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part of Hindûstân where the eastern end of the ordinary food of the people of Hindústân being Vindhya range sinks into the plain, an immense wheat, and that of the people of the Deckan the tract of forest stretches away southwards into the grains named Jowâr,, the Důrra of the Arabs Deckan, till it reaches the river Godâveri.
(Holcus sorgum), and Bâjra, small grains which The rivers of India are numerous and copious. grow in bunches on reedy stems. Mangos, melons, Those of Hindûstân have their sources in the and all sorts of gourds, plantains, pine apples, and Himalaya and Vindhya mountains. From the other sweet fruits grow in the greatest plenty. former descend the Indus and its five tributaries, Among the animals of India the elephant is the namely, the Jelûm, the Chenâb, the Râvi, the most famous. It was formerly employed much in Beyah, and the Sutlej 4 ; the Jumnah, the Ganges, war, but now is only used for the carriage of bagthe Cusi, and the Brahmaputra, and their tribu- gage. Camels are also numerous in India, but the taries. The latter sends forth the Chumbul, the Indian horses are small, and of inferior quality ; Betwah, the Sôn, and others, all of which are they are only used for riding. The beast of draught received in the Jumnah and the Ganges. The rivers is the ox, which is used alike for the plough, the of the Deckan, inferior in magnitude to those of cart, and the carriage. Its colour is white, its Hindûstân, pour their waters into the sea on either form is slender, and it can travel nearly as fast as coast of the peninsula, having their sources chiefly a horse. in the Vindhya and the western Ghâts. On the India does not produce the precious metals, but west coasts are the mouths of the Nerbudda and its iron has always been famous. Diamonds, and the Tapti, the only streams of magnitude on this other precious stones, are found there in great side ; on the east coast are those of the Mahanuddi, quantities. The finest pearls in the world are obthe Godâveri, the Kistna, the Palar, the Pannar, tained from the beds near the isle of Ceylon. Rockthe Caveri, and others of less dimensions.
salt is found in the Punjâb, and saltpetre is obThe climate of India is of course various, owing tained in great quantities in various places. to its extent and its difference of elevation ; but it is in general hotter than that of any part of Europe. The annual quantity of rain that falls in India is far beyond that of any country in this continent. The rain is periodical, and is brought by the monsoon, or south-west wind from the Indian ocean. On the west coast and in Hindústân the rainy
CHAPTER II. season is from May till October, the hottest part
Early Inhabitants of India Hindoos - Their Coloniesof the year, and it is introduced by tremendous
Religion --Sects -- Morals - Transmigration of Souls storms, At that time the Ganges and other rivers
Buddhists-Jains-Sciences and Arts-Laws of Manu overflow and flood the country, the greater part of
Castes --Government. Bengal, for example, becoming like one huge lake. Hence in the history we shall often find military | In our inquiries into the history of any ancient operations interrupted by this season. The height country, one of the first questions which presents of the Ghâts and of the table-land prevent the itself, and one which rarely can be answered satiseastern coast from feeling the early effects of the factorily is, who were its original inhabitants, and monsoon, and it is not till the month of October, whence did they come? With respect to India, when the monsoon blows from the north-east, that this question cannot be answered more satisfactorily it receives its supply of rain.
