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These highland soldiers, who despatch their meal in half an hour, and satisfy the ceremonial law by merely washing their hands and face, and taking off their turbans before cooking, laugh at the pharisaical rigour of our Sepoys who must bathe from head to foot, and make Pooja (or worship) ere they begin to dress their dinner, must eat nearly naked in the coldest weather, and cannot be in marching time again in less than three hours. In war, the former readily carry several days' provisions on their backs; the latter would deem such an act intolerably degrading. The former see in foreign service nothing but the prospect of glory and spoil: the latter can discover in it nothing but pollution and peril from unclean men, and terrible wizards, goblins, and evil spirits. In masses, the former have all that indomitable confidence, each and all, which grows out of national integrity and success : the latter can have no idea of sentiment, which maintains the union and resolution of multitudes in peril, better than all other human bonds whatever.
It has been calculated that there are at this
time in Nepaul no less than thirty thou. Dakhriahs, or soldiers off the roll by rotation, belonging to the above three tribes. There does not exist any insuperable obstacle to our obtaining, in one form or other, the services of a large body of these men; and such are their energy of character, love of enterprise, and freedom from the shackles of caste, that their services, if once obtained, would soon come to be most highly prized.
In the opinion of competent judges, they are by far the best soldiers in India, and if they were made participators of our own renown in arms, their gallant spirit and unadulterated military habits might be relied on for fidelity ; and our good and regular pay, and noble pension-establishment would serve to counterpoise the influnce of nationality, especially in the Magars and Gurûngs.
NEPAUL having been ruled for many centuries past by Rypoot juries, and the various classes of Hindoos appearing, in all periods, to have composed a great portion of its population; it is natural to expect a great resemblance in manners and customs between this part of its inhabitants and the kindred sects of the adjacent countries. In one essential particular, however, these mountaineers are prominently discriminated, and that is, by a simplicity of character invariably observable amongst them. This feature is attributable to the Nepaulese, either from their secluded situations or some
other still more operative cause ; yet the simplicity which distinguishes these people, manifests itself no less in the higher than in the lower ranks of life. - It appears in public and in private life without ostentation or parade, and is accompanied by a plainness and serenity of deportment, and probably by an ntegrity of conduct, not commonly met with among their more polished or opulent brethren.
Between the Newars and the Hindoos of Nepaul, a similarity subsists, as well in character, customs, manners, and features, as in religious rites; and the Punchayat system, so universal in India, is in vogue in Nepaul. The Punchayats in use are of two kinds, domestic and public; the latter being called upon to settle suits before the courts, the former to settle matters never brought under the court's cognizance.
Domestic Punchayats are very popular, especially among merchants, whose wealth attracts the cupidity of the courts, and the community of whom can, on the other hand, always furnish intelligent referees or Punchmen. To
the public Punchayat all matters may be referred (with the exception of cases of life destroyed), at the discretion of the courts, or at the desire of the parties : but cases of battery and assault are not usually referred to these tribunals.
The Punchmen are appointed by the Dilha (presiding judge of the court), at the solicitation of the parties, with whom solely the selection lies. After selection by the parties, the Dilha takes from them an obligation to abide by the award of the Punchayat. The court, or government, never appoint Punchayats of their own nation, except when men of note are accused, or if parties expressly solicit it by petition to the government; but no man can sit on a Punchayat without the assent of both parties. A Punchayat of this sort often acts the part of a jury when men of note are accused, the government nominating the Punchmen. In civil actions, too, the parties, tired of litigating, will sometimes desire the court or government to nominate a Punchayat to hear and decide with