Annie Westland Marston.

The children of India : written for the children of England online

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One of Their Friends




Purchased by the Hammill Missionary Fund.



Section /^ oC j^. / O




L ' - jiL_ ^"7:




Children of India


The Children of England




56 Paternoster Row; 5 St. Paul's Churchyaud
AND 164 Piccadilly.



What is it About?





Their Country, . . . . .


Their Homes, . . . . .


Their Religion, . . . . .


Holy Places, . . . . .


Caste, ......


Losing Caste, . . . . .












When they are Baisies,
Little PIindu Girls,
Little Hindu Boys,
A Hindu Wedding,
Husbands and Wives,
Sickness and Death,
Widows, .


The Durjah Pujah,

Other Feasts,


I. The Mohammedans,

II. A Mohammedan Wedding,

III. The Parsees,

IV. The Santals,

V. Sikhs, Fakirs, and Bkahmos,




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I. What is a Missionary?

II. Missionaries in India,

III. The Mission Schools, .

IV. The Story of one of their Scholars,
V. Mothers at School,

VI. The Queen's Story,

VII. What shall we Do? .

VIII. What Girls can Do, .








A Hindu Girls' School,

The Sacred Cow of the Hindus,

Doing Pujah to Tools,

A Hindu Idol Shop, ,

Benares, ....

Low Caste Women,

Hindu Children,

Hindu Girls,

Hindu Wedding — A Midnight Procession

A Hindu Lady's Carriage,^ .

A Hindu Gentleman's Carriage,'

The Goddess Kali,

Temple of Kali,

The Car of Juggennath,

The God Ganesa,

A Mohammedan School,

A Mohammedan Wedding,

A Group of Santals, .

A Hindu Fakir,

A Writing Lesson,

Zenana Work, .



















Reprinted by permission from the ' King's Message.

The Children of India.


LITTLE while a.cro I was sittinof in a room where
two ladies were talkinsf tocrether about books.
One of them asked the other if she could tell her
of a nice book for children about missions.

A long time passed before the answer was
given. The lady did not like to say no ; but after
thinking a good while, she w^as obliged to say that
she had never heard of such a book. Then they
began to talk about other books, and I put away the thoughts that
had been coming into my head about the children, in a safe corner
of my mind, to keep for a little while till I could find some more to
put with them. There were only three of them at first. Shall I tell
you what they were ?

(i) There are very few books for children about missions.
(2) There ought to be more. (3) Somebody must write a new one.
But then people say, ' Three are no company ; ' so these three
thoughts could not get on well together till I found number four, and
number four came very soon after. Why should not you be the
somebody ? The four managed to get on without any quarrels, as
soon as I promised I would be the somebody. Then I had t() find
a great many more thoughts to go with these four.

The first was that the book should be all about missions and


children — all sorts of missions and all sorts of children ; but then,
before very long, I found out that if I had to write a book about so
many places, and so many people, there would have to be so many
thoughts that I could never find room for them all in my head, which
is not a very big one, and that even if I could, you would never find
room for them in yours. So I thought that perhaps you would like
it better if I were to write about only one set of missions, and one
set of children.

Then, as the book is for little people, it must be a little book,
full of little chapters, made up of little words, so that you will never
have to say, ' Please, mamma, what does this word mean ? ' The
only things that I hope will not be little, are the things that you
will do when you have read to the end.

Another of my thoughts (I wonder whether you will like it !) was
that this book must not be a story book. When I was a little girl, and
used to read many stories, I remember, if the story was a very nice one,
it used to make me so sorry to think it was not true ; and if it was a
sad story, then I was glad it was not true, and forgot it as soon as I
could. Now some of the things in this book are going to be very sad,
and some very nice ; but everything is going to be true, because I do
not want you to forget any of it, nor to think it does not much matter.
It is going to be about things that do matter very much, and the sad
things will nearly all be things that you can help to make less sad,
even if you are only tiny boys and girls.

You will find very few stories, and I will tell you why. I want
you not only to read and remember it all, but to think about it all.
I remember something else about myself when I was a little girl.
If ever I had a book that was partly stories and partly not, I used to
pick out the stories and skip all the rest. Now I do not want you
to skip any of this book, and so I am going to put in so few stories,
that if you skip all that is not story, you will have to skip very
nearly all the book. But I hope that when you get to the end, you
will say it has been as interesting as a story.





O begin with, India is a very large country. I expect
you think England is very big, and that it would
take a very long time to go all over it ; but England
is quite a tiny place compared with India. If you
were to divide India into eighteen pieces, each piece
by itself would be bigger than England, Wales, and
Scotland all put together. Yet very nearly all this
great country belongs to England, and is ruled over
by our own Queen ; and that is one reason why English children
ought to know all about it, and about the people who live there.

