing S, the sign of the 
genitive in Shanscrit ; and, having now got hold 
of the clue, he soon completed his alphabet. He 
found that the language was not pure Shanscrit, 
but Pali, the dialect in which the sacred writings 
of the Baudhas are composed ; and by means of 
these discoveries, he proceeded to read the hitherto 


illegible inscriptions, and also to make out the ^^^^' 

names of the kings on one series of the Indian . 

coins. He met with an agreeable confirmation of 
his theory, from a fact observed simultaneously by 
himself and Professor Lassen of Bonn ; that the 
names of Agathocles and Pantaleon, which ap- 
peared in Greek on one side of a medal, were 
exactly repeated on the reverse in the newly dis- 
covered alphabet. 

He now applied the powerful engine he had 
gained to the inscription on Firuz Shah's column at 
Delhi, which has long attracted the curiosity of 
orientalists, as w^ell as to three other columns in 
Gangetic India, and found them all give way 
without difficulty. They proved all to contain 
certain edicts of Asoca ; and as he proceeded with 
other inscriptions, he found two relating to similar 
mandates of the same monarch. One of these was 
found by the Rev. Mr. Stevenson, President of the 
Literary Society of Bombay, engraved on a rock 
at Girnar, a sacred mountain of the Baudhas, in 
the peninsula of Guzerat ; and the other by Lieu- 
tenant Kittoe, on a rock at Dluiuli, in Cattac, on 
the opposite coast of India. One of these con- 
tained eleven, and the other fourteen edicts: all 
those of the })iliars were included in both, and the 
two rock inscrij)tions agreed in ten edicts on the 
whole. One of those, found on both the rocks, 
related to the erection of hosj)itals and other 
charitable foundations, which were to be established 
as well in Asoca's own prox iiiccs, as in others oc- 



BOOK cLipied by the faithful (four of whom are named), 
*' even as far as Tambapanni ; (Taprobane or 
Ceylon ;)"and ''moreover within the dominions of 
Antiochus the Greek [Antioko Yona], of which 
Antiochus's generals are the rulers." 

A subsequent edict, on one of the rocks, is in a 
shattered state, and has not been perfectly made 
out ; but seems to express exultation in the exten- 
sion of As6ca*s doctrines (especially with regard to 
forbearing to kill animals *), in foreign countries, as 
well as in his own. It contains the following frag- 
ment : " and the Greek king besides, by whom 
the chapta (?) Kings Turamayo, Gongakena, and 
Maga." t 

Two of these names Mr. Prinsep conceives to 
refer to Ptolemaios and Magas, and regards their 
occurrence as a proof that Asoca was not without 
acquaintance and intercourse witii Egypt ; a con- 
clusion which may be adopted without hesitation, 
as the extent of the India trade, under the first 
Ptolemies, is a well-known fact in history. Mr. 
Prinsep's opinion, that the Ptolemy referred to 
was Ptolemy Philadelphus, who had a brother, 
named Magas, married to a daughter of Antiochus 
I., appears also to be highly probable ; and 
would establish that the Antiochus mentioned in 
the other edict is either the first or second of the 
name : that is, either the son or grandson of 

* Journal of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, vol. vii. p. 261. 
f Ibid. p. 224. 


The synchronism between the m-andson of Chan- chap. 

dragupta and one of the early successors of Se- 

leucus leaves no doubt of the contemporary exist- 
ence of the elder princes ; and fixes an epoch in 
Hindu chronology, to which the dates of former 
events may with confidence be referred. 

The first date to fix is that of Nanda. Though Date of 


there were eight kings between him and Chan- reign. 
dragupta, it is not known whether they were in 
lineal or collateral succession, one account making 
them all brothers ; but four of the Puranas agree 
in assigning only 100 years to the whole nine, in- 
cluding Nanda. We may therefore suppose 
Nanda to have come to the throne 100 years before 
Sandracottus, or 400 years before Christ. 

The sixth kinijr, counting back from Nanda in- Date of the 

, . death of 

elusive, is Ajata Satru, in whose reign Sakya died. BiuU.a. 
The date of that event has been shown, on autho- 
rities independent on the Hindus, to be about 550 
B. c. ; and as five reigns interposed between that 
and 400 would only allow thirty years to each, 
there is no irreconcileable discrepancy between the 

Between Nanda and the war of the Maha Bluirat Probable 

date of the 

there had been three dynasties ; and the number of war of the 
years during wliich each reigned is given m four Biuiiat. 
Puranas. The aggregate is 1500 years ; but the 
longest list gives only forty-seven kings ; and the 
same four Puranas in another place give, with 
equal confidence, a totally different number of 
years. One makes the interval between Nanda 

VOL. I. T 


BOOK and the war of the Maha Bharat 1015 years ; two 
' others, 1050; and the fourth, 1115. Now, the 

shortest of these periods, divided among forty-seven 
kings, gives upwards of twenty-one years to a 
reign ; and to make out 1500 years, would require 
more than thirty-one years to each reign. Such a 
duration through forty-seven continuous reigns is 
so unUkely, that we can scarcely hesitate to prefer 
the medium between the shorter periods, and de- 
cide, as far as depends on the evidence of the 
Puranas, that the war of the Maha Bharat ended 
1050 years before Nanda, or 1450 before Christ. 
If we adopt the belief of the Hindus, that the 
Vedas were compiled, in their present form, during 
that contest, we must place the war in the four- 
teenth century before Christ, upwards of fifty years 
later than the date given by the Puranas. This 
alteration is recommended by the circumstance 
that it would still further reduce the length of the 
reigns. It would place the war of the Maha 
Bharat about 200 years before the siege of Troy. 
But even the longest period (of 1500 years from 
Nanda) would still leave ample room since the 
commencement of the cali yug, or since the flood, 
to dispose of the few antecedent events in Hindu 
history. Supposing the flood and the cali yug 
to be about the same time (as many opinions jus- 
tify), there would be considerably more than 1400 
years from that epoch to the war of the Maha 
Dates after Two Purauas givc the period from Nanda for- 



wards, to the end of the fifth dynasty from him, chap. 

or fourth from Sandracottus : the whole period is 

?i'^(S or 851 years from Nanda, or 436 or 454 a. d. 
The last of tliese dynasties, the Andras, acceded 
to power about the beginning of our agra ; which 
agrees with the mention by Pliny, in the second 
century, of a powerful dynasty of the same name ; 
and although this might refer to another family of 
Andras in the Deckan, yet the name of Andre Indi, 
on the Ganges, in the Peutengerian tables, makes 
it equally probable that it applied to the one in 

The Chinese annals, translated by De Guiornes, Coin. 
notice, in a. d. 408, the arrival of ambassadors «itii the 

n ITT • ■\T ' fr- f^ fT' 1 CllillOSC 

from the Indian prmce lue-gnai, Kmgof Kia-pi-li. amiais. 
Kia-pi-li can be no other than Capili, the birth- 
place and capital of Budha, which the Chinese 
have put for all Magada. Yue-gnai again bears 
some resemblance to Yaj-nasri, or Yajna, the king 
actually on the throne of the Andra at the period 
referred to. The Andra end in Pulimat, or Pulo- 
marchish, a. d. 436 ; and from thence forward the 
chronology of Magada relapses into a confusion 
nearly equal to that before the war of tiie Malui 

An embassy is indeed mentioned in the Chinese 
annals, as arriving in a. d. 641, from Ilo-lo-mien, 
of the family of Kie-li-tie, a great king in India. 
M. de Gujgncs supposes his kingdom to have been 
Magada ; but neither tiie king's name nor that of 

T 2 


BOOK the dynasty bears the least resemblance to any in 
the Puranas.* 

Obscurity The Vishnu Purana states (m the prophetic tone 

436. which, as a professed work of Vyasa, it is compelled 

to assume, in speaking of events subsequent to that 

sage's death,) that " after these " [Andras] there 

will reign — 

7 A'bhiras, 

10 Garddharbas, 
16 Sakas, 

8 Yavanas, 
14 Tusharas, 

13 Mundas, and 

11 Maunas ; who will be sovereigns of the 
whole earth for 1390 years : 11 Pauras follow, who 
reign for 300 years, and are succeeded by the 
Kailaka Yavanas, who reign for 106 years. All this 
would carry us nearly 500 years beyond the present 
year 1840; but, if we assume that the summing 

* The note in which M. de Guignes offers this opinion is 
curious, as showing, from a Chinese work which he quotes, that 
Magada was called Mo-kia-to, and its capital recognised by both 
its Hindu names Kusumapura, for which the Chinese wrote 
Kia-so-mo-pou-lo, and Pataliputra, out of which they made 
Po-to-li-tse, by translating Putra, which means a son in Shan- 
scrit, into their own corresponding word tse. The ambassadors 
in A. D. 641 could not, however, have come from Pataliputra, 
Avhich had long before been deserted for Rajgrihi (or Behar) ; 
for the capital was at the latter place when visited by the Chi- 
nese traveller, in the beginning of the fifth century (^Journal of 
the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. v. p. 132.); and another Chinese, 
who Avrote in A. d. 640, states that Pataliputra was a mass of 
ruins when he had seen it on his travels. 


u]) the first dynasties into 1390 is an error, and chap. 

that they were in reality contemporaneous, or 

nearly so, the conchision we are led to is, that after 
the Andras, a period of confusion ensued, during 
which different parts of India were possessed by 
different races, of whom nothing further is known. 
If the Yavans be Greeks, it would, no doubt, be 
surprising to find eight of their monarchs reigning 
after a. d. 436 ; and the Kaikala Yavans would be 
still more embarrassing. They may possibly be 

Immediately after all this confusion comes a 
list of dynasties reigning in different kingdoms ; 
and among them is a brief notice of " the Guptas 
of Magada, along the Ganges, to Prayaga." Now, 
it has been put out of all dispute, by coins and in- 
scriptions, that a race, some of whose names ended 
in Gupta, did actually reign along the Ganges 
from the fourth or fifth to the seventh or eiohth 

There is, therefore, some truth mixed with these 
crudities, but it cannot be made available without 
external aid ; and as nearly the same account is 
given in the otiier historical Puranas, we have no- 
thing left but to give up all further attempts at the 
chronology of Magada. 

The aL-ra of Vicramaditya in Malwa, which .icmsof 

tya aiul Sa- 
* Professor Wilson, Vis/uni Piiriina, p. 481. Dr. Mill's I'valiana. 

translation from tho Allaliahad coliinin, in tho Journal of the 

Asiatic Socielji of Calcrilfa, vol. iii. p. 'i.lT. ; and otlior papers 

in that Journal, quoted by Piofessor Wilson. 

T 3 


BOOK begins fifty-seven years before Christ, and is in 

'__ constant use till this day all over Hindostan ; and 

that of Salivcihana, whose aera, commencing a.d. 78, 
is equally current in the Deckan, might be ex- 
pected to afford fixed points of reference for all 
events after their commencement ; and they are 
of the greatest use in fixing the dates of grants of 
land which are so important a part of our mate- 
rials for history. But the fictitious asra of the 
Puranas prevents their being employed in those 
collections, and there are no other chronicles in 
which they might be made use of. On the whole 
we must admit the insufficiency of the Hindu 
chronology, and confess that, with the few ex- 
ceptions specified, we must be content with 
guesses, until the arrival of the Mussulmans at 
length put us in possession of a regular succession 
of events, with their dates. 




The earliest medical writers extant are Charaka chap. 


and Susruta. We do not know the date of either ' 

of them ; but there is a commentary on the second 
and later of the two, which was written in Cash- 
mir in the twelfth or thirteenth century, and does 
not seem to have been the first.* 

These authors were translated into Arabic, and 
probably soon after that nation turned its attention 
to literature. The Arab writers openly acknow- 
ledge their obligations to the medical writers of 
India, and place their knowledge on a level with 
that of the Greeks. It helps to fix the date of 
their becoming known to the Arabs, to find that 
two Hindus, named Manka and Saleh, were phy- 
sicians to Harun al Ilashid in the eighth century. t 

Tlieir acquaintance with medicines seems to 
have been very extensive. AVe are not surprised 
at tlieir knowledge of simples, in which they gave 
early lessons to Europe, and more recently taught 

* Most of the information in this chapter is taken from an 
essay on the antiquity of the Indian materia medica, by Dr. 
Royle, Professor of King's College, London. The additions are 
from Wm'cTs Hi/idoos (vol. ii. p. flfl?, <.'vrc.), and Mr. Coats, 
Transactions af (he Litcrari/ Svcicfij of Jiniiihai/, vol. iii. p. 'lyi. 

\ Professor Diet/., rjuotcd by Dr. Koylc, p. Cil'. 

T 4. 


BOOK US the benefit of smokino: datura in asthma, and 
III. . , ° 

..^__^^ the use of cowitch against worms : their chymical 
skill is a fact more striking and more unexpected. 

They knew Iiow to prepare sulphuric acid, nitric 
acid, and muriatic acid ; the oxide of copper, iron, 
lead (of which they had both the red oxide and 
litharge), tin, and zinc ; the sulphuret of iron, 
copper, mercury, antimony, and arsenic ; the sul- 
phate of copper, zinc, and iron ; and carbonates of 
lead and iron. Their modes of preparing those 
substances seem, in some instances, if not m all, 
to have been peculiar to themselves.* 

Their use of these medicines seems to have 
been very bold. They were the first nation who 
employed minerals internally, and they not only 
gave mercury in that manner, but arsenic and 
arsenious acid, which were remedies in intermit- 
tents. They have long used cinnabar for fumi- 
gations, by which they produce a speedy and safe 

Their surgery is as remarkable as their medi- 
cine, especially when we recollect their ignorance 
of anatomy. They cut for the stone, couched for 
the cataract, and extracted the foetus from the 
womb, and in their early works enumerate no 
less than 127 sorts of surgical instruments. t But 
their instruments were probably always rude. At 
present they are so much so, that, though very 

* See Dr. Royle, p. 44'., \vho particularly refers to the pro- 
cesses for making calomel and corrosive sublimate. 
■\ Dr. Royle, p. 49. 


successful in cataract, their operations for the chap. 

r n 1 IV. 

Stone are often ratal. , 

They have long practised inoculation ; but still 
many lives were lost from small pox, until the in- 
troduction of vaccination. 

The Hindu physicians are attentive to the pulse 
and to the state of the skin, of the tongue, eyes, 
&c., and to the nature of the evacuations ; and 
they are said to form correct prognostics from the 
observation of the symptoms. But their practice 
is all empirical, their theory only tending to mis- 
lead them. Nor are they always judicious in their 
treatment : in fevers, for instance, they shut up 
the patient in a room artificially heated, and de- 
prive him, not only of food, but drink. 

They call in astrology and magic to the aid of 
their medicine, applying their remedies at appro- 
priate situations of the planets, and often accom- 
panying them with mystical verses and charms. 

Many of these defects probably belonged to the 
art in its best days, but the science has no doubt 
declined ; chemists can conduct their preparations 
successfully without having the least knowledge of 
the princi})les by which the desired changes are 
effected ; physicians follow the practice of their 
instructors without inquiry ; and surgery is so far 
neglected, that bleeding is left to the barber, bone- 
setting to the herdsman, and every man is ready 
to administer a blister, which is done with the 
juice of the cnjjhoibiiim, and still oftener with the 
actual cautery. 








The Shanscrit language lias been pronounced by 
one whose extensive acquaintance with tliose of 
other ancient and modern nations entitles his 
opinion to respect, to be " of a wonderful struc- 
ture ; more perfect than the Greek, more copious 
than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than 
either." * 

The language so highly commended seems al- 
ways to have received the attention it deserved. 
Panini, the earliest extant writer on its grammar, 
is so ancient as to be mixed up with the fabulous 
ages. His works and those of his successors have 
established a system of grammar the most com- 
plete that ever was employed in arranging the 
elements of human speech. 

I should not, if I were able, enter on its details 
in this place ; but some explanation of them is 
accessible to the English reader in an essay of 
Mr. Colebrooke.t 

* Sir W. Jones, Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 422. 

■\ Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 199. Among many marks 
of high polish, is one which must have particularly promoted 
the melody of its versification. This consists in what Mr. Cole- 
brooke calls its euphonical orthography, by which letters are 


Besides innumerable grammars and dictionaries, chap. 

there are, in Shanscrit, treatises on rhetoric and 
composition, proportioned in number to the extent 
of Hindu literature in every branch.* Shanscrit 
is still carefully cultivated ; and, though it has long 
been a dead language, the learned are able even 
now to converse in it, probably with as much ease 
as those of Europe found in Latin before the 
general diffusion of the knowledge of modern 
tongues. It would be curious to ascertain when 
it ceased to be the language of the people, and 
how^ far it ever was so in its highly polished form. 

Shanscrit has of late become an object of more 
interest to us, from the discovery of its close con- 
nection (amounting in some cases to identity) 
with Greek and Latin. This fact has long been 
known to Shanscrit scholars, who pointed it out in 
reference to single w^ords ; but it has now been 
demonstrated by means of a comparison of the in- 
flexions, conducted by German writers, and par- 
ticularly by Mr. Bopp.t 

changed, not only so as to avoid harsh combinations in particiihir 
words, but so as to preserve a similar harmony throughout the 
Mhole length of each of their almost interminable compounds, 
and even to contribute to tiic music of whole! periods, which are 
generally subjected to tliose modifications, for the sakeof euphonyj 
which in other languages are confined to single words. 

* Colel)rookc, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. p. 205, he. 

\ See a very succinct account of his comparison in tiie Edin- 
har(jh Iteview, vol. xxxiii. f). 4.'il.; and a more copious one in 
ihe Annals of Orivnlal Literature. 





Other lan- 
guages of 

It is observed by Mr. Colebrooke, that the lan- 
guage, metre, and style of a particular hymn in 
one of the Vedas, furnishes internal evidence 
" that the compilation of those poems in the pre- 
sent arrangement took place after tlie Shanscrit 
tongue had advanced from the rustic and irregular 
dialect in which the multitude of hymns and 
prayers of the Veda was composed, to the polished 
and sonorous language in which the mythological 
poems, sacred and profane, have been written." 

From the Vedas to Menu, and from Menu to 
the Puranas, Sir W. Jones conceives the change 
to be exactly in the same proportion as from the 
fragments of Numa to those of the twelve tables, 
and from those to the works of Cicero. 

The Indian names introduced by the historians 
of Alexander are often resolvable into Shanscrit in 
its present form. No allusion is made by those 
authors to a sacred language, distinct from tiiat of 
the people ; but, in the earliest Hindu dramas, 
women and uneducated persons are introduced, 
speaking a less polished dialect, while Shanscrit is 
reserved for the higher characters. 

Some conjectures regarding the history of Shan- 
scrit may be suggested by the degree in which it 
is combined with the modern languages of India. 

The five northern languages, those of the Pan- 
jab, Canouj, Mithila (or North Behar), Bengal, 
and Guzerat, are, as we may infer from Mr. Cole- 
brooke, branches of the Shanscrit, altered by the 
mixture of local and foreign words and new inflec- 


tions, much as Italian is from Latin * ; but of the chap. 

' V. 
five languages of the Deckan, three, at least, 

(Tamul, Tehigu, and Carnata,) have an origin 
totally distinct from the Shanscrit, and receive 
words from that tongue in the same manner that 
Latin has been engrafted on Englisii, or Arabic 
on Hindi. Of these three, Tamul is so much the 
most pure, that it is sometimes thought to be the 
source of the other two. Telugu, thougli it pre- 
serves its own structure, is much mixed with Shan- 
scrit words. 

Of the remaining two, the language of Orissa, 
though probably of the Tamul family, is so much 
indebted to Shanscrit as to lead Mr. Wilson to say 
that '* if the Shanscrit vocables were excluded, it 
could not pretend to be a language." It is, in- 
deed, often counted (instead of Guzerati) among 
the five languages of the north. 

Maharashtra, or Maratta, is considered by Mr. 
Wilson to belong to the northern family, though 
always counted among those of the south. The 
people must therefore be a branch of those beyond 
the Vindya mountains, but no guess can be made 
at the period of their immigration. t 

* Asiatic Researches, vol, vii. p. 219. See also Wilson, 
Preface to the Mackenzie Collection, p. li. 

■j- Tlie remarks on the southern languages are taken, with a 
very few exceptions, from Mr. Wilson's Prefact! to the Mackenzie 
Papers, and from tlie writings of Mr. Kilis and Mr. liahington 
quoted in that dissertation. 






BOOK A PERSON unacqiuiintcd with Shanscrit scarcely 
possesses tlie means of forming an opinion on the 
poetry of the Hindus. 

The singular attention to harmony which charac- 
terises the Shanscrit must give it a charm that is 
lost in translation ; and the unbounded facility of 
forming compounds, which adds so much to the 
richness of the original, unavoidably occasions stiif 
and unnatural combinations in a language of a 
different genius. 

Even the originality of Hindu poetry diminishes 
our enjoyment of it, by depriving it of all aid from 
our poetical associations. The peculiarity of the 
ideas and recollections of the people renders it 
difficult for us to enter into their spirit : while the 
difference of all natural appearances and produc- 
tions deprives their imagery of half its beauty, and 
makes that a source of obscurity to us, which to a 
native of the East would give additional vividness 
to every expression. What ideas can we derive 
from being told that a maiden's lips are a bandhu- 
jiva flower, and that the lustre of the madhuca 
beams on her cheeks? or, in other circumstances, 


that her cheek is like the champa leaf? Yet those chap. 

figures may be as expressive, to those who under- . 

stand the allusions, as our own comparisons of a 
youthful beauty to an opening rose, or one that 
pines for love to a neglected primrose. 

With all these disadvantages, the few specimens 
of Shanscrit poetry to which we have access pre- 
sent considerable beauties. 

Their drama, in particular, which is the depart- Drama, 
ment with which we are best acquainted, rises to a 
high pitch of excellence. Sacontala has long been 
known to Europeans by the classical version of Sir 
W. Jones, and our acquaintance with the principal 
of the remaining dramas has now become familiar 
through the admirable translations of Mr. Wilson. 

Though we possess plays written at least as early 
as the beginning of the Christian aera, and one 
which was composed in Bengal within these fifty 
years, yet the whole number extant does not ex- 
ceed sixty. This is probably owing to the manner 
in which they were at first produced, being only 
acted once on some particular festival in the great 
hall or iimer court of a palace*, and consequently 
losing all the popularity which plays in our times 
derive from repeated representations in different 
cities and in public theatres. Many must also have 
been lost owing to the neglect of the learned ; for 
the taste for this species of poetry seems corrupted, 
if not extinct, among the Bramins ; iuul although 

* Wilson's I'rcfacc; to tlie "Theatre of tlic Hindoos." 


BOOK some of the least deserving specimens are still 
III . 

' favourites, yet Professor Wilson assures us that he 

has met with but one Bramin who could be con- 
sidered as conversant with the dramatic literature 
of his country. * 

Of these dramas we possess translations of eight, 
and abstracts mixed witli specimens of twenty-four 

Though there are no tragedies among the num- 
ber, none at least that terminate unhappily, yet 
these plays exhibit a variety not surpassed on any 
other stage. Besides the different classes of dramas, 
farces, moralities, and short pieces such as we 
should call interludes, the diversity arising from the 
subjects seems to have been almost unlimited. A 
play translated by Dr. Taylor of Bombay is a 
lively, and sometimes humorous, illustration of the 
tenets of the different schools of philosophy.! Of 
the more regular dramas, some relate to the actions 
of heroes ; some, to the wars and loves of kings ; 
others, to the intrigues of ministers ; and others 
are strictly confined to the incidents of private life. 

The characters are as different as the subjects. 
In some there is not a trace of supernatural agency 
or an allusion to religion. In others, nymphs of 
Paradise are attached to earthly lovers ; gods and 
demons appear in others ; enchantments, uncon- 
nected with religion, influence the fate of some ; 

* Appendix to the " Theatre of the Hindoos," vol. iii. p. 97. 
f This will suggest " The Clouds " of Aristophanes, but it is 
more like some of the moralities of the middle ages. 


and ill one, almost the whole Hindu Pantheon is chap. 


brought on the stage to attest the innocence of the . 


In general, however, even in the cases where 
the gods afford their assistance, the interest of the 
drama turns entirely on human feelings and natural 
situations, over which the superior beings have no 
direct influence. 

The number of acts is not fixed, and extends in 
practice from one to ten. 

The division seems to be made when the stage 
becomes vacant, or when an interval is required 
between two parts of the action. 

In general, unity of time is not much violated 
(though in one case twelve years passes between 
the first and second acts) ; unity of place is less 
attended to ; but the more important point of 
unity of action is as well preserved as in most 
modern performances. 

The plots are generally interesting ; the dialogue 
lively, though somewhat prolonged ; and consider- 
able skill is sometimes shown in preparing the 
reader to enter fully into the feelings of the per- 
sons in the situations in which they are about to 
be placed. 

Some judgment of the actors may be formed 
from the specimens still seen. Regular dramas 
are very rarely performed ; when they are, the 
tone is grave and declamatoiy. 'J'hc dresses are 
such as we sec represented on ancient sculptures ; 
and the high ca])s, or rather crowns, of the supe- 

voh. I. u 



^in^ rior cliaracters, composed of dark azure and gold, 

of the form peculiar to Hindu sculpture, give an air 

of much greater dignity tlian the modern turban. 
Mhnics, buffoons, and actors of a sort of partly 
extemporary farces, are common still. They are 
coarse, childish, and, when not previously warned, 
grossly indecent ; but they exhibit considerable 
powers of acting and much comic humour. 

The best dramatic authors are Calidas, who pro- 
bably lived in the fifth century, and Bhavabhuti, 
who flourished in the eighth. Each of these poets 
wrote three dramatic works, two of which, in each 
instance, have been translated. The first excels 
in tenderness and delicacy, and is full of highly 
poetical description. The beauties of his pastoral 
drama of " Sacontala" have long been deservedly 
admired. The " Hero and the Nymph," in Mr. 
Wilson's collection, is in a still more romantic 
strain, and may be compared (in the wildness of 
its design at least) to the *' Tempest " and " Mid- 
summer Night's Dream."* The other great dra- 

* Mr. Mill's judgment on " Sacontala " is not, in general, 
favourable; but one jjassage is so just, and so well expressed, 
that I cannot refrain from quoting it. " The poem, indeed, has 
some beautiful passages. The courtship between Sacontala and 
Dushmantu (that is the name of the king) is delicate and 
interesting ; and the workings of the passion on two amiable 
minds are naturally and vividly pourtrayed. The picture of the 
friendship which exists between the three youthful maidens is 
tender and delightful ; and the scene which takes place when 
Sacontala is about to leave the peaceful hermitage where she 
had happily spent her youth, her expressions of tenderness to 
her friends, her affectionate parting with the domestic animals 



matist possesses all the same qualities in an equal ^^IJ^^- 
degree, accompanied with a sublimity of descrip- 
tion, a manly tone, and a high and even martial 
spirit, that is without example in any other Hindu 
poet that I have heard of. 

It may, indeed, be asserted of all the composi- 
tions of the Hindus, that they participate in the 
moral defects of the nation, and possess a character 
of voluptuous calm more adapted to the con- 
templation of the beauties of nature, than to the 
exertion of energy or to the enjoyment of adven- 
ture. Hence, their ordinary poetry, though flow- 
ing and elegant, and displaying a profusion of the 
richest imagery, is often deficient in the spirit which 
ought to prevent the reader's being cloyed with 
sw^eetness, and seldom moves any strong feeling, or 
awakens any lofty sentiment. 

The emotions in which they are most successful 
are those of love and tenderness. They power- 
fully present the raptures of mutual affection, the 
languishment of absence, and the ravings of dis- 
appointed })assion. They can even rise to the 
nobler feelings of devoted attachment, and generous 
disregard of selfish motives; but we look in vain 
for traits of vigour, of pride, or independence : even 
in their numerous battles they seem to feel little 
real sympathy with the combatants, and arc obliged 
to make up by hyperbolical description for the 

slu; had tended, ;iiid even with thi' lh)\v(rs and trees in wliich 
she had delighted, l)reathe more than pastoral sweetness." 

u 2 


BOOK want of that ardent spirit which a Greek or Roman 
III. , ^ 

__»____ poet could easily transfuse into the bosom of his 
hero, while it glowed with all its fervor in his 

The great strength of tlie Shanscrit poets, as 
well as their great delight, is in description. Their 
most frequent subjects are scenes of repose and 
meditation, amidst sequestered woods and flowery 
banks, fanned by fragrant gales and cooled by 
limpid waters ; but they are not unsuccessful in 
cheerful and animated landscape. Such is the de- 
scription of the country round Ujein in the ninth 
act of " Malati and Madhava;" where mountains, 
rocks, woods, villages, and glittering rivulets com- 
bine to form an extensive and a varied prospect. 
The city occupies the centre of the view : its 
towers, temples, pinnacles, and gates are reflected 
on the clear stream beneath ; while the groves 
on the banks refreshed with early rain, and the 
meadows brightening with the recent shower, afford 
a luxurious resting place to the heavy-uddered 
kine. Sometimes, also, they raise their efforts to 
the frowning mountain and the gathering tempest. 
Bhavabhuti, in particular, excels in this higher sort 

* The following speech of a stripling in one of Bhavabhuti's 
plays, however, reminds us of the " joys of combat " which 
delighted the northern warrior : — 

" Soys. The soldiers raise their bows and point their shafts 
Against you, and the hermitage is still remote. 
Fly! &c. 

" Lava. Let the shafts fall. Oh ! this is slorious I " 


of description. His touches of wild mountain chap 

. vr. 
scenery in different places, and his description of « 

the romantic rocks and solemn forests round the 
source of the Godaveri, are full of grandeur and 
sublimity. Among his most impressive descrip- 
tions is one where his hero repairs at midnight to 
a field of tombs, scarcely lighted by the flames of 
funeral pyres, and evokes the demons of the place, 
whose appearance, filling the air with tlieir shrill 
cries and unearthly forms, is painted in dark and 
powerful colours ; while the solitude, the moan- 
ing of the winds, the hoarse sound of the brook, 
the wailing owl, and the long-drawn howl of the 
jackall, which succeed on the sudden disappear- 
ance of the spirits, almost surpass in effect the pre- 
sence of their supernatural terrors.* 

This taste for description is more striking from 
its contrast with the practice of some of their 

In Persian poets, for instance, a long descrip- 
tion of inanimate nature is rarely met with. Their 
genius is for the expression of deep feelings or of 
sublime conceptions ; and, in their brief and in- 
distinct attempts at description, they attend ex- 
clusively to the sentiment excited by objects in 
the mind, quite neglecting the impression whicJi 
they make on tiie senses. 

But a Shanscrit poet, without omitting the cha- 
racteristic emotion, presents all the elements from 

* Malati aiirl Madliana, Act I. Scene 1., in Wilsons Theatre 
of the JUikIdos. 

U J 



BOOK which it springs, delineates tlie peculiar features 
of the scene, and exhibits the whole in so pic- 
turesque a manner, that a stranger, even with his 
ignorance of the names of plants and animals, 
might easily form a notion of the nature of an In- 
dian landscape. 

Thus, in a description of a Persian garden, the 
opening buds smile, the rose spreads forth all her 
charms to the intoxicated nightingale ; the breeze 
brings the recollections of youth, and the spring 
invites the youths and damsels to his bridal pavi- 
lion. But the lover is without enjoyment in this 
festival of nature. The passing rill recalls the 
flight of time ; the nightingale seems to lament 
the inconstancy of the rose, and to remember that 
the wintry blast will soon scatter her now bloom- 
ing leaves. He calls on the heavens to join their 
tears to his, and on the wind to bear his sighs to 
his obdurate fair. 

A Hindu poet, on the other hand, represents, 
perhaps, the deep shade of a grove, where the 
dark tamala mixes its branches with the pale fo- 
liage of the nimba, and the mangoe tree extends its 
ancient arms among the quivering leaves of the 
lofty pipala, some creeper twines round the jambu, 
and flings out its floating tendrils from the top- 
most bough. The asoca hangs down the long 
clusters of its glowing flov>'ers, the madhavi ex- 
hibits its snow^-white petals, and other trees pour 
showers of blossoms from tlieir loaded branches. 
The air is filled with fragrance, and is still, but for 


the hum of bees and the rippUng of the passing rill. chap. 

The note of the coil is from time to time heard 

at a distance, or the low murmur of tlie turtle- 
dove on some neiglibouring tree. The lover wan- 
ders forth into such a scene, and indulges his 
melancholy in tliis congenial seclusion. He is 
soothed by the south wind, and softened by the 
languid odour of the mangoe blossoms, till he 
sinks down overpowered in an arbour of jessa- 
mine, and abandons himself to the thoughts of his 
absent mistress. 

The figures employed by the two nations par- 
take of this contrast : those of the Persians are 
conventional hints, which would scarcely convey 
an idea to a person unaccustomed to them. A 
beautiful woman's form is a cypress ; her locks 
are musk (in blackness) ; her eyes a languid nar- 
cissus ; and the dimple in her chin a well ; but 
the Shanscrit similes, in which they deal more than 
in metaphors, are in general new and appro- 
priate, and are sufficient, without previous know- 
ledge, to place the points of resemblance in a vivid 

The Shanscrit poets have, no doubt, common- 
places, and some of them as fanciful as those of 
the Persians ; but in general the topics seem 
drawn from the writer's memory and imagination, 
and not adopted from a common stock which has 
sup])lied the wants of a succession of former au- 
thors. Having said so much ofthe Ilindii drama, 
and having anticipated the general character of 

u 4 


BOOK Shanscrit poetry, I shall be more brief with what 

Sacred ^he iiiost volumiiiOLis as well as the most ancient 


and important portion of Hindu verse consists of 
the sacred and the epic or heroic poems. On the 
sacred poems Mr. Colebrooke has pronounced *, 
that their " general style is flat, diffuse, and no less 
deficient in ornament than abundant in repeti- 
tions." The specimens which have been translated 
give no ground for questioning this decision. 

Of the Vedas, the first part, consisting of hymns, 
&c., can alone be classed with poetry ; and how- 
ever sublime their doctrines, it appears that the 
same praise cannot be extended to their composi- 

The extracts translated by Mr. Colebrooke, Ram 
Mohan Rai, and Sir W. Jones, and the large spe- 
cimen in the " Oriental Magazine" for December, 
1825, afford no sign of imagination, and no ex- 
ample of vigour of thought or felicity of diction. 

The same, with a few exceptions, applies to the 
prayers and hymns in Colebrooke's " Treatise on 
the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus."t 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. x. p. 425. 

f A cursory view of the portion of the " Rig Veda" translated 
by Mr. Rosen (lately published) does not raise our opinion of those 
works. It seems to be a collection of short hymns addressed 
to the gods of the elements and the heavenly bodies, conveying 
praises and petitions, little varied, and but rarely showing signs 
of a poetical spirit. The topics of praise appear to be confined 
to the effect of each god's power on the material world ; and 


Next in succession to the Vedas comes the great chap. 
heroic poem of the *' Ramayana," which commemo- 

rates the conquest of Ceylon.* The author, Val- i^ieroic 

1 •' poems. 

miki, is said to have been contemporary with the The " Ra. 

, . . mayana." 

event ; but not even a poet would invest a living 
warrior with supernatural powers, or would give 
him an army of apes for allies. A considerable 
period must have elapsed before the real circum- 
stances of the story were sufficiently forgotten to 
admit of such bold embellishments. This argu- 
ment, however, shows the early date of the hero, 
without impugning the antiquity of the poem. Of 
that there can be no dispute ; for the language 
approaches nearer than any other Shanscrit poem 
to the early form used in the Vedas, and an epi- 
tome is introduced into the *' Maha Bharat," itself 
the work of a remote age. 

This last poem is ascribed to Vyasa, the author The''Maha 
of the Vedas, and an eye-witness of the exploits 
which it records. But within the poem itself is an 
acknowledgment that it was put into its present 
form by Sauti, wlio received it though another 
person from Vyasa : 21,000 verses out of 100,000 
are alleged, in the same place, to be the work of 
the original poet, t Its pretensions to such remote 
antiquity are disproved by the advanced stage of 

the prayers are even less spiritiiul, bfiiiii;, in a great majority of 
instances, for wcaltli alono. 

* See p. 177., and Book I\'. ('li;i|». i. 

f Oriental Magazine, vol. iii. p. I'.'/J. 


BOOK the lanffuasre ; and the mention of Yavanas* Cif 

III. & & ? V 

_____ that term be apphed to the Greeks) shows that 
some portion is of later date than the middle of 
the fourth century before Christ. But there seems 
no ground to question the opinion of one well qua- 
lified to judge that it was familiar to the Hindus 
at least two or three centuries before Christ, t It 
illustrates the date of both works to observe that, 
although the heroes in both are incarnations of 
Vishnu, Rama commonly appears throughout the 
poem in his human character alone, and though 
Crishna is sometimes declared to be the Supreme 
Being in a human form, yet his actions imply no 
such divinity, and the passages in which his iden- 
tity with the ruler of the universe are most clearly 
stated may be suspected of being the production 
of a later period than the rest, t 

With the exception of Mr. Colebrooke (who in- 
cludes them in his censure of the sacred poetry), 
all who have read the heroic poems in the original 
are enthusiastic in their praise ; and their beauties 
have been most felt by those whose own produc- 
tions entitle their judgment to most respect. Nor 
is this admiration confined to critics who have pe- 
culiarly devoted themselves to Oriental literature : 
Milman and Schlegel vie with Wilson and Jones 
in their applause ; and from one or other of those 

* Translation at the place just referred to, and Professor 
Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 101. 
'\ Oriental Magazine, vol. iii. p. 133. 
^ Preface to the " Vishnu Purana/' p. ix. 



writers we learn the simplicity and originality of 
the composition ; the sublimity, grace, and pathos . 
of particular passages ; the natural dignity of the 
actors; the holy purity of the manners, and the 
inexhaustible fertility of imagination in the authors. 
From such evidence, and not from translations in 
prose, we should form our opinions of the originals. 
If we were obliged to judge from such of those 
hteral versions as we possess in English (which are 
mostly from the " Ramayana"), we should be unable 
to discover any of the beauties dwelt on, except 
simplicity ; and should conceive the poems to be 
chiefly characterised by extreme flatness and pro- 
lixity. Some of the poetical translations exhibit 
portions more worthy of the encomiums bestowed 
on them. The specimens of the " Maha Bharat" 
which appeared, in blank verse, in the " Oriental 
Magazine,"* are of this last description. It is true 
that, though selections, and improved by com- 
pression, they are still tediously diffuse ; but they 
contain many s])irited and poetical passages: the 
similes, in particular, are short, simple, and pic- 
turesque ; and, on the whole, the author must be 
acknowledged to tread, at whatever distance, on 
the path of Homer. 

The cj)isode of " Nala and Damyanti," in the 
same poemt, being a domestic story, is better fitted 
than battles to the Hindu genius ; and is a model of 

* For Dccenihcr, lS2t, and Marcli and ScptcMuhcr, 1 825. 
f Translated by the Rev. II. II. Milinaii. 




BOOK beautiful simplicity. Among the other episodes in 
the same poem (as it now stands) is the " Bhagwat 
Gita," which is supposed to be the work of a much 
later age.* It is a poetical exposition of the doc- 
trines of a particular school of theology, and has 
been admired for the clearness and beauty of the 
language and illustrations. Whatever may be its 
merits as to clearness, it deserves high praise for 
the skill with which it is adapted to the original 
epic, and for the tenderness and elegance of the 
narrative by means of which it is introduced. 

The legendary part of the Puranas may be re- 
garded as belonging to this description of poetry. 
Some of the extracts introduced by Colonel Ken- 
nedy in his " Researches into Hindu Mythology " 
are spirited and poetical. 

The portion of the *' Ramayana" of Bodayanah 
translated by Mr. Ellis in the " Oriental Magazine" 
for September 1826, is more conformable to Eu- 
ropean taste than the other translations ; but it 
seems doubtful, from the note in page 8., whether 
it is designed to be a literal translation ; and, con- 
sequently, it cannot safely be taken as a specimen 
of Hindu poetry. 
Descrip- Xhc *' Meghaduta"t is an excellent example of 

purely descriptive poetry. A spirit banished from 
heaven charges a cloud with a message to his 

* Translated by Mr. (afterwards Sir Charles) Wilkins, in 

f Translated by Professor Wilson, and published with the 
original Shanscrit, in 1813. 



celestial mate, and describes the countries over chap. 


which it will have to pass. 

The poet avails himself of the favourite Hindu 
topic of the setting in of the rainy season, amidst 
assembled clouds and muttering thunder, the re- 
vival of nature from its previous languor, the re- 
joicing of some animals at the approach of rain, 
and the long lines of cranes, and other migratory 
birds that appear in the higher regions of the sky : 
he describes the varied landscape and the numerous 
cities over which the cloud is to pass, interspersing 
allusions to the tales which are associated with the 
different scenes. 

Intermixed with the whole are the lamentations 
of the exile himself, and his recollections of all the 
beauties and enjoyments from which he is excluded. 

The description is less exuberant than in most 
poems, but it does not escape the tameness which 
has been elsewhere ascribed to Shanscrit verse. 

The " Gita Govinda, or Songs of Jaya Dcva*," Pastoral. 
are the only specimens I know of pure pastoral. 
They exhibit, in perfection, tlic luxuriant imagery, 
the voluptuous softness, and the want of vigour and 
interest which form the beauties and defects of the 
Hindu school. 

They are distinguished also by tlie use of con- 
ceits ; which, as the author lived as late as the 
fourteenth century, are, perhaps, marks of the taste 
introduced by the Mahometans. 

• Asiatic Ucscarclics, vol. iii. p. 185. 

Tales and 


BOOK J have seen no specimen of Hindu satire. Some 

of their dramatic performances seem to partake of 

Satire. ^|^jg cliaractcr.* Judging from the heaviness of 
the ludicrous parts occasionally introduced- into 
the regular plays, I should not expect to find much 
success in this department. 

Though there are several other poetical works 
translated, enough has, perhaps, been said on this 
subject, considering the little value of opinions 
formed on such grounds. An important part of 
the Hindu literature, however, still remains to be 
noticed, in their tales and fables ; in both of which 
species of composition they appear to have been 
the instructors of all the rest of mankinds The 
most ancient known fables (those of Bidpai) have 
been found almost unchanged in their Shanscrit 
dress ; and to them almost all the fabulous relations 
of other countries have been clearly traced. t The 
complicated scheme of story-telling, tale within 
tale, like the " Arabian Nights," seems also to be of 
their invention, as are the subjects of many well- 
known tales and romances both Oriental and Eu- 
ropean. In their native form, they are told with 
simplicity, and not without spirit and interest. It 
is remarkable, however, that the taste for descrip- 
tion seems here to have changed sides, the Hindu 

* See Wilson's Hindoo Drama, vol. iii. p. 97, he. of the 

\ By Mr. Colebrooke, the Baron de Sacy, and Professor 


Stories having none of those gorgeous and pic- ^^yj^- 

turesque accompaniments which are so captivating 

in the Arabian and Persian tales.* 

* As a guide to further inquiry into the Indian origin of 
European fictions, consult the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, vol. i. p. 156. 





BOOK The Hindu music appears, from the accounts of 

Sir W. Jones* and Mr. Paterson t, to be systematic 

and refined. 

They have eighty-four modes X, of which thirty- 
six are in general use, and each of which, it ap- 
pears, has a pecuUar expression, and the power of 
moving some particular sentiment or affection. 

They are named from the seasons of the year 
and tlie hours of the day and night, and are each 
considered to possess some quality appropriate to 
the time. 

Musical science is said to have declined like all 
others ; and, certainly, the present airs do not give 

* Asiatic Researches, vol, iii. p. 55. 

\ Ibid. vol. ix. p, 445. 

:j: Sir W. Jones explains that these modes are not to be con- 
founded with our modern modes, which result from the system 
of accords now established in Europe. The Indian modes are 
formed partly " by giving the lead to one or other of our twelve 
sounds, and varying, in seven different ways, the position of the 
semitones." This gives the number of eighty-four, which has 
been retained, although many of the original, or rather possible, 
modes have been dispensed with, and the number made up by 
aids drawn " from the association of ideas, and the mutilation of 
the I'egular scales." 


to an unlearned ear the impression of any such chap. 

variety or complication. They are almost all of 

one sort, remarkably sweet and plaintive, and dis- 
tinguishable at once from the melodies of any other 
nation. To do them justice, however, they should 
be heard from a single voice, or accompanied by 
the vina, which has been called the Indian lyre. 

The usual performance is by a band of fiddles 
and drums beaten with the fingers. It is loud and 
unmusical, and would drown the voices of the 
singers if they were not exerted to a pitch that is 
fatal to all delicacy or softness.* 


Painting is still in the lowest stage. Walls of 
houses are often painted in water colours, and 
sometimes in oils. The subjects are mythology, 
battles, processions, wrestlers, male and female 
figures, and animals, with no landscape, or at best 
a tree or two or a building stuck in without any 
knowledge of perspective, or any attention to light 
and shade. Of the works of other nations they 
most resemble the paintings on the walls of Egyptian 
tombs. They have also pictures of a small size in 

* It is but fair to give tlio. following opinion from a person 
ovidontlv qualified to judge (in tlu! Orienliil (JiKtrlcili/ Mttf/azi/ic 
for Deeeiiib-r, I S'i,>, p. 197.): — "We may add, that tlu; only 
native singers and ])layers ulioin Europeans are in the way of 
hearing, in nio.->t parts of India, arc regarded by tlic;ir seientifie 
lirethren in niucli the same liglit as a ballad-singer at the corner 
of the street bv tlie prinio soprano of the Italian Opera." 

VOF,. I. \ 



BOOK a sort of distemper, which, in addition to the above 

subjects, include Hkenesses of individuals. 

The Hindus have often beautifully illuminated 
manuscripts, but the other ornaments are better 
executed than the figures. If portraits were not 
spoken of as common in the dramas, I should sus- 
pect that they had learned this art from the Mus- 
sulmans, by whom (in spite of the discouragement 
given by the Mahometan religion) they are very 
far surpassed. 


One would expect that sculpture would be car- 
ried to high perfection among a people so devoted 
to polytheism ; and it certainly is not for want of 
employment that it has failed to attain to excel- 
lence. Besides innumerable images, all caves and 
temples are covered with statues and reliefs ; and 
the latter are often bold, including complicated 
groups, and expressing various passions. They 
are sometimes very spirited, and neither the sculp- 
tures nor paintings fail to produce very fine speci- 
mens of grace in figure and attitude ; but there is 
a total ignorance of anatomy, and an inattention 
even to the obvious appearances of the limbs and 
muscles, together with a disregard of proportion 
between different figures, and a want of skill in 
grouping, which must entirely exclude the best of 
the Hindu sculpture from coming into the most 
remote comparison with European works of art. 



Architecture. ^^^' 

The numerous edifices erected by the Hindus 
attest their knowledge of the practice of architec- 
ture ; and if any confidence can be given to the 
claims of the books of which fragments still remain, 
they seem early to have been acquainted with the 

A candid and judicious review of the extant 
works on architecture is contained in a late essay 
by an intelligent native, where also the system 
taught by them is ably developed.* 

Tlie principles of the art seem, by tliis essay, to 
have been well understood ; and numerous rules 
appear to have been derived from them. 

The various mouldings, twelve in number, are 
described ; some (the cyma, toro, cavetto, &c.) 
are the same as our own, and a few are peculiar. 
The forms and proportions of pedestals, bases, 
shafts, capitals, and entablatures are given ; how 
fully, in some cases, may be conjectured from there 
being sixty-four sorts of bases. There are no fixed 
orders, but the height of a column may vary from 
six to ten diameters, and its proportions regulate, 
though not strictly, those of the capitals, inter- 
columniations, &c. This place does not admit of 
any sj)ccification of the rules of architecture, or 
anything beyond a general notion of the native 
buildings which are now to be seen in India. The 

* Essay on Hindu Architocturc, by Jl;iiu Ka/., publislic-d by 
tlif Oriental 'I'ran-l.ition I'niul. 

X 'Z 


BOOK style of those structures has been supposed to re- 
' semble that of Egypt. It does so only in the 
massy character both of the buildings and the ma- 
terials, and in the quantity of sculpture on some 
descriptions of edifices. The practice of building 
high towers at gateways is also similar, but in 
Egypt there is one on each side, and in India only 
one ov^er the gateway. 

Some few of the Egyptian columns bear a re- 
semblance to some in the cave temples ; but these 
are all the points in which any similarity can be 

The two most striking features in Egyptian 
architecture are, the use of pyramids, and the man- 
ner in which the sides of every building slope in- 
wards until they reach the top, where they meet a 
flat roof with a particularly bold and deep cornice. 
Neither of these characteristics is to be found in 
India. Pyramidal roofs to the halls before temples 
are not uncommon, but they are hollow within, and 
supported by walls or pillars. Solid pyramids are 
unknown ; and even the roofs are diversified on 
the outside with acroteria and other ornaments, 
that take away all resemblance to the Egyptian 
pyramids. Walls are always perpendicular, and 
though towers of temples diminish gradually, yet 
they do so in a manner peculiar to themselves, and 
bear as much resemblance to our slender steeples as 
to the broad masses of Egyptian architecture. They, 
in fact, hold an intermediate place between both, 
but have little likeness to either. 


In the south they are generally a succession of ciiap. 

stories, eacli narrower than the one below it ; and 

north of the Godavery they more frequently taper 
upwards, but with an outward curve in the sides, 
by means of which there is a greater swell near the 
middle than even at the base. They do not come 
quite to a point, but are crowned by a flattened 
dome, or some more fanciful termination, over 
wdiich is, in all cases, a high pinnacle of metal gilt, 
or else a trident, or other emblem peculiar to the 
god. Tliough plainer than the rest of the temple, 
the towers are never quite plain, and are often 
stuck over with pinnacles, and covered with other 
ornaments of every description. 

The sanctuary is always a small, nearly cubical 
chamber, scarcely lighted by one small door, at 
which the worshipper presents his offering and 
prefers his supplication. In very small temples 
this is the whole building ; but in others it is sur- 
mounted by the tower, is approached through 
spacious halls, and is surrounded by courts and 
colonnades, including other temples and religious 
buildings. At Seringam there are seven different 
inclosures, and the outer one is near four miles in 
circumference.* The colonnades which line the 
interior of the courts, or form approaches to the 
temple, are often so deep as to retjuire many rows 
of pillars, which are generally high, slender, and 
delicate, but thickly set. (iothic aisles ha\ e been 

* Orme's Indostau, vol. i. \>. IH'Z. ^ '^ 

X 3 


BOOK compared to avenues of oaks, and these might be 
' likened to groves of pahn trees. 

There are often lower colonnades, in which, and 
in many other places, are highly wrought columns, 
round, square, and octagon, or mixing all three ; 
sometimes cut into the shape of vases, and hung 
with chains or garlands ; sometimes decorated with 
the forms of animals, and sometimes partly com- 
posed of groups of human figures. 

Clusters of columns and pilasters are frequent 
in the more solid parts of the building ; where, 
also, the number of salient and retiring angles, and 
the corresponding breaks in the entablature, in- 
crease the richness and complexity of the effect. 
The posts and lintels of the doors, the panels and 
other spaces, are inclosed and almost covered by 
deep borders of mouldings, and a profusion of ara- 
besques of plants, flowers, fruits, men, animals, 
and imaginary beings ; in short, of every species 
of embellishment that the most fertile fancy could 
devise. These arabesques, the running patterns of 
plants and creepers in particular, are often of an 
elegance scarcely equalled in any other part of the 

The walls are often filled with sculptures in re- 
lief; exhibiting animated pictures of the wars of 
the gods and other legends. Groups of mytholo- 
gical figures, likewise, often run along the frieze, 
and add great richness to the entablature.* 

* There are some beautiful sjiecimens of Hindu architecture 
in Tod's " Rajasthan." The work of Ram Raz shows the details 

FINE AliTS. 311 

Temples, such as have been described, are some- chap. 


times found assembled in considerable numbers. ' 

At the ruins of Bhuvaneswara, in Orissa, for in- 
stance, it is impossible to turn the eye in any 
direction from the great tower without taking into 
tile view upwards of forty or fifty stone towers of 
temples, none less than fifty or sixty, and some 
from 150 to 180 feet hicrh.* 

Those of Bijciyanagar, near the left bank of the 
river Tumbadra, are of still more magnificent 

But, notwithstanding their prodigious scale, the 
effect produced by the Hindu pagodas never equals 
the simple majesty and symmetry of a Grecian 
temple, nor even the grandeur arising from the 
swelling domes and lofty arches of a mosque. The 
extensive parts of the building want height, and 
the high ones are deficient in breadth ; there is no 
combination between the different parts ; and the 
general residt produces a conviction that, in this 
art, as in most other things, the Hindus display 
more richness and beauty in details than greatness 
in the conception of the whole. The cave 
temples, alone, exhibit boldness aud grandeur of 

The impression made on the spectator by la- 

every wlierc eiiiployod, as well as the gi'iicral aicliitecturc of the 
south; l)iit the s])lcii(li(l works of the Daiiiclls exhibit in per- 
fection every species of cave- or tt iii|)lc in all the wide laiigc, of 

^ Mr. Stirling, Asiatic I{vscuicli( s, vol. xv. p. L!07. 

X 1 


BOOK vourable specimens of temples, is that of great 

antiquity and sanctity, accompanied witli a sort of 

romantic mystery, wliich neither the nature of tlie 
religion itself, nor the familiarity occasioned by the 
daily sight of its ceremonies, seems suited to in- 

Though in temples of recent formation there is 
sometimes a mixture of the Mahometan style, yet 
the general character of these buildings is strikingly 
original, and unlike the structures of other nations. 
We may infer from this that the principles of the 
art were established in early times ; but we have 
no reason to think that any of the great works 
which now attract admiration are of very ancient 
date. Even the caves have no claim to great an- 
tiquity. The inscriptions, in a character which 
was in use at least three centuries before Christ, 
and which has long been obsolete, would lead us 
to believe that the Baudha caves must be older 
than the Christian gera * ; but those of the 
Hindus are shown beyond doubt, from the mytho- 
logical subjects on their walls, to be at least as 
modern as the eighth or ninth century.t The sculp- 
tured works at Maha Balipuram, south of Madras, 
have been carried back to the remotest aera ; but 

* An extensive Baudha cave is mentioned by the Chinese 
traveller in the very beginning of the fifth century, and must 
have been excavated in the fourth at latest. — Journal of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, vol. v. p. 103. 

■\ Mr. Erskine, Transactions of the Literary Society of Bom- 
bay, and Professor Wilson, Mackenzie Papers, Preface, p. Ixx, 



the accounts on the spot assign their construction chap. 

to the twelfth or thirteenth centuries after Christ, 

and tlie sculptures on the walls afford a perfect 
confirmation of the tradition.* 

Some of the most celebrated built temples are 
of very modern date. The pagoda of Jagannat 
(of whicii we have heard so much), and the Black 
Pagoda in the same district, have been mentioned 
as among the most ancient of Hindu temples; yet 
the first is well known to have been completed in 
A. D. 1198, and the second in a. d. 1241. t Many 
of the other great temples are doubtless much 
older than this ; but there are no proofs of the 
great antiquity of any of them, and some presump- 
tions to the contrary. 

The palaces are more likely to adopt innovations 
than the temples ; but many retain the Hhidu 
character, though constructed in comparatively 
recent times. 

The oldest of these show little plan, or else have 
been so often added to, that the original plan is 
lost. Being generally of solid construction, and 
with terraced roofs, the facility is great of building 
one house on the roof of another ; so that, besides 
spreading towards the sides, they are i)ilcd upwards 
to a great height, and with great irregularity. 

They generally contain small courts surrounded 
with high buiklings ; sometimes open, and some- 

• ProlV'Ssoi Wilson, Mntkitizie Pajicrs, Introduction, ]>. ixxi. 
f Stirling's Orissa, Asiatic Jtcsearchcs, vol. xv. pp.315. 327. 


BOOK times shaded with the trees best adapted for that 

. purpose. There is always a deep colonnade round 

each court. 

The great rooms of state are upstairs, closed 
round like ours, not running to the whole height 
of the house and open at one side like Maho- 
metan divans. The stairs are narrow and steep, 
and cut out of the thickness of the wall. 

The same remarks apply to the private houses, 
which are hardly entitled to come under the head 
of architecture. 

Those of rich people have a small court or two, 
with buildings round, almost always terraced, some- 
times left in the full glare of the white stucco, 
sometimes coloured of a dusky red, and the walls 
sometimes painted witii trees or mythological and 
other stories. All are as crowded and ill-arranged 
as can be imagined. 

Perhaps the greatest of all the Hindu works are 
the tanks, which are reservoirs for water, of which 
there are two kinds ; one dug out of the earth, 
and the other formed by damming up the mouth 
of a valley. In the former case there are stone or 
other steps all round, down to the water, gene- 
rally the whole length of each face, and in many 
instances temples round the edge, and little shrines 
down the steps. In the other sort these additions 
are confined to the embankment. The dug tanks 
are often near towns, for bathing, &c., but are also 
made use of for irrigation. The dams are always 


for the latter purpose. Many of them are of vast chap. 
extent and the embankments are magnificent works, ' 

both in respect to their elevation and solidity. 
Some of them form lakes, many miles in circum- 
ference, and water great tracts of country. 

One species of Hindu well is also remarkable. 
It is frequently of great depth, and of considerable 
breadth. The late ones are often round, but the 
more ancient, square. They are surrounded, for 
their whole depth, with galleries, in the rich and 
massy style of Hindu works, and have often a broad 
flight of steps, which commences at some distance 
from tiie well, and passes under part of the galleries 
down to the water. 

The most characteristic of the Hindu bridges 
are composed of stone posts, several of which form 
a pier, and which are connected by stone beams. 
Such bridges are common in the south of India. 
Others are on thick piers of masonry, with nar- 
row Gothic arches ; but their antiquity is doubt- 
ful, nor does it a})pear that the early Hindus knew 
the arch, or could construct vaults or domes, other- 
wise than by layers of stone, j)rojccting beyond 
those beneath, as in the Treasury of Atreus in 

Among other species of architecture nnist be 
mentioned the columns and arches, or rather gate- 
ways, erected in honour of victories. There is a 
I'ighly wrought example of the column, l'20feet 
high, at Chitor, which is represented in Tod's *' lla- 



^^^^ jasthan.*'* Of the triumphal arches (if that term 
may be appHed to square openings), the finest ex- 
ample is at Barnagar, in the north of Guzerat. It 
is indeed among the richest specimens of Hindu 

* Vol. i. pp.328. 761. 




Of the Indian manufactures, the most remarkable chap 


is that of cotton cloth, the beauty and delicacy of 
which was so long admired, and which in fineness Weaving. 
of texture has never yet been approached in any 
other country. 

Their silk manufactures were also excellent, and 
were probably known to them, as well as the art of 
obtaining the material, at a very early period.* 

Gold and silver brocade were also favourite, and 
perhaps original, manufactures of India. 

The brilliancy and permanency of many of their Dyeing. 
dyes has not yet been equalled in Europe. 

Their taste for minute ornament fitted them to 
excel in goldsmiths' work. 

Their fame for jewels originated more in the working 

I . 1 •!! r* , . in gold. 

bounty of nature than in their own skill ; tor then- 
taste is so bad that tlieygive a preference to yellow 
pearls and table diamonds ; and their setting is 
comparatively rude, though they often combine 
their jewellery into very gorgeous ornaments. 

Their way of working at all trades is very simple, 
and their tools few and portable. A smifli brings 

* Mr. Coli;brookf, Aaiadr /i'(st(tn/i('s, v(jl. v. p. 61. 


BOOK his small anvil, and the peculiar sort of bellows 

" which he nses, to the house where he is wanted. 

A carpenter does so with more ease, working on 

the floor, and securing any object with his toes as 

easily as with his hands. 




The nature of the soil and climate make amicul- ^^j^i^^'- 


ture a simple art. A light plough, which he daily 

carries on his shoulder to the field, is sufficient, 
with the help of two small oxen, to enable the 
husbandman to make a shallow furrow in the sur- 
face, in which to deposit the grain. Sowing is 
often performed by a sort of drill (it is scarcely 
entitled to the addition of plough), which sheds 
the seed through five or six hollow canes ; and a 
board, on which a man stands, serves for a harrow. 
A hoe, a mattock, and a few other articles, con- 
plete the implements of husbandry. Reaping is 
performed with the sickle : the grain is trodden 
out by cattle, brought home in carts, and kept in 
large dry pits under ground. The fields, though 
the bounds of each are carefully marked, are gene- 
rally uniiiclosed ; and nothing interrupts their 
continuity, except occasional varieties in tiie crops. 
But although the Indian agriculture has such a 
character of simplicity, there are some peculiarities 
ill it which call forth certain sorts of skill and in- 
dustry not rc(|uired elsewhere, and there are some 
descriptions of cultivation to which the former 
character does not at all aj)ply. 


