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THE LIBRARY
OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



4 BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INDIAN PEOPLE.



MORRISON AND GinP,, KIMNHUKG1I,
PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICF.



A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INDIAN
PEOPLE.



BY W. W. HUNTER, C.I.E., LL.D.



THIRD EDITION.



TRUBNER & CO., LONDON.
1883.



All Rights reserved.



PREFACE.



IN this book I try to exhibit the growth of the Indian
people, to show what part they have played in the
world's progress, and what sufferings they have endured
from other nations. Short Indian histories, as written
by Englishmen, usually dismiss the first two thousand
years of their narrative in a few pages, and start by
disclosing India as a conquered country. This plan
is not good, either for Europeans in India, or for the
natives ; nor does it accord with the facts. So long as
Indian history is presented to the Indian youth as
nothing but a dreary record of disunion and subjection,
our Anglo-Indian Schools will never become the nur-
series of a self-respecting nation. I have therefore tried
to put together, from original sources, a brief narrative
of what I believe to be the true history of the Indian
people. Those sources have been carefully examined
in my larger works. This little book merely states,
without discussing, the results arrived at by the labour
of twenty years.

I have tried to show how an early gifted race, akin to
our own, welded the primitive forest tribes into settled
communities. How the nobler stock, set free from the
struggle for life by the bounty of the Indian soil, created
a language, a literature and a religion, of rare stateliness
and beauty. How the very absence of that struggle
against nature, which is so necessary a discipline for
nations, unfitted them for the great conflicts which
assuredly await all races. How the domestic and con-
templative aspects of life overpowered the practical

5000981



6 PREFACE.

and the political. How Hinduism, while sufficing to
organize the Indian communities into a social and
religious confederacy, failed to knit them together into
a coherent nation.

Bengal was destined, by her position, to receive the
human overflow from the ancient breeding-grounds of
Central Asia. Waves of conquest from the north were
as inevitable in early times, as are the tidal waves from
the ocean at the present day. But such conquests,
although rapid, were never enduring ; and although
wide-spread, were never complete. The religious and
social organization of Hinduism never succumbed. The
greatest of India's conquerors, the Mughals, were being
crushed by Hindu confederacies before their supremacy
had lasted 130 years. So far as can now be estimated,
the advance of the British power alone saved the Delhi
Empire from dismemberment by the Hindu Marhattas,
Rajputs, and Sfkhs. The British Rule has endured,
because it is wielded in the joint interest of all the
Indian races.

But while these thoughts have long been present in
my mind, I have tried not to obtrude them on my pages.
For I hope that this little book will reach the hands of
many young people who look on history merely as a
record of facts, and not as a compendium of philosophy.
The greatest service which an Indian historian can
render at present to India, is to state the actual facts in
such a way that they will be read. If my story is found
to combine truth with simplicity, it will have attained all
that I aimed at. If it teaches young Englishmen and
young natives of India to think more kindly of each
other, I shall esteem myself richly rewarded.



W. W. HUNTER.



STIRLING CASTLE, SIMLA,
itfh'July 1882.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PAC.F

THE COUNTRY, ....... 13-26

Situation and size of India, 13, 14; the three regions of which
it is composed, 14 ; first region the Himalayas, 14-17 ; Himalayan
river system Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra, Ganges and Jumna, 17,
18 ; second region river plains of India, 18, 19 ; work done by the
rivers the Bengal delta, 20-22 ; crops and scenery of the river
plains, 23 ; third region the southern tableland, its scenery,
rivers and products, 25, 26 ; British Burma, 26.

CHAPTER II.
THE PEOPLE, . . . . . . 27-32

General survey of the population, 27 ; population statistics in
British and Native India, 27-29 ; density of population, 30 ; scarcity
of large towns, 30 ; overcrowded and under-peopled Districts, 30,
31 ; nomadic system of husbandry, 31 ; rise in rents, 31 ; abolition
of serfdom, 31 ; fourfold division of the people, 32 ; the two chief
races of prehistoric India, 32.