You will have learned all about the mountains, and rivers, and
capes, and bays, and gulfs in the geography, I expect, or if you have
not, you will very soon ; at any rate, if you look there, you will find
them all, so I will not tell you about them here.

There is one large river, which you had better find in the map
before you go any further, because you will read a great deal about it
in this book; I mean the Ganges, which the Hindus think a great
deal of. They say it came from the sweat of one of their gods,
named Siva, of whom \ou will read more bv and bv. The reason


the Ganges came to be worshipped is that it makes all the country
fertile through which it flows ; therefore the river itself, and all the
towns built on the banks of it, are considered very holy. I will only
tell you the names of some of the towns now : Benares, the most sacred
of all ; Allahabad, Juggennath, Muthra, and Hurdwar. A great many
pilgrims are constantly going to these places. The water from the
river Ganges is taken to all parts of India, and used to purify people
who have been defiled ; it is also sprinkled on the bride and bride-
groom at a wedding, and on the dead. The goddess who is now said
to live in the Ganges is not supposed to have been always there,
but to have come from another river. The Brahmins say that, most
likely, before very long she will move again to another place, and
then Benares will no longer be so sacred.

Of course, as the country is so large, there are very different
people in different parts, speaking a great many different languages,
and having different customs ; even when the same language is spoken,
there are such varied ways of speaking it (dialects we call them),
that the people cannot understand each other, so that it takes the
missionary a long time to learn to preach to the Hindus ; sometimes
even in the same town there are two or three different lano^uaees

The Hindu towns are, in many ways, unlike English ones. In
the large towns, especially Calcutta, there are a great many English
people, who live in houses like those we have in England, and dress
as we do at home. But the houses that the Indian people live in
are so different that it will take a whole chapter to tell you all
about them. In every large town there are many temples for idol-
worship. Some of them are very grandly carved and ornamented.
In the North- West they are not so ornamental as in other parts.

Then their carriages are very different too ; and instead of shops,
they buy all their things at bazaars — not what we mean by bazaars in
England ; but a place like a market, sometimes open and sometimes
covered, where people go to buy whatever they want, and merchants


meet each other and talk about their business, so that a bazaar is a
very noisy, busy place. Very often missionaries go there to preach,
because if the people will not come to them, they must go to the
people ; and in the bazaar there are always large crowds, and some
are sure to listen.

There are many animals in India that you never see in this country,
unless you go to a wild beast show. On the mountains in the north of


India there are wild donkeys and mules, and tiny wild horses only
thirty inches high. There are bears, and wolves, and boars, jackals
and hyenas, tigers and crocodiles, leopards and panthers, but no lions.
except a few in Gujarat. The Bengal tiger is a very fierce creature ;
it can spring a long way at a time, and so it can easily catch other
animals and tear them to pieces. There are many crocodiles in the
Ganges. Years ago, before India belonged to England, mothers and


fathers used to take their Httle children and throw them into the
river to please the gods, and then the crocodiles used to eat them ;
but now the people are not allowed to do such things.

Many of the animals in I ndia are looked upon as sacred. Oxen and
cows are worshipped as if they were gods, especially the humped cow,
which is said to be so holy that its touch will take away all sin. Of
course, if cows are so holy, nobody must eat them, though the Hindus
believe that if a man dies in Benares, he will go to heaven even if he
has eaten beef Monkeys are sacred animals, too ; in some places
there are temples full of them, where people go to worship.

In the streets of all Indian towns are found quantities of cranes ;
they are very useful birds, for they keep the streets clean by eating all
the rubbish that can possibly be eaten, so they do the work of scaven-
gers. Crows are thought a great deal of, too, and no wonder, for inside
them are supposed to live the souls of Hindu men and women who
have died ; so if a man shot a crow, he might be shooting his mother,
for anything he knew. They are allowed to fly in and out of the
houses just as they like, and to help themselves to anything they
want. Once a year the crows have a great feast, called ' Ancestors*
dinner,' when the people pray to their dead relatives to come and
eat the good things they have got ready for them.

There are a great many snakes and serpents in India, too, as
there generally are in very hot countries, and many of them are so
poisonous that one bite will kill a man. One of them has a very long
name, which, put into English, is the 'eight-step serpent,' because
if one of them bites a man, he will not be able to walk eight steps
before he falls down dead.

The snakes creep about everywhere — into the ovens, into boxes,
and baskets, and chests, under the pillows, between the sheets, wher-
ever they can find a corner, so people have to look out for them
very sharply ; they are all sorts of sizes, from a few inches to twenty
feet in length. Some of the Indians worship them because they are
so afraid of them.