BOOK The summer harvest is sufficiently watered by 

, the rains, but a great part of the winter crop 

requires artificial irrigation. This is afforded by 
rivers, brooks, and ponds ; but chiefly by wells. 
In the best parts of the country there is a well in 
every field, from which water is conveyed in chan- 
nels, and received in little beds, divided by low 
ridges of earth. It is raised by oxen in a large 
bucket, or rather hag, of pliant leather, which has 
often an ingenious contrivance, by which it empties 
itself when drawn up. 

In some soils it is necessary, every three or four 
years, to eradicate the weeds by deep ploughing, 
which is done with a heavy plough, drawn by 
buffaloes, at a season when the ground is saturated 
with moisture. Manure is little used for general 
cultivation, but it is required in quantities for sugar 
cane, and many other sorts of produce. Many 
sorts also require to be carefully fenced ; and are 
sometimes surrounded by mud walls, but usually 
by high and impenetrable hedges of cactus, euphor- 
bium, aloe, and other strong prickly plants, as well 
as by other thorny bushes and creepers. 

One great labour is to scare away the flocks of 
birds, which devour a great part of the harvest in 
spite of all precautions. Scarecrows have some 
effect, but the chief dependence is on a man, who 
stands on a high wooden stage overlooking tlie 
field, shouting, and throwing stones from a sling, 
which is so contrived as to make a loud crack at 
every discharge. 


The Indians understand rotation of crops, though chap. 
tlieir almost inexhaustible soil renders it often un- _____ 
necessary. They class the soils with great minute- 
ness, and are well informed about the produce for 
which each is best, and the mode of cultivation 
which it requires. They have the injudicious 
practice of mixing different kinds of grain in one 
field, sometimes to come up together, and some- 
times in succession. 

Some of the facts mentioned affect armies and 
travellers. At particular seasons, the whole face 
of the country is as open and passable as the road, 
except near villages and streams, where the high 
in closures form narrow lanes, and are great ob- 
structions to bodies of passengers. Large water- 
courses, or ducts, by which water is drawn from 
rivers or ponds, also form serious obstacles. 

These remarks are always liable to exceptions 
from varieties in different parts of India ; and in 
tlie rice countries, as Bengal and the coast of Coro- 
mandel, they are almost ina])plicable. There, the 
rice must be completely flooded, often requires 
to be trans})lanted at a certain stage, and is a 
particularly laborious and disagreeable sort of 

VOL. I. 






BOOK Though many articles of luxury are mentioned in 

Menu, it does not appear that any of them were 

the produce of foreign countries. Their abun- 
dance, however, proves that there was an open 
trade between the different parts of India. 

There is one passage in the Code* in which in- 
terest on money lent on risk is said to be fixed by 
'* men well acquainted with sea voyages^ or jour- 
neys by land." As the word used in the original 
for sea is not applicable to any inland waters, the 
fact may be considered as established, that the 
Hindus navigated the ocean as early as the age of 
the Code, but it is probable that their enterprise was 
confined to a coasting trade. An intercourse with 
the Mediterranean no doubt took place at a still 
earlier period ; but it is uncertain whether it w^as 
carried on by land, or partly by sea ; and, in either 
case, whether the natives of India took a share in 
it beyond their own limits. It seems not impro- 
bable that it was in the hands of the Arabs, and 
that part crossed the narrow sea from the coast on 
the west of Sind to Muscat, and then passed through 
Arabia to Egypt and Syria ; whUe another branch 

* Chap. VIII. § 156, 157. 


miglit go by land, or along the coast, to Babylon chap. 
and Persia.* Onr first clear accounts of the seas 

west of India give no signs of trade carried on by 
Indians in that direction. Nearchus, who com- 
manded Alexander's fleet (in 326 b. c), did not 
meet a single ship in coasting from the Indus to 
the Euphrates ; and expressly says that fishing 
boats were the only vessels he saw, and those only 
in particular places, and in small numbers. Even 
in the Indus, though there were boats, they were 
few and small ; for, by Arrian's account, Alexander 
was obliged to build most of his fleet himself, in- 
cluding all the larger vessels, and to man them 
witli sailors from the Mediterranean, t The same 
author, in enumerating the Indian classes, says of 
the fourth class, (that of tradesman and artizans,) 
" of this class also, are the ship-builders and the 
sailors, as many as navigate the riverst:" from 
which we may infer that, as flu* as his knowledge 
went, there were no Indians employed on the sea. 

The next accounts that throw light on the Trade from 
western trade of India are furnished by a writer of coast. ' 
the second century before Christ §, whose know- 
ledge only extended to the intercourse between 

* Vincent's Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients, vol. ii. 
l)p. 357—370. 

I See Expcfidlo Alexandria l)ook vi. i)p. 235, 23G. ed. 1701', 
and Indlca, chap, xviii. p. 332. of the same edition. 

\ Indica, chap. xii. j). 325. 

§ Agatharchides, prescMvcd in Diodoriis and Photius. Sec 
Vincent's Commerce and Navirjutiun of the Ancients, vol. ii. p. 25. 

Y 2 


BOOK Ecrypt and the south of Arabia, but who mentions 
III. .^-^ ' 

cinnamon and cassia as among the articles imported, 

and who, moreover, expressly states that ships 
came from India to the ports of Sabsea (the modern 
Yemen). From all that appears in this author we 
should conclude that the trade was entirely in the 
hands of the Arabs. 

It is not till the first century after Christ that 
we obtain a distinct account of the course of this 
trade, and a complete enumeration of the commo- 
dities which were the objects of it. This is given 
in the *' Periplus of the Erythroean Sea," apparently 
the work of an experienced practical sailor in that 
part of the ocean. He describes the whole coast 
of the Red Sea, and of the south-east of Arabia, 
and that of India, from the Indus round Cape Co- 
morin to a point high up on the coast of Coro- 
mandel ; and gives accounts of the commerce 
carried on within those limits, and in some places 
beyond them. From this writer it appears that, 
nearly until this time, the ships from India con- 
tinued to cross tlie mouth of the Persian Gulf, and 
creep along the shore of Arabia to the mouth of 
the Red Sea ; but that, at a recent period, the 
Greeks from Egypt, if not all navigators, used to 
quit the coast soon after leaving the Red Sea, and 
stretch across the Indian Ocean to the coast of 

The trade tlius carried on was very extensive, 
but appears to have been conducted by Greeks 
and Arabs. Arabia is described as a country filled 


with pilots, sailors, and persons concerned in com- chap, 

mercial business ; but no mention is made of any 

similar description of persons among the Indians, 
nor is there any allusion to Indians out of their 
own country except that they are mentioned with 
the Arabs and Greeks, as forming a mixed popu- 
lation, who were settled in small numbers on an 
island near the mouth of the Red Sea, supposed 
to be Socotra. So much, indeed, were the Arabs 
the carriers of the Indian trade, that in Pliny's 
time their settlers filled the western shores of 
Ceylon, and were also found established on the 
coast of iNIalabar.* But in the same work (the Coasting 
" Periplus") the Indians are represented as actively 
engaged in the traffic on their own coast. There 
were boats at the Indus to receive the cargoes of 
the ships which were unable to enter the river on 
account of the bar at its mouth ; fishing boats 
were kept in employ near the opening of the Gulf 
of Cambay to pilot vessels coming to Barygaza, or 
Baroch ; where, then as now, they were exposed to 
danger from tlie extensive banks of mud, and from 
tlie rai)id rise of the tides. From Baroch, south- 
ward, the coast was studded with ports, which the 
author calls local emporia, and wliich, we may infer, 
were visited by vessels employed in the coasting 
trade ; but it is not till the author has got to tlie 
coast on the east of Cape Comorin, that he first 
speaks of large vessels which crossed the IJay of 

* Vincent's C.'oninicrcc and Navigation ol' tlu; Ancients, vul. ii. 
p. 283. 

Y .'3 

Trade from 
the east 

3*26 HlSTOllY OF INDIA. 

^^m^"" Bengal to the Ganges and to Chryse, which is 
probably Snmatra, or the Malay peninsula. This 
last circumstance is in complete accordance with 
the accounts derived from the east, by which the 
inhabitants of the coast of Coromandel seem early 
to have been distinguished by their maritime enter- 
prise from their countrymen on the west of India. 
It is probable, from the nature of the countries 
which they water, that at the same time when 
Nearchus saw so little sign of commerce on the 
Indus, the Ganges may have been covered with 
boats, as it is at this moment, and as the number of 
ancient and civilised kingdoms on its shores would 
lead us to anticipate. The commodities supplied 
by so rich and extensive a region could not but 
engage the attention of the less advanced coun- 
tries in the Deckan ; and as the communication 
between that part of India and the Ganges was 
interrupted by forests, and plundering tribes, both 
probably even wilder than they are now, a strong 
temptation was held out to the sailors on the eastern 
coast to encounter the lesser danger of making the 
direct passage over the Bay of Bengal ; on which, 
without being often out of sight of land, they 
would be beyond the reach of the inhabitants of 
the shore. 

This practice once established, it would be an 
easy effort to cross the upper part of the bay, and 
before long, the broadest portion of it also, which 
is that bounded by the Malay peninsula and Su- 
matra. But, whatever gave the impulse to the 


inhabitants of the coast of Coromandel, it is from cilvp. 
the north part of that tract that we first hear of 

Indians wlio sailed boldly into the open sea. The ^uiements 
histories of Java erive a distinct account of a nu- ^ Java and 

O other east- 

meroLis body of Hindus from Clinga (Cahnga), who em islands. 
landed on their island, civilised the inhabitants, 
and who fixed the date of their arrival by esta- 
blishing the aera still subsisting, the first year of 
which fell in the seventy-fifth year before Christ. 
The truth of this narrative is proved beyond doubt 
by the numerous and magnificent Hindu remains 
that still exist in Java, and by the fact that, although 
the common language is Malay, the sacred lan- 
guage, that of historical and poetical compositions, 
and of most inscriptions, is a dialect of Shanscrit. 
The early date is almost as decisively proved by 
the journal of the Chinese pilgrim in the end of 
the fourth century, who found Java entirely peopled 
by Hindus, and who sailed from the Ganges to 
Ceylon, from Ceylon to Java, and from Java to 
China, in ships manned by crews professing the 
Braminical religion.* The Hindu religion in Java 
was afterwards superseded by that of Budha ; but 
the Indian government subsisted till the end of the 
fourteenth century; when it was subverted by Ma- 
hometan proselytes, converted by Arab missionaries 
in the course of tlie preceding century. The 
island of Bali, close to the east of Java, is still 
inhabited by Hindus ; who have Malay or Tartar 

* See JournfU of the linynl Asiatic Sociclij, No. IX. p]). 1.% 

— 138. 

Y 1. 





Trade in 
times sub- 
sequent to 
tlie Greeks. 

Exports in 



features, but profess to be of the four Hindu 
classes. It is not impossible that they may be so 
descended, notwithstanding the alteration in their 
features ; but it is more probable that their pure 
descent is a fiction, as we have an example of a still 
more daring imposture in the poets of Java, who 
have transferred the whole scene of the " Maha 
Bharat," with all the cities, kings, and heroes of the 
Jamna and Ganges, to their own island. 

The accounts of voyagers and travellers in times 
subsequent to the " Periplus" speak of an extensive 
commerce with India, but afford no information 
respecting the part taken in it by the Indians, un- 
less it be by their silence ; for while they mention 
Arab and Chinese ships as frequenting the ports 
of India, they never allude to any voyage as having 
been made by a vessel of the latter country.* 

Marco Polo, indeed, speaks of pirates on the 
coast of Malabar, who cruised for the whole sum- 
mer ; but it appears, afterwards, that their practice 
was to lie at anchor, and consequently close to the 
shore, only getting under weigh on the approach 
of a prize. When Vasco da Gama reached the 
coast of Malabar, he found the trade exclusively 
in the hands of the Moors, and it was to their 
rivalry that he and his successors owed most of 
the opposition they encountered. 

The exports from India to the West do not 
seem, at the time of the " Periplus," to have been 

* See, in particular, Marsdens Marco Polo, p. 687. 


very different from what they are now : cotton chap. 
cloth, musHn, and chintz of various kinds ; silk cloth ' 

and thread ; indigo and other dyes ; cinnamon and 
other spices ; sugar ; diamonds, pearls, emeralds, 
and many inferior stones; steel; drugs; aromatics; 
and, sometimes, female slaves. 

The imports were — coarse and fine cloth (pro- imports, 
bably woollen) ; brass ; tin ; lead ; coral ; glass ; 
antimony ; some few perfumes not known in the 
country ; wines (of which that from Italy was pre- 
ferred) ; together with a considerable quantity of 
specie and bullion. 

The great facility of transport afforded by the inland 
Ganges and its numerous branches has been al- 
luded to ; but, as few of the other rivers are navi- 
gable far from the sea, the internal trade must 
always have been mostly carried on by land. Oxen 
W'ould be the principal means of conveyance ; but 
as, from the earliest Hindu times to the decline of 
the Mogul empire, the great roads were objects of 
much attention to the government, we may, per- 
haps, presume that carts were much more in use 
formerly than of later years. 




BOOK ix has been stated that Hindostan and the Deckan 

are equal, in extent, to all Europe ; except the 

DifTeience j^Lissiau part of It, and the countries north of the 

or Indian i ' 

nations. Baltic* 

Ten different civilised nations are found within 
the above space. All these nations differ from 
each other, in manners and language t, nearly as 
much as those inhabiting the corresponding portion 
of Europe. 

They have, also, about tlie same degree of gene- 
ral resemblance which is observable among the 
nations of Christendom, and which is so great that 
a stranger from India cannot, at first, perceive any 
material difference between an Italian and an 
Englishman. In like manner Europeans do not at 
once distinguish between the most dissimilar of the 
nations of India. 

The greatest difference is between the inha- 
bitants of Hindostan proper, and of the Deckan. 

The neighbouring parts of these two great divi- 
sions naturally resemble each other ; but in the 
extremities of the north and south, the languages 
have no resemblance, except from a common mix- 

* Introduction, p. 6. note. f See pp. 284, 285. 


ture of Shanscrit ; the relimous sects are different; chap. 

. XI. 

the architecture, as has been mentioned elsewhere, 

is of different characters ; the dress differs in many 
respects, and the people differ in appearance ; 
those of the north being tall and fair, and the 
others small and dark. The northern people live 
much on wheat, and those of the south on ragi,a 
grain almost as unknown in Hindostan as in Eng- 
land.* Many of the points of difference arise 
from the unequal degrees in which the two tracts 
were conquered and occupied, first, by the people 
professing the Braminical religion, and, afterwards, 
by the Mussulmans ; but more must depend on 
peculiarities of place and climate, and, perhaps, on 
varieties of race. Bengal and Gangetic Hindostan, 
for instance, are contiguous countries, and were 
both early subjected to the same governments ; but 
Bengal is moist, liable to inundation, and has all 
the characteristics of an alluvial soil ; while Hin- 
dostan, though fertile, is comparatively dry, both in 
soil and climate. This difference may, by forming 
a diversity of habits, have led to a great dissimilitude 
between the people : the common origin of the 
languages appears, in this case, to forbid all sus- 
picion of a difference of race. 

From whatever causes it originates, the contrast 
is most striking. The Hindostanis on the Ganges 
arc the tallest, fairest, and most warlike and manly 
of the Indians ; they wear the turban, and a dress 

* C'yiiosarus Coracaiius. 


BOOK resembliiif? that of the Mahometans ; their houses 
III . . . . 

' are tiled, and built in compact villages in open 

tracts ; their food is unleavened wheaten bread. 

The Bengalese, on the contrary, though good- 
looking, are small, black, and effeminate in appear- 
ance ; remarkable for timidity and superstition, as 
well as for subtlety and art. Their villages are 
composed of thatched cottages, scattered through 
woods of bamboos or of palms : their dress is the 
old Hindu one, formed by one scarf round the 
middle and another thrown over the shoulders. 
They have the practice, unknown in Hindostan, 
of rubbing their limbs with oil after bathing, which 
gives their skins a sleek and glossy appearance, and 
protects them from the effect of their damp climate. 
They live almost entirely on rice ; and, although 
the two idioms are more nearly allied than English 
and German, their language is quite unintelligible 
to a native of Hindostan. 

Yet those two nations resemble each other so 
much in their religion and all the innumerable 
points of habit and manners which it involves, in 
their literature, their notions on government and 
general subjects, their ceremonies and way of life, 
that a European, not previously apprised of the 
distinction, might very possibly pass the boundary 
that divides them, without at once perceiving the 
change that had taken place. 

The distinction between the different nations 
will appear as each comes on the stage in the 
course of the following history. All that has 


hitherto been said, and all that is about to follow, chap. 
is intended to apply to the whole Hindu people. 

Notwithstanding the abundance of large towns villages. 
in India, the great majority of the population is 
agricultural. The peasants live assembled in vil- 
laoes ; o-oino; out to their fields to labour, and re- 
turning, with their cattle, to the village at niglit. 

Villages vary much in different parts of the 
country : in many parts they are walled, and ca- 
pable of a short defence against the light troops of 
a hostile army ; and, in some disturbed tracts, even 
against their neighbours, and against the govern- 
ment officers : others are open ; and others only 
closed by a fence and gate, to keep in the cattle at 

The houses of a Bengal and Hindostan village 
have been contrasted. The cottage of Bengal, with 
its trim curved thatched roof and cane walls, is the 
best looking in India. 

Those of Hindostan are tiled, and built of clay 
or unburnt bricks ; and, though equally convenient, 
have less neatness of appearance. The mud or 
stone huts and terraced roofs of the Ueckan village 
look as if they were mere uncovered ruins, and are 
the least i)leasing to the eye of any. Further south, 
though the material is the same, the execution is 
much better ; and the walls, being painted in broad 
perpendicular streaks of white and red, have an 
appearance of neatness and cleanness. 

Each village has its bazar, composed of shops for 
the sale of grain, tobacco, sweetmeats, coarse cloth, 




Habits of 

and other articles of village consumption. Each 
has its market day, and its annual fairs and festivals ; 
and each, in most parts of India, has, at least, one 
temple, and one house or shed for lodging strangers. 
All villages make an allowance for giving food 
for charity to religious mendicants, and levy a 
fund for this and other expenses, including public 
festivities on particular holidays. The house for 
strangers sometimes contains also the shrine of a 
god, and is generally used as the town house ; 
though there are usually some shady trees in every 
village, under which the heads of the village and 
others meet to transact their business. No benches 
or tables are required on any occasion. 

In houses, also, there is no furniture but a mat 
for sitting on, and some earthen and brass pots and 
dishes, a hand-mill, pestle and mortar, an iron plate 
for baking cakes on, and some such articles. The 
bed, which requires neither bedding nor curtains, 
is set upright against the wall during the day ; and 
cooking is carried on under a shed, or out of doors. 
The huts, though bare, are clean and neat. 

There is scarcely more furniture in the houses 
of the richer inhabitants of the village. Their dis- 
tinction is, that they are two stories high, and have 
a court-yard. 

The condition of the country people is not, in 
general, prosperous. They usually borrow money to 
pay their rent, and consequently get involved in ac- 
counts and debts, through which they are so liable 
to imposition, that they can scarcely get extricated. 


They are also, in general, so improvident, that if chap. 
they were clear, they would omit to lay up money ' 

for their necessary payments, and soon be in debt 
again. Some, however, are prudent, and acquire 
property. Their villages are sometimes disturbed 
by factions against the headman, or by oppression 
on his part, or that of the government ; and they 
have more litigation among themselves than the 
same class in England ; but violence of all sorts is 
extremely rare, drunkenness scarcely known, and, 
on the whole, the country people are remarkably 
quiet, well-behaved, and, for their circumstances, 
happy and contented. 

The husbandman rises with the earliest dawn ; 
washes, and says a prayer ; then sets out with his 
cattle to his distant field. After an hour or two, 
he eats some remnants of his yesterday's fare for 
breakfast, and goes on with his labour till noon, 
when his wife brings out his hot dinner ; he eats 
it by a brook or under a tree, talks and sleeps till 
two o'clock, while his cattle also feed and repose. 
From two till sunset he labours again ; then drives 
his cattle home, feeds them, bathes, eats some sup- 
per, smokes, and spends the rest of the evening in 
amusement with his wife and children, or his neigh- 
bours. The women fetch water, grind the corn, 
cook, and do the household work, besides spinning, 
and such occupations. 

Hindu towns are formed of high brick or stone Towns, 
houses, with a few small and high-placed windows, 
over very narrow streets, which are paved (if paved 


BOOK at all) with large uneven slabs of stone. They are 
crowded with people moving to and fro ; proces- 
sions, palankeens, and carriages drawn by oxen j 
running footmen with sword and buckler, religious 
mendicants, soldiers out of service smoking or 
lounging ; and sacred bulls, that can scarcely be 
made to move their unwieldy bulk out of the way 
of the passenger, or to desist from feeding on the 
grain exposed for sale. 

The most conspicuous shops are those of con- 
fectioners, fruiterers, grainsellers, braziers, drug- 
gists, and tobacconists : sellers of cloth, shawls, 
and other stuffs, keep their goods in bales ; and 
those of more precious articles do not expose 
them. They are quite open towards the street, 
and often are merely the veranda in front of the 
house ; the customers standing and making their 
purchases in the street. 

Towns are often walled, and capable of defence. 

They have not hereditary headmen and officers, 
like villages, but are generally the residence of the 
government agent in charge of the district, who 
manages them, with the help of an establishment 
for police and revenue. They are divided into 
wards for the purposes of police ; and each cast has 
its own elected head, who communicates between 
the government and its members. These casts, 
being in general trades also, are attended with all 
the good and bad consequences of such combina- 

The principal inhabitants are bankers and mer- 


chants, and people connected with the govern- chap. 
ment. „^___ 

Bankers and merchants generally combine both 
trades, and farm the public revenues besides. They 
make great profits, and often without much risk. 
In transactions with governments they frequently 
secure a mortgage on the revenue, or the guarantee 
of some powerful person, for tlie discharge of tlieir 
debt. They lend money on an immense premium, 
and with very high compound interest, which in- 
creases so rapidly, that the repayment is always a 
compromise, in which the lender gives up a great 
part of his demand, still retaining an ample profit. 
They live plainly and frugally, but often spend vast 
sums on domestic festivals or public works. 

The great men about the government will be 
spoken of hereafter, but the innumerable clerks and 
hangers on in lower stations must not be passed 
over w^ithout mention. Not only has every office 
numbers of these men, but every department, how- 
ever small, must have one : a company of soldiers 
would not be complete without its clerk. Every 
nobleman (besides those employed in collections 
and accounts) has clerks of the kitchen, of the 
stable, the hawking establishment, &c. Intercourse 
of business and civility is carried on through these 
j)eo})le, who also furnish the newswriters; and, after 
all, great numbers arc unemployed, and are ready 
agents in every sort of plot and intrigue. 

The food of the common ])eo])le, both in the i-'ood and 

, . . iiiamiLT ol" 

country and ni towns, is unleavened bread with c ni.if,', c.r 

VOL. 1. z 

all flasbus. 

338 HISTORY OF india. 

BOOK boiled vegetables, clarified butter or oil, and spices. 

Smoking tobacco is almost the only luxury. Some 

few smoke intoxicating drugs ; and the lowest casts 
alone, and even they rarely, get drunk with spirits. 
Drunkenness is confined to damp countries, such 
as Bengal, the Concans, and some parts of the south 
of India. It increases in our territories, where 
spirits are taxed ; but is so little of a natural pro- 
pensity, that the absolute prohibition of spirits, 
which exists in most native states, is sufficient to 
keep it down. Opium, which is used to great ex- 
cess in the west of Hindostan, is peculiar to the 
Rajputs, and does not affect the lower classes. All 
but the poorest people chew bitel (a pungent 
aromatic leaf) with the hard nut of the areca, 
mixed with a sort of lime made from shells, and 
with various spices, according to the person's means. 
Some kinds of fruit are cheap and common. 

The upper classes, at least the Bramin part of 
them, have very little more variety ; it consists in 
the greater number of kinds of vegetables and 
spices, and in the cookery. Assafoetida is a favourite 
ingredient, as giving to some of their richer dishes 
something of the flavour of flesh. The caution 
used against eating out of dishes or on carpets de- 
filed by other casts, gives rise to some curious cus- 
toms. At a great Bramin dinner, where twenty or 
thirty different dishes and condiments are placed 
before each individual, all are served in vessels 
made of leaves sewed together. These are placed 
on the bare floor, which, as a substitute for a table 



cloth, is decorated for a certain distance in front of chap. 
the guests, with patterns of flowers, &c., very pret- ' 

tily laid out in lively-coloured sorts of sand, spread 
through frames in which the patterns are cut, and 
swept away after the dinner. The inferior casts of 
Hindus eat meat, and care less about their vessels; 
metal, especially, can always be purified by scour- 
ing. In all classes, however, the difference of cast 
leads to a want of sociability. A soldier, or any 
one away from his family, cooks his solitary meal 
for himself, and finishes it without a companion, or 
any of the pleasures of the table, but those derived 
from taking the necessary supply of food. All eat 
with their fingers, and scrupulously wash before 
and after meals. 

Though they have chess, a game played with in-^oor 
tables and dice as backgammon is, and cards nients. 
(which are circular, in many suits, and painted with 
Hindu gods, &c., instead of kings, queens, and 
knaves), yet the great in-door amusement is to 
listen to singing interspersed with slow movements, 
which can scarcely be called dancing. The atti- 
tudes are not ungraceful, and the songs, as has been 
mentioned, are ])lcasing ; but it is, after all, a lan- 
guid and monotonous entertainment ; and it is 
astonishing to see the delight that all ranks take in 
it ; the lower orders, in particular, often standing 
for whole nights to enjoy this unvaried amuse- 

These exhibitions are now often illuminated* 
when in rooms, by English chandeliers; but the 

z 'Z 


BOOK true Hindu way of lighting them up is by torches 

held by men, who feed the flame with oil from a 

sort of bottle constructed for the purpose. For 
ordinary household purposes they use lamps of 
earthenware or metal. 
Houses, In the houses of the rich, the doorways are huno^ 

ceremonial, . ., . ./ o 

and con- With quiltcd silk curtains ; and the doors, the 

versation of , , , i i • i 

the upper arclics, and otiier wood-work in the rooms are 
c asses. highly carved. The floor is entirely covered with 
a thin mattrass of cotton, over which is spread a 
clean white cloth to sit on ; but there is no other 
furniture of any description. Equals sit in opposite 
rows down the room. A prince or great chief has 
a seat at the head of the room between the rows, 
very slightly raised by an additional mattrass, and 
covered with a small carpet of embroidered silk. 
This, with a high round embroidered bolster be- 
hind, forms what is called a masnad or gadi, and 
serves as a throne for sovereigns under the rank of 

Great attention is paid to cerem,ony. A person 
of distinction is met a mile or two before he enters 
the city ; and a visitor is received (according to 
his rank) at the outer gate of the house, at the 
door of the room, or by merely rising from the 
seat. Friends embrace if they have not met for 
some time. Bramins are saluted by joining the 
palms, and raising them twice or thrice to the fore- 
head : with others, the salute with one hand is 
used, so well known by the Mahometan name of 
salam. Bramins have a peculiar phrase of saluta- 


^' XI. 

tion for each other. Other Hindus, on meeting, chap. 
repeat twice the name of the god Rama. Visitors 
are seated with strict attention to their rank, which, 
on pubhc occasions, it often takes much previous 
negotiation to settle. Hindus of rank are remark- 
able for their politeness to inferiors, generally ad- 
dressing them by some civil or familiar term, and 
scarcely ever being provoked to abusive or harsh 

The lower classes are courteous in their general 
manners among themselves, but by no means so 
scrupulous in their language when irritated. 

All visits end by the master of the house pre- 
senting bitel leaf with areca nut, &c., to the 
guest : it is accompanied by attar of roses or some 
other perfume put on the handkerchief, and rose- 
water sprinkled over the person ; and this is the 
signal for taking leave. 

At first meetings, and at entertainments, trays of 
shawls and other materials for dresses are presented 
to the guests, together with pearl necklaces, brace- 
lets, and ornaments for the turban of jewels : a 
sword, a horse, and an elephant are added when 
both parties are men of high rank. I do not know 
how much of this custom is ancient, but presents 
of bracelets, &c., are frequent in the oldest dramas. 

Such presents are also given to meritorious ser- 
vants, to soldiers who have distinguished them- 
selves, and to poets or learned men : they are 
showered on favourite singers and dancers. 

z 3 





ments and 
pomp of 
the rich. 

At formal meetings nobody speaks but the prin- 
_ cipal persons, but in other companies there is a 
great deal of unrestrained conversation. The man- 
ner of the Hindus is poUte, and their language 
obsequious. They abound in compliments and 
expressions of humility even to their equals, and 
when they have no object to gain. They seldom 
show much desire of knowledge, or disposition to 
extend their thoughts beyond their ordinary habits. 
Within that sphere, however, their conversation is 
shrewd and intelligent, often mixed with lively 
and satirical observations. 

The rich rise at the same hour as the common 
people, or, perhaps, not quite so early ; perform 
their devotions in their own chapels ; despatch 
private and other business with their immediate 
officers and dependents ; bathe, dine, and sleep. 
At two or three they dress, and appear in their 
public apartments, where they receive visits and 
transact business till very late at night. Some, also, 
listen to music till late : but these occupations are 
confined to the rich, and, in general, a Hindu town 
is all quiet soon after dark. 

Entertainments, besides occasions of rare occur- 
rence, as marriages, &c., are given on particular 
festivals, and sometimes to show attention to pai'- 
ticular friends. Among themselves they commence 
with a dinner j but the essential part of the enter- 
tainment is dancing and singing, sometimes diver- 
sified with jugglers and buffoons; during vvhicli 
time perfumes are burnt, and the guests are dressed 


with garlands of sweet-smelling flowers : presents, chap. 
as above described, are no less essential. ' 

At courts there are certain days on which all the 
great and all public officers wait on the Prince to 
pay their duty ; and, on those occasions, the crowd 
in attendance is equal to that of a birthday levee 
in Europe. 

All go up to the Prince in succession, and pre- 
sent him with a nazzer, which is one or more 
pieces of money laid on a napkin, and which it is 
usual to offer to superiors on all formal meetings. 
The amount depends on the rank of the offerer ; 
the lowest in general is a rupee, yet poor people 
sometimes present a flower, and shopkeepers often 
some article of their traffic or manufacture. A 
dress of some sort is, on most occasions, given in 
return. The price of one dress is equal to many 
nazzers. The highest regular nazzer is 100 ash- 
refis equal to 150 or I7O guineas ; but people have 
been known to present jewels of high value, and 
it is by no means uncommon, when a prince visits 
a person of inferior rank, to construct a low base 
for his masnad of bags containing in all 100,000 
rupees (or 10,000/.), which arc all considered part 
of the nazzer. So much is that a form, that it 
has been done when the Nizam visited the Re- 
sident at Hyderabad, though that prince was little 
more than a dependant on our government. J 
mention this as a general custom at present, though 
not sure that it is originally Hindu. 

The religious festivals are of a less doubtful clia- 
z 4 



BOOK racter. In them a ereat hall is fitted up in honour 
of the deity of the day. His image, richly adorned, 
and surrounded by gilded balustrades, occupies 
the centre of one end of the apartment, while the 
prince and his court, in splendid dresses and jewels, 
are arranged along one side of the room as guests 
or attendants. The rest of the ceremony is like 
other entertainments. The songs may, perhaps, 
be appropriate ; but the incense, the chaplets of 
flowers, and other presents are as on ordinary 
occasions : the bitel leaf and attar, indeed, are 
brought from before the idol, and distributed as if 
from him to his visitors. 

Among the most striking of these religious ex- 
hibitions is that of the capture of Lanka, in honour 
of Rama, which is necessarily performed out of 

Lanka is represented by a spacious castle with 
towers and battlements, which are assailed by an 
army dressed like Rama and his followers, with 
Hanuman and his monkey allies. The combat 
ends in the destruction of Lanka, amidst a blaze 
of fireworks which would excite admiration in any 
part of the world, and in a triumphal procession 
sometimes conducted in a style of grandeur which 
might become a more important occasion. 

This festival is celebrated in another manner, 
and with still greater splendor, among the Marattas. 
It is the day on which they always commence their 
military operations ; and the particular event which 
they commemorate is Rama's devotions and his 


pliickins^ a branch from a certain tree, before he chap. 


set out on his expedition. ' 

A tree of this sort is pknted in an open plain 
near the camp or city ; and all the inflmtry and 
guns, and as many of the cavalry as do not accom- 
pany the prince, are drawn up on each side of the 
spot, or form a wide street leading up to it. The 
rest of the plain is filled with innumerable spec- 
tators. The procession, though less regular than 
those of Mahometan princes, is one of the finest 
displays of the sort in India. The chief advances 
on his elephant, preceded by flags and gold and 
silver sticks or maces, and by a phalanx of men on 
foot bearing pikes of fifteen or sixteen feet long. 
On each side are his nobles and military leaders on 
horseback, with sumptuous dresses and caparisons, 
and each with some attendants selected for their 
martial appearance ; behind are long trains of ele- 
phants with their sweeping housings, some with 
flags of immense size, and glittering with gold 
and embroidery ; some bearing howdahs, open or 
roofed, often of silver, plain or gilt, and of forms 
peculiarly oriental : around and behind is a cloud 
of horsemen, their trappings glancing in the sun, 
and their scarfs of cloth of gold fluttering in the 
wind, all overtopped by sloping spears and waving 
banners ; those on tlie flanks dashing out, and 
returning after displaying some evolutions of 
horscmanshii) : the whole moving, mixing, and 
continually shifting its form as it advances, and 
presenting one of the most animating and most 


BOOK gorgeous spectacles that is ever seen, even in that 
land of barbarous magnificence. As the chief ap- 
proaches, the guns are fired, the infantry discharge 
their pieces, and the procession moves on with 
accelerated speed, exhibiting a lively picture of an 
attack by a great body of cavalry on an army 
drawn up to receive them. 

When the prince has performed his devotions 
and plucked his bough, his example is followed by 
those around him : a fresh salvo of all the guns is 
fired ; and, at the signal, the other troops break off, 
and each man snatches some leaves, from one of 
the fields of tall grain which is grown for the pur- 
pose near the spot : each sticks his prize in his 
turban, and all exchange compliments and con- 
gratulations. A grand darbar, at which all the 
court and military officers attend, closes the day. 
Fairs, pii- There is less grandeur, but scarcely less interest, 
&c. ° in the fairs and festivals of the common people. 

These have a strong resemblance to fairs in 
England, and exhibit the same whirling machines, 
and the same amusements and occupations. But 
no assemblage in England can give a notion of the 
lively effect produced by the prodigious concourse 
of people in white dresses and bright coloured 
scarfs and turbans, so unlike the black head-dresses 
and dusky habits of the north. Their taste for 
gaudy shows and processions, and the mixture of 
arms and flags, give also a different character to 
the Indian fairs. The Hindus enter into the amuse- 
ments of these meetings with the utmost relisli, 

MANNERS. i347 

and show every sign of peaceful festivity and en- chap. 

joyment. They may, on all these occasions, have 

some religious ceremony to go through, but it 
does not take up a moment, and seldom occupies 
a thought. At the pilgrimages, indeed, the long 
anticipation of the worship to be performed, the 
example of other pilgrims invoking the god aloud, 
and the sanctity of the place, concur to produce 
stronger feelings of devotion. There are also more 
ceremonies to be gone through, and sometimes these 
are joined in by the whole assembly ; when the 
thousands of eyes directed to one point, and of 
voices shouting one name, is often impressive even 
to the least interested spectator. 

But, even at pilgrimages, the feeling of amuse- 
ment is much stronger than that of religious zeal ; 
and many such places are also among the most 
celebrated marts for the transfer of merchandise, 
and for all the purposes of a ftiir. 

Among the enjoyments of the upper classes, I Gardens 

• 1 • 1 I'll 11 •"*'"' natural 

should not omit then* gardens, which, thougii always scenery. . 
formal, are nevertheless often pleasing. They are 
divided by broad alleys, with long and narrow 
]jonds or canals inclosed with regular stone and 
stucco work, running up the centre, and, on each 
side, straight walks between borders of poppies of 
all colours, or of other flowers in uniform beds or 
in patterns. Their summer houses are of white 
stucco, and though somewhat less heavy and in- 
elegant than their ordinary dwellings, do not much 
relieve the formality of the garden : but there is 


BOOK still something rich and oriental in the groves of 

. orange and citron trees, the mixture of dark 

cypresses with trees covered with flowers or blos- 
soms, the tall and graceful palms, the golden fruits, 
and highly scented flowers. In the heats of sum- 
mer, too, the trellised walks, closely covered with 
vines, and the slender stems and impervious shade 
of the areca tree, afford dark and cool retreats 
from the intolerable glare of the sun, made still 
more pleasant by the gushing of the little rills that 
water the garden, and by the profound silence and 
repose that reign in that overpowering hour. 

I have great doubts whether the present kind of 
gardens has not been introduced by the Mussul- 
mans, especially as I remember no description in 
the poets that are translated which suggests this 
sort of formality. 

The flowers and trees of Indian gardens are 
neither collected with the industry, nor improved 
with the care, of those in Europe ; and it is amidst 
the natural scenery that we see both in the greatest 
perfection. The country is often scattered with 
old mangoe trees and lofty tamarinds and pipals, 
which, in Guzerat especially, are accompanied with 
undulations of the ground that give to extensive 
tracts the varied beauties of an English park. In 
other parts, as in Rohilcand, a perfectly flat and 
incredibly fertile plain is scattered with mangoe 
orchards, and delights us with its extent and pro- 
sperity, until at last it wearies with its monotony. 
In some parts of Bengal the traveller enters on a 


similar flat covered with one slieet of rice, but chap. 


without a tree, except at a distance on every side, 

where appears a thick bamboo jungle, such as might 
be expected to harbour wild beasts. Wlien this 
jungle is reached, it proves to be a narrow belt 
filled with villages and teeming with population ; 
and when it is passed, another bare flat succeeds, 
again encircled with bamboo jungle almost at the 
extremity of the horizon. 

The central part of the Deckan is composed of 
waving downs, wliich at one time present, for 
hundreds of miles, one unbroken sheet of green 
harvests, high enough to conceal a man and horse *, 
but in the hot season bear the appearance of a 
desert, naked and brown, without a tree or a shrub 
to relieve its gloomy sameness. In many places, 
especially in the west, are woods of old trees filled 
with scented creepers, some bearing flowers of the 
most splendid colours, and others twining among the 
branches, or stretciiing boldly from tree to tree, 
with stems as tliick as a man's tliigh. The forests 
in the cast t and the centre of India t, and near 
one part of the western Ghats §, are composed of 
trees of prodigious magnitude, almost undisturbed 
by habitations, and imperfectly traversed by narrow 
roads, like the wildest parts of America. 

* Of l)ajri (IIolcus spicatus) and juar (IIolcus .sorgliiiiii). 
-j- Tlic .sill forests near tlu; mountiiiiis. 

■^ The forest that fills the country from Nagitur to Ikiigul, 
and from liundelcand to the northern Circurs. 
§ Malabar, ixc. 


^m^ In tlie midst of the best cultivated country are 

often found spaces of several days* journey across 

covered with the palas or dak tree, whicli in 
spring loses all its leaves and is entirely covered 
with large red and orange flowers, which make the 
whole of the hills seem in a blaze. 

The noblest scenery in India is nnder Hemalaya, 
w^here the ridges are broken into every form of the 
picturesque, with abrupt rocks, mossy banks, and 
slopes covered with gigantic pines and other trees 
on the same vast scale, mixed with the most beautiful 
of our flowering shrubs and the best of our fruits in 
their state of nature. Over tlie whole towers the 
majestic chain of Hemalaya covered with eternal 
snow ; a sight which the soberest traveller has 
never described without kindling into enthusiasm, 
and which, if once seen, leaves an impression that 
can never be equalled or eflfliced. The western 
Ghats present the charms of mountain scenery on 
a smaller scale, but it is no exaggeration of their 
merits to say that they strongly resemble the valleys 
of the Neda and the Ladon, which have long been 
the boast of Arcadia and of Europe. 

The beauty of the Ghats, however, depends en- 
tirely on the season when they are seen ; in sum- 
mer, when stripped of their clouds and deprived of 
their rich carpet of verdure and their innumerable 
cascades, the height of the mountains is not suffi- 
cient to compensate by its grandeur for their gene- 
ral sterility, and the only pleasure they afford is 


derived from the stately forests which still clothe chap. 
their sides. ' 

all cl 


Tlie day of the poor in towns is spent much like Manner of 
that of the villagers, except tliat they go to their towns- 
shop instead of the field, and to the bazar for SvaiVrr^ 
amusement and society. The villagers have some 
active games ; but the out of door amusements of 
the townspeople are confined to those at fairs and 
festivals ; some also perform their complicated sys- 
tem of gymnastic exercise, and practise wrestling ; 
but there are certain seasons which have their ap- 
propriate sports, in which all descriptions of people 
eagerly join. 

Perhaps the chief of these is the holi, a festival 
in honour of the spring, at which the common 
people, especially the boys, dance round fires, sing 
licentious and satirical songs, and give vent to all 
sorts of ribaldry against their superiors, by whom 
it is always taken in good part. The great sport 
of the occasion, however, consists in sprinkling 
each other with a yellow liquid, and throwing a 
crimson powder over each other's persons. The 
liquid is also squirted through syringes, and the 
])owder is sometimes made up in large balls covered 
with isinglass, which break as soon as they come in 
contact with the body. All ranks engage in this 
sport with enthusiasm, and get more and more into 
the spirit of the contest, till all parties are coin- 
l)lctely drenched with the liquid, and so covered 
with the red ])owder, that they can scarcely be 





A grave prime minister will invite a foreign am- 
bassador to play the holi at his house, and will 
take his share in the most riotous parts of it with 
tlie ardour of a schoolboy. 

There are many other festivals of a less marked 
character ; some general, and some local. Of the 
latter description is the custom among the Marattas 
of inviting each other to eat the toasted grain of 
the bajri (or Holcus spicatus) when the ear first 
begins to fill. This is a natural luxury among 
villagers ; but the custom extends to the great, 
the Raja of Berar, for instance, invites all the prin- 
cipal people of his court, on a succession of days, 
to this fare, when toasted grain is first served, and 
is followed by a regular banquet. 

The diwali is a general festival, on which every 
house and temple is illuminated with rows of little 
lamps along the roofs, windows, and cornices, and 
on ban\boo frames erected for the purpose. 

Benares, seen from the Ganges, used to be very 
magnificent on this occasion. During the whole 
of the month in which this feast occurs, lamps are 
hung up on bamboos, at different villages and pri- 
vate houses, so high as often to make the spectator 
mistake them for stars low in the horizon. 

The jannam ashtomi is a festival at which a 
sort of opera is performed by boys dressed like 
Crishna and his shepherdesses, who perform ap- 
propriate dances and sing songs in character. 

The military men (that is, all the upper class 
not engaged in religion or commerce) are fond of 


hunting, running down wolves, deer, hares, &c. chap. 

with dogs, which they also employ against wild 

boars, but depending chiefly, on these last occasions, 
on their own swords or spears. They shoot tigers 
from elephants, and sometimes attack them on 
horseback and on foot ; even villagers sometimes 
turn out in a body to attack a tiger that infests 
their neighbourhood, and conduct themselves with 
great resolution. As long as a tiger does not de- 
stroy men, however, they never quarrel with him. 

The military men, notwithstanding their habitual 
indolence, are all active and excellent horsemen. 
The Marattas in particular are celebrated for their 
management of the horse and lance. They all 
ride very short, and use tight martingales, and light 
but very sharp bits. Their horses are always well 
on their haunches, and are taught to turn suddenly 
when at speed, in the least possible room. They 
are also taught to make sudden bounds forward, 
by which they bring their rider on his adversary's 
bridle arm before he has time to counteract the 

The skirmishers of two Indian armies mix and 
contend with tlieir sj)ears in a way that looks very 
like })lay to an European. They wheel round 
and round each other, and make feigned pushes 
ap])arently witliout any intention of coming in con- 
tact, tliougli always nearly within reach. They 
are in tact straining every nerve to carry their 
point, but each is thrown out by the dexterous 
cvohitions of his antagonist, luitil, at lengtli, one 

VOL. I. A A 


BOOK beinoj struck through and knocked off his horse, 

III. . 
first convmces the spectator that both parties were 

in earnest. 

The Hindus are also good shots with a match- 
lock from a horse ; but in this they are much ex- 
celled by the Mahometans. 

Among other instances of activity, great men 
sometimes drive their own elephants ; defending 
the seeming want of dignity, on the ground that a 
man should be able to guide his elephant in case 
his driver should be killed in battle. In early days 
this art was a valued accomplishment of the heroes. 
Dress. Xhc regular dress of all Hindus is probably that 

which has been mentioned as used in Bengal, and 
which is worn by all strict Bramins. It consists 
of two long pieces of white cotton cloth, one of 
which is wrapped round the middle and tucked 
up between the legs, while part hangs down a 
good deal below the knees ; the other is worn 
over the shoulders, and occasionally stretched over 
the head, which has no other covering.* The 
head and beard are shaved, but a long tuft of hair 
is left on the crown. Mustachios are also worn, 
except perhaps by strict Bramins. Except in 
Bengal, all Hindus, who do not affect strictness, 
now wear the lower piece of cloth smaller and 
tighter, and over it a white cotton, or chintz, or 
silk tunic, a coloured muslin sash round the middle, 
and a scarf of the same material over the shoul- 

* This is exactly the Hindu dress described by Arrian, 
Indica, cap. xvi. 


ders, with a turban ; some wear loose drawers like chap. 
the Mahometans. ' 

The full dress is a long white gown of almost 
transparent muslin close over the body, but in 
innumerable loose folds below the waist. This, 
with the sash and turban, bracelets, necklaces, and 
other jewels and ornaments, make the dress com- 
plete. As this dress is partly borrowed from the 
Mahometans, and cannot be very ancient, it is 
singular that it should be accurately represented 
in some of the figures of kings on the tombs at 
Thebes in Egypt *, where the features, attitudes, 
and every thing else are, by a remarkable coin- 
cidence, (for it can be nothing more,) exactly what 
is seen in a Hindu Raja of the present day. 

The dress of the women is nearly the same as women, 
that first described for the men ; but both the 
pieces of cloth are much larger and longer, and 
they are of various bright colours as well as white. 
Both sexes wear many ornaments. Men even of 
the lower orders wear earrings, bracelets, and neck- 
laces. They are sometimes worn as a convenient 
way of keeping all the money the owner has ; but 
the necklaces are sometimes made of a })articular 
berry that hardens into a rough but handsome 
dark brown bead, and sometimes of ])articnlar 
kinds of wood turned ; and these arc mixed alter- 
nately with l)C'ads of" gold or coral. The neck and 
legs are bare ; but on going out, cinhroidered slip- 

• Especiallv on tin- sides of one oi' tin- iloors in Hdzoni's oavo. 
A A -2 


BOOK pers with a long point curling up are put on, and 
are laid aside again on entering a room or a palan- 
keen. Children are loaded with gold ornaments, 
which gives frequent temptation to child murder. 

Women, under the ancient Hindus, appear to 
have been more reserved and retired than with us ; 
but the complete seclusion of them has come in 
with the Mussulmans, and is even now confined to 
the military classes. Tlie Bramins do not observe 
it at all. The Peshwa's consort used to walk to 
temples, and ride or go in an open palankeen 
through the streets with perfect publicity, and with 
a retinue becoming her rank. 

Women, however, do not join in the society of 
men, and are not admitted to an equality with 
them. In the lower orders, the wife, who cooks 
and serves the dinner, waits till the husband has 
finished before she begins. When persons of dif- 
ferent sexes walk together, the woman always fol- 
lows the man, even when there is no obstacle to 
their walking abreast. Striking a woman is not so 
disgraceful with the lower orders as with us. But, 
in spite of the low place systematically assigned to 
them, natural affection and reason restore them to 
their rights : their husbands confide in them., and 
consult with them on their affairs, and are as often 
subject to their ascendancy as in any other country. 
Slavery. Anothcr rcproacli to Hindu civilisation, though 

more real than that just mentioned, falls very short 
of the idea it at first sight suggests. Domestic 
slavery in a mild form is almost universal. The 

MANNERS. d.57 

slaves are home-born, or children sold by their chap. 

. . XI. 

parents during famine, and sometimes children kid- . 

napped by Banjaras, a tribe of wandering herds- 
men, who gain their subsistence by conveying 
grain and merchandise from one part of the coun- 
try to another. Such a crime is, of course, liable 
to punishment ; but from its being only occasion- 
ally practised, it is even more difficult to detect 
than slave trading among ourselves. 

Domestic slaves are treated exactly like serv- 
ants, except that they are more regarded as belong- 
ing to the family. I doubt if they are ever sold ; 
and they attract little observation, as there is no- 
thing apparent to distinguish them from freemen. 
But slavery is nowhere exempted from its curse. 
The female children kidnapped are often sold to 
keepers of brothels to be brought up for public 
prostitution, and in other cases are exposed to the 
passions of their masters and the jealous cruelty of 
their mistresses. 

In some parts of India slaves are not confined 
to the great and rich, but are found even in the 
families of cultivators, where they are treated ex- 
actly like the other members. Among the ancient 
Hindus it will have been observed, from Menu, that 
there were no slaves attached to the soil. As the . 
Hindus spread to the south, however, they appear 
in some places to have found, or to have esta- 
blished, ])nL'dial servitude. In some forest tracts 
there are slaves attaclied to tlie soil, but in so loose 
a way, that they are entitled to wages, and, in fact, 

.\ A .1 


BOOK are under little restraint. In the south of India 

they are attached to and sold with the land ; and 

in Malabar (where they seem in the most abject 
condition), even without the land. The number 
in Malabar and the extreme south is guessed at 
different amounts, from 100,000 to 400,000. They 
exist also in some parts of Bengal and Behar, and 
in hilly tracts like those in the south east of 
Guzerat. Their proportion to the people of India 
is however insignificant ; and in most parts of that 
country the very name of praedial slavery is un- 
Ceremonies Marriagcs arc performed with many ceremonies, 

ofmarriage. i • i 

few of which are interestmg : among them are 
joining the hands of the bride and bridegroom, and 
tying them together with a blade of sacred grass ; 
but the essential part of the ceremony is when the 
bride steps seven steps, a particular text being re- 
peated for each. When the seventh step is taken, 
the marriage is indissoluble.* This is the only 
form of marriage now allowed, the other seven 
being obsolete.t 

The prohibition, so often repeated in Menu, 
against the receipt by the bride's father of any pre- 
sent from the bridegroom, is now more strictly 
observed than it was in his time. The pointJ of 
honour in this respect is carried so far, that it is 
reckoned disgraceful to receive any assistance in 
after life from a son-in-law or brother-in-law. It 

* Colebrooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. pp. 303. 309. 
t Ibid. p. 311. 


is indispensable that the bridegroom should come to ^^ ap. 

the house of the flither-in-law to sue for the bride, 

and the marriage must also be performed there. 

At the visit of the suitor, the ancient modes of 
hospitality are maintained according to a prescribed 
form. The sort of entertainment still appears in 
the production of a cow to be killed for the feast ; 
but the suitor now intercedes for her life, and she 
is turned loose at his request.* 

In the case of princes, where the bride comes 
from another country, a temporary building is 
erected with great magnificence and expense, as a 
house for the bride's father ; and in all cases the 
procession in which tiie bride is taken home after 
the marriage is as showy as the parties can afibrd. 

In Bengal these processions are particularly 
sumptuous, and marriages there have been known 
to cost lacs of rupees.! The parties are generally 
children ; the bride must always be under the age 
of puberty, and both are usually under ten. These 
premature marriages, instead of producing attach- 
ment, often cause early and lasting disagreements. 

Hnidu parents are remarkable for tlieir affection Education, 
for their children while they are young ; but they 
not unfrequently have disputes with grown uj) sons, 

* Colebrooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. vii. pp. 288, 289. So 
uniform was the practice of sacrificing^ a vow for the entertain- 
ment of a visitor, tliat goghna (cow-killer) is a Sluinscrit term 
for a guest.' 

f Ward, vol. i. p. 170. 

A A 1 


BOOK the source of which probably lies in the legal re- 
strictions on the father's control over his property. 

Boys of family are brought into company dressed 
like men (with little swords, &c.), and behave with 
all the propriety, and almost all the formality, of 
grown up people. 

The cliildren of the common people sprawl about 
the streets, pelt each other with dust, and are less 
restrained even than children in England. At this 
age they are generally very handsome. 

The education of the common people does not 
extend beyond writing and the elements of arith- 
metic. There are schools in all towns, and in 
some villages, paid by small fees ; the expense for 
each boy in the south of India is estimated at from 
I5s. to 16.S-. a year * ; but it must be very much 
less in other places. In Bengal and Behar the 
fee is often only a small portion of grain or un- 
cooked vegetables. t 

They are taught, with the aid of monitors, in the 
manner introduced from Madras into Enoland. 

The number of children educated at public 
schools under the Madras presidency (according 
to an estimate of Sir T. Munro) is less than one 
in three ; but, low as it is, he justly remarks, this 
is a higher rate than existed, till very lately, Mn 
most countries in Europe. It is probable that the 
proportion under the other presidencies is not 

* Captain Harkness, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 
No. I. p. ] 9. 

f Mr. Adams's Report on Education (Calcutta, 1838). 


greater than under Madras. I should doubt, in- chap. 

^ XI. 

deed, whether the average was not a good deal too 
high. Women are every where almost entirely 

People in good circumstances seldom send their 
children to school, but have them taught at home 
by Bramins retained for the purpose. The higher 
branches of learning are taught gratuitously ; the 
teachers maintaining themselves, and often a portion 
of their scholars, by means of presents received 
from princes and opulent individuals. 

There is now no learning, except among the 
Bramins, and with them it is at a low ebb. 

The remains of ancient literature sufficiently 
show the far higher pitch to which it had attained 
in former times. There is no such proof of the 
greater diffusion of knowledge in those days ; but 
when three of the four classes were encouraged to 
read the Vedas, it is probable that they were more 
generally well informed than now. 

More must be said of Indian names than the Names. 
intrinsic importance of the subject deserves, to 
obviate the difficulty of recognising individuals 
named in different histories. 

Few of the Hindu nations have fiimily names. 
Tlie Marattas have them exactly as in Europe. 
The Rajputs have names of clans or tribes, but too 
extensive com})letely to sup))ly the place of fiunily 
names ; and the same is the case with tiie Bramins 
of the north of India. 

In the soiilli of India it is usual to prefix the 





name of the city or place of which the person 
is an inhabitant to his proper name (as Carpa 
Candi Rao, Candi Rao of Carpa, or Caddapa). * 
The most general practice on formal occasions is 
that common in most parts of Asia, of adding the 
father's name to that of the son ; but this practice 
may, perhaps, have been borrowed from the Mus- 

An European reader might be led to call a per- 
son indifferently by either of his names, or to take 
the first or last for shortness ; but the first might be 
the name of a town, and the last the name of the 
person's father, or of his cast, and not his own. 

Another difficulty arises, chiefly among the Ma- 
hometans, from their frequent change of title ; as 
is the case with our own nobility. 

The Hindus in general bury their dead, but 
men of the religious orders are buried in a sitting 
posture cross-legged. A dying man is laid out of 
doors, on a bed of sacred grass. Hymns and 
prayers are recited to him, and leaves of the holy 
basil scattered over him. If near the Ganges, he 
is, if possible, carried to the side of that river. 
It is said that persons so carried to the river, if 
they recover, do not return to their families ; and 
there are certainly villages on the Ganges which 
are pointed out as being entirely inhabited by such 
people and their descendants ; but the existence 
of such a custom is denied by those likely to be 

* Men's offices also often afford a distinguishing appellation. 


best informed ; and the story has probably ori- chap. 
ginated in some misconception. After death, ^ 
the body is bathed, perfumed, decked with flowers, 
and immediately carried out to the pyre. It is 
enjoined to be preceded by music, which is still 
observed in the south of India. There, also, 
the corpse is exposed on a bed with the face 
painted with crimson powder. In other parts, on 
the contrary, the body is carefully covered up. 
Except in the south, the corpse is carried without 
music, but with short exclamations of sorrow from 
the attendants. 

The funeral pile for an ordinary person is not 
above four or five feet high ; it is decorated with 
flowers, and clarified butter and scented oils are 
poured upon the flames. The pyre is lighted by 
a relation, after many ceremonies and oblations ; 
and the relations, after other observances, purify 
themselves in a stream, and sit down on a bank to 
wait the progress of the fire. They present a 
melancholy spectacle on such occasions, wrapped 
up in their wet garments, and looking sorrowfully 
on the pyre. Neither the wet dress nor the sorrow 
is required by their religion : on the contrary, tiiey 
are enjoined to alleviate their grief by rej)eating 
certain verses, and to refrain from tears and la- 

* The following are among the verses : — 

" Foolish is he who seeks permanence in the human state, 
unsolid like the stem of the plantain tree, transient like the foam 
of the sea." 



BOOK The Hindus seldom erect tombs, except to 

. men who fall in battle, or widows who burn with 

their husbands. Their tombs resemble small square 

The obsequies performed periodically to the 
dead* have been fully explained in another place. 
I may mention here the prodigious expense some- 
times incurred on those occasions. A Hindu family 
in Calcutta were stated in the newspapers for 
June, 1824, to have expended, besides numerous 
and most costly gifts to distinguished Bramins, the 
immense sum of 500,000 rupees (50,000/.) in alms 
to the poor, including, I suppose, 20,000 rupees, 
which it is mentioned that they pay to release 
debtors. t 
Sattis. It is well known that Indian widows sometimes 

sacrifice themselves on the funeral pile of their 
husbands, and that such victims are called Sattis. 
The period at which this barbarous custom was 
introduced is uncertain. It is not alluded to by 
Menu, who treats of the conduct proper for 
faithful and devoted widows, as if there were no 
doubt about their survivini? their husbands. t It is 

" All that is low must finally perish ; all that is elevated must 
ultimately fall." 

" Unwillingly do the Manes taste the tears and rheum shed 
by their kinsmen: they do not wail^ but diligently perform the 
obsequies of the dead." — Colebrooke, in Asiatic Researches, 
vol. vii. p. 244'. 

* Book I. p. 80. 

f Quarterly Oriental Magazine for September, ISS^, p. 23. 

X Book V. 156, &c. 



thoLiglit by some to have been recognised in an- chap. 
cient aatliorities, particularly in the Rig Veda ; but 
others deny this construction of the text.* It 
certainly is of great antiquity, as an instance is 
described by Diodorus (who wrote before the birth 
of Christ), and is stated to have occurred in the 
army of Eumenes upwards of 300 years before our 
era.t The claim of the elder wife to preference 
over the younger, the Indian law against the 
burning of pregnant women, and other similar 
circumstances mentioned in his narrative, are too 
consistent with Hindu institutions, and the cere- 
monies are too correctly described, to leave the 
least doubt that Diodorus's account is authentic, 
and that the custom was as fully, though probably 
not so extensively, established in the time of 
Eumenes as at present. 

The practice is ascribed by Diodorus, as it still 
is by our missionaries, to the degraded condition 
to wliich a woman who outlives her husband is con- 
demned. If the motive were one of so general an 
influence, the practice would scarcely be so rare. 
It is more probable that the hopes of immediately 
entering on the enjoyment of heaven, and of en- 
titling the husband to the same felicity, as well as 

* See Translations by Riija Ram Mohan IJoy, pp. 2(X)— 2G6. 
Soe also CoK'brooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. ]>. 'JO.')., and 
ProfV.ssor Wilson, Ojford Lectures, p. l!h 

f Diodorus Siculus, lib. xix. cap. ii. Tiu; custom is also 
mentioned, but much less distinctly, by Stralxj, on the authority 
of Aristobulus and Onesicritus. 



"^ m^ the glory attending such a voluntary sacrifice, are 
■ sufficient to excite the few enthusiastic spirits who 

go through this awful trial. 

It has been said that the relations encourage self- 
immolation for the purpose of obtaining the pro- 
perty of the widow. It would be judging too 
harshly of human nature to tliink such conduct 
frequent, even in proportion to the number of 
cases where the widow has property to leave ; and, 
in fact, it may be confidently relied on, that the 
relations are almost in all, if not in all cases, sin- 
cerely desirous of dissuading the sacrifice. For 
this purpose, in addition to their own entreaties, 
and those of the infant children, when there are 
such, they procure the intervention of friends of 
the family, and of persons in authority. If the case 
be ih a family of high rank, the sovereign himself 
eroes to console and dissuade the widow. It is 


reckoned a bad omen for a government to have 
many sattis. One common expedient is, to engage 
the widow's attention by such visits, while the body 
is removed and burnt. 