CHAPTER III.
THE NON-ARYANS, ...... 33-42

The non-Aryans or ' Aborigines,' 33 ; described in the Veda,
33, 34 ; the non- Aryans at the present day, 34, 35 ; the Andaman
islanders, 55 ; hill tribes in Madras, 35, 36 ; in the Central Provinces,
36 ; leaf- wearing tribe in Orissa, 36 ; Himalayan tribes, 36, 37 ;
the Santals of Lower Bengal, their system of government, history,
etc., 38, 39; the Kandhs of Orissa, their customs, human sacrifices,
etc., 40, 41 ; the three great non- Aryan stocks, 41, 42; character
of the non- Aryans, 42.

CHAPTER IV.

THE ARYANS IN INDIA, ...... 43-63

Early Aryan conquests in Europe and Asia, 43, 44 ; the Aryans
in their primitive home in Central Asia, 44 ; the common origin
of European and Indian religions, 44 ; and of the Indo-European



8 TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PAGE

languages, 44 ; Indo - Aryans on the march, 45 ; the Rig - Veda,
45, 46 ; Aryan civilisation in the Veda, 46-48 ; the Vedic gods,
47, 48; the Brahmanas, 49, 50; the four castes formed, 50, 51 ;
establishment of the Brahman supremacy, 51 ; four stages of a
Brahman's life, 51, 52; the modern Brahmans, 52, 53; Brahman
theology the Hindu Trinity, 53, 54 ; Brahman philosophy, litera-
ture, medicine, music, law, poetry, 54-57 ; the epics of the Maha-
bharata and the Ramayana, 57-61 ; later Sanskrit epics, 61, 62 ;
the Sanskrit drama and lyric poetry, 62, 63.

CHAPTER V.
BUDDHISM IN INDIA (543 B.C. to 1000 A.D.), " . . . 64-73

Rise of Buddhism, 64 ; life of Gautama Buddha, 64-66 ; Buddha's
doctrines, 66, 67 ; missionary aspects of Buddhism, 67, 68 ; early
Buddhist councils, 68 ; Asoka's conversion to Buddhism, and its
establishment as a State religion, 67, 68 ; his rock edicts, 68, 69 ;
Kanishka's council, 69, 70 ; rivalry of Buddhism and Brahmanism,
71 ; Siladitya's council (634 A. D.), 71, 72 ; great Buddhist monastery
of Nalanda, 72 ; victory of Brahmanism (600 to 800 A.D.), 72 ;
Buddhism an exiled religion from India (900 A.D.), 72, 73 ; the
Jains the modem successors of the ancient Buddhists, 73 ; influence
of Buddhism on modern Hinduism, 73.

CHAPTER VI.
THE GREEKS IN INDIA (327-161 B.C.), .... 74-78

Early Greek references to India, 74 ; Alexander the Great's
campaign in the Punjab and Sind, 75, 76 ; his successors, 76 ;
Chandra Gupta's kingdom in Northern India, 76, 77 ; Megas-
thenes' description of India (300 B.C.), 77, 78; later Greek inva-
sions, 78.

CHAPTER VII.

SCYTHIC INROADS (about 100 B.C. to 500 A.D.), . . . 79-82

The Scythians in Central Asia, 79 ; Scythic kingdoms in Northern
India, 79, 80 ; Scythic races still in India, 80 ; wars of Vikramaditya
against the Scythians (57 B.C.), and of Salivahana (78 A.D.), 80, 81 ;
later opponents of the Scythians, 81, Sz ; the Sah, Gupta, and
Vallabhi dynasties, 81.

CHAPTER VIII.

GROWTH OF HINDUISM (700 to 1500 A.D.), . . . 83-96

The three sources of the Indian people the Aryans, non-Aryans,
and Scythians, 83, 84 ; Aryan work of civilisation, 84; the Brahmans,
84, 85 ; twofold basis of Hinduism, caste and religion, 85-88 ;



TABLE OF CONTENTS. g

PACK

Buddhist influences on Hinduism, 88 ; non- Aryan influences on
Hinduism, 88 ; the Hindu Book of Saints, 88, 89 ; Sankara
Acharya, the Sivaite religious reformer of the ninth century, 89 ; two-
fold aspects of Siva- worship, 89-91 ; the thirteen Sivaite sects, 91 ;
Vishnu-worship, 92 ; the Vishnu Purina (1045 A.D.), 92 ; Vishnuvite
apostles Ramanuja (1150 A.D.), Ramanand (1300-1400 A.D.),
Kabir (1380-1420 A.D.), Chaitanya (1485-1527 A.D.), Vallabha-
Swami (1520 A.D.), 92-96 ; religious bond of Hinduism, 96.