than elsewhere. From its nature and position, it is The vegetable productions of India are nume- manifest that it must have been one of the earliest rous and valuable. The teak used in ship-building, abodes of the human race; and we appear to have the wonderful banyan-tree (Ficus Indicus), the some reason to think that here, as in so many cocoa, the various palms and acacias, the bamboo other parts of the world, its first occupants were which attains to such a prodigious size, and many an inferior race, who were invaded and overcome other useful trees, are abundant. Numerous mul- by a more highly endowed portion of our species. berries yield food to the silk-worm, the cotton-tree In the forests and dales of the Vindhya mounand cotton-shrub are every where to be seen, the tains, in the great forest district stretching from ebony, the sandal, and other ornamental woods Bahar in Hindûstân into the Deckan, and along its grow abundantly. India has also, from the most eastern coast, are still to be met tribes differing remote ages, been famed for its ginger, pepper, and essentially from the more cultivated inhabitants of other spices; the indigo derives its name from India. They are known by various names. In India; it is the native country of the sugar-cane. the west of Bengal and Bahar they are called Cĉls,
Rice ranks among the most celebrated of the in the great forest and in the part of the Vindhya natural productions of India ; but it is an error to mountains adjoining it, they are named Gonds; suppose that it is the principal food of the bulk of thence westwards in that chain, Bheels; and towards the people. Such it is, no doubt, in Bengal, part Gûzerât, Coolies. In the southern woods of the of Bahar, and the coast of the peninsula ; but rice Deckan they are known by the name of Cólarees, cannot be cultivated without abundance of mois- and a general name for them is Parias, that is, ture; and on the high lands of Central India and Mountaineers. They are of small but active forms, the Deckan, for example, it is only a luxury; the and dark complexion, with something of the negro
in their features. They go nearly naked, are armed
with bows and spears, and plunder wherever they 4 Hydaspes, Acesines, Hydraotes, Hyphasis, were the
can. They have a superstition of their own, though names given by Alexander's Greek followers to the four of
they worship one or two of the Hindoo gods. Spithese rivers which they saw; for they did not come to the Sutlej. The Sanscrit names, from which three of those are
rituous liquors are sought by them with avidity; formed, are Vitastâ, Chandrabhâgâ, Acrôvati, and Vipâså. they eat the flesh of oxen and of animals that have
died a natural death. They are objects of horror that every thing, “the substance as well as the
form of all created beings, was derived from the
things, the deities included, arose mediately or im-
mediately. This creation, however, only endures
The inferior deities named in
it are Indra, air ; Agni, fire ; Varuna, water ;
Ganesa, who presides over entrances and com-
At the head of the literature of the Hindoos tude of heads or arms is given to a deity to denote
celebrated, if possible, appearance of Vishnoo
(though not one of the ten Avatars), was that in
which he was a king's son, like Cyrus, brought up
ceal him from a tyrant that sought his life. He
afterwards overcame and slew the tyrant, and in
the great poem, the Mahâbhârata, which celebrates
the wars of the kindred families of the Pandûs and
find that all the theories on that subject, formed To enumerate the absurd legends, to describe by the Greeks or by the moderns, were already the numerous ceremonies, the painful and disguste familiar to the sages of India. Thus the system ing penances of the Hindoo religion, is not possible devised by the excellent Bishop Berkeley, and in our limits. When we take a view of them, and developed and explained by him with so much more especially recollect, that it is a fixed point ingenuity and elegance, was known in India cenwith every sect that faith in their god supersedes turies before our era. So also was the atomistic all religion and morality, we might expect to find theory, on which Epicurus founded his philosophy, the Hindoo character devoid of every estimable long familiar to the Hindoos. quality. But such is by no means the case ; the In astronomy the Hindoos had advanced far beprinciples of morality are too deeply seated in the fore the Greeks. They were acquainted with the human heart, and too essential to the well-being of precession of the equinoxes, they knew the causes society to allow them to become extinct, and the of eclipses, and had constructed tables by which religious books of India are too full of its precepts they might be accurately calculated. Some of their to let them fall into oblivion. Accordingly, the sages had discovered the diurnal revolution of the most candid observers of the Hindoo character earth on its axis, and had even with tolerable acspeak favourably of it, and, lascivious as are many curacy calculated its diameter. A passage in the of the legends and ceremonies of the Hindoo reli- Vedas asserts that the pole-star changes its position, gion, the chastity and domestic virtues of the the constellations are named in the epic poems, and Hindoo women are far above the general standard the fixed stars are spoken of as bodies of great in some Christian countries.