The mode of concremation is various : in Ben- 
gal, the living and dead bodies are stretched on a 
pile where strong ropes and bamboos are thrown 
across them so as to prevent any attempt to rise. 
In Orissa, the woman throws herself into the pyre, 
which is below the level of the ground. In the 
Deckan, the woman sits down on the pyre with 
her husband's head in her lap, and remains there 
till suffocated, or crushed by the fall of a heavy 


roof of loo's of wood, which is fixed by cords to chap. 

^ . '' XI. 

posts at the corners of the pile. 

The sight of a widow burning is a most painful 
one ; but it is hard to say whether the spectator is 
most affected by pity or admiration. The more 
than human serenity of the victim, and the respect 
which she receives from those around her, are 
heightened by her gentle demeanour, and her care 
to omit nothing in distributing her last presents, 
and paying the usual marks of courtesy to the by- 
standers ; while the cruel death that awaits her 
is doubly felt from her own apparent insensibility 
to its terrors. The reflections which succeed are 
of a different character, and one is humiliated to 
think that so feeble a being can be elevated by 
superstition to a self-devotion not surpassed by the 
noblest examples of patriots or martyrs. 

I have heard that, in Guzerat, women about to 
burn are often stupified with opium. In most 
other parts this is certainly not the case. Women 
go through all the ceremonies with astonishing 
composure and presence of mind, and have been 
seen seated, unconfined, among the flames, ap- 
parently praying, and raising their joined hands to 
their heads with as little agitation as at their ordi- 
nary devotions. On the other hand, frightful in- 
stances have occurred of women bursting from 
amidst the flames, and being thrust back by the 
assistants. One of these diabolical attempts was 
made in Bengal, when an English gentleman hap- 
pened to be among the spectators, and succeeded 





in preventing the accomplishment of the tragedy ; 
but, next day, he was surprised to encounter the 
bitterest reproaches from the woman, for having 
been the occasion of her di.sgrace, and the obstacle 
to her being then in heaven enjoying the company 
of her husband, and the blessings of those she had 
left behind. 

The practice is by no means universal in India. 
It never occurs to the south of the river Kishna ; 
and under the Bombay presidency, including the 
former sovereignty of the Bramin Peshwas, it 
amounts to thirty-two in a year. In the rest of the 
Deckan it is probably more rare. In Hindostan 
and Bengal it is so common, that some hundreds 
are officially reported as burning annually within 
the British dominions alone. 

Self-immolation by men also is not uncommon, 
but it is generally performed by persons lingering 
under incurable disorders. It is done by leaping 
into fire, by burying alive, by plunging into a river, 
or by other modes, such as throwing one's self be- 
fore the sacred car at Jagannat. 

During the four years of Mr. Stirling's attend- 
ance at Jagannat, three persons perished under the 
car ; one case he ascribed to accident, and the 
other two persons had long suffered under excru- 
ciating disorders.* 

The Hindus have some peculiarities that do not 
admit of classification. As they have casts for 

Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. p. 324. 


all the trades, they have also casts for thieves, and chap. 


men are brought up to consider robbing as their " 

hereditary occupation. Most of the hill tribes, 
bordering on cultivated countries, arc of this de- 
scription ; and even throughout the plains there are 
casts more notorious for theft and robbery than 
gipsies used to be for pilfering in Europe. 

In their case hereditary professions seemfiivour- 
able to skill, for there are no where such dexterous 
thieves as in India. Travellers are full of stories 
of the patience, perseverance, and address with 
which they will steal, unperceived, through the 
midst of guards, and carry off their prize in the 
most dangerous situations. Some dig holes in the 
earth, and come up within the wall of a well-closed 
house : others, by whatever way they enter, always 
open a door or two to secure a retreat ; and pro- 
ceed to plundei*, naked, smeared with oil, and armed 
with a dagger ; so that it is as dangerous to seize 
them as it is difficult to hold. 

One great class, called Thags, continually travel 
about the country assuming different disguises ; an 
art in which they are perfect masters. Their ])rac- 
tice is to insinuate themselves into the society of 
travellers whom they hear to be possessed of pro- 
])erty, and to accom})any them till they have an 
opportunity of administering a stupifying drug, or 
of throwing a noose over the neck of their unsus- 
])ecting comj)anioii. Tie is then murdered without 
blood being shed, and buried so skilfully that a long 
time ela))ses belbre his fate is suspected. Tlie 

VOL. I. n B 


BOOK Thags invoke Bhawani, and vow a portion of their 
■ spoil to her. This mixture of religion and crime 

might of itself be mentioned as a peculiarity ; but it 
is paralleled by the vows of pirates and banditti to 
the Madonna ; and in the case of Mussulmans, who 
form the largest portion of the Thags, it is like the 
compacts with the devil, wdiich were believed in 
days of superstition. 

It need scarcely be said that the long descent of 
the thievish casts gives them no claim on the sym- 
pathy of the rest of the community, who look on 
them as equally obnoxious to punishment, both in 
this world and the next, as if their ancestors had 
belonged to the most virtuous classes. 

The hired watchmen are generally of these casts, 
and are faithful and efficacious. Their presence 
alone is a protection against their own class ; and 
their skill and vigilance, against strangers. Guzerat 
is famous for one class of people of this sort, whose 
business it is to trace thieves by their footsteps. 
In a dry country a bare foot leaves little print to 
common eyes ; but one of these people will per- 
ceive all its peculiarities so as to recognise it in all 
circumstances, and will pursue a robber by these 
vestiges for a distance that seems incredible.* 

* One was employed to pursue a man who had carried off 
the plate belonging to a regimental mess at Kaira ; he tracked 
him to Ahmedabad, twelve or fourteen miles, lost him among 
the well-trodden streets of that city, but recovered his traces 
on reaching the opposite gate ; and, though long foiled by the 
fugitive's running up the water of a rivulet, he at last came up 
with him, and recovered the property, after a chase of froni 
twenty to thirty miles. 


In another instance, a cast seems to emplo}" its chap. 
privilege exclusively for the protection of pro- 

perty. These are the Bhats and Charans, of the ^^^ 
west of India, who are revered as bards, and in 
some measure as heralds, among the Rajput tribes. 
In Rajpiitana they conduct caravans, which are 
not only protected from plunder, but from legal 
duties. In Guzeriit they carry large sums in bul- 
lion, through tracts where a strong escort would be 
insufficient to protect it. They are also guarantees 
of all agreements of chiefs among themselves, and 
even with the government. 

Their power is derived from the sanctity of their 
character and their desperate resolution. If a man 
carrying treasure is approached, he announces that 
he will commit traga, as it is called ; or if an en- 
gagement is not complied with, he issues the same 
threat unless it is fulfilled. If he is not attended 
to, he proceeds to gash his limbs with a dagger, 
which, if all otiicr means fail, he will plunge into 
his heart ; or he will first strike off the head of his 
child ; or different guarantees to the agreement 
will cast lots who is to be first beheaded by his 
com])anions. The disgrace of these proceedings, 
and the fear of having a bard's blood on their head, 
generally reduce the most obstinate to reason. 
Their fidelity is exemplary, and they never hesitate 
to sacrifice their lives to keep ti]) an ascendancy on 
which the importance of their cast depends.* 

* Sec TofFs Udjuslliau, iind Mdlcolm's (Jcnlnil Jndid, \o\. ii. 
p. IP.O. 

B B 2 



BOOK Of the same nature with this is the custom by 

III. . T1 • 11- 

which Bramins seat themselves with a dagger or 

with poison at a man's door, and threaten to make 
away with themselves if the owner eats before he has 
complied with their demands. Common creditors 
also resort to this practice (which is called dherna); 
but without threats of self-murder. They prevent 
their debtor's eating by an appeal to his honour, 
and also by stopping his supplies ; and they fast, 
themselves, during all the time that they compel 
their debtor to do so. This sort of compulsion is 
used even against princes, and must not be resisted 
by force. It is a very common mode employed by 
troops to procure payment of arrears, and is then 
directed either against the paymaster, the prime 
minister, or the sovereign himself. 

The practice of sworn friendship is remarkable, 
though not peculiar, to the Hindus. Persons take 
a vow of friendship and mutual support with cer- 
tain forms ; and, even in a community little re- 
markable for faith, it is infamous to break this 
Mountain- Tlic hills aud forcsts in the centre of India are 
foresttribes. inhabited by a people differing widely from those 
who occupy the plains. They are small, black, 
slender, but active, with peculiar features, and a 
quick and restless eye. They wear few clothes, 
are armed with bows and arrows, make open pro- 

* Part of the ceremony is dividing a bhel, or wood-apple, 
half of which is kept by each party, and, from this compact, is 
called bhel bhandar. 


fession of plunder, and, unless the government is chap. 
strong, are always at war with all their neighbours. ^ 
When invaded, they conduct their operations with 
secrecy and celerity, and shower their arrows from 
rocks and thickets, whence they can escape before 
they can be attacked, and often before they can be 

They live in scattered and sometimes moveable 
hamlets, are divided into small communities, and 
allow great powder to their chiefs. They subsist 
on the produce of their own imperfect cultivation, 
and on what they obtain by exchanges or plunder 
from the plains. They occasionally kill game, but 
do not depend on that for their support. In many 
parts the berries of the mahua tree form an im- 
portant part of their food. 

Besides one or two of the Hindu gods, they 
have many of their own, who dispense particular 
blessings or calamities. The one who presides over 
the small-pox is, in most places, looked on with 
peculiar awe. 

They sacrifice fowls, pour libations before eat- 
ing, are guided by inspired magicians, and not by 
priests, bury their dead, and have some ceremonies 
on the birth of children, marriages, and fimerals, 
in common. They are all much addicted to spi- 
rituous li(piors ; and most of them kill and eat 
oxen. Their great abode is in the Vindya moun- 
tains, which rim east and west from the (langes to 
Guzerat, and the broad liact. of Ibrest which ex- 
tends north and .soutii from the neighbourhood of 

u li 3 


BOOK Allahabad to the latitude of Masulipatam, and, 
' with interruptions, almost to Cape Comorin. In 

some places the forest has been encroached on by 

cultivation ; and the inhabitants have remained in 

the plains as village watchmen, hunters, and other 

trades suited to their habits. In a few places their 

devastations have restored the clear country to the 

forest ; and the remains of villages are seen among 

the haunts of wild beasts. 

The points of resemblance above mentioned lead 
to the opinion that all these rude tribes form one 
people ; but they differ in other particulars, and 
each has a separate name ; so that it is only by 
comparing their languages (where they retain a 
distinct language) that we can hope to see the 
question of their identity settled. 

These people, at Bagalpur, are called paharias, 
or mountaineers. Under the name of Cols they 
occupy a great tract of wild country in the west 
of Bengal and Behar, and extend into the Vindya 
mountains, near Mirzapur. In the adjoining part 
of the Vindya range, and in the centre and south of 
the great forest, they are called Gonds ; further 
west, in the Vindya chain, they are called Bhils ; 
and in all the western hills, Colis j which name 
probably has some connection with the Cols of 
Behar, and may possibly have some with the C6- 
laris, a similar tribe in the extreme south. The 
Colis stretch westward along the hills and forests in 
Guzerat, nearly to the desert ; on the south they 
take in part of the range of Ghats. 


These tribes are known by different names in chap. 

•^ XI. 
other parts of the country ; but the above are by 

far the most considerable. 

Their early history is uncertain. In the Deckan 
they were in their present state at the time of the 
Hindu invasion j and probably some of them were 
those allies of Rama whom tradition and fiction 
have turned into a nation of monkeys. 

That whole country was then a forest ; and the 
present tribes are in those portions of it which have 
not yet been brought into cultivation. The great 
tract of forest, called Gondwana, lying between 
the rich countries of Berar and Cattac, and occa- 
sionally broken in upon by patches of cultivation, 
gives a clear idea of the original state of the Deckan, 
and the progress of its improvement. 

In Hindostan they may be the unsubdued part of 
the nation from whom the servile class was formed ; 
or, if it be true that even there their language is 
mixed with Tamul, they may possibly be the re- 
mains of some aboriginal people anterior even to 
those conquered by the Hindus. 

There are other tribes of mountaineers in the 
north-eastern hills, and the lower branches of He- 
malciya ; but they all differ widely from those above 
described, and ])artakc more of the features and ap- 
pearance of the nations between them and China. 

No separate mention is made of the motmtain 
tribes by tiie Clreeks ; but Pliny more than once 
speaks of such communities. 

Englishmen in IncHa have less 0])])ortimity than cimr.ictor. 


BOOK might be expected of forming opinions of the mi- 
' tive character. Even in England few know much 
of the people beyond their own class, and what 
they do know they learn from newspapers and 
publications of a description which does not exist 
in India. In that country, also, religion and man- 
ners put bars to our intimacy with the natives, and 
limit the number of transactions as well as the free 
communication of opinions. We know nothing of 
the interior of families but by report ; and have no 
share in those numerous occurrences of life in 
which the amiable parts of character are most 

Missionaries of a different religion, judges, police 
magistrates, officers of revenue or customs, and 
even diplomatists, do not see the most virtuous por- 
tion of a nation, nor any portion, unless when in- 
fluenced by passion, or occupied by some personal 
interest. What we do see we judge by our own 
standard. We conclude that a man who cries like 
a child on slight occasions, must always be inca- 
pable of acting or suffering with dignity ; and that 
one who allows himself to be called a liar would 
not be ashamed of any baseness. Our writers also 
confound the distinctions of time and place ; they 
combine in one character the Maratta and the 
Bengalese ; and tax the present generation with 
the crimes of the heroes of the "Maha Bharat." It 
might be argued, in opposition to many unfavour- 
able testimonies, that those who have known the 
Indians longest have always the best opinion of 


them ; but tins is rather a compliment to human chap. 
nature tlian to them, since it is true of every other ' 
people. It is more in point, that all persons who 
have retired from India think better of the people 
they have left after comparing them with others 
even of the most justly admired nations. 

These considerations should make us distrust 
our own impressions, when unfavourable, but can- 
not blind us to the fact that the Hindus have, in 
reality, some great defects of character. Their 
defects no doubt arise chiefly from moral causes ; 
but they are also to be ascribed in part to physical 
constitution, and in part to soil and climate. ; 

Some races are certainly less vigorous than 
others ; and all must degenerate if placed in an 
enervating atmosphere. 

Mere heat may not enervate. If it is unavoid- 
able and unremitting, it even produces a sort of 
hardiness like that arising from the rigours of a 
northern winter. If sterility be added, and tlie 
fruits of hard labour are contested among scattered 
tribes, the result may be the energy and decision 
of the Arab. 

But, ill India, a warm temperature is accom- 
panied by a fertile soil, which renders severe laboiu' 
unnecessary, and an extent of land that would 
support an almost indefinite increase of inhabit- 
ants. The heat is moderated by rain, and warded 
off by numerous trees and forests: everything is 
calculated to jiroducc that state of listless inactivity, 
which foreigners find it so difficult to resist. 'J'he 


BOOK shades of character that are found in different parts 
' of India tend to confirm this supposition. The 
inhabitants of the dry countries in the north, 
which in winter are cold, are comparatively manly 
and active. The Marattas, inhabiting a moun- 
tainous and unfertile region, are hardy and labori- 
ous ; while the Bengalese, with their moist climate 
and their double crops of rice, where the cocoa- 
nut tree and the bamboo furnish all the materials 
for construction unwrought, are more effeminate 
than any other people in India. But love of re- 
pose, though not sufficient to extinguish industry 
or repress occasional exertions, may be taken as a 
characteristic of the whole people. Akin to their 
indolence is their timidity, which arises more from 
the dread of being involved in trouble and diffi- 
culties than from want of physical courage ; and 
from these two radical influences almost all their 
vices are derived. Indolence and timidity them- 
selves may be thought to be produced by despo- 
tism and superstition, without any aid from nature; 
but if those causes were alone sufficient, they 
would have had the same operation on the inde- 
fatigable Chinese and the imperturbable Russian ; 
in the present case they are as likely to be effect 
as cause. 

The most prominent vice of the Hindus is w^ant 
of veracity, in which they outdo most nations even 
of the East. They do not even resent the im- 
putation of falsehood ; the same man would calmly 
answer to a doubt by saying, " Why should I tell 



a lie ?" who would shed blood for what he regarded chap. 
as the slightest infringement of his honour. 

Perjury, which is only an aggravated species of 
falsehood, naturally accompanies other offences of 
the kind (though it is not more frequent than in 
other Asiatic countries) ; and those who pay so 
little regard to statements about the past, cannot be 
expected to be scrupulous in promises for the 
future. Breaches of faith in private life are much 
more common in India than in England ; but even 
in India, the great majority, of course, are true to 
their word. 

It is in people connected with government that 
deceit is most common ; but in India, this class 
spreads far ; as, from the nature of the land revenue 
the lowest villager is often obliged to resist force by 

In some cases, the fluilts of the government pro- 
duce an opposite effect. Merchants and bankers 
are generally strict observers of their engagements. 
If it were otherwise, commerce could not go on 
where justice is so irregularly administered. 

Hindus are not ill fitted by nature for intrigue 
and cunning, when their situation calls forth those 
(pialities. Patient, supple, and insinuating, they 
will i)enetrate tlic views of a })erson with whom 
they have to deal ; watch his humours; soothe or 
irritate his temper ; ])resent things in siicii a form 
as suits their designs, and contrive, by indirect 
nian(Euvres, to make others e\'eii unwillingly con- 
tribute to the accomplishment of llieir ends. i3iit 


BOOK their plots are seldom so daring or flagitious as those 
' of other Asiatic nations, or even of Indian Mussul- 
mans, though these last have been softened by their 
intercourse with the people among whom they are 

It is probably owing to the faults of their govern- 
ment that they are corrupt ; to take a bribe in a 
pood cause is almost meritorious ; and it is a venial 
offence to take one when the cause is bad. Pe- 
cuniary fraud is not thought very disgraceful, and, 
if against the public, scarcely disgraceful at all. 

It is to their government, also, that we must im- 
pute their flattery and their importunity. The first 
is gross, even after every allowance has been made 
for the different degrees of force which nations give 
to the language of civility. The second arises from 
the indecision of their own rulers : they never con- 
sider an answer final, and are never ashamed to 
prosecute a suit as long as their varied invention, 
the possible change of circumstances, or the ex- 
hausted patience of the person applied to gives 
them a hope of carrying their point. 

Like all that are slow to actual conflict, they are 
very litigious, and much addicted to verbal alter- 
cation. They will persevere in a law-suit till they 
are ruined ; and will argue, on other occasions, with 
a violence so unlike their ordinary demeanour, that 
one unaccustomed to them expects immediate blows 
or bloodshed. 

The public spirit of Hindus is either confined to 
their cast or village, in which cases it is often very 


strong ; or if it extends to the general government, chap. 
it goes no further than zeal for its authority on the " 
part of its agents and dependents. Great national 
spirit is sometimes shown in war, especially where 
religion is concerned, but allegiance in general sits 
very loose : a subject will take service against his 
natural sovereign as readily as for him ; and always 
has more regard to the salt he has eaten tiian to 
the land in which he was born. 

Although the Hindus, as has been seen, break 
through some of the most important rules of 
morality, we must not suppose that they are devoid 
of principle. Except in the cases specified, they 
have all the usual respect for moral obligations ; 
and to some rules w'hich, in their estimation, are 
of peculiar importance, they adhere, in spite of 
every temptation to depart from them. A B ram in 
will rather starve to death than eat prohibited food : 
a headman of a village will suffer the torture rather 
than consent to a contribution laid on the inhabit- 
ants by a tyrant, or by banditti : the same servant 
who cheats his master in his accounts may be 
trusted with money to any amount in de})Osit. 
Even in corrupt transactions, it is seldom that men 
will not rather undergo a punishment than betray 
those to whom they have given a bribe. 

Their great defect is a want of manliness, Their 
slavish constitution, their blind superstition, their 
extravagant mythology, the subtilties and verbal 
distinctions of their ])hiios()j)hy, the languid soft- 
ness of their j)oetry, their elleminate manners, tlieir 


BOOK love of artifice and delav, their submissive temper, 
III. ' . . 

' their dread of change, tlie delight they take in 

puerile fables, and their neglect of rational history, 
are so many proofs of the absence of the more 
robust qualities of disposition and intellect through- 
out the mass of the nation. 

But this censure, though true of the whole, when 
compared with other nations, by no means applies 
to all classes, or to any at all times. The labour- 
ing people are industrious and persevering ; and 
other classes, when stimulated by any strong mo- 
tive, and sometimes even by mere sport, will go 
through great hardships and endure long fatigue. 

They are not a people habitually to bear up 
against desperate attacks, and still less against a 
long course of discouragement and disaster ; yet 
they often display bravery not surpassed by the 
most warlike nations ; and will always throw away 
their lives for any consideration of religion or 
honour. Hindu Sepoys in our pay have, in two 
instances, advanced, after troops of the King's ser- 
vice had been beaten off; and on one of tliese 
occasions they were opposed to French soldiers. 
The sequel of this history will show instances of 
whole bodies of troops rushing forward to certain 
death, while, in private life, the lowest orders do 
not hesitate to commit suicide if they once con- 
ceive their honour tarnished. 

Their contempt of death is, indeed, an extra- 
ordinary concomitant to their timidity when ex- 
posed to lesser evils. When his fate is inevitable, 


the lowest Hindu encounters it with a coohiess that chap. 

would excite admiration in Europe, converses with 

his friends with cheerfulness, and awaits the ap- 
proach of death without any diminution of his 
usual serenity. 

The best specimen of the Hindu character, re- 
taining its peculiarities while divested of many of 
its defects, is found among the Rajputs and other 
military classes in Gangetic Hindostan, from among 
whom so many of our Sepoys are recruited. It is 
there we are most likely to gain a clear conception 
of their high spirit, their enthusiastic courage, and 
generous self-devotion, so singularly combined with 
gentleness of manners and softness of heart, to- 
gether with a boyish playfulness and almost in- 
fantine simplicity. 

The villagers are everywhere an inoffensive 
amiable people, affectionate to their families, kind 
to their neighbours ; and, towards all but the 
government, honest and sincere. 

The townspeople are of a more mixed character; 
but they are quiet and orderly, seldom disturbing 
the public peace by tumults, or their own by pri- 
vate broils. On the whole, if we except those 
connected with the Government, they will bear a 
fair comparison with tlic people of towns in Eng- 
land. Their advantages in religion and govern- 
ment give a clear su])eriority to our middle classes ; 
and even among the labouring class, there are many 
to whom no jiarailel could be found in any rank in 
India; but, on the otiier hantl, there is no set of 


BOOK people among the Hindus so depraved as the dregs 
' of our great towns; and the swarms of persons who 
live by fraud — sharpers, impostors, and adventurers 
of all descriptions, from those who mix with the 
higher orders down to those who prey on the com- 
mon people — are almost unknown in India. 

Some of the most conspicuous of the crimes in 
India exceed those of all other countries in atro- 
city. The Thags * have been mentioned ; and the 
Decoits are almost as detestable for their cruelty as 
tlie others for their deliberate treachery. 

The Decoits are gangs associated for the purpose 
of plunder, who assemble by night, fall on an un- 
suspecting village, kill those who offer resistance, 
seize on all property, and torture those whom they 
imagine to have wealth concealed. Next morning 
they are melted into the population ; and such is 
the dread inspired by them, that, even when known, 
people can seldom be found to come forward and 
accuse them. Except in the absence of political 
feeling, and the greater barbarity of their proceed- 
ings, their offence resembles those which have, at 
times, been common in Ireland. In India it is 
the consequence of weak government during the 
anarchy of the last hundred years, and is rapidly 
disappearing under the vigorous administration 
of the British. Both Thags and Decoits are at 
least as often Mahometans as Hindus. 

The horror excited by such enormities leads us 

* See page 369. of this volume. 


at first to imagine peculiar depravity in the country chap. 

where they occur ; but a further inquiry removes . . 

that impression. Inchiding Thags and Decoits, 
the mass of crime in India is less tlian in England. 
Tliags are almost a separate nation, and Decoits 
are desperate ruffians who enter into permanent 
gangs and devote their lives to rapine ; but the 
remaining part of the population is little given to 
such passions as disturb society. By a series of 
Reports laid before the House of Commons in 
1832*, it appears that, on an average of four years, 
the number of capital sentences carried into effect 
annually in England and Wales was 1 for 203,281 
souls ; and in the provinces under the Bengal pre- 
sidency, 1 for 1,004,1821; transportation for life, 
in England, 1 for 67,173, and in the Bengal pro- 
vinces, 1 for 402,010. 

We may admit that the proportion of undetected 
crimes in Bengal is considerably greater than in 
England ; but it would require a most extravagant 
allowance on that account to bring the amount of 
great crimes in the two countries to an equality. 

Murders are oftener from jealousy, or some such 
motive, than for gain : and theft is confined to par- 
ticular classes ; so that there is little uneasiness 
regarding property. Europeans sleep with (ivery 

* Minutes of Evidence (Judicial), No. IV. p. 103. 

\ The annual number of sentences to death in England was 
1232, and of r'xccutions Gi. In Hmgal, the sent<;nces were 59, 
and the executions the same. l",Mgl:iiid is taken at 13,()(K),()(){) 
souls, and the Bengal ]irovinces at 00,000,000. 
VOL. I. C C 



^j^OK (]oor in the house open, and their property scat- 

tered about as it lay in tlie day time, and seldom 

have to complain of loss : even with so numerous 
a body of servants as fills every private house, it is 
no small proof of habitual confidence to see scarcely 
any thing locked up. 

The natives of India are often accused of Avant- 
ing gratitude ; \^ it does not appear that those 
who make the charge have done much to inspire 
such a sentiment. When masters are really kind 
and considefatft. they find as warm a return from 
Indian servants as^j^n the world ; and there are 
few who have tried them in sickness, or in difficul- 
ties and dangers, who do not bear witness to their 
sympathy and attachment. Their devotion to their 
own chiefs is proverbial, and can arise from no 
other cause than gratitude, unless where cast sup- 
plies the place of clannish feeling. The fidelity of 
our Sepoys to their foreign masters has been shown 
in instances which it would be difficult to match, 
even among national troops, in any other country. 
Nor is this confined to the lower orders ; it is 
common to see persons who have been patronised 
by men in power, not only continue their attach- 
ment to them when in disgrace, but even to their 
families when they have left them in a helpless 

* A perfectly authentic instance might be mentioned, of an 
English gentleman, in a high station in Bengal, who was dis- 
missed, and afterwards reduced to great temporary difficulties 
in his own country : a native of rank, to whom he had been kind, 


Though their character is altered since the mix- chap. 

tare with foreigners, the Hindus are still a mild 
and gentle people. The cruel massacres that at- 
tended all their battles with the Mahometans must 
have led to sanguinary retaliation ; and they no 
longer act on the generous laws of war which are 
so conspicuous in Menu. But even now they are 
more merciful to prisoners than any other Asiatic 
people, or than then- Mussulman countrymen. 

Tippoo used to cut off the riglit hands and noses 
of the British camp followers that fell into his 
hands. The last Peshwa gave to men of the same 
sort a small quantity of provisions and a rupee each, 
to enable them to return to their business, after 
they had been plundered by his troops. 

Cold-blooded cruelty is, indeed, imputed to Bra- 
mins in power, and it is probably the result of 
checking the natural outlets for resentment ; but 
the worst of them are averse to causing death, 
especially when attended with shedding blood. In 
ordinary circumstances, the Hindus are compas- 
sionate and benevolent ; but they are deficient in 
active humanity, partly owing to the unsocial effects 
of cast, and partly to the apathy which makes them 

supplied liini, wlirn in those circumstances, with u])\vanl.s of 
10,000A, of wliich he would not accept repayment, and for which 
he could expect no possible return. Tliis generous friend was 
a Maratta I'raniin, a race of all others who have least symi)athy 
witii people of oth(;r Ciusts, and who are most hardened and 
corrii])ted by jiowir. 

c c 2 



BOOK indifFerent to their own calamities, as well as to 
those of their neighbours. 

This deficiency appears in their treatment of the 
poor. All feed Bramins and give alms to religious 
mendicants ; but a beggar from mere want would 
neither be relieved by the charity of Europe, nor 
the indiscriminate hospitality of most parts of Asia. 

Though improvidence is common among the 
poor, and ostentatious profusion, on particular oc- 
casions, among the rich, tlie general disposition of 
the Hindus is frugal, and even parsimonious. Their 
ordinary expenses are small, and few of any rank 
in life hesitate to increase their savings by employ- 
ing them indirectly in commerce, or by lending 
them out at high interest. 

Hindu children are much more quick and intel- 
ligent than European ones. The capacity of lads 
of twelve and fourteen is often surprising ; and not 
less so is the manner in which their faculties be- 
come blunted after the age of puberty, 

But at all ages they are very intelligent ; and this 
strikes us most in the lower orders, who, in pro- 
priety of demeanour, and in command of language, 
are far less different from their superiors than with 

Their freedom from gross debauchery is the point 
in which the Hindus appear to most advantage. 
It can scarcely be expected, from their climate and 
its concomitants, that they should be less licentious 
than other nations ; but if we compare them with 
our own, the absence of drunkenness, and of immo- 


desty in their other vices, will leave the superiority chap. 
in purity of manners on the side least flattering to . 
our self-esteem. 

Their indifference to the grossest terms in con- 
versation appears inconsistent with this praise ; but 
it has been well explained as arising from "that 
simplicity which conceives that whatever can exist 
without blame, may be named without offence ; " 
and this view is confirmed by the decorum of their 
behaviour in other respects. 

Though naturally quiet and thoughtful, they are 
cheerful in society; fond of conversation and amuse- 
ment, and delighting in anecdote and humour bor- 
dering on buffoonery. It has been remarked be- 
fore, that their conversation is often trifling, and 
this frivolity extends to their general character, and 
is combined with a disposition to vanity and osten- 

In their persons they are, gcneralhj speaki7ig, 
lower, and always more slender, than Europeans.* 
They have a better carriage and more grace, less 
strength, but more free use of their limbs. 

They are of a brown colour, between the com- 
plexion of the southern European and that of the 
negro. Their hair is long, rather lank, and always 
jet black. Their mustachios and (in the few cases 
in wliich tliey wear them) their beards are long 
and strong. Their women have a large share of 

♦ The iiiilit;iry classes in Iliinlostan arc imicli lallcr tliaii tlic 
common run of" Kiiglisliinen. 

c c .'3 




son of the 
in ancient 
and mo- 
dern times. 

beauty and grace, set off by a feminine reserve and 

The cleanliness of the Hindus in their persons 
is proverbial. They do not change their clothes 
after each of their frequent ablutions ; but even in 
that respect the lower classes are more cleanly than 
those of other nations. The public parts of their 
houses are kept very neat ; but they have none of 
the English delicacy which requires even places 
out of sight to partake of the general good order. 

Before coming to any conclusions from the two 
views which have been given of the Hindus, — at 
the earliest epoch of which we possess accounts, 
and at the present day, — it will be of advantage 
to see how they stood at an intermediate period, 
for which we fortunately possess the means, through 
the accounts left us by the Greeks, a people unin- 
fluenced by any of our peculiar opinions, and yet 
one whose views we can understand, and whose 
judgment we can appreciate. 

This question has been fully examined in another 
placet, and the results alone need be mentioned 

From them it appears that the chief changes 
between the time of Menu's Code and that of Alex- 
ander, were — the complete emancipation of the 

* The Lascars, now so common in the streets of London, are 
mostly from the coast near Bombay, or the south eastern part 
of Bengal (both moist and hot rice countries), and present an 
unfavoui-able specimen of the natives of India. 

f See Appendix IIL 


servile class; the more general occurrence, if not chap. 

. XI. 

the first instances of the practice of selfimmo- 

lation by widows ; the prohibition of intermarriages 
between casts; the employment of tlie Bramins as 
soldiers, and their inhabiting separate villages ; 
and, perhaps, the commencement of the monastic 

The changes from Menu to the present time 
have already been fully set forth ; and if we take 
a more extensive review (without contrasting two 
particular periods), we shall find the alterations 
have generally been for the worse. 

Tlie total extinction of the servile condition of 
the Sudras is, doubtless, an improvement ; but in 
other respects we find the religion of the Hindus 
debased, their restrictions of cast more rigid (ex- 
cept in the interested relaxation of the Bramins), 
the avowed imposts on the land doubled, the courts 
of justice disused, the la\vs less liberal towards 
women, the great works of peace no longer under- 
taken, and the courtesies of war almost forgotten. 
We find, also, from their extant works, that the 
Hindus once excelled in departments of taste and 
science on which they never now attempt to write ; 
and that they formerly impressed strangers with a 
high respect for their courage, veracity, simphcity, 
and integrity, — the qualities in which tliey now 
seem to us most deficient. 

It is impossible, from all this, not to come to a 
conclusion that tlie Hindus were once in a iiigher 
condition, both moral and intellectual, than ihey 

c c i 


BOOK are now ; and as, even in their present state of 
III. .' . ^, 

. . depression, they are still on a footing of equality 

with any people out of Europe, it seems to follow 
that, at one time, they must have attained a state 
of civilisation only surpassed by a few of the most 
favoured of the nations, either of antiquity or of 
modern times. 

The causes of their decline have already been 
touched on in different places. Their religion en- 
courages inaction, which is the first step towards 
decay. The rules of cast check improvement at 
home, and at the same time prevent its entering 
from abroad : it is those rules that have kept up 
the separation between the Hindus and the Mus- 
sulmans, and furnished the only instance in which 
an idolatrous religion has stood out against the 
comparative purity even of that of Mahomet, when 
professed by the government. Despotism would 
doubtless contribute its share to check the progress 
of society ; but it was less oppressive and degrading 
than in most Asiatic countries. 

The minute subdivision of inheritances is not 
pecuHar to the Hindus ; and yet it is that which 
most strikes an inquirer into the causes of the ab- 
ject condition of the greater part of them. By it 
the descendants of the greatest landed proprietor 
must, in time, be broken down to something be- 
tween a farmer and a labourer, but less independent 
than either ; aud without a chance of accumulation 
to enable them to recover their position. Bankers 
and merchants may get rich enough to leave all 


their sons with fortunes ; but, as each possessor chap, 
knows that he can neither found a family nor dis- " 
pose of his property by will, he endeavours to gain 
what pleasure and honour he can from his life-rent, 
by ostentation in feasts and ceremonies ; and by 
commencing temples, tanks, and groves, which his 
successors are too poor to complete or to repair.* 

The effect of equal division on men's minds is as 
great as on their fortunes. It was resorted to by 
some ancient republics to prevent the growth of 
luxury and the disposition to innovation. In India 
it effectually answers those ends, and stifles all the 
restless feelings to which men might be led by the 
ambition of permanently improving their condition. 
A man who has amassed a fortune by his own la- 
bours is not likely to have a turn for literature or 
the fine arts ; and if he had, his collections would 
be dispersed at his death, and his sons would have 
to begin their toils anew, without time for acquir- 
ing that refinement in taste or elevation of senti- 
ment which is brought about by the improved 
education of successive generations. 

Hence, although rapid rise and sudden fortunes 
are more common in India than in Europe, they 
produce no pennanent change in the society ; all 
remains on the same dead level, with no conspi- 
cuous objects to guide the course of the connnu- 
nity, and no barriers to o})pose to the arbitrary will 
of the ruler.t 

* Hf'ncc tlu; common opinion amonj; Kiiropoaiis, that it is 
thought unlucky for a son to go on with his iatlicr's work, 
f The great inilitarv (:\i\vi'> may l)c said to be exceptions to 


BOOK Under such discouragements we cannot be sur- 
ni. . . 

' prised at the stagnation and decHne of Hindu 

civihsation. The wonder is, how it could ever 
struggle against them, and how it attained to such 
a pitch as exists even at this moment. 

At what time it had reached its highest point it 
is not easy to say. Perhaps in institutions and moral 
character it was at its best just before Alexander ; 
but learning was much longer in reaching its acme. 
The most flourishing period for literature is repre- 
sented by Hindu tradition to be that of Vicrama 
Ditya, a little before the beginning of our sera ; but 
some of the authors who are mentioned as the orna- 
ments of that prince's court appear to belong to 
later times ; and the good writers, whose works are 
extant, extend over a long space of time, from the 
second century before Christ to the eighth of the 
Christian aera. Mathematical science was in most 
perfection in the fifth century after Christ ; but 
works of merit, both in literature and science, con- 
tinued to be composed for some time after the 
Mahometan inv^asion. 

this rule, for they not unfrequently transmit their lands to their 
children ; but they are, for purposes of improvement, the worst 
people into whose hands property could fall. As their power 
rests on mercenary soldiers, they have no need to call in the aid 
of the people, like our barons ; and as each lives on his own 
lands at a distance from his equals, they neither refine each 
other by their intercourse, nor those below them by the example 
of their social habits. 






The first information we receive on Hindu history chap, 

is from a passage in Menu, which gives us to infer 

that their residence was at one time between tlie 
rivers Seraswati (Sersooty) and Drishadwati (Cag- 
gar), a tract about 1 00 miles to the north-west of / 

Delhi, and in extent about sixty-five miles long, 
and from twenty to forty broad. That land. Menu 
says, was called Bramhaverta, because it was fre- 
quented by gods ; and the custom preserved by 
immemorial tradition in that country is pointed out 
as a model to the pious.* Tlie country between 
that tract and the Jamna, and ail to the north of 
the Jamna and Ganges, including Nortli Behar, is 
mentioned, in the second place, under the name 
of Bramarshi; and Bramins lx)ru williiii thai tract 

* Menu, 15o()k II. v. 17, is. Tliis Iract is also tlie scene (tf 
the adventures of tlie first princes, and tlie nsidenee of the most 
famous sages. — VVu..soN, Preface to Vinhnu I'urana, p. Ixvii. 


BOOK are pronounced to be suitable teachers of the 
several usaares of men.* 

This, therefore, may be set down as the first 
country acquired after that on the Saraswati. 

The Puranas pass over these early stages un- 
noticed, and commence with Ayodha (Oud), about 
the centre of the last mentioned tract. It is there 
that the solar and lunar races have their origin ; 
and from thence the princes of all other countries 
are sprung. 

From fifty to seventy generations of the solar 
race are only distinguished from each other by 
purely mythological legends. 

After these comes Rama, who seems entitled to 
take his place in real history. 
Expedition His story t, when stripped of its fabulous and ro- 
mantic decorations, merely relates that Rama pos- 
sessed a powerful kingdom in Hindostan ; and that 
he invaded the Deckan and penetrated to tlie island 
of Ceylon, which he conquered. 

The first of these facts there is no reason to 
question ; and we may readily believe that Rama 
led an expedition into the Deckan ; but it is highly 
improbable that, if he was the first, or even among 
the first invaders, he should have conquered Cey- 
lon. If he did so, he could not have lived, as is 
generally supposed, before the compilation of the 
Vedas ; for, even in the time of Menu's Institutes, 
there were no settlements of Hindu conquerors in 

* Menu, Book II. v. 19, 20. f See p. 177. 


the Deckan. It is probable that the poets who chap. 
have celebrated Rama, not only reared a great fabric ' 

on a narrow basis, but transferred their hero's ex- 
ploits to tlie scene which was thought most in- 
teresting in their own day. 

The undoubted antiquity of the " llamayana "* 
is the best testimony to tlie early date of the event 
which it celebrates ; yet, as no conspicuous invasion 
of the Deckan could have been undertaken without 
great resources, Rama must have lived after Hindu 
civilisation had attained a considerable pitch. 

After Rama, sixty princes of his race ruled in 
succession over his dominions ; but, as we hear no 
more of Ayodha (Oud), it is possible that the 
kingdom (which at one time was called Coshala) 
may have merged in another ; and that the capital 
was transferred from Oud to Canouj. 

The war celebrated in the '* Maha Bharat" is Warofthc 

« IMalia 

the next historical event that deserves notice. Bharat." 

It is a contest between the lines of Pandu and 
of Curu (two branches of the reigning family) for 
the territory of Hastina})ura (probably a place on 
the Ganges, north-east of Delhi, which still bears 
the ancient name). The family itself is of the 
lunar race, but the diflerent parties arc supported 
by numerous allies, and some from very remote 

There seem to have been many states in India 
(six, at, in tiie one tract upon the (iangest); 

* See p. 297. 

f IIa.stina))ura, Muttra, raiicliala (jiart of Oiul and tlu; lower 


^9,9^ but a considerable decree of intercourse and con 



nection appears to have been kept up among them. 
Crishna, who is an ally of the Pandus, though born 
on the Jamna, had founded a principality in Gu- 
zerat : among the allies on each side are chiefs 
from the Indus, and from Calinga in the Deckan ; 
some, even, who, the translators are satisfied, be- 
longed to nations beyond the Indus ; and Yavanas, 
a name which most orientalists consider to apply, 
in all early works, to the Greeks. The Pandus 
were victorious, but paid so dear for their success, 
that the survivors, broken-hearted with the loss of 
their friends and the destruction of their armies, 
abandoned the world and perished among the snows 
of Hemalaya. Crishna, their great ally, fell, as was 
formerly stated *, in the midst of civil wars in his 
own country. Some Hindu legends relate that his 
sons were obliged to retire beyond the Indus t ; 
and, as those Rajputs who have come from that 
quarter in modern times to Sind and Cach are of 
his tribe of Yadu, the narrative seems more de- 
serving of credit than at first sight might appear. 

Doab), Benares, Magada, and Bengal. {Oriental Magazine, 
vol. iii. p. 135. ; Tod, vol. i. p. 49.) Ayodha is not mentioned 
in the " Maha Bharat," nor Canacubya (Canouj), unless, as as- 
serted in Menu (Chap. II. s. 19.), Panchala is only another name 
for that kingdom. 

* See p. 179. 

f See Colonel Todj vol. i. p. 85., and the translation (through 
the Persian) of the " Maha Bharat," published by the Oriental 
Translation Fund, in 1831. 


The more authentic account, however (that of the chap. 

*' Mahci Bharat " itself), describes them as finally 

returning to the neighbourhood of the Jamna. 

The story of the " jNIaha Bharat" is much more 
probable than that of the *' Ramayana." It contains 
more particulars about the state of India, and has 
a much greater appearance of being founded on 
facts. Though far below the "Iliad" in appearance 
of reality, it bears nearly the same relation to the 
" Ramayana" that the poem on the Trojan war does 
to the legends on the adventures of Hercules ; and, 
like the " Iliad," it is the source to which many 
chiefs and tribes endeavour to trace their ancestors. 

The date of the war has already been discussed.* 
It was probably in the fourteenth century before 

Twenty-nine (some say sixty-four) of the de- 
scendants of the Pandus succeeded them on the 
throne ; but the names alone of those princes are 
preserved. The seat of their government seems 
to have been transferred to Delhi. 

The successors of one of the kings who appear Magada. 
as allies in the same poem were destined to attract 
greater notice. These are the kings of Magada, 
of whom so much has been already said, t 

The kings of Magada seem always to have pos- 
sessed extensive authority. The first of them (he 
who is mentioned in the '* Malia Bharat") is repre- 
sented as the head of a number of chiefs and tribes ; 

* Page 273. t Page 266. 


BOOK but most of those probably were within the limits 
' of Bengal and Behar, as we have seen that there 
were five other independent kingdoms in the tract 
watered by the Ganges.* 

For many centuries they were all of the military 
tribe ; but the last Nanda was born of a Sudra 
mother; and Chandragupta, who murdered and 
succeeded him, was also of a low class : from this 
time, say the Puranas, the Cshetryas lost their 
ascendancy in Magada, and all the succeeding 
kings and chiefs were Sudras. t 

They do not seem to have lost their consequence 
from the degradation of their cast ; for the Sudra 
successors of Chandragupta are said, in the hyper- 
bolical language of the Puranas, to have brought 
the *' whole earth under one umbrellat ;" and there 
appears the strongest reason to believe that Asoca, 
the third of the line, was really in possession of a 
commanding influence over the states to the north 
of the Nerbadda. The extent of his dominions 
appears from the remote points at which his edict 
columns are erected ; and the same monuments 

* It is remarkable the Yavaiias or Greeks are represented as 
allies of the king of Magada, — a circumstance evidently arising 
from the connection between the king of the Prasii and the 
successors of Alexander. (Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, 
vol. XV. p. 101.) Another of their allies, Bhagadatta, who 
receives the pompous title of " King of the South and West," 
appears by the " Ayeen Akberee " (vol. ii. p. 16.) to have been 
prince of Bengal. 

•j- Sir W. Jones, Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 139. ; Professor 
W^ilson, Hindu Drama, vol. iii. p. 14. 

\ Professor Wilson, Hindu Theatre, vol. iii. p. 14. 



bear testimony to the civilised character of his chap. 
government ; since they contain orders for esta- 
bhshing hospitals and dispensaries thronghont his 
empire, as well as for planting trees and digging 
wells along the public highways. 

This ascendancy of Asoca is the earliest ground 
I have been able to discover for an opinion which 
has been maintained, that the kings of Magada 
were emperors and lords paramount of India ; 
and Colonel Wilford, who has recorded all that 
he could ascertain regarding those kings *, states 
nothing that can countenance a belief in a greater 
extent or earlier commencement of their supremacy. 
During the war of the " Maha Bharat," it has been 
shown that they formed one of six little monarchies 
witJiin the basin of the Ganges ; and that they 
were among the unsuccessful opponents of one of 
those petty states, that of Hastinapura. 

Alexander found no lord paramount in the part 
of India which he visited ; and the nations which 
he heard of beyond the Hyphasis were under aris- 
tocratic governments. Arrian t and Strabo t say 
that the Prasii were the most distinguished of all 
the Indian nations ; but neither hints at their su- 
])remacyover the others. Arrian, indeed, in giving 
this preference to the Prasii, and their king, Sandra- 
cottus, adds that Porus was greater tlian he. Me- 

* Asiatic Itescarchcs, vol. ix. ■]■ Chap. v. 

X Book XV. ]). 483. 

VOL. I. D I) 


BOOK gasthenes * says that there were 118 nations in 

India, but mentions none of them as subordinate 

to the Prasii. It is impossible to suppose that 
Megasthenes, who resided at tlie court of Sandra- 
cottus, and seems so well disposed to exalt his 
greatness, should have failed to mention his being 
emperor of India, or indeed his having any decided 
ascendancy over states beyond his own immediate 

The Hindu accounts t represent Chandragupta 
as all but overwhelmed by foreign invasion, and 
indebted for his preservation to the arts of his 
minister more than to the force of his kingdom. It 
is probable, however, that he laid the foundation 
of that influence which was so much extended 
under his grandson. His accepting the cession of 
the Macedonian garrisons on the Indus, from Se- 
leucus, is a proof how far he himself had carried 
his views ; and Asoca, in his youth, was governor 
of Ujen or Malwa, which must, therefore, have 
been a possession of his father. 

The claim to universal monarchy in India has 
been advanced by princes of other dynasties in their 
inscriptions ; and has been conceded, by different 
European authors, to Porus, to the kings of 
Cashmir, of Delhi, Canouj, Bengal, Malwa, Gu- 
zerat, and other places ; but all apparently on very 
insufficient grounds. 

The family of Maurya, to which Sandracottus 

* Quoted by Arrian, chap. vii. 

•f- See Wilson s Theatre of the Hindus, vol. iii. 


belonged, retained possession of the throne for ten chap. 
generations, and were succeeded by three other ' 

Sudra dynasties, the last and longest of which bore 
the name of Andra.* 

This dynasty ended in a. d. 430, and is suc- 
ceeded in the Puranas by a confused assemblage of 
dynasties seemingly not Hindus ; from which, and 
the interruption at all attempts at historical order, 
we may infer a foreign invasion, followed by a long 
period of disorder. At the end of several centuries, 
a gleam of light breaks in, and discovers Magada 
subject to the Gupta kings of Canouj. From this 
period it is no longer distinctly mentioned. 

The fame of Magada has been preserved, from 
its being the birthplace of Budha, and from its 
language (Magadi or Pali) being now employed in 
the sacred writings of his most extensively diffused 
religion, as w^ell as in those of the Jains. 

A king of what we now call Bengal is mentioned Bengal, 
among the allies of the king of Magada in the 
war of the **Maha Bharat." From him, the Ayeni 
Akberi continues the succession, through five dy- 
nasties, till the Mahometan conquest. These lists, 
being only known to us by the translations of 
Abulfazl, might be looked on with more sus])icion 
than the Hindu ones already noticed. But that 
one of them, at least (the fourth), is founded in 
truth, is proved by inscriptions; and from them, a 
series of })rinces, with names ending in Pala, may 

* Sco " CliroiiologN'," ]). '27.0. 
I) I) 2 


BOOK be made out, who probably reigned from the iimth 

to the hitter part of the eleventh century.* 

Tlie inscriptions relating to this family were 
found at distant places, and in circumstances that 
leave no room to question tlieir authenticity : yet 
they advance statements which are surprising in 
themselves, and difficult to reconcile to what we 
know, from other sources, of the history of India. 
They represent the kings of Bengal as ruling over 
the whole of India ; from Hemalaya to Cape Co- 
morin, and from the Baramputr to the Indus. 
They even assert that the same kings subdued 
Tibet on the east, and Cambqja (which some sup- 
pose to be beyond the Indus) on the west.t 

* See Mr. Colebrooke, Asiatic Researches, vol. ix. p. 442., 
and the various inscriptions in the jireceding volumes there 

■\ The earliest, a copper tablet containing a grant of land^ and 
found at Mongir, appears to be written in the ninth century. 
(See Asiatic Researches, vol. ix. p. 446., above quoted.) It says, 
in explicit terms, that the reigning Raja, Deb Pal Deb (or Deva 
Pala Deva), possessed the whole of India from the source of the 
Ganges to Adam's Bridge (reaching to Ceylon), and from the 
river Megna, or Baramputr, to the western sea. It specifies 
the inhabitants of Bengal, the Carnatic, and Tibet among his 
subjects, and alludes to his army marching through Camboja, — 
a country generally supposed to be beyond the Indus ; and, if 
not so, certainly in the extreme west of India. The next in- 
scription is on a broken column in the district of Saran, north 
of the Ganges. It was erected by a prince who professes him- 
self tributary to Gour or Bengal, yet claims for his immediate 
territory the tract from Revva Jhanak (not exactly known) to 
the Hemalaya mountains, and from the eastern to the western 
sea. It states the Raja of Bengal (probably the son of the Deb 
Pal of the last inscription) to have conquered Orissa, a tribe or 


These conquests are rendered impossible to any chap. 

tiling like their full extent, by the simultaneous ' 

existence of independent governments in Canouj, 
Delhi, Ajmir, Mewar, and Guzerat, if not in other 
places ; but they could scarcely have been claimed 
in contemporary inscriptions, if the princes to 
whom they are ascribed had not affected some su- 
premacy over the other states, and had not sent 
expeditions far into the west of India, and even 
into the heart of the Deckan. On the whole, this 
dynasty seems to have at least as good a claim as 
any other in the Hindu times to the dignity of 
general dominion, and affords a fresh reason for 
distrusting all such pretensions. The dynasty of 
Pala was succeeded by one whose names ended in 
Sena ; and this last was subverted by the Maho- 
metans about A. D. 1203. 

Though the kingdom of Malwa does not pretend Waiwa. 
to equal in antiquity those already mentioned, it is 
of it that we possess the first authentic date. The yicmma- 

. ditya. 

aera still current through all the countries north of 
the Nerbadda is that of Vicramaditya, who reigned 
at Ujein at the date of its commencement, which 
was fifty-six years before Christ. 

Vicramaditya is the Harun al Rashid of Hindu 

people called Huns (also mentioned in the former inscription), 
the southern part of the coast of Coromandel, and Guzerat. 
The third merely records that a magnificent monument in honour 
of Biidlia, near B(!nur<s, was (^n-cted in 1()2G hy a Hilja of Bengal 
of the .same family as the above, who from tiic earlier inscrip- 
tions also appear to have been Budhists. 

D D .'3 



BOOK tales ; and by drawing freely from such sources, 
. Colonel Wilford collected such a mass of transac- 
tions as required the supposition of no less than 
eight Vicramadityas, to reconcile the dates of them ; 
but all that is now admitted is, that Vicramaditya 
was a powerful monarch, ruled a civilised and pro- 
sperous country, and was a distinguished patron of 
Bhoja. The next epoch is that of Raja Bhoja, whose 

name is one of the most renowned in India, but of 
whose exploits no record has been preserved. 
His long reign terminated about the end of the 
11th century. 

The intermediate six centuries are filled up by 
lists of kings in the " A'yeni Akberi," and in the 
Hindu books : among them is one named Chan- 
drapala, who is said to have conquered all Hin- 
dostan ; but the information is too vague to be 
made much use of. The princes of Malvva cer- 
tainly extended their authority over a large por- 
tion of the centre and west of India ; and it is of 
Vicramaditya that the traditions of universal em- 
pire are most common in India. 

The grandson of Bhoja was taken prisoner, and 
his country conquered, by the Raja of Guzerat ; 
but Malwa appears soon to have recovered its in- 
dependence under a new dynasty ; and was finally 
subdued by the Mahometans a. d. 1231.* 

* Colonel Tod, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, 
vol. i. p. 201., and Mr. Colebrooke, p. 230. of the same volume. 
See also Gladivins Aijeen Akbenj, vol. ii. p. 48. 


The residence of Crishna, and other events of chap. 

those times, impress us with the beUef of an early 

principality in Guzerat ; and the whole is spoken ^"^"''^ 
of as under one dominion, by a Greek writer 
of the second century.* The Rajput traditions, 
quoted by Colonel Tod t, inform us of another 
principality, founded at Ballabi, in the peninsula of 
Guzerat, in the middle of the second century of 
our fera, by Kanak Sena, an emigrant of the solar 
race, which reigned in Oud. They were driven 
out of their capital in 524, by an army of bar- 
barians, whom Colonel Tod thinks were Parthians. 
The princes of that family emigrated again from 
Guzerat, and at length founded the kingdom of 
Mewar, which still subsists. Grants of land, in- 
scribed on copper tablets, which have been trans- 
lated by Mr. Wathen t, fully confirm the fact that 
a race w^hose names often ended in Sena reigned 
at Ballabi from a. d. 144 to a. d. 524. The bar- 
barians, whom Colonel Tod thinks Parthians, Mr. 
Wathen suggests may have been Indo-Bactrians. 
They are certainly too late to be Parthians ; but 
it is not impossible they may have been Persians 
of the next race (Sassanians). Naushirwiin reigned 
from a. d. 531 to a. d. 579. Various Persian au- 
thors quoted by Sir John Malcolm §, assert that this 
monarch carried his arms into Ferghana on the 

* Vincent's Periplus, p. 1 I I. (Note on Manibarus). 

t Vol. i. pp. S3. 21,3. 

I Journal oft lie Asiatic Socictyof Calcutta, vol. i v. p. ISO, &c. 

§ Persia, vol. i. p. 111. 

I) I) ■!< 


BOOK north and India on the east ; and as they are 
' supported in the first assertion by Chinese records*, 
there seems no reason to distrust them in the 
second. Sir Henry Pottinger (though without 
stating his authority) gives a minute and probable 
account of Naushirwan's march along the sea coast 
of Mekran to Sind t ; and, as Ballabi was close to 
Sind, we may easily believe him to have destroyed 
that city. Perhaps the current story of the descent 
of the Ranas of Mewar from Noushirwan may 
have some connection with their being driven into 
their present seats by that monarch. 

The difference of seven years, by which the 
taking of Ballabi precedes Noushirwan's accession, 
is but a trifling matter in Hindu chronology. 

The Ballabi princes were succeeded in the rule 
of Guzerat by the Chauras, another Rajput tribe, 
who finally established their capital, in a. d. 7^6, at 
Anhalwara, now Pattan, and became one of the 
greatest dynasties of India, 

The last raja dying in a. d. 931 without male 
issue, was succeeded by his son-in-law as prince of 
the Rajput tribe of Salonka, or Chalukya, whose 
family were chiefs of Kalian in the Deckan, above 
the Ghats, t 

It was a raja of this dynasty that conquered 

* De Guignes, vol. ii. p. 469. f Travels, &c. p. 386. 

X Colonel Tod, vol. i. pp. 83. 97- 101. 206. From the com- 
parative nearness of Kalian in the Concan, Colonel Tod has 
naturally been led to suppose the Salonka prince to have come 
from thence ; but further information is unfavourable to that 


Malwa ; and it is to them, I suppose, that Colonel chap. 
Wilford applies the title of emperors of India/ 

Though overrun and rendered tributary by the 
Mahmud of Ghazni, the Salonkas remained on the 
throne till a. d. 1228, when they were deposed by 
another dynasty, which in 1297 1 sunk in its turn 
before the Mussulman conquerors. 

Few of the ancient Hindu states have attracted canouj. 
more notice than Canacubya or Canouj. It is one 
of the most ancient places in India : it gave rise, 
and gives a name, to one of the greatest divisions 
of the Bramin class; its capital was perhaps the 
wealthiest visited by the first Mahometan invaders ; 
and its wars with the neighbouring state of Delhi 
contributed to accelerate the ruin of Hindu inde- 

This kingdom appears in early times to have 
been called Panchala. It seems to have been a 
long, but narrow territory, extending on the east to 
Nepal (which it included), and on the west along 
the Chambalt and Bands, as far as Ajmir. We 

opinion. Of the Salonka princes of Kalian in the Deckan more 
will be said hereafter. 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. ix. pp. 1G9. 179. 181, &c. 

f Briggs's Ferishta. 

jj. The identity of Canouj and Panehala is assumed in Menu, 
II. 19. Its limits, as assigned in tlu; " .Malia 15harat," are made 
out by connecting the; following notes in tlu; '-Oriental Maga- 
zine," vol. iii. J). l'')5., vol. iv. p. 142. It is re niurkahlc tliat llicse 
boundaries, enlarged a little on the south and on ihe west, are 
the same as those assigned by Colonel Toil to the same kingilom 




Other prin- 

know little else of its early history, except the 
Rajput writings and traditions collected by Colonel 
Tod*, and the inscriptions examined by Professor 
Wilson t, with those translated and discussed by 
Principal Mill.t The former relate that it was 
taken from another Hindu dynasty, a. d. 47O, by 
the Rathors, who retained it until its conquest by 
the Mussulmans in a. d. 1193; when they with- 
drew to their present seats in Marwar. 

In this interval they represent its conquests as 
including, at one period, Bengal and Orissa, and as 
extending on the west as far as the river Indus. 

The inscriptions lead us to think that the dynasty 
subverted by the Mussulmans was of more recent 
origin, being established by a Rajput adventurer 
in the 11th century, and throw doubt on the 
accuracy of Colonel Tod's information in other 

The Rajputs, as well as the Mahometan writers, 
who describe the conquest of India, dwell in terms 
of the highest admiration on the extent and mag- 
nificence of tlie capital of this kingdom, the ruins 
of which are still to be seen on the Ganges. 

It would be tedious to go through the names 
of the various petty Hindu states that existed at 
various periods in Hindostan : the annexed table 

at the time of the Mussulman invasion. — Rajasthan, vol. ii. 
p. 9. 

* Vol. ii. p. 2. t Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. 

X Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. iii. for 1834. 


gives a notion of the dates of some of them, though chap. 
it must often be erroneous as well as incomplete. . 

The mention of Cashmir is confined to the table 
for a different reason from the rest. Its history is 
too full and complete to mix with such sketches as 
the above, and it enters little into the affairs of the 
other parts of India, except when it describes the 
invasion, and almost conquest, of that great con- 
tinent, on more than one occasion, by its own 
rajas ; the accuracy of which accounts appears to 
admit of question.* 

It is not easy to decide what states to include 
in the list, even of those which have come to 
my knowledge. The Panjab seems better en- 
titled than Benares ; but although a state, called 
Traigerta, was formed out of it in ancient times, 
and it was again nearly united, when attacked by 
the Mahometans, yet it is not noticed in the inter- 
mediate Indian history, and when visited by the 
Greeks it was broken into very small principalities ; 
Porus, one of the greatest chiefs, had not, with all 
his friends and dependents, one eighth part of the 

* This solitary specimen of Hindu history will be found 
most satisfactorily analysed and explained in Asiatic Researches, 
vol. XV. 



BOOK In the following table the mark * indicates that a state is mentioned in the "J 
IV. authority for the last mention of states is seldom given. The year is generally 


Magada - 
Malvva - 

Guzerat - 

Mithili - 

Benares - 


Mewar - 



When first mentioned. 

f *By the Greeks, \ 
I 300 B.C. - J 

* 9th century, a.d. 

{Eleven genera- ~j 
tions before 56 V 
B.C. J 

*A.D. IM 

*A.D. 470 
Rama's time 

*About 56 B.C. 


