Charles Alfred Browne.

An introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; online

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tain from them any thing upon which
dependence can be placed.

From the Vedas, however, which are
believed to have been compiled in the
fourteenth century before the Christian
era, and from the Institutes of Menu
which were probably drawn up in the
ninth century before Christ, there is
reason to suppose that India anciently
comprised several separate kingdoms,
varying in power and extent, and, as
appears from the Ramayana, Pooranas,
and other writings, engaged in constant
wars among themselves. It has been
said that India was first invaded by Da-
rius, the King of Persia, but it seems cer-
tain that he never crossed the Indus,
and that the first invasion was that of
the Greeks under Alexander the Great,
about B. C. 327.

No permanent settlement was made
by the Greeks, and from this period
there is a blank in our records of Indian
history until A. D. 664, when the Ma-
homedans made their first invasion, and
entered the province of Mooltan. Se-
veral invasions followed, but no perma-
nent dominion was established by the
Mahomedans, and in A. D. 750, a ge-
neral insurrection breaking out against
them, they were entirely expelled, and
the Hindoo Princes recovered the whole
of their territories. India then centinu-


History. ( j un der its Native Sovereigns until A.
D. 1001, when the celebrated Sooltan
Mahmood of Ghuznee determined upon
adding it to his empire. He made no
less than twelve expeditions into the
country, in the course of which he over-
ran most of the western provinces of
Hindoostan Proper, and took and plun-
dered Delhi, which, however, he after-
wards restored to its Hindoo Raja.

From this time India was constantly
exposed to the attacks of the Mahome-
dans, and, in 1193, Delhi was again taken
by Kootbood Deen, who founded the
first Afghan or Pathan Sovereignty,
which continued until 1525, when Sool-
tan Baber, grandson of Tymoor, con-
quered Ibraheem Lodi, and founded
what has been usually denominated the
Mooghul Empire.

During the reign of the Pathan So-
vereigns India was twice invaded by the
Mahomedans of Tartary and Toorkis-
tan, namely, in 1221 by the celebrated
Mooghul, Zinghis Khan, (Jungex Khan)
and, in 1398, by Tamerlane, (Tymoor

Sooltan Baber was not a Mooghul, but
from the time of Jungez Khan, all Tar-
tars and Persians seem to have been
alled in India by the general name of
Mooghuls, and thus the empire founded
by Sooltan Baber has always been so de-
signated, although Baber himself was a
decided enemy to that people.

Under the Mooghul Sovereigns, the
empire rapidly extended until it com-
prehended all the principal provinces of
Hiudoostan. In 1582, the empire was


History, divided by the emperor Akber, the
grandson of Baber, into 11 soobas or
provinces, namely Lahore, Mooltan, Aj-
mee'r, Delhi, Agra, Allahabad. Bahar,
Oude, Bengal, Malwa, and Guzerat, to
which were afterwards added Cabool and
the countries west of the Indus, and
Berar, Khandesh, and Ahmednuggur
in 1 the Dekkan. Other Mahomedan go-
vernments were also established towards
the south, sometimes independent, and
sometimes paying tribute to the emperor
of Delhi. The Mooghul empire attained
its greatest extent of power and pros-
perity under Aurungzeb, great grandson
of Akber, who reigned from 1658 to
3707. After his death one weak prince
succeeded another till the invasion of
India by the Persian Koolee Khan or
Nadir Shah, in 1738 and 1739. From
this period, the Mooghul empire rapidly
decayed, the various provinces became
independent principalities, some under
their Mahomedan governors, others un-
der the Mahrattas, until the city of Delhi,
with a small district around, formed all
that remained to the house of Tymoor.
The first European settlement in India
was made in 1497, when the celebrated
Portuguese Navigator, Vasco de Gama,
arrived at Calicut. The Portuguese soon
acquired considerable influence with the
Native Governments and established
themselves in numerous towns and forts
upon the coast from Surat to Chittagong,
including Ceylon, fixing the capital of all
their possessions and the seat of Go-
vernment at Goa. The Portuguese were
shortly followed by the Dutch, and sue-


History, cessively by the English, French, and
Danes. " In* the wars which took place
between the Portuguese and Dutch, the
power of the former was nearly annihi-
lated, and all their settlements, with the
exception of Goa, were taken from them.
The Dutch in their turn were supplanted
by the English and French, which two
nations for many years dispiited the su-
periority, until after much warfare the
ascendancy of the English was finally
established. The Danes never made
any extensive settlement, having merely
a few ports on the coast for the purposes
of commerce. Various circumstances,
for the detailed account of which we
must refer the student to the History of
British India, led the English forward, in
a manner altogether unexpected and un-
intended by them, until nearly the whole
of Hindoostan became subject to their
rule. The following is an abstract of
their territorial possessions with the date
of their acquisition.

