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clared guilty. A fine, always consisting of liquor, is imposed. If the liquor be not immediately produced, the delinquent is banished from their society, hooted and execrated wherever he comes: his very wife and children avoid him. Thus oppressed, he soon becomes a suppliant to the nardar boutah. Some of the women of the Bazeegurs are, I have heard, extremely handsome, and esteemed as courtezans in the east accordingly; though I must confess I have not seen any who, in my opinion, came under that description as to personal charms.”
THE PARSEES or FIRE WORSHIPPERS.
“When the emigration of the Persians took place in the seventh century, soon after the conquest of their country by the Mahomedans, a number of these people found their way to India, and landing on the western coast, near Danoo and Cape Sejan, commonly called St. John's, were admitted by the Hindu rajah to settle in the adjacent country, and particularly at the village of Oodwara, which is still the chief residence of their priests, and the depository of the sacred fire brought by them from Persia. These people have now increased to about one hundred and fifty thousand families, dispersed in the cities and villages on the coast of western India, from Diu to Bombay, of which about six thousand reside in Bombay; which, reckoning four to a family, makes the Parsee population of Bombay about twentyfour thousand. Cultivating only the arts of peace, they may be said to be a distinct race from their ancestors; and though they have been settled for more than a thousand years, yet have hitherto refrained from intermeddling with politics; consequently they are the best of subjects, and demean themselves so as to give the governments under which they reside the utmost satisfaction.
“The opulent among them are merchants, brokers, ship-owners, and extensive land-holders. The lower orders are shop-keepers, and follow most of the mechanic arts, except those connected with fire: thus there are neither silversmiths, nor any workers of the metals among them; nor are there any soldiers, the use of fire-arms being abhorrent to their principles; nor are there any sailors. Their charities are munificent and unbounded, relieving the poor and distressed of all tribes, and maintaining their own poor in so liberal a manner that a Parsee beggar is no where seen nor heard of. “Anxious to know every thing respecting the religion of their ancestors, the opulent Parsees of Bombay and Surat have from time to time sent persons into Persia to collect books and notices respecting it; and have also invited many of the sect from Persia, some few of whom reside occasionally in Bombay. “The Parsee population is divided into clergy and laity (Mobed and Bedeen). The clergy and their descendants are very numerous, and are distinguished from the laity by wearing of white turbans; but they follow all kinds of occupations, except those who are particularly selected for the service of the churches, though they have no distinction of castes. A recent innovation, respecting the commencement of their new year, has formed them into two tribes, one celebrating the festival of the new year a month before the other, which causes their religious ceremonies and holidays to fall also on different days. “Those who adopted the new era (in compliance, I believe, with Molna Firaun, the high priest of Bombay, who has himself been in Persia), are styled Kudmee, and jocularly Chureegurs, i.e. bangle-makers, workers in ivory, and other materials for women's ornaments; the tribe of Chureegurs being amongst the foremost of those who adopted the new computation. Those who still adhere to the old method are stiled Rusmee and Shersi, and still form the bulk of the population. “Some of their ancient ceremonies have, however, been preserved inviolate; and particularly those concerning the rites of sepulture. No person of a different sect is allowed to approach, or any stranger allowed to witness the obsequies; but it does not appear that the bodies should be exposed to any thing but the elements. “They have a few plain and unornamented churches, where they assemble for the purpose of prayer; they are crowded every day by the clergy, but the laity only attend on certain days.
* Asiatic Researches, vol. vii.
“. It has been already said that there are no sailors amongst them ; but the Persians were never a maritime nation: they possess, however, no abhorrence to a sea life, for many of them embark as traders, on the most distant and perilous voyages, and take part in all shipping speculations, and are bold and enterprizing merchants. Though they follow not the profession of arms, yet they have no hesitation in following the armies into the field in quality of sutlers, shop-keepers, and servants to the officers.”*
The Garrows are a tribe of hillmen inhabiting a mountainous country called the Garrow Hills, which bound the north-eastern parts of Bengal. They differ in many respects from the tribes of hillmen mentioned in other pages of this work.