Seven genera- "j 
tions before |- 
A.D. 695 -J 

A.D. 720 

A.D. 731 

A.D. 967 

When last men- 

r About the"! f Vishnu Pura 
5th cen- |- -i pp. 473, 4 
turjs A.D.J (_ (note). 

Monghir inscript 


A.D. 1203 

A.D. 1231 

A.D. 1297 

A.D. 1193 
A.D. 1325 

A.D. 1192 
A.D. 1192 

A.D. 1192 

Still existing 
Still existing 
Still existing 


f Ayeni Akb 
\ vol. ii. p. 44. 

Col. Tod, vo 
p. 216.; ] 
Wathen, Jc 
Royal As. S 
vol. iv. p. 48( 
Tod, vol. ii. p. 2. 

Tod, vol. i. p. 51 

As. Soc. volj 
p. 40., and ( 
Mag. vol. V 
p. 20. - 

Tod, vol. i. p. 2t 
Tod, vol. ii. p. i ](. 
Tod, vol. ii. p.SF 



lat. " The date in that case refers to the next time it is heard of in history. The 
I oiied by Ferishta as the one in which they were conquered by the Mahometans. 


lithili was the capital of the father of Sita, llama's wife. Though 
famous for a school of law, and though giving its name to one of the 
ten Indian languages, it is little mentioned in history. 

■enares seems to have been independent at the time of the " Maha 
Bharat;" it was probably afterwards subject to Magada, as it cer- 
tainly was, at a later period, to Gour. It was independent when 
conquered by the Mahometans. 

?he next mention of Delhi in a probable form, after the " Maha Bha- 
rat," is its occupation by a tribe of Rajputs, twenty of whom had 
reigned in succession, when they were dethroned in 1050 a. d. 
by an ancestor of Pritwi Raja, who was conquered by the Mus- 

rhe eighth prince, Manik Rai, reigned in a. d. 695. His descendant, 
Visal, was the prince who conquered Delhi in 1050. The two states 
fell togetlier. 

tt seems to have been before this in tlie hands of the Miilwa kings. 

It was conquered by a race of Rajputs from Oud, the same who 

founded the state of (luzerat. 
Jesselmer wa.s founded by a tribe of tiic fiiinily of C'rishna, who came 

from the north-west of India, and who still possess it. 
Founded Iiy a Rajput prince, of a family of (i»!scendants of Rama, who 

had, some generations before, obtained the petty principality of 





Name. When first mentioned. 


Cashmir - 

{*Independent in "j 
Alexander's J- 
tirae, 325 B.C. J 

1400 B.C. 

When last men- 

A.D. 711 

A.D. 1015 


f ProfessorWilsoi 
\ As.Res.vol.xv 



indu is mentioned as one principality in the " Malui Bharat." It was 
divided into four in Alexander's time; but united in 711, when 
invaded by the Arabs. It was afterwards recovered by the Rajput 
tribe of Samera, a. d. 750, and not finally conquered by the Maho- 
metans until after the house of Ghor. 

'he historians of Cashmir claim about 1200 years earlier, but give no 
names of kings and no events. After five dynasties, they were con- 
quered by Mahraud of Ghazni, in a. d. 1015, according to Ferishta. 





BOOK The history of the Deckan, as it has no preten- 


sions to equal antiquity, is less obscure than that 
Early state ^f Hiudostan, but it is less mterestinoj. We know 

and divi- '-' 

sions of the little of the early inhabitants ; and tlie Hindus do 

Deckan. "^ 

not attract so much attention where they are co- 
lonists as they did in their native seats.* *' All 
the traditions and records of the Peninsula (says 
Professor Wilson) recognise, in every part of it, a 
period when the natives were not Hindus j '* and 
the aborigines are described, before their civilisa- 
tion by the latter people, as foresters and moun- 
taineers, or goblins and demons. Some circum- 
stances, however, give rise to doubts whether the 
early inhabitants of the Deckan could have been in 
so rude a state as this account of them would lead 
us to suppose. 

The Tamul language must have been formed 
and perfected before the introduction of the Shan- 
scrit : and though this fact may not be conclusive 
(since the North American Indians also possess a 

* The whole of the following information, down to the account 
of Orissa, is derived from Professor Wilson's Introduction to 
the Mackenzie Papers ; though it may be sometimes modified 
by opinions for which that gentleman ought not to be answer- 


polished language), yet, if Mr. Ellis's opinion be chap. 

well founded, and there is an original Tamul lite- 

rature as well as language, it will be impossible to 
class the founders of it with foresters and moun- 
taineers.* If any credit could be given to the 
Hindu legends, Ravan, who reigned over Ceylon 
and the southern part of the peninsula at the time 
of Rama's invasion, was the head of a civihsed and 
powerful state ; but, by the same accounts, he was 
a Hindu, and a follower of Siva; which would lead 
us to infer that the story is much more recent than 
tiie times to which it refers, and that part of it at 
least is founded on the state of things when it 
was written, rather than when Rama and Ravan 

It is probable that, after repeated invasions had 
opened the communication between the two coun- 
tries, the first colonies from Hindostan would settle 
on the fruitful plains of the Carnatic and Tanjore, 
rather than in the bleak downs of the upper 
Deckan ; and although the sea might not at first 
have influenced their choice of an abode, its neigh- 
bourhood would in time give access to traders from 
other nations, and would create a rapid increase of 
the towns along the coast. 

* It is, perhaps, a proof of tlic cstablisliineut of Tiimul litera- 
ture before the arrival of the Bramiiis, tliat some of its most 
esteemed autliors an; of the lowest cast, or what we call Pariars. 
These authors lived in comparatively modern times; but such a 
career would never have been tlirown open to their class if the 
knowledge which led to it had been first imparted by the Bra- 

VOL. r. E E 




Dravira or 



Carnata or 



Such seems to have been the case about the be- 
ginning of our {3Dra, when Pliny and the author of 
the " Periphis " describe that part of India. 

Even the interior must, however, have received 
a considerable portion of refinement at a still 
earlier period ; for the companions of Alexander, 
quoted in Strabo and Arrian, while they remark 
the points of difference which still subsist between 
the inhabitants of the south and north of India, 
take no notice of any contrast in their manners. 

Professor Wilson surmises that the civilisation of 
the south may possibly be extended even to ten 
centuries before Christ. 

It has been mentioned that there are five lan- 
guages spoken in the Deckan ; and as they doubt- 
less mark an equal number of early national divi- 
sions, it is proper here to describe their limits. 

Tamul is spoken in the country called Dravira ; 
which occupies the extreme south of the peninsula, 
and is bounded on the north by a line drawn from 
Pulicat (near Madras) to the Ghats between that 
and Bangalor, and so along the curve of those 
mountains westward to the boundary line between 
Malabar and Canara, which it follows to the sea so 
as to include Malabar. 

Part of the northern limit of Dravira forms the 
southern one of Carnata, which is bounded on the 
west by the sea, nearly as far as Goa, and then 
by the western Ghats up to the neighbourhood of 

The northern limit will be very roughly marked 


by a line from Colapur to Bidr, and the eastern chap. 
by a line from Bidr through Adoni, Anantpur, ' 

or Tehiiju 

and Nandidrug, to the point in the Ghats formerly 
mentioned between Pidicat and Bangalor 

This last hne forms part of the western limit of Tciinc 
the TelugLi language ; which, however, must be country. 
prolonged in the same rough way to Chanda, on 
the river Warda. From this the northern bound- 
ary runs still more indistinctly east to Sohnpur on 
the Mahanaddi. The eastern limit runs from 
Sohnpur to Cicacole, and thence along the sea to 
Pulicat, where it meets the boundary of the Tamul 

The southern limit of the Maratta language Mahdrash 
and nation has already been described in fixing the aLiratta" 
boundaries of Carnata and Telingana. It runs '''*""*'^y- 
from Goa through Colapur and Bidr to Chanda. 
Its eastern line follows the Warda to the chain of 
hills south of the Nerbadda, called Injadri or 

Those hills are its northern limit, as far west as 
Nandod, near the Nerbadda, and its western will 
be shown by a line from Nandod to Daman, con- 
tinued along the sea to Goa.* 

Tiie Urya language is bounded on the south by Orissaor 
that of Telingana, and on the east by the sea. On country, 
the west and north, a line drawn from Sohnpur to 

* The establislinjt'iit of a Maratta governiiicnt at NagpCir 
Iia-s drawn many ol' tlic nation into that part of Gondwana, and 
made their language general ior a considerable di.stanee round 
the cajjital. 

i: E ^ 




and princi- 
palities of 

of Pandya. 

Midnapiir in Bengal, would in some measure mark 
the boundary. 

The large space left between Maharashtra and 
Orissa is in a great part the forest tract inhabited 
by the Gonds. Their language, though quite dis- 
tinct from the rest, being reckoned a jargon of 
savage mountaineers, is not counted among the five 
languages of the Deckan.* 

The most ancient kingdoms are those in the ex- 
treme south, in all of which the Tamul language 

Two persons of the agricultural class founded 
the kingdoms of Pandya and Chola. 

The first of these derives its name from its 
founder. It is uncertain when he flourished, but 
there seem good grounds for thinking it was in the 
flfth century before Christ. 

Strabo mentions an ambassador from King Pan- 
dion to Augustus ; and this appears from the 
" Periplus" and Ptolemy to have been the here- 
ditary appellation of the descendants of Pandya. 

The Pandion of the time of the " Periplus" had 
possession of a part of the Malabar coast ; but this 
must have been of short duration ; the Ghats in 
general formed the western limit of the kingdom, 
which was of small extent, only occupying what 
we now call the districts of Madura and Tinivelly. 

The seat of the government, after being twice 
changed, was fixed at Madura, where it was in 

* In the plains towards the north of GondM'aua the language 
is a dialect of Hindostani. 


Ptolemy's time, and where it remained till within chap. 
a century of the present day. 

The wars and rivalries of all the Pandyan princes 
were witli the adjoining kingdom of Chola ; with 
which they seem, in the first ages of the Christian 
a3ra, to liave formed a union which lasted for a long 
time. They, however, resumed their separate so- 
vereignty, and were a considerable state until the 
ninth century, when they lost their consequence, 
and were often tributary, though sometimes quite 
independent, till the last of the Nayacs (the 
dynasty witli which the line closed) was conquered 
by the Nabob of A root in I'JSG. 

The history of Chola takes a wider range. Choia. 

Its proper limits were those of the Tamul lan- 
guage, and Mr. Ellis thinks that it had attained to 
this extent at the beginning of the Christian aera ; 
but the same gentleman is of opinion that, in the 
eighth century, its princes had occupied large por- 
tions of Carnata and Telingana, and ruled over as 
much of the country up to the Godiiveri as lay 
cast of the hills at Nandidrug. 

They seem, however, to have been first cliccked, 
and ultimately driven back, in the twelfth century, 
within their ancient frontiers. In this state they 
continued to subsist, cither as independent princes 
or feudatories of Vijayanagar, until the end of the 
seventeenth century, when a brother of the founder 
of the Maratta state, who was, at tiiat time, an 
olliccr under the Mussulman king of Bija})ur, being 
detached to aid the last raja, supplanted iiini in 

i: i: ;i 






his government, and was first of the present family 
of Tanjore. 

The capital, for most part of thek rule, was at 
Canchi, or Conjeveram, west of Madras. 

Chera was a small state, between the territory 
of the Pandyas and the western sea. It compre- 
hended Travancore, part of Malabar, and Coimba- 
tur. It is mentioned in Ptolemy, and may have 
existed at the commencement of om* asra. It spread, 
at one time, over the greater part of Carnata, but 
was subverted in the tenth century, and its lands 
partitioned among the surrounding states. 

According to the mythologists, the country of 
Kerala, which includes Malabar and Canara, was 
(together with the Concan) miraculously gained 
from the sea by Paris Ram (the conqueror of the 
Cshetryas), and as miraculously peopled by him 
with Bramins. A more rational account states 
that, about the first or second century of our aera, 
a prince of the northern division of Kerala intro- 
duced a colony of Bramins from Hindostan ; and, 
as the numerous Bramins of Malabar and Canara 
are mostly of the five northern nations, the story 
seems to be founded in fact. 

However the population may have been intro- 
duced, all accounts agree that Kerala was, from 
the first, entirely separate from the Concans, and 
was possessed by Bramins, who divided it into 
sixty-four districts, and governed it by means of a 
general assembly of their cast, renting the lands to 
men of the inferior classes. 

The executive government was held by a Bramin 


elected every tliree years, and assisted by a council chap. 
of four of the same tribe. In time, however, they ' 

appointed a chief of the military class, and after- 
wards were, perhaps, under the protection of the 
Pandyan kings. But, though the language of 
Kerala is a dialect of Tamul, it does not appear 
ever to have been subject to the kingdom of Chola. 

It is not exactly known when the northern and 
southern divisions separated ; but, in the course of 
the ninth century, the southern one (Malabar) re- 
volted from its prince, who had become a Maho- 
metan, and broke up into many petty principalities ; 
amonn; the chief of which was that of the Zamorins, 
whom Vasco di Gama found in possession of Calicut 
in the end of the fifteenth century. 

The northern division (Canara) seems to have 
established a dynasty of its own soon after the 
commencement of our aera, which lasted till the 
twelfth century, when it was overturned by the 
Belall rajas, and subsequently became subject to 
the rajas of Vijayanagar. 

The Concan, in early times, seems to have been concan. 
a thinly inhabited forest, from which character it 
has, even now, but partially escaped. I suppose the 
inhabitants were always Marattas. 

From there being the same language and manners carniita 
through all Carnata, it seems probable that the "fr"„a. *" ' ' 
whole was once united under a native government ; ^^^•'''''* 


but the first historical accounts describe it as di- 
vided between tiie Pandya and Chera j)rinces, and 
those of Canara (or the northern half of Kerala). 

E E 4. 


BOOK It was afterwards partitioned among many petty 

princes, until the middle of the eleventh century, 

when one considerable dynasty appears to have 

This was the family of Belala or Belall, who 
were, or pretended to be, Rajputs of the Yadu 
branch, and whose power, at one time, extended 
over the whole of Carnata, together with Malabar, 
the Tamul country, and part of Telingana. They 
were subverted by the Mussulmans about a. d. 1310 
or 1311. 
The Yada- Thc castcm part of Telingana seems to have 
been, from the beginning of the ninth to near the 
end of the eleventh century, in the hands of an 
obscure dynasty known by the name of Yadava. 
S'catSa ^ Rajput flmiily of the Chalukya tribe reigned 
at Calian, west of Bidr, on the borders of Carnata 
and Maharashtra. They are traced with certainty 
by inscriptions, from the end of the tenth to the 
end of the twelfth century. Those inscriptions 
show that they possessed territory as far to the 
south-west as Banawasi in Sunda, near the western 
Ghats ; and, in one of them, they are styled sub- 
jugators of Chola and Guzerat. Mr. Walter Elliott, 
who has published a large collection of their in- 
scriptions *, is of opinion that they possessed the 
whole of Maharashtra to the Nerbadda. Professor 
Wilson thinks that they were also superior lords of 
the west of Telingana, a prince of which (probably 

* Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. iv. p. 1. 


their feudatory) defeated the Chola king * : and chap. 

this is, probably, the conquest alluded to in the 


The same pretensions with respect to Guzerat 
probably originated in the acquisition (already 
mentioned) of that country by a prince of this 
house through his marriage with the heiress of the 
Chaura family. 

The last king of the race was deposed by his 
minister, who, in his turn, was assassinated by some 
fanatics of the Lingayet sect, which was then rising 
into notice. The kingdom fell into the hands of 
the Ycidus of Deogiri. t 

Anotlier branch of the tribe of Chalukya, per- Chaiukyas, 
haps connected with those of Calian, ruled over 
Calinga, which is the eastern portion of Telingana, 
extending along the sea from Dravira to Orissa. 

Their dynasty certainly lasted through the whole 
of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and, per- 
haps, began two centuries earlier. It was greatly 
reduced by the Ganapati kings of Andra, and finally 
subverted by the rajas of Cattac. 

The kings of Andra, whose capital was Varangul Kin-sof 
(about SO miles north-east of lleiderabiid), are 
aliecred to have been comiected with the Andra 
race in Magada ; but it must have been by country 
only; for Andra is not the name of a family, but 
of all the inland part of Telingana. t 

■* Intro(liictjr)ii to tli(.' .Muckciizici Papers, p. cxxix. 

f yh-.VA\'u}t,./uitrHatof//ic' Ifoi/at Asiatic ,Sucic/t/, vul. i. p. 17. 

:j: Iiitrcxluction to the Mackenzie Papers, p. cxxii. 





The records of the inhabitants mention Vicrama 
and SaUvaliana among the earliest monarchs : after 
these they place the Chola rajas ; who were suc- 
ceeded, they think, about 515 a. d., by a race 
called Yavans, who were nine in number, and 
reigned, as they say, for 458 years, till A. d. 953. 
About this time, the same records make the family 
of Ganapati rajas begin ; but the first authentic 
mention of them, and, probably, their first rise to 
consequence, was in the end of the eleventh cen- 
tury, under Kakati, from whom the whole dynasty 
is sometimes named. He has been mentioned as 
an officer or feudatory of the Chalukyas, and as 
having gained victories over the Chola kings. 
Their greatest power was about the end of the 
thirteenth century, when the local traditions repre- 
sent them as possessed of the whole of the penin- 
sula south of the Godaveri. Professor Wilson, 
however, limits them to the portion between the 
fifteenth and eighteenth degrees of latitude. 

In 1332 their capital was taken, and their im- 
portance, if not their independence, destroyed, by 
a Mahometan army from Delhi. At one time, 
subsequent to this, they seem to have been tri- 
butary to Orissa. They merged, at last, in the 
Mussulman kingdom of Golconda. 

The history of Orissa, like all others in the 
Deckan, begins with princes connected with the 
" Maha Bharat." It then goes on with a confused 
history (much resembling that of the commence- 
ment of the Andra kings), in which Vicramaditya 


and Salivahana are made to occupy the country chap. 

in succession ; and in which repeated invasions of 

Yavans from Delhi, from a country called Babul 
(supposed to mean Persia), from Cashmir, and 
from Sind, are represented as having taken place 
between the sixth century before Christ and the 
fourth century after Christ. 

The last invasion was from the sea, and in it the 
Yavans were successful, and kept possession of 
Orissa for 146 years. 

The natives suppose these Yavans to be Mussul- 
mans ; and, with similar absurdity, described two 
invasions of troops of that persuasion under Imarat 
Khan and another Khan, as taking place about five 
centuries before Christ. Some will prefer applying 
the story to Seleucus, or the Bactrian Greeks; but 
it is evident that the whole is a jumble of such 
history and mythology as the author was acquainted 
with, put together without the slightest knowledge 
of geography or chronology.* 

The Yavans were expelled by Yayati Kesari in 
A. D. 473. 

This Mr. Stirling justly considers as the first 
glimmering of authentic history. Tiiirty-five rajas 
of the Kesari family follow in a period of 650 

* Tlie same remark applies to the Yiivans of Telingana, who, 
by tlio bye, have all Slianscrit names. Dr. liuchanan (vol. iii. 
pp.97. 112.) is surpris(!d to Hud a dynasty of Yavans at Ana- 
gundi on the Tumbadra in the eightli and ninth centuries: this, 
however, is not physically impossible, like the others ; for the 
first Arab invasion was in the seventh century after Christ. 



BOOK years, until a. d. 1131, when their capital was taken 

. by a prince of the house of Ganga Vansa, whose 

dynasty occupied tlie throne till near the Maho- 
metan conquest. Mr. Stirling supposes this family 
to have come from Telingana ; but Professor Wil- 
son * proves, from an inscription, that they were 
rajas of a country on the Ganges, answering to 
what is now Tamluk and Midnapurj and that their 
first invasion was at the end of the eleven^th cen- 
tury of our sera, some years before the final con- 
quest just mentioned. 

Their greatest internal prosperity and improve- 
ment seems to have been towards the end of the 
twelfth century; and for several reigns oneach side 
of that epoch they claim extensive conquests, espe- 
cially to the south. 

These are rendered highly improbable by the 
flourishing state of the Chalukya and Andra go- 
vernments during that period. In the middle of 
the fifteenth century, however, the government of 
Orissa had sent armies as far as Conjeveram, near 
Madras ; and, about the same time, their raja, 
according to Ferishta, advanced to the neighbour- 
hood of Bidr to assist the Hindu princes of those 
parts against the Mussulmans. 

Before these last events, the Ganga Vansa had 
been succeeded by a Rajput family, of the race of 
the sun ; and after performing some other brilliant 
exploits, and suffering invasions from the Mussul- 

* Preface to the Mackenzie Papers, p. exxxviii. Their name 
means " race of the Ganaes." 


mans, both in Bengal and the Deckan, the govern- chap. 

ment fell into confusion, was seized on by a TeHnga 

chief in 1550, and, ultimately, was annexed to the 
Mogul empire, by Akber, in 1578.* 

From the great extent of the country through Mahurasii- 
which the Maratta language is spoken, and from its ratta coun- 
situation on the frontier of the Deckan, one would '^^" 
expect it to be the first noticed and the most dis- 
tinguished of the divisions of the peninsula : yet 
we only possess two historical facts regarding it 
until the time of the Mussulmans ; and, in those, 
the name of Maharashtra is never once mentioned. 

After the fables regarding Rama, whose retreat Tagara. 
was near the source of the Godaveri, the first fact 
we hear of is the existence of Tagara, which was 
a great emporium in the second century, is men- 
tioned in inscriptions as a celebrated place in the 
twelfth century, and is still well known by name, 
though its position is forgotten. 

It is mentioned by the author of the *' Periplus," 
but its site is fixed with so little precision, that we 
can only guess it to have lain within something 
more than 100 miles in a direction to the east of 
Paitan on the Godaveri. It is said to have been 
a very great city, and to have been one of the two 
principal marts of Dachanabades t, a country so 
called from Dachan, wliich (says the author) is the 

• Tin; wliolt; of" the account ol" Orissa, w licic; iKjt otlicrwise 
specified, is. taken from a paper of Mr. Stirling, Asiatic Re- 
searches, vol. XV. p. 2.jk 

t Dakshiiiai)atlia is the Sliaiiscrit iiainu for the Deckan. 



BOOK word for soiitli in the native lanffiiaffe. The other 

IV. ^ ... 
mart is PHthana. Neither is mentioned as a 


* We have scarcely any ground to go on in fixing these 
places. The following are the words of the " Periplus : " — " Of 
those in Dachanabades itself, two very distinguished marts 
attract notice, lying twenty days' journey to the south from Bary- 
gaza. About ten days' journey towards the east from this is 
the other, Tagara, a very great city. [Goods] are brought 
down from them on carts, and t>ver very great ascents, to Bary- 
gaza ; from PHthana many onyx stones, and from Tagara ordi- 
nary linen, &c." It is evident from this, that the two towns are 
Plithana and Tagara ; and as Tagara is the other, there must 
have been one first mentioned, or intended to be mentioned, 
and that one must have been Plithana : the mode of expression, 
no doubt, is inaccurate and confused. If this interpretation be 
correct, the first step to be taken is to ascertain the position of 
Plithana, which must be somevvhere to the southward of Bary- 
gaza, distant twenty days' journey, and above the Ghats. 
Barygaza is admitted to be Baroch. A day's journey has been 
taken by Colonel Wilford at eleven miles, which (after allowing 
for horizontal distance) does not differ greatly from that allowed 
by Rennell to armies with all their incumbrances. 220 miles 
to the southward of Bardch is therefore the point to be sought 
for ; and the first step will naturally be, to look for some place 
within that circuit the name of which resembles Plithana. None 
such is to be found. Colonel Wilford, indeed, mentions a place 
called Pultanah, on the Godaveri ; but nobody else has heard 
of it, and the probability is, that he meant Phultamba. If so, 
the resemblance ceases at once ; for Phultamba would be written 
in Greek ^oi/Xxa/^^a, instead of UXtOava ; and the supposition is 
otherwise untenable, as Phultamba, by a circuitous road, is only 
seventeen days' journey from Baroch. We are therefore left to 
seek for a Plithana ; but Colonel Wilford, I conceive, has brought 
us into the right neighbourhood, and has assisted us by an 
ingenious conjecture, though intended for another purpose. He 
says that Ptolemy has mistaken Plithana (nAI0ANA) for 
Paithana (OAieANA) ; and I would contend that, on the 
contrary, the copyist of the " Periplus " has changed Paithana 


Wherever Tagara was situated, it afterwards be- chap. 

came the capital of a line of kings of the Rajput 

family of Silar, with whom the ruler of Calian s^iiivai.ana. 
near Bombay, in the eleventh century, and of 
Parnala near Colapur, in the twelfth, were proud 
to boast of their connection.* 

The next fact relating to the Maratta country is 
the reign of Salivahana, whose a?ra beghis from 
A. D. 77» Salivahana seems to have been a power- 
ful monarch ; yet scarcely one circumstance of his 

into Plithana (the more likely as the name onlj' occurs once) ; 
and that the real name of the first emporium is Paitan, a city 
on the Godaveri, between twenty and twenty-one days' journey 
(230 miles) from Biiroch, and distinguished as the capital of the 
great monarch Salivahana. As this king flourished towards the 
end of the first century (a. d. 77), it would be strange if his 
royal residence had become obscure by the middle of the second ; 
and even if the distance did not agree so well, we should be 
tempted to fix on it as one of the great marts of the Deckan. 
With regard to Tagara, \\c remain in total uncertainty. It cannot 
possibly be Deogiri (Doulatabad); because, even if we allow 
Phultamba to be Plithana, Doulatabad is within three days and 
a half or four days' journey, instead of ten ; nor is there any 
situation to he found for Plithana so as to be twenty days' 
journey from Baroch and ten from Doulatabad, except near Piina, 
which, being within seventy miles of the sea, would never have 
sent its produce twenty days' journey to Baroch. We need have 
the less reluctance in giving up Dcogtri, as that place is never 
spoken of as a city until more than 1000 years after the date 
generally assigned to the " Pcriplus." If Plithana be Paitan, 
Tagara must have lain ten (Uiys further east, and probably on 
the Godaveri ; but tliat Plithana is Paitan rests on the above 
conjecture alone. 

• See inscriptions, Asidtic Jicsc(trches, vol. i. p. 3.37. ; and 
Bombay Tranmclions, vol. iii. p. 391. 


BOOK history has been preserved in an authentic or even 
' credible form. 

He is said to have been the son of a potter ; to 
have headed an insurrection, overturned a dynasty, 
and to have established his capital at Paitan, on 
the Godaveri. He is said also to have conquered 
the famous Vicramaditya, king of Malwa, and 
to have founded an extensive empire.* The first 
of these assertions, in reference to Vicramaditya 
himself, is impossible, as there is 135 years between 
the fEras of the two princes ; and no war with 
any subsequent king of Malwa is mentioned. His 
empire was probably in the Deckan, where his 
name is still well known, and his aera still that in 
ordinary use. After this the history of Maha- 
rashtra breaks off, and (except by the inscriptions 
of the petty princes of Calian and Pernala) we 
hear no more of that country till the beginning of 
the twelfth century, when a family of Yadus, per- 
liaps a branch of that of Belial, became rajas of 
Deogiri. t In a. d. 1294, Maharashtra was invaded 
Deogiri. by the Mussulmans from Delhi. A raja of the 
race of Yadu still reigned at Deogiri. He was 
rendered tributary either then or in lo06 ; and his 
capital was taken and his kingdom subverted in 
A. D. 1317. 

About this time the Mussulman writers begin to 
mention the Marattas by name. It is probable 
that strangers, on entering the Deckan, called the 

* Grant Duff's History of the Marattas, vol. i. p. 26. 
f Wilson's Preface to the Mackenzie Papers, p. cxxx. 


first country they came to by that general desig- chap. 
nation, and did not distinguish the different nations ' 

by name till they had met with more than one. 
It is probable, also, that there was little in the 
Marattas to attract notice. If they had been for 
any time under one great monarchy, we should 
have heard of it, as of the other Deckan states ; 
and they would, probably, like the others so cir- 
cumstanced, have had a peculiar literature and 
civilisation of their own. But they are still re- 
markably deficient both in native authors and in 
refinement ; and what polish they have seems bor- 
rowed from the Mussulmans, rather than formed 
by Hindus. 

On the other hand, their cave temples argue a 
great and long-continued application of skill and 
power ; and those of Ellora attracted the attention 
of the Mussulmans in their very first invasions. 

The celebrity of the Marattas was reserved for 
recent times, when they were destined to act a 
greater part than all other Hindu nations, and to 
make a nearer approach to universal sovereignty 
than any of those to whom modern writers have 
ascribed the enjoyment of the empire of India. 

VOL. I. F F 






The value of Menu's Code, as a picture of the state of append, 
society, depends entirely on its having been written in 
ancient times, as it pretends. 

Before settling its date, it is necessary to endeavour to Age of the 
fix that of the Vedas, to which it so constantly refers. 
From the manner in which it speaks of those sacred poems 
we may conclude that they had long existed in such a form 
as to render them of undisputed authority, and binding 
on the conscience of all Hindus. 

Most of the hymns composing the Vedas are in a 
language so rugged as to prove that they were written 
before that of the other sacred writings was completely 
fonned ; while some, though antiquated, are wltliin the 
})ule of the polished Shanscrit. There must, therefore, 
liave been a considerable interval between the comi)osition 
of the greater part, and the compilation of the whole. It 
is of the compilation alone that we can hope to ascertain 
the age. 

Sir William Jones attempts \n fix the date of the com- 
])Osition of the Yajur Veda by counting tlie lives of forty 
sages, through whom its doctrines were transmitted, from 
the time of Paratiara ; whose cj)och, aga'ui, is fixed by a 

I- I- '2 



APPEND, celestial observation : but liis reasonino; is not convinclne:. 
" lie supposes the Yajur Veda to have been written in 1580 

before Christ. The completion of the compilation he fixes 
in the twelfth century before Christ ; and all the other 
Euroj)ean writers who have examined the question, fix the 
age of the compiler, Vyiisa, between the twelfth and four- 
teenth centuries before Christ. The Hindus themselves 
unanimously declare him to have lived at least 3001 years 
before Christ. 

The superior accuracy of the opinion held by the Eu- 
ropeans appears to be put out of all doubt by a passage dis- 
covered by Mr. Colebrooke. In every Veda there is a sort 
of astronomical treatise, the object of which is to explain 
the adjustment of the calendar for the purpose of fixing the 
proper periods for the performance of religious duties. 
There can be little doubt that the last editor of those 
treatises would avail himself of the observations which 
were most relied on when he wrote, and would explain 
them by means of the computation of time most intelligible 
to his readers. Now the measure of time employed in 
those treatises is itself a proof of their antiquity, for it is a 
cycle of five years of lunar months, with awkward divisions, 
intercalations, and other corrections, which show it to con- 
tain the rudiments of the calendar which now, after suc- 
cessive corrections, is received by the Hindus, throughout 
India ; but the decisive argument is, that the place as- 
signed to the solstitial points in the treatises (which is given 
in detail by Mr. Colebrooke) is that in which those points 
VfCre situated in the fourteenth century before Christ.* 
]\Ir. Colebrooke's interpretation of this passage has never, 
I believe, been called In question ; and it would be difiicult 
to find any grounds for suspecting the genuineness of the 
text itself. The ancient form of the calendar is beyond the 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. viii. p. 489. 


iuvention of a Hindu forger, and there could be no motive append. 
to coin a passage, fixing in the fourteenth century before ' 

Christ a work which all Hindus assign to the thirty-first 
century of the same a?ra. 

In an essay previously written*, ISIr. Colebrooke had 
shown from another passage in the Vcdas, that the corre- 
spondence of seasons with months, as there stated, indi- 
cated a position of the cardinal points similar to that wliich 
has just been mentioned; and, on that ground, he liad 
fixed the compilation of the Vedas at the same period 
Avliich he afterwards ascertained by more direct proof. 

From the age of the Vedas, thus fixed, we must endea- ^S^. °^ ^''^^ 

o ' . ^. . Institutes. 

vour to discover that of Menu's Code. Sir William Jones j 
examines the diiference in the dialect of those two compo- 
sitions; and from the time occupied by a corresponding 
change in the Latin language, he infers that the Code of 
iNIenu must have been written 300 years after the com- 
pilation of the Vedas. This reasoning is not satisfactory ; 
because there is no ground for believing that all lan- 
guages proceed at the same uniform rate in the progress 
of refinement. All that can be assumed is, that a con- 
siderable period must have elapsed between the epochs 
at which the ruder and more refined idioms were in use. 
The next ground for conjecturing the date of Menu's 
Code rests on the difference between the law and man- 
ners there recorded, and those of modern times. This 
will be shown to be considerable ; and from the })ropor- 
titjn of the chanjces which will also be shown to have 
taken place before the invasion of Alexander we may infer 
that a long time had passed between the [)n)muIgation 
of the Cfxle and the latter period. On a combination of 
these data, we may perhai)s l)e allowed to fix the age of 

* Asiiitic Kesoarclies, vol. vii. p. 9H3. 
f Preface to Menu, p.d. 
F I' 3 


APPEND, the su])posed Menu, very loosely, at some time about half 
' way between Alexander (in the fourth century before 

Christ), and the Vedas (in the fourteenth). 

This would make the author of the Code live about 
900 years before Christ. 

That the Code is very ancient is proved by the difference 
of religion and manners from those of present times, no 
less than by the obsolete style. 

That these are not disguises assumed to conceal a mo- 
dern forgery appears from the difficidty with which con- 
sistency could be kept up, especially when we have the 
means of checking it by the accounts of the Greeks, and 
from the absence of all motive for forgery, which, of itself, 
is perhaps conclusive. 

A Bramin, forging a code, would make it support the 
system established in his tmie, unless he were a reformer, 
in which case he would introduce texts favourable to his 
new doctrines ; but neither would pass over the most popu- 
lar innovations in absolute silence, nor yet inculcate prac- 
tices repugnant to modern notions. 

Yet the religion of Menu is that of the Vedas. Rama, 
Crishna, and other favourite gods of more recent times, 
are not mentioned either with reverence or with disappro- 
bation, nor are the controversies hinted at to wliich those 
and other new doctrines gave rise. There is no mention 
of regular orders, or of the self-immolation of widows. 
Bramins eat beef and flesh of all kinds, and intermarry 
with women of inferior casts, besides various other practices 
repulsive to modern Hindus, which are the less suspicious 
because they are minute. 

These are all the grounds on Avliich we can guess at the 
age of this Code. That of Menu himself is of no conse- 
quence, since his appearance is merely dramatic, like that 
of Crishna in the " Bhagwat Gita," or of the speakers in 


Plato's or Cicero's dialogues. No hint is given as to the append. 
real compiler, nor is there any clue to the date of the ' 

ancient commentator Calluca. From his endeavouring to 
gloss over and to explain away some doctrines of Menu, 
it is evident that opinion had already begun to change in 
his time ; but as many commentators, and some of very 
ancient date*, speak of the rules of Menu as applicable to 
the good ages only, and not extending to their time, and 
as such a limitation never once occurs to Calluca, we must 
conclude that commentator, though a good deal later than 
the original author, to have lived long before the other 
jurists whose opinions have just been alluded to. 

On a careful perusal of the Code, there appears nothing 
inconsistent with the age attributed to it. It may, i)er- 
haps, be said that the very formation of a code, especially 
in so methodical a manner, is unlike ancient times ; and it 
is certain that a people must have subsisted for some time, 
and must have established laws and customs, before it could 
frame a code. But the Greeks, and other nations, whose 
history we know, formed codes at a comparatively earlier 
period of their national existence ; and although the 
arrangement as well as the subjects of Menu's Code show 
considerable civilisation, yet this is no proof of recent 
origin, more than rudeness is of antiquity. The Romans 
were more polished 2000 years ago than the Esquimaux 
are now, or perhaps may be 2000 years hence. 

* See note at the cud of Sir W. Jones's translation. 

F F 4 



Doubts re- 
garding the 
foreign de- 



Among the changes in cast, I have not noticed one which, 
if pi'oved, is of much greater importance than all the rest, 
I allude to the admission of a body of Scythians into the 
Cshetrya class, which is asserted by Colonel Tod*, and in 
part acceded to by a very able writer in the " Oriental 
Magazine."! Colonel Tod is entitled to every respect, on 
ofThe'^R^lj^ account of his zeal for Oriental knowledge, and the light he 
put tribes, j^j^g thrown on a most interesting country, almost unknoAvn 
till his time ; and the anonymous writer is so evidently a 
master of his subject, that it is possible he may be familiar 
with instances unknown to me of the admission of foreigners 
into Hindu casts. Unless this be the case, however, I am 
obliged to differ from the opinion advanced, and can only 
show my estimation of those who maintain it, by assigning 
my reasons at length. If the sujjposition be, that the whole 
Hindu people sprang from the same root with the Scythians, 
before those nations had assumed their distinctive pecu- 
liarities, I shall not conceive myself called on to discuss 
the question ; but if such an union is said to have taken 
place within the historic period, I shall be inclined to 
doubt the fact. The admission of strangers into any of 
the twice-born classes was a thing never contemplated by 
Menu, and could not have taken place within the period 
to which the records of his time extended. No trace of 

* History of Rajasthan, vol. i. 

t Vol. iv. ]). 33., and vol. viii. p. 19. 


the alleged amalgamation remained in Alexander's time ; append. 
for though he and his followers visited India after havin<2; 
spent two years in Scythia, they discovered no resemblance 
between any parts of those nations. The union nnist 
therefore have taken place within a century or two before 
our vera, or at some later period. This is the supposition 
on which Colonel Tod has gone in some places, tliuiigh in 
others he mentions Scythian immigrations in the sixth 
century before Christ, and others at more remote periods. 
That there were Scythian irruptions into India before 
those of the Mogids under Chengiz Khan, is so probable, 
that the slightest evidence would induce us to believe them 
to have occurred ; and we may be satisfied with the proofs 
afforded us that the Scythians, after conquering Bacti'ia, 
brought i)art of India under their dominion; but the ad- 
mission of a body of foreigners into the proudest of the 
Hindu classes, and that after the line had been as com- 
pletely drawn as it was in the Code of Menu, is so difficult 
to imagine, that the most direct and clear proofs arc ne- 
cessary to substantiate it. Now, what arc the proofs ? 

1. That four of the Rajput tribes have a fable al)out 
their descent, from which, if all Hindu fables had a mean- 
ing, we might deduce that they came from the west, and 
that they did not know their real origin. 

2. That some of the Kajputs certainly did come from 
llic west of the Indus. 

3. That the religion and manners of tlic Kajputs re- 
semble those of the Scythians. 

4. Tliat the names of some of the Ilajpiit tribes arc 

5. That there were, by ancient authorities, Indo-Scy- 
thians on the Lower Indus In tlu' second ccnfury. 

6. That there were while Iliiiis in I'lipei- India in the 
lime of Cosinas Indieo IMeiisles (sixlli century). 



APPEND, 7. That De Guio^nes mentions, on Chinese authorities, 

11. O J ? 

the conquest of the country on the Indus by a body of 

Yuchi or Getfe, and that there are still Jits on both sides 
of that river. 

1. The first of these arguments Is not given as con- 
clusive; and It Is obvious that native tribes, as well as 
foreign, might be ignorant of their pedigree, or might wish 
to improve it by a fable, even If known. The scene of the 
fable carries us no nearer to Scythia than Abu, In the 
north of Guzerat ; and few. If any, of the tribes which 
Colonel Tod describes as Scythians belong to the four to 
whom only It applies. 

2. The great tribe of Yadu, which is the principal, 
perhaps the only one, which came from beyond the Indus, 
is the tribe of Crishna, and of the purest Hindu descent. 
There Is a story of their having crossed to the west of the 
Indus after the death of Crishna. One division (the 
Sama) certainly came from the west. In the seventh or 
eighth century, but they were Hindus before they crossed 
the Indus; and many of those who still remain on the 
west, though now Mahometans, are allowed to be of Hindu 
descent.* Alexander found two bodies of Indians west of 
the Indus, — one In Paropamlsus and one near the sea ; 
and, though both were small and unconnected, yet the 
last-mentioned alone Is sufficient to account for all the 
iimnlgrations of Rajputs Into India, without supposing aid 
from Scythia. 

3. If the religion and manners of any of the Rajputs 
resemble those of the Scythians, they Incomparably more 
closely resemble those of the Hindus. Their language 
also Is Hindu, without a Scythian word (as far as has yet 

* Tod, vol. i. p. 85. ; Pottinger, pp. 392, 393. ; Ayeen Acbery, 
vol. ii. p. 122. 



been asserted). I have not heard of any part of their append. 

religion, either, that is not pui'ely Hindu. In fact, all the 

points in which they are said to resemble the Scythians 
are common to all the Rajputs without exception, and 
most of them to the whole Hindu race. On the other 
hand, the points selected as specimens of Scytliian manners 
are for the most part common to all rude nations. INIany, 
indeed, are expressly brought forward as Scandinavian or 
German ; although an identity of manners between those 
nations and the eastern Scythians is still to be proved, 
even supposing their common origin. 

If, instead of searcliing for minute points of resemblance, 
we compare the general character of the two nations, it is 
impossible to imagine any two things less alike. 

The Scytliian is short, square built, and sinewy, with a 
broad face, high check bones, and long narrow eyes, the 
outer angles of which point upwards. His home is a tent ; 
his occupation, pasturage ; his food, flesh, cheese, and other 
productions of his flocks ; his dress is of skins or wool ; his 
habits are active, hardy, roving, and restless. The Rajput, 
again, is tall, comely, loosely built, and, Avhen not excited, 
languid and lazy. He is lodged in a house, and clad in 
thin, showy, fluttering garments; he lives on grain, is 
devoted to the possession of land, never moves but from 
necessity, and, though often in or near the desert, he 
never enfjajjes in the care of flocks and herds, which is 
left to inferior classes. 

4. Resemblances of name, unless numerous and sup- 
ported by other cu-cumstances, arc the very lowest sort of 
evidence; yet, in this case, we have hardly even them. 
Except Jit, which will be adverted to, the strongest re- 
semblance is in the name of a now obscure tribe called 
Hiin to that of the horde which the Romans called Huns ; 
or to tliiil of" the great nation ol" the Tiirks, (jncc culU'd liy 


APPEND, the Chinese Hien-yun or Hiong-nou. The Huns, though 
' noAv ahuost extinct, were once of some consequence, being 

mentioned in some ancient inscriptions ; but there is 
nothing besides their name to connect them either with 
the Huns or the Hiong-nou. It miglit seem an argument 
against the Hindu origin of the Raj puts, that the names of 
few of their tribes are explainable in Shanscrit. But are 
they explainable in any Tartar language? and are all 
names confessedly Hindu capable of explanation. 
Scythian 5. We may admit, without hesitation, that there were 

India, Scytliiaus on the Indus in the second century, but it is not 

apparent how this advances us a single step towards their 
transformation into Rajputs: there have long been Per- 
sians and Afghans and English in India, but none of them 
have found a place among the native tribes. 

6. Cosmas, a mere mariner, was not likely to be accurate 
in information about the upper parts of India; and the 
white Huns (accoi'ding to De Guignes *) were Turks, 
whose capital was Organj or Khiva : it does not seem im- 
probable, therefore, that he confounded the Getai with the 
Huns ; but his evidence, even if taken literally, only goes 
to prove that the name of Hun was known in Upper 
India; and, along with that, it proves that up to the 
sixth century the people who bore it had not merged in 
the Rajputs. 

7. The account of De Guignes has every appearance of 
truth. It not only ex^^lains the origin of the Scythians 
on the Indus, but shows us what became of them, and 
affords the best proof that they were not swallowed up in 
any of the Hindu classes, f The people called Yue-chi by 

* Vol. ii. p. 325. 

+ De Guignes, Histoire des Huns, vol. ii. p. 41.; but still 
more, Academie des Inscriptions, vol. xxv., with the annexed 
paper by D'Anville. 



the Chinese, Jits by the Tartars, and Getcs or Getre by append. 

some of our writers, were a considerable nation in the 

centre of Tartary as late as the time of Tamerlane. In 
the second century before Christ they were driven from 
their original seats on the borders of China by the Hiong- 
nou, with Avhom they had always been in enmity. About 
126 B.C. a division of them conquered Khonisan in Persia; 
and about the same time the Su, another tribe whom 
they had dislodged in an early part of their advance, took 
Bactria from the Greeks. In the first years of the Christian 
tera, the Yue-chi came from some of their conquests in 
Persia into the country on the Indus, which is correctly 
described by the Chinese historians. Tliis portion of them 
is represented to have settled there ; and accordingly, when 
Tamerlane (who was accustomed to fight the Jits in Tar- 
taiy) arrived at the Indus, he recognised his old antagonists 
in their distant colony,* They still bear the name of Jits 
or Jats t, and are still numerous on both sides of the Indus, 
forming the peasantry of the Panjab, the Rajput country, 
Sind, and the east of Belochistan; and, in most places, 
professing the jNIussulman religion. 

The only objection that has been brought forward to the 
Getic origin of the Jats is, that they are included in some 
lists of the Rajput tril)es, and so enrolled among pure 
Hindus ; but Colonel Tod, from whom we learn the fact, 
destroys the effect of it, by stating $ tlmt, though their 
name is in the list, they are never considered as Raji)uts, 
and that no Rajput would intermarry with them. In 
another place §, he (jbserves that (except for one very am- 

* Slierf u (Itn, quoted by Dc Guignos, Academic flcs In- 
scriptions, vol. XXV. p. '.V2. 

t Not Jfits, which is the iiuiiic of a tiiljc near Agra, not now 
under discussion. 

X Vol. i. p. 106. § Vol.ii. IHO. 


APPEND, biguous rite) they were " utter aliens to the Hindu 
' theocracy," and he himself maintains that they are de- 
scended from the Getas. Their language, however, if it 
proves to be unmixed Hindu, will furnish a strong though 
not insuperable objection. 

It is a more natural way of connecting the immigration 
of Rajputs from the west with the invasion of the Getas, to 
suppose that part of the tribes who are recorded to have 
crossed the Indus at an early period, and who probably 
Avere those found in the south by Alexander, were dis- 
lodged by the irruption from Scythia, and driven back to 
their ancient seats to join their brethren, from whom, in 
religion and cast, they had never separated. 

My conclusion, therefore, is, that the Jats may be of 
Scythian descent, but that the Rajputs are all pure 




Before avc examine the account of India given by the append. 

Greeks, it is necessary to ascertain of what country they ' 

speak when they make use of that name. 

Most of the writers about Alexander call the inhabitants inttia 

of the hilly region to the south of the main ridge of Cau- the west by 

casus and near the Indus, Indians ; and also mention *''^' "v'^'' 

' ' Indus. 

another Indian tribe or nation, who inliabitcd the sea-shore 
on the western side of the Indus. Each of those two 
tribes occupied a territory stretching for 150 miles west 
from the river, but narrow from north to south. A great 
tract of country lay between their territories, and was in- 
liabitcd by people foreign to their race. Close to the 
Indus, however, especially on the lower part of its course, 
there were other Indian tribes, though less considerable 
than those two. 

The Indians on the sea-shore were named Oritas and 
Arabita;, and arc recognised by IMajor Kenncll as tlie 
people called Asiatic Ethi()})ians by Herodotus. Their 
country was the narrow tract between the mountains of 
liclochistun and the sea, separated from iMoknin on the 
west by the range of hills which furm Cape Arboo, and 
on which still stands the famous Hindu temple of llinglcz. 

The Indians whom Herodotus includes within tlie sa- 
trapies of Darius are, pi'obably, the more northern oia-s 
under Caucasus, for he exjircssly declares tlial llios(; on 
the south were indcpeiiiliMit of the Persian Monarchy.* 

• 'fhuha, 101, 102. 


APPEND. It is proved by Major Rennell that his knowledge of India 

did not reach beyond the desert east of the Indus * ; and 

lie seems to have had no conception of the extent of the 
country, and no clear notion of the portion of it which 
had been subjected to Persia.! The other Greek writers, 
though they speak of Indians beyond the Indus, strictly 
limit India to the eastern side of that river. Arrian, who 
has called the mountaineers Indians, from the place where 
Alexander entered Paropamisus, yet when he comes to the 
Indus says, " This river Alexander crossed at daybreak 
wuth his army into the land of the Indians ; " and im- 
mediately begins a description of the people of that 
country. % 

In the course of tliis description he again explicitly 
declares that the Indus is the western boundary of India 
from the mountains to the sea. § 

* Geography of Herodotus, p. 309. 

t The Indians east of the Indus constantly maintained to the 
followers of Alexander that they had never before been invaded 
(by human conquerors at least) ; an assertion which they could 
not have ventured if they had just been delivered from the yoke 
of Persia. Arrian, also, in discussing the alleged invasions of 
Bacchus, Hercules, Sesostris, Semiramis, and Cyrus, denies 
them all except the mythological ones ; and Strabo denies even 
those, adding that the Persians hired mercenaries from India, 
but never invaded it. (Arrian, Indica, 8, 9. ; Strabo, lib. xv., 
near the beginning. See also Diodorus, lib. ii. p. 123., edition 
of 1604..) 

I have not been able to discover the grounds on which it is 
sometimes said that the Persians were in possession of India as 
far as the Jamna or Ganges. The weighty opinion of Major 
Rennell (which, however, applies only to the Panjab) rests on 
the single argument of the great tribute said to have been paid 
by the Indians, which he himself proves to have been overstated. 
(Geography of Herodotus, p. 305.) 

\ Expeditio Alexandri, lib. v. cap. 4. 

§ Ibid. lib. v. cap. 6. 


In Ills " Indica," also, he desires his reader to consider append. 
tliat only as India which lies east of the Indus, and those ' 

who inhabit that country as the Indians of whom he is 
about to speak.* 

Strabo, the most critical and judicious of all the wa'iters 
on India, is as decided in pronouncing the Indus to be the 
western limit of India from the mountains to the sea; and 
quotes Eratosthenes as supporting his opinion. f 

Pliny, indeed, states that some consider the four sa- 
trapies of Gedrosia, Arachosia, Aria, and Paropamisus to 
belong to India ; but tliis would include about two tliirds 
of Persia. 

The Shanscrit writers confirm the opinion of the Greeks, 
regarding tlie Indus as the western boundary of their 
country, and classing the nations beyond it Avitli the 
Yavanas and other barbarians. There is, indeed, a uni- 
versally acknowledged tradition, that no Hindii ought to 
cross tliat river % ; and its inconsistency with the practice 
even of early times is a proof of its great antiquity. 

* Indica, cap. ii. — " But the part from the Indus towards 
the East, let that be India, and let those [who inhabit it] be the 

t Strabo, lib. xv. pp. 473, 474-., ed. 1587- In lib. xv. p. 497., 
he again mentions the Indus as the eastern boundary of Persia. 

j See a verse on this subject (juoted in Colonel Wilford's 
I'.ssay on Caucasus (^Asiatic Rcscarclns, vol. vi. p. 585.). The 
Colonel, who is anxious to extend the early possessions of the 
Hindus, endeavours to prove that tiie Indus meant in this verse 
is the river of Kama (one of its tributary streams) ; that the 
main Indus may have changed its bed ; that the prohibition was 
only against crosaiiKj the Indus, and not against passing to the 
other side by going round its source; and finally, that, in niodnii 
times, the prohiljition is <iisregarded : but he never denies the 
existence of tlie restriction, or asserts that it was not at one 
time attended to. 

VOI,. I. GO 


APPEiSD. It is clear, therefore, that the Indians beyond the Indus 

III- were few and detached ; and we will now see what account 

rr 7~ is sriven of them by the ancients, beo-innincj our survey 

Indians to o J ^ o o j 

the west of fi-om thc north. 

Arrian, in the commencement of his " Indica," mentions 
the Assaceni and the Astaceni as Indian nations in the 
mountains between the Indus and the Cophenes ; but he 
distinguishes them from the other Indians as being less in 
size and fairer in complexion. He excludes them (as has 
been shown) from his general description of the Indians ; 
and neither in his " Expedition of Alexander," nor in his 
" Indica," does he allude to Bramins among them, or 
mention any thing in then* customs of a marked Hindu 
character. He says that they had been subject to the 
Assyrians, afterwards to the IMedes, and finally to the 
Persians. It does not appear from Arrian that there 
were any Indians to the south of the Cophenes (or river of 
Cabul), and it might be inferred from Strabo that there 
were none between the Paropamisadae and the Oritaj until 
after Alexander's time * ; but as Arrian mentions other 
tribes on the lower Indus, it is probable that Strabo spoke 
generally of the two territories, and did not mean enthely 
to deny the residence of Indians on the Persian bank. 

The Oritffi, according to Arrian f, were an Indian 
nation, who extended for about 150 miles parallel to the 

* Lib. XV. p. 474. The passage states, from Eratosthenes, 
that at the time of Alexander's invasion the Indus was the 
boundary of India and Ariana, and that the Persians possessed 
all the country to the west of the river ; but that, afterwards, 
the Indians received a considerable part of Persia from the 
Macedonians. He explains this transfer more particularly in 
page 498., where he says that Alexander took this country from 
the Persians, and kept it to himself, but that Seleucus subse- 
quently ceded it to Sandracottus. 

f Exped. Alexand. lib. vi. cap. xxi. ; Indica, cap. xxv. 


sea. They wore the dress and arms of the other Indians, append. 
but differed from them m language and manners. "^' 

They (tliose near the Indus at least) must have been 
essentially Indian ; for Sambus, the cliief of the branch of 
hills which run down to the river in the north of Sind, is 
represented as being much under the influence of the 

It will throw some light on the tribes that occupied the 
west bank of the Indus, in former times, to point out its 
present inhabitants. 

The mountains under Caucasus, between the point where 
it is crossed by the continuation of Mount Imaus, which 
forms the range of Soliman, and the Indus, are inhabited 
by a people of Indian descent, now sul^ject to Afghan 
tribes, who have conquered the territorry in comparatively 
recent times.* The upper part of the mountains farther 
north is possessed by the Ctifirs, another nation, who, from 
the close connection between their language and Shanscrit, 
appear to be of the Indian race. Their religion, however, 
though idolatrous, has no resemblance whatever to that of 
the Hindus. 

Throughout the whole of tJie plain to the west of the 
Indus, from the range of Caucasus to the sea, the greater 
part of the original population are Jats, whose descent 
iVom the Gcta; has been discussed in Appendix II., but 
who speak an Indian language, and are noAV classed with 
the Indians by their western neighl)ours. The lulls which 
bound that plain on the west are every where held by 
tribes (;f a difiercnt origin. Some of the so-called Indians 
are Hindus, but the greater part are converts to the 

• This is some what less than was occupied by the Indians 
(Icscrilx'd I)j- Ani.iri, who (.'xtendi;d west to the Cophcncs, jiio- 
l);il)ly the river (if i'anjshu', north of Cubul. 

(; r; Q, 


APPEND. Mahometan religion. The above description comprehends 

the whole of the country of the ancient Oritre. 

If from a general view of these accounts, ancient and 
modern, Ave were to speculate on the first settlement of the 
people to whom they relate, it might, perhaps, appear not 
improbable that the Indians in the northern mountains 
were of the same race as the Hindus, but never converted 
to the Braminical religion, and that they may have occupied 
their present seats before the period at which the first light 
breaks on the history of their brethren in the plains : but 
it is enough to allude to so vague a conjecture. The 
Indian races in the plains probably crossed from India 
at diifei'ent periods. Notwithstanding the religious pro- 
hibition and the testimony of Strabo, it is difficult to be- 
lieve that the easy communication afforded by a navigable 
river would not lead the inhabitants of whichever neigh- 
bouring country was first peoi^led and civilised to spread 
over both banks. I am therefore led to think the occu- 
pation of the western bank by the Indians began very 
early, the neighbouring countries on that side being 
scarcely peopled even now. The emigration towards the 
mouth of the Indus, which seems to have been more ex- 
tensive than elsewhere, may possibly be that alluded to in 
the ancient legends about the flight of Crishna's family. 
A branch of his tribe certainly came from the west into 
Sind ten centuries ago ; and other divisions, still retaining 
their religion and cast, have passed over into Guzerat in 
later times.* 

* Colonel Tod, vol. i. 85, 86.; vol.ii. 220. (note), 312. Cap- 
tain M'Murdo, Bombay Transactions, vol. ii. p. 219. 

In speaking of the Hindus above, I do not allude to the mo- 
dern emigrants now found scattered through the countries on 
the west of the Indus as far as Moscow ; neither do I discuss 
what other settlements of that people may have been effected 
between the time of Alexander and the present day. 


To remove some doubts about the limits of the Indian append. 

nations on the west of the Indus, it is desirable to ad- 

vert to a part of Alexander's route through the adjoining 

Alexander set out from Artachoana (which seems to be 
admitted to be Herat), and proceeded in jiursuit of one of 
the murderers of Darius to the royal city of the Zarangici, 
which is recognised in Zai'ano;, an ancient name for the 
capital of Sistan. He thence directed his march towards 
Bactria, and on his Avay received the submission of the 
Drangre, the Gedrosians, and the Arachotians. He then 
came to the Indians bordering on the Arachotians. Through 
all these nations he suffered much from snow and want of 
provisions. He next proceeded to Caucasus, at the foot 
of which he founded Alexandi'ia, and afterwards crossed 
the mountains into Bactria.* 

The Drangaj are probably the same as the Zaranga; : 
Arachotia is explained by Strabo f to extend to the Indus ; 
and Gedrosia certainly lay along the sea. There are two 
ways from Sistan to Bactria ; one by Herat, and tlie other 
by the pass of Hindu Ciish, north of Ciibul, the moun- 
tains between those points being impassable, especially in 
winter, when this march took place. % Alexander took 
the eastern road ; and if he had marched direct to Bactria, 
as might be suj)poscd from the preceding passage, he could 
have met with no snow at any time of the year, until he 
irot a irood deal to the east of Candaliar, and he must have 
left Getlrosia very far to his right. It is possible, therefore 
(es})ecially as the murderer of whom lie was in jmi'suit wjvs 
made over to hiui h;/ the fiidimis §), tliat \\(' fontimu'd his 

* Arriaii, lib. iii. cap. xxviii. 
+ Lib. xi. ]). 35.3., edition of 1587. 

X See Clirrtoii'.s Fasti, n. c. .'i.'JO. Darius was kilKil in July 
and Alexander readied I'aelria in sjirint'. 
§ Arrian, nhi supra. 

o (i .'3 



APPEND, pursuit througli Shorabak and the valley of Bolan (the 
route adopted by Mr. ConoUy *) ; and that the Indians 
near the Arachotians may have been about Diider, which, 
although at a distance from the Indus, is on the plain of 
that river, and may not improbably have been inhabited by 
an Indian race. From this place, liis journey to Mount 
Caucasus would have lain through a country as sterile, and 
at that season as cold as Caucasus itself. It is equally 
probable, however, that Alexander did not extend his 
journey so far to the south ; and, in that case, the Indians 
would be (as they are assumed to be by Curtius j) those 
called Paropamisadse immediately under Mount Caucasus, 
within or near whose boundary Alexandria certainly was 
built. I The vicinity of this people shows that Alexandria 
coulS not have been farther west than Cabul, which, in- 
deed, is also proved by the fact of Alexander's returning 
to it on his way from Bactria to India. § He took seven- 
teen days to cross Caucasus, according to Curtius ; fifteen, 
according to Strabo, from Alexandi'ia to Adraspa, a city 
in Bactriana ; and ten to cross the mountains in returning, 
according to Arrian. Captain Burnes, with none of the 
incumbrances of an army, took twelve days to cross the 
mountains on the road from Cabul to Balkli, wljich is 
comparatively shorter aud easier than any more western 
pass. As far as this site for Alexandria, ratlier than one 
further west, we are borne out by the high authority of 
Major Rennell ; but that author (the greatest of English 

* Since made familiar by the march of Lord Kcane's army. 

f Quintus Curtius, Ub. vii. cap. iii. 

:J: Arrian, lib. iv. cap. xxii. 