A. D. 1639 Madras, with a territory five
miles along shore by one rnile

J 664 Bombay.

1 691 Fort St. David (Cuddalore.)
1696 Calcutta.

The Jaghire (Jageer) a
small district extending
1750 from Pulicat to Almnpar-
to { va, and westward to Con-
1763 I jeveram, being about 100
I miles along shore, and 50
j^ inland in the widest part.
1757 The24Purgunnas in Bengal.


History. A. D. 1761 Chittagong, Burdwan, and

1765 Bengal, Bahar, and four of

the Northern Circars.
1776 Salsette.
1781 Benares.
1787 Guntoor Circar.
1792 Malabar, Kanara, Coimba-

toor, Salem, Dindigul, and

the Baramahal.
1799 Seringapatam.
1800 Balaghat Ceded Districts.
1801 Rohilkhund,and variousDis-

tricts in Agra, Allahabad,

Oude, and other provinces.
1801 The Carnatic, comprising

the whole of the territory

subject to the Nabob of


1803 Ceylon.
1803 Delhi, Agra, the Dooab,

Bundelkhund, Kuttak, &c.
1803 Guzerat.
1805 Gurwal and other parts of

northern Hindoostan.
1816 Kuch.
1818 The whole of the Peshwa's

'Dominions, Khandesh, Mal-

wa, the town of Ajmeer, and

part of Gondwana.
1834 Koorg.

The several States amongst which
India is now divided may be classed
as follows.


The Nizam of Hyderabad, ) A1Ues and Tri .

Ti 1C ^ a of f ^ a ? re ' y butaries of the

The King of Oude, f fi . fc . h

The Guiko war of Guzerat, ) J


History. The Raja of Mysore, 1 Allies and Tri-

The Raja of Travancore and > butaries of the

numerous petty Chiefs, j British.
The Raja of the 'Punjab,

The Raja of the Punjab, )

The Raja of Nepanl, Independent.

Ameers of Sind, (

Sindia (Gualioor,) J

A few small settlements on the coasts
are still possessed by the French, Por-
tuguese, and Danes, but are none of them
of sufficient importance to require sepa-
rate notice.

They are included in the several pro-
vinces in which they are situated.

Name. The name " Hindoostan" is of Persian

origin and signifies the " Hindoo coun-
try" from Hindoo and "istan" coun-
try or region. It is also called simply
" Hind." Mahomedan writers apply the
name Hindoostan only to that portion of
the country which was under Mahome-
dan rule.

The name " India" was first given to
this country by the Greeks, who so call-
ed it from the river Indus. From them
therefore the name India has been adopt-
ed. Europeans also frequently apply to
this country the name of "East Indies."
This originated in the circumstance of
the Islands on the eastern side of Ame-
rica having been mistaken, when they
were first discovered, for part of India,
which led to their being designated as
the West Indies ; and, afterwards, for the
purpose of distinguishing between them,
India was generally styled the East

Though designated by the one gene-
ral name of Hindoostan, or India, it, in


reality, consists of a number of distinct
countries, differing from each other in
about as great a degree as do the various
countries of Europe.

Religion. The prevailing religions of India, are
the Brahminical system and Mahome-

The Brahminical system, or, as it is
commonly designated, Hindooism, ap-
pears to have been introduced into India,
and probably from the West, at a very
early period.

It is first known to have existed in a
small tract of country to the north-
west of Delhi, whence it gradually spread,
partly by conquest, and partly by coloni-
zation, throughout India.

It is taught in four books called Vedas,
the Institutes of Menu, and eighteen
others, called Pooranas.

The Vedas seem to have been written
at different periods, but to have been
compiled, in their -present form, in the
fourteenth century before Christ. They
are written in an ancient form of San-
scrit, which none but the more learned
Brahmins can understand.

The Institutes of Menu, which con-
tain a code of laws founded upon the Ve-
das, are considered to have been drawn
up in the ninth century before Christ.

The Pooranas were written by differ-
ent authors between the eighth and six-
teenth centuries of the Christian era, and
they constitute the principal source from
which the Hindoos are accustomed to de-
rive their notions of religion.

