« PreviousContinue »
port. A householder, who had for a time given him a halfpenny a day, refused to continue his allowance ; and, though the priest insisted upon the payment, he remained inflexible. The priest then threatened that, unless he received the amount, he would cut out his own tongue, and the householder would have to answer for giving him such a provocation. Incensed at the obstinacy of his opponent, he whetted his knife and cut off the tip of his tongue. He bled profusely, and his tongue swelled to a prodigious size. The pains which he endured only served to render him more desperate, and he declared he would bring his whole family and sit in dhemna, till he should obtain a sum sufficient to make a feast to his god. The householder was not to be intimidated, and remained as obstinate as the Brahmin. The priest, his wife, and his four sons, sat down, and kept their posi-ion at the door of the defendant; but, during the second night, the female was bit by a snake, and died in the morning. This event exasperated the priest ; he increased his demand ; and, as the village had remained neutral in the affair, he now laid a tax upon all its inhabitants. As he had not only sustained a personal injury, but had lost his wife while standing up for the rights of his order, and for the honor of his god, nothing less would satisfy him now, than a sum adequate to meet the expenses of the funeral and to make a feast to propitiate the deity who was offended by such daring sacrilege. Till these demands were met, he resolved to keep his station, and to retain the corpse of his wife unburied at the door of the house. As the people of the village rejected his claim, he then threatened that, in order to be avenged upon them, he would first kill his four children, and then put an end to his own existence. It was the act of a Brahmin; it might be viewed by Hindus as a pardonable offence; it was done in honor of his god; it was occasioned by the obstinacy of the people; it was a sacrifice that, according to a monstrous mythology, would meet with a future and a bountiful reward; its helpless victims were to be raised to life again by the divinity whose honor it was done to vindicate. But it is not ours to make apologies; we have only to record the fact, that this priest — this worshipper of Shiva — this monster — :his raging fury - took his knife, laid hold of three of his children, and severed their heads from their bodies. It was not enough! His eldest son tried to make his escape ; but this murderous father allured him back, and promised that, prior to his own selfdestruction, he o-ly wished to embrace him and bid him farewell. Thus invited back by the soft whispers of love, he returned; but,
the moment that he came within the grasp of the murderer, he laid him prostrate, as another victim at the shrine of superstition and reve ge. His attempt to despatch himself ended in making a dreadful wound in the back of his neck.
“Such, it may ıe said, are only solitary instances. It would not be right to quote such deeds to bring opprobrium upon a whole people, any more than it would be just to appeal to the horrid murders in Christian countries as a specimen of our own customs. But the cases are utterly dissimilar. The inhabitants of Pannabaka stood by and saw the horrid deed performed; they seemed, afterwards, to be amused and highly delighted at the bravery of the act; they expressed their resentment at one individual, and at the police-officer, who called upon them to interfere to prevent it; and there can be no question that, if this priest had been restored to his liberty and his horrid altar again, they would have received him with enthusiasm, and revered him as a saint of superior sanctity. In a village some miles distant from the spot, the people no sooner heard of this murder, than they left their employment and proceeded to Pannabaka with every demonstration of joy; and, after a few days, they returned, saying, "The children are not indeed restored to life; but why are they not? It is entirely owing to the inhabitants, who have not made a feast,' which would cost two thousand rupees, to propitiate the favor of the god — a feast which the priest had declared to be necessary." -
On a certain occasion, the Bhats of Marwar demanded a favor of Umra I., and, being refused, determined to sit in dherna. They assembled, with their women and children, in the court of the royal palace, and, with their daggers, commenced a horrid butchery. Eighty of their number lay weltering in their blood.
No.54 is a group of women engaged in various occupations. One is smoking tobacco. Another is spinning cotton. A third is preparing the thread for the weavers by winding it on a spool. A fourth is preparing the cotton for spinning. A fifth is grinding, upon a flat stone, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. These, when stewed with a cucumber or melon, serve as a seasoning for their boiled rice, which, in many parts of India, constitutes more than seven eighths of the entire food of the inhabitants. 'The woman with the large brass pot is carrying home water for househoid use. The next is returning from her morning ablution in the Ganges, with her hair spread upon her shoulders to dry
In her left hand are two brass pots, which she has scoured by rubbing them with the mud of the river. Children are neves carried in the arms; they sit astride on the hip. The woman carrying the child is going to market with a bundle of wood borne upon the head.
Perhaps there is no one point in which Christianity has a more direct influence upon the state of the community than in respect to the character and standing of the female. To a Hindu the birth of a daughter is an occasion of sorrow. At the early age of twelve or thirteen years, she is required to leave the parental roof, and to become the wife of a man whom she has had no voice in choosing as her companion. Her duties to him are thus prescribed in the Shasters: “When in the presence of her husband, a woman must keep her eyes upon her master, and be ready to receive his commands. When he speaks, she must be quiet, and listen to nothing beside. When he calls, she must leave every thing else, and attend upon him alone. A woman has no other god on earth than her husband. The most excellent of all good works she can perform is, to gratify him with the strictest obedience. This should be her only devotion. Though he be aged, infirm, dissipated, a drunkard, or a debauchee, she must still regard him as her god. She must serve him with all her might, obeying him in all things, spying no defects in his character, and giving him no cause for disquiet. If he laughs, she must also laugh; if he weeps, she must also weep; if he sings, she must be in an ecstasy. She must never eat until her husband is satisfied. If he abstains, she must also fast; and she must abstain from whatever food her husband dislikes."
In engraving, No.55 you will see the interior of a Hindu dwelling at meal time. The husband, according to custom, is seated upon a mat, eating his boiled rice with his fingers, while his wife is standing by him ready to obey his 'commands. She is never permitted to eat with her husband, but waits upon him in the capacity of a servant, and afterwards partakes of the fragments in retirement.
Schools are not uncommon in India, but there are none for the instruction of the female. Her mind is entirely uncultivated, and she has no fixed principles to regulate her conduct. She is therefore an easy prey to vice, and the devoted slave of superstition. When her husband dies, she must either burn herself upon his funeral pile, or, if she determines to live, it must be a life of