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the relations of external nature. By his very education he becomes more ignorant ; if ignorance consist not merely in the absence of all ideas on a subject, but also in the presence of false ones. The savage who has no idea at all as to the size of the earth, is less ignorant, and less obstinately so, than the Bramhan who thinks he has divine authority for believing it to be forty thousand times larger than it is. Thus it is with everything he learns. Were he let alone, he might at least form some notion of the size of India ; but having once read the Purânas, he is ever after assured that it is twenty-seven thousand miles long, or considerably more than the circumference of the whole globe! So also he learns that the sun travels in a chariot three thousand miles long, with a pole of six thousand ; that mountains are placed on the earth to keep it steady ; that earthquakes result from the yawning of the god-serpent, who upholds the world on his
that the creator “formed birds from his vital vigour; sheep from his breast; goats from his mouth; kine from his belly and sides; and horses, elephants, sarabhas, gazals, deer, camels, mules, antelopes, and other animals, from his feet; whilst from the hairs of his body sprang herbs, roots, and fruit.”
Farther, that on four mountains, around the grand mount Meru, grow four trees, each “ spreading over one thousand one hundred yojana, (five thousand five hundred miles) and towering aloft like banners on the mountains ;” and that one of these “ has apples that are as large as elephants ; when they are rotten, they fall on the crest of the mountain, and from their juice is formed the Jambu river.” Of that pleasant phenomenon, “a sunshiny shower,” he learns the following explanation, which he is bound to consider as true, as we will own it is poetical :- L“ The water that the sun has drawn up from the Ganga of the skies, (the Milky Way,) he quickly pours down with his rays, and without a cloud : and men who are touched by this pure rain are cleansed from the soil of sin, and never see hell : this is called celestial ablution. That rain which falls when the sun is shining, and without a cloud, is the water of the heavenly Ganges, (Milky Way,) shed by the solar rays.” Nor are his thoughts of rain in general much more cleared by Purânic enlightenment. “ The sun, with his scorching rays, absorbs the moisture of the earth, and with them nourishes the moon. The moon communicates, through tubes of air, its dews to the clouds, which, being composed of smoke, fire, and wind, can retain the waters with which they are charged: they are therefore called abrahs, because their contents are not dispersed. When, however, they are broken to pieces by the wind, their watery stores descend, bland, and freed from every impurity by the sweetening process of time.” (Vishnu Purâna.) The Ramayana teaches that Ceylon is not accessible to mortals; and this is firmly believed by thousands who are not five hundred miles from it. Being crowded with such absurdities on every subject, the mind of a Bramhan is not merely a dark void chamber, where light and furniture are lacking, but a dark, strong lumber-room, where a sound idea cannot enter without wounding itself against some store-chest, or losing its eye against some splinters of Purânic lore.