§ Alexandria was probably at Begram, 25 miles N. 15 E. 
from Cabul, the ruins of which are described in a memoir by 
Mr. Masson, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, vol. v. 


geogi'apliers), from the imperfect information then pos- append. 
sessed about the stream that rmis from Ghazni to Cabul, 
the Gomal, and the Kiuram, has framed out of those three 
an imaginary river, which he supposes to run from near 
Bamian to the Indus, thirty or forty miles south of Attoc. 
This he calls the Cophenes, and, in consequence, places 
the scene of Alexander's operations and the seat of tlie 
Indian movmtaineers to the south of the Cabul river, and 
at a distance from the range of Caucasus or Paropamisus. 
Strabo, however, expressly says that iUexander kept as 
near as he could to the northern mountains, that he might 
cross the Choaspes (which falls into the Cophenes) and the 
other rivers as high up as possible. Arrian makes him 
cross the Cophenes, and then proceed through a moun- 
tainous country, and over three other rivers which fell 
into the Cophenes, before he reaches the Indus. In his 
" Indica,"' also, he mentions the Cophenes as bringing 
those three rivers Avith it, and j<nning the Indus in Pcu- 
caliotis. It is only on the north bank of the Cabul river 
that three such rivers can be found ; and even then there 
will be great difficulty infixing tlieir names, for in Arrian's 
own two lists he completely changes the names of two. 
Xor is this at all surprising, for most rivers in that part of 
the country have no name, but are called after some town 
or country on their banks, and not always after the same. 
Thus the river called by some the Kashkar river is 
the Kameh with Lieutenant Macartney, the Chcghan- 
scnii in I3aljcr's Connncntaries, and is often called the 
river of Cunner by the inhabitants of the neighbouring 

Tlie Soastes would seem to be the river oi" Swiit; but 
tlien there is nf) river left for the Gurjcus, which is between 
the Soastes and Indus. Major Kenncll, on a dllii'rcnt 
theory, supposes tlie (runcus to b; the C;ibul liver iL-elf; 

G G 4 




tion of 


but both of Arrian's accounts make the Gura3us fall into 
the Cophenes, wliich afterwards falls into the Indus. 

The Cabul river, therefore, must be the Cophenes, and 
the Indians are under the mountains between it, its upper 
branch (the Punjshir river), and the Indus. 

Alexander's proceedings in India are so well known that 
they cannot be too slightly touched on. After an advance 
to the Hyphasis, he turned to the south-west, and passed 
off between the desert and the Indus, having scarcely seen 
the skirts of India. He made no attempt to establish pro- 
vinces ; but, as he intended to return, he adopted exactly 
the same policy as that employed by the Durani Shah in 
after times. He made a party in the country by dispos- 
sessing some chiefs and transferring their territory to their 
rivals; thus leaving all power in the hands of persons 
whose interest induced them to uphold his name and con- 
ciliate his favour. 

The few garrisons he left reminded people of his in- 
tended return; and his troops in the nearest parts of 
Persia would always add to the influence of his partisans. 

The adherence of Porus and other princes, who Avere in 
a manner set up by the Macedonians, ought therefore to 
be no matter of surprise. 

We now understand the jieople to whom the Greek de- 
scriptions were intended to apply ; but we must still be 
cautious how we form any further opinions regarding that 
people, on Greek authority alone. 

The ancients themselves have set us an example of this 
caution. Arrian says that he shall place imjjlicit con- 
fidence in the accounts of Ptolemy and Aristobulus alone ; 
and in them only when they agree * ; and Strabo, in a very 
judicious dissertation on the value of the information 

* Preface to the " Expedition of Alexander." 


existm<r in his time, observes that the accounts of the append. 

. . III. 
Macedonians are contradictory and inaccurate, and that 

those of later travellers are of still less value from the cha- 
racter of the authors, who were ignorant merchants, care- 
less of everything except gain.* "\Ve may, however, give 
full credit to the Greek writers when they describe man- 
ners and institutions which are still in being, or which are 
recorded in ancient Hindu books. We may admit, with 
due allowance for incorrectness, such other accounts as arc 
consistent with these two sources of information ; but we 
must i)ass by all statements wliich are not supported 
by those tests or borne out by their own appearance of 

If, however, we discard the fables derived from the 
Grecian mythology, and those which are contrary to the 
course of nature, we shall find more reason to admire tlie 
accuracy of the early authors, than to wonder at the mistakes 
into which they fell, in a country so new and so different 
from their own, and where they had every thing to learn 
by means of interpreters, generally through the medium 
of more lanfj-uajxes than one. t Their accounts, as far as 
they go, of the manners and habits of the peojole, do in 
fact agree with our own accurate knowledge almost as well 
as those of most modern travellers prior to the institution 
of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta. 

An example both of the general truth and i)artial in- 
accuracy of the Greeks presents itself in (he first sul)jeet 

* Beginning of lib. xv. See also lii). ii. p. 48., tdit. of 

1 .587. 

\ Oncsicritus conversed tlirotigli three int( rprctor.s. Stralx), 
lih. xv. p. 19'2., edition of 1.587. Truni (ireek into Pt-rsian, 
and from Persian into Indian, are two tliat ohvionsly snggest 
themselves ; it is not sr) easy to conjecture for what languages 
the third interpreter was ntpiired. 


APPEND, which is to be noticed, agreeably to the order hitherto 

Division They are well aware of the division into classes, and of 

into classes. ^]^g functions of most of them ; but, by confounding some 
distinctions occasioned by civil employment with those 
arising from that division, they have increased the number 
from five (including the handicraftsmen, or mixed class) 
to seven. Tliis number is produced by their sujiposing 
the king's councillors and assessors to form a distinct class 
from the Bramins ; by splitting the class of Vaisya into 
two, consisting of shepherds and husbandmen; by intro- 
ducing a cast of spies; and by omitting the servile class 
altogether. With these exceptions, the classes are in the 
state described by Menu, which is the groundwork of that 
still subsisting. 

Their first cast is that of the Sophists, or religious and 
literary class, of whose peculiar occupations they give a 
correct view.* But they do not clearly understand the ex- 
tent of the Bramin cast, and have, perhaps, confounded 
the Bramins f with the monastic orders. 

The first mistake originates in their ignorance of the 
fourfold division of a Bramin's life. Thus they speak of 
men who had been for many years Sophists, marrying and 
returning to common life ; (alluding probably to a student 
who, having completed the austerities of the first period, 
becomes a householder;) and they suppose, as has been 
mentioned, that those who were the king's councillors and 
judges formed a separate class. It is evident, also, that 

* Arrian (lib. vi. cap. xvi.) explains that the Bramins are the 
Sophists of the Indians ; and the two terms are used indiscri- 
minately both by hira and Strabo. 

f From this charge I must exempt Nearchus, who seems to 
have had a clear conception of the division of the Bramins into 
religious and secular. Strabo, lib. xv. p. 493., ed. 1587. 


they classed the Bramms who exercised civil and military append. 
functions with the cast to whom those employments pro- '"' 
perly beh)nged. They describe the Sophists as the most 
honoured class, exempt from all burdens, and only con- 
tributing their prayers to the support of the state. They 
inform lis that their assistance is necessary at all private 
sacrifices ; and correctly describe them as having cere- 
monies performed for them while yet in the womb *, as 
undergoing a strict education, and as passing a moderate 
and abstinent life in groves, on beds of rushes (cusa grass), 
or skins (deer skins); during which time they listen to 
theii" instructors in silence and with respect. 

They erroneously prolong this period in all cases to 
thirty-seven, which is the greatest age to which Menu 
(Chap. III. Sect. 1.) permits it in any case to extend. 

The language ascribed to the Sophists regarding the 
present and future state is in a perfectly Bramin spirit. 
They place their idea of perfection in independence on 
every thing external, and indifference to death or life, pain 
or pleasure. They consider this life as that of a child 
just conceived, and that Tcal life does not begin until what 
we call death. Their only care, therefore, is about their 
future state. They deny the reality of good and e\il, and 
say that men are not gratified or afflicted by external ob- 
jects, but by notions of tlieir own, as in a dream, f 

They appear to liave possessed separate villages as early 
as the time of Alexander ; to liavc already assumed the 
military character on occasions, and to have dereiidcd 
themselves with that fury and des[)cration which sometimes 
still characterises Hindiis.J Their interference in pnjitics, 

* Sco p. 77. ; and Mi-nii, ii. 'K'y, 27. 
t Stniho, HI). XV. p. HK)., cd. l.OS?. 

:j; Arrian's Juped. Akxand., lib. vi. cap. \ ii. Similar in- 
•^tancfs of IIk- voliiiitiiry coiiHagralioii ff <trn .-, and the dtvoliuti 





likewise, is exhibited by their instigating Sambus to fly 
from Alexander, and Musicanus to break the peace he had 
concluded with that conqueror.* Strabo mentions a sect 
called Pramnte, who were remarkable for being disputa- 
tious, and who derided the Bramins for their attention to 
jihysics and astronomy. He considers them as a separate 
class, but they were probably Bramins themselves, only 
attached to a particular school of philosophy, f 

Religious ascetics are often spoken of, under the dif- 
ferent names of Brachmanes, Germanes, and Sophists ; 
but it does not very clearly appear whether they were 
merely Bramins in the two last stages of their life, or 
whether they were members of regular monastic establish- 
ments. Many of their austerities might be reconciled 
to the third portion of a Bramin's life, when he becomes 
an anchoret ; but their ostentatious mortifications, their 
living in bodies, and several other circumstances, lead 
rather to a conclusion that they belonged to the monastic 
orders. The best description of these ascetics is given by 
Onesicritus :j: , who was sent by Alexander to converse with 
them, in consequence of their refusing to come to him. 
He found fifteen persons about tAvo miles from the city, 
naked, and exposed to a burning sun ; some sitting, some 
standing, and some lying, but all remaining immoveable 
from morning till evening, in the attitudes they had 

He happened first to address himself to Calanus, whom 

of their Uves by the inhabitants, are furnished in Indian history 
down to modern times. 

* Arrian, lib. vi. cap. xvi. 

f See Wilson (Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. p. 279.), who 
derives their name from Pramanika, a term applied to the fol- 
lowers of the logical school. 

t Strabo, lib. xv. p. 491 . 


he found lying on stones, Calanus received liiui with that append. 
aftectatiou of independence which religious mendicants 
still often assume, laughed at his foreign habit, and told 
him tliat if he wished to converse with hun, he must throw 
off his clothes, and sit down naked on the stones. While 
Onesicritus was hesitating, ]Mandanis, the oldest and most 
holy of the party, came up. He reproved Calanus for his 
arrogance, and spoke mildly to Onesicritus, whom he 
promised to instruct in the Indian philosophy, as far as 
their unperfect means of communication would admit.* 
Arrian relates f that Alexander endeavoured to prevail on 
Mandanis (whom he calls Dandamis) to attach hunself to 
him as a companion ; but that ^Mandanis refused, rej)lying 
tliat India afforded him all he wanted while he remained 
in his earthly body, and that when he left it he should get 
rid of a trouljlesome companion. 

Calanus had his ambition less under control ; he joined 
Alexander in spite of the remonstrances of his fraternity, 
who reproached him for entering into any other service 
but that of God. J He was treated with respect by the 
Greeks ; but, falling sick in Persia, refused, probably from 
scruples of cast, to observe the regimen prescribed to him, 
and determined to put an end to his existence by the 
flames. Alexander, after in vain opposing his intention, 
onlered him to be attended to the last scene with all 
licjnours, and loaded him with gifts, which he distributed 
among his friends before he mounted the pile. He was 
carried thither wearing a garland on his head in the Indian 
maimer, and singing hymns in tiie Indian language, as he 
jtassed along, ^^'llen he had ascended the Jieaj) of wood 
and other combustibles, which ]ia<l been ])!( pared Cor liini, 

* Strabo, lib. xv. j). 1-92. 

f Expcd. Alfxaml. Ill), vii. caj). ii. 

I Sec Menu, iv. 63., quoted before, p. 2G. 



APPEND. ]j(3 ordered it to be set on fire, and met his fate with a 

serenity that made a great impression on the Greeks.* 

Aristobidus f gives an account of two Sophists, one 
young and one okl, both Brachmanes, whom he met with 
at Taxila. The ekier shaved, the younger wore his hair, 
and both were followed by disciples. As they passed 
through the streets they were received with reverence, 
people pouring oil of sesamum upon them, and oiFering 
them cakes of sesamum and honey. Even when they 
came to Alexander's table to sup in his company, they gave 
a lesson of resolution, withdrawing to a neighbouring spot, 
where the elder lay down exposed to the sun and rain, and 
the younger stood all day on one foot, leaning on a staff. 

Other accounts ^ describe the ascetics as going about the 
streets, helping themselves to figs and grapes, and to oil 
for anointing themselves, entering the houses of the rich, 
sitting down at their meals, and joining in their discourse ; 
in short, conducting themselves with the same freedom 
which some persons of that description affect at the present 
day. They are also spoken of as going naked in winter 
and summer, and passing their time under banyan trees, 
some of which, it is said, cover five acres, and are sufficient 
to shelter 10,000 men. 

The practice of twisting up the hair so as to form a 
turban, Avhich is now confined to one of the monastic orders, 
is mentioned by Strabo, without any limitation to its use. 
It is asserted of the ascetics that they reckoned it dis- 
graceful to be sick§, and put an end to themselves Avhen 

* A similar instance of self-immolation is related by Strabo 
(lib. xv. p. 495., ed. of 1587), of Zarmanochegus, an Indian of 
Bargosa, who had accompanied an embassy from his own country 
to Augustus, and burned himself alive at Athens. 

t Strabo, lib. XV. p. 491. J Ibid. p. 492. 

§ Probably as being a proof of guilt in a foi'raer state of ex- 
istence. Strabo, lib. xv. p. 493. 


they fell into that calamity. jSIegasthenes, however, asserts append. 
that the philosophers had no particular approbation of 
suicide, but rather considered it as a proof of levity ; both 
the opinions of the learned, and the occasional practice of 
the people in that respect, seeming to be much the same as 
they are now. 

It is jSIegasthenes who mentions a class called Gennanes, 
of whom he treats as forming a distinct body from the 
Brachmanes. It has been thought that by this separate 
class he meant the monastic orders : but the names he oives 
them appears to be corrupted from Sramana, the appellation 
of the Baudha and Jaina ascetics, which was written Sar- 
manes by later Greek authors. This is the more probable 
as Megasthenes's experience was chiefly gained in ]\Iagada, 
the cradle of Budliism, and at the court of Sandracottus, 
whose grandson Asoca was a convert to that religion, and 
Avas the means of estabhshing its supremacy not only in his 
own territories but in a great portion of India. But 
although the name seems borrowed from the Baudhas, there 
is notliing in the description of the class which is not at 
least as applicable to the Bramins in the third and fourth 
periods of their life, or to the monastic orders. 

The most honoured of the Gennanes, he says, arc a class 
called Hylobii, fi'om living in the woods ; Avho feed on wild 
fruits and leaves, are clothed in the bark of trees, abstain 
fnjm all pleasure, and stand motionless for whole days in 
one posture. The king sends messengers to tlieiu to consult 
them, and to request their intercession Avith the gods.* The 
next class in honor among the Gennanes he states to be 

* Compare this witli the deHcrii)tioii of tiic third portion of a 
Iirainiii's lifi: in Menu, quoted in p. 27- of this volmuc IIylol)i()S 
is a literal translation of Vatiapnislita, "dwrllcr in the woods," 
whicli is th<- usual designation of a Hraniin in the tiiird stage. 
{Caltidla Oridital May. March, 1827.) 


APPEND, the physicians, whose habits seem to correspond with those 
of Braniins of the fourth stage. They live in houses with 
great abstinence, but without the extreme austerity of the 
Hylobii. They however exercise themselves in labour and 
endurance, and sit whole days without the least change in 
their position. Some of them admit women to share in 
their meditations, but on a condition of strict chastity ; a 
practice which, though known to the Hindu monastic 
orders, seems to suit best Avith those of the Baudhas. As 
physicians, their jiractice resembles that of their modern 
successors. They rely most on diet and regimen, and next 
on external applications, having a great distrust of more 
powerful modes of treatment. Like their successors, also, 
they employ charms in aid of their medicines. He says 
that the Germanes perform magical rites and divination, 
and likewise conduct the ceremonies connected with the 
dead ; some wandering about the towns and villages, and 
others leading a more refined and settled life. There is 
nothing in all this that appears to be peculiar to the Baud- 
has. It is probable that Megasthenes, although aware of 
the distinction between that sect, the Bramins, and the 
monastic orders, had no accurate notion of the points on 
which they differed ; and it is not unlikely that the other 
early Greek writers may have fallen into a similar confu- 
sion. It is, indeed, a remarkable circumstance that the 
religion of Budha should never have been expressly noticed 
by those authors, though it had existed for two centuries 
before Alexander, and was destined in a century more to 
be the dominant religion of India. The only explanation 
is, that the appearance and manners of its followers were 
not so peculiar as to enable a foreigner to distinguish them 
from the mass of the people. 

It is declared by more authors than one, that different 
casts cannot intermarry, and that it was not permitted for 


men of one east to exercise the employment of another, append. 
but that all might become vSophists in whatever class they " 

were born. 

Such is the pi'csent state of the monastic orders ; but 
Avhether they had so early assumed that form, or whether 
tlie ancients (being ignorant that Bramins could be house- 
holders, councillors, and judges, might on occasion carry 
arms, or practise other professions) confounded the as- 
sumption of ascetic habits by Bramins previously so em- 
ployed, with the admission of all casts, must remain a 
doubtful question.* 

There is nothing to remark on the other classes, except Sudras. 
that the Sudras seem already to have lost their character 
of a servile class. 

Amanf mentions with admiration that every Indian is Absence of 
free. With them, as with the Lacedemonians, he says, ^^^^^^' 
no native can be a slave ; but, unlike the Lacedemonians, 
they keep no other people in servitude. Strabo, who 
doubts . the absence of slavery, as applying to all India, 
confines liis examples of the contrary to domestic slaves, 
and appears to have no suspicion of the existence of a ser- 
vile class. It is possible that the mild form in which 
slavery appeared among the Sudras may have deceived the 
Greeks, accustomed to so different a system at home ; but 

* Before quitting the subject of the confusion made by the 
ancients hetwaeu the Bramins and monastic orders, it may he 
observed that some modern writers, ev<!n of those best acquainted 
with the distinction, ha\ e not niarlvcd it in their worlis ; so that 
it is often ditiicult to ascertain I'roni their exjjressions which they 
allude to in each case. For niueh inlorniation relating to the 
anei<;tit accounts of the Ilindii priesthood and religion, sec Colc- 
brooke, Asintic liiscdrclics, vol. ix. p. 296. 

\ Indica, eaj*. \. See also Diodorus, lib. ii. j). I21., ed. UiOl', 
where he adds many extravagances abcjut their erpudity and 
npubliean institutions. 

vol,. I. H H 




and extent 
of the dif- 

It is still more probable that the remains of the servile 
condition of the Siidras, which subsisted in Menu's time, 
may have disappeared entirely before that of Alexander. 

The number of independent governments seems to have 
been as great as at other times. Alexander, in his partial 
invasion, met vt^ith many ; and Megasthenes heard that in 
all India there were 118. Many of these may have been 
very inconsiderable ; but some (the Prasli for instance) 
possessed great kingdoms. Most of them seem to have 
been under rajas, as in Menu's time, and the circum- 
stances of those which the Greeks called republics and aris- 
tocracies can easily be explained without supposing anything 
different from what now exists. There have always been 
extensive tracts without any common head, some under 
petty chiefs, and some formed of independent villages : in 
troubled times, also, toivns have often for a long period 
carried on their own government.* All these Avould be 
called republics by the Greeks, who would naturally fancy 
their constitutions similar to what they had seen at home. 
But what their authors had particularly in view were the 
independent villages, which were in reality republics, and 
which would seem aristocratic or democratic as the village 
community was great or small in proportion to the other 
inhabitants.! A more perfect example of such villages 
could not be found than existed but lately in Hariana a 

* Among those of the first description were the Sikhs (before 
Ranjit Sing's ascendancy), whom Mr. Foster, though familiar 
with Indian governments, describes as being under a democracy ; 
the chiefs of Shekhawet ; and various other petty confederacies 
of chiefs. Of single villages, the Sondis and Grasias mentioned 
by Sir John Malcolm (Accoimt of Mdlwa, vol. i. p. 508.) furnish 
examples. The same author alludes to tow?is in a state such as 
has been mentioned. 

f See the account of townships in the chapter on revenue, 
p. 121. 


country contiguous to those occupied by the Cathrei and append. 
Malli in Alexander's time. One of these (Biwani) required, '"' 
in 1809, a regular siege by a large British force, and would 
probably have opposed to tlie INIacedonians as ol)stinate a 
resistance as Sangala or any of the vilhiges in the adjoining 
districts, which make so great a figure in the operations of 

The force ascribed to the Indian kings is probably ex- 
aggerated. Poms, one of several who occupied the Panjab, 
is said to have had 200 elephants, 300 chariots, 4000 horse, 
and .30,000 efficient infantry, which, as observed by Sir A. 
Burnes, is (substituting guns for chariots) exactly the 
establishment of Ranjit Sing, who is master of the whole 
Panjab, and several other territories.* 

* As an exaggerated opinion appears to be sometimes enter- 
tained of the extent of the territories and dependencies of 
Porus, it may be worth while to state the limits assigned to them 
by Arrian and Strabo. His western boundary was the Hydaspes. 
Beyond that river, in the centre, was his mortal enemy Taxiles ; 
on the north of whoso dominions was Abissarcs, an independent 
prince whom Arrian calls king of the mountain Indians^; and 
on the south, Sopithes, another independent sovereign, in 
whose territories the Salt range lay ^ : so that Porus could pos- 
sess nothing to the west of the Hydaspes. On the north, his 
territory extended to the woods under the mountains «=; but it 
did not include the whole country between the Hydaspes and 
Acesines, for, besides other tribes who might by possibility be 
dependent on Porus, there were tlie Glaucanicic orGlausm, who 
had thirty-seven large cities, and whom Alexander put under 
I'orus''; thereby adding much country to what he had before 
j)ossessed.*= On the east, between the Acesines and Hytlraotes, 
he had another Porus, who was his bitter enemy.*" To the south- 

■■» Arrian, lib. V. cap. 8. '' Strabo, lib. w. p. ISI. 

''■ Ibid. J). 4-80. '' Arrian, lib. V. caj). 20. 

' Iliid. cap. 21. <■ Ibid, cap. 21. 

i I 11 '2 



APPEND, The most that we can concede to Arrian would be, that 
, the armies which he speaks of as permanent were the whole 
of tlie tumidtuary forces which any of those princes could, 
in case of necessity, bring into the field. The numbers 
alleged by Pliny are beyond probability, even on that or 
any other supposition. The fourfold division of the army 
(horse, foot, chariots, and elephants) was the same as that 
of Menu ; but Stral^o makes a sextuple division, by adding 
the commissariat and naval dei^artment. The soldiers were 
all of the military class, were in constant pay during war 
and peace, and had servants to perform all duties not 
strictly military. Their horses and arms were supplied by 
the state (an arrangement very unlike that usually adopted 
now). It is stated, repeatedly, that they never ravaged 
the country, and that the husbandmen pursued their occu- 
pations undisturbed while hostile armies Avere engaged in 
battle. This, though evidently an exaggeration, is pro- 
bably derived from the Hindu laws of war recorded in 
Menu, which must have made a strong impression on the 

east of him were the Cathaei, and other independent nations, 
against whom he assisted Alexander.^ To the south were the 
Malli, against whom Porus and Abissares had once led their 
combined forces, with those of many others, and had been de- 

From this it appears that the dominions of Porus were all 
situated between the Hydaspes and Acesines ; and that his im- 
mediate neighboui's on every side were independent of him, and 
most of them at war with him. If he had any dependents, they 
must have been between the rivers already mentioned, where 
there were certainly different tribes ; but of those we know tliat 
the Glaucanicae were independent of him, and we have no reason 
to think the others were dependent. 

a Arrian, lib. v. cap. 22. 21'. ^ Ibid. cap. 22. 


Greeks, unaccustomed as they were to so mild and humane append. 
a system. ' 

The bravery of the armies opposed to the Greeks is 
always spoken of as superior to that of the other nations 
with whom they had contended in Asia ; and the loss ac- 
knowledged, though incredibly small, is much greater in 
the Indian battles than in those with Darius. Their arms, 
Avith the exception of fire-arms, were the same as at present. 
The pecuhar Indian bow, now only used in mountainous 
countries, which is drawn with the assistance of the feet, 
and shoots an arrow more than six feet long, is particularly 
described by Arrian, as arc the long swords and iron spears, 
both of which are still occasionally in use. Their powerful 
bits, and great management of their horses, were remark- 
able even then. 

The presents made bv the Indian princes indicate Avcalth ; Planners 

^ . . and cus- 

and all the descriptions of the parts visited by the Greeks toms simi- 
give the idea of a country teeming Avitli population, and p^/esent'*^ 
enjoying the highest degree of prosperity. 

ApoUodorus* states that there were, between the Hy- 
daspes and Hypanis (Hyphasis), 1500 cities, none of which 
was less than Cos; whitli, with every allowance for exagge- 
ration, supposes a most flourishing territory. Paliltothra 
was eight miles long and one and a half broad, defended 
by a deep ditch and a high rampart, with 570 towers and 
64 gates. 

Tlie numerous commercial cities and pi)rts for foreign 
trade, which are mentioned at a later jjeriod (in the " Peri- 
plus"), attest the progress of the Indians in a departuii'iit 
which more than any cither shows the advanced eonchlion 
of a nation. 

The police is sjioken of as exctlli-nt, .^h■^a^th(•nes 
relates that, in the camp «>f Saixlracottus, which lie csli- 

• Siralx), lili. w. 
II II i 


APPEND, mates to have contained 400,000 men, the sums stolen 
' daily did not amount to more than 200 drachms (about 3/.). 

Justice seems to have been administered by the King 
and his assessors ; and the few laws mentioned are in the 
spirit of those of Menu. On this subject, however, the 
Greeks are as ill informed as might have been expected. 
They all believe the laws to have been unwritten ; some 
even maintain that the Indians were ignorant of letters, 
while others praise the beauty of their writing.* 

The revenue was derived from the land, the workmen, 
and the traders, f The land revenue is stated by Strabo 
to amount (as in Menu) to one fourth of the produce; but 
he declares, in plain terms, that " the whole land is the 
King's," and is farmed to the cultivators on the above 
terms.:}: He mentions, in another place, that the inhabit- 
ants of some villages cultivate the land in common, accord- 
ing to a system still much in use. The portion of the 
revenue paid in work by handicraftsmen (as stated by 
Menu, quoted in page 39.) is also noticed by Strabo. His 
account of the heads of markets (aryopovofMoi); their measure- 
ment of fields and distribution of water for irrigation ; their 
administration of justice ; and their being the channels for 
payment of the revenue ; together with their general super- 
intendence of the trades, roads, and all affairs within their 
limits, agrees exactly with the functions of the present 
patels, or heads of villages; and that of the heads of towns, 
though less distinct, bears a strong resemblance to the 
duties of similar officers at the present day. 

Little is said about the religion of the Indians. Strabo 
mentions that they worship Jupiter Pluvius (which may 
mean Indra), the Ganges, and other local gods ; that they 

* Strabo, Hb. xv. p. 493., ed. 1587. f Anian's Indica, p. J], 
% Strabo, lib. XV. p. 484., ed. 1587. 


wear no crowns at sacrifices ; and that they stifle the victim append. 

instead of stabbing it, — a curious coincidence with some 
of the mystical sacrifices of the Braraius, which are sup- 
jDosed to be of modern date. 

Various other ancients are quoted by Mr. Colebrooke *, 
to show that they likewise worshipped the sun. 

Much is said by the Greeks of the Indian worship of 
Bacchus and Hercules ; but obviously in consequence of 
their forcibly adapting] the Hindu legends to their own, as 
they have done in so many other cases, f 

The learning of the Hindus was, of course, inaccessible 
to the Greeks. They had, however, a great impression of 
their Avisdom ; and some particulars of their philosophy, 
which have been handed down, are not unimportant. 
Megasthenes asserts that they agreed in many things with 
the Greeks ; that they thought the world had a beginning 
and will have an end, is round, and is pervaded by the 
God who made and governs it ; that all things rise from 
different origins, and the world from water; that, besides 
the four elements, there is one of which the heavens and 
stars are made ; and that the world is the centre of the 
universe. He says they also agreed with the Greeks about 
the soul, and many other matters ; and composed many 
tales (fiv6oi) like Plato, about the immortality of tlie soul, 
the judgment after death, and similar subjects. J 

It is evident, from these early a( c(nints, that if the 
Bramins learned their philoso})hy from the Greeks, it nuist 
have been before the time of Alexander ; and Onesioritus, 
whose conversations with them on philosophy have been 
already mentioned, expressly says that (Ikv incpiired 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. ix. p. 29H. 

f The mention of the worsiiii) of HctcuIcs at Motliora may 
possibly relV;i- to that of ("ri^iimi at Muttra. 
X StraWo. lil). XV. j). lf)0., cd. 1587. 
n n !• 




APPEND, whetlier the Greeks ever held similar discourses, and 
makes it manifest that they were entirely uninformed re- 
garding the sciences and opinions of his countrymen. 

From the silence of the Greeks respecting Indian archi- 
tecture Ave may infer that the part of the country which 
they visited was as destitute of fine temples as it is now. 
Their account of Indian music is as unfavourable as would 
be given by a modern European ; for, although it is said 
that they were fond of singing and dancing, it is alleged, 
in another place, that they had no instruments but drums, 
cymbals, and castanets. 

The other arts of life seem to have been in the same 
state as at present. The kinds of grain reaped at each of 
their two harvests were the same as now : sugar, cotton, 
spices, and perfumes were produced as at present ; and the 
mode of forming the fields into small beds to retain the 
water used in irrigation is described as similar.* Chariots 
were drawn in war by horses, but on a march by oxen ; 
they were sometimes drawn by camels (which are now 
seldom api^lied to di'aught but in the desert). Elephant 
chariots were also kept as a piece of great magnificence. I 
have only heard of two in the present age. 

The modem mode of catching and training elephants, 
with all its ingenious contrivances, may be learned from 
Arrian f almost as exactly as from the account of the 
modern practice in " the Asiatic Researches." % 

The brilliancy of their dyes is remarked on, as well as 
theu- skill in manufactures and imitations of foreign 
objects. § 

The use of cojjper vessels for all j^nrposes was as general 
as it is now ; but brazen ones, which are now even more 

* Strabo, lib. xv. pp. ^TG, 477- f Indica, chap. xiii. 

\ Vol. iii. p. 229. § Strabo, lib. xv. p. 493. 


common, were avoided on account of their supposed brittle- appknd, 

ness. Royal roads are spoken of by Strabo * in one place, ' 

and mile-stones in another, f 

Strabo expatiates on the magnificence of the Indian 
festivals. Elephants, adorned with gold and silver, moved 
forth in procession with chariots of four horses and carriages 
drawn by oxen; well-appointed troops marched in their 
allotted place ; gilded vases, and basins of great size, were 
borne in state, with tables, thrones, goblets, and lavers, 
ahnost all set with emeralds, beryls, carbuncles, and other 
precious stones; garments of various colours, and em- 
broidered with gold, added to the richness of the spectacle. 
Tame lions and panthers formed part of the show, to which 
singing birds, and others remarkable for their plumage, 
were also made to contribute, sitting on trees which Avere 
transported on large waggons, and increased the variety of 
the scene. This last custom survived in part, and perhaps 
still survives, in Bengal, where artificial trees and gardens 
as they were called, not long ago formed part of the nuptial 
processions. X They are said to honour the memories of 
the dead, and to compose songs in their praise, but not to 
erect expensive tombs to them § ; a peculiarity wliich still 
prevails, notwithstanding the reverence paid to ancestors. 
The peculiar custom of building wooden houses near the 
rivers, which is noticed by Arrian |1, probably refers to the 
practice which still obtains on the Indus, where the 
flijors are platforms raised twelve or fifteen feet from the 
ground, as well as on tlie Irawaddy, where almost all the 
houses of Rangoon seem to l)e similarly constnuti-d. 

They never gave or took money in marriage f : (•(uiinrm- 

• Strabo, lib.xv. p.l-TK, til. 15.S7. t Lib.xv. p. IH?. 

t Lib. XV. p.' 4-94. $ Arrian's Iiidica, caj). x. 

II Ibid. rap. X. H I1''<1- <•»!>• '^^•'i- 


APPEND, ing, in that respect, both to the precepts of Menu and to 
III • 

' the practice of modern times. * 

The women Avere chaste, and the practice of self-immo- 
lation by widows was already introduced, but, perhaps, 
only partially ; as Aristobulus speaks of it as one of the 
extraordinary local peculiarities which he heard of at 
Taxila. t The practice of giving their daughters to the 
victor in prescribed trials of force and skill, which gives 
rise to several adventures in the Hindu heroic poems, is 
spoken of by Arrian :j: as usual in common life. Their 
kings are represented as surrounded by numbers of female 
slaves, who not only attend them in their retired apart- 
ments, as in Menu, but accompany them on hunting parties, 
and are guarded from view by jealous precautions for 
keeping the public at a distance, like those well known 
among Mahometans, and them only, by the name of 
kuruk. The ceremonial of the kings, however, had not 
the servility since introduced by the Mussulmans. It was 
the custom of the Indians to pray for the King, but not to 
prostrate themselves before him like the Persians. § 

The dress of the Indians, as described by Arrian jj, is 
precisely that composed of two sheets of cotton cloth, 
which is still worn by the people of Bengal, and by strict 
Bramins every where. Earrings and ornamented slippers 

* Megasthenes alone contradicts this account, and says they 
bought their wives for a yoke of oxen. (Strabo, cap. xv. 
p. 4-88.) 

f Strabo, lib. xv. p 491., ed. 1587- 

J Indica, cap. xvii. 

§ It is remarkable that in the Hindu dramas there is not a 
trace of servility in the behaviour of other characters to the 
King. Even now, Hindu courts that have had litde communi- 
cation with the Mussuhnans are comparatively unassuming in 
their etiquette. 

II Indica, cap. xvi. 


were also used, according to the fashion of the present day. append. 
Their clothes were generally white cotton, though often of ' 

a variety of bright colours and flowered patterns (cliintz). 
They wore gold and jewels, and were very expensive in 
theii' di'esses, though frugal in most other things.* Pearls 
and precious stones were in common use among them. 
The great had umbrellas carried over them, as now. 

They dyed their beards, as they now do, with henna and 
indigo ; and mistakes in the mixture or time of application 
seem then, as now, to have occasionally made their beards 
green, blue, and purple. At present, no colours are ever 
l^urposely produced but black and sometunes red. They 
dined separately, according to their present unsociable 
practice, each man cooking his own dinner apart when he 
requii-ed it. They drank little fermented liquor, and what 
they did use was made from rice (arrack). 

The appearance of the Indians is well described, and 

(what is sm-prising, considering the limited knowledge of 

the ]Macedonians) the distinction between the inhabitants 

of the north and south is always adverted to. The southern 

Indians are said to be black, and not unlike Ethiopians, 

except for the absence of flat noses and curly hair ; the 

noi'thern ones are fairer, and lilce Egyptians f, — a resem- 

Ijlance which must strike every traveller from India on 

seeing the pictures in the tombs on the Nile. 

The Indians are described as swarthy, but very tall. Favourable 
11 1-1 1 • . nil -1 • 1 opinion un- 

handsome, liglit, and active. J ihen* bravery is always tertaincdby 

s])oken of as characteristic ; their superiority in war to ^f'ji,^.'^i'' 

other Asiatics is repeatedly asserted, and ajipears in more dian cha- 

* Stralxj, lib. XV. pp. 481. 4-8H. 

•j- Ariiiiii, liidird, caj). vi. ; Strubu, lil). xv. p. ITo., id. 


\ Arriaii, /////«•«, cap. xvii. 


APPEND, ways than one.* They are said to be sober, moderate, 
' peaceable ; good soldiers ; good farmers t ; remarkable for 
simplicity and integrity ; so reasonable as never to have 
recourse to a law-suit ; and so honest as neither to require 
locks to their doors nor writings to bind their agreements. J 
Above all, it is said that no Indian was ever known to tell 
an untruth. § 

We know, from the ancient writings of the Hindus them- 
selves, that the alleged proofs of their confidence in each 
other are erroneous. The account of their veracity may 
safely be regarded as equally incorrect ; but the statement 
is still of great importance, since it shows what were the 
qualities of the Indians that made most impression on the 
Macedonians, and j^roves that their character must, since 
then, have undergone a total change. Strangers are now 
struck with the litigiousness and falsehood of the natives ; 
and, when they are incorrect in their accounts, it is always 
by exaggerating those defects. 

* Arrian, Exped. Alexand., \\h. v. cap. iv. 

f Ibid. lib. V. cap. xxv. :j; Strabo, lib. xv. p. 488., ed. 1587. 

§ Arrian, Indica, cap. xii. 




The Greek kingdom of Bactria, as formerly known to us, append. 
had so little influence on India, that it would scarcely have 


deserved mention in the liistory of that countr}\ Accounts 

Late discoveries have shown a more permanent connec- ancients, 
tion between it and India, and may throw light on relations 
as yet little understood. But these discoveries still require 
the examination of antiquarians ; and a slight sketch of 
the results hitherto ascertained will be sufficient in this 

When Alexander retired from India, he left a detach- 
ment from his army in Bactria. 

After the first contest for the partition of his empire, b. c. 312. 
that province fell to the lot of Seleucus, king of Syria, 
He marched in person to reduce the local governors into 
obedience, and afterwards went on to India, and made 
his treaty with Sandracottus.* Bactria remained subject to 
his descendants, until their own civil wars and the impend- m.c. 'J5o. 
ing revolt of the Parthians induced the governor of the 
l)rovince to assert his indei)endence. Theodotus was the 
first king. He was succeeded by his son of the same name, 
who was dei)Osed by Euthydcmus, a native of ^lagncsia, in 
Asia ]SIinor. By this time, tlic Seleucida^ liad consolidated 
their power; and Antiochus the Great came with a large 
anny to restore order in the eastern ]»art of his dominions. 
He defeated Euthydcmus, but admitted him to terms; and 

* See p. 2(SH. 


APPEND, confirmed hini in possession of the throne he had usurped. 

, It does not seem probable that Euthydemus carried his 

arms to the south of the eastern Caucasus ; but his son, 
Demetrius, obtained possession of Arachosia and a large 
portion of Persia. He also made conquests in India, and 
Avas in possession, not only of Lower Sind, but of the coast 
of India further to the east. He seems, however, to have 
been excluded from Bactria, of which Eucratidas remained 
master. After the death of Euthydemus, Demetrius made 
an unsuccessful attempt to disj)ossess this rival ; and, in 
the end, lost all his Indian conquests, which were seized by 

In the time of Eucratidas the Bactrian power was at Its 
height. In the midst of his greatness he was assassinated 
by his own son, Eucratidas II. ; and, during the reign of 
this prince, some of his western dominions were seized on 
by the Parthlans, and Bactria itself by the Scytliians * ; and 
nothing remained in his possession but the country on the 
south of the eastern Caucasus. The period of the reigns 
of Menauder and Apollodotus, and the relation In which 
they stood to the Eucratidas, cannot be made out from the 
ancients. INIenander made conquests in the north-west of 
India, and carried the Greek arms further in that direction 
than any other monarch of the nation. The position of 
his conquests is shown in a passage of Strabo, that likewise 
contains all we know of the extent of the Bactrian kingdom. 
According to an ancient author there quoted, the Bactrians 
possessed the most conspicuous part of Ariana, and con- 
quered more nations In India than even Alexander. In 
this last achievement, the principal actor was Menander, 
who crossed the Hypanis towards the east, and went on as 
far as the Isamus. Between him and Demetrius, the sou 
of Euthydemus (continues the same author), the Bactrians 

* About 130 B.C. (Clinton's Fasti); 125 b.c. (De Guignes). 


occupied not only Pattalcne, but that part of the other append. 
coast which is called the kingdom of Tessariostus and the _^___^ 
kingdom of Sigertes. The Hypanis mentioned in the 
beginning of the passage referred to is admitted to mean 
the Hyphasis ; but the Isamus is thought by some to be 
the Jamna river, by others the Hemalaya mountains (some- 
times called Imaus), and by others, again, a small river 
called Isa, which runs into the Ganges on the western side. 
^AHiichever is correct, the territoiy to the east of the Panjab 
must have been a narrow strip. No mention is made of 
acquisitions towards the south ; and if any had been made 
in that direction as far as Delhi, or even Hastinapiir, they 
would not have entirely escaped the notice even of Hindii 
authors. The south-western conquests extended to the 
Delta of the Indus (Pattalene being the country about 
Tatta) ; but whether the kingdom of Sigertes, on the other 
coast, was Cach or the peninsula of Guzerat, we have no 
means of conjecturing. The author of the " Periplus " says 
that coins of INIenander and Apollodotus were met with in 
his time at BanSch, which in the state of circulation of 
those days makes it probable that some of their terri- 
tories were not very distant. On the west, " the most 
conspicuous part of Ariana" would certainly be Kho- 
nisan ; but they had pr()bal)ly lost some portion of that 
])rovince before their Indian conquests attained the utmost 

The above is the information we derive from ancient 
authors. It has been confirmed and greatly augmented by 
recent discoveries from coins. These increase the numl)er 
of Greek kings from the eight above nicnlionLd to eighteen ; 

* Tlic information to l)i' found in ancient autliors i-^ collected 
in Haver's lidctria. Tli(!rt; is a clear, coiicist! skelcli of 15actrian 
lii^tory from the suiik; sources in Clinton's Faxii ntUcitui, 
vol. iii. p. 31. 5., note x. 


APPEND, and disclose new dynasties of other nations who succeeded 
- each other on the extinction of the Greek monarchy. 

The subject first attracted notice in consequence of some 
coins obtained by Colonel Tod, and an interesting paper 
which he published regarding them in the first volume 
of the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society. It 
excited great attention on the Continent, and was zealously 
followed up in India by Professor Wilson and by Mr. 

Professor Wilson has published an account of the coins 
of the Greek kings, and arranged them as far as our pre- 
sent knowledge permits ; but as they bear no dates either 
of time or place, the arrangement is necessarily incom- 
plete. The coins of the kings already mentioned, down 
to Eucratidas I., are found on the north of the eastern 
Caucasus. The inscriptions, the figures, the reverses, and 
the Avorkmanship are pure Greek. From Eucratidas II., 
no coins are found on the northern side of the mountains ; 
and those found on the southern side assume a new form. 
They are often square, a shape of which there is no ex- 
ample in any other Grecian coinage, either European or 
Asiatic: they frequently bear two inscriptions, one in Greek 
and another in a barbaric character ; and, from the reign 
of Menander, they have occasionally an elephant, or a bull 
with a hump ; both animals peculiar to India, and indica- 
tive of an Indian dominion. 

The barbaric character has been but Imperfectly de- 
ciphered, and has given rise to a good deal of discussion. 
It Is certainly written from right to left ; a mode, as far 
as we know, peculiar to the languages of the Arab family : 
it may be assumed that It represents the language of the 
country, which it is natural to suppose would be Persian ; 
and these circumstances suggest PehlevI as the language. 
This opinion, accordingly, has been maintained by some 


of those -who have written on the subject ; but a close ex- append. 
amination by Professor Wilson leads him to doubt the ^^' 
conclusion, though he has no theory of his own to support. 
Others, thinking that they discover words of Shanscrit 
origin in the inscriptions, believe the language to be Zend, 
or else some of the dialects of India. 

Of this series of coins the first that attract notice are 
those of Menander. As they exhibit the title of Soter, 
which was adopted by the two Eucratidic, and as the 
devices on the reverses are the same as on coins of these 
princes, it is a legitimate deduction that the king who 
struck them belonged to the same dynasty. The same 
argument extends to the coins of Apollodotus, who was 
perhaps the son of Menander. Two more kings, Diomedes 
and Hermocus, have also the title of Soter, and may be 
presumed to belong to the same dynasty. The inferior 
execution of the coins of Hermocus points him out as the 
latest of the series ; and it is his coins, also, that furnish 
tlie model for another description which it may be inferred 
came immediately after his time. 

These are of much ruder workmanship, and the in- 
scriptions are an almost illegible Greek ; the names, also, 
are barbarous and uncouth, — Kadphises, Kanerkes, &c. 
Thc.^e are conjectured, on very probable grounds, to be 
Scythians, and to have sul)jcctcd the southern kingdom of 
the Bactrian Greeks about the beginning of the Christian 

Other coins arc also found resembling the last series, 
but perhaps connected witli the Parthians rather tlian the 

To comjdete the rlironology, there are coins not yet 
examined, but obviously belonging to the Sassanians, who 
were in possession of Persia at the time of the Mahunietan 

vor,. I. II 


APPEND. There is another class of coins, resembling, in many re- 
' spects, those of the Eucratida;, and probably belonging to 
a series collateral with that of the Soters, but extendin"- 
beyond the duration of that dynasty. Many of the names 
they bear are accompanied by epithets derived from Nike 
(victory); from which, and other points of resemblance, 
they are regarded as belonging to one dynasty. 

There is one more class, consisting of only two princes, 
Agathocles and Pantaleon. They are thought to be the 
latest of all the Greek coins, but are chiefly remarkable 
because they alone have their second inscriptions in the 
ancient character found on the caves and columns of India, 
and not in the one written from right to left. 

Some conclusions may be drawn from the situations in 
which the coins have been discovered. Those of Menander 
are numerous in the country about Cabul, and also at 
Peshawer. One has been found as far east as Mattra on 
the Jamna. We may perhaps infer that his capital was 
situated in the tract first mentioned, and this would give 
ground for conjecturing the residence of the Soter dynasty. 
I do not know that there is any clue to that of the Nike 
kings. Professor Wilson conjectures Agathocles and 
Pantaleon to have reigned in the mountains about Chitral ; 
which, being the country of the Paropamisian Indians, 
may perhaps afford some explanation of the Indian cha- 
racter on their coins. The situation in which the Scythian 
coins are found is itself very remarkable ; and there are 
other circumstances Avhich hold out a prospect of their 
throwing great light on Indian history. All the former coins, 
with the exception of some of those of Hermocus, have been 
purchased in the bazars, or picked uj) on or near the surface 
of the earth on the sites of old cities. But the Scythian 
coins are found in great numbers in a succession of monu- 
ments which are scattered over a tract extending eastward 


from the neighbourhood of Cabul, through the whole basin append. 
of the Cabul river, and across the northern part of the ' 

Panjiib. These huge structures are the sort of solid 
cupola so common among the votaries of Budha ; and, 
like the rest, contain each a relic of some holy person. 
Xo Greek coins are ever foimd in them, except those of 
IIerma?us ; but there are other coins, a few from remote 
countries, and the earliest yet discovered is one belongmg 
to the second triumvirate. This coin must have been 
struck as late as the forty-third year before Christ ; but 
might easily have found its way to the frontiers of India 
before the final overthrow of the Greek kingdom, which 
all agree to have taken place about the beginning of the 
Clu-istian a?ra. 

These facts corroborate the conjectures of De Guignes, 
drawn from Chinese annals, that the Greeks were driven 
out of Bactria, by the Tartar tribe of Su from the north 
of Transoxiana, 126 years before Christ ; and that their 
Indian kingdom was subverted about twenty-six years Ijc- 
fore Christ by the Yue-chi, who came from Persia, and 
spread themselves along a large portion of the course of 
the Indus.* 

The Su have left no coins ; but it is natural to supjiose 
that the Yue-clii, who came from Persia, would follow 
tlie example set by the Parthians, and would imitate tlie 
coinage of their Greek predecessors. This practice of the 
Indo-Scythians (whoever they were) was taken ujt li\- mhuc 
dynasty of tlie Hindus; for coins of the latter nation have 
been found bearing nearly the same relation to those of 

* De Guigrics's account of the first ooiifnu-st is, that the Su 
caiTX! froiu rcrghaiia, on tlie Jaxartcs, and coiiijuercd a civilistd 
nation, wliosccoin bore a man on one side, and liorscnKii on (ho 
other. The coins of the Kucratidie have; the king's head on one 
side, anil C.istor and I'olhix, niountcd, on the other. 

I I '2 


APPEND, the Inclo- Scythians that theirs did to the coins of the 
^' Greeks. 

We must not suppose that the Bactrian kingdom was 
composed of a great body of Greek colonists, such as ex- 
isted in the west of Asia or in the south of Italy. A very 
large proportion of Alexander's army latterly was com- 
posed of barbarians, disciplined and undisciplined. These 
would not be anxious to accompany him on his retreat ; 
and, on the other hand, we know that he was constrained 
to retrace his steps by the impatience of the Greeks and 
Macedonians to return to their own country. 

From this we may conclude that a small part of those 
left behind were of the latter nations ; and, as Alexander 
encouraged liis soldiers to take Persian wives, (a course in 
itself indispensable to the settlers, from the absence of 
Greek women,) it is evident that the second generation of 
Bactrians must have been much more Persian than Greek. 
Fresh importations of Greek adventurers would take place 
during the ascendancy of the Seleucida?; but, after the 
establishment of the Parthian power, all communication 
must necessarily have been cut off; which explains the 
total silence of Greek authors regarding the later days of 
the Bactrian kingdom : the degeneracy of the latter coinage 
is consistent with these facts, which also remove the diffi- 
culty of accounting for the disappearance of the Greeks 
after the overthrow of their southern kingdom. 




(A) Traces of the lord of a thousand villages are fouiKl append. 

in different parts of the country, where particular families 

retain the name and part of the emoluments of their 
stations, but seldom or never exercise any of the powers.* 

The next division is still universally recognised through- 
out India under the name of perfjaiineh, although in many 
places the officers employed in it are only known by their 
enjoyment of hereditary lands or fees ; or, at most, by 
their being the depositaries of all registers and records con- 
nected with land. These districts are no longer uniformly 
comjiosed of one hundred villages, if they ever were so in 
practice; but, for the most part, arc rather under that 
number, although in rare cases they depart from it very 
widely both in deficiency and excess. 

The duties of a chief of a perganneh, even in pure 
Hindu times, were probably confined to tlic management 
of the police and revenue. He had under him an accountant 
or registrar, whose office, as well as his own, was hcreditar}-, 
and who has retained his functions more extensively than 
his principal. t 

* These are called sinli'snuiks in tlic Dfckan, in whicli and 
other southern parts of India the territorial divi>i()n of Mrnn 
is most entire. Their districts are called sircars or prants, and 
these are constantly recognised, even when the olHee is quite 
extinct. Their hereditary registrar, also, is still to be found 
under the name of sir despandi. 

\ The head perganneh oliieer was called desinuk or (le-ai 
in the Deckan, and the registrar, despandi. In tiie noilli of 
India they are called ehoudri and eanungo. 

I 1 3 



APPEND. Next below the perganneh is a division now only sub- 
' sisting in name, and coiTesponding to Menu's lordship of 
tenor twenty towns*; and the chain ends in individual 
villages, f 

(B) Called patel in the Dcckan and in the west and 
centre of Hindostan ; mandel in Bengal ; and mokaddam 
in many other places, especially where there are or have 
lately been hereditary village landholders. 

(C) Patwari in Hindostan ; culcami and carnam in the 
Deckan and south of India ; tallati in Guzerat. 

(D) Pasban, gorayet, peik, douraha, &c. in Hindostan; 
mhar in the Deckan ; tillari in the south of India ; paggi in 

(E) Village landholders are distinctly recognised through- 
out the whole of the Bengal presidency, except in Bengal 
jDroper, and perhaps Bohilcand. | They appear to subsist 
in part of Rajputana ; and perhaps did so, at no remote 
period, over the whole of it.§ They are very numerous in 
Guzerat, include more than half the cultivators of the 
Maratta country, and a very large portion of those of the 
Tamil country. There is good reason to think they Avere 
once general in those countries where they are now only 
partially in existence, and perhaps in others where they 

* Called naikwari, tarref, &c. &c. 

-j- For the accounts of these divisions and officers, see Mal- 
colm's Mahva (vol. ii. p. 4'.) ; Stirling's Orissa {Asiatic Researches, 
vol. XV. p. 226.); Report from the Commissioner in the Deckan 
and its inclosures (Selectio?ts, vol. iv. p. 161.). 

:j: Sir E. Colebrooke's Minute (^Selections, vol. iii. p. 165.). 

§ Colonel Tod, vol. i. p. 4-95., and vol. ii. p. 540. 


are not now to be found. Tliey arc almost extinct in the append. 
country south of the Nerbadda, except in the parts just ' 

mentioned. In all the ISIadi-as presidency north of Madras 
itself ; in the Nizam's country, and most of that of Ntigpur ; 
in great part of Candesh and the east of the Maratta 
country, there is no class resembling them. This tract 
comprehends the greater part of the old divisions of 
Telingtina, Orissa, and Canara; but does not so closely 
coincide with their boundaries, as to give much reason for 
ascribing the absence of village landholders to any pecu- 
liarity in the ancient system of those countries. In IMtilwa, 
though so close to countries where the village landholders 
are common, they do not seem now to be known. They 
are not mentioned in Sir John Malcolm's " Central India.'' 

(F) In Hindostan they are most commonly called vil- 
lage zemindars or biswadars; in Bchar, maliks; in Guzerat, 
liatels ; and in the Deckan and south of India, mirassis or 

" The right of property in the land is unequivocally 
recognised in the present agricultural inhabitants by 
descent, purchase, or gift."* 

The right of the village landliolders, to the extent stated 
in the text, is repeatedly alluded to in the published re- 
cords of the Bengal government relating to the western 
l)ro\'inces. Sir C. ^Metcalfe, though he contests the 
opinion that the right of property is full and absolute as 
ill England, has no doul)t about the persons in whom that 
right is vested. " The only proprietors, generally siicaking, 
arc the village zemindars or liiswahdars. The iirctensions 
of all others are jirhna facie doul)tful,"t For portions of the 

• Fortcscuo, Seliclious, viii. j). 4().">. 

f Miriutr; of Sir C. Metcalfe, in tin Itcport ol' tiic Sclict 
('oiiiniitt(;e of August, IH'.Yl, iii. \).'S65. 

I I 6) 


APPEND, territory iintlcr the Madras presidency see the Proceedings 
^" of the Board of Revenue *, and Mr. Ellis, f Sir T. Munro |, 
though he considers the advantages of mirasdars to have been 
greatly exaggerated and their land to be of little value, ad- 
mits it to be saleable. § For the Maratta country see Mr. 
Chaplin and the Reports of the Collectors. || Captain Ro- 
bertson, one of the collectors, among other deeds of sale, 
gives one from some private villagers transferring their 
minissi rights to the Pesliwa himself. He also gives a grant 
from a village community conferring the lands of an extinct 
family on the same prince for a sum of money, and gua- 
ranteeing him against the claims of the former proprietors. 
A very complete account of all the different tenures in the 
Maratta country, as well as of the district and village 
officers, with illustrations from personal inquiries, is given 
by Lieutenant Colonel Sykes in the " Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society. "H 

Care must be taken to distinguish miras in the sense 
now adverted to from lands held on other tenures ; for 
the word means hereditary property, and is, therefore, ap- 
plied to rights of all descriptions which come under that 

(G) Mr. Fortescuc (Selections, vol. iii. pp. 403. 405. 
408.); Captain Robertson (Ibid. vol. iv. p. 153.); Madras 
Board of Revenue (^Beport of Select Committee of the House 
of Commons, 1832, vok iii. p. 393.) ; Governor of Bombay's 
Minute (Ibid. vol. iii. p. 637.). 

* Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, 
1832, iii. p. 392. 

f Ibid. p. 382. t Minute of Dec. 31. 1824<. 

§ Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, 
1832, p. 457. 

II Selections, vol. iv. p. 474. 

«[| Ibid. vol. ii. p. 205., and vol. iii. p. 350. 


(G*) In making a partition of the land the landlioklers append. 
are taken by families, as has been explained of the village ' 

government ; but in the case of land the principal family 
divisions are subdi-sndcd, and the subdivisions divided again 
according to the Hindu mode of dealing with inheritances.* 
The lands of the village and other profits of the conununity 
are likewise formed into shares, sometimes corresponding 
exactly to the divisions, subdivisions, &c. of the families ; 
but more frequently reduced to small fractions, a propor- 
tionate number of which is assigned to each division, &c., 
so as ultimately to be distributed in due proportion to each 

The public burdens are partitioned exactly in the same 
manner, so that each division, subdivision, and individual 
knows its quota ; each, therefore, might manage its own 
agricultural and pccmiiary affairs independently of the rest, 
and such is not unfrequcntly the case. 

In the iSIaratta country, for instance, although there are 

* " To explain the divisions of a village and inheritable shares 
of it, suppose the ancient first proprietor or incumbent to have 
left, on his death, four sons; each woukl inlierit ufpially, and 
four panes would thus be erected ; on the demise of eaeli of 
those persons with four sons also, eacii would be entitled to a 
cpjarter of Iiis father's pane, which would give rise to four tholas 
in each pane, and so on." (Mr. Fortescue, Selcclioiis, vol. iii. 
p. iOS.) About Delhi, the great division seems to be eaUed 
pane, as above; but the commonest name in llindostan is piitti, 
subdivided into tliocks, and they again into blieris. 'J'Ih re are 
many otiier names, and even these vary in tht; apiiiication ; a 
great division being in some places ealhtl a tlioek, and a subdi- 
vision a patti. In Guzeriit the great divisions are called bagh, 
and the subdivisions patti : another, and the connnonest sub- 
division there, is into annas, again subdivided into chawils. In 
the Deekan the great divisions are called jattas, and there are 
no subdivisions. 

\ See Table l)y Sir Ijlwurd Colrbioukc, Srhdiinis iii. IfifJ. 


APPEND, divisions Avitli a joint responsibility among the members, 
' yet they have no longer heads ; each individual manages 
his own concerns, and the headman of the village does all 
the rest. 

I do not advert to changes made in other parts of India 
which are departures from the Hindu practice. 

(H) The following are the rights possessed in the in- 
termediate stages between a fixed rent and an honorary 
acknowledgment. The landholders are entitled to a de- 
duction from the gross produce of the fields before dividing 
it with the government, and to fees on all the produce 
raised by persons not of their own class. This is called 
tunduwarum or swamibhogam (owner's share) in the Tamil 
country ; and malikana or zemindari rasum in Hindostan. 
In the latter country it usually forms part of a consolidated 
payment of 10 per cent, to the zemindars, Avhich seems 
intended as a compensation for all general demands ; but 
not interferino; with the rent of a landholder's lands 
where any such could be obtained. In some places* they 
have also fees from the non-agricultural inhabitants ; and, 
as they are every Avliere proprietors of the site of the village, 
they can levy rent in money or service from any person 
who lives within their bounds. 

Where they have lost some of these rights by the en- 
croachments of the government, they frequently have some 
consideration shown them in assessing their payment to 
the state, so as in some cases to admit of their getting rent 
for their land. In some places they are left their fees f ; 

* In Guzerat and in Hindostan. Also, see an account of the 
village of Burleh, by Mr. Cavendish {Beport of the Select Com- 
7nittee of the House of Commons, 18S2, iii. p. 246.) 

f In part of Tamil, and in Hindostan, M'hen not superseded 
by the allowance of 10 per cent. (See Report of the Select Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons, 1832, iii. p. 24'7.) 


and, where they are at the lowest, they have an exemption append. 
from certain taxes which arc paid Ijy all the rest of the ' 

inhabitants. The rights and umnunities of the village 
landholders, as such, must not be confounded with those 
allowed to mokaddams, and other officers for the perfonn- 
ance of certain duties. Though the same persons may 
hold both, they are in their nature quite distinct ; one 
being a jiroprietary right arising from an interest in the 
soil, and the other a mere remuneration for service, trans- 
ferable along with the service from one jiersou to another, 
at the pleasure of the employer. 

(I) The ^li'abic word ryot (pronounced rciat) means a 
subject, and is so employed in all Mahometan countries ; 
but in some of them it is also used in a more restricted 
sense. In India its secondary senses are, — 1. A person 
paying revenue. 2. A cultivator in general. 3. A tenant 
as explained in the text. In reference to the person of 
whom they hold their lands, ryots are called Ids assamis. 

(K) This class is called in the territory under Bengal 
khudkasht ryots, which name (as " khud " means " own," 
and " kashtan " to " cultivate ") has been considered a 
jtroof that they are proprietors of the land. Kiim ]M6iian 
liiii, huwever, (an unexceptional tie authority,) ex])lains it 
tu mean "cultivators of the lands of their own village*,^'' 
which seems the correct interpretation, as the term is 
always used in contradistinction to paikiisht, or cultivators 
of another village. 

(Lj It id in the Tamil country :uid in (JuzcraL lliaL 
their rights seem best established. 

In the Tiunil couiitiy they have an hcn-dilai-y right of 

• Itcpoit <ji tlif S(l( rt C'oiiiiiiittcc of till Jbiii^i' ol ( iiiiiiiioiis, 

Oct.jlx T 11. is:;i, p. THi. 


APPEND, occupancy, subject to the payment of the demand of go- 
' Acrnmcnt and of the usual fees to the village landlioldcr, 

which are fixed, and sometimes at no more than a pepper- 
corn ; but the tenant cannot sell, give away, or mortgage 
his rights, although in the circumstances described they 
must be nearly as valuable as those of the landholder him- 
self. * In Guzerat their tenure is nearly similar, except 
that it is clearly understood that their i:ent is to be raised 
in proportion to any increase to the government demand 
on the village landliolder; and it is probable that this 
understanding prevails in the Tamil country also, though 
not mentioned in the printed reports. In Hindostan 
there appears to be a feeling that they are entitled to 
hereditary occupancy, and that theu' rents ought not to 
be raised above those usual in the neighbourhood : but the 
following summary will show how imperfect this right is 
thought to be. 

