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SHUTAS. These are chiefly coachmen and grooms; but Brahmins are allowed to visit their houses, and eat fruit and water at their hands.
MALAKAR. This grade derives its name from the garlands, or málas of flowers, which are hung about the necks of the Gods and Brahmins on festival days. The occupation is considered not only honourable but meritorious, and must not be confounded with that of the ordinary Mali, or gardener. Brahmins eat fruit in their houses.
The NABASAK. This division, though nominally consisting of nine Sréni, contains in reality fourteen, all honourable, and in whose houses Brahmins can sit and eat fruit. Though all belonging to one great division, they are totally interdicted from inter-marriage, or any other form of social equality.
KARMMAKAR. Ironworkers. This is one of those castes, the greater part of whose members have adhered to their original trade.
TILI. Spice-sellers. They employ themselves however in all kinds of professions, and number many rich men among their ranks.
TANTRABAYA, or Tanti. Weavers. Many have abandoned this employment, and are found in all kinds of trades.
MALI. These are the ordinary gardeners; but the trade is followed by almost all grades of husbandmen.
TAMBALI. Chiefly Bazár men, sellers of pan and betel. BARUI. Preparers of pan and betel.
MAIRA. Confectioners, or sweetmeat makers. These are a most important class of men, as every Bengali, young and old, is only limited in his consumption of sweetmeats by the length of his purse.
GOALA, OR GOPA. Herdsmen.
The following are those castes, into whose house no Brahmin of character will enter; but they may still be servants in the houses of the priests.
DHOBA. Washermen. These are so degraded that they cannot even perform the meanest offices for the priests.
TELI Oil pressers. Equally low.
HARI. These even sell pigs, and are, par consequence, considered on a level with the animals, in which they trade; they are chiefly cooks among Europeans.
MUCHI. Shoemakers. So deeply is leather abhorred among the Hindus, that the more orthodox always wear their slip
pers down at heel to escape the profanation of touching them. The shoemaker is therefore the lowest of all castes, save the DOмs, who are scavengers and basket-makers; as also are the Doklas.
The CHANDALS, or Outcasts, are held to be the lees of Hinduism, wretched beings, whom it is pollution for a Brahmin even to look at, much less to touch. The bare contact of their garments compels the Brahmin, and the other two higher castes, to wash themselves in the river.*
The popular belief is that the Sudras are divided into thirty-six castes; and the following list, differing in some respects from that in the text, has been kindly furnished to us by a young native Christian. It is compiled and arranged by himself.
A GENERAL VIEW OF THE THIRTY SIX CLASSES OF THE VARNA-SANKARS.
It is so impossible for a European to become perfectly acquainted with all the mysteries of castes, that the foregoing list may contain a few inaccuracies; but it will be found to err rather in its omissions, than commissions. When it is considered that in each of these castes there is a multitude of subdivisions; that each ramification has some customs peculiar to itself, of which every infraction is a breach of the laws of caste ; and that a great portion of the litigious spirit of a litigious race is spent upon these quarrels ; we obtain a great clue to the source of Brahminical influence.*
It is well known that this influence is still very powerful, and that it operates as a formidable check to national improvement; but one of the many subjects upon which Europeans, who have written upon Indian customs; are apparently in the dark, is the nature of the process, by which the Brahmin exercises that portion of direct authority, which belongs to him, and which constitutes the ultimate basis of his ecclesiastical power. Let us suppose any man in ordinary circumstances to commit an offence against the laws of caste, which renders him impure, without absolutely severing him from Hinduism; let us suppose, for instance, a Kayastha detected eating pig's flesh: the circumstance comes to the ears of the Brahmins through some party intimate with the offender; and the case is at once subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny. The delinquent will probably make the most solemn asseverations of innocence, and call all the Gods to witness, that he was, at the time, performing púja: but all this goes for little in Bengal at any time, and, in matters of caste, a man's word is considered as absolutely valueless. The Brahmins, having satisfied themselves of the truth of the charge, at once publish it abroad, and prescribe a form of Prayaschitra, or purification, adapted to the degree of the crime committed. This purification involves, not only an expenditure, that in many cases reduces the offender to hopeless poverty, but also a number of difficult and disgusting ceremonies. It sometimes happens therefore that he resists; and he is then declared ABYABAHARJYA, an outcast. The effect of this sentence far surpasses that of the terrible Romanist excommunication. The man remains in his own house solitary. No man, but the vilest of the populace, will enter it none will address him,
* Upon the subject of breaking caste we must say one word. We have frequently been amused by hearing servants complain to their mistress, that such and such an act would break their caste; and the said story, very often, implicitly credited. For instance, we have seen a bearer refuse to remove a cup of tea, upon the plea of caste. The fact is that no cause on earth can break a man's caste, except eating with an infidel, or eating cow's flesh. The minor breaches may all be made up for by rupees, and, as for those alleged by servants to escape work, they are almost all lies; or at best such disgrace is incurred, as an English butler would experience, if he were to sweep the floor. In Calcutta even the major breach is of little moment. We have known cases of young men coming to a missionary for baptism, sleeping, eating, and drinking with native converts;-and received back, without question or scruple.