CHAPTER IX.

EARLY MUHAMMADAN CONQUERORS (636-1526 A.D.), . . 97-118

List of Muhammadan dynasties, 97, 98 ; Arab invasions in Sind
(636-828 A.D.), 98, 99 ; India on the eve of the Muhammadan con-
quest, 99, 100 ; Muhammadan conquests only partial and temporary,
loo, 101 ; first Turki invasions Subuktigin (977 A.D.), 101 ;
Mahrmid of Ghaznf (1001-1030), his seventeen invasions of India
and sack of Somnath, 101-103; house of Ghor (1152-1206), 104;
defeat of the Rajput clans, 104; conquests of Bengal (1203), 106;
the Slave kings (1206-1290) Kutab-ud-din, 107; Altamsh, 108;
Empress Raziya, 108 ; Mughal irruptions and Rajput revolts, 108 ;
Balban, 108, 109; house of Khiljf (1290-1320), 109-111; Jalal-ud-
din, 109, no; Ala-ud-din's conquests in Southern India, no;
extent of the Muhammadan power in India (1306), no, in;
Khusru, the renegade Hindu emperor, 1 1 1 ; the Tughlak dynasty
(1320-1414), 112-114; Muhammad Tughlak, his cruelties, revenue
exactions, 112-114; Firuz Shah Tughlak, his canals, 114; Timur's
invasion (1398), 114; the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties, 114-115;
Hindu kingdoms of the south Vijayanagar, 115 ; the Muhammadan
States in the Deccan, and downfall of Vijayanagar, 115-118 ; Inde-
pendence of the Muhammadan States (1500 A.D.), 118.

CHAPTER X.

THE MUGHAL DYNASTY (1526-1857), .... 119-141

Babar's invasion of India and overthrow of the Lodi dynasty at
Panipat (1526), 119; Humayun's reign (1530-1556), 119-121; his
defeat by Sher Shah, the Afghan, 120 ; he flies to Persia, but regains
India as the result of the second battle of Panipat (1556), 120;
Akbar the Great (1556-1605), the regent Bairam, 121; his work
in India, reduction of Muhammadan States and the Rajput clans,
122, 123; his policy of conciliation towards the Hindus, 122;
his conquests in Southern India, 124 ; his religious faith, 124, 125 ;
Akbar's organization of the empire his revenue survey of India,



io TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PAGE

125, 126; Jahangfr (1605-1627), his wars and conquests, 127;
the Empress Nur Jahan, 127, 128 ; Jahangir's personal character,

128, 129; Shah Jahan (1628-1658), his administration and wars,

129, 130; his great architectural works at Agra and Delhi, 130;
his revenues, 130, 131 ; deposed by his rebellious son, Aurangzeb,
131; Aurangzeb's reign (1658-1707), 131-137; he murders his
brothers, 132, 133 ; his great campaign in Southern India, 133 ;
his war with the Marhattas, and death, 133, 134; Mir Jumla's
unsuccessful expedition to Assam, 135 ; Aurangzeb's bigoted policy
and oppression of the Hindus, 135, 136 ; revenue of the empire,
1 3&> T 37 > character of Aurangzeb, 137 ; decline of the Mughal
power under the succeeding nominal emperors, 137, 138; indepen-
dence of the Deccan and of Oudh, 137 ; Marhatta. and Rajput
revolts, 137, 138 ; the invasions of Nadir Shah the Persian, and
Ahmad Shah the Afghan, and misery of the country, 139 ;
decline and downfall of the empire, 139, 140 ; India conquered by
the British, not from the Mughals, but from the Hindus, 140 ;
chronological table of principal events from the death of Aurangzeb
in 1707, till the banishment of Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal
emperor, for complicity in the mutiny of 1857, 141.

CHAPTER XI.
THE MARHATTAS, ...... 142-148

Rise of the Marhattas, and the growth of their power in the
Deccan, 142, 143 ; Sivaji's guerilla warfare with Aurangzeb, 143,
144 ; the house of Sivajf, 144 ; the Peshwas and the Marhatta
confederacy, 144, 145 ; the five Marhatta houses, viz. the Peshwa,
Sindhia, Holkar, the Nagpur Bhonslas, and the Gaekwar of
Baroda, 145-147 ; the three Marhatta wars with the British, 147,
148.