I must not forget to tell you about the weather, because it
makes such a difference to the missionaries. The year is divided
into three seasons, (i) The hot season, which begins in March and
lasts till June. (2) The rainy season, from June to September. (3)
The temperate season, from September to February. It is only this
last season that is at all healthy for people who have been used to
live in Europe. In the hot weather it is so hot that English people
cannot do anything, except very early in the morning, and quite
late in the evening. They very often have the fever, so that there
are few English gentlemen and ladies who do not get ill if they stay
in India many years.

There are a great many insects, as there generally are in hot
countries ; the worst of all are the mosquitoes, which sting so dread-
fully that it is very difficult to go to sleep at night. The natives
smear themselves all over with oil to keep them off, and the English
people have a particular kind of curtains to their bed, which they
draw tight all round, in hopes of keeping them out ; but they
generally manage to get in somehow.

Another thing the English people have in their rooms in the hot
weather is a very large fan, called a punkah. It is a light frame
of wood covered with calico, with a short curtain fastened to it ; the
frame is hung from the ceiling by ropes, another rope is passed
through the wall to a servant outside, who pulls it backwards and
forwards, and so makes a little air in the room. They keep on doing
this all day and all night. I believe some of the men are so clever,
that they can go to sleep and yet not stop pulling ; but sometimes
they do stop, and then, even if the English people are asleep, they feel
the heat directly, and wake up ; so you can fancy how hot it must be.

Of course English people cannot go out of doors in the hot part
of the day. All that long time from March to June there is never
a cloud to be seen in the sky, nothing but scorching sunshine ; and
even when the rain does come, it is very unhealthy for Europeans, so
that often a missionary who has been at work in India, teaching the



people and preaching to them, begins to feel very ill, and, in hopes of
getting better, goes up to a house in the mountains, where it is not
so hot ; then, perhaps, he gets a litde better ; but when he gets back to
the plains he is ill again, and then the doctor tells him he must not
stay in India any longer, he must come home; so he comes back to
England. Sometimes, after he has been in England a little while, he
feels so much better that he is able to go back to India ; but very often
the climate has done him so much harm that he is obliged to stay
at home always, and sometimes he does not get better even at home.
So you see how much a missionary must love Jesus, to be ready to
go and live in India and teach the people, even if he knows it may
kill him. That is like Jesus Himself, is it not .-^ He wanted so much
to save us, that He came to live in a strange country, and to die for
our sakes. Do you remember who it was that said, ' I am ready to
die for the name of the Lord Jesus' .'^ It was a missionary ; but not
in India. Find out where the words come from, and who said them,
and put it in here ( ).



NDIAN houses are not a bit like those you Hve in.
In England, when a man marries, he goes away
from his father's house, and gets a house of his
own, and he and his wife live in that. But in India
the sons live with their fathers, even after they are
married. Sometimes a son is obliged to leave
home because he gets work in another place, and
sometimes one of the sons quarrels with the others,
and then he goes away and starts a house of his own. The wives
often persuade their husbands to leave the father's house, if they do
not get on well with the other ladies.

I will tell you all about a rich man's house in India ; of course,
the poor people do not have such large ones. Instead of being built
to face the road, like our houses, or with a garden in front, there is
a large square court in the middle, and the house is built all round
it, with the windows looking into the court, so that the part facing
the street is only bare wall. Round three sides of the house there
are two verandahs — an upper and a lower, with a great many rooms
opening on to them. The lower rooms are used for storehouses,
coach-houses, and places of that kind, and for the men-servants, of
whom there are a great many.

The upper rooms are for the gentlemen. If you went into the
up-stairs rooms, where the gentlemen live, you would find them very
nicely furnished, but very dusty. Hindu rooms are always dusty


and full of cobwebs, for the Hindus think it is very lucky to have
plenty of spiders, and that it is a great sin to disturb them ; so the
spiders have fine times, and make themselves quite at home every-
where, without any fear of being disturbed.

But although you would find plenty of gentlemen and plenty of
spiders, all enjoying themselves very much, and little boys and big
boys and little girls running about playing and laughing, there is
something you would not find if you went into every room up-stairs
and down-stairs. You would not be able to find one lady or one big
girl ; you would begin to think that little girls always die in India,
and never grow up at all — at least, rich little girls, for you would
have passed plenty of poor women and girls in the street, but no
rich ones. Why, whatever has become of them all ?

I expect, if you were there, you would go to one of the servants
and say, ' Please, I have seen the gentlemen, and the big boys, and
the little boys, and the tiny girls ; now mayn't I see the ladies and
the big girls ? ' Now I cannot tell exactly what the servant would
say to you. If you are a little boy, he would say something like
this : ' Oh dear no ! no men or boys are ever allowed to see an
Indian lady, unless she is their mother or their sister, or some very
near relative ; ' and, however much you coaxed, you would never
be allowed to have even one little peep at the ladies.