Hindooism may be very briefly des-


Religion, cribed as a very complicated system of
idolatry, combining a kind of vague de-
claration of the unity of a Supreme Be-
ing with the worship of a multitude of
gods and goddesses, amounting, accord-
ing to some accounts, to upwards of
three hundred millions.

It is chiefly distinguished from other
pagan religions by the division of the
people into castes. The word cast, or
caste, is an English word, but used only
in India in the sense of a class. It is
derived from the Portuguese casta, a
breed. These, originally, were four in
number, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, (or Raj-
poots,) Vesiyas, and Soodras ; but, in
course of time, each of these has been
subdivided into an indefinite number of
classes, each of which maintains a scru-
pulous separation from the other ; and,
out of these subdivisions, have arisen
several castes, not acknowledged as be-
longing to any of the four great divisions,
and considered to be inferior to them all.

Those in Southern India, who are now
commonly called Pariars, are, in all pro-
bability the descendants of the original in-
habitants. Many of the most celebrated
Tamil books, for example, are by Pariar
authors, which could never have been
the case, had not their literature been
formed before the introduction of Brah-
min ism.

There are three principal sects of wor-
shippers, the Saivas, followers of Siva;
Vaishnavas, followers of Vishnoo ; and
the Saktas, followers of the Suktees, or
wives of the Gods.

There are two other religions, which,


Religion, although distinct from Brahminism, ap-
pear to belong to the same stock. These
are the Booddhist and Jain systems.

The Booddhist system appears to have
been founded by Gaotuma, a Sukya
Mooni or great saint, a native of Kapila
near Gorukpoor, in the province of Oude,
about the middle of the sixth century
before Christ.

The Booddhists deny the authority of
the Vedas and Pooranas, and have no dis-
tinction of caste. Some of their sects
are mere atheists, not acknowledging any
Supreme Being ; others have a confused
notion of what they term a Divine Es-

This system has few followers now in
any part of India, excepting in Northern
Hindoostan and Ceylon, having been ge-
nerally driven out in the eighth or ninth

The Jains hold an intermediate place
between the Booddhists and the follow-
ers of the Brahminical system, agreeing
partly with both. Their system appears
to have originated in the course of the
sixth or seventh century of the Christian
era. It spread itself chiefly in Southern
India and in Guzerat and the western
parts of Hindoostan Proper. They are
still numerous in Guzerat, Rajpootana,
and Kanara.

The Sikh religion is noticed in the ac-
count of Lahore.

Mahomedanism derives its name from
its 1 founder, Mahomed, sometimes impro-
perly called Mahomet, who was born at
Mecca, in Arabia, A. D. 569, of the fami-
ly of Hashim, and of the tribe of Koreish,


Religion. w ho were the hereditary keepers of the
principal temple of the Arabs, at Mecca,
called the Kaaba. Both his parents died
when he was yet a child, and, being left
without the means of subsistence, he was
taken into the family of his uncle, Aboo
Talib, by whom he was instructed in the
arts of war and commerce. At the age
of twenty-five, he became the factor or
agent of a rich widow, named Kadija,
whom he soon afterwards married, and
thus raised himself from a state of ob-
scurity and indigence to an equality with
the proudest merchants of Mecca.

Though but imperfectly educated, he
was a man of considerable eloquence, and
possessed of great energy of character ;
and influenced, partly by feelings of dis-
gust towards the gross idolatry which
then prevailed among his countrymen
and partly by strong personal ambition,
he formed the design of effecting a refor-
mation, and of establishing a new religion
of which he should be himself the head.
For several years he had been living in
retirement, during which period his mind
was continually occupied with his great
project. He had had, also, occasional in-
tercourse with certain Monks, or Syrian.
Christians, as well as with Jewish Rab-
bins, all which tended to confirm him
in his views. At last, about the year
609, he announced to his wife, Kadija,
that he had received a mission from
God, by the Angel Gabriel, and, having
been acknowledged by her and some
others of the family, particularly his
youthful cousin Ali, he began publicly
to preach the doctrine of the unity of


God, and to denounce idolatry, promis-
ing both present and future rewards to
those who acknowledged that there was
but one God, and that Mahomed was his
prophet. For many years, though he la-
boured incessantly to convince his coun-
trymen of the reality of his mission, he
gained but few converts. His own tribe
became bitterly opposed to him, and in
A. D. 622, his uncle Aboo Talib, and his
wife Kadija, having both died about three
years before, Mahomed, in consequence
of a plot which had been formed by the
Koreish for his destruction, was com-
pelled to fly from Mecca to Medina.
From this event, called the Hijra, or
flight, theMahomedans compute their time.