magnitude, which shone by their own native light. Like every other people, the Hindoos have a firm In geometry the Hindoos had made discoveries, belief in a future state of existence. Their great which were not made in Europe till modern times. doctrine on this head is that of the transmigration Such were the mode of expressing the area of a of souls, according to which, the soul after quitting triangle in terms of its sides, and that of expressing its present abode, will animate another body, either the proportion of the radius to the diameter of a that of a man or an inferior animal, and as the circle. In arithmetic, they are entitled to the fame kind of body depends on a man's conduct in this of the invention of the decimal system of notalife, this doctrine, as far as it is not affected by tion. But, in algebra, the merits of the Hindoos that of faith, is not without moral effect. They are still higher, and discoveries not made in Europe also hold that in the intervals of being on earth, till the last century were familiar in India for the soul is, according to its merits, for thousands centuries before. T'his, however, is the latest of of years, happy in one of the numerous heavens, or their sciences, and the works which treat of it have tormented in one of the many hells of their creed. all been written since the commencement of our
The system of religion here faintly sketched, is Finally, the Hindoos were versed in trigothe prevalent, almost the only one professed by the nometry, in which they went far before the Greeks, modern Hindoos. It is named Braminism from and were acquainted with theorems not discovered the Bramins, who are its teachers. But five, or in Europe till the sixteenth century. even ten centuries before our era, a great reforma- All the subtleties of logic, and the refinements of tion of it was effected by a person named Buddha, grammar, are to be met with in Sanscrit works on who rejecting the Vedas and Puranas, and the dis- these subjects. In the copious poetic literature of tinction of castes, taught that all men are brethren India, the niceties and varieties of metre are as and equal; that future happiness, which consisted numerous as in that of ancient Greece. The Sanin absorption in the divinity, was to be obtained by scrit language is, for copiousness, beauty, flexibility, the practice of virtue, by contemplation, and by and nicety of structure, almost without a rival, in mortification of the senses. The Buddhist, too, the opinion of those most competent to form a was on no account to deprive even the smallest in- judgment on the subject. sect of existence. The sect long flourished in India, The wonderful excavated temples of Ellora, but at length the Bramins, aided by the temporal Salsette, and Elephantina, and the Pagodas? on power, succeeded in suppressing it by persecution. the Coromandel coast, prove that in architectural Its votaries had already carried it into all the skill, and in the art of sculpture, the ancient Hincountries north and east of India, and it is com- doos far exceeded the Egyptians. That in the puted that nearly two-thirds of the people of Asia most remote ages the Hindoos understood the art profess it. Certainly no other religion can vie with of ship-building, and made distant voyages, is it in extent of sway. One of the most curious cir- | proved by their colonies. There is also in the cumstances in Buddhism is its astonishing agree- ancient Code of Manu a law relating to the intement with the Church of Rome in rites, ceremonies, rest of money, in which that lent on bottomry is and institutions. Like it, for example, it has mo- particularly noticed ; and this, we may observe, nasteries of both sexes, with injunctions of celibacy. could only take place among a people familiar with The resemblance is so strong, that the early Catho- the sea. lic missionaries regarded it as a device of the For the political condition of ancient India, the devil to turn men from the truth.
great authority is the Code of Manu. We think, There is still in India a sect named the Jains, however, that those inquirers are wrong, whó who agree in some points with the Buddhists, and like them reject Braminism. But they are not
quent part of our work. The name is a corruption of the the power to persecute.
Sanscrit Bhahagavate, holy house.
suppose this Code to be like that of Justinian, the The Cshatriyas were the military caste; the Code Napoléon, or similar works--a systein of laws royal dignity belonged to them, and all places of and regulations which were actually in force, and rank and command; for the Bramins only excited as the law of the land. We rather agree with pounded the laws, and took no part in the executhose who view in it an ideal system, like the Re- tive government. The Cshatriya was to defend public and Laws of Cicero, in which the actual con- the people, to give alms, read the Vedas, and sacristitution and laws of the state are taken as a basis, fice, and he was to shun sensual gratifications. and such additions made, as in the writer's opinion The Vaisya was to cultivate the land, keep cattle, would bring it nearer to perfection. On this prin- follow trade, and lend money on interest. He too ciple, and we believe on no other, can we account was to give alms, sacrifice, and read the Vedas. for the extravagant privileges and powers given in The lot of the Sudra was the most unfavourable, it to the Bramins, and the intolerable precepts | He was to be the servant of all, but his exact stalaid down in it for the regulations of their lives, tion can hardly be ascertained. In some respects privileges, and powers which they never possessed, he resembled the Spartan helot; but though in and precepts which they could only partially have the Code he is treated with the utmost contempt, obeyed.
and as if he were not of the same species with the The great feature of the Laws of Manu is the higher classes, yet Hindoo nature was always too division of the people into castes 8 like those that gentle to allow of such being the practice, and the prevailed in ancient Egypt. These were four in lot of the Sudra was never so hard as that of the number, viz. the Bramins, the Cshatriyas, the helot or of the middle-age serf. Vaisyas, and the Sudras, the first of which, it is said, The men of the first three classes might marry proceeded from the mouth, the second from the into the classes beneath them, but this was not arm, the third from the thigh, and the fourth from permitted to the women. If a Bramin woman the foot of Brahma.