Their ignorance of the actual world is perfect. Of the countries bordering on India they have none but the most foggy ideas. Until our late war with China, many of them had scarcely heard its name. Of England their traditions are choice. “When you go from Madras
upon what do you find beyond the sea ?” once asked a respectable banker, in a crowd: “is it a single town, or an extended country ?" “ An extended country, certainly.” “Then you have fields ?” “Of course.” - And who
cultivates them ?” “ Persons who follow that calling.” “ Yes; but what kind of people are they ? are they black or white?” “White, to be sure.” “What! white like yourselves?” “Yes, certainly.” “And do they labour in the fields like Ryots ?” “That they do, and far harder, too." “Only think,” they all cried out, with laughter and astonishment; "only think of Englishmen working in the fields like Ryots !” They had never seen an Englishman, but as a soldier or a gentleman. Curiosity was whetted by this discovery, and he proceeded : “Then what grows in your fields ? rice?” “No." “ What! no rice?" “ No." “ Not in the whole country?” “Not an ear.” They looked at each other with wide eyes, and cried, “ Abah! abah! how queer! a country without rice !” My examiner, returning to the charge, said: “Well, but if you have no rice, you have at least raagi ?” “No; we have no raagi.” “No raagi! neither rice nor raagi! Who ever heard of a country without either rice or raagi ?” Ilad I told them of a country without either soil or sky, they could not have stared more exquisitely. “Ah !” exclaimed a youth, less able than the rest to conceal his thoughts, “ I always knew how it was : originally they were inhabitants of this country, but a curse drove them away ; and now they are trying to return.” The men who were taking part in the conversation glanced at me to see if I were offended, but did not seem disposed to differ with their indelicate neighbour. Not wishing to leave our nation in so low esteem, I said, “I will tell you a tale out of one of your own books.” They always relish a tale ; and forthwith I had every ear. “ A white crane was one day fishing by a tank, when, looking up, he saw a swan, and, struck with his plumage, thought he must be a relation of his
Stranger,' he cried, “whence do you come, and whither are you bound ?' 'I come,' said the swan, from Satyaloka,' (the heaven of Bramha, whose chariot is drawn by swans,) and to Satyaloka am I returning.' * And, pray, what kind of a place is Satyaloka ?' 'O, it is the dwelling of the glorious Bramha; I could not make you understand what kind of a place it is.' ‘But you must tell me; I desire to know.' 'Well, if you will know, it is a gorgeous place : for stones, we have jewels ; for sand, gold-dust; for water, ambrosia ; and everything equally superb.' asked the crane, little excited by such fineries, have you any frogs there ?' • Frogs there !' rejoined the swan: 'no; we have no frogs there. Then,' observed the crane, you may go back to Satyaloka, if you are in the mind; but I have no notion of a country without frogs.' Ever apt to catch the moral of a fable, they laughed, pointed to the youth, and said : “ He, then, is the crane, for thinking your country was cursed, because you have no rice or raagi.” Then followed a crowd of questions, as to what we lived upon.
On one occasion, a Bramhan, who had long resided in Bangalore, asked me to give him some account of England. Before doing so, I required him to tell me just what he had heard. He said: “The common belief among us is, that when you get beyond the sea, you find Londonpatam, 'London city ;' and that one city is the whole of England : it has eighteen streets ; each street is inhabited by one caste ; each caste is distinguished from the others by a peculiar head-dress; and over all these is the King-durray!” Though the word “
company” is constantly on their lips, as designating the power by which they are ruled, scarcely any of them, beyond the limits of the Presidencies, has the least idea of its meaning. Whether it be man, woman, or child, a country, King, or army, they cannot tell; and very, very few of the millions who bow before that potent name, are aware
that it denotes a handful of peaceable merchants. Many, in the neighbourhood of English settlements, are said to be under the impression that the Company is an old woman, who never dies; but this is very likely to have originated with some wag among our own countrymen.
Taking, then, the entire mental condition of an educated Hindu,—that is, of the better order of Bramhans,—it is very peculiar. He has much mental culture, the culture of early and close study, of considerable acquirements in language, of an acquaintance with elaborate productions, and of poetry as studied, as committed to memory, and as attempted, if not actually composed. These qualifications, with some turn for metaphysics, and considerable practice in familiar argument, present a mind very far advanced in refinement. But in all his movements you see the fatal effects of the instructions it has received. It has studied, and in studying has grown quick and acquisitive; but the facts it has learned are nonsense and absurdity. It is an eye trained to see in a cavern ; remarkably able to discover objects in its own dim light, but unable to bear the day. The Hindu mind is slow to receive new facts : leave it among polemics, poesy, speculation, and language, it is at home; but every fact that bursts upon it from the universe without dazzles and annoys; and if you place before it the great field of knowledge, it cannot endure the blaze, closes before it, and confidently declares it a wild, meteoric flash. Power of application, vigour of memory, quick discernment, and rich fancy, are the good points of the Bramhanical mind; its vice is narrowness,-a narrowness the most tight and incurable; but this is the vice not of natural defect, but of educational perversity. He has the learning of a scholar, with the ignorance of a child, and the superstition of a savage.