CHAPTER XII.

EARLY EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS, .... 149-159

Europe and the East (1500 A.D.), 149; Vasco da Gama, 150;
early Portuguese governors and their oppressions, 150, 151 ; down-
fall of the Portuguese power, and extent of its present possessions
in India, 151 ', the Dutch in India, and their supremacy in the
Eastern seas, 150, 151; early English adventurers (1496-1596),
153, 154; English East India Companies, 154 ; first voyages of the
English Company, 155; massacre of Amboyna (1625), 155, 156;
early English settlements in India, 156, 157 ; other East India
Companies, 158, 159.



TABLE OF CONTENTS. n

CHAPTER XIII.

PAGE

THE FOUNDATION OF BRITISH RULE IN INDIA, . . 160-182

Table of Governors, Governor-Generals, and Viceroys of India,
(1758-1880), 160 ; French and English in the south, 160, 161 ;
State of Southern India after the death of Aurangzeb (1707), 161 ;
wars in the Karnatic Dupleix and Clive, 161, 163 ; Native rulers
of Bengal (1707-1756), 163; capture of Calcutta by the Nawab
Suraj-ud-daula, and the 'Black Hole' tragedy, 163, 164; Clive
recaptures Calcutta, his victory at Plassey (1757), 164, 165 ;
installation of Mfr Jafar as Nawab of Bengal, 165, 166; Clive's
jdgir, 166; Clive, first Governor of Bengal (1758), 166, 167; de-
thronement of Mfr Jafar, and substitution of Mir Kasim as Nawab
of Bengal, 167 ; Mir Kasim's revolt, and the massacre of Patnd,
168 ; Clive's second governorship, and the acquisition of the Dfwanf
or financial administration of Bengal by the Company, 1 68, 169;
Clive's reorganisation of the service (1766), 169, 170; Warren
Hastings (1772-1785), his administrative work, 171 ; policy to
Native chiefs, 171; Hastings makes Bengal pay, 171, 172; sells
Allahabad and Kora to the Wazfr of Oudh, 172 ; the Rohilla war
(1773-1774), 172 ; plunder of Chait Sinh and the Oudh Begam,
172, 173; Hastings' impeachment and trial in England, 173; his
poor excuse for his exactions, 173, 174; first Marhatta war (1778-
1781), and war with Mysore (1780-1784), 174, 175 ; Lord Cornwallis
(1786-1793), 175-177 ; Permanent Settlement of Bengal, 176 ; second
Mysore war (1790-1792), 177; Marquis of Wellesley (1798-1805),
177-182; French influence in India (1798-1800), 177, 178; India
before Lord Wellesley (1798), 178; Lord Wellesley 's policy, 178,
179; treaty with the Nizam, (1798), 179; third Mysore war (1799),
179, 180 ; second Marhatta war (1802-1804), 180-182 ; India after
Lord Wellesley (1805), 182.

CHAPTER XIV.

THE CONSOLIDATION OF BRITISH INDIA, . . . 183-203

Marquis of Cornwallis' second administration (1805), 183; Sir
George Barlow (1805), 182; Earl of Minto (1807-1813), 183, 184;
Lord Moira (Marquis of Hastings), 1814-1823, 184-187; the Gurkha
war (1814-1815), 184, 185; Pindarf war (1817), 185, 186; last
Marhatta war (1817-1818), and annexation of the Peshwa's territory,
186, 187; Lord Amherst (1823-1828), 187-189; first Burmese war,
188, 189 ; capture of Bhartpur, 189 ; Lord William Bentinck (1828-
1835), 189-191; Bentinck's financial reforms, 189, 190; abolition
of Sail and suppression of Thagt, 190 ; renewal of Company's
charter (1833), 191 ; Mysore protected and Coorg affairs, 191 ;