married a Sudra, their son was a Chandala, the The Bramins were not, as is generally, but per- lowest of mortals, and if he united himself with a haps erroneously stated, à sacerdotal caste, for we woman of the higher classes, their progeny, says nowhere read of their conducting public worship, the law," is more foul than their begetter.” It is like the priests of Judæa or Egypt. They seem from these marriages that many of the numerous rather to have been an order of men who fol- sub-divisions of caste have been derived. lowed a course of religious study and practice A name by which the three higher castes are during the first half of their lives, and spent the distinguished, is that of the twice-born. A Bramin other in a condition of self-denial and mendicity 9." in his fifteenth, a Cshatriya in his twenty-second, a They were, in fact, a people of philosophers, who Vaisya in his twenty-fourth year was solemnly girt were to be the instructors of the other classes in with a band or thread, the first of cotton, the their public and private duties ; for, though the second of cusa-grass, the last of wool, which went next two classes might read the Vedas, the Bramin over the left shoulder and across the breast. This alone was to expound them. The king was to have was regarded as a second birth; the Sudra who a Brainin for his counsellor, and justice was to be was not admitted to this honour was only a onceadministered by Bramins ; but the Bramin was to born. shun all worldly honour, and not to seek to accu- The government in India was absolute monarchy. mulate wealth. A Bramin was to spend the first The king and all his officers were of the Cshatriya quarter of his life as a student, rendering every, caste, It would appear that the monarch was at even the most menial, service to his master, and he liberty to choose his successor among his sons. was to support himself by begging from door to Great monarchies seem to have been unknown; door. In the next quarter he was to marry and though occasionally an able and warlike prince live with his wife and family, discharging the may have made several minor states acknowledge duties of his order, of which the principal was his supremacy. teaching. When this was concluded, he was to Tlie revenue, as in the case of all ancient mobecoine an anchorite, retiring to the woods, clad narchies, arose chiefly from a share in the produce with bark or the skin of an antelope, letting his of the land. In the case of grain, this varied from hair and nails grow, sleeping on the ground, ex- a twelfth to a sixth, according to the quality of the posed to the rain and sun,“ without fire, without à soil ; it might, if necessary, be raised to a fourth. mansion, wholly silent, feeding on roots and fruit." The king had also a sixth of the produce of trees, The last stage relieves the Bramin from much of of honey, and other natural productions, and of this austerity. He returns to the world, dresses manufactures. There were also duties on mernearly as the ordinary Bramin, is released from all chandise, licences for carrying on trades, etc. ceremonies and external forms. His only business The country was partitioned into civil and miliis contemplation, till at last he quits the body " as tary divisions.
There were lords of one, ten, a a bird leaves the branch of a tree at its pleasure. hundred, and a thousand villages, and over these Such is a sketch of a part of what we may term were officers of high rank, whose duty it was to the ideal of the life of a Bramin ; for, though indi- inspect them, and correct any abuses they might viduals might and did reduce it to practice, such commit. The military divisions did not coincide could never have been done by all the members of with the civil ones ; in each was a body of troops a numerous society.
under an approved officer. It is probable that some part of the revenue of the district was
assigned for the pay of the officer and his 8 This, like so many other words relating to India, has come to us from the Portuguese. In their language, and in
It is probable that the village-system, which is of that of Spain, casta is race, kind, or quality; but we know not its origin.
so much importance in modern India, is coeval with 9 Wilson, note on Mill, i. p. 191.
the formation of the state ; but as it is not spoken
of in the Laws of Manu, we will defer our notice time, for Megasthenes, the ambassador of Seleucus, of it.
resided for many years at the court of Palibothra' The preceding very imperfect sketch is intended The history of India henceforth becomes very to give some idea of the condition of India in the obscure. We collect from the Hindoo books, and ages previous to the time when the expedition of from inscriptions, that the tribes that possessed Alexander the Great first brought Europeans into Bactria used to make inroads into the Punjâb, and that country, and excited a curiosity about its that the religious feuds, which ended in the overlearning, its laws, and its institutions. Even at throw of Buddhism, raged during this period ; but that time, we find, by comparing the accounts of still all accounts concur in representing the country the Greeks with the early Hindoo authorities, that as being in a very flourishing state. The court of there was a decline, especially in religion; idolatry, the princes, whose name was Vicramaditya, who and the abominations connected with it, had spread reigned at Ayodha, i.e. Oude, and who extended over the land, and the Suttees or practice of women their dominion to the Deckan, was famed for magburning themselves with the bodies of their hus- nificence, and for the patronage of genius and bands, which is not even alluded to in the Laws of science. It was at the court of the first prince of Manu, or the epic poems, had come into use. It this name, a few years before our era, that Calidâsa, appears also that the monastic orders, a sure mark the author of the beautiful drama, Sacôntala, fiouof the corruption of religion, existed then in India. rished. Foreign trade was carried on extensively
during this time, and the products of India were diffused over the Persian, the Roman, and other empires; but darkness broods over the internal history.