But suppose you are a little girl, and had your mamma with
you, then perhaps the master of the house would, as a great favour,
let you see his ladies. He would not be able to take you himself,
for if he did, the ladies would hear the sound of his feet on the
stairs, and they would be so frightened at the very idea of a man
looking at them, that they would all run away as fast as ever they
could, and hide in their bedrooms to get out of his way. So the
gentleman would either have to tell you how to find your own way,
or he would have to send a poor woman to show you. Then you
would go to the fourth side of the court, for you remember you have
only been told about three sides yet.


On this fourth side you first come to a large room with the roof
raised into a dome ; that is the temple or gods' house for the family,
which is generally full of pictures and images of gods, and plenty of
chandeliers. This is the place where all the worship is carried on.
Praying and giving presents to the gods is called in India doing
pujah — you will often come to that word again, so remember what it

On one side of the temple there are more verandahs, and if you
look up to the top one you will see that part of it is separated from
the rest, and that it has a screen of cane-work in front of it, so that
the people who sit there cannot be seen by the people in the other
parts of the temple. Look again, and you will see that there are no
chandeliers there, so that whoever is behind that screen must be
quite in the dark"; of course they can see into the light, but nobody
in the temple could see them even through the cane-work, because it
would not be light enough. You will guess before very long what
this place is for, so I will not stay to tell you now, but will let you
go on a little farther, and see what else you can find.

This dark part of the verandah opens into a passage ; go along
that, and you will come to another square building with a court in
the middle, something like the one you saw when you first came to
the house, only not so large and not so nice. Look into the lower
rooms first ; you will see they are full of pots and pans ; and if you
look all about, I expect you will find some vegetables and some
curry, and plenty of rice and sweets ; you will soon guess that this
is the kitchen, and so it is. You will be sure to find some servants
there, and very likely a grand lady cooking the dinner, for all the
Hindu ladies know how to cook.

But we won't stay in the kitchen to-day ; we shall find out some
more about the cooking by and by. We want to get up-stairs now,
and after looking about for some time, we find a little narrow stair-
case — quite dark. We climb uf), and find ourselves on another
verandah, with a few doors and little windows with bars to them, too



high up for you to see out, opening into it ; and now at last we have
got at the women and girls, hidden away up here altogether, where
they can see nobody, and nobody can see them ; out of sight, and,
generally, out of mind.

They may laugh or cry, quarrel or kiss, eat and sleep and talk,
be well or ill, and sometimes even die, without anybody caring very
much ; and whatever happens in the world, or in the town, or in the
street, or in the gentlemen's part of the house, they know nothing
about it. There they are, shut away by themselves all the year
round, from the time they are born, or a few years after, to the time
they die. You will find out a great deal more about them, which
will make you more and more glad you are not an Indian child, and
your mother is not an Indian lady.

But It was not the ladies we came to see so much as the place
they live in — so we had better take another look around. You will
have guessed by this time that the dark gallery in the temple is where
the ladies go to do \\\€\x piijah.

You will find no nice furniture in the ladies' rooms, like what
you saw in the gentlemen's ; no tables or chairs or sofas ; no pictures
except of dreadful gods and goddesses painted on the walls them-
selves, and no books. Perhaps you will find a bedstead with a mat
on it, and there may even be two or three hard pillows ; but most
likely not. There will be a box in one corner for the ladies' clothes,
and a brass cup for them to drink out of, and generally that is all.
Not quite, though, for running about under the bedstead, on the box,
anywhere, you will find hens and chickens and dogs, who live there
with the ladies. So you may imagine how dirty everything is ; and,
remember, this is not a poor man's house, but a rich man's, and these
ladies, living In this dirty, close, bad-smelling place, are the wives
and children of the richest men in India. The rooms where they
live form what is called a zenana. So now you know what people
mean when they talk about zenana missions.

Now we must go down into the court again ; but we have not


quite finished yet ; we shall find another passage down there, leading
out of the court, right under the house, to a piece of ground with a
high wall all round it, and in the middle there will be a pond ; the
water in it comes from a spring, which stops running in the very hot
dry weather, and then the pond gets green and muddy, and stays like
that till the rain begins ; this is all the Hindu ladies know of a garden.
In a very few of these courts there are two or three trees by the side
of the pond ; but there are some ladies in India, even old ones, who
never saw a tree in their lives.

The pond is the ladies' bath ; they go to it every day, for, though
their rooms are so untidy, Indian women themselves are very clean ;
it is one of the laws of their religion that they must bathe every day.
The very particular ones do it twice every day, and change their
clothes twice, too, or else they are not thought clean enough to do
anything for their husbands.

Some Hindu ladies have to begin this shut-up life when they
are six years old ; but in some parts they are not quite so strict,

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Online LibraryAnnie Westland MarstonThe children of India : written for the children of England → online text (page 1 of 12)