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taneous 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,
* A curiously shaped dagger.
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 Chahamanas; though A'sa purna is their immediate patroness, and a most enchanting one to have: 'Hope herself.' Sacambhari-DeVi had her statue erected on a small island on the Sar, or salt-lake, to which she gives her name, contracted to Sambhar."
"The Chahamana (Major Tod in his spirited language adds) is right in considering Sacambhari as deserving more of his adoration than the more
* See Infanticide, page 177.
benign divinity, Hope; for no race of the sons of Adam is less indebted to A'sa-purna. for the fulfilment of their wishes than these her votaries. A sketch of the reverses of the various Sacce 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 Dhoti, 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 Mahmud; or those of the romantic Hammlr, the theme of eternal plaudits, whenever the Rajpoot instances the sacrifices which the rights of sanctuary and hospitality demand." (See Johdrd, 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.
parallel with the sea from near Surat to Canara. This country is well calculated for the maintenance of defensive warfare; but that the people were not of the military caste is proved by the names of their particular tribes. The Koonbee, the Dangar, and the Goalah; or, the farmer, shepherd, and cow-herd: all rural occupations. The exterior, also, of the Rajpoots and Maharattas marks a different origin. The first is remarkable for the grace and dignity of his person; the latter, on the contrary, is of diminutive size, in general badly made, and of a mean rapacious disposition. The Maharatta Brahmans, also, differ in their customs from their neighbours, with whom they will never associate nor intermarry.
"It certainly appears extraordinary, that a nation so numerous as the Maharattas should have remained almost wholly unnoticed in Indian history for so long a period as from the first Mahommedan conquest until the reign of Aurengzebe; but it appears probable that prior to the time of Sevajee, the Maharatta country, like the other parts of the Deccan, was divided into little principalities and chiefships; many of which were dependant on the neighbouring Mahommedan princes, but never completely brought under subjection.
"Sevajee, the first Maharatta commander who combined the efforts of these discordant chiefs and tribes, was born in A.D. 1626, and died in 1680. His genealogy being obscure, his adherents were at liberty to invent the most illustrious; and, accordingly, traced his origin from the Ranahs of Odeypoor (the purest of the Khetrie caste), who claim a descent, equally fabulous, from Noushirwan the Just.
'The Maharatta constitution, from the commencement, has always been more aristocratic than despotic, and the local arrangements of their empire peculiar; the territory of the different hostile chiefs being blended or inter spersed with each other.
"The Maharatta soldiers eat almost every thing indiscriminately, except beef and tame swine: they will eat wild hogs. The Maharatta country abounds with horses, and there are some of a very fine breed, called the Beemarteddy (raised near the Beemah river); but the common Maharatta horse, used in war, is a lean, ill-looking animal, with large bones, and commonly about fourteen or fourteen-and-a-half hands high. The only wea