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then I missed. Finally a servant went off and
returned with a rifle of the Maharaja, and a per-
fect little weapon it was. I had tired myself, and
probably the shikari, when a buck leaped in the
air, and with a second shot dropped. The first
shot had merely taken a bit of hide off the top of
his shoulders, and as he sprang into the air the
second went through his heart. As in the case of
the boar, I had better luck than my skill deserved,
for the buck had practically jumped into that
second bullet. They are quick, and shy, and
small, these animals, and like so many other
games it looks a lot easier than it is

At a garden-party given for the chiefs the next
afternoon I saw a variety of costumes, a wealth
of color, and a procession of old-fashioned man-
ners and customs in the persons of the chiefs.
One fine-looking old fellow I can see now. His
whiskers w^ere curled around his ears, a jade-


handled knife was in his belt, and he was followed
wherever he went by three servitors, one carrying
his hookah, another his sword, and the third his
gun. He maintained the state of a time when
every man went armed ; just as we still have two
buttons on our coats, at the small of the back,
which are merely the relics of the time when our
fathers buttoned back their coat-tails that they
might both walk and draw their swords more
easily. Other chiefs more modern in costume and
manner played tennis ; some were poor, while one
of them, Colonel Maharaja Sir Madho Rao Sind-
hia, governs the state of Gwalior, twenty-nine
thousand square miles in area, with a popula-
tion of three million five hundred thousand, and
with revenues of four or five millions of dollars.
He is one of the richest, as he is one of the
most conscientious and hard-working princes in
India. My next visit, of only two days, was to

Neither space nor the interest of my readers per-
mit detailed descriptions of this and other visits.
I shall never forget, however, the magnificent
creature who was detailed to meet me at the sta-
tion at Gwalior. He was a good-looking man to
begin with, of slender build and medium height.
His coat was a tight-fitting affair of pale pink
silk, shot with blue, his trousers were skin-tight


and of white linen. A gold-embroidered waist-
coat showed at his throat, and around his neck was
a string of uncut emeralds, all of a size, and each
as big as a pigeon's egg. Around his wrists were
strings of large diamonds, and hanging from the
top of his right ear were three pear-shaped pearls.
He wore the turljan peculiar to Gwalior, of scar-
let with a peak in the centre of gold-threaded em-
broidery, and sewn with jewels. What a sight a
great Durbar in India must be when these hun-
dreds of princes and their escorts, all in their
bravest costumes, march past on elephants and
horses! ^Millions of value in embroideries, in
jewels, in horse and elephant harness, some of
the elephants even, with bangles of precious
stones, silver horn cases for the bullocks, and
gold-embroidered cloths; howdahs of gold and
silver, and gold and silver cannons even; what
barbaric splendor it must be! It was dazzling
enough to have here and there such glimpses of
it as I had.

They were very differently clothed, were the
next gentlemen who entertained me. Colonel
Deare, and the officers of the Eighth Hussars, out
for a week of exercise at manoeu\Tes, with other
troops in their dusty khaki uniforms, living in
tents, and in the saddle from dawn till dark,
were smart enough in their mess dress at dinner ;


but they wore more useful-looking than orna-
mental when at work. Those were glorious days
to me, galloping about, and watching the various
arms of the service, artillery, cavalry, and in-
fantry, native and European, at work together.
Who would not be a cavalryman, when two
hundred of them dash from an ambush across
the plains, and swoop dow^n upon the guns ; or a
gunner, when they gallop up, swing around, un-
limber the guns, and begin pounding away; or an
infantryman prone on the ground ready to blaze
into a line of fire when the enemy is near enough,
or on his feet, bayonet fixed, waiting for the word
to charge! It is these few^ moments in the life of
the fighting man which make him forget the drab
dreariness of hunger, and thirst, and exposure,
and wounds, and heat, and cold, and prison,
and death, which, after all, make up the warp
and woof of w^ar; those shining minutes of ex-
citement are only the scant embroidery of the

They are a sensible race, these Britons! It
was hard work, and dusty, thirsty work they were
doing, and there was no saving of themselves
while doing it; but every comfort that health re-
quires they had in their camp; and though my
taste in such matters may be at fault, I was never
happier during all my stay in India than when


I was living under canvas, with civil or military
officials; roasting if you please at mid-day, and
freezing at midnight; but with just that combina-
tion of hardship and comfort which keeps a man,
a man; and neither a boor on the one hand, nor
a mollycoddle on the other.

I trotted back into Lucknow, through the
crowded streets of the bazaars, to be greeted by
some days of excitement very different from the
sober discipline of the military camp. An un-
usual number of police were about, drawn from
th*^ country districts, and I soon saw that they
were not there without reason. It was the sea-
son of the Mussulman festival of Muharram.

There are two principal sects of Islam, the
Sunis