free ebooks

A Popular Account of the Manners and Customs of In

One name of Vishnoo is Chrishna

style="text-align: justify;"> Cuttack, July 4, 1844.


I have mentioned the manner in which Europeans are apt to alienate the affections of the natives; I will now give you an instance of the way in which the Government seek to conciliate them. It must be remembered that salt is a Government monopoly, that is, no person is allowed to prepare or sell it except by the appointment of Government. The cost to them is about eight annas, or one shilling, per maund of eighty pounds; they sell it for four rupees, or eight shillings, for the same quantity; and yet so necessary is it to the natives, that, if any man does not buy the usual quantity of Government, which is, I believe, about half a seer, or one pound, a-month, for each individual, he is brought by the police before a magistrate and sent to gaol, on the presumption that, as he does not purchase salt, he must smuggle it.

Now the salt-manufacturers receive a portion of their pay beforehand, and the remainder when the salt is ready. They belong mostly to the poorest classes, and their mode of working is very simple, merely collecting the sea-water, and then suffering it to evaporate in the sun. When they receive the first portion of their pay, they are told how much they will receive per maund, for the price varies slightly in different years. Last year they were promised a certain sum; I am not

exactly sure how much, but say eight annas per maund; and when they came to the salt-agent for their money, they found that an order had arrived from Government reducing the promised pay to six and a half annas per maund. Of course they were excessively angry, and utterly astonished; for one strong idea with the natives is, that an Englishman will never tell an untruth. I happened to be present at the time; it occurred at Pooree, in the neighbourhood of which are some of the principal salt-works, if I may use so dignified a term.

The proper course for these poor people to have taken would have been, to have brought an action against Government for breach of contract; but this they could not possibly afford. However, the magistrates of Pooree sent a strong remonstrance to Government, and the consequence was, that they authorized the salt-agent this year to renew the contracts at the higher price, much to the delight of the poor salt-manufacturers, who still lost a part of the promised price of last year; yet it is scarcely to be credited that, before the time for the second payment arrived, another order was sent down, reducing the price as they did last year, and thus again defrauding the poor wretches of part of their small pittance, for defrauding it is in the truest sense of the word. All these things are managed by four or five men, who compose what is called the Salt Board.[6] I may mention that the salt-workers have been sadly disturbed this year by the number of tigers. The natives sometimes keep the claws of those which they are so fortunate as to kill, to make charms to keep off mischief.


And now I must describe Juggernat'h. To the temple are attached about _four thousand_ priests and servants. Of these one set are called Pundahs. In the autumn of every year they start on a journey through India, preaching in every town and village the advantages of a pilgrimage to Juggernat'h; after which they conduct to Pooree large bodies of pilgrims for the Rath Justra, or Car Festival, which takes place in May or June--the precise time depends on the moon, as does the time of our Easter. This is the principal festival, and the number of devotees varies from about 80,000 to 150,000. About five years ago there were present, on one occasion, not less than 250,000; but that numerous meeting was owing to some peculiar sanctity which is supposed to be diffused once in 200 years. But I ought to have commenced with some account of Juggernat'h himself. He represents the ninth incarnation of Vishnoo. I have often wondered whether the Hindu religion may not, in some portions, be taken remotely from the Christian. One name of Vishnoo is Chrishna; one appellation of Juggernat'h is Sri Teo. This Teo, as Chrishna, became incarnate whilst very young; he was sought after by a king to put him to death. Many children were killed, but he was removed from place to place in safety. He was born amongst the shepherds. The Hindus look for a tenth incarnation, when he shall unite all the world in one religion, and himself reign over them. I believe I am correct in giving these as points of faith amongst the Brahmins; and when we consider that the Hindu religion was probably established long after St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew had visited India, it certainly seems allowable to suppose that some portion of the Christian teaching became mingled with the doctrines of the Hindus. There is one objection to this supposition, namely, that Vishnoo is represented to have lived a very wicked and immoral life while on earth.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us