The second caste in rank, the Kshetriya, or warrior-tribe, sprang from the breast or arm of Bramha, and were, as will be remembered, “ pervaded by the quality of foulness ;” being in this inferior to the Bramhan, who
“ endowed with the quality of goodness.” From this caste all Kings ought to be chosen ; but even the Prince is, in birth, second to the meanest Bramhan in his realm. The Bramhan will fawn upon him with hyperbolical flatteries, and cringe before him with abject servility ; but he would not sit down at his board, or drink out of a cup offered by his hand. Did he do so, he would lose his caste. It is now matter of doubt whether the Kshetriya caste is not extinct; but the Rajpoots claim to be its representatives, as do also some ancient dynasties. From all the glimpses which the native writings afford of military character as existing in this caste, and from much still observable among the nobler Rajpoots, it is not to be doubted that they were often animated by high martial daring and honour. As a soldier, the Hindu is underrated among us. In their earlier wars, the chariot and the elephant figure largely. The variety of their weapons
is great, and frequently the workmanship most exquisite. Among their more ancient arms are the bow; swords, knives, and spears of the finest steel ; and coats of mail, described as admirably wrought. At present they produce every description of fire-arm, from the finest brass cannon down to the most clumsy matchlock. They also manufacture gunpowder, and are expert at fire-works.
The success of the English in India has been altogether so marvellous, that, to account for it, the Hindus are represented as having been in all ages despicable poltroons. A different opinion, however, is expressed by those who write more recently, and who have better weighed their history. They do not indeed describe them as possessing, in general, that “ bull-dog
courage,” of which our armies boast ; but they acknowledge, that in every war where their sympathies are engaged, they entitle themselves to high respect as soldiers. No one can read the narrative of Arrian, without feeling that even Alexander, as his conquering phalanxes, found the Hindus anything but despicable foes. In the first great battle, after he crossed the Indus, we are told that nearly all the Indian cavalry were cut in pieces, on the field ; that the infantry did not retreat till they saw their cavalry destroyed, and the elephants in hopeless confusion; that two Princes, and all the commanders of both infantry and cavalry, were among the slain ; and that the defeated King, Porus, retreated with a fierce calmness, which the Greek historian contrasts with the conduct of the King of Persia, and which so moved Alexander, that he took much pains to save and to conciliate him. Arrian, while he states the fact, that Alexander, with all his ability and habitude of conquest, only subdued a country including two thousand towns, certainly leaves the impression that in no part of Asia did he meet more formidable enemies, or run greater risks.
Again, if we take Ferishta, also a historian belonging to an invading nation, we find statements that raise Hindu courage to the loftiest points of the heroic. The first Raja was not defeated till after " obstinate battle," and then burned himself alive. Another fought desperately for four days, then took refuge in a town, and finally “turned his sword against himself,” whereupon “most of his adherents were slaughtered in attempting revenge.” In another battle “five thousand Mussalmen in a few minutes drank the wine of martyrdom ;” another Raja “ drew his sword against his own wife and children, and, having despatched them, turned it in despair against himself.” Again : “One of the forts called Munge held out for twenty-five days, being full of Rajputs; but when they found the place was no longer tenable, some rushed through the breaches among the enemy, and met that death which they no longer desired to avoid. Some threw themselves headlong from the walls, and were dashed to pieces ; while others burnt themselves in their houses with their wives and children ; so that not one of the garrison survived this fatal catastrophe.” At Sumnauth, the fame of whose gates Lord Ellenborough so gratuitously revived, the Mussulmauns, who came to destroy the celebrated idol of the place, commenced their attack while the inhabitants were praying to their god for help, and at once effected an entrance. But they were rushed upon with such fury that “from the time the King of day expelled the darkness, till the moon, fair bride of the night, illuminated the heaven with paler rays, the flames of war were not quenched with blood. The Mussalmen, wearied out with fatigue, were obliged to abandon all their advantages.” The next day was spent in a continuous assault, which proved
more unsuccessful than the first.” On the third day the Hindus gave battle in the open field, when Ferishta adds: “ The fires of adverse rage illuminated the gleaming field, and Death stalked with such power and execution around, that Time, trembling for his empire, wept.” These records are not those of cheap victory over an imbecile foe.