Hitherto Mahomed had declared that
he had no authority to use force to compel
any one to embrace his religion, but
now, finding himself supported by a strong
party at Medina, he announced that the
angel Gabriel had commanded him to
propagate the true faith by the sword.
His followers were now promised the
plunder of their enemies, and immediate
happiness in paradise if killed in their
holy war. From this moment his cause
prospered, and he was soon at the head of
a powerful army, which, under his able
command, rapidly extended his authority
on all sides. His subsequent career was
most successful. He defeated his oppo-
nents in repeated battles, and, in the
course of a few years, compelled the
whole of the Arab tribes to submit to
his Government, and to embrace his reli-
gion. He died in the 63rd year of his
age, at Medina, A, D. 632,


Religion. The doctrines and precepts of Maho-
med, with his pretended revelation from
Heaven, are contained in a book called
the Koran, which means " the reading, 11
or that which ought to be read. By
Europeans it is often incorrectly termed
the Alcoran, the prefix al being the
Arabic article the.

This volume he is thought to have
composed with the help of a Jewish
Rabbi and two Syrian Christians, and
the number of monkish legends and tales
from the Talmud, which are found in
different parts of the Koran, appear to
put this beyond doubt. It may safely
be affirmed, that whatever truth it con-
tains is taken from the Bible.

The fundamental principle laid down is
this, "There is but one God and Maho-
med is his Prophet." It teaches a strict
fatalism, that is, that every action and
event of a man's life, whether good or bad,
is absolutely predestinated. It inculcates
' a belief in the existence of angels, good
and evil, and also of an intermediate or-
der of creatures called genii, both good
and bad. It asserts the doctrine of a gen-
eral resurrection, a judgment to follow,
and a future state of reward and punish-
ment the latter, however, being eter-
nal only in the case of infidels, or unbe-
lievers of the Koran. It was Mahomed's
plan to gain converts and to keep them,
faithful, by holding out both present and
future rewards of a sensual kind, and,
accordingly, we find the pleasures of
Heaven described in the Koran as being
all sensual, the pains of Hell all physical,
neither are of a moral character. It is


Keligion. undoubtedly to this adaptation of the
system to corrupt human nature, that
Mahomedanism owes chiefly, though
combined with other causes, its widely
spread propagation. The Koran teaches
also the meritoriousness of human ac-
tions, and hence enjoins the observance
of festivals, regular prayers, (the face
being tui;ned towards Mecca,) washings,
alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimages to
Mecca, as so many means of expiating
sin, and earning the joys of Paradise. It
forbids usury, games of chance, the use of
wine, and eating blood, swine's flesh, &c.

The places of public worship are
called Mosques, from the minarets or
high towers of which, the people are
called to prayers by appointed officers,
called Muezzins. Women may not en-
ter a mosque, but stay in the porches
without. The priests and doctors, or
men learned in the Koran, are called
Moollas, the chief of whom has the title
of Mufti, and, formerly, great power was-
attached to his office.

There are, amongst the Mahomedans ?
innumerable sects, differing in various
particulars from one another, but the
whole may be classed under the two
great divisions of Soonnees and Shiahs.

The Soonnees, or " orthodox," (law-
ful,) insist on the supremacy of Maho-
med over all created beings, and on the
right succession of Aboo Bikr, Comer,
Oosman, and Ali, as the first four Caliphs,
or successors of Mahomed, and they ac-
knowledge the authority of various tradi-
tions. The Shiahs, or "heretics," reject
all traditions, insisting upon the sole



Religion, authority of the Koran, and they stig-
matize Aboo Bikr, Oomer, and Oosman,
as usurpers, considering that the rightful
successor was Ali alone, whom they hold
to have been equal to Mahomed, and are
accustomed to style, the Vicar of God.
Both sects exist in India, the Soonees be-
ing the most numerous sect in Hindoostau
Proper, and the Shiahs in the Deccau
and Southern India.

The proper name of this religion is
Mahomedanism, and of its followers
Mahomedans, as those terms simply im-
ply connection with Mahomed. In In-
dia, however, the Mahomedans are com-
monly styled Moosulmans, and their re-
ligion Islam, both derived from an Ara-
bic root, signifying submission, (to God,)
peace, safety. They are also frequently
called Moslems, (Mooslims,) from the
same root.