“The Garrows are called by the villagers and upper hill people, Counch Garrows; though they themselves, if you ask them of what caste they are, will answer, Garrows, and not give themselves any appellation of caste, though there are many castes of Garrows. A Garrow is a stout, well-shaped man; hardy, and able to do much work; of a surly look; flat câfre-like nose; small eyes, generally blue or brown; forehead wrinkled, and overhanging eye-brow; with large mouth, thick lips, and face round and short: their colour is of a light or deep brown. The women are the ugliest creatures I ever beheld, short and squat in their stature, with masculine faces; in the features they differ little from the men.
“The dress of these people correspond with their persons. They eat all manner of food, even dogs, frogs, snakes, and the blood of all animals. The last is baked over a slow fire, in hollow green bamboos, till it becomes of a nasty dirty green colour. They are fond of drinking to an excess. Liquor is put into the mouths of infants almost as soon as they are able to swallow. “Their surly looks seem to indicate ill temper; but this is far from being the case, as they are of a mild disposition. They are moreover honest in their dealings, and sure to perform what they promise. When in liquor they are merry to the highest pitch: then men, women, and children will dance till they can scarcely stand. Their manner of dancing is as follows: twenty or thirty men of a row standing behind one another, hold each other by the sides of their belts, and then go round in a circle, hopping on one foot then on the other, singing and keeping time with their music, which is animating though harsh and inharmonious, consisting chiefly of tomtoms and brass pans; the first generally beaten by the old people, and the last by the children. The women dance in rows, and hop in the same manner, but hold their hands out, lowering one hand and raising the other, at the same time, as the music beats, and occasionally turning round with great rapidity. The men also exhibit military exercises with the sword and shield, which they use with grace and great activity Their dancing at their festivals lasts two or three days, during which time they drink and feast to an excess, insomuch that it requires a day or two afterwards to make them perfectly sober again; yet during this fit of festivity and drunkenness they never quarrel. “Marriage is in general settled amongst the parties themselves, though sometimes by their parents. If it has been settled by the parties themselves, and the parents of either refuse their assent, the friends of the opposite party, and even others unconnected, go and by force compel the dissenters to comply; it being a rule among the Garrows to assist those that want their help on these occasions, let the disparity of age or rank be ever so great. If the parents do not accede to the wish of their child, they are well beaten till they acquiesce in the marriage. “The dead are kept for four days; burnt on a pile of wood in a dingy, or small boat, placed on the top of the pile; and the ashes are put into a hole, dug exactly where the fire was, covered with a small thatch building, and surrounded with a railing. A lamp is burnt within the building every
* Asiatic Journal.
night for the space of a month or more. They burn their dead within six or eight yards of their chaungs, and the ceremony is performed exactly at twelve o'clock at night; the pile is lighted by the nearest relation: after this they feast, make merry, dance and sing, and get drunk. This is however the ceremony of a common Garrow. If it be a person of rank, the pile is decorated with cloth and flowers, and a bullock sacrificed on the occasion, and the head of the bullock is also burnt with the corpse. If it be an upper-hill Booneah, of common rank, the head of one of his slaves would be cut off and burnt with him. And if it happen to be one of the first rank Booneahs, a large body of his slaves sally out of the hills, and seize a Hindu, whose head they cut off, and burn with their chief. The railed graves of Booneahs are decorated with images of animals placed near the graves, and the railing is often ornamented with fresh flowers. “Their religion appears to approximate to that of the Hindus: they worship Mahadeva; and at Baunjaur, a pass in the hills, they worship the sun and moon. To ascertain which of the two they are to worship upon any particular occasion, their priest takes a cup of water, and some wheat: first calling the name of the sun, he drops a grain into the water; if it sinks, they are then to worship the sun; should it not sink, they then would drop another grain in the name of the moon, and so on till one of the grains sink. All religious ceremonies are preceded by a sacrifice to their god, of a bull, goat, hog, cock, or dog. In case of illness they offer up a sacrifice in proportion to the supposed fatality of the distemper with which they are afflicted; as they imagine medicine will have no effect, unless the deity interfere in their favour, and that a sacrifice is requisite to procure such interposition. “Their mode of swearing at Ghosegong is very solemn: the oath is taken upon a stone, which they first salute; then, with their hands joined and uplifted, their eyes steadfastly fixed to the hills, they call on Mahadeva in the most solemn manner, telling him to witness what they declare, and that he knows whether they speak true or false. They then again touch the stone with all the appearance of the utmost fear, and bow their heads to it calling again upon Mahadeva. They also, during their relation, look sted