I2 TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PAGE

Lord Metcalfe (1835-1836), 191 ; Lord Auckland (1836-1842), 191-
194 ; the first Afghan campaign and our early dealings with Kabul,
191, 192 ; installation of Shah Shuja by the British (1839), 192, 193 ;
military occupation of Afghanistan by the British (1840-1841), 193 ;
rising of the Afghans, and massacre of the British force on its winter
retreat to India, 194 ; the army of retribution (1842), 194, 195 ; Lord
Ellenborough's proclamation, the gates of Somnath, 194 ; conquest
of Sind (1843), 1 95 > Lord Hardinge (1844-1848), 195-197 ; history
of the Sikhs and of their rise into a power under Ranjit Sinh,
*95> *96 ; first Sfkh war (1845), battles of Mudki, Firozshahr,
Aliwal, and Sobraon, 196, 197 ; Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856),
197-202; his administrative reforms, the Indian railway system, 197;
second Sikh war (1848-1849), battles of Chilianwala and Gujrat,
J 97 198 > pacification of the Punjab, 198, 199 ; second Burmese
war (1852), 199; Dalhousie's policy towards the Native powers,
199, 200; lapsed Native States, 200; annexation of Oudh (1856),
20 1, 202 ; Lord Dalhousie's work in India, 202 ; Earl Canning in
India before the Mutiny (1856-1857), 202, 203.

CHAPTER XV.
THE SEPOY MUTINY OF 1857, ..... 204-210

Causes of the Mutiny, 204; the 'greased cartridges,' 204, 205;
the army drained of its talent, 205 ; the outbreak in May 1857,
205 ; spread of the rebellion, 205, 206 ; Cawnpore, 206, 207 ;
Lucknow, 207 ; Delhi, 207, 208 ; reduction of Oudh by Lord Clyde,
208 ; of Central India by Sir Hugh Rose, 208 ; summary of the
history of the Company's charters, 208, 209 ; India transferred to
the Crown (1858), 209, 210.

CHAPTER XVI.
INDIA UNDER THE BRITISH CROWN, 1858-1881, . . 211-215

The Queen's Proclamation of 1st November 1858 ; the cost of the
mutiny, 211; Mr. Wilson's financial reforms, 211, 212; legal
reforms, 212 ; Lord Elgin (1862-1863), 212; Lord Lawrence (1864-
1869), the Bhutan war, Orissa famine of 1866, 212 ; Lord Mayo
(1869-1872), the Ambala darbdr, visit of the Duke of Edinburgh,
establishment of Agricultural Department, reform of internal
customs lines, Lord Mayo assassinated at the Andamans, 212, 213 ;
Lord Northbrook (1872-1876), dethronement of the Gaekwar of
Baroda, visit of the Prince of Wales to India, 213; Lord Lytton
(1876-1880), Proclamation of the Queen as Empress of India, the
great famine of 1876-1877, 214; Afghan affairs (1878-1880), 214;
Marquis of Ripon (1880-1881) ; conclusion of the Afghan war, 215.



A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INDIAN
PEOPLE.



CHAPTER I.
The Country.

Situation and Size. Jndia is a great three-cornered country,
stretching southward from mid-Asia into the sea. Its northern
base rests upon the Himalaya ranges ; the chief part of its
western side is washed by the Indian Ocean, and the chief
part of its eastern side by the Bay of Bengal. But while thus
guarded along the whole length of its boundaries by nature's
defences, the mountains and the sea, it has on its north-eastern
and on its north-western frontiers two opposite sets of gate-
ways which connect it with the rest of Asia. On the north-east
it is bounded by the Buddhist kingdom of Burma; on the
north-west by the Muhammadan States of Afghanistan and
Baluchistan: and two streams of population of widely diverse
types have poured into India by the passes at these north-
eastern and north-western corners. It extends from the eighth
to the thirty-sixth degree of north latitude, that is to say, from
the hottest regions of the equator to far within the temperate
zone. The capital, Calcutta, lies in 88 degrees of east
longitude ; so that, when the sun sets at six o'clock there, it
is just past mid-day in England. The length of India from
north to south, and its greatest breadth from east to west, are
both about 1900 miles ; ;but it tapers with a pear-shaped curve
to a point at Cape Comorin, its southern extremity. To this
compact dominion the English have added, under the name of
British Burma, the strip of country on the eastern shores of



i 4 THE COUNTRY.

the Bay of Bengal. The whole territory thus described con-
tains close on \\ millions of square miles, and 255 millions ot
inhabitants. India, therefore, has an area almost equal to,
and a population in excess of, the area and population of all
Europe, less Russia.

