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of nature. This stone is called a pallia: it resembles an European gravestone, has the name, date, and mode of death engraven, and is surmounted by a roughly executed figure, representing the manner in which the deceased fell. Thus you see them on horseback with swords and spears; also on foot, or on carts, with the same weapons: I have even seen them on vessels, of course applicable to fishermen. In the upper parts of the pallia are the sun and moon rudely represented. The practice of traga, or inflicting self-wounds, suicide, or the murder of relations, deserves to be noticed, as it forms a strong feature of the manners of the people. This practice, which is common in Kattiwar to Bhats and Charons of both sexes, and to Brahmans and Gosseins, has its rise in religious superstition, and probably cannot be better explained than in the following instance, which is perfectly true; and although tragas” seldom wear this formidable aspect, still they are sometimes more criminal, by the sacrifice of a greater number of victims. In the year 1806, a Bhat of Weweingaum, named Kunna, had become security on the part of Dossajee, the present chieftain of Mallia in the Muchoo Kaunta, for a sum of money payable to the Guicowar government. The time specified for payment arrived, and Dossajee refused to fulfil his engagement. Government applied to the Zamin or Munotidar, who, after several fruitless attempts to persuade Dossajee to comply with his bond, returned to his house; and after passing some time in prayer, assembled his family, and desired his wife to prepare a daughter, about seven years of age, for traga. The innocent child, taught from her earliest infancy to reflect on the sacred character and divine origin of her family, and the necessity which existed for the sacrifice, required no compulsion to follow the path by which the honour of her caste was to be preserved. Having bathed and dressed herself in her best clothes, she knelt with her head upon her father's knee, and holding aside her long hair, she resigned herself without a struggle to the sword of this unnatural barbarian. The blood of a Bhat being sprinkled on the gate of the chieftain produced an instantaneous payment of the money. Presents of land to the father, and a handsome mausoleum or doree to the daughter, marked the desire of the Rajpoot to avert the punishment supposed to await the spiller of a Charon's blood. No deed or agreement is considered equal to bind the faithless robber, unless guaranteed by the mark of the kutar,” the insignia of the Charon or Bhat; and no traveller could, until lately, venture to journey unattended by one of those persons as a safeguard, who was satisfied for a small sum to conduct him in safety, or sacrifice his life. These guards are called Wollawas, and hesitate not to inflict the most grievous wounds, and ultimately death, if the robbers persist in plundering those under their protection; but this is seldom the case, as the most barbarous Coolies, Kattees, or Rajpoots, hold sacred the persons of Charons, Brahmans, and Gosseins. The Charons, besides becoming security for money on all occasions, and to the amount of many lacks of rupees, also become what is called feil Zamin, or security for good behaviour, and hazir Zamin, or security for the appearance. Independently of these duties, the Bhats are the bards of the Rajpoot and Kattee: they keep the genealogical table or vunah wallee of the family, and repeat their praises. Their duty is hereditary, for which they have gifts of land and other privileges. The Bhats are more immediately with the Rajpoots, and the Charons with the Kattees. The two castes will eat of each other's food, but will not intermarry. The women of the Charons and Bhats are clothed in long flowing black garments, and have a sombre, if not actually horrid appearance. They do not wear many ornaments, and are not restricted from appearing in the presence of strangers; accordingly, in passing a Charon village, you are sometimes surrounded by women who invoke blessings on your head by joining the backs of their hands, and cracking the knuckles of their fingers in that position over their heads. The Rajpoot women of high rank are often of an intriguing disposition, and always meddle in the affairs of their husband. Every raja has several wives, each of whom has a separate establishment of friends, relations, servants, lands, and every thing else. Each is jealous of the influence of the others over their lord, who, by the time he is forty years old, is generally a victim of opium, tobacco, or spirituous liquors, and other exciting drugs. If one of the wives has offspring, the others practice deceit upon the family, and every woman of spirit has a son. Dissention and discord prevail, and it has become almost as rare an event for a raja to leave this world in peace and quiet, as it is for a Rajpoot gaudee to be filled by a person the purity of whose birth is perfectly ascertained. This melancholy picture of the morals of Rajpoot ladies is confined solely to the higher classes; and the female sex in Kattiwar, generally speaking, are modest, chaste, and faithful to their lords, and kind and hospitable to strangers. As a proof of the former, there are few or no women of easy virtue in the villages, and those in the large towns are frequently natives of other countries. The Kattee women are large and masculine in their figures, often dressed in long dark garments like the Charon women; but have the character of being always