In 1818, a call Avas made by the Bengal government 
on the collectors of all its provinces not under the per- 
manent settlement, for information respecting the rights 
of the permanent ryots. Of fourteen collectors, eleven 
considered the landholder to be entitled to raise his rent 
at pleasure, and to oust his tenant whenever he could get 
better terms elsewdiere ; two collectors (those of Etawa 
and Seharunpur) seem to have thought that the landlord's 
rent should not be raised unless there was an increase in 
the demand of government : the collector of Bundelcand 
alone declared the khudkasht ryot's right to be as good 
as his of whom he holds. The members of the Revenue 
Commission, in forwarding these reports, gave their 
opinion that landholders conceive themselves to possess the 

* Mr. Ellis, Rejwrt of the Select Committee of the House of 
Commons, August 10. 1832, vol. iii. p. 377. ; Board of Revenue, 
Minute of January 5. 1818, p. 421. 


power of ousting their tenants, although from the demand append. 
for ryots it is not frequently exercised. ' 

The government at that time doubted the correctness 
of these opinions, and called for further information; 
Avliieh, although it threw nuich light on the question, did 
not materially alter the above conclusion. 

Mr. Fortescue, reporting on Dellii, (where the rights of the 
jiermanent tenant seem better preserved than in any place 
imder Bengal except Bundelcand,) says, that the ancient 
and hereditary occupants cannot be dispossessed " as 
long as they discharge their portion of the public assess- 

The minute reports on various villages in different eol- 
lectorships, abstracted by ]\Ir. Ilult ^Mackenzie*, do not lead 
to a belief that the rents cannot be raised. ]\Ir. Colebrooke 
states in a minute, which seems to have been wi'itten in 
1812 t, "that no rule of adjustment could be described 
(query, discovered ?) after the most patient inquiry by a 
Acry intelligent public officer ; and that the proceedings of 
the courts of justice in numerous other cases led to the 
same conclusion respecting the relative situation of ryots 
and zemindars." 

]\Ir. Ross, a judge of the Chief Court, likewise, in a very 
judicious minute of 22d ^larcli, 1827 Xi states that a fixed 
i-ate never was claimed by mere ryots, whether resident or 
non-resident, in the ujtper ])rovin(:es ; incpiires when such 
a fixed rent was in force? and whether it was intended to 
remain fixed, however the value of the land might aher? 
and concludes as follows: — "As to the custom of the 
country, it has always been opposed to sucli a privilege, it 
Ijcing notorious that tin.' zemindars and other su]t('rior 

• Iteport of Scloft Coimiiittcc of House of Coiiiinoiis, 1S:52, 
vol. iii. p. 243. 

t See vol. i. p. 2(V2. 

X Appendix to K.port of IS32. |). 12.3. 


APPEND, landholders have at all times been in the practice of ex- 
' torting from their ryots as much as the latter can afford to 


(M) Called in Ilindostan paikasht; in Guzenit, gan- 
Avatti (leaseholder); in the Maratta comitry, iipri ; and 
under Madras, paikari and paracudi. 

(N) They are called ashrc4f (well-born) in Hindostan, 
and pander pesha in some parts of the Deckan. 

(O) There is an acknowledged restriction on all per- 
manent tenants, which prevents their cultivating any land 
Avithin the village that does not belong to the landlord of 
Avhom they rent their fixed portion and their house ; but 
not only permanent tenants, but village landholders them- 
selves, occasionally hold land as temporary tenants in other 
villages. In some parts of India the government levies a 
tax on the permanent tenants of land paying revenue Avho 
farm other lands from persons exempt from payment ; and 
in some, the government officer endeavours to prevent 
their AvithdraAving from their assessed lands in any circum- 
stances. This last, hoAvever, is reckoned mere violence 
and oppression. 

(P) This system may be illustrated by the example of 
the petty state of Cach, Avhicli being of recent formation 
retains its original form unimpaired. " The AAdiole revenue 
of this territory is under fifty lacs of cories (about sixteen 
lacs of rupees), and of this less than thirty lacs of cories 
belongs to the Rao ; the country Avhich yields the re- 
maining twenty lacs being assigned to the collateral 
branches of his highness's family, each of whom received 
a certain appanage on the death of the Rao, from AA'hom 
it is immediately descended. 


" The family of these cliicfs is derived at a recent period append. 
from Tatta in Siud, aud they all sprung from a com- ' 

mon ancestor, Humeerjee, whose son Rao Khengar ac- 
quired the sovereignty of Cutch before the middle of the 
sixteenth century of our ajra. 

'' The number of these chiefs is at present about 200, 
and the whole number of their tribe in Cutch is guessed 
at 10,000 or 12,000 persons. This tribe is called Jhareja. 
It is a branch of the Rajputs. The Rao's ordinary juris- 
diction is confined to his own demesne, each Jhareja chief 
exercising unlimited authority within his lands. The Rao 
can call on the Jharejas to serve him in war ; but nuist 
furnish them with pay at a fixed rate while they are with 
his army. He is the guardian of the public peace, and 
as such chastises all robbers and other general enemies. 
It would seem that he ought likewise to repress private 
war, and to decide all disputes between chiefs ; but this 
prerogative, though constantly exerted, is 7iot admitted 
without dispute. Each chief has a similar l)ody of kins- 
men, who possess shares of the original appanage of the 
family, and stand in the same relation of nominal depend- 
ence t(j him that he bears to the Rao. These kinsmen 
form what is called the bhyaud or brotherhood of the 
chiefs, and the chiefs themselves compose the bhyaud of 
the Rao."* 

The same practice, with some modifications, prevails 
through the whole of the Rajput country. 

The territories all(jttcd to feudatories in Mrwi'ir (tlu^ 
fir.-t in rank of these states) was at one time nioic limn 
three fourths of the whole f, and was increa.-cd Iiy tlif im- 
providence of a more recent princi'. 

♦ Minute on C'acli, by the (i(i\ crnor of I'oMibay, d.ifcd 
January 'iGtli, 1S21. 

■[ ColoiK'l Tod's Itajastlian, vol. i. \t. 1 II. 



APPEND. (^Q) It must have been some check on the sjiirit of 

indejiendence, that until within less than two centuries of 

the i^resent time it was usual for all the chiefs, in Mewar 
at least, periodically to interchange their lands ; a practice 
which must have tended to prevent their strengthening 
themselves in their possessions, either by forming con- 
nections or erecting fortifications.* 

The rapid increase of these appanages appears to have 
suggested to the governments the necessity of putting a 
limit to their encroachments on the remaining demesne. 
In Marwar, a few generations after the concpiest, so little 
land was left for partition that some of the raja's sons 
were obliged to look to foreign concpiests for an establish- 
ment t ; and in Mewar, one set of descendants of early 
ranas seem to have been superseded, and probably in 
part dispossessed, by a more recent progeny. | 

(E.) The following remarks apj)ly to both descriptions 
of military jagirs. 

Lands held for military service are subject to reliefs in 
the event of hereditary succession, and to still heavier fines 
when the heir is adoptive. They are subject to occasional 
contributions in cases of emergency. They cannot be sold 
or mortgaged for a longer period than that for which the 
assignment is made. Sub-infeudations are uncommon ex- 
cept among the Rajputs, where they are universal. 

There was no limitation of service, and no extra pay- 
ments for service, in the original scheme of these grants. 

Pecuniary payments at fixed rates in lieu of service, or 
rather on failure of service when called on, v/ere common 
among the jNIarattas ; and arbitrary fines were levied on 
similar occasions by the Rajputs. 

* Colonel Tod's Rajasthan, vol. i. p. 164'., and note on 165. 
t Ibid, vol.ii. p. 20. t I''"^- ^'^>1- '■ P- 1^8. 






The attacks eitlier of Greeks or Barbarians had ciiap. 
hitlierto made no impression beyond the frontiers ' 

of India, and the Hindus might have long remained Rise of the 
undisturbed by foreign intrusion, if anew spirit had a„"rdigiiln. 
not been kindled in a nation till now as sequestered 
as their own. 

The Arabs had been protected from invasion by 
their poverty, and prevented by tlie same cause 
from any such united exertion as miglit have en- 
abled them to carry their arms abroad. 

Their country was composed of some mountain 
tracts and rich oases, se})arated or surrounded by a 
sandy desert, like the coasts and islands of a sea. 

The desert was scattered with small cam})s of 
])redatory herdsmen, who j)itched their tents where 
they could (luencli their thirst at a well of brackish 
water, and drove liii'ir camels ovc-r extensive trails 

\ (»I,. I. ■ K K 


BOOK where no other animal could have found a subsist- 



The settled inhabitants, though more civilised, 
were scarcely less simple in their habits, and were 
formed into independent tribes, between whom 
there could be little communication exce})t by 
rapid journeys on horseback, or tedious marches 
under the protection of caravans. 

The representative of the common ancestor of 
each tribe possessed a natural authority over it ; 
but, having no support from any external power, 
he could only carry his measures by means of the 
heads of subordinate divisions, who depended, in 
their turn, on their influence with the members 
of the family of which they represented the pro- 


The whole government was therefore conducted 
by persuasion ; and there was no interference with 
personal independence, unless it directly affected 
the general interest. 

Such a country must have trained its inhabitants 
to the extremes of fatigue and privation ; the feuds 
of so many independent tribes and separate families 
must have made them familiar with danger in its 
most trying forms ; and the violent passions and 
fervid imagination which they had from nature 
served to call forth the full exertion of any qualities 
they possessed. 

Their laborious and abstemious lives appear in 
their compact form and their hard and fleshless 
muscles ; while the keenness of their eye, their de- 


terminetl countenance, and their grave demeanour chap, 
disclose the mental ener!>v which distino;uishes ' 

them among all other Asiatics. 

Such was the nation that gave birth to the false 
prophet, whose doctrines have so long and so power- 
fully influenced a vast portion of the human race. 

Mahomet, though born of the head family of 
one of the brandies of the tribe of Koresh, appears 
to have been poor in his youth, and is said to have 
accompanied his uncle's camels in some of those 
long trading journeys which the simplicity and 
equality of Arab manners made laborious even to 
the wealthy. 

A rich marriage early raised him to inde- 
pendence, and left him to pursue those occupations 
which were most congenial to his mind. 

At this time the bulk of the Arab nation was 
sunk in idolatry or in worship of the stars, and 
their morals were under as little check of law as of 

The immigration of some Jewish and Christian 
tribes had, indeed, introduced higlier notions both 
of faith and practice, and even the idolaters, are 
said to have acknowledged a Su])reine IJcMUg, to 
whom the otiicr gods were subordinate ; but the 
influence of these opinions was hmited, and the 
slowness of Mahomet's progress is a suflficient proof 
tiiat his doctrines were beyond his age. 

Tlie dreary aspect of external nature natuially 
(hi\es an Arab to seek for excitement in contem- 
plation, and in ideas derived fiom within j and Ma- 

K K '2 


BOOK hornet had particular opportunities of indulging in 

such reveries during periods of solitude, to which 

he habitually retired among the recesses of Mount 

His attention may have been drawn to the unity 
of God by his intercourse with a cousin of his 
wife's, who was skilled in Jewish learning, and who 
is said to have translated the Scriptures from He- 
brew into Arabic* ; but, however they were in- 
spired, his meditations w^ere so intense that they 
had brought him to the verge of insanity, before he 
gave way to the impulse which he felt within him, 
and revealed to his wife, and afterwards to a few of 
his family, that he was commissioned by the only 
God to restore his pure belief and worship, t Ma- 
homet was at this time forty years of age, and 
three or four years elapsed before he publicly 
announced his mission. During the next ten years 
he endured every species of insult and perse- 
cution t ; and he might have expired an obscure 

* His name was Warka ben Naufel. See the " Tarikhi Ta- 
bari," quoted by Colonel Kennedy in the Bombay Literary 
Transactions, vol. iii. p. 423. ; Preliminary Discourse to Sale's 
" Koran," p. 43. of the first quarto ; and Bai'on Hammer von 
Purgstall, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, No. VH. 25.172. 

-|- See Colonel Kennedy, just quoted. The " Tarikhi Ta- 
bari " was written in the third century of the Hijra (from 800 
to 900, A.D.), and is the earliest account accessible to European 
readers of the rise of the Mahometan religion. Its description 
of the mental agitation of Mahomet, his fancied visions, and his 
alarm at the alienation of his own reason, bear the liveliest 
marks of truth and nature. 

f " He allowed himself to be abused, to be spit upon, to have 


enthusiast, if the graclLuil progress of his rehgion, chap, 
and the death of his uncle and protector, Abu ' 

Taleb, had not induced the rulers of Mecca to de- 
termine on his death. In this extremity, he fled 
to Medina, resolved to repel force by force j and, 
throwing off all the mildness which had hitherto 
characterised his preaching, he developed the full 
vigour of his character, and became more eminent 
for his sagacity and boldness as a leader than 
he had been for his zeal and endurance as a 

At the commencement of Mahomet's preaching, 
he seems to have been perfectly sincere ; and, 
although he was provoked by opposition to su})port 
his pretensions by fraud, and in time became ha- 
bituated to hypocrisy and imposture, yet it is pro- 
bable that, to the last, his original fanaticism con- 
tmued, in part at least, to influence his actions. 

But, whatever may have been the reality of his 
zeal, and even the merit of his doctrine, the spirit 
of intolerance in which it was ])reached, and tlie 
bigotry and bloodshed which it engendered and 
])erpetuated, must ])lace its author among the worst 
enemies of mankind. 

U]) to his flight to Medina, Mahomet had uni- 
formly disclaimed force as an auxihaiy to his cause. 

(lust tlirowii u])oii liiiii, and to be dragged out of the temple l)y 
his (jwii tiirljaii fiL-itciufd to Ids neck." (("oh)ii<l Kennedy, Jitnii- 
bay LUtrarij Truusuclioiis, voh iii. ]». I'J'J.) 

K K 3 


BOOK He now declared that lie was authorised to have 


recourse to arms in his own defence ; and, soon 

after, that he was commanded to employ them for 
the conversion or extermination of unbelievers. 
This new spirit seems to have agreed well with 
that of his countrymen ; for though he had but 
nine followers on his first military expedition, yet 
before his death, which happened in the twenty- 
third year of his mission, and the tenth after his 
flight*, he had brought all Arabia under his obe- 
dience, and had commenced an attack on the 
dominions of the Roman emperor. 

But it was not to a warlike spirit alone that he 
was indebted for his popularity. He was a re- 
former as well as a conqueror. His religion was 
founded on the sublime theology of the Old Testa- 
ment ; and, however his morality may appear to 
modern Christians, it was pure compared with the 
contemporary practice of Arabia. His law, also, 
which prohibited retaliation without the previous 
sanction of a trial and sentence, was a bold attempt 
to bridle the vindictive passions of his countrymen, 
so long fostered by the practice of private war. 

The conversion of the Arabs, therefore, was 
probably as sincere as it was general ; and their 
religious spirit being now thoroughly aroused, every 
feeling of their enthusiastic nature was turned into 
that one channel : to conquer in the cause of God 
or to die in asserting his unity and greatness, was 
the longing wish of every Mussulman j tiie love of 
* A. D. 732. 



power or spoil, the thirst of glory, and even the chap. 

hopes of Paradise, only contributed to swell the 

tide of this absorbing passion. 

The circumstances, both political and religious, 
of the neighbouring countries, were such as to 
encourage the warmest hopes of these fanatical 

The Roman empire was broken and dismem- 
bered by the Barbarians ; and Christianity was de- 
graded by corruptions, and weakened by the con- 
troversies of irreconcileable sects. Persia was 
sinking in the last stage of internal decay ; and 
her cold and lifeless superstition required only the 
touch of opposition to bring it to the ground.* In 
this last country, at least, the religion of the Arabs 
must have contributed to their success almost as 
much as their arms. The conversion of Persia 
was as complete as its conquest; and, in later times, 
its example spread the religion of the Arabs among 
powerful nations who were beyond the utmost 
influence of their power.t 

Mahomet's attack on the Roman empire was in 
the direction of Syria ; and, within six years after 

* The temporal power acquired l)y the false prophet Mazdak, 
who nearly enslaved the king and i)eoi)le of Persia, sliows the 
state of religious feeling in that CDuntry siiortly before the birth 
of Mahomet. 

f The text refers particularly to the Tartar nations; hut 
China, the Malay country, and the Asiatic islands are further 
proofs of tlie(Xten^ion of the religion oitlir Mussidnians, inde- 
pendent of their arms. 

K K !■ 




of Persia. 

A.D. 650. 
A. H. 30. 

A.n. 651. 
A.n. .SI. 
to the 

his death*, that province and Egypt had been sub- 
dued by his successors. Roman Africat and Spain t 
followed in succession ; and, within a century from 
the death of their founder, the Mahometans had 
pushed their conquests into the heart of France. § 

These extensive operations did not retard their 
enterprises towards the east. Persia was invaded 
in A.D. 632; her force was broken in the great 
battle of Cadesia in a. d. 636 ; and, after two more 
battles II, her government was entirely destroyed, 
and her king driven into exile beyond the Oxus. 

At the death of the second calif, Omar %, the 
whole of Persia as far east as Herat, nearly co- 
extensive with the present kingdom, was annexed 
to the Arab empire. 

In the year 650, an insurrection in Persia in- 
duced the exiled monarch to try his fortune once 
more. His attempt failed: he was himself cut 
off in the neighbourhood of the Oxus ; and the 
northern frontier of the Arabs was advanced to 
that river, including Balkh and all the country 
north of the range of Hindu Cush. 

The boundary on the east was formed by the 
rugged tract which extends (north and soutli) from 
those mountains to the sea, and (east and west) 
from the Persian desert to the Indus. 

* A. D. 638. 

f From A.D. 647 to 709. % a.d. 713. 

§ The defeat of the Mussulmans by Charles Martel took 
place in 732, between Poitiers and Tours. 

II Jallalla in a.d. 637, Nehawend in a.d. 642. 
^ a.d. 644. Hijra 23. 


The northern portion of the tract which is in- chap. 
eluded in the branches of Hindu Cush, and is now " 

inhabited by the Eimaks and Hazarehs, was then 
known by the name of the mountains of Glior. 
The middle part seems all to have been included 
in the mountains of Soliman. The southern por- 
tion was known by the name of the mountains of 

There is a slip of sandy desert between these 
last mountains and the sea ; and the mountains of 
Soliman inclose many high-lying plains, besides 
one tract of that description (extending west from 
the neighbourhood of Ghazni) which nearly se- 
parates them from the mountains of Ghor. 

At the time of the Mahometan invasion the 
mountains of Mecran were inhabited by Beloches 
and those of Soliman by Afghans ; as is the state 
of things to this day. 

Who were in possession of the mountains of 
Ghor is not so certain ; but there is every reason 
to think they were Afghans. The otiier moun- 
tains connected wath Hindu Cush, and extending 
from those of Ghor eastward to tlie Indus, were 
probably inhabited by Indians, descendants of the 

With respect to the ))lains, if we may jutlge 
from the present state of tlie ]){)j)ulati()n, tliose be- 
tween the Soliman and Mecran mountains and the 
Indus were inlialjited by Jats or Indians, and those 
in the iij)j)cr country, to the west of those moun- 
tains, by Persians. 


BOOK The first recorded invasion of this unsubdued 


tract was in the year of the Hijra, 44, when an 

Arab force from Merv penetrated to Cabul, and 
made converts of 12,000 persons.* 

The prince of Cabul, also, must have been made 
tributary, if not subject, for his revolt is mentioned 
as the occasion of a fresh invasion of his territories 
in 62 of the Hijra. t 

On this occasion the Arabs met with an unex- 
pected check : they were drawn into a defile, 
defeated, and compelled to surrender, and to pur- 
chase their freedom by an ample ransom. One old 
contemporary of the prophet is said to have dis- 
dained all compromise, and to have fallen by the 
swords of the infidels, t 

The disgrace was immediately revenged by the 
Arab governor of Sistan ; it was more completely 
effaced in the year 80 of the Hijra, when Abdureh- 
man, governor of Khorasan, led a large army in 
person against Cabul, and, avoiding all the snares 
laid for him by the enemy, persevered until he had 
reduced the greater part of the country to sub- 
mission. His proceedings on this occasion dis- 
pleased his immediate superior, Hujaj, governor of 
Basra, so well known in Arabian history for his 
violence and cruelty ; and the dread of his ulterior 
proceedings drove Abdurehman into rebellion. 
He took Basra, occupied Cufa, recently the capital, 

* A.D. GS^. (Sric/ffs's Ferishta, vol. i, p. ^.j. 

t A.D. 682. (Ibid. p. 5.). 

:{: Price, from the Kholdsat id Akhbdr, vol. i. p. 454'. 


and threatened Damascus, wliich was tlien the re- chap 

sidence of the Cahf. In this struggle, which histed 

for six years*, he was supported by the prince of 
Cabul ; and the inabihty of his ally to give him 
a secure refuge when defeated, at length drove him 
to a voluntary death, t 

During all this time Ferishta represents the 
Afghans to have been Mussuhnans, and seems to 
have been led, by their own traditions, to believe 
that they liad been converted in the time of the 
prophet himself. He represents them as invading 
the territory of the Hindus as early as the year (53 
of the Hijra, and as being ever after engaged in 
liostilities with the raja of Liihor, until, in con- 
junction with the Gakkars (a people on the hills 
east of the Indus), they brought him to make them 
a cession of territory, and in return secretly en- 
gaged to protect him from the attacks of the other 
Mussulmans. It was owing to this compact, says 

* From A.D. 699 to a.d. 705. 

f " Kliolasat al Akhbur " and tbe " Tariklii Tabari " (jimttd 
by Price (vol. i. pp. kj.5 — 1-63. ). There are various (ipiuions 
about the nation of the prince of Ciibul, whieii is rendered 
tloubtful from the situation of his city, at a corner Mhere the 
countries of the Paropamisan Indians, the Afghans, the Persians, 
and the Tartars are closely adjoining to each other. It is very 
iniprobaide tiiat he was an Afghan (as Ciibul is never known to 
have been possessed by a tribe ot that nation); ami I should 
suppose he was a Persian, both from the present population of 
his country, and froni the prince of Cubul being often mentioned 
by Terdousi (wluj wrote at (iha/.ni), as engaged in war and 
friendshij) with the Persian heroes, without anything to had us 
to suppose that he belonged to another race. 


BOOK Ferislita, that the princes of the liouse of Samani 
never invaded the north of India, but confined 

their predatory excursions to Sind. 

He also mentions that the Afghans gave an 
asylum to the remains of the Arabs who were 
driven out of Sind in the second century of the 

Setting aside the fable of their connection with 
the prophet, this account does not appear impro- 
bable. The Afghans, or a part of them, may have 
been early converted, although not conquered until 
the time of Sultan Mahmud. 

In the accessible parts of their country, especially 
on the west, they may have been early reduced to 
submission by the Arabs ; but there are parts of 
the mountains where they can hardly be said to be 
entirely subdued even to this day. 

We know nothing of their early religion, except 
the presumption, arising from the neighbourhood 
of Balkh and their connection with Persia, that 
they were worshippers of fire. Mahometan histo- 
rians afford no light, owing to their confounding 
all denominations of infidels. 
First in- The first appearance of the Mahometans in India 


into India, was iu thc year of the Hijra 44, at the time of 
their first expedition to Cabul. 

Mohalib, afterwards an eminent commander in 
Persia and Arabia, was detached, on that occasion, 
from the invading army, and penetrated to Multan, 
from whence he brought back many prisoners. It 
is probable that his object was only to explore the 


intermediate country, and that his report was not chap. 

encouraging : from whatever cause, no further at- 

tempt was made on the north of India during the 
continuance of the Arab rule. 

The next invasion was of a more permanent t'unqucst 
nature. It was carried on from the south of Persia the Arabs. 
into the country at the mouth of the Indus, then 
subject to a Hindu prince, called Dahir by the 
Mussulmans, whose capital was at Alor near Bakkar, 
and who was in possession of Multan and all Sind, 
with, perhaps, the adjoining plain of the Indus as 
far as the mountains as Calabagh. His territory 
was portioned out among his relations, probably on 
the feudal tenure still common with the Rajputs.* 

Arab descents on Sind by sea are mentioned 
as early as the califate of Omar ; but, if they ever 
took place, they were probably piratical expedi- 
tions for the purpose of carrying off the women of 
the country whose beauty seems to have been 
much esteemed in Arabia.t 

Several detachments were also sent through the 
south of Mecran during the reigns of the early 

* Briggs's Ferislita, vol. iv. p. 401 , &c. See also Captain 
M'.Murdo, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Societi/, No. I. p. '^(^. 
AljuIfa/,1 makes Dahir's dominions include Cashmlr ; but that 
country was then in possession of one of its greatest rajas ; for 
whom, like all considerable Hindu princes, his historians claim 
the conquest of all India. Sind is almost the only part of it 
with which they pretend to no connection. Th(! native accounts 
quoted I>y Captain PoUinger (p. fJSfJ.) extend the dominions of 
Sind to Calxd and Marwar ; and those given to Captain Murnes 
(vol.iii. p. 7n.) add Candahar and Can«)uj. 

t Pottinger, p. 388. 



BOOK califs, but seem all to have failed from the desert 

character of the country ; which was that so well 

known, mider the name of Gedrosia, for the suffer- 
ings of Alexander's army. 

At length, in the reign of the calif Walid, the 
Mussulman government was provoked to a more 
strenuous exertion. An Arab ship having been 
seized at Dival or Dewal, a sea port connected 
with Sind, Raja Dahir was called on for restitution 
He declined compliance on the ground that Dewal 
was not subject to his authority : his excuse was 
not admitted by the Mussulmans ; and they sent 
a body of 1000 infantry and 300 horse to enforce 
their demand. This inadequate detachment having 
perished like its predecessors, Hejaj, the governor 
of Basra, prepared a regular army of 6000 men at 
Shiraz, and gave the command of it to his own 
nephew, Mohammed Casim, then not more than 
twenty years of age ; and by him it was conducted 
A.D. 711, in safety to the walls of Dewal. Casim was pro- 
vided with catapultas and other engines required 
for a siege, and commenced his operations by an 
attack on a temple contiguous to the town. It 
was a celebrated pagoda, surrounded by a high 
inclosure of hewn stone (like those which figure 
in our early wars in the Carnatic), and was occu- 
pied, in addition to the numerous Bramin inhabit- 
ants, by a strong garrison of Rajputs. 

While Casim was considering the difficulties 
opposed to him, he was informed by some of his 
prisoners that the safety of the place was believed 


to depend on the flag whicli was displayed on chap. 
the tower of the temple. He directed his engines ' 

against that sacred standard, and at last succeeded 
in brinoino- it to the s^-round ; which occasioned so 
much dismay in the garrison as to cause the speedy 
fall of the place. 

Casim at first contented himself with circum- 
cising all the Bramins ; but, incensed at their re- 
jection of this sort of conversion, he ordered all 
above the age of seventeen to be put to death, 
and all under it, with the women, to be reduced to 
slavery. The fall of the temple seems to have led 
to that of the town, and a rich booty was obtained, 
of which a fifth (as in all similar cases) was re- 
served for Hejaj, and the rest equally divided. A 
son of Dahir's, who was in Dewal, either as master 
or as an ally, retreated, on the reduction of that 
city, to Bramanabad, to which place, according to 
Ferishta, he was followed by the conqueror, and 
compelled to surrender on terms. Casim then ad- 
vanced on Nerun (now Heiderabad), and thence 
upon Shewan, of which he undertook the siege.* 

Notwithstanding the natural strength of Sehwan, 
it was evacuated at the end of seven days, the 
garrison flying to a fortress called Siilim, whicli 
was likewise speedily reduced. 

Thus far Casim's progress had met with little 
serious ojiposition. He was now confronted by a 
powerful army under the command of tlie raja's 

♦ S(!e Cai)taiii .M'.Murilo, Jounutl oj'lhc liui/ul Asiatic Smiifi/, 
N(j. 1. \>\i. 30. 32. 


BOOK eldest son ; and his carriage cattle failing about the 

. same time, he was constrained to take post, and to 

wait for reinforcements, and a renewal of his 
equipments. He was joined in time by 2000 * 
horse from Persia, and was enabled to renew his 
operations, and to advance, though not without 
several indecisive combats, to the neighbourhood 
of Alor itself. 

Here he found himself opposed to the raja in 
person, who advanced to defend his capital at the 
head of an army of 50,000 men ; and, being im- 
pressed with the dangers of his situation, from the 
disproportion of his numbers, and the impossibility 
of retreat in case of failure, he availed himself of the 
advantage of the ground, and awaited the attack of 
the Hindus in a strong position which he had chosen. 
His prudence was seconded by a piece of good 
fortune. During the heat of the attack which was 
made on him, a fire-ball struck the raja's elephant, 
and the terrified animal bore its master off the 
field, and could not be stopped until it had plunged 
into the neighbouring river. The disappearance 
of the chief produced its usual effect on Asiatic 
armies ; and although Dahir, already wounded 
with an arrow, mounted his horse and renewed the 
battle with unabated courage, he was unable to 
restore the fortune of the day, and fell fighting gal- 
lantly in the midst of the Arabian cavalry, t 

* Tarikhi Hind o Sind. 

t This battle must have taken place on the left bank of the 
Indus, though there is no particular account of Casim's crossing 


The pusillanimity of the rajah's son, who fled chap. 

to Bramanabad, was compensated by the mascii- 

line spirit of his widow. She collected the remains 
of the routed army, put the city into a posture of 
defence, and maintained it against the attacks of 
the enemy, until the failure of provisions rendered 
it impossible to hold out longer. In this extremity 
her resolution did not desert her, and the Rajput 
garrison, inflamed by her example, determined to 
devote themselves along with her, after the manner 
of their tribe. The women and children were 
first sacrificed in flames of their own kindling ; 
the men bathed, and, with other ceremonies, took 
leave of each other and of the world ; the gates 
were then thrown open, the Kajputs rushed out 
sword in hand, and, throwing themselves on the 
weapons of their enemies, perished to a man. 

Those of the garrison who did not share in this 
act of desperation, gained little by their prudence : 
the city was carried by assault, and all the men in 
arm.s w^ere slaughtered in the storm. Their fami- 
lies were reduced to bondage.* 

that river. He first approached the right or western bank at a 
place called Rawer. The Hindus drew up on the opposite bank, 
and many movements were made on both sides before a passage 
was eft'ectf'd. The places named on those occasions are Jiwar, 
But, and Rawer as above mentioned. It seems to have been 
after crossing that Casim drew up his army at Jciicm and Go- 
gand, and before the battle he was at Sagiira, a dependency of 
Jehem. These places are not now in tlie maps. ( Turikhi Hind 
o Sind.) 

* Briggs's Ferishta, vol. iv. p. 1()9. ; Tod's Rajasthan, vol. i. 
p. 327. 

VOL. I. L L 


BOOK One more desperate stand was made at Ash- 

' candra *, after which Multan seems to have fallen 

without resistance, and the Mahometans pursued 

their success unopposed, until they had occupied 

every part of the dominions of Raja Dahir.t 

Their treatment of the conquered country showed 
the same mixture of ferocity and moderation which 
characterised the early conquests of the Arabs. 

* Pottinger, p. 390. ; M^Murdo, Jotir?ial of the JRo7/al Asiatic 
Society, No. I. p. 31. 

■\ Dewal was probably somewhere near Korachi, the present 
sea-port of Sind. It could not be at Tatta, as supposed by 
Ferishta, because that city, though the great port for the river 
navigation, is inaccessible from the sea ; the bar at the mouth 
of the river rendering the entrance impracticable, except for 
flat-bottomed boats (see Captain M'Murdo, Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, p. 29., and Burnes's Travels, vol. iii. p. S^S., 
with the whole of his description of the mouths of the Indus, in 
Chap. IV.). The site of Bramanabad is generally supposed to 
be marked by the ruins close to the modern town of Tatta. 
(Burnes, vol. iii. p. 31., and the opinions of the natives stated 
by Captain M'Murdo in a note, in the Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, No. I. p. 28.) Captain M'Murdo is singular 
in supposing it to have been situated on the other side of the 
present course of the Indus, much to the north-east of Tatta ; 
though this position would make it a more natural retreat for the 
son of Dahir after his flight from A'lor. There were, perhaps, 
two different places, — Brahmanabad and Brahmana. Sehwan 
still retains its name, and the ruins of A'lor (universally recog- 
nised as the ancient capital of Sind) were visited by Captaiu 
Burnes, close to Bakkar on the Indus. ( Travels, vol. iii. p. 76.) 
There are some doubts about particular marches of Mohammed 
Casim, especially about the site of Salim, and the point where he 
crossed the Indus; but there is no obscurity about his general 
progress. Briggs's " Ferishta " calls the scene of the great 
battle and siege Ajdar; but this is probably an error of the 
copyist for A'ror, which is a very common name for A'lor. 


On tlie first invasion, each city was called on, as chap. 

the army approached, to embrace the Mahometan _ 

religion, or to pay tribute. In case of refusal, the 
city was attacked, and if it did not capitulate, all 
the fighting men were put to death, and their 
families were sold for slaves. Four cities held out 
to this extremity ; and in two of them, the num- 
ber of soldiers who were refused quarter is esti- 
mated at 6000 each. The merchants, artizans, 
and other inhabitants of such places, were exempt 
from all molestation, except such as we must con- 
clude they suffered when a town was stormed. 

When tribute was once agreed to, whether vo- 
luntarily or by compulsion, the inhabitants were 
entitled to all their former privileges, including the 
free exercise of their religion. When a sovereign 
consented to pay tribute, he retained his territory, 
and only became subject to the usual relations of a 
tributary prince. 

One question relating to toleration seemed so 
nice, that Casim thought it necessary to refer it to 
Arabia. In the towns that were stormed, the tem- 
j)les had been rased to the ground, religious wor- 
ship had been forbidden, and the lands and stipends 
of the Bramins had been appropriated to the use 
of the state. To reverse these acts, when once 
performed, seemed a more direct concession to 
idolatry than merely abstaining from interference, 
and Casinr avowed himself uncertain wiiat to do. 
The answer was, that as the people of the towns 
in question liad j)aid tribute, they were entitled to 
L L '2 


^^^ all the privileges of subjects ; that they should be 

. allowed to rebuild their temples and perform their 

rites ; that the land and money of the Bramins 
should be restored ; and that three per cent, on the 
revenue, which had been allowed to them by the 
Hindu government, should be continued by the 

Casim himself, notwithstanding his extreme 
youth, seems to have been prudent and concili- 
ating. He induced several of the Hindu princes to 
join with him during the war, and at the conclu- 
sion he appointed the Hindu who had been Dahir's 
prime minister to the same office under him, on 
the express ground that he would be best qualified 
to protect old rights, and to maintain established 

* Tarikhi Hind o Sind, Persian MS. I did not see this work, 
which is in the library at the India House, until the narrative of 
Casim's military transactions had been completed. It seems to 
be the source from which most of the other accounts are drawn. 
In its present form it was written by Mohammed Ali Bin Hamid, 
in Hijra 613, a.d. 1216; but it professes to be a translation of 
an Arabic work found in the possession of the Cazi of Bakkar; 
and the original must have been written immediately after the 
event, as it constantly refers, by name, to the authority of living 
witnesses. Though loaded with tedious speeches, and letters 
ascribed to the principal actors, it contains a minute and con- 
sistent account of the transactions dui'ing Mohammed Casim's 
invasion, and some of the preceding Hindu reigns. It is full of 
names of places, and would throw much light on the geography 
of that period, if examined by any person capable of ascertaining 
the ancient Shanscrit names, so as to remove the corruptions of 
the original Arab writer and the translator, besides the innu- 
merable errors of the copyist. 


The Mahometan writers assert that Casim had chap. 
begun to plan a march to Canouj on the Ganges, and ' 
an ahnost contemporary historian * states that he 
had reached a place which seems to mean Oudi- 
pur ; but as he had only 6000 men at first, which 
the 2000 recruits afterwards received would not 
do more than keep up to their original number, it 
is inconceivable that he should have projected such 
an expedition, even if he could have left Sind 
without an army of occupation. 

In the midst of his projects a sudden reverse was 
awaiting him. The Mahometan historians concur 
in relating that among the numerous female cap- 
tives in Sind were two daughters of Raja Dahir, 
who, from their rank and their personal charms, 
were thought worthy of being presented to the 
Commander of the Faithful.! They were accord- 
ingly sent to the court and introduced into the 
harem. When the eldest was brought into the 
presence of the calif, whose curiosity had been 
stimulated by reports of her attractions, she burst 
into a flood of tears, and exclaimed that she was 
now unworthy of his notice, having been disho- 
noured by Casim before she was sent out of her 
own country. The calif was moved by her beauty, 
and enraged at the insult offered to iiim by his 
servant; and, giving way to the first im])ulsc of 
his resentment, he sent orders that Casim should 
be sewed uj) in a raw hide, and sent in that con- 

* Tdnklii Iliiul o Sind. 

f Walid, the sixtli calif (jf tin; lioiisc ol' Oinnicia. 

h L 3 




Their ex- 

A. I). 714, 
A. H. 96. 

A.n. 750, 
A. H. 132. 

Causes of 
the slotv 
progress of 
metans in 

dition to Damascus. When his orders were exe- 
cuted, lie produced the body to the princess, who 
was overjoyed at the sight, and exultingly declared 
to the astonished caUf that Casim was innocent, 
but that she had now revenged the death of her 
father and the ruin of her family.* 

The advance of the Mahometan arms ceased 
with the life of Casim. His conquests were made 
over to his successor Temim, in the hands of whose 
family they remained till the downfal of the house 
of Ommeia, that is, for about thirty-six years ; 
when, by some insurrection of which we do not 
know the particulars, the Mussulmans were ex- 
pelled by the Rajput tribe of Sumera, and all their 
Indian conquests restored to the Hindus, who re- 
tained possession for nearly 500 years, t 

It seems extraordinary that the Arabs, who had 
reached to Multan during their first ardour for con- 
quest and conversion, should not have overrun 
India as easily as they did Persia, and should now 
allow themselves to be beaten out of a province 
where they had once a firm footing ; but the con- 
dition of the two countries was not the same ; 
and, although the proverbial riches of India, and 
the inoffensive character of its inhabitants, seemed 
to invite an invader, yet there were discouraging 

* Briggs's Ferishta, vol. iv. p. 410. ; A''yeni Akberi, vol. ii. 
p. 119. ; Pottinger's Travels, p. 389. 

f Briggs's Ferishta, vol. iv. 23.411.; A'yeni Akberi, vol. ii. 
p. 120. Part of the expelled Arabs found a settlement among 
the Afghans. (^Ferishta, vol. i. p. 7.) 


circumstances, which may not liave been without chap. 
effect even on the bhnd zeal of the Arabs. 

In Persia, the reUgion and government, though 
both assailed, afforded no support to each otlier. 
The priests of the worshippers of fire are among 
the most despised classes of the people.* Their 
religion itself has nothing inspiring or encouraging. 
The powers of good and evil are so equally matched, 
that the constant attention of every man is neces- 
sary to defend himself by puerile ceremonies against 
the malignant spirits from whom his deity is too 
weak to protect him. t 

To the believers of such a faith, uninfluenced 
as they were by a priesthood, the annunciation 
of " one God, the most powerful and the most 
merciful," must have appeared like a triumph of 
the good principle ; and when the overthrow of 
a single monarch liad destroyed the civil govern- 
ment in all its branches, there remained no ob- 
stacle to the completion of the conquest and con- 
version of the nation. 

But in India there was a powerful priesthood, 
closely connected with the government, and deeply 
revered by their countrymen ; and a religion inter- 
woven with the laws and manners of the j)eople, 
which exercised an irresistible influence over their 

* For a very curious comparison of the ancient and modern 
tenets of the magi, see Mr. Erskine's Essay on the Sacred Hooks 
and Ileligion of the Parsls, in the Tnntsdctioiis of the Bombay 
Literary Society, vol. ii. p. 295. 

+ Ibid. p. 335. 

L L 1- 


BOOK very thoughts. To this was joined a horror of 
' change and a sort of passive courage, which is 
perhaps the best suited to allow time for an im- 
petuous attack to spend its force. Even the di- 
visions of the Hindus were in their favour : the 
downfal of one raja only removed a rival from the 
prince who was next behind •, and the invader 
diminished his numbers, and got further from his 
resources, without being able to strike a blow which 
might bring his undertaking to a conclusion. 

However these considerations may have weighed 
with the early invaders, they deserve the greatest 
attention from the inquirer, for it is principally to 
them that we must ascribe the slow progress of 
the Mahometan religion in India, and the com- 
paratively mild and tolerant form which it assumed 
in that country. 

At the time of the transactions which we are 
now relating, there were other causes which tended 
to delay the progress of the Mahometans. The 
spirit of their government was gradually altered. 
Their chiefs from fanatical missionaries became 
politic sovereigns, more intent on the aggrandise- 
ment of their families than the propagation of their 
faith ; and by the same degrees they altered from 
rude soldiers to magnificent and luxurious princes, 
who had other occupations besides war, and other 
pleasures as attractive as those of victory. Omar 
set out to his army at Jerusalem with his arms 
and provisions on the same camel with himself; 
and Othman extinguished his lamp, when he had 


finished the labours of tlie day, that the public chap 
oil might uot be expended on his enjoyments. " 

Al Mahdi, within a century from the last named 
calif, loaded 500 camels with ice and snow ; and 
the profusion of one day of the Abbassides would 
have defrayed all the expenses of the four first 
califs. The translation of the Greek philosophers 
by Al Mamun was an equally wide departure from 
the spirit which led to the story of the destruction 
of the library at Alexandria by Omar. 

For these reasons the eastern conquests of the 
Arabs ceased with the transactions which we liave 
just related; and the next attacks on India were 
made by other nations, to whose history we have 
now to turn. 

When the Arabs had conquered Persia, as be- Tartar 
fore related, their possessions were divided by the rp.^fiji, 
Oxus from a territory to which, from that circum- ^■"" '''• 
stance, they gave the name of Mawar ul Nahr, 
literally Beijond the River ; or, as we translate it, 
Transoxiana. This tract was bounded on the 
north by the Jaxartes, on the west by the Caspian 
Sea, and on the east by Mount Imaus. Though 
large portions of it are desert, others are capable 
of high cultivation ; and, while it was in the hands 
of the Arabs, it seems not to have been surpassed 
in })rosperity by the richest portions of the globe. 
It was occupied partly by fixed inhabitants and 
partly by pastoral tribes. Most of the fixed in- 
habitants were l*ersians, and ail the moving sliej)- 
herds were Tartars. .Such is Hkewise the state 


BOOK of things at present, and probably has been from 
' remote antiquity.* 

The great influence which the Tartars t of Trans- 
oxiana have exercised over tlie history of the 
neighbouring nations and of India, makes us 
anxious to know something of their origin and for- 
mer state ; but we soon meet with many difficulties 
in following up the inquiry. It would be an im- 
portant step to ascertain to which of the three 
great nations whom we include under the name of 
Tartars they belonged ; but, although the Tiirks, 
Moguls, and Mdnchus are distinguished from each 
other by the decisive test of language, and though 
at present they are each marked by other pecu- 
liarities, yet there is a general resemblance in 
features and manners throughout the whole, which 
renders it difficult for a person at a distance to 
draw the line between them ; even their languages, 
though as different as Greek and Shanscrit, have 
the same degree of family likeness with those two. t 

* See Erskines Bdber, Introduction, p. xliii., and Heeren, 
Researches in Asia, vol. i. p. 260. The language at the time of 
the Arab conquest was Persian, of which a remarkable proof, 
dated in the year 94 of the Hijra (a.d. 716), is given by Cap- 
tain Burnes, ( Travels, vol. ii. pp. 269. 356.) 

+ I use the words Tartar diwA Tartary solely in their European 
sense, as a general term for a certain great tract and great as- 
semblage of nations. The word in this sense is as little known 
to the people to whom it applies as Asia, Africa^ and America 
are to the original inhabitants of those quarters of the globe; 
but it is equally convenient for the purpose of generalisation. 

X See Dr. Prichard on the Ethnography of Upper Asia, 
Transactions of the JRoyal Geographical Society, vol. ix. 


In making the attempt, we derive little aid ciiai'. 
from their geographical position. At present the ' 

Manchus are in the east, the Moguls in the centre, 
and the Turks in the west ; but the positions of 
the two last named races have been partially re- 
versed within the period of accurate history, and 
it is impossible to say what they may have been in 
still earlier ages. The Arabs and other wandering- 
tribes in the south of Asia make long journeys, for 
fresh pastures or for change of climate, but each 
has some tract which it considers as its own, and 
many occupy the same in which they were found 
when first noticed by other nations. Not so the 
Tartars, who have always been formed into great 
monarchies; and, besides migration for convenience 
within their own limits, have been led by ambition 
to general movements, and have been constantly 
expelling or subduing each other ; so that they not 
only were continually changing their abodes, but 
ibrming new combinations and passing under new 
names according to that of the horde which had 
acquired a predominancy. A tribe is at one mo- 
ment mentioned on the banks of the Wolga, and 
the next at the great wall of China ; and a horde 
which at first scarcely filled a valley in the moim- 
tains of Altai, in a few years after cannot be con- 
tained in all Tartary. 

It is, therefore, as impossible to keep the eye 
on a particular horde, and to trace it through all 
this shifting and mixing, as to follow one en)met 
(hrouiili the turmoil ofaii ant hill. 


BOOK The Turks at present are distinguished from 
' the rest by their having the Tartar features less 
marked, as well as by fairer complexions and more 
civilised manners ; and these qualities might afford 
the means of recognising them at all times, if M^e 
could be sure that they did not owe them entirely 
to their greater opportunities of intermixing with 
other races, and that the same superiority was 
not possessed in former times by portions of the 
other Tartars which may have then occupied the 
western territory.* 

It may assist in distinguishing these races, to 
mention that the Uzbeks who now possess Trans- 
oxiana, the Turcmans both on the Oxus and in 
Asia Minor, the wandering tribes of the north of 

* The Turks of Constantinople and Persia have so completely 
lost the Tartar features, that some physiologists have pi-onounced 
them to belong to the Caucasian or European, and not to the 
Tartar, race. The Turks of Bokhara and all Transoxiana, though 
so long settled among Persians, and though greatly softened in 
appearance, retain their original features sufficiently to be recog- 
nisable at a glance as Tartars. De Guignes, from the state of 
information in his time, was seldom able to distinguish the Tartar 
nations ; but on one point he is decided and consistent, viz. that 
the Heoung-nou is another name for the Turks. Among the 
Heoung-nou he places, without hesitation, Attila, and the greater 
part of his army. Yet these Turks, on their appearance in 
Europe, struck as much terror from their hideous physiognomy 
and savage manners as from their victories. Attila himself was 
remarkable for these national peculiarities. (Gibbon, vol. iii. 
p. 35. quarto.) Another division of the same branch of the 
Heoung-nou had previously settled among the Persians in 
Transoxiana, and acquired the name of White Huns, from their 
change from the national comjjlexion. (De Guignes, vol. ii. 
pp.282. 325.) 


Persia, and tlie Ottomans or Turks of Constan- chap. 

tinople, are all Turks ; as was the greater part 

of the army of Tamerlane. The ruling tribe, and 
the greater part of the army of Chengiz Khan, 
was Mogul. The Tartar dynasty that now reigns 
in China and the adjoining part of Tartary is 

On the whole, I should suppose that a portion Turks in 
of the Turks had settled in Transoxiana long be- oxiana. 
fore the Christian aera ; that though often passed 
over by armies and emigrations of Moguls, they 
had never since been expelled ; and that they 
formed the bulk of the Nomadic and part of the 
permanent population at the time of the Arab 

The ruling tribe at that time was, however, of 
much later arrival ; they were probably Turks 
themselves, and certainly had just before been in- 
corporated with an assemblage, in which that race 
took the lead, and which, although it had been 
tributary to Persia only a century before t, had 
since possessed an ephemeral empire, extending 
from tlie Caspian Sea and the Oxus, to the Lake 
Baikal, and the mouths of tlie Yanisei in Siberia!, 

* The Arab and Persian Mussulmans always call their neigh- 
bours Turks, and (though well aware of the existence of the 
Moguls) are apt to apply the term Turk as vaguely and generally 
as we do Tartar. See the whole of this subject ably discussed 
in the introduction to Erskine's " Baber," ])]>. xviii. — xxv. 

\ De (juignes, vol. i. part ii. \>.¥\\). 

X Ibid, pp.4-77, 478. 




Arab con- 
quest of 
ox iana. 

A. D. 




A.D. 713, 
A.H. 94. 

A.D. 658, 
A, H. 38. 

and were now again broken into small divisions 
and tributary to China.* 

It was fifty-five years after the final conquest 
of Persia, and five years before the occupation 
of Sind, that the Arabs crossed the Oxus, under 
Catiba, governor of Khorasan. He first occupied 
Hisar, opposite Balkh. In the course of the next 
six years he had taken Samarcand and Bokhara, 
overrun the country north of the Oxus, and sub- 
dued the kingdom of Kharizm, on the Lake of 
Aral t; and although his power was not introduced 
without a severe contest, often with doubtful suc- 
cess, against the Turks, yet in the end it was so 
well established, that by the eighth year he was 
able to reduce the kingdom of Ferghana, and 
extend his acquisitions to Mount Imaus and the 

The conquest of Spain took place in the same 
year ; and the Arab empire had now reached the 
greatest extent to which it ever attained. 

But it had already shown symptoms of internal 
decay which foreboded its dismemberment at no 
distant period. 

Even in the first half century of the Hijra, the 
murder of Othman and the incapacity of Ali led 
to a successful revolt, and the election of a calif 
beyond the limits of Arabia. The house of 
Ommeia, who were thus raised to the califate, 
were disturbed during their rule of ninety years 

* De Guignes, vol. i. part ii. p. 493. 
f Now called Khiva or O'rganj. 


by the supposed rights of the posterity of the pro- chap. 
phet through his daughter Fatima, whose claim ' 

afforded a pretext in every case of revolt or defec- 
tion ; until, in a.d. 750, the rebellion of the great 
province of Khorasan gave the last blow to their 
power, and placed the descendants of Abbas, the 
prophet's uncle, on the throne. 

Spain held out for the old dynasty, and the in- 
tegrity of the empire was never restored. 




BOOK The death of Harun al Rashid, fifth caUf of the 

.^ house of Abbas, was accelerated by a journey un- 
dertaken in consequence of an obstinate revolt of 

A.D. 806, Transoxiana*, which was quelled by his son, Ma- 
mun ; and the long residence of that prince in 
Khorasan maintained for a time the connection of 
that province with the empire. But it was by 
means of a revolt of Khorasan that Mamun had 
himself been enabled to wrest the califate from his 
brother Amin ; and he had not long removed his 
court to Bagdad, before Tahir, who had been the 
principal instrument of his elevation, began to 
establish his own authority in Khorasan, and soon 

A.D. 820, became virtually independent.! Khorasan and 
Transoxiana were never again united to the cahf- 
ate ; and the Commanders of the Faithful being 
not long afterwards reduced to pageants in the 
hands of the Turkish guards, the dissolution of 

A.D. 861, the Arab empire may from that time be regarded 

A.H. 247. , , 

as complete.! 
The Tahe- The family of Tahir ruled quietly and obscurely 



820-870. * Price, vol. ii. p. 79. His authority is, generally, the Ta- 

rikhi Tabari." 

t Ibid. p. 225. t Ibid. p. 155. 


for upwards of fifty years, when they were deposed chap. 
by the Sofarides, a more conspicuous dynasty, 

though of even shorter duration.* Yacub, the son ^."h IS' 
of Leith, the founder, was a brazier of Sistan, who J''"^«- 


first raised a revolt in his native province, and a. n. 

_ 872 903. 

afterwards overran all Persia to the Oxus, and died 
while on his advance against the calif in Bagdad. 
His brother, Omar, was defeated and made })ri- 
soner by the Samanis ; which put an end to the 
greatness of the family, though a younger member 
maintained himself in Sistan for a few years after a.i^. 903, 

. A. II. 290. 

the loss of their other possessions.! 

Their whole reign did not last above forty years ; 
but their memory must have survived in Sistan, 
for at the end of half a century we find that 
country again asserting its independence under one 
of their descendants t, who was finally subdued by ^•"•964, 

' "^ '' A. H. 353. 

Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, more than 100 years a.d. looe, 
after the downfal of the original dynasty. § a. h. 396. 

The house of Samani subsisted for more than '^''^.''T'.° 

or sainani. 

120 years II; and though not themselves invaders 
of India, they had more connection than their 
predecessors with the history of that country. 

They derive their name either from one of their 
ancestors, or from a town in Bokhara, or in Balkh, 
from which they drew tiieir origin.^ The first of 
the family mentioned in history was already a per- 

♦ Price, vol.ii. p. '2'29. t Ibid. p. 234. 

X Ibid. p.2Vi. § Ibid. p. 282. 

II From A. i>. H92, a.m. 270, to a. d. KK)!-, a.m. '.i95. 
^ Ousley'.s Ebti Ilaukal, p. fiOk 


A. D. 




BOOK son of consideration, when lie attracted the notice 


of the CaHf Mamun, then residing; in Khorasan. 

By the directions of that prince, three of the Sa- 

mani's sons were appointed to governments beyond 

A.D. the OxLis, and one to that of Herat. They were 

07 "T goo 

continued under the Taherites, and retained Trans- 



oxiana after the fail of that dynasty, till tlie death 
of Yacub Leith ; when they passed the Oxus at 
tlie head of a large army of cavalry, probably com- 
posed of their Turki subjects, made Omar Leith 
prisoner, as has been related, and took possession 

A.D. 900, of all the territory he had conquered. They go- 
verned it in the name, though perfectly independent 
of the calif, until they were deprived of a large 
portion of it by the family of Buya, called also the 
Deilemites, from the district in Mazenderan in 
which their founder was a fisherman on the Caspian 

The Bu- Qyt oif by a hio-h ran^ of mountains from the 

yades or j a o 

Deilemites. ycst of Pcrsia, aud protcctcd by the difficulty of 
access, the extensive forests, and the unwholesome 
climate, Mazenderan had never been perfectly 
converted, and probably never entirely subdued : 
it was the seat of constant insurrections, was often 
in the hands of worshippers of fire, and presented 
a disturbed scene, in which the Deilemites rose to 
consequence, and at length acquired sufficient force 
to wrest the western provinces of Persia from the 
Samanis, to seize on Bagdad and the person of the 
A-D. calif, and to rule over an extensive territory in 

932—1055, '' 

A. H. 

321 — 448. 

his name for a period exceeding 100 years. 


After their losses by the Deilemite conquests, chap. 
the Samanis remamed masters of Khorasan and 

Transoxiana, and gave rise to tlie dynasty of 
Ghazni, wlio were the founders of the Mussuhiian 
empire of India. 

It was in the reign of Abduhnelek, the fifth Aiptegin, 

pii f>// »i •! founder of 

prince of the house of Samani, that Alptegm, the the house 
founder of this new dynasty, rose into importance. 
He was a Turki slave, and his original duty is said 
to have been to amuse his master by tumbling and 
tricks of legerdemain.* 

It was the fashion of the time to confer offices 
of trust on slaves ; and Aiptegin, being a man of 
good sense and courage, as well as integrity, rose 
in time to be ejovernor of Khorasan. On the death ^-d- ^^i, 

^ A. H. 350. 

of his patron t, he was consulted about the best 
person of the family for a successor ; and hap- 
pening, unluckily, to give his suffrage against Man- 
sur, on whom the choice of the other chiefs had 
fallen, he incurred the ill-will of his sovereign, 
was deprived of his government, and if he had not 
displayed great military skill in extricating himself 
from among his enemies, he would have lost his 
liberty, if not his life. He had, however, a body 
of trusty adherents, under whose protection he 

* D'Herbelot, article " Alpteghin." 

t Price, vol. ii. j). 21-3. ; Dc Guigncs, vol. ii. j). \')').; Fc- 
rishta (vol. i. p. 12.) makes his revolt a. d. 962, a.m. 351; 
D'Herbelot makes this date A. d. 917, A. ii, 305; but it is evi- 
dently a sli]), either of the author or the printer, for in the date 
of Aljitegiii's death he coiiu's within a moderate distance of tin; 
other authorities. 

.M M 2 



JBOOK made good his retreat, until he found himself in 

safety at Gliazni, in the heart of the mountains 

Sn'^''^'''' ^^ SoHman. The plain country, including Balkh, 
Herat, and Sistan, received the new governor, and 
remained in obedience to the Samanis ; but the 
strong tract between that and the Indus bade de- 
fiance to all their attacks ; and though not all sub- 
ject to Alptegin, all contributed to secure his in- 
dependence. One historian states that he was 
accompanied on his retreat by a body of 3000 dis- 
ciplined slaves or Mamluks, who would, of course, 
be Turks of his own original condition * : he would 
doubtless also be accompanied and followed, from 
time to time, by soldiers who had served under 
him when governor ; but it is probable that the 
main body of his army was drawn from the country 
where he was now established.t 

The inhabitants of the cultivated country were 
not unwarlike ; and the Afghans of the hills, even 
when their tribe did not acknowledge his authority, 
would be allured by his wages to enter his ranks. 
He seems to have made no attempt to extend his 
territory ; and he died within fourteen years after 
§A.D. 976, }^g became independent, t 

A.H. 365. ^ 

Sebektegin. Alptcgiu had a slavc named Sebektegin, whom 
he had purchased from a merchant who brought 

* Price, from the " Kholasat al Akhbar," vol. ii. p. 2i3. 
t D'Herbelot, article " Alpteghiii." 

ij: Price, vol. ii. p. 244. ; Ferishta, vol. i. p. 13. ; De Guignes, 
vol. ii. p. 156. 

§ D'Herbelot makes it A. d. 964, a. h. 353. 


him from Turkestan, and wliom, by degrees, he chap. 

had raised to so much power and trust, that at his 

death he was the effective head of his government, 
and in tlie end became his successor. 

Most authorities assert that Alptegin gave Se- 
bektegin his daughter in marriage, and himself 
appointed him liis heir * ; and others confirm the 
immediate succession, though not the previous 

But Ferishta's account t is, that Alptegin, dying 
in A. D. 975, A.H.365, left a son named Isakh, whom 
Sebektegin accompanied to Bokhara. Isakh was 
then appointed by Mansur Samani to be governor 
of Ghazni, and Sebektegin his deputy. Isakh died 
in A.D. 977, A.H. 367, when Sebektegin was ac- 
knowledged as his successor, and married Alpte- 
gin's daughter.§ 

He had scarcely time to take possession of his 

* De Guignes (who quotes Abufeda), vol. ii. p. 156. ; D'Her- 
belot (who quotes Khondemir). 

f Price, vol. ii. p. 277. :j: Briggs's Forishta, vol. i. p. LS. 

§ A story is told of Sebektegin, while yet a private horse- 
man, which proves the humanity of the historian, if not of the 
hero. One day, in hunting, he succeeded in riding down a 
fawn ; but when he was carrying off his })rize in triumph, he 
observed the dam following his horse, and showing such evident 
marks of distress, that he was touched with compassion, and at 
last released his captive, jileasing himself with the gratitude of 
the mother, which often turned back to gaze at him as she went 
off to the forest with her fawn. That night the Prophet ap- 
peared to him in a dream, told him that CJod had given him a 
kingdom as a reward for his humanity, and enjoined him not to 
forget his feelings of iiktcv when he canic to the exercise of 

M M 3 


BOOK new kinf^dom before he was called on to exert 
V. . , 

' himself in its defence." 

The establishment of a Mahometan government 

so near to their frontier as that of Ghazni must 

naturally have disquieted the Hindus on the Indus, 

and appears to have led to their being harassed by 

Invasion of fi'equcnt incursions. At length Jeipal, raja of 

raja of Lahor, whose dominions were contiguous to those 

Labor. • i i m • i • 

of Ghazni, determined to become assailant m his 
turn. He led a large army into Laghman, at the 
mouth of the valley which extends from Peshawer 
to Cabul, and was there met by Sebektegin. While 
the armies were watching a favourable opportunity 
for engaging, they were assailed by a furious tem- 
pest of wind, rain, and thunder, which was ascribed 
to supernatural causes, and so disheartened the 
Indians, naturally more sensible to cold and wet 
than their antagonists, that Jeipal was induced to 
make proposals of an accommodation. Sebektegin 
was not at first disposed to hearken to him ; but, 
being made aware of the consequence of driving 
Hindus to despair, lie at length consented to treat ; 

* From this time forward my principal dependence vill be 
on Ferishta, a Persian historian, who long resided in India, and 
wrote in the end of the sixteenth century, a history of all the 
Mahometan dynasties in that country down to his own time. I 
think myself fortunate in having the guidance of an author so 
much superior to most of his class in Asia. Where the nature 
of my narrative admitted of it, I have often used the very ex- 
pressions of Ferishta, which, in Colonel Briggs's translation, it 
would be difficult to improve. 


and Jeipal surrendered fifty elephants, and engaged chap. 
to pay a large sum of money. 