The Three Eegions. This noble empire is rich in varieties
of scenery and climate, from the highest mountains in the
world to vast river-deltas, raised only a few inches above the
level of the sea. It teems with the products of nature, from
the fierce beasts and tangled jungles of the tropics, to the
stunted barley crop which the hillman rears, and the small
furred animal which he traps, within sight of the eternal
snow. But if we could look down on the whole from a
balloon, we should find that India is made up of three well-
defined tracts. The first includes the Himalayan mountains,
which shut India out from the rest of Asia on the north;
the second stretches southwards from their foot, and com-
prises the plains of the great rivers which issue from the
Himalayas ; the third tract slopes upwards again from the
southern edge of the river - plains, and consists of a high,
three-sided tableland, dotted with peaks, and covering the
southern half of India.

r First Eegion: The Himalayas. The first of these three
regions is composed of the Himalayas and their offshoots to
the southward. [The Himalayas (meaning, in Sanskrit, the
Halls of Snow); form two mountain walls, running parallel to
each other nearly east and west, with a hollow trough or valley
beyond. The southernmost of these walls rises steeply from
the plains of India to over 20,000 feet, or four miles in height.
It culminates in Mount Everest, 29,002 feet, the highest
peak in the world. The crests then subside on the northward
into a series of dipj>, lying about 13,000 feet above the sea.
Behind these dips rises the inner range of the Himalayas, a
second mountain-wall crowned with snow. Beyond the double
wall thus formed, is the great trough or line of valleys in which
the Indus, the Sutlej, and the Brahmaputra gather their waters.
' From the northern side of these valleys rises the tableland of
Tibet, 16,000 feet above the sea.) The Himalayas shut out



THE HIMALAYAS. 15

India from the rest of Asia. Their heights between Tibet
and India are crowned with eternal snow ; while vast glaciers,
one of which is known to be sixty miles in length, slowly move
their masses of ice downwards to the valleys. This wild region
is in many parts impenetrable to man, and nowhere yields a
route for an army. But bold parties of traders, wrapped
in sheepskins, force their way across its passes, 18,000 feet
high. The bones of worn-out mules and ponies mark their
path. The little yak cow, whose bushy tail is manufactured
in Europe into lace, is employed in the Himalayas as a beast
of burden, and patiently toils up the steepest gorges with a
heavy load on her back.- The sheep are also used to carry
bags of borax to markets near the plains. They are then
shorn of their fleeces, and return into the inner mountains
laden with salt.

v v Offshoots of the Himalayas. The Himalayas not only form
a double wall along the north of India, but at both ends send
out hilly offshoots southwards, which protect its north-eastern
and north-western boundaries. On the north-east, these off-
shoots, under the name of the^Naga and Patkoi. mountains,
form a barrier between the civilised British Districts and the
wild tribes of Upper Burma. But the barrier is pierced, just
at the corner where it strikes southwards from the Himalayas,
by a passage through which the Brahmaputra river rushes into
the Assam valley. On the opposite or north-western frontier
of India, the hilly offshoots run down the entire length of the
British boundary from the Himalayas to the sea. As they
proceed southwards, they are in turn known as the Safed Koh,
the Suleman range, and the Hali mountains. This barrier
has peaks exceeding 11,000 feet in height ; but it is pierced at
the corner where it strikes southwards from the Himalayas by
an opening, the Khaibar pass, near which the Kabul river
flows into India. The Khaibar pass, with the Kiiram pass a
little to the south of it, the Gwalari pass near Dera Ismail
Khan, and the famous Bolan Pass, still further south, form the
gateways between India and Afghanistan.
'Himalayan Water-Supply .> The rugged Himalayas, while
thus keeping out enemies, are a source of food and wealth to



16 THE COUNTRY.

the Indian people. They collect and store up water for the
hot plains below. Throughout the summer, vast quantities of
moisture are exhaled from the distant tropical seas. The
moisture gathers into vapour, and is carried northward by the
monsoon, or regular wind, which sets in from the south in the
month of June. The monsoon drives the masses of vapour
northwards before it across the length and breadth of India,
sometimes in the form of long processions of clouds, which a
native poet has likened to flights of great white birds ; some-
times in the shape of rain-storms, which crash through the
forests, and leave a line of unroofed villages and flooded fields
on their track. The moisture which does not fall as rain on
its aerial voyage over India, is at length dashed against the
Himalayas. These stop its further progress northwards, and it
either descends as rain on their outer slopes, or is frozen into
snow in its attempts to cross their inner heights. Very little
passes beyond them, so that while their southern sides receive
the heaviest rainfall in the world, and pour it down in torrents


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