Our own career in India has elicited, both in our service and against us, displays of native daring which, had they occurred in Grecian history, would be on the lips of all. Heroism was never bolder nor nobler than in Clive's Sepoys at Arcot. At Bhurtpore, the Indian Badajos, when the gallant 75th recoiled, a Sepoy regiment faced and overbore the danger. * The native needs the leading of his white officer; but he very seldom fails to do him honour. Cases of panic have occurred, as in Frazer's memorable charge at Perwunt Durrah ;* but, in all the daring strokes of his Indian career, Lake was never so disgracefully forsaken by Sepoys as he had been by British troops at Castlebar. The various nations of India differ much in bravery, as in everything else. The inhabitants of the low countries on the coast are far inferior to those in the table-lands, the hilly districts, and especially to those of the north-west provinces. Had the places chiefly resorted to by Europeans lain in the Mysore, the Mahratta country, Rohilicund, or Delhi, they would have brought away a different impression of
* See Wilson's Notes to Mill.
Were not this view of native character intimately connected with important moral considerations, it would be to me a matter of comparatively little interest. We shall feel more or less deeply our obligation to benefit India, in proportion as we do or do not see the hand of God in bringing it and us into the singular relation we now sustain. When we see Clive at Arcot with eighty English and a hundred and twenty Sepoys repulsing ten thousand men; in Bengal, defeating, with three thousand, the Soubadhar at the head of fifty-eight thousand ; acquiring the sovereignty of thirty millions of souls, when only nine hundred Englishmen had yet landed among them; and, fifteen years after he had been an obscure clerk in Madras, disposing at will of the transcendent empire of the Great Mogul: when we see crown after crown fall before us as by enchantment, Tipu vanquished and slain, the Pindarees annihilated, the Mahrattas tamed, the Goorkhas humbled, Scindiah subjugated, Burmah divided with us, the Punjaub laid at our feet; and all within the
memory of man,-all, indeed, while one of the leaders in the last assault on Tipu (Wellington) still lives : when we see all this, if we ascribe it only to the dastardly soldiership of the natives, then the review brings no other feeling than national pride. But when we remember that never before did Asiatic or European win over these nations such miraculous victories; and that every brave feat of our countrymen in this race of conquest has been emulated by native auxiliaries ; then the impression is resistless, that the unmatched empire, now reposing under our eye, has been given to us by what Professor Wilson (a historian not addicted either to the marvellous or the spiritual) calls, in reference to the Mahratta war, “ an overruling destiny." Yes, never in human affairs was an overruling destiny more conspicuous. Never, since the world began, was so vast and so civilized a population brought with like speed to be a consolidated and peaceful empire under foreign sway. Of the campaign of the Sutledj, Lord Gough said, that “the hand of God was never more manifest.” This may well be applied to our whole Indian career, from the day when a thunder-storm put us in possession of Arcot,t to the day when the Sutledj swallowed up the strength of the Punjaub. God's hand has surely been manifest : whither does it point ?
Whether the military caste be extinct or not, their peculiar glory is lost. Nearly all the modern Kings are indisputably of lower origin ; recent armies have been composed mainly of Shudras, and in our service the castes are all blended.
The third caste, the Vaisya, or merchant, springing from the creator's thigh, and being pervaded by the qualities of foulness and darkness, takes
* Buller's “ Peep at Kurdisthan.”
+ See Orme,