Language. Different dialects are spoken in the
different provinces, as noticed in the
description of each, those of Hindoostan
Proper, and part of the Deccan being
principally derived from the Sanscrit,
and those of Southern India being prin-
cipally derived from the Tamil.

The Sanskrit is generally considered to
be one of the most perfectly formed lan-
guages in the world. It has long been a
dead language, and there is reason to
doubt whether it ever was commonly
used for colloquial purposes. It is writ-
ten from left to right in a character
called the Deva Nagree.

Tamil appears to have been the general
language of Southern India, and to have


Language, been the original source of the Malaya-
lim, Kanarese, Teloogoo, Mahrattee, and
Ooreea. It is known to have attained a
highly polished form, some time prior to
the introduction of the Brahminical sys-
tem, though, together with other dia-
lects, it has since received a large admix-
ture of Sanskrit.

The general language of the Mahome-
dans throughout India, with slight pro-
vincial variations, is the Hindoostanee.
This is of modern origin, having been
gradually formed by the mixture of the
various dialects spoken by the different
tribes of Mahomedan invaders, and the
natives of the country. It is written
sometimes in the Deva Nagree, but most
generally in the Persian character.

The dialects of the various hill tribes
are still, for the greater part, entirely dis-
tinct from the others, and have no writ-
ten character.




Cashmeer (Kasmeer.)

Bound- CASHMEER is bounded on the north and
north-east by the Himalaya mountains,
separating it from Tibet ; and on the
east, south, and west by Lahore.

Rivers. Its principal river is the Jelum which

traverses it from east to west. There
are also numerous smaller streams, and
lakes, many of them navigable for boats,
affording means of communication, and co-
piously watering the province throughout.

General Cashmeer consists of a valley of an oval

**" from north to

and 110 miles from east to west, sur-
rounded on all sides by lofty mountains.
There is a tradition, which seems from
appearances to be well founded, that the
whole of this valley was once the bed of
a large lake. It is generally of a level
surface, and is celebrated throughout
Asia for the beauty of its situation, the
fertility of its soil, and the pleasantness
of its climate. Earthquakes are, how-
ever, frequent, and on this account the
houses are usually built of wood.


Produc- This province yields abundant crops of
rice. It also produces wheat, barley, and
other grains, various kinds of fruits and
flowers common to Europe, as well as
those generally found in Asia, sugar,
wine, and a superior sort of saffron.
Iron of an excellent quality is found in
the mountains. Cashmeer is famous for
the manufacture of very fine shawls. The
wool of which these are made is brought
from Tibet, and prepared in Cashmeer.
The natives are likewise very clever in
all kinds of lacquered ware and cabinet
work, and they make the best writing
paper in Asia.

Towna. The principal towns are Cashmeer, and


Cashmeer, formerly called Sreenuggur,
is the capital. It is situated on both
banks of the river Jelum, in lat. 33 23'
N. ; long. 74 47' E., and contains about
150,000 inhabitants. Travelling distance
from Agra, 730 miles from Bombay,
1,300 from Calcutta 3,560 from Mad-
ras 1,900.

Islamabad is also a large town. It is
situated on the north side of the Jelum,
about 30 miles E. S. E. from Cashmeer.

Name. In the memoirs of Sooltan Baber it is

stated that the hilly country along the
upper course of the river Sind was for-
merly inhabited by a race of men named
Kas, and he supposes that the country of
Cashmeer (Kasmeer) derives its name
from them, as being the country of the
Kas ; the affix, "meer" being found unit-
ed to various other uames in the same


manner, as Aj-meer, Jussul-meer, &c.
By others the name is derived from
Kasyapa, its first ruler.

inhabit- The natives of Cashmeer, or, as they
are generally denominated, Cashmerians,
are partly of Hindoo and partly of Af-
ghan and Mooghul origin. They are a
stout, well formed people, of a gay and
lively disposition, and much addicted to
literature and poetry. The Cashmerian
females have always been noted for their
beauty and their fair complexions and
were formerly much sought after for
wives by the Mooghul Noblemen of
Delhi. The mountains are inhabited by
tribes entirely distinct from the Cashme-
rians of the valley, but scarcely any thing
is yet known about them. The total
population of the valley is supposed to
be about 600,000.

History. According to tradition, the valley of
Cashmeer w r as first drained and colonised
by Kasyapa, about 2,700 years before the
Christian era, and continued under the

Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 3 of 26)