When he found himself again in safety, he re- i^^p'^H'^^I- 
fused to fulfil this part of his agreement, and even 
threw the messengers sent to demand the execution 
of it into prison. 

Sebektegin was not likely to submit to such an Hindii 
insult and breach of faith : he again assembled his racy, 
troops, and recommenced his march towards the 
Indus, while Jeipal called in the assistance of tlie 
rajas of Delhi, Ajmir, Calinjar, and Canouj, and 
advanced to Laghman with an army of 100,000 
horse, and a prodigious number of foot soldiers. 
Sebektegin ascended a height to view the enemy, 
and beheld the whole plain covered with their in- 
numerable host ; but he was nowise dismayed at 
the prospect ; and, relying on the courage and dis- 
cipline of his own troops, he commenced the attack 
with an assurance of victory. He first pressed one 
point of the Indian army with a constant succession 
of charges by fresh bodies of cavalry ; and when 
he found them begin to waver, he ordered a ge- 
neral assault along the whole line : the Indians at 
once gave way, and were pursued, with a dreadful 
slaughter, to the Indus. Sebektegin found a rich ix-fcucd. 
plunder in their camp, and levied heavy contribu- 
tions on the surrounding districts. He also took 
possession of the country u\) to the Indus, and left 
an officer with ten fliousand horse, as his governor 
of Peshawer. 

M M t 





assists the 
against the 

A.D, 993, 
A.H. 383. 

The Afghans and Khiljis * of Laghman im- 
mediately tendered their allegiance, and furnished 
useful recruits to his army, t 

After these expeditions, he employed himself in 
settling his own dominions (which now extended 
on the west to beyond Candahar) ; when an oppor- 
tunity presented itself of promoting his own ag- 
grandisement by a timely interposition in favour of 
his nominal sovereign. 

Noh or Noah (the seventh of the Samani kings) 
had been driven from Bokhara, and forced to fly 
across the Oxus, by an invasion of Bogra Khan, 
king of the Hoeike Tartars, who at that time pos- 
sessed almost all Tartary beyond the Imaus, as far 
east as China.t The fortunate sickness, retreat, 
and death of Bogra Khan restored Noh to his 
throne. An attempt he soon after made to punish 
the disaffection shown by his governor of Kho- 
rasan, during his misfortunes, drove that chief into 
an alliance with Faik, another noble of Bokhara, 

* The Khiljis, or Khaljis, are a Tartar tribe, part of which, 
in the tenth century, was still near the source of the Jaxartes, 
but of which a portion had even then been long settled between 
Sistan and India (i. e. in the Afghan country). In the tenth 
century they still spoke Turki. They seem very early to have 
been closely connected with tlie Afghans, with whom their 
name is almost invariably associated. (For their original stock 
and residence in Tartary, see De Guignes, vol. iii. p. 9. note ; 
D'Herbelot, article " Khaladj ;" Ebn Haukal, p. 209. ; and for 
their abode in the Afghan country, Ibid. p. 207. This last 
author wrote between A. d. 902 and a. d. 968.) 

f Briggs's Ferishta, vol. i. pp. 15 — 19. 

^ De Guignes, vol. ii. p. 157.; Price, vol. ii. p. 24-7. 


whose turbulence makes a conspicuous figure for chap. 

a long period in the latter days of the Samanis ; 

and the confederates, more anxious about their own 
interests, than the safety of the state, called in the 
aid of the Deilemite prince who ruled in the ad- 
joining provinces of Persia, and was well disposed 
to extend his dominions by promoting dissensions 
among his neighbours. To resist this powerful com- 
bination, Noh had recourse to Sebektegin, and that 
leader marched towards Bokhara at the head of liis 
army, more on the footing of an ally than a subject. 
He had stipulated, on the pretext of his infirmities, 
that he should not dismount at the meeting ; but 
he no sooner came in sight of his sovereign, than 
he threw himself from his horse, and would have 
kissed the royal stirrup if he had not been pre- 
vented by Noh, who hastened to receive him in 
his arms. 

Their united force might not have been suflficient 
to oppose their enemies if it had not been for the 
treachery of the Deilemite general, who, in the 
critical moment of the action, threw his shield over 
his back as a sign of peace, and went over with his 
troops to Sebektegin. The rebels now evacuated 
their usurpations, and Noh rewarded the ser- 
vices of Sebektegin, by confirming him in his own 
government, and conferring that of Khorasan on 
his son Maliinud. IJul the rebels, though discon- 
certed at the moment, were able once more to col- 
lect their forces, and next year they returned so 
unex[)ectedly, that they surprised ami defeated 




A.i). 995, 
A.H. 387. 

Death of 

Mahmud at Nishapur. It was with some exertion 
that Sebektegin was enabled again to encounter 
them. The contest ended in their being totally 
defeated in the neighbourhood of Tus (now Mesh- 
lied).* Their force was completely broken; and 
Faik abandoning the scene of his former import- 
ance, fled to E'lik Khan, the successor of Bogra, 
by whose powerful interposition he was soon after 
reconciled to Noh, and appointed to the govern- 
ment of Samarcand. 

Immediately after this arrangement Noh died ; 
and E'hk Khan, profiting by the occasion of a new 
succession, advanced on Bokhara, supported by his 
ally from Samarcand, and ultimately compelled the 
new Prince, Mansur IL, to place all the power of 
his government in the hands of Faik. 

During these transactions Sebektegin died on 
his way back to Ghazni. t 

* De Guignes, vol. ii. p. 158.; Price, vol. ii. p. 248.; Fe- 
rishta, vol. i. p. 22. 

f He died within a month of Noh, a. d. 997, a. h. 387. 
(Ferishta. De Guignes. Price. D'Herbelot.) 




Mahmud had from his boyhood accompanied his chap. 

father on his campaigns, and had given early indi- 

cations of a warlike and decided character. He Disputed 

1 • 1 • • 1 ^ n 1 • • 1 succession. 

was now m his thntieth year, and, from his tried a.d. 997, 
courage and capacity, seemed in every way fitted ''•"•^^'^• 
to succeed to the throne ; but his birth was pro- 
bably illegitimate*, and, from his absence at his 
government of Nishapur, his younger brother Is- 
mael was enabled (according to some accounts) 
to obtain the dying nomination of Sebektegin, and 
certainly to seize on the reins of government and 
cause himself to be proclaimed without delay. Not 
the least of his advantages was the command of his 
father's treasures ; he employed them to conciliate 
the leading men with presents, to augment the 
pay of the army, and to court popularity with all 
classes by a lavish expenditure on shows and en- 

By these means, though still more by the force 
of actual possession, and pcrha[)s an ()j)inion of his 
suj)erior riglit, he obtained tiie sui)j)ort of all that 

• Sec Colonel liriggs's note on l''(ri>iita, \ol.i. \).'2[). 


BOOK part of the kingdom which was not under the im- 
' mediate government of Mahmud. 

The conduct of the latter prince, on this con- 
tempt of his claims, may either have arisen from 
the consciousness of a weak title, or from natural 
or assumed moderation. He professed the strongest 
attachment to his brother, and a wish to have given 
way to him if he had been of an age to undertake 
so arduous a duty ; and he offered that, if Ismael 
would concede the supremacy to his superior ex- 
perience, he would repay the sacrifice by a grant of 
the provinces of Balkh and Khorasan. His offers 
were immediately rejected ; and, seeing no further 
hopes of a reconciliation, he resolved to bring 
things to an issue by an attack on the capital. Is- 
mael, who was still at Balkh, penetrated his design, 
and interposing between him and Ghazni, obliged 
him to come to a general engagement. It was 
better contested than might have been expected 
from the unequal skill of the generals, but was 
fiivourable to Mahmud : Ghazni fell, Ismael was 
made prisoner, and passed the rest of his life in con- 
finement, though allowed every indulgence con- 
sistent with such a situation. 

These internal contests, which lasted for seven 
months, contributed to the success of E'iik Khan, 
who had now established his own influence over 
Mansur 11., by compelling him to receive Faik as 
his minister, or, in other words, his master. 

Dissembling his consciousness of the ascendancy 
of his old enemies, Mahmud made a respectful 


application to Mansur for the continuance of his chap. 

government of Khorasan. His request was ab- 

ruptly rejected, and a creature of the new admi- 
nistration appointed his successor. 

But Mahmud was not so easily dispossessed ; 
he repelled the new governor, and although lie 
avoided an immediate conflict with Mansur, who 
was brought in person against liim, he withheld all 
appearance of concession, and remained in full 
preparation for defence ; when some disputes and 
jealousies at court led to the dethronement and 
blinding of Mansur, and the elevation of Abdul- 
melek as the instrument of Faik. On this, Mahmud a.d. 999, 

A.H. 389. 

ordered the name of the Samanis to be left out of Mainnud 

, , declares his 

the public prayers ; took possession or Khorasan indcpend- 
in his own name ; and, having soon after received 
an investiture from the calif (the dispenser of 
powers which he himself no longer enjoyed), he 
declared himself an independent sovereign, and 
first assumed the title of Sultan, since so general 
among Mahometan princes.* 

E'lik Khan, not to be shut out of his share of 
the spoil, advanced on Bokhaia, under pretence 
of sui)porting Abdulmelek ; and, taking possession 
of all Transoxiana, put an end to the dynasty of 
Samani, after it had reigned for more than 120 

Mahmud, now secure in the possession of his 
dominions, had il almost in his own choice in 

* Tlicjugli not before adopted l>y the Mussulinaiis, it is an 
old Aral/u; word lor a king. 


BOOK wliicli direction he should extend them. The 

kingdoms on the west, so attractive from their 

connection with the Mahometan religion and their 
ancient renown, were in such a state of weakness 
and disorder that a large portion ultimately fell into 
his hands without an effort ; and the ease with 
which the rest was subdued by the Seljuks, who 
were once his subjects, showed how little ob- 
struction there was to his advancing his frontier to 
the Hellespont. 

But the undiscovered regions of India presented 
a wider field for romantic enterprise. The great 
extent of that favoured country, the rumours of its 
accumulated treasures, the fertility of the soil, and 
the peculiarity of its productions, raised it into a 
land of fable, in which the surrounding nations 
might indulge their imaginations without control. 
The adventures to be expected in such a country 
derived fresh lustre from their being the means of 
extending the Mahometan faith, the establishment 
of which among a new people was in those times 
the most glorious exploit that a king or conqueror 
could achieve. 

These views made the livelier impression on 
Mahmud, from his first experience in arms having 
been gained in a war with Hindus ; and were 
seconded by his natural disposition, even at that 
time liable to be dazzled by the prospect of a rich 
field for plunder. 

Influenced by such motives, he made peace 
with E1ik Khan, leaving him in possession of 


Transoxiaiia ; cemented the alliance by a marriage ^^/^^' 

with the daughter of that prince ; and, having . 

quelled an insurrection of a representative of Sofa- 
rides, who had been tolerated in a sort of inde- 
pendence in Sistan, and whom, on a subsequent 
rebellion*, he seized and imprisoned, he proceeded 
on his first invasion of India. 

Three centuries and a half had elapsed since the 
conquest of Persia by the Mussulmans when he 
set out on this expedition. He left Ghazni with iiis first 
10,000 chosen horse, and was met by his father's to India. 
old antagonist, Jeipal of Labor, in the neighbour. A.H.sgi.' 
hood of Peshawer. He totally defeated him, took 
him prisoner, and pursued his march to Batinda, 
beyond tiie Satlaj. He stormed and plundered 
that place t ; and then returned with the rich 
spoils of the camp and country to Ghazni. He 
released the Hindu prisoners for a ransom, on the 
raja's renewing his promises of tribute ; but put 
some Afghans who had joined them to death. 
Jeipal, on returning from iiis captivity, worn out 
by repeated disasters, and ])eriiaps constrained by 
some superstition of his subjects, made over his 

* A.D. ]002. 

f Batinda seems formerly to have boen a place of" more con- 
sequence than its situation, in a sort of desert, woidd promise. 
It is said bj' Colonel Tod to have been the residence of the raja 
of Labor alternately with the capital from whieii he took ids 
title. As the battle of I'eshawer was on the '2Tth of November, 
Mahmud would reach Hatinda towards the end of the cold 
sesison, when the rivers of tiie Panjab, though not all lordable, 
would offer little obstruction to cavalry. 




Second ex- 

A. D. 1004, 
A.H. 395. 
Third ex- 

crown to Iiis son Anang Pal ; and mounting a 
pyre wliich he bad ordered to be constructed, set 
it on fire with bis own bands, and perisbed in tbe 

Anang Pal was true to bis father's engagements ; 
but tbe raja of Bbatia, a dependency of Labor, on 
tbe southern side of Multan, refused to pay bis 
share of tbe tribute, and resolutely opposed tbe 
Sultan, who went against him in person. He was 
driven, first from a well- defended intrenchment, 
then from bis principal fortress, and at last de- 
stroyed himself in tbe thickets of the Indus, where 
be bad fled for concealment, and where many of 
bis followers fell in endeavouring to revenge bis 

Mahmud's next expedition was to reduce bis de- 
pendent, tbe Afghan chief of Multan*, who, though 
a Mussulman, bad renounced his allegiance, and 
had formed a close alliance with Anang Pal. 

Tbe tribes of tbe mountains, being probably not 
sufficiently subdued to allow of a direct march from 
Ghazni to Multan, the raja was able to interpose 
between Mahmud and bis ally. The armies met 
somewhere near Pesbawer, when tbe raja was 
routed, pursued to Sodra (near Vizirabad), on tbe 
Acesines, and compelled to take refuge in Cash- 
mir, Mahmud then laid siege to Multan : at tbe 

* His name was Abul Fatteli Lodi, and he was grandson of 
Hamid Khan Lodi, who had joined the enemies of his faith for 
a cession of the provinces of Multan and Laghman, and who 
submitted to Sebektegin after his victory over the Hindus. 


end of seven days, he accepted the submission of chap. 
the chief, together with a contribution ; and re- 

turned to Ghazni. *•''• ^^^^' 

A. H. 369. 

He was led to errant these favourable terms in invasion of 

'-^ the lartars 

consequence of intelligence that had reached him under E'lik 
of a formidable invasion of his dominions by the 
armies of E'lik Khan. Though so closely connected 
with him, the Tartar prince had been tempted, by 
observing his exclusive attention to India, to hope 
for an easy conquest of Khorasan, and had sent 
one army to Herat and another to Balkh, to take 

But he had formed a wrong estimate of the 
vigour of his opponent, who committed the charge 
of his territories on the Indus to Sewuk, or Suk 
Pal, a converted Hindu, and turning, by rapid 
marches, towards Khorasan, soon forced E'lik 
Khan's generals to retire to their own side of the 

E'lik Khan was now threatened in his turn, and 
applied for assistance to Kadr Khan of Khoten, 
who marched to join him with 50,000 men. Thus 
strengthened, E'hk Khan did not hesitate to cross 
the Oxus, and was met by Mahmud, near Balkh. 
On this occasion he brought 500 elephants into 
the field, and contrived, by his judicious arrange- 
ments, that they should not be liable to derange his 
own line, while they should produce their full effect 
on the men and horses of the enemy, unaccustomed 
to their huge bulk and strange appearance. Ac- 
cordingly the mere sight of them checked the 

VOL. I. N N 



BOOK impetuosity of the Tartar charge ; on whicli the 
' elephants advanced, and at once pushed into the 
midst of the enemy, dispersing, overthrowing, and 
tramphng under foot whatever was opposed to 
them ; it is said that Mahmud's own elephant 
caught up the standard bearer of E'lik Khan and 
tossed him aloft with his trunk, in sight of the 
Tartar king and his terrified fellow soldiers. Before 
this disorder could be recovered, the armies closed ; 
and so rapid and courageous was the onset of the 
Ghaznevites, that the Tartars gave way on all 
sides, and were driven with a prodigious slaughter, 
A.D. 1006, from the field of battle.* 

A.H. 397. 1 /^ • 1 £» 

Defeatedby E'Hk Khau cscapcd across the Uxus with a rew 
attendants, and never again attempted to make 
head against Mahmud. 

The Sultan was at first disposed to pursue the 
enemy ; but the advance of winter compelled him 
to abandon this design ; and he did not regain his 
capital without the loss of some hundreds of men 
and horses by the inclemency of the season. 

Meanwhile Suk Pal had revolted and relapsed 
into idolatry. Mahmud came unexpectedly upon 
him, and, making him prisoner, confined him in a 
fort for life. 

Mahmud had been prevented, by the invasion of 
E'lik Khan, from resenting the opposition which 
he had met with from Anang Pal. As he was now 
at leisure to attend to Indian aflfairs, he assembled 

* Ferishta. De Guignes. D'Herbelot. 


a large army, and set out in the spring of a. d. 1008, chap. 

to resume his operations against the raja. 

But Anang Pal had not been insensible to the Fou'ti' ^^x- 

• I I'll pedition 

risk to which he was exposed. He had sent am- a.d. ioos, 

A H. 399 

bassadors to the Hindu princes far and near, point- 
ing out to them the danger with which all were 
threatened by the progress of the Mahometans, 
and the necessity of an immediate combination to 
prevent the total destruction of their religion and 
independence. His arguments, which were pro- 
bably in accordance with their own previous feel- 
ings, made an impression on tliose to whom they 
were addressed : the rajas of Ujen, Gualior, Ca- 
linjer, Canonj, Delhi, and Ajmir, entered into a 
confederacy ; and, uniting their forces, advanced 
into the Panjab, with tlie largest army that had Decisive 
ever yet taken the field. Mahmud was alarmed at ^^"'^' 
this unexpected display of force ; and, instead of 
meeting the danger with his usual alacrity, he 
halted in the presence of the enemy, and took up 
a position near Peshawer, in which he remained on 
the defensive. During his inaction the hostile 
army daily increased : the Hindu women sold their 
jewels, melted down their golden ornaments, and 
sent their contributions from a distance, to furnish 
resources for this holy war : and the Gakkars and 
other warlike tribes joining their army, they sur- 
rounded the Mahometans, who were obliged to in- 
trench their camp. IJiit Mahmud, though some- 
what disconcerted, was fiu- fiom having lost liis 
courage ; and, wishing to ])rofit by the strength of 

N N '^ 


BOOK i^is position, he sent out a strong body of archers 
' to provoke an attack on his intrenchments. The 
result was different from his expectations : the 
archers were at once repulsed by the Gakkars, who, 
in spite of the presence and exertions of the king, 
followed them up so closely, that a numerous body 
of those mountaineers, bare-headed and bare- 
footed, variously and strangely armed, passed the 
intrenchments on both flanks, and, falling in with 
astonishing fury among the cavalry, proceeded, 
with their swords and knives, to cut down and 
maim both horse and rider, until almost in the 
twinkling of an eye, between 3000 and 4000 Mus- 
sulmans had fallen victims to their savage impetu- 

The attacks, however, gradually abated ; and 
Mahmud at length discovered that the elephant of 
his antagonist, who had advanced to profit by the 
confusion, had taken fright at the flights of arrowsf, 
and had turned and fled from the field. This in- 
cident struck a terror into the enemy ; the Hindus, 
thinking themselves deserted by their general, 
first slackened their efforts, and at last gave way 
and dispersed. Mahmud took immediate advan- 
tage of their confusion, and, sending out 10,000 

* Price, vol. ii. p. 234. 

f In the original this is "cannon and musquetry;" and 
although Colonel Briggs finds a most ingenious solution, which, 
by a slight change of the diacritical points in the Persian, turns 
these words into " naptha balls and arrows ;" yet he is staggered 
by the agreement of all the MSS., and suspects an anachronism 
in the author. I have adopted the simplest explanation. 


chosen men in pursuit of them, destroyed double chap. 

that number of his enemies before they reached a 

place of safety. 

After this providential deliverance, Mahmud Temple of 

^ . Ill Nagarcot. 

allowed the Indians no time to re-assemble : he 
followed them into the Panjab, and soon found 
them so effectually dispersed, that he had time to 
execute one of those schemes of plunder in which he 
seems to have taken so much delight. It was directed 
against Nagarcot, a fortified temple on a mountain 
connected with the lower range of Hemalaya. This 
edifice, as it derived peculiar sanctity from a natural 
flame which issued from the ground ^vithin its 
precints, was enriched by the offerings of a long 
succession of Hindu princes, and was likewise the 
depository of most of the wealth of the neighbour- 
hood ; so that, according to Ferishta, it contained 
a greater quantity of gold, silver, precious stones, 
and pearls, than was ever collected in the royal 
treasury of any prince on earth. 

Such a place might have opposed a successful 
resistance to any assailant ; but the garrison hatl 
been drawn off in the late great effort, and Mah- 
mud, on approaching the walls, found tiiem lined 
by a crowd of defenceless ])riests, who called 
loudly for quarter, and offered unqualified submis- 
sion. Their terms were gladly acceded to, and 
the conqueror, entering witii the ])rincii)al oflicers 
of his court and household, took j)()ssessi()n of 
their accunudatcd treasures. 7()U,0U0 golden dinars, 
700 mans of gold and silver plate, '200 mans of 

N N .'3 


BOOK pure gold in ingots, 2000 mans of unwrought 

' silver, and twenty mans of various jewels, including 

pearls, corals, diamonds, and rubies, collected since 

Raja Bhima, in the Hindu heroic ages, are said to 

have fallen at once into his hands.* 

With this vast booty Mahmud returned to 
Ghazni, and next year celebrated a triumphal 
feast, at which he displayed to the people the spoils 
of India, set forth in all their magnificence on 
golden thrones and tables of the precious metals. 
The festival was held on a spacious plain and 
lasted three days ; sumptuous banquets were pro- 
vided for the spectators, alms were liberally dis- 
tributed among the poor, and splendid presents 
were bestowed on persons distinguished for their 
rank, merits, or sanctity. 
Confueit^of ^^ ^' ^' "^'^^^ ^^^ wcut iu pcrsou agaiust the 
^^^^- strong country of Ghor, in the mountains east of 
Herat. It was inhabited by the Afghans, of the 
tribe of Sur, had been early converted, and was 
completely reduced under the califs in a. h. 111. 
The chief had occupied an unassailable position, 
but was drawn out by a pretended flight (an 
operation which, though it seems so dangerous, 
yet, in the hands of historians, appears never to 
fail), and being entirely defeated, swallowed poison. 
His name was Mohammed Sur, and the conquest 
of his country is the more remarkable, as it was 

* There are many sorts of man : the smallest, that of Arabia, 
is 2 lbs.; the commonest, that of Tabriz, is 11 lbs. The Indian 
man is 80 lbs. (Briggs's note on Ferishta, vol. i. p. 48.) 


by his descendants that the house of Ghazni was chap. 

^ III. 


In the course of the next year but one, tlie 

mountainous country of Jurjistan, or Ghirghistan, 

which Hes on the upper course of the river 

Murghab, adjoining to Glior, was reduced by 

Mahmud's generals.* 

It must have been some act of aggression that Fifth ex- 
pedition to 
drew Mahmud to Ghor, for, m the same year india. 

(a. d. 1010, A. H. 401), he again turned to India— 

which seems to have been the business of his Ufe 

— took Multan, and brought Abul Fatteh Lodi 

prisoner to Ghazni. 

In the next year he made an expedition of un- sixth ex- 


usual length to Tanesar, not far from the Jamna, capture of 
where he plundered the temple (a very holy one), ^^n^'^^""- 
sacked the town, and returned with an incredible 
number of captives to Ghazni, before the Indian 
princes could assemble to oppose him. 

Nothing remarkable occurred in the next three Seventh 

, ,. . r^ 1 ^"*^ eighth 

years, except two predatory expeditions to Casli- expeditions. 
mir ; in returning from the last of whicli the army 
was misled, and, the season being fiir advanced, 
many lives were lost: the only wonder is, that 

• The nanu! of this tract coiitiinially occurs in connection 
with Ghfjr and tlie neighl)ouring countrifs. Its position appears 
from Ebn Haukal (Ouselej/s Ebn Haukal, pp. '213. 221. 225.) ; 
it is very often mistaken by E\iropean writers for (jeorgia ; and 
D'IIerheh)t, under this impression, derives tiie title of tiie ])rince 
(which, froai the defective writing of tlie Persians, is made by 
diiFerent autiiors Sar, Shar, Tshar, and Nishtir) from the llussian 
czar, or from Cfesar. 

N N 4< 





of Trans- 

two invasions of so inaccessible a country should 
have been attended with so few disasters. 

These insignificant transactions were succeeded 
by an expedition which, as it extended Mah mud's 
dominions to the Caspian sea, may be reckoned 
among the most important of his reign. E'lik 
Khan was now dead, and his successor, Toghan 
Khan, was engaged in a desperate struggle with 
the Khitan Tartars * which chiefly raged to the 
east of Imaus. The opening thus left in Trans- 
oxiana did not escape Malimud, nor was he so 
absorbed in his Indian wars as to neglect so great 
an acquisition. 

Samarcand and Bokhara seem to have been 

occupied without opposition ; and the resistance 

A.B. 1016, -which was offered in Kharizm did not \ou^ delav 

A. H. 407. ^ "^ 

the conquest of that country.t 
Ninth ex- T\\e great scale of these operations seems to have 

pedition to _ _ 

India. enlarged Mahmud's views, even in his designs on 
India ; for, quitting the Panjab, which had hitherto 

* From A. D. 1012 to 1025. (De Guignes, vol.ii. p. 31.). 

\ No previous expedition in the direction of the Oxus is 
mentioned by any historian after the battle with E'iik Khan in 
A. D. 1006 ; and Ferishta ascribes this invasion to the resentment 
of Mahmud at the murder of the King of Kharizm, who was 
married to his daughter ; but D'Herbelot (art. Mahmoud) and De 
Guignes (who quotes Abulfedha, vol.ii. p. 166.) assert as posi- 
tively that it was to put down a rebellion ; and as Ferishta him- 
self alludes to an application to the calif for an order for the 
surrender of Samarcand in a. d. 1012, it is not improbable that 
Mahmud may have exuployed that year in the conquest of 
Transoxiana, especially as there is no mention of his being then 
personally engaged in any other expedition. 


been his ordinary field of action, he resolved on chap. 

his next campaign to move direct to the danges, 

and open a way for himself or his successors into 
the heart of Hindostan. His preparations were 
commensurate to his design. He assembled an 
army which Ferishta reckons at 100,000 horse, and 
20,000 foot, and which was drawn from all parts 
of his dominions, more especially from those re- 
cently conquered ; a prudent policy, whereby he 
at once removed the soldiery which might have 
been dangerous if left behind, and attached it to 
his service by a share of the plunder of India. 

He had to undertake a march of three months, ^•°- ^^^'^' 

' A. H. 408. 

across seven great rivers, and into a country hitherto 
unexplored ; and he seems to have concerted his 
expedition with his usual judgment and inform- 
ation. He set out from Peshawer, and, passing 
near Cashmlr, kept close to the mountains, where 
the rivers are most easily crossed, until he had 
passed the Jamna, when he turned towards the 
south, and unexpectedly presented himself before 
the great capital of Canouj. 

It is difficult to conjecture the local or other Canouj. 
circumstances which tended so greatly to enrich 
and embelhsli this city. The dominions of the 
raja were not more extensive than those of liis 
neighbours, nor does he exhibit any superiority of 
power in tlieir recorded wars or alhances ; yet 
Hindu and Mahometan writers vie with each other 
in extolhng tlie sj)lendour of his court, and the 
magnificence of liis capital ; and the impression 


BOOK made by its stately appearance on the army of 
' Mall mud is particularly noticed by Ferishta.* 

The raja was taken entirely unprepared, and 
was so conscious of his helpless situation, that he 
came out with his family, and gave himself up to 
Mahmud. The friendship thus inauspiciously com- 
menced appears to have been sincere and per- 
manent : the Sultan left Canouj uninjured at the 
end of three days, and returned, some years after, 
in the hope of assisting the raja, against a con- 
federacy which had been formed to punish his 
alliance with the common enemy of his nation. 

No such clemency was shown to Mattra, one 
of the most celebrated seats of the Hindu religion. 
During a halt of twenty days, the city was given up 
to plunder, the idols were broken, and the temples 
profaned. The excesses of the troops led to a fire 
in the city, and the effects of this conflagration 
were added to its other calamities. 

It is said, by some, that Mahmud was unable to 
destroy the temples on account of their solidity. 
Less zealous Mahometans relate that he spared 
them on account of their beauty. All agree that 
he was struck with the highest admiration of the 

* A Hindu writer, among other extravagant praises (Colonel 
Tod, vol. ii. p. 7.), says the walls were thirty miles round ; a 
Mussulman (Major Rennell, p. 54.) asserts that it contained 
30,000 shops for the sale of bitel leaf. Some Mahometan 
writers pay the raja the usual compliment of supposing him 
emperor of all India ; and Ebn Haukal, a century before Mah- 
mud, mentions Canouj as the chief city of India. ( OuseJeys 
Ebn Haukal, p. 9.) 


buildinscs which he saw at Mattra, and it is not ^"')^^- 

improbable that the impression they made on him 

gave the first impulse to his own undertakings of 
the same nature.* 

This expedition was attended with some circum- 
stances more than usually tragical. At Mahawan, 
near Mattra, the raja had submitted, and had 
been favourably received ; when a quarrel acci- 
dentally breaking out between the soldiers of the 
two parties, the Hindus were massacred and driven 
into the river, and the raja, conceiving himself 
betrayed, destroyed his wife and children, and then 
made away with himself. 

At Munj, after a desperate resistance, part of the 
Rajput garrison rushed out through the breaches 
on the enemy, while the rest dashed themselves to 
pieces from the works, or burned themselves with 
their wives and children in their houses ; so that 
not one of the whole body survived. Various other 
towns were reduced, and much country laid waste ; 
and the king returned to Ghazni, loaded with spoil, 
and accompanied by 5300 prisoners.! 

* The following extract has been preserved of a letter from 
Mahniud to the Governor of Ghazni: — " Here there; are a 
thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful, most of 
them of marble, besides innumerable temples ; nor is it likely 
that this city has attained its present condition but at the ex- 
pense of many millions of dccnars ; nor could such another l)e 
constructed under a period of two centuries." (JJrif/r/s'.s Fc- 
rishta, vol. i. p. 58.) 

f The whole of this exptidition is indistinctly related by 
Ferishta. lie copies the Persian writers, wlio adverting to the 


BOOK Having now learned the way into the interior, 

' Mahmud made two subsequent marches into India 

Tenth and ^^ Jqj^o; intervals from the present : the first was to 

eleventh ex- '-' _ ■" ^ 

peditions. the relief of the raja of Canouj, who had been cut 
a!h. 413. ' off before the Sultan arrived, by the raja of Calinjer 

in Bundelcand, against whom Mahmud next turned 
A.D. 1023, his arms, but made no permanent impression, either 

in this or a subsequent campaign. 

Permanent Qjj tJ^g f^YSt of thcSe CXpcditioUS aU CVCUt OC- 

occupation '■ 

of the curred which had more permanent effects than all 

the Sultan's great victories. Jeipal II., who had 
succeeded Anang-pal in the government of Labor, 
seems, after some misunderstandings at the time 
of his accession, to have lived on good terms 
with Mahmud. On this occasion, his ill destiny 
led him to oppose that prince's march to Canouj. 
The results were, the annexation of Labor and 
its territory to Ghazni : the first instance of a 
permanent garrison on the east of the Indus, and 

seasons in their own country, make Mahmud begin his march 
in spring. Had he done so, he need not have gone so high in 
search of fords ; but he M'ould have reached Canouj at the 
beginning of the periodical rains, and carried on all his subse- 
quent movements in the midst of rivers during that season. It 
is probable he would go to P(^shawer before the snow set in 
above the passes, and would cross the Indus early in November. 
His marches are still worse detailed. He goes first to Canouj, 
then back to Mirat, and then back again to Mattra. There is 
no clue to his route, advancing or retiring : he probably came 
down by Mirat, but it is quite uncertain how he returned. For 
a good discussion of his marches, see Bird's History of Gujarat, 
Introduction, p. 31. 


he foundation of the future Mahometan empire in chap. 

After this, Mahmud's attention was drawn to a.d. 1024, 
Transoxiana : lie marclied thither in person, crushed 
a revolt, and subsequently returned to Ghazni. 

Since his great expedition to Canouj, Mahmud 
seems to have lost all taste for predatory incursions, 
and the invasions last mentioned were scarcely the 
result of clioice. He seems, at this time, to have 
once more called up his energy, and determined 
on a final effort which should transmit his name to 
posterity among the greatest scourges of idolatry, 
if not the greatest promoters of Islam. 

This was his expedition to Somnat, which is Tueifthex- 

' _ pudition. 

celebrated, wherever there is a Mussuhnan, as the Somnat. 
model of a religious invasion. 

Somnat was a temple of great sanctity, situated 
near the southern extremity of the peninsula of 
Guzerat.* Though now chiefly known in India 
from the history of Mahmud's exploit, it seems, at 
the time we are writing of, to have been the richest 
and most frequented, as well as most famous, place 
of worship in the country.! 

* Called by the natives Soreth and Katthvar. 

f It is said that from 200,000 to 300,000 votaries used to 
attend this temple during ecli])ses ; that 2000 villages had been 
granted by different princes to maintain its establishments; that 
there were 20{X) priests, 500 dancing women, and .'5()() musicians 
attached to the temple ; that the chain supporting a bell which 
worshipjters strike during prayer weighed 200 mans of gold; 
and that the idol was washed daily with water brought from the 
Ganges, a distance of 1000 miles, 'i'he last stat<'nnnt is not 


BOOK 'Pq reach this place, Mahmud, besides a long 

marcli througli inhabited countries, had to cross a 

desert, 350 miles broad, of loose sand or hard clay 
almost entirely without water, and with very little 
forage for horses. 

To cross this with an army, even into a friendly 
country, would be an exceedingly difficult under- 
taking at the present day : to cross it for the 
first time, with the chance of meeting a hostile 
army on the edge, required an extraordinary share 
of skill, no less than enterprise. 
A.D. 1024, The army moved from Ghazni in September, 
A. D. 1024, and reached Multan in October. The 
Sultan had collected 20,000 camels for carrying 
supplies, besides, enjoining his troops to provide 
themselves, as far as they could, with forage, water, 
and provisions. The number of his army is not 
given. It is said to have been accompanied by a 
crowd of volunteers, chiefly from beyond the Oxus, 
attracted by love of adventure and hopes of plun- 
der, at least as much as by religious zeal.* 

As soon as he had completed his arrangement 
for the march, he crossed the desert without any 
disaster, and made good his footing on the culti- 
vated part of India near Ajmir. The Hindus, if 

improbable from present practices. The numbers, as in all 
cases in Asistic writers, must be considered as indefinite. The 
value of the chain, if in Tubrizi mans (as was probably intended) 
would be above 100,000/., and if in Arab mans, under 2000/. 

* Ferishta reckons the volunteers at 30,000. (Briggs, vol. i. 
p. 68.) 


they were aware of the storm that was gathering:, chap. 

. . ^ III. 
were not prepared for its bursting on a point that 

seemed so well protected, and the raja of Ajmir 
had no resource but in flight. His country was 
ravaged, and his town, which had been abandoned 
by the inhabitants, was given up to plunder ; but 
the hill fort, which commands it, held out ; and 
as it was not Mahmiid's object to engage in sieges, 
he proceeded on his journey, which was now an 
easy one ; his route probably lying along the plain 
between the Aravalli mountains and the desert. 
Almost the first place he came to in Guzerat was 
the capital, Anhalwara, where his appearance was 
so sudden that the raja, though one of the greatest 
princes in India, was constrained to abandon it with 

Without being diverted by this valuable conquest 
Mahmud pursued his march to Somnat, and at 
length reached that great object of his exer- 
tions. He found the temple situated on a pen- 
insula connected with the main land by a fortified 
isthmus, the battlements of which were manned in 
every point, and from whence issued a herald, who 
brought him defiance and threats of destruction in 
tiie name of tiie god. Little moved by these 
menaces, Mahmud brought forward his archers, 
and soon cleared the walls of their defenders, who 
now crowded to tiie temple, and, prostrating them- 
selves before the idol, called on him with tears for 
iielp. But Kaji)iits are as ciisily excited as dis- 
pirited ; and, hearing the shouts of *' Allaho Ak- 



BOOK bar ! " from the Mussulmans, who had already begun 

to mount the walls, they hurried back to their 

defence, and made so gallant a resistance that the 
Mussulmans were unable to retain their footing, 
and were driven from the place with loss. 

The next day brought a still more signal rejoulse. 
A general assault was ordered ; but, as fast as the 
Mussulmans scaled the walls, they were hurled 
down headlong by the besieged, who seemed re- 
solved to defend the place to the last. 

On the third day the princes of the neighbour- 
hood, who had assembled to rescue the temple, 
presented themselves in order of battle, and com- 
pelled Mahmud to relinquish the attack, and move 
in person against his new enemy. 

The battle raged with great fury, and victory 
was already doubtful, when the raja of Anhalwara 
arrived with a strong reinforcement to the Hindus. 
This unexpected addition to their enemies so dis- 
pirited the Mussulmans that they began to waver, 
when Mahmud, who had prostrated himself to im- 
plore the Divine assistance, leaped upon his horse, 
and cheered his troops with such energy, that, 
ashamed to abandon a king under whom they had 
so often fought and bled, they, with one accord, 
gave a loud shout, and rushed forwards with an 
impetuosity which could no longer be withstood. 
Five thousand Hindus lay dead after the charge ; 
and so complete was the rout of their army, that 
the garrison gave up all hopes of further defence, 
and, breaking out to the number of 4000 men. 


made tlieir way to their boats ; and, thoiiofh not chap. 
. ' ' o III 

without considerable loss, succeeded in escaping ' 

by sea. 

Mahmud entered the temple, and was struck 
with the grandeur of the edifice, the lofty roof of 
which was supported by fifty-six pillars curiously 
carved and richly ornamented with precious stones 
The external light was excluded, but the temple 
was illuminated by a lamp which hung down in 
the centre from a golden chain. Facing the en- 
trance was Somnat, — an idol five yards high, of 
which two were buried in the ground. Mahmud 
instantly ordered the image to be destroyed ; when 
the Bramins of the temple threw themselves be- 
fore him, and offered an enormous ransom if he 
would spare tlieir deity. Mahmud hesitated ; and 
his courtiers hastened to offer the advice which 
they knew would be acceptable ; but Mahmud, 
after a moment's pause, exclaimed that he would 
rather be remembered as the breaker than the 
seller of idols, and struck the image with his mace. 
His example was instantaneously followed, and the 
image, which was hollow, burst with the blows, 
and poured forth a quantity of diamonds and other 
jewels which had been concealed in it, that amply 
repaid Mahmud for the sacrifice of the ransom. 
Two pieces of this idol were sent to Mecca and 
Medina, and two to Ghazni, where one was to be 
seen at the palace and one at the public mosque, 
as late as when Ferishta wrote his history.* 

* The above is Ferishta's account, .'uid might be triu; of some 
VOL. I. O O 




sets up a 
raja in 

The treasure taken on this occasion exceeded 
all former captures ; but even the Asiatic historians 
are tired of enumerating the mans of gold and 

Meanwhile the raja of Anhalwara had taken 
refuge in Gundaba, a fort which was considered to 
be protected by the sea. Mahmud ascertained it 
to be accessible, though not without danger, when 
the tide was low ; entered the water at the head of 
his troops, and carried the place by assault, but 
failed to capture the raja. 

Mahmud, thus victorious, returned to Anhalwara, 
where it is probable that he passed the rainy sea- 
son ; and so much was he pleased with the mild- 
ness of the climate and the beauty and fertility of 
the country, that he entertained thoughts of trans- 
ferring his capital thither (for some years at least), 
and of making it a new point of departure for fur- 
ther conquests. He appears, indeed, at this time, 
to have been elated with his success, and to have 
meditated the formation of a fleet, and the accom- 
plishment of a variety of magnificent projects. 
His visions, however, were in a different spirit from 
those of Alexander ; and were not directed to the 
glory of exploring the ocean, but the acquisition of 
the jewels of Ceylon and the gold mines of Pegu. 
Mature reflection concurred with the advice of his 

idol in the temple ; but the real object of worship at Somnat 
was not an image but a simple cylinder of stone. (Professor 
Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. p. 194, &c.) 



ministers in inducing him to give up those schemes ; chap, 
and as the raja still kept at a distance, and refused 
submission, he looked around for a fit person 
wliom he might invest with the government, and 
on whom he could rely for the payment of a tri- 
bute. He fixed his eyes on a man of the ancient 
royal family wlio had retired from the world, and 
embraced the life of an anchoret, and whom lie 
probably thought more likely than any other to 
remain in submission and dependence.* 

There was another pretender of the same family, 
whom Mahmud thought it necessary to secure in 
his camp, and whom, when he was about to leave 
Guzerat, the new raja earnestly entreated to have 
delivered to him as the only means of giving sta- 
bility to his throne. Mahmud, who, it seems, had 
admitted the prisoner into his presence, was very 
unwilling to give him up to his enemy, and he was 
with difficulty persuaded to do so by the argument 
of his minister, that it was *' not necessary to have 
compassion on a pagan idolater." His repugnance 
was no doubt increased by the belief that he was 

* The person selected is said to have been a descendant of 
Dabisliltni, an ancient Hindu raja, so called by the Persians, to 
wlioni liis name is familiar as the prince by whose orders the 
fables of Pilpai were composed. Ferishta calls both the pre- 
ttjnders in the following story by the name of their supposed 
ancestor; but they j)robably were representatives of the family 
of ("hawara, to whom the fatlujr of the rtij^iiing raja of the 
family of Chaliika had snccceded through tiie female line. 
(Bird's Mirdli Alnnedi, p. 1 Vl., aufi Tod's liajasthaii., vol. i. 
p. 197.) 

o o 2 




consigning the prisoner to certain death ; but the 
ascetic was too pious to shed human blood, and 
mildly ordered a dark pit to be dug under his own 
throne, in which his enemy was to linger out the 
days that nature had assigned to him. A fortu- 
nate revolution, however, reversed the destiny of 
the parties, and consigned the anchoret to the dun- 
geon which he had himself prepared.* 
Distresses Mahmud, havino" by this time passed upwards 

in the de- ^ -^ i . i p • 

sertonhis of a year in Guzcrat, began to think or returnmg 
to his own dominions. He found that the route 
by which he had advanced was occupied by a great 
army under the raja of Ajmir and the fugitive 
raja of Anhalwara. His own force was reduced 
by the casualties of war and climate ; and he felt 
that even a victory, unless complete, would be total 
ruin to an army whose further march lay through 
a desert. He therefore determined to try a new 
road by the sands to the east of Sind. The hot 
season must have been advanced when he set out, 
and the sufferings of his followers, owing to want 
of water and forage, were severe from the first ; 
but all their other miseries were thrown into the 
shade by those of three days, during which they 
were misled by their guides, and wandered, without 

* This story is chiefly taken from D'Herbelot, and Bird's 
translation of the " Mirati Ahmedi," whose narratives are more 
consistent than that in Ferishta. When stripped of some won- 
derful circumstances with which the historians have embellished 
it, it is by no means improbable in itself, and is too true a pic- 
ture of the hypocritical humanity of a Hindu priest in power to 
have been invented by a Mahometan author. 


relief, through the worst part of the desert : thou- 
thirst became intolerable from the toil of their 
march on a burning sand and under a scorching 
sun, and the extremity of their distress drove them 
to acts of fury that heightened the calamity. The 
guides were tortured, and were believed to have 
confessed that they were priests in disguise, who 
had devoted themselves to avenge the disgrace of 
Somnat : despair seized on every breast : many 
perished miserably ; some died raving mad ; and 
it was thought to be no less than a miraculous in- 
terposition of Providence which guided them at 
last to a lake or pool of water. 

At length they arrived at Multan, and from 
thence proceeded to Ghazni.* 

• It seems surprising when we read of all these sufferings, 
that Mahmud should neither in going or returning have 
availed himself of the easy and safe passage along the banks of 
the Indus, with which he could not fail to be well acquainted, 
both by the accounts of Mohammed Casim's expedition, and by 
the neighbourhood of the Afghans. So unaccountable is the 
neglect of this route, that we are led to think that some physical 
obstacles may then have existed which have now ceased to 
operate. It seems certain that the Rin, which is now a hard 
desert in the dry season, and a salt marsh in the rains, was 
formerly a i)art of the sea. The traditions of sea ports on the 
north of Cach, and the discovery of ships in l\w Kin, appear to 
put this question beyond a doubt ; while the rapidity of the 
changes which have taken place under our own eyes prepart; us 
to believe that still grcat(;r may have occurred in tin." 800 yrars 
that have elapsed sinc(! the taking of Somnat. (See liiirucss 
Travels, vol. iii. p. 30fJ. j 1 .-appose Mahmiul's expedition to 
Somnat to have occupied iiioic than a year and a half, /. t'. from 
October or November, \()'1\, to April or .May, ]{)'H\. I'eri.shta 
says it occupied two years and a half, and Price in one place, 

o o .'3 




BOOK Mahmud allowed himself no repose after all that 

. . he had endured. He returned to Multan before 

the end of the year, to chastise a body of Jats in 
the Jund mountains who had molested his army 
on its march from Somnat. These marauders took 
refuge in the islands inclosed by the smaller chan- 
nels of the Indus, which are often not fordable, 
and where they might elude }3ursuit by shifting 
from island to island. Mahmud, who was on his 
guard against this expedient, had provided himself 
with boats, and was thus able, not only to transport 
his own troops across the channels, but to cut off 
the communications of the enemy, to seize such 
boats as they had in their possession, and, in the 
end, to destroy most of the men, and make pri- 
soners of the women and children.* 

two years and a half, and in another, more than three, (vol. ii. 
p. 291.) But these periods are inconsistent with the dates in 
Ferishta, which are as follows : — March from Multan, October, 
A. D. I024-, A. H. 415 ; return to Ghazni, a. d. 1026, a. h. 417. 
The return must have taken place before the middle of the 
year, as Mahmud's sufferings in the desert would not have hap- 
pened in the rainy season, and, moreover, as no time would be 
left for the expedition against the Jats, which took place in the 
same year. The two years and a half, therefore, coidd only be 
made up by supposing Ferishta to have made a slip in ascribing 
Mahmud's return to a. d. 1026, instead of a. d. 1027 ; but A. d. 
1027 appears by his own account to have been employed in an 
expedition against the Seljuks. (Briggs, vol. i. p. 83.) Sup- 
posing Mahmud to have remained for two years in Guzerat, it 
would be difficult to explain how he kept up his communications 
with Ghazni ; as well as to account for his inaction during so 
long a period, in which not a march nor a transaction of any 
kind is recorded. 

* I have endeavoured to reconcile this account, which is 


This was the last of Mahmud's expeditions to chap. 

. III. 
India. His activity was soon called forth in another 

direction; for the Turki tribe of Seljuk, whose i-.irst revolt 

' _ ^ .; ' of the 

growth he had incautiously favoured, had become Seijuks. 
too unruly and too powerful to be restrained by his 
local governors ; and he was obliged to move in 
person a^irainst them. He defeated them in a great Suppressed 
battle, and compelled them, tor a tmie, to return a.h. 418. 
to their respect for his authority.* 

This success was now followed by another of Conquestof 
greater consequence, which raised Mahmud's power Mahmiid. 
to its highest pitch of elevation. The origin of 
the family of Buya, or the Deilemites, has already 
been mentioned, t They subsequently divided 
into three branches ; and, after various changes, 
one branch remained in possession of Persian Irak, 
extending from the frontier of Kliorasan, westward 
to the mountains of Kurdistan, beyond Hamadan. 
The chief of this branch had died about the time 
of Mahmud's accession, leaving his dominions under 

entirely on Ferishta's authoritj-, with the size of the river and 
the geography of the neighbourhood. His own description 
gives an idea of a regular naval armament and a sea fight ; 
Mahniud, he says, had 1400 boats built for the occasion, 
each capable of containing twenty-five archers and fire-ball 
men, and armed with spikes in a peculiar nuinner. The enemy 
had a fleet of 4000, and some say 8000 boats, and a desperate 
conflict took place ; yet Mahmud's boats must have been con- 
structed after his return during the ])resent year, and the moun- 
taincers could scarcely have possessed a large flotilla. I (|urs- 
tion if 1(X)0 boats couhl now l)e collected on the wliulc ol llic 
Indus, and the rivr-rs c(JMne(;teil with it. 

* Briggb's Ferishta, vol. i. ]). H^, H'.i. f See i).530. 

o o !■ 


BOOK the regency of his widow ; and the Sultan was at 
-_____^ first disposed to take advantage of the circum- 
stance. He was disarmed by a letter from the 
regent, who told him that she might have feared 
him while her warlike husband was alive, but now 
felt secure in the conviction that he was too sene- 
rous to attack a defenceless woman, and too wise 
to risk his glory in a contest where no addition to 
it could be gained.* 

If Mahmud ever evinced this magnanimity 
towards the widow, it was not extended to her 
son. This young man's reign was a continued 
scene of misgovernment ; and the rebellions it 
at last engendered either obliged him (as some 
state) to solicit the interposition of Mahmud, or 
enabled that monarch to interfere unsolicited, and 
to turn the distracted state of the kingdom to his 
own profit. He invaded Irak, and ungenerously, if 
not perfidiously, seized the person of the prince, 
who had trusted himself in his camp before Rei. 
He then took possession of the whole territory ; 
and, having been opposed at Isfahan and Cazvin, 
he punished their resistance by putting to death 
some thousands of the inhabitants of each city.t 
His death, Thcsc trausactious, which leave so great a stain 
on the memory of Mahmud, were the last acts of 
his reign. He was taken ill soon after his return 

* D'Herbelot. Price. Gibbon. 

f D'Herbelot, art. Mahmoud, p. 521. See also the art. Mag- 


to his capital, and died at Ghazni on the GQtli of chap. 
April, A. D. 1030. 

Shortly before his death he commanded all the a.d. lom 
most costly of his treasures to be displayed before 
liim ; and, after long contemplating them, he is 
said to have shed tears at the thought that he was 
so soon to lose them. It is remarked that, after 
this fond parting with his treasures, he distributed 
no portion of them among those around him, to 
whom also he was about to bid farewell, t 

Thus died Mahmud, certainly the greatest sove- a"'' ^i'^- 


reign of his own time, and considered by the Ma- 
hometans among the greatest of any age. Though 
some of his qualities have been overrated, he ap- 
pears on the whole to have deserved his reputation. 
Prudence, activity, and enterprise, he possessed in 
the highest degree ; and the good order which he 
preserved in his extensive dominions during his 
frequent absences is a proof of his talents for go- 
vernment. The extent itself of those dominions 
does little towards establishing his ability, for the 
state of the surrounding countries afforded a field 
for a wider ambition than he ventured to indulge ; 
and the speedy dissolution of his empire prevents 

* Briggs, vol. i. p. 84-. ; Price, vol. ii. p. 294. 

f It was probably this anecdote that suggested to Sadi n 
story wliich he relates in the " Cjiilistari." A certain jierson, 
he says, saw Sultan MahniCid (then long dead) in a dream. 
His body was reduced to a bare skeleton ; but his eyes (the 
organs of covctousness with the Asiatics) were still entire, and 
gazefl eagerly from their sockets, as if they wen; insatiable and 
indestructible, like the passion which animated them. 


BOOK our forming a high opinion of the wisdom em- 
' ployed in constructing it. Even his Indian opera- 
tions, for which all other objects were resigned, 
are so far from displaying any signs of system or 
combination, that their desultory and inconclusive 
nature would lead us to deny him a comprehensive 
intellect, unless we suppose its range to have been 
contracted by the sordid passions of his heart. 

He seems to have made no innovation in internal 
government ; no laws or institutions are referred, 
by tradition, to him. 

The real source of his glory lay in his combining 
the qualities of a warrior and a conqueror, with a 
zeal for the encouragement of literature and the 
arts, which was rare in his time, and has not yet 
been surpassed. His liberality in those respects is 
enhanced by his habitual economy. He founded 
a university in Ghazni, with a vast collection of 
curious books in various languages, and a museum 
of natural curiosities. He appropriated a large 
sum of money for the maintenance of this esta- 
blishment, besides a permanent fund for allowances 
to professors and to students.* He also set aside 
a sum, nearly equal to 10,000/. a-year, for pensions 
to learned men ; and showed so much munificence 
to individuals of eminence, that his capital exhi- 
bited a greater assemblage of literary genius than 
any other monarch in Asia has ever been able to 

* Briggs's Ferishta, vol. i. p. 60. 

f The first encouragers of Persian literature appear to have 


Of the many names that adorned his court, few chap. 

. . III. 
are known in Europe. U'nsuri may be mentioned 

as the first instance, in Asia, of a man raised to 
high rank and title for poetical merit alone * ; but 
it is to Ferdousi that we must ascribe the universal 
reputation of Mahmud as a patron of poetry ; and 
it is to him, also, that his country is indebted for a 
large portion of her poetical fame. 

The history of this poet throws a strong light on 
Mah mud's literary ardour ; and is improved in in- 
terest as well as authenticity by its incidental dis- 
closure of the conqueror's characteristic foible. 
Perceiving that the ancient renown of Persia was 
on the point of being extinguished, owing to the 
bigotry of his predecessors, Mahmud early held 
out rewards to any one who would embody in a 
historical poem, the achievements of her kings 
and heroes, previous to the Mahometan conquest. 
Uakiki, a great poet of the day, whom he had first 
engaged in this undertaking, was assassinated by 

been the Samanis. The " Tarikhi Tabari," a celebrated his- 
torical work, was translated into Persian from Arabic by the 
viztr of one of the kings of that race, in a.d. 916 ; and Uudcki, 
the earliest of the Persian poets, received SO,(X)0 dirhems from 
another of those princes for a moral work founded on Pilpay's 
fables. The Biiyas, or Deilemites, are mentioned by Gibbon 
as revivers of the language and genius of I'crsia; but it is to 
Sultan Mahmud that she is indebted for tiie full expansion of 
her national literature. 

* Colonel Kennedy, from Daidat Shaii, Tniiisdclio/is of I he 
Jioinhdi/ lAlcrdrij Sorivti/, vol. ii. p. IF). ; wjiere, also, is the 
autliority for tlie j)resent to iU'ideki. 


BOOK a servant, before he had finished more than one 


. . thousand couplets ; when the fame of Mahmud's 

Hberahty fortunately attracted Ferdousi to his 
court. By him was this great work completed ; 
and in such a manner, that, although so obsolete as 
to require a glossary, it is still the most popular of 
all books among his countrymen, and is admired 
even by European readers for the spirit and fire 
of some passages, the tenderness of others, and the 
Homeric simplicity and grandeur that pervade the 
whole. A remarkable feature in this poem (per- 
haps an indication of the taste of the age) is the 
fondness for ancient Persian words, and the stu- 
dious rejection of Arabic. It is said, though not, 
perhaps, quite correctly, that not one exclusively 
Arabic word is to be found in the sixty thousand 
couplets. The poem was from time to time re- 
cited to the Sultan, who listened to it with delight, 
and showed his gratitude by gifts to the poet ; but 
when the whole was concluded, after thirty years 
of labour, as Ferdousi himself assures us, the re- 
ward was entirely disproportioned to the greatness 
of the work.* Ferdousi rejected what was offered, 
withdrew in indignation to his native city of Tus, 

* The story told is, that Mahmud had promised a dirhem 
for every verse ; and that, although he had meant golden dir- 
hems, the sight of the sura was too much for his covetous 
nature, and he changed the payment into silver dirhems ; but 
Mahmud had too much prudence to have promised an unlimited 
sum for verses, even of Ferdousi's, and too much taste to have 
thought that he would improve their value by offering a pre- 
mium on their number. 


launched a bitter satire atMahmud, and held him- ^^^J^^- 

self prepared to fly from that monarch's dominions, 

if it were necessary, to shun the effects of his re- 
venge. But Mahmud magnanimously forgot the 
satire, while he remembered the great epic, and 
sent so ample a remuneration to the poet as would 
have surpassed his highest expectations. But his 
bounty came too late ; and the treasure entered 
one door of Ferdousi's house as his bier was borne 
out of another. His daughter at first rejected the 
untimely gift ; by the persuasion of Mahmud, she 
at length accepted it, and laid it out on an em- 
bankment, to afford a supply of water to the city 
where her father had been born, and to which he 
was always much attached. 

The satire, however, has survived. It is to it 
we owe the knowledge of Mahmud's base birth ; 
and to it, beyond doubt, is to be ascribed the 
preservation of the memory of his avarice, which 
would otherwise long ago have been forgotten.* 

Mahmud's taste for architecture, whether en- 
gendered, or only developed, by what he witnessed 
at Mattra and Canouj, displayed itself in full per- 
fection after his return from that expedition. He 
then founded the mosque called *' the Celestial 
Bride," which, in that age, was the wonder of the 
East. It was built of marble and granite, of such 
beauty as to strike every beholder with astonish- 

• D'Hcrbt'lot; Kennedy on Poisiaii Literature, Jiomhmj 
Transactions; Malcolm's Persia; Iiitnxluctioii to Shalmameli, 
Oriniliil Mdfjdziin., vol. vi. 


BOOK ment *, and was furnished with rich carpets, can- 
V. . . 

' delabras, and other ornaments of silver and gold. 

It is probable, from the superiority long possessed 
by Indian architects, that the novelty and elegance 
of the design had even a greater effect than the 
materials, in commanding so much admiration. 
When the nobility of Ghazni, says Ferishta (from 
whom most of the above is transcribed), saw the 
taste of the monarch evince itself in architecture, 
they vied with each other in the magnificence of 
their private palaces, as well as in public buildings, 
which they raised for the embellishment of the 
city. Thus, in a short time, the capital was orna- 
mented with mosques, porches, fountains, reser- 
voirs, aqueducts, and cisterns, beyond every city 
in the East. 

All writers attest the magnificence of Mahmud's 
court, which exhibited the solemnity of that of the 
califs, together with all the pomp and splendour 
which they had borrowed from the great king ; so 
that when to all this we add the great scale of his 
expeditions, and the high equipments of his armies, 
we must accede to the assertion of his historian, 
that, if he was rapacious in acquiring wealth, he 
was unrivalled in the judgment and grandeur with 
which he knew how to expend it. 

As avarice is the great imputation against Mah- 
mud in the East, so is bigotry among European 
writers. The first of these charges is established 

* Ferishta. 


by facts ; the other seems the result of a miscon- chap. 

ception. Mahmud carried on war with the infidels 

because it was a source of gain, and, in his day, the 
greatest source of glory. He professed, and pro- 
bably felt, like other Mussulmans, an ardent wish 
for the propagation of his fliith ; but he never 
sacrificed the least of his interests for the accom- 
plishment of that object ; and he even seems to 
have been perfectly indifferent to it, when he might 
have attained it without loss. One province, per- 
manently occupied, would have done more for 
conversion than all his inroads, which only hard- 
ened the hearts of the Hindus against a religion 
which presented itself in such a form. 

Even where he had possession, he showed but 
little zeal. Far from forcing conversions, like Mo- 
hammed Casim, we do not hear that in his long 
residence in Guzerat, or his occupation of Labor, 
he ever made a convert at all. His only ally (the 
raja of Canouj) was an unconverted Hindu. His 
transactions witii the raja of Labor were guided 
entirely by policy, without reference to religion ; 
and when he placed a Hindu devotee on the throne 
of Guzerat, his thoughts must have been other- 
wise directed than to the means of propagating 

It is no where asserted that he ever put a Hindu 
to d(!ath excej)t in battle, or in the storm of a 
fort. His only massacres were among his brother 
Mussulmans in Persia. Even they were owing to 
the sj)irit of the age, not of the individual, and 


BOOK sink into insignificance, if compared with those of 
' Chengiz Khan, who was not a Mussulman, and is 
eulogised by one of our most liberal historians as 
a model of philosophical toleration. 

Perhaps the most odious trait of his religious 
wars is given incidentally by a Mahometan author, 
quoted in Price, who states that such was the mul- 
titude of captives brought from India, that a pur- 
chaser could not be found for a slave at four shil- 
lings and seven pence a head. 