well-looking, and often remarkably handsome. They are more domesticated than the Rajpoot, and confine themselves solely to the duties of their families. They are often brides at seventeen and sixteen years of age, which may probably account for the strength and vigour of the race. A Kattee will do nothing of any consequence without consulting his wife and a Charon, and he is in general guided by their advice. The marriage ceremony of this irregular tribe deserves notice, as being totally opposite to all Indian notions of female treatment, although there is a trace of the same to be found in almost all Indian castes. A Kattee to become a husband must be a ravisher; he must attack with his friends and followers the village where his betrothed resides, and carry her off by force. In ancient times this was no less a trial of strength than of courage: stones and clubs were used without reserve both to force and repel; and the disappointed lover was not unfrequently compelled to retire, covered with bruises, and wait for a more favourable occasion. The bride had the liberty of assisting her lover by all the means in her power, and the opposition ceased when her dwelling was once gained by the assailants, and the lady then bravely won submitted willingly to be carried off by her champion. The Kattees do not intermarry with any other caste. The Kattee is a Hindu, although no Hindu will eat with him. A Rajpoot will, however, eat food dressed by a Kattee. He worships the cow; leaves a lock of hair on his head; and adores Mahadeo and other Hindu deities, although he is more attached to the worship of the Sooruje (Surya or the sun), and to Ambha and other terrible goddesses. The practice of female infanticide," peculiar in this peninsular to the Jharejah Rajpoots, is too well known, and has been too often described to require particular notice in this place. The Jhalla, Goit, and Jaitwa Rajpoots, differ in no material point from the Jharejahs, if we except their not practicing infanticide. Of the Kauts, the Meres, the Ahurs, and the Rhebarrees, it will be unnecessary to say more than that they are cultivators, and some of them plunderers when opportunity offers. When a dispute occurs about a piece of land, it is decided by the form of pacing it. The man who lays claim to it covers himself with a raw hide and walks over the ground, after which it becomes his own; this ceremony is done in the presence of some authority. It is considered as one of the most awful, and the person who undergoes it is supposed never to survive it long if he is false. Abundance of instances are advanced of houses burnt, families dying, and going to ruin, from having walked over land without a claim. The hide is what makes it so very awful, and it is thence called alloo.”—Transactions Bombay Literary Society. Sacambhari Bhavani is, according to Major Tod, “the guardian goddess of the whole Rajpoot race, yet more especially claimed by the Chāhamānas; though A'sa purná is their immediate patroness, and a most enchanting one to have : “Hope herself.’ Sácambhari-Dévi had her statue erected on a small island on the Sar, or salt-lake, to which she gives her name, contracted to Sámbhar.” “The Cháhamána (Major Tod in his spirited language adds) is right in considering Sácambhari as deserving more of his adoration than the more
* This abominable ceremony borders much upon the Brahman practice of Dherna, but is infinitely more detestable.—See page 145.
benign divinity, Hope; for no race of the sons of Adam is less indebted to A'sá-purná for the fulfilment of their wishes than these her votaries. A sketch of the reverses of the various Sacae of this widely-extended name would form a history, for their misfortunes were conspicuous as their renown was splendid. No other of the martial races of India can fill more pages of its heroic history with deeds in arms. They still live in the songs of the bard, and furnish most interesting materials to the itinerant minstrel, the Dholi, the jongleur of India, who to the sound of his rhubab chants the exploits of Goga, who, with fifty sons and nephews, and all his clan, fell on the banks of the Indus opposing Mahmūd; or those of the romantic Hammír, the theme of eternal plaudits, whenever the Rajpoot instances the sacrifices which the rights of sanctuary and hospitality demand.” (See Johárá, page 174.)
Of the numerous tribes of India there are few whose names have been better, or whose character has been less known in Europe than the Maharattas. Their sometimes rival, and sometimes confederated chieftains, the Peishwa, Holkar, and Scindiah, have given a dazzling, but ephemeral celebrity to the Maharatta name, which has caused many to blend with them (than which nothing can have been more erroneous) the Rajpoots, the Kattees, the Bheels, and other more or less warlike and predatory tribes, who have occasionally sided with them. These races are altogether distinct, as the following pages, contrasted with those which have preceded this article, will shew.
* “The original Maharatta state comprehend a country of great natural strength, interspersed with mountains, defiles, and fortresses. The best modern accounts lead us to suppose that it included Kandeish, Bagland, and part of Berar, extending towards the north-east as far as Guzerat and the Nerbuddah river. To the west the Maharattas possessed the narrow but strong tract of country which borders on the Concan, and stretches
* In consequence of having omitted to note my authority for a part of this article, I regret my inability to acknowledge it.