While India was thus in repose, the prophet of CHAPTER III.
the Arabs appeared. The inhabitants of the desert, animated by enthusiasm, fell on the effete and
feeble empires of Rome and Persia, and every Earliest notice of India - Alexander the Great GræcoBactrian Kingdom-Vicramaditya--The Khalifat--Inva
where victory followed their banners. Their emsion of India -- Decline of the Khalifat-Sebuktegîn
pire speedily extended from the Ebro to the Oxus. Mahmûd of GhuznimHis Invasions of India-Temple of
The Khalifehs, or successors of the prophet, had Sômnât-Character of Mahmûd-End of his Dynasty.
finally fixed their abode at Bagdad on the Tigris;
their dominion extended into Câbul, and but for INDIA has no history of its own ; our first know- the decay of enthusiasm, the feuds that broke out, ledge of it, as of so many other countries, is de- and the inertness and degeneracy always co rived from the Greeks. Herodotus, when describ- quent on long-established rule in the East, the coning the extent of the Persian empire under Darius I., quest of a large part of India might have been names India as one of the provinces ; but this was achieved. only the part of it about the Indus, and as the in- India was, in fact, invaded by the troops of the habitants of a strip of country under the Parapa- Khalîfehs. In the reign of the Khalîfeh Walîd 1. misus mountains to the west of that river is said to an Arab ship was seized at a placed named Dewal, have been possessed by Indians, it is doubtful if | in Sind.
in Sind. Application was made to Dâhir, the the dominion of the Persian monarch extended into rajah of that country, for restitution, but he replied the Punjâb.
When Alexander the Great had that Dewal was not under his authority. The overthrown the Persian empire, his lust of conquest | governor of Basra, for the Khalîfeh, would not be led him to India. He took the route trodden by satisfied with this reply, and he despatched from all the invaders of that country, namely, along the Shîraz, under the command of his nephew, named valley of the river Câbul, crossed the Indus at pro
Mollammed Câsim (a youth of only twenty years of bably the modern Attock, and conquered the Pun- age), a force of 6000 men to invade the territory of jâb as far as the Beyah, and but for the mutiny of the Hindoo prince (711). Câsim led his little army his troops, which forced him to return, he might in safety through the desert of Mecrân, which, unhave reached the Ganges. As he probably pro
der the name of Gedrosia, had so nearly proved posed to revisit India, he took care to establish an fatal to Alexander the Great. He appeared before interest there by extending the dominions of the Dewal, which he reduced, and thence advancing two rajas Taxiles and Porus, the first of whom had crossed the Indus to Mêrûn (now Hyderabad), been his ally, and the second his most powerful whence he proceeded, apparently northwards, to opponent. His death, however, and the confusion Alôr, the then capital of Sind, but of which the into which his empire fell, ended all plans for the ruins only now remain. His force had by this subjugation of India. The princes of the Macedonian time been augmented by a body of 2000 horse from empire which established itself in Bactria held the Persia ; but the rajah was awaiting him with an vale of the Câbui, and extended their claims over army of 50,000 men. Câsim seeing the great disIndia; and Menander, one of these princes, marched parity of numbers, prudently resolved to act on the into that country as far as the Jumna. But there was a powerful native empire, named by the Greeks 1 The prince with whom Seleucus was allied is called that of the Prasii, wliose capital, named Palibothra,
Sandracottus. Sir W. Jones was struck with its resemblance lay at the confluence of the Ganges and the Sôn;
to Chandraguptas, i. e. Moon-protected, a celebrated name and the Syrian kings, Seleucus and Antiochus,
in Hindoo story. The history of the two, who were both formed alliances with the sovereigns of this empire
usurpers, in fact, coincides, and thus the first point in
Indian chronology was obtained. Palibothra is the Sanscrit against the Bactrian monarch, wliose dominion was
Pataliputra, whose ruins are near the modern Patna. The finally overturned by the hordes of the north. It is
name which Megasthenes gives the Sôn is Erannoboas, a to the circumstance of this alliance that we are
Græcised form of its Sanscrit name Hirânyavalas, i. e. chiefly indebted for our knowledge of India at that