The Mahometan historians are so far from giving 
him credit for a blind attachment to the faith, that 
they charge him with scepticism, and say that he 
rejected all testimony, and professed his doubts of 
a future state : and the end of the story, as they, 
relate it, increases its probability ; for, as if he 
felt that he had gone too far, he afterwards an- 
nounced that the Prophet had appeared to him in 
a dream, and in one short sentence had removed 
all his doubts and objections. 

It is, however, certain that he was most atten- 
tive to the forms of his religion. He always 
evinced the strongest attachment to the orthodox 
calif, and rejected all offers from his Egyptian 
rival. Though he discouraged religious enthusiasts 
and ascetics, he showed great reverence for men of 
real sanctity.* 

Hardly one battle of importance is described in 

* See a letter from Aurangzib, in the Asiatic Register for 
1801, p. 92. 

SULtAn MAHMtJD. 577 

which he did not kneel down in prayer, and ini- (iiap. 


ploie the blessing of God upon his arms.* ' 

Notwithstanding the bloodshed and misery of 
wliich he was the occasion, he does not seem to 
have been cruel. M'e hear of none of the tra- 
gedies and atrocities in his court and family which 
are so common in those of other despots. No in- 
human punishments are recorded ; and rebels, even 
when they are persons who had been pardoned 
and trusted, never suifer any thing worse than im- 

Mahmiid was about the middle size ; atliletic, 
and well proportioned in liis limbs, but disfigured 
with the small-pox to a degree that was a constant 
source of mortification to him in his youth, until it 
stimulated him to exertion, from a desire that the 
bad impression made by his. appearance might be 
effaced by the lustre of his actions. t 

He seems to have been of a cheerful disposition, 
and to have lived on easy terms with those around 

The following well-known story shows the opin- 
ion entertained of his severity to military licence, 

* A stor}' is told of liiin in Ferishta and in tliu " Rauzat u 
Safa," that puts his zeal for religion in a new ligiit. A citizen 
of Nishapur wa.s brought before him on an accusation of heresy. 
"O king," said he "I am rieii, but I am no lu retic ; can you 
not take my property without injuring my reputation ? " The 
king heard his proposal with great good humour, took the 
bribe, and gave him a certificate under the royal signet of his 
perfect orthodoxy. 

t IVri-'ilita. D'llerbelot. Price. 

VOL. I. I' 1' 


BOOK one of the first virtues in a general. One day a 

L_, peasant threw himself at his feet, and complained 

that an officer of the arm^^ having conceived a 
passion for his wife, had forced himself into his 
house, and driven him out with blows and insults ; 
and that he had renewed the outrage, regardless of 
the clamours of the husband. Mahmud directed 
him to say nothing, but to come again when the 
officer repeated his visit. On the third day, the 
peasant presented himself, and Malunud took his 
sword in silence, and wrapping himself in a loose 
mantle, followed him to his house. He found the 
guilty couple asleep, and, after extinguishing the 
lamp, he struck off the head of the adulterer at a 
blow. He then ordered lights to be brought, and, 
on looking at the dead man's face, burst into an 
exclamation of thanksgiving, and called for water, 
of which he drank a deep draught. Perceiving 
the astonishment of the peasant, he informed him 
he had suspected that so bold a criminal could be 
no other than his own nephew ; that he had extin- 
guished the light lest his justice should give way 
to affection ; that he now saw that the offender 
was a stranger ; and, having vowed neither to eat 
nor drink till he had given redress, he was nearly 
exhausted with thirst. 

Another example is given of his sense of his duty 
to his people. Soon after the conquest of Irak, a 
caravan was cut off in the desert to the east of that 
country, and the mother of one of the merchants 
who was killed went to Ghazni to complain. 


Mahmud urged the impossibility of keeping order chap. 

ill so remote a part of his territories ; when the 

woman boldly answered, " Why, then, do you take 
countries which you cannot govern, and for the 
protection of which you must answer in the day 
of judgment?" Mahmud was struck with the 
reproach ; and, after satisfying the woman by a 
liberal present, he took effectual measures for the 
protection of the caravans. 

Mahmud was, perhaps, the richest king that 
ever lived. On hearing of the wealth of some 
former dynasty, who had accumulated jewels 
enough to fill seven measures, he exclaimed, 
" Praise be to God, who has given me a hundred 

As all the subsequent dynasties in India spring Composi. 
from the court or neighbourhood or Unazni, it is court ami 
to be regretted that we have so few materials for '"'"■■ 
judging of the state of society and manners in 

Things were much changed since the time of the 
Arab conquests, and new actors had come on the 
stage widely different from those who had pre- 
ceded them. Though many Arabs were still em- 
])loycd, both as soldiers and magistrates, even they 
were only Arabs by descent, while a great portion 
of the court and army were Turks, and the rest, 
with almost all llie ])co])le, were Persians. 

The Turks luul not come into (ihazni as con- Turks, 
querors. Numbers of 'J'urkish slaves had been 
brouj'ht into the southern countries after the con- 

V V 2 


BOOK quest of Transoxiana ; and their courage, their 

.. habits of obedience, their apparently dependent 

condition and want of connection with all around 
them, recommended them to the confidence of 
absolute monarchs, and led to their general em- 
ployment. Some princes formed bodies of Mamluk 
(slave) guards ; and some employed individuals in 
offices of trust ; so that they already occupied 
an important place in what had been the Arab 
empire, and soon after the death of Mahmud 
brought the greater part of Asia under their do- 

The house of Ghazni, though Turks themselves, 
were less under the influence of their countrymen 
than most of their contemporaries. A'lptegin was 
a single slave, and rose to power as governor of 
Khorasan. He may have had some Mamluks and 
other Turks in his service ; but the main body of 
his army, and all his subjects, were natives of the 
country round Ghazni. Mahmud himself was born 
of a Persian mother *, and was in language and 
manners a Persian ; but his increased resources, 
and the conquest of Transoxiana, would draw more 
Turks about him, and their importance in the 
neighbouring countries would give more weight to 
their example. 

The existence of wandering tribes in both na- 
tions leads us at first to suppose a resemblance be- 

* From Zabal, the country adjoining to Cabul on the south, 
beginning from Ghazni, and extending to, perhaps including, 
Slstan on the west. 


tween the Tartars and the Arabs ; while the reality chap. 

' '' 111. 

would be better shown by a contrast. 

From the first mention of the Tartars, in the thir- 
teenth century before Christ, they formed great 
nations under despotic governments. They fed 
sheep, on uncultivated but not unfertile plains, 
and were not exposed to the sufferings ant) pri- 
vations which fall to the lot of those who follow 
camels in the desert. Tlieydid not live in towns; 
and the extent of the dominions of their princes 
kept them from the anxiety arising from close con- 
tact with their external enemies. 

They had, therefore, nothing to sharpen their 
intellect, or to give birth to feelings of inde})cnd- 
ence j and though they were as brave and hardy 
as the Arabs, they seem to have been made of 
grosser materials than that fiery and imaginative 
people : their wars originated in obedience, not in 
enthusiasm ; and their cruelty arose from insensi- 
bility, not bigotry or revenge : among themselves, 
indeed, they were sociable and good-natured, and 
by no means much under the influence of tlie 
darker passions. 

Wlierevcr the Arabs conquered, they left in- 
delible traces of tiieir presence ; rehgion, law, 
philosophy, and literature, all took a new character 
from them. Their bad qualities, as well as thi'ir 
good, were copied by their subjects and discij)les ; 
and wherever we find a Mussulman, we are sure to 
see a tinge; of the pride, violence, and jealousy, 
with s(jinething oltlie hospitality and muniliceiice, 

V r .'3 





of the early Arab. The Tartars, on the other 
hand, have neither founded a rehgion nor intro- 
duced a Uterature ; and, so far from impressing their 
own stamp on others, they have universally melted 
into that of the nations among whom they settled : 
so that, in manners and in outward appearance, 
there is scarcely a feature left in common between 
a Tartar of Persia and one of China. 

Amidst all these changes of form, there is some 
peculiarity of genius or temperament, which pre- 
serves a sort of national character ; and, when im- 
proved by the qualities of more refined nations, 
they exhibit more of the manly and practical turn 
of Europeans than is found in any other among the 
nations of the East. 

In the present instance, their character took its 
bias from the Persians, a people very likely to in- 
fluence all who came into contact with them. 

With a good deal of the energy of the Arabs 
and Tartars, the Persians combine the suppleness 
and artifice of the Hindus, and a fund of talents 
and ingenuity peculiar to themselves ; and, being 
a lively and restless people, they have been able 
(although always depressed by a singularly grievous 
despotism) to make a figure in the history of the 
world out of all proportion to their numbers or the 
resources of their territory. 

Erom the first conquest of their country the 
Persians must have been employed in all financial 
and civil business, in which the Arabs were no 
adepts J and their rapid conversion early opened 



the way for them to offices of trust and power. ^"J^- 

A'bu Moslem, who placed the Abbassides on the . 

tin-one, was a Persian of Isfahan ; the celebrated 
Barmecides were Persians of Balkh ; and the nation 
seems before long to have extended its views to the 
recovery of its independence. Tahir, though an 
Arab, was supported by Persians in his rebellion. 
The Soffarides, the Buyides, and probably the Sa- 
manides *, were Persians ; and, at the time we are 
writing of, Mahmud was the only sovereign not 
of Persian origin between the Jaxartes and the 

Their agreeable manners and refined way of 
liviner rendered the Persians models in those re- 
spects, even in countries at a distance from their 
own ; and their language, which had been enriched 
by vast accessions from the Arabic, became, a little 
before this time, what it still continues, the main 
channel of polite literature, and, in some degree, 
of science, through all the Mahometan part of 

These nations were in various degrees of obc- Relation 

of'tlie (Hf- 
rn /• 1 1 1 • fi-'ruiit iia- 

* The Samanides are generally reckoned Turks ; but their tions to tlic 
founder was presented to the calif Mamiin at Mcrv in Khoriisiin, govmi- 
and was neither a Turki chief nor a slave. The family claimed 
a Persian ancestor at a time when a descent from Gu(>bres 
would not have been an object of ambition to men of another 
race. De Guignes, who exhausts all Tartar tribes, anil eviiu 
adopts single Turks like the Ghaziievites, lays no claim to the 
Siimanls. Wiiether they came from lJ<»kli;ira or Halkh, the 
fixed inhabitants of either country are P(;rsians ; and th(;ir being 
the first encouragcrs of Persian literature is another argument 
for their descent. 

r r 1' 


BOOK dience, and influenced the government in various 

The inhabitants of towns and phiins (including 
the Arabs, almost all the Persians, and such of the 
small bodies of Turks as had long confined them- 
selves to particular tracts) were entirely submissive 
to the Sultan. The mountaineers were probably 
in every stage from entire obedience to nearly 
perfect independence. The great Turki hordes 
(as the Seljuks) were separate communities uncon- 
nected with the territory they occupied, which 
sometimes, in the same generation, was on the 
A'mur and on the Wolga. Their relation to the 
Sultan depended on the will of their chiefs, and 
was as fluctuating as might be expected in such 
circumstances ; during the vigorous reign of 
Mahmud they seem in general to have been sub- 

The small portion of India possessed by Mahmud 
was so recent an acquisition, that the limits of his 
authority, both in degree and extent, must have 
been ill defined. I suppose he was powerful in the 
plains, and had little influence in the hills. 

Their shares in the government may be con- 
jectured from the circumstances of the different 

Religion and law were Arabian (though modified 
in the latter department by local customs) ; and 
the lawyers and divines would, in many cases, be 
from the same country. 

The Sultan had a body of guards mounted on his 


own horses, who, we may conchide, were Mamlaks chap. 
(or Turki slaves) ; and separate troops of Tartar " 

horse, from beyond the Oxus, no doubt formed 
an important part of his army. A body of 5000 
Arab horse is mentioned on one occasion, and very 
large bodies of Afghans and Khiljis are often spoken 
of; but we may infer, from various circumstances 
and analogies, that the bulk of his army was re- 
cruited promiscuously from all parts of his domi- 
nions, either singly or in small bodies, and was 
placed under officers of his own selection ; that 
the contingents of particular provinces were under 
their governors ; and that, besides the moun- 
taineers enlisted in the ranks, many tumultuary 
bodies of that class served under their hereditary 
chiefs. All general commands were certainly held 
by the king's own officers, who, by their names, 
seem generally to have been Turks. 

The number of his regular army is said, at a 
muster six years before his death, to have amounted 
to 54,000 good horse; a moderate number for so 
great a state, and })robably increased on occasions 
by temporary levies. 

Though there is no mention of Iliudiis in Mah- 
miid's army, a numerous body of Hindu cavahy, 
under Sewand Rai, is stated to have taken part in 
tlie troubles atGliazni within two months after tlie 
Sultan's death ; whence it is obvious that he nuist, 
during his lifetime, have availed hinisclf (»r llie 
ser\ifC's of lliis class of jiis subjccis willioiil con- 
sidering tiicir religion as an objection. 


BOOK Though tlie Turki nation were still pagans, most, 
' if not all, those in Mahmud's army were probably 
Mahometans. The slaves were of course made Mus- 
sulmans as soon as they were purchased, and the 
free men were likely from imitation to embrace 
the religion of the country they were in. Some 
even of the hordes had begun to be converted ; 
but as the Turks did not, like the Hindus, lay 
aside their pagan names on conversion, it is not 
so easy, as in the other cases, to ascertain their 

The civil administration must have been en- 
tirely conducted by Persians. The two celebrated 
vizirs, Abul Abbass and Ahmed Meimendi, were 
of that nation, and appeared to have lived in con- 
stant rivalry with the great Turki generals. The 
former of the two, being more a man of business 
than learning, introduced the practice of writing 
all public papers in Persian. Ahmed restored 
Arabic in permanent documents ; such, probably, 
as charters, and those of the class which in Europe 
would be written in Latin. 

It is owing to this circumstance that, although 
India was never directly conquered by Persia, the 
language of business, and of writing in general, is all 

* Seljuk is said to have been converted ; and the fact is 
proved by the scriptural names of his sons, the contemporaries 
of Sultan Mahm(id, which were Michael, Israel, Musa (Moses), 
and according to some Yunas (Jonas) ; but his celebrated grand- 
son, though a zealous Mahometan, bore the Tartar nanie of 
Toghrul, and Ins equa% famous successor that of A'lp Arslan. 


taken from the latter country. The Persian Ian- chap. 

guage is also spoken much more generally than 

French is in Europe. It likewise furnishes a large 

proportion of the vernacular language of Hin- 

dostan, the basis of which is an original Indian 


588 HISTORY OF india. 



BOOK Sultan Mahmud left two sons, one of whom, 

Mohammed, had, by his gentleness and docility, 

Siiitau gQ ingratiated himself with his father, that he fixed 

Moliam- o ' 

"led. on him for his successor in preference to his more 

A.n. 1030, '■ 

A.H. 421. untractable brother, Masaiid. Mohammed was ac- 
cordingly put in possession, and crowned as soon 
as Mahmud was dead ; but the commanding tem- 
per and headlong courage of Masaud, together 
with his personal strength and soldier-like habits, 
made him more popular, and, in fact, more fit to 
govern, in the times which were approaching. 
Accordingly a large body of guards deserted from 
Mohammed immediately after his accession ; and 
by the time Masaud arrived from his government 
of Isfahan, the whole army was ready to throw off 
its allegiance. Mohammed was seized, bhnded, and 
sent into confinement ; and Masaud ascended tlie 
throne within five months after his father's death. 

Sultan 'p[^g situation of the new monarch required all 

INIasaud. ^ ... 

A.I). 1030, the energy by which he was distincruished ; for the 

A.H. 421. ., . 

Rise of the powcr of tlic Seljuks had already risen to such a 

Seljuks. I'l 1 !• • •!! !•• 

height as to threaten his empire witii the calamities 
which they afterwards brought on it. 

The origin of this family is not distinctly known ; 


and tlieir early history is related in diiferent ways. 
The most probable account is, that the chief from 
whom they derived tlieir name held a high station 
under one of the great Tartar princes ; that he 
incurred the displeasure of his sovereign, and emi- 
grated witli his adherents to Jaund, on the left 
bank of the Jaxartes. His sons were afterwards 
subject to Sultan Mahmud; and, by one account, 
were either induced or compelled by him to move 
to the south of the Oxus, and settle in Khorasan.* 
It is, however, more probable that they remained 
in Transoxiana, under a loose subjection to the 
Sultan, carrying on wars and incursions on their 
own account, until the end of his reign, when they 
began to push their depredations into his imme- 
diate territories. They received a check at that 
time, as has been related, and did not enter Kho- 
rasan in force until the reign of Masaud. 

Though individuals of the Turki nation had long 
before made themselves masters of the govern- 
ments which they served, as the Mamliik guards 
at Bagdad, Alptegin at Ghazni, &c. ; yet the Sel- 
juks were the first horde, in modern times, that 
obtained possessions to the south of the Oxus ; 
and, although the invasions of Chcngiz Khan and 
Tamerlane were afterwards on a greater scale, 
the Seljuk contpiest was raised to equal import- 
ance from liie fact that the representative of 

* Amir bin Kadr Scljnhi was kft by Maliiiiuil in tin; coni- 
maiid of a garrison iti India in A. u. lO'il, a.h. 112. 



BOOK one of its branches still fills the throne of Con- 
V. . 


Their wars j^^ ^\^q ^ji^-jg ^f Masaud's accessioo their inroads 

•with Ma- 

saiid, ii^to Khorasan began again to be troublesome. 

They did not, liowever, seem to require the personal 
exertions of the new king, who was therefore left 

A.B. 1031, at leisure to reduce the province of Mecran under 

A. H. 42'J. . , . . . 

his authority ; and as, withm the next three years 
A.n. 10554, ]^g received the submission of the provinces of 

A. H. 425. •' 

Mazanderan and Gurgan, then in the hands of a 
family of unconverted fire-worshippers, he had, be- 
fore his power began to decline, attained to the 
sovereignty of all Persia, except the province of 

The rest of his reign was spent in struggles with 
the Seljuks, who, though they still professed them- 
selves his slaves, defeated his lieutenants and ra- 
vaged his dominions. At length he took the field 
in person and encountered Toghral Beg, the cele- 
brated Seljuk conqueror, at Zendecan or Dan- 
A.n. 1039, dunaken near Merv. Masaud being deserted on 

A. H. 432. 

the field by some of his Turki followers, was totally 
and irretrievably defeated, and was compelled to fly 
to Merv. He there assembled the wreck of his 
army, and returned to Ghazni ; but, far from being 
able to collect such a force as might oppose the 
Seljuks, he found himself without the means of re- 
pressing the disorders which were breaking out 
round the capital. In these circumstances he de- 

* Do Guignes, vol. ii.p. 190. 


termined to withdraw to India, and avail himself of chap. 


the respite thus obtained to retrieve his affairs. 
But disciphne was now dissolved, and all respect 
for the king's authority destroyed. Soon after he 
had crossed the Indus his own guards attcm])ted to 
plunder his treasure ; and the confusion which fol- 
lowed led to a general mutiny of the army, the de- Depor/.tioM 

PUT//! '^"'^ (Icatli 

position or Masaud, and the restoration of his ofiMasa.ui. 
brother Mohammed to the throne. The bUndness 
of the latter prince rendering him incapable of con- 
ducting tlie government, he transferred the ef- 
fective administration to his son Ahmed, one of 
whose first acts was to put the deposed king to ^■",'4"o^^' 

Masaud was more than ten years on the throne, 
and, notwitlistanding the turbulent and disastrous 
character of his reign, he found time to promote 
the progress of knowledge, and showed himself a 
worthy successor of Mali mud in his patronage of 
learned men and in tlie erection of magnificent 
public buildings. 

The defeat wliich overthrew the cjovernmcnt of '^;'!';",', 
Masaud was attended with the most imi)ortant con- ''■"■ ■<^'<'> 

* A. If. IliJ, 

sc(|ucnces to India, as it raised the Mussuhnan t.. 
province there, from a despised dependency to one a.m. ni. 
of the most valuable j)ortions of the kingdom ; but 
the events which follow have little interest in Indian 
history. The revolutions in the government, being 
like those common to all Asiatic monarchies, fatigue 
without instructing : the struggles witii the Si'ljuUs 


BOOK only affected the western dominions of Ghazni : 
V. *' 
and those with tlie Hindus had no permanent effect 

at all. For the history of the people, Asiatic 
writers afford no materials. Yet this period must 
have been one of the most deserving of notice of 
the whole course of their career. It must have 
been then that permanent residence in India, and 
habitual intercourse with the natives, introduced a 
change into the manners and ways of thinking of 
the invaders, that the rudiments of a new language 
were formed, and a foundation laid for the present 
national character of the Mahometan Indians. 

The remaining transactions of the house of 
Ghazni need not therefore occupy much space. 

Modud the son of Musaud was at Balkh when 

his father was murdered. He hastened to the east 

with his army, defeated and put to death his rivals, 

A.D. 1040, and afterwards crushed a rebellion excited by one 

A H 433 

of his own brothers. 

At his accession the whole kingdom of Ghazni 
lay open to the victorious Seljuks, but the atten- 
tion of those conquerors was not drawn towards 
the east. They divided their conquests into four 
minor kingdoms under the supremacy of Toghral 
Beg. Abu Ali who obtained the sovereignty of 
Herat, Sistan, and Ghor, was left to contend with 
the Ghaznevites *, while Toghral with the main 
force of the tribe hastened to the conquest of 
Western Persia, the capture of Bagdad, and the 

* De Guignes, vol. ii. p. 190. 


invasion of the Roman Empire. In these circum- chap. 
stances Modud was able to maintain himself in " 

Ghazni and to recover Transoxiana; and being- 
united by marriage with the granddaughter of T6- 
ghral Beg, he seemed to be no longer in danger 
from the hostility of the Seliuks. But while he a. n. 1043, 
pursued his success in the west, the Raja of Delhi 
took advantage of his absence to overrun the 
Panjab. By skilful appeals to their superstition 
he revived the spirit of the Hindus, took Nagarcot, 
and laid siege to Labor. But that last strong hold 
of the Mussulmans was saved by the bravery of the 
garrison, who disdained to yield to infidels whom 
they had so often subdued, and by a report (which 
proved unfounded) of the approach of Modud. 

That prince was at the time engaged in the west, 
where even his family connection did not prevent 
new quarrels with the Seljuks, and had no time to 
visit India till his death. 

When that event took place the throne was 

usurped by his brother Abul Hasan, who made iia's!m. 

way to it by the murder of his infant nephew, but 1','," iVi,' 

was himself deposed in two years by his imcle Abul a.„. Jo^i, 

Rashid. A:.;..i.Ki.' 

The new j)rince recovered the ranjab, which suit.'m 

had been seized by one of the Mahometan leaders u.ishid. 

during the ])receding tioubh's, but he; was soon *.,'!. 41 .•I,' 

after defeated by a chief named Togral, who le- , „ ',",.„ 

volted ill Sistaii. The successful rebel assumed ''•"■'"■ 

\()i., I. ii ii 


BOOK the crown and put all the princes of the house of 
Ghazni that fell into his hands to death. He was 

himself assassinated at the end of forty days, and 
one of the three descendants of Sebektegin, who 
had escaped his cruelty, was raised to the throne. 

Sultan This prince was successful against the Seljuks, 

A.D. 1052, and had a prospect of recovering: the lost domi- 

A.H. 444, . . 

to ' nions of his flniiily, till checked by the rising 
a!h.45o. ' genius of Alp Arslan. 

Sultan His brother Ibrahim was a professed devotee. 

Ibrahim. ^ 

A.D. 1058, He made peace with the Seljuks by renouncing 

J JOj 111* 1 • y-t 

to all ciauTis that interfered with their pretensions, 

A.D. 1089, , , , p , . . 

A. H. 481. and spent most part or a long reign in practising 
penmanship and copying Korans. He left forty 
sons and thirty-six daughters. 

?l''*'1'),.x Masaud the Second was a man of more worth. 


A.D. 1098, His generals carried his arms beyond the Gans^es, 

A.H. 492, , . "^ ^ 

to and he himself revised the laws and formed them 

A.D. 1114, . . , T^ • 1 • • 1 

A.II.508. into a consistent code. During his reign the court 
resided for some years at Labor. 

Sultan On the death of Masaud the Second, one of his 

A.D. 1114, sons, Ar.slan, imprisoned his brothers and usurped 

" to ' the throne. The house of Ghazni had by this time 

A.H.5i2.^' formed repeated matrimonial alliances witli the 

Seljuks, and the sister of Sanjar, their sultan, was 

mother of all the princes. She was incensed at the 

oppression of so many of her children, and called 

on Sanjar to supj)ort Behram who had escaped the 


fate of his brothers. Sanjar undertook his cause, chap. 
and placed him on the throne by force of arms. 


Behram was a distinguished patron of letters. Suit'm 
The famous Persian poet Nizami resided at his a.d! uis, 
court, and dedicated one of his five great poems ^•"- ^^^' 
to Behram. But he disgraced tlie end of a long ^■"■J]^^' 
and prosperous reign, by a crime which brought 
ruin on himself and all his race. 

The territory of Ghor had been treacherously 
seized by JModud, and had since remained de- 
pendent on Ghazni. Tlie reigning prince, Kut- 
budin Sur *, was married to the daughter of Sultan 
Behram. Some differences, however, arose be- 
tween those princes ; and Behram, having got his 
son-in-law into his power, either poisoned him or 
put him openly to death. The latter is most pro- 
bable ; for Seif u din t, the brother of the de- 
ceased, immediately took up arms to revenge him, 
and advanced towards Ghazni, whence Bclnam 
was compelled to fly to Kirman in the mountains 
towards the east. 

Seif u din was so secure in his new j)ossession, ciia/.ni 
that he sent back most of liis army to Firuz Coh, by ti.c 
liis usual residence, under his brother Ala u din. 
But in sj)ite of all endeavours to render liimself 
j)opular in Ghazni, he fiiiied to sliake the atlach- 

* Called Kocthoofldcpn Malioiind (iliony Afghan, in Briggs's 
" FcriHlita," vol. i. p. l.GI. 

■f Seif oo(l(l(!(!ii Soory, Il)i(l. vol. i. p. 1.12. 

n n '2 


BOOK ment of tlie inhabitants to the old dynasty : a plot 

was entered into to invite Behram to return ; and 

as soon as the snow had cut off the communication 
with Ghor, that prince advanced against his former 
capital with an army collected from the unsub- 
dued part of his dominions. Self u din, conscious 
of his present weakness, was about to withdraw, 
but was persuaded, by the perfidious promises and 
entreaties of the people of Ghazni to try the fate 
of a battle ; and being deserted on the field by 
the citizens, the small body of his own troops that 
were with him were overpowered, and he himself 

Recovered \vas wouudcd and taken prisoner. Behram's con- 
by Beliram. . . , . , , . 

duct on this occasion was as inconsistent with his 

former character as it was repugnant to humanity. 

Cruel exe- Jjc made his prisoner be led round the city with 

cution of ... 

tiie King every circumstance of ignominy ; and, after ex- 
posing him to the shouts and insults of the rabble, 
put him to death by torture. He also ordered his 
vizir, a Seiad or descendant of the Prophet, to be 

When the news reached Ala u din, he was raised 
to the highest pitch of rage and indignation, and 
vowed a bitter revenge on all concerned. 

He seems, in his impatience, to have set out 
with what w^as thought an inadequate force, and lie 
was met with an offer of peace from Behram, 
accompanied by a warning of the certain destruction 
on which he was rushing. He replied, " that 
Behram's threats were as impotent as his arms ; 
that it was no new thing for kings to make war on 


each other ; but that barbarity such as his was un- chap. 
exampled among princes." 

In the battle which ensued, he appeared at one 
time to be overpowered by the superior numbers of 
the Ghaznevites ; but his own thirst for vengeance 
joined to the bravery and indignation of his coun- 
trymen, bore down all opposition, and compelled 
Behram to fly, almost alone, from the scene of 

The injuries, insults, and cruelties heaped on his ohazni 

... destroyed 

brother, by the people no less than the prince, by tiie 
would have justified a severe retaliation on Ghazni ; 
but the indiscriminate destruction of so great a 
capital turns all our sympathy against the author of 
it, and has fixed a stigma on Ala u din from which 
he will never be free as long as his name is remem- 

This noble city, perhaps at the time the greatest 
in Asia, was given up for three, and some say seven, 
days to flame, slaughter, and devastation. Even 
after the first fury was over, individuals were put 
to death, and all the Seiads that could be found 
were sacrificed in expiation of the murder of Seif 
u din's vizir. All the superb monuments of the 

* He is always called Jehansoz (Burner of the World), and 
though otherwise praised, is lueiitioned by no historian on this 
occasion, without the strongest terms of censure. ICveii the un- 
provoked massacres of Ciienglz and Tanierlane are spitken of 
with much h.'ss disajjprobation ; a jjroof, perhaps, of the nu)re ci- 
vilised character of tiie earlier period, in which such proceedings 
excited so mu(;h surprise;. 

<l <i •' 




House of 
retire to 




Ghaznevite kings were demolished, and every trace 
of them effaced, except the tombs of Mahmud, 
Masaud, and Tbrahim ; the two first of whom were 
spared for their valour, and the last probably for 
his sanctity. The unfortunate Behram only lived 
to witness the calamities he had brought on his 
country ; for, during his flight to India, he sank 
under fatigue and misfortune, and expired after a 
reign of thirty-five years. 

His son Khusru continued his retreat to Labor 
where he was received amidst the acclamations of 
his subjects, who were not displeased to see the 
seat of government permanently transferred to their 

He died (a. d. 1160) after a reign of seven years, 
and left the wreck of his territory to his son. 

Khusru Malik reigned for twenty-seven lunar 
years to a. d. 1186, when his last possession shared 
the fate of the rest and was occupied by the House 
of Ghoras will be hereafter related. The race of 
Sebektegin expired with this prince. 



^Id u dm Ghori. 

The origin of the house of Ghor has been much chap, 
discussed : the prevalent and apparently the correct ' 

opinion is, that both they and their subjects were Origin of 
Afghans. Ghor was invaded by the Mussulmans ofciior. 
within a few years after the death of Yezdegerd. 
It is spoken of by Ebn Haukal as only partially 
converted in the ninth century. t The inhabitants, 
according to the same author, at that time s])oke 
the language of Khorasan. X 

* Called in the "■ Tabakati Nasiri," the house of Sansabani. 

\ Ouseley's Ebn Haukal, pp. 221. and 226. ; see also p. 212. 
He there says that all beyond Ghor may be considered as Hin- 
dostan ; meaning, no doubt, that it was inhabited by infidels. 

\ The Afghans look on the mountains of Gh6r as tlieir earliest 
seat; and I do not know that it has ever been denied tiiat the 
people of that country in early times were Afghans. The only 
question relates to the ruling family. An author quoted by 
Professor Dorn (^History of the Afyhans, Annotations, p. 92.), 
says that they were Turks from Khita ; l)ut it is a bare as- 
sertion of one author; for the other quotation in the same place 
relates to the successors of the house of (ihor. All otiier authors, 
as far as I can learn, include them in the Afglian tribe of Sur; 
thougli they are all guilty of an inconsistency, in (U-riving ihcni 
from Sur and Sam, two sons of Zoiuik^ a fabuh)us king of Persia, 
quite unconnected with the Al'ghans. The same autiiors add 
some extraordinary legends rcganiing their more recent history. 
They relate that, aftei the time of Miihiiiutl, the head of the 

Q U 1- 



BOOK In the time of Sultan Malimud it was held, as 

lias been observed, by a prince whom Ferishta calls 

Mohammed Soory (or Sur) Afghan. From his 
time the history is easily brought down to the 
events last related. 

When Ala u din had satiated his fury at Ghazni 

house of Sur, whose name was Sam, was obliged to desert his 
country and &y to India, where, though still a sincere Mussulman 
at heart, he became a servant in a temple of idols. He there 
amassed a fortune, and was on his return home, when he was 
shipwrecked and drowned on the coast of Persia. His son 
Husen Suri clung to a plank, on which he floated for three 
days ; and although for all that time he had a tiger, which had 
been also in the wreck, for a companion, yet the animal did not 
attempt to molest him, and he made his w'ay to a city. He was 
there thrown into j^rison ; but being at length delivered, he set 
out for Ghazni. On the road he fell in with a band of robbers, 
who, glad of so fine a recruit, gave him a horse and arms, and 
compelled him to join their troop. On the same night they 
were all seized and brought before the Sultan, who happened to 
be the pious I'brahlm, and were ordered to be beheaded. Hu- 
sen, however, told his story ; and as his appearance was prepos- 
sessing, the Sultan believed him, and ultimately sent him as go- 
vernor to his native kingdom. From all this we are tempted to 
infer that some adventurer did gain authority in Ghor, through 
the Sultans of Ghazni ; that he either belonged originally to the 
tribe, or was adopted into it, perhaps marrying into the chiefs 
family (as is so common with Normans and others in the High- 
land clans), and afterwards invented the above romantic story, 
and equally romantic pedigree, to cover his low origin. Pro- 
fessor Dorn, in the annotations above quoted, has collected all 
that has been written on the house of Ghor as well as on the 
eight different accounts of the origin of the Afghans, and has 
come to very rational conclusions on both questions. 

On the house of Ghor, see also many articles in D'Herbelot, 
De Guignes, vol.ii. p. 181., and Brigc/s's Ferishta, vol. i. p. 161. 

HOUSE OF Gh6ii. (JOl 

he returned to Firuz Coh, and gave himself uj) to <^ " >i'- 
pleasure, as was his natural propensity. 

But new troubles, awaited him, and the following ronquest 
four years were fertile in revolutions. Sultan in ti.c 
Sanjar, then head of the Seljuks, invaded Ghor and ''■'" ^' 
Ghazni and made AUi u din prisoner, but soon 
restored him to liberty, and reinstated him in his 

Not long; after he was himself defeated and made -''■"• ''•5'^' 

^ _ A. II. 548. 

prisoner by the Euzes, a hitherto unknown tribe of 
Turkst, and a period of little more than one year 
beheld the downfall of the rival houses of Ghor Fail of the 


and Ghazni which had so long disputed the empire 
of the East. 

The original cause of this calamity was the revolt 
of Sanjar's governor of Kharazm, wlio founded the 
kingdom of that name afterw^ards so powerfid both 
in the east and west of Asia. This ])rince when 
pressed by Sanjar, called in the Khitans, a tribe 
from the north of China, which had been driven 
into Transoxiana. 

The invasion of the Kliitans displaced a portion 
of the tribe of Euz t which liad remained in Trans- 

* End of A.I). i\')'2, A. II. .51'7, or the bogimiiiig of tlic next 
year. Du (juigncs and D'llorbclot make the dati' A.o. 111!), 
A.n. .51-4-; but it must have boon after tlic taking of Gliazni, and 
before Sanjar's captivity, whicii fixes tlu; date witii luccisioii. 

•j- De Guigncs, vol. ii. p. 25G. 

I The Euz tribe- arc Turks, who were hiiig settled in Kipehiik. 
Tiioy are, ncconling to De (luignes, th(; aneestors of tiie Turk- 
mans (vol. i. part ii. \)\).')10. 522. vol. ii. p. IfK).). Tiicy are also 
called Lizes, Ouz, (iozz, Ciozi, and (ia/.i; but in IVrghana, wliiri! 


BOOK oxiana, while the other portion was conquerini^ in 
' Syria and Asia Minor ; and these exiles, being- 
forced upon the south, overwhelmed the Seljuks, 
and for a short time occupied Ghazni. Their mi- 
gration afterwards took a westerly direction, and 
the kingdom of Ghazni was left to its former pos- 
A.D. 1156, sessors. During these changes Ala u din died. 
A.H.551. pjjg eventful reign had only occupied four years. 

Seif u din Glwri. 

Not long before the death of Ala u din he placed 
his two nephews Gheias u din and Shahab u din in 
confinement, probably to secure the succession to 
his young and inexperienced son. But the first act 
of that son Seif u din, was to release his cousins and 
restore them to their governments, a confidence 
which he never had reason to repent. 

His other qualities, both personal and mental, 
corresponded to this noble trait, and might have 
insured a happy reign, if among so many virtues he 
had not inherited the revengeful spirit of his race. 
One of his chiefs appearing before him decorated 
with jewels which had belonged to his wife, and of 
which she had been stripped after his flither's de- 
feat by Sanjar, he was so transported by passion 
at the sight that he immediately put the offender 
to death with his own hand. A'bul Abbas, the 
brother of the deceased, suppressed his feelings at 

they are the ruling tribe, they are still called Euz (pronounced 
like the English verb use). 


the time ; but seized an early opportunity, when chap. 

Seif u din was engaged with a body of the Euz, 

and thrust his lance tlirough tlie SuUan's body in 
the midst of the fight. Seif u din had reigned 
little more than a year, and was succeeded by the 
elder of his cousins.* 

Glieids u din Ghori. 

Immediately on liis accession, Glieias u din as- »• i^-s?, 
sociated his brother, Mohammed Shahab u din, 
in the government. He retained tlie sovereignty 
during his whole life, but seems to have left the 
conduct of military operations almost entirely to 
Shahab u din, on whom, for some years before 
Gheias u din's death, the active duties of the 
government seem in a great measure to have de- 

The harmony in which these brothers lived is 
not the only proof that they retained the family 
attachment which prevailed among their predeces- 
sort. Their uncle (who ruled the dependent prin- 
cipality of Bcimian, extending along the upper Oxus 
from the east of Balkh) having attempted to seize 
the throne on the death of Seif u din, was defeated 
in battle, and so surrounded that his destruction 
seemed inevitable ; when his nephews threw them- 
selves from their horses, ran to hold his stirrup, 
and treaU'd him with such profound rt'S))c'ct, thai, 

* l)'il( rlxlot. l'( rislita. A bsUact of .Mussulniiiii histories in 
Uorii's " Algliaiis." 




ation of 
the Ma- 
empire in 

First ex- 
of Shahab 
u din. 
A.D. 1176, 
A.H. 572. 

altlioiigh he at first suspected that they were 
mocking his misfortune, they at last succeeded in 
soothing his feehngs and restored him to his prin- 
cipality. It continued in his immediate family for 
three generations, until it fell, with the rest of the 
dominions of Ghor, on the conquest by the King 
of Kharizm.* 

All these transactions took place in less than five 
years from the fall of Ghazni, and the two brothers 
began now to turn to foreign conquest with the 
vigour of a new dynasty. 

They took advantage of the decline of the 
Seljuks to reduce the eastern part of Khorasan ; 
Gheias u din was personally engaged in that enter- 
prise, and also in the recovery of Ghazni; and 
from that time forward he divided his residence 
between Firuz Coh, Ghazni, and Herat. At the 
last city he built the great mosque so much spoken 
of for its magnificence in those and later ages. 

Shahab u din's attention was, for a long time, 
almost entirely turned to India ; and he may be 
considered the founder of the empire in that 
country which has lasted till our time. 

He did not begin till a. d. II76, a.h. 572, when 
he took U'ch, at the junction of the rivers of the 
Panjab with the Indus. Two years afterwards he 
led an expedition to Guzerat, in which he was 
defeated, and compelled to retreat with as many 
disasters as Mahmud, and without the consolation 
of success. 

* D'Herbelot. Dora's Annotations. 


In two expeditions to Labor he broke tbe strength chap. 
of Khiisru Malik, tbe last of tbe Gbaznevites, and ' 

compelled him to mve up his son as a bostao-e. ^•^- i^'s, 

\ ... A.H. 574. 

His next expedition was to Sind, which be over- a.d. ins, 
ran to tbe sea shore. After his return he again """""and' 
engaged in hostiUties with Khusru Malik, who, a!h. 575.^' 
takinc? courao-e from despair, made an alliance with ^•"- ^^''^» 

i^ f=> r ' A.H. 581. 

tbe Gakkars, captured one of Shabab u din's Expulsion 

^ , . oftlic 

strongest forts, and obliged him to call in the aid iiDuse of 
of stratagem for a purpose which force seemed in- from the 
sufficient to accomplish. He affected alarms from *T,c. 
the west, assembled his army as if for operations in '^-"-^so. 
Khorasan, and, professing an anxious desire to 
make peace with Khusru Malik, released his son, 
who had been hitherto kept as a hostage. Khusru 
Malik, entirely thrown off his guard by these ap- 
pearances, quitted Labor and set out to meet his 
son, so unexpectedly restored to him ; when Shabab 
u din put himself at tbe bead of a strong body of 
chosen cavalry, and, marching with celerity and 
secrecy through unfrequented routes, suddenly in- 
terposed himself between Khusru Malik and his 
capital ; and, surrounding his camj) by night, made 
him ])risoncr, and soon after occupied Labor, which 
no lonf^er offered resistance. Khusru and bis family ^.i.. use, 

^11 •/ 1/ 1 • • 1 • A.M. 582. 

were sent to Cjlieias u din and imprisoned in a 
castle in Ghirjistan, where many years after they 
were put t(j death by one or otlii'r of the con- 
tending .parties during tiie war witli the King of 

Shabab 11 thii bad now no Mahomelan rival U-i'l, Warsuith 



BOOK and tlie contest between him and the Hindus 

" seemed at first sight very unequal. As his army 

the iiin- ^vas di'awii from all the warlike provinces between 

dus. ^ 

the Indus and Oxus, and was accustomed to con- 
tend with the Seljuks and the northern hordes of 
Tartars, we should not expect it to meet much 
resistance from a people naturally gentle and in- 
offensive, broken into small states, and forced into 
war without any hopes of gain or aggrandisement ; 
yet none of the Hindu principalities fell witiiout 
a severe struggle ; and some were never entirely 
subdued, but still remain substantive states after 
the Mussulman empire has gone to ruin. 
The Raj- This unexpected opposition was chiefly owing 
to the peculiar character of the Rajputs, arising 
from their situation as the military class in the 
original Hindu system. The other classes, though 
kept together as casts by community of religious 
rites, were mixed up in civil society, and were 
under no chiefs except the ordinary magistrates of 
the country. But the Rajputs were born soldiers ; 
each division had its hereditary leader ; and each 
formed a separate community, like clans in other 
countries, the members of which were bound by 
many ties to their chiefs and to each other. The 
rules of cast still subsisted, and tended to render 
more powerful the connection just described. 

As the chiefs of those clans stood in the same 
relation to the raja as their own retainers did to 
them, the king, nobility, and soldiery all made 
one body, united by tlie strongest feelings of kindred 



and military devotion. Tlic sort of feudal system chap. 

that prevailed among the Rajputs * gave additional 

stability to this attachment, and all together pro- 
duced the pride of birth, the high spirit, and the 
romantic notions, so striking in the military class 
of that period. Their enthusiasm was kept up by 
the songs of their bards, and inflamed by frequent 
contests for glory or for love. They treated women 
with a respect unusual in the East ; and were guided, 
even towards their enemies, by rules of honour, 
which it was disgraceful to violate. But, although 
they had so many of the characteristics of chivalry, 
they had not the high-strained sentiments and arti- 
ficial refinements of our knights, and were more 
in the spirit of Homer's heroes than of Spenser's 
or Ariosto's. If to these qualities we add a very 
strong disposition to indolence (which may have 
existed formerly, though not likely to figure in 
history), and make allowances for the effects of a 
long period of depression, we have the character of 
the Rajputs of the present day ; who bear much 
the same resemblance to their ancestors that those 
did to the warriors of the ** Maha Bharat." t 

With all the noble qualities of the early Raj- 
puts was mixed a simplicity derived from their 

* Soe pag<' 11-7. of this voluiiic. 

f Their modern history is full of instances of loyalty and 
military honour. Tluiir last great war was In'twecn the rajas 
of Jeipur and Jodpur for the hand of a prinecss of Oiidipur. 
(See TofCs Riij(islh(tv, and other I)o(»ks and oHieial piihliea- 


BOOK want of intercourse with other nations, which ren- 

dered them inferior in practical ability, and even in 

mihtary efficiency, to men actuated by much less 
elevated sentiments than theirs. 

Among the effects of the division into clans, one 
was, that although the Rajputs are anything but a 
migratory people, yet, when they have been com- 
pelled by external force to leave their seats, they 
have often moved in a body like a Tartar horde ; 
and when they occupied new lands, they distributed 
them in the same proportions as their former ones, 
and remained without any alteration but that of 

Siiortly before the time of Sliahab u din, the four 
greatest kingdoms in India were — Delhi, then held 
by the clan of Tomara ; Ajmir, by that of Chou- 
han ; Canouj, by the Rathors ; and Guzerat, by 
the Baghilas, who had supplanted the Chalukas : 
but the Tomara chief, dying without male issue, 
adopted his grandson Pritwi, raja of Ajmir, and 
united the Tomaras and Chouhans under one 

As the raja of Canouj was also grandson of the 
Tomara chief by another daughter, he was mor- 
tally offended at the preference shown to his cou- 
sin ; and the wars and jealousies to which this 
rivalship gave rise contributed greatly to Shahab 
u din's success in his designs on India. 
A.D. 1191, His first attack was on Pritwi Rc4ja, king of 
A.H. 8 . j^^^^YiY and Delhi. The armies met at Tirouri, be- 
tween Tanesar and Carnal, on the great plain, 


where most of the contests for the possession of chap. 
India have been decided. The Miissuhnan mode ' 

of fio^htiner was to chame with bodies of cavah'v in ^^'''^■" °^ 

* , ^ , ^ . , , -^ Shahdb u 

succession, who either withdrew after discharging din. 
their arrows, or pressed their advantage, as circum- 
stances might suggest. Tlie Hindus, on the other 
hand, endeavoured to outflank their enemy, and 
close upon him on both sides, while he was busy 
Avith his attack on their centre. Their tactics were 
completely successful on this occasion : while Sha- 
hab u din was engaged in the centre of his army, 
he learned that both his wings had given way, and 
soon found himself surrounded, along with such of 
his adherents as had followed his example in re- 
fusing to quit the field. In this situation he de- 
fended himself with desperate courage. He charged 
into the thickest of the enemy, and had reached 
the viceroy of Delhi, brother to the raja, and 
wounded him in the mouth with his lance, when 
he himself received a wound, and would have fallen 
from his horse with loss of blood, had not one of 
his followers leapt up behind him and supported 
him until he had extricated him from the conflict, 
and carried him to a place of safety. 

The rout, however, was complete. The Maho- 
metans were pursued for forty miles ; and Shahab 
u din, after collecting the wreck of his army at 
Lahor, retiuned, himself, to the other side of the 
Indus. He first visited his brother at (ihor, or 
Firuz Coh, and then remained settled at Cihazn, 
where he seemed to forget his misfortunes in plea- 

VOL. I. H K 




Return of 
Shahab u 
din to 

A.D. 1193, 
A.H. 589. 

sure and festivity. But, in spite of appearances, 
his disgrace still rankled in his bosom, and, as he 
himself told an aged counsellor, " he never 
slumbered in ease, or waked, but in sorrow and 
anxiety." * 

At length, having recruited an army, composed 
of Turks, Tajiks, and Afghans, many of whom had 
then- helmets ornamented with jewels, and their 
armour inlaid with silver and gold, he again began 
his march towards India.t 

Pritwi Raja again met him with a vast army, 
swelled by numerous allies who were attracted by 
his former success. He sent a haughty message to 
Shahab u dm, with a view to deter him from ad- 
vancing. The Mussulman general replied in mo- 
derate terms, and spoke of referring to his brother 
for orders ; but when the Hindus, in blind reliance 
on their numbers, had encamped close to his army, 
he crossed the brook which lay between them about 
daybreak, and fell upon them by surprise before 
they had any suspicion that he was in motion. But, 
notwithstanding the confusion which ensued, their 
camp was of such extent, that part of their troops 
had time to form, and afford protection to the rest, 
who afterwards drew up in their rear ; and order 
being at length restored, they advanced in four 
lines to meet their opponents. Shahab u din, 
having failed in his original design, now gave orders 

* Briggs's Ferishta, vol. i. p. 173. 

f This description is from Ferishta; he fixes the number at 
120,000 horse. 


for a retreat, and continued to retire, keeping up a chap. 
running fight, until he had drawn his enemies out " 

of their ranks, wliile he was careful to preserve liis 
own. As soon as he saw them in disorder, he 
charged them at the head of 12,000 chosen horse, 
in steel armour ; and " tliis prodigious army once 
shaken, like a great building, tottered to its fall, 
and was lost in its own ruins."* 

The viceroy of Delhi, and many other chiefs, 
were slain on the field ; and Pritwi Raja, being taken 
in the pursuit, was put to death in cold blood. 

Shahab u din was more sanguinary than Mali- Conquest 
mud. When he took Ajmir, soon after this battle, " ' ^'""^" 
he put some thousands of the inhabitants, who 
opposed him, to the sword, reserving the rest for 
slavery. After this barbarous execution he made 
over the country to a relation (some say a natural 
son) of Pritwi Raja, under an engagement for a 
heavy tribute. 

He then returned to (jhazni, leaving his former 

slave, Kutb u din Eibak, who was now rising into 

notice, and wlio afterwards mounted the tin'one, as 

his representative in India. Kutb u din followed 

up his successes with abihty, and took possession 

of Delhi, and of Coel, between the Jamna and •""' '^'^■"'''• 

the Ganges. 

Next year, Sliahab u din reUinied to India, de- >^"ii!"- 
. , , . A.ii.r,'.)i. 

featcd Jeia Chandra, tlie Rahtor Raja of Canoiij, 

in a battle on thcJannia, noitli of l^tawa, and took 

* Urig^s's iMri.slitu, vol. i. p. 177. 
It II '.' 


BOOK Canouj and Benares. This victory destroyed one 
of tlie greatest Indian monarchies, extended the 

Capture of Mussuhnan dominions into Behar, and opened the 

Canouj. _ •* 

way, which was soon followed up, into Bengal. 
Notwithstanding its importance, the circumstances 
of the battle, the taking of the towns, the breaking 
of idols, and the acquisition of treasures, present so 
little novelty, that we are left at leisure to notice 
the capture of a white elephant, and the incident of 
the body of the raja being recognised by his false 
teeth, a circumstance which throws some lio-ht on 
the state of manners. An event of great conse- 
quence followed these victories, which was the re- 
treat of the greater part of the Rahtor clan from 
Canouj to Marwar, where they founded a princi- 
pality, now in alliance with the British govern- 

Shahab u din having returned to Ghazni, Kutb 
u din had to defend the new raja of Ajmir against 
a pretender j and, after saving his government, he 
proceeded to Guzerat, and ravaged that rich pro- 
A. D. 1195, Next year, Shahab u din came back to India, 

A. H. 592. J ' J 

took Biana, west of Agra, and laid siege to the 
strong fort of Gwalior, in Bundelcand. It is pro- 
bable that he was recalled by some attack or alarm 
in Khorasan, for he left the conduct of the siege 
of Gwalior to his generals, and returned, without 
having performed anything of consequence, to 

Gwalior held out for a long time ; and when it 


was taken, Riitb u din (who was still governor in chap. 
India) was obliged to march again to Ajmir. The ' 

raja set up by the Mussulmans had been a second 
time disturbed by his rivals, and protected by 
Kutb u din ; and he was now exposed to a for- 
midable attack from the rajas of Guzerat and 
Nagor, supported by the Mers, a numerous hill 
tribe near Ajmir. Kutb u din was overpowered 
on this occasion, and had difficulty in making his 
way, covered with wounds, to Ajmir, where lie 
remained, shut up within tlie walls. Reinforce- 
ments, however, were speedily sent from Ghazni ; 
the siege was raised ; and, by the time he was suf- 
ficiently recovered to move, he was in a condition 
to retaliate on his late conquerors. He set out for 
Guzerat, by the way of Pali, Nadol, and Sirolii. 
In the last named district he found two great 
feudatories of Guzerat, strongly posted on the 
mountain of A'bu, and in too great force to be left 
in his rear. He therefore entered the hills, reached 
and carried their ])osition, and, iiaving dispersed 
their army, proceeded to Anhalwiira. He took and 
garrisoned that capital ; and, after ravaging the 
province, returned again to Delhi. Next year he 
took Calinjer and Calpi, forts in Ihmdelcand, and 
appears likewise to have gone against Badayun, in 
what is now called Rohilcand. 

'J'he Cianws, indeed, luul lonir ceased to be an Conquest 

~ ' ^ ol Olid, 

obstacle ; and, at this very period, Kutb u din was and 
waited on by Mohammed Bakhtiar Khiiji *, who '"^"' 

• rurislita, vol.i. p. lUK 

11 u :i 




had already conquered part of Oiid and North 

Behar ; and who, on his return to his command, 

reduced the rest of Behar and Bengal, taking Gour 
or Laknouti, the capital of the latter province.* 

During these transactions, Shahab u din was 
engaged in contests with the King of Kharizm 
» (who had subverted the government of the Seljuks 
in Persia, and succeeded to their place as com- 
petitors with the Ghoris for the ascendancy in 
central Asia). He was between Tus and Serakhs, 
in Khorascin, when he heard of his brother's death, 
A.D. 1202, and returned to Ghazni to take possession of the 

A.H. 599. , ^ 


Gheias u din appears to have resumed his activity 
before his death, and to have been present in person 
in all the campaigns in Khorasan, except this last.t 

ful inva- 
sion of 

Shalidb u dm (or Moham7ned) Ghoii. 

As soon as he had arranged his internal govern- 
ment, Shahab u din assembled an army, and pro- 
ceeded to make a decisive attack on Kharizm. He 
gained a great victory over the king of that country t, 

* Introduction to Bird's History of Guzerat, p. 85. 

f De Guignes, vol. ii. p. 265. Ferishta, vol. i. p. 186. D'Her- 
belot, article " Ghaiathudin." This account is inconsistent with 
Ferista (p. 180.), Avho represents Gheias u din as merely re- 
taining the name of king during the last years of his life ; but 
is supported by D'Herbelot and De Guignes, who quote re- 
spectable Persian histories, and are better authority on western 
affairs than Ferishta. 

% De Guignes, vol. ii. p. 265. 



besieged him in his capital, and soon reduced liim chap. 
to such straits as to constrain him to sue for aid 

to the Khitan Tartars. By their assistance he so ^'•"•J.f"^' 
completely changed the flice of affairs, that Shahab 
u din was obliged to burn his baggage and attempt 
to draw off towards his own territory. He was so 
hard pressed on his retreat that he could not avoid 
an action, and received such a defeat, that it was 
with difficulty he made his way to Andkho, half 
way between Balkh and Herat. At Andhko he 
made a stand, and only surrendered on condition 
of being allowed to depart on payment of a sum of 

Tlie destruction of Shahab u din's army, joined, f^\^;2 
as it was, at first, to a report of his death, was the 
signal for general confusion in a great part of iiis 
dominions. Ghazni shut her gates against him, 
though the governor, Taj u din Eldoz was one of 
his favourite slaves. Another of his chiefs went 
straight from the field of battle to Multan, and 
presenting himself with a feigned commission from 
the king, occupied the place on his own behalf. 
The wild tribe of the Gakkars issued from their 
mountains in tlie north of the Panjab, took Labor, 
and filled the whole province with havoc and de- 
vastation. Kutb u din remained fiiithful in India, 
as did Herat and other western countries, where 
the goverinnents were lield by three nephews of 
the king's. Shahal) u din collected some adherents, 
and first recovered Multan. He then received tlie 
>,ubniis,siou ol" (ilia/ni, and i)ardoned ICldoz. He 


BOOK afterwards made an attack on the Panjab, in con- 
' cert with Kutb u din, and not only recovered that 
country, but induced the Gakkars to embrace the 
Mahometan religion, which was the easier done as 
they had very little notion of any other. Ferishta 
mentions that the infidels in the hills east of Ghazni 
were also converted at this period.* 

Subdued, Internal tranquillity being restored, Shahab u din 
set off on his return to his western provinces, where 
he had ordered a large army to be collected, for 

Death of another expedition to Kharizm. He had only 

di'n.'^ " reached the Indus, when, having ordered his tent 
to be pitched close to the river, that he might 
enjoy the freshness of the air off the water, his un- 
guarded situation was observed by a band of Gak- 
kars, who had lost relations in the late war, and 
were watching an opportunity of revenge. At 
midnight, when the rest of the camp was quiet, 
they swam the river to the spot where the king's 
tent was pitched ; and entering, unopposed, dis- 
patched him with numerous wounds. 

A.D. 1206, This event took place on the ^d of Shaban, 602 

A.H. 602. T. ^ , , r> TT- 1 1 

of the Hijra, or March 14th, 1206. His body was 
conveyed, in mournful pomp, to Ghazni, accom- 
panied by his vizir and all his principal nobles. It 
was met by Eldoz, who unbuckled his armour, 
threw dust on his head, and gave every sign of 
affliction for the death of his benefactor. 

* It is not improbable that the people of the inaccessible 
regions, now inhabited by the Jajis and Turis, may not have 
been converted till this late period. 


He left prodigious treasures, and was succeeded chap, 
by his nephew Mahmud. 

The conquests of Shahab u din in India flir sur- 
passed those of Sultan Mahmiid, and might have 
surpassed them in Persia, if the times had been as 
favourable. Yet, though an enterprising soldier, he 
had neither the prudence nor the general talents 
of that great prince, who was a discoverer as well 
as a conqueror, and whose attention was as much 
devoted to letters as to arms. Accordingly, the 
name of Mahmud is still one of the most celebrated 
in Asia, while that of Shahab u din is scarcely 
known beyond the countries over which he ruled. 

At his death, Shahab u din held, in different Extent of 
degrees of subjection, the whole of Hindostan Pro- quests in 
per, except Miilwa and some contiguous districts. 
Sind and Bengal were either entirely subdued, or 
in rapid course of reduction. On Guzerat he had 
no hold, except what is implied in the possession of 
the capital. Much of Hindostan was inmiediately 
under his officers, and the rest under de])endent, 
or at least tributary, princes. The desert and 
some of the mountains were left independent fiom 

Mahmud GJiori. 

Thouirh Mahmud was i)roclaimed tliroughout a. i.. isog, 

'^ ' A. II. fiO'J. 

the whole of his uncle's dominions, and Ins sove- 
reignty acknowledged by all the olliecrs iiiuKt it, 
yet the kingdom broke, at once, into sei)arate i.'''>''"';'- 

Jo * tioii o\ the 





states, whicli were scarcely held together, even in 
name, by his general supremacy. 

Shahab u din, having no son, was fond of bring- 
ing up Turkish slaves ; and many of his training 
rose to great eminence. Three of these were in 
possession of extensive governments at the time 
of his death. Kutb u din, in India ; Eldoz, at 
Ghazni ; and Nasir u din Kubachi, in Multan and 
Sind. Each of these three became really inde- 
pendent on their master's death ; and, as the subor- 
dinate principahty of Bamian was held by a separate 
branch of his own family, Mahmud's actual posses- 
sion was. confined to Ghor, with Herat, Sistan, 
and the east of Khorasan. His capital was at 
Firiiz Coh. 

Mahmud, on his accession, sent the title of king 
and the insignia of royalty to Kutb u din to be 
held under him. He does not appear to have 
attempted to disturb Eldoz in his possession (al- 
though two sons of the prince of Bamian asserted 
the rights of their family, and for a time ex- 
pelled Eldoz from Ghazni) ; but, on the death of 
Mahmud, which happened within five or six * years, 
there was a general civil war throughout all his do- 
minions west of the Indus, and those countries had 
not recovered their tranquillity when they were all 
subdued by the kings of Kharizm. 

Ghazni was taken by those conquerors in a. d. 

A.D. 1208, A.H. 605 (De Guignes). a.d. 1210, a.h. 607 
(Dorn). A.D. 1212, a.h. 609 (D'Herbelot). 


1215, and Fivuz Cob at an earlier period. Many chap. 

accounts, indeed, represent Mahmud as liaving 

been killed on that occasion.* 

* For particulars of Mahmud's reign and the subsequent 
confusions, see De Guignes (" Kharizme ") D'Herbeloti 
(art. " Mahmoud "), and the history of tlie house of Ghor, 
in the annotations on Professor Dorn's " Historj' of tlic 

The Ghoris appear to have recovered from this temporary ex- 
tinction, for in the beginning of the fourteenth century, less than 
100 years after the death of Jenghiz Khan, we find Mohammed 
Sam Ghori defending Herat against one of the successors of 
that conqueror. (D'Ohson, vol. iv. p. 515, &c.); and at a later 
period, Tamerlane, in his Memoirs, mentions Gheias u din, son 
of Aaz (or Moizz) u din, as ruler of Khorasan, Ghor, and 
Ghirjistan ; and in many places calls him and his father Ghoris. 
(Mulfuzat Tiniuri, p. 145.) Princes of the same dynasty are 
mentioned in Price, vol. ii., who calls their family Kirit, or 
Gueret, and all the names mentioned on those occasions are 
found in a list of Kurt kings, given by Professor Dorn (Anno- 
tations, p. 92.), from Janabi, who says they are asserted to be of 
tlie Sur Algliori. 


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