unless compelled by absolute necessity; his relatives, who have resided in his house perhaps for twenty years, abandon it; and even the females of his family, who are unable to depart, overwhelm him with reproaches. Should any one, influenced by the love of gold, frequent his dwelling, he also must perform a Prayaschitra. Add to this the torment of his own conscience, and we may easily conceive, that it is impossible for the haughtiest spirit to hold out for more than a month. At the end of that time, the offender generally sends for his Purohit, or Brahminical Father Confessor, and declares his intention of submitting to the Prayaschitra. It is seldom that matters proceed as far as this: but every man is well aware, that this terrible sentence may be pronounced on the refractory. Towards the Brahmin, as towards the Sudra, these rules are equally strict; but the Brahmin is in general more heavily punished for his offence. Thus, if a Sudra becomes intoxicated, he is reprimanded; but, if a Brahmin is guilty of the same offence, he must perform the ceremony of purification for a whole year, by macerating his body, by alms-giving, and by fasting. The maceration consists in sleeping, and sitting, always on the bare ground, and in wearing coarse or heavy clothing; while fasting, he may eat only just sufficient to support life; and his almsgiving must not be less than Rs. 300. The only advantage, which the Brahmin has over the Sudra, is the greater difficulty of procuring evidence against him, and the probability that the funds, necessary for his alms giving, will be supplied by some Sudra Baboo.
Of the work performed by the modern Brahmins, and the duties which they most affect, it is almost impossible to obtain any correct account. They may be found in the army, in trade, and in almost every profession connected with the use of the plough. A great number still adhere to their original trade of beggary; and a still greater serve as Purohits in the houses of the middle and wealthy classes. The office of the Purohit is a compound of that of a secretary and a confessor. He performs almost all business for his protector, writes all his letters, and prescribes all his necessary worship. Generally well paid, he is always much reverenced and we may safely say, that, throughout Bengal, there is no body of men, who possess the powers of the Brahmin Purohits.
* We do not mean to assert that this is very great. The feeling of utter solitariness, and the influence of a creed, which he has obeyed (at least outwardly) for the greater part of his life, produce a sensation much resembling that which we have described. It is the impossibility of producing this perfect isolation, which, as we have before observed, so much weakens the authority of the Brahmins in the great cities.
+ We are exceedingly sorry to hear that the rapid increase of drunkenness has compelled the Brahmins to suspend this regulation; and that the intoxicated priest now escapes with only a reprimand.
ART. III.-The Oriental Astronomer ;-being a complete system of Hindu Astronomy, accompanied with a translation and numerous explanatory notes. With an appendix. Jaffna. 1848.
THE subject of the Hindu Astronomy is one, which, both on the ground of its intrinsic importance, and on account of the many curious questions that have originated in connexion with the study of it by the Western philosophers, claimed a prominent place in our pages. The claim was allowed; and it was one of the earliest subjects that we thought proper to bring to the notice of our readers, in the days when the Calcutta Review was very young-animosus infans. (See vol. I, p. 257). In the article to which we now refer, we treated the subject, and various questions connected with it, at considerable length; and our present purpose is not to go afresh over the ground that we then traversed, or to renew the discussion of any of the disputable matters, that we then either considered at length, or barely hinted at ;-but simply, and bonâ fide, to give a notice, and not a very long one, of the volume now before us.
The Oriental Astronomer-our typographical resources do not enable us to present the alternative title in the Tamil language is a work, or more properly a collection of works, in Tamil, with an English translation and numerous explanatory and corrective notes, by the Rev. H. R. Hoisington, an American Missionary, who has long been at the head of an important Educational Institution, established at Batticotta in Ceylon. The work has been prepared for the use of the students in that institution; and, at the outset of this notice, we cannot but congratulate them on the privilege they enjoy -of being directed in the study of this important science by so capable an instructor, as Mr. Hoisington's annotations in the volume before us evince him to be. One of the very questions, as we remember, that we considered in the course of the article to which we have just referred, was the suitableness of native works on astronomy to occupy the place of text-books in the educational establishments designed for the education of native youth. We shall, however, strenuously adhere to the promise we have made, and not re-open that question on the present occasion. In fact it does not legitimately come before us at present, as Mr. Hoisington's object, as stated by himself, is a very different one from the system advocated by Mr. L. Wilkinson, which we then controverted. The purpose of the present volume is not to serve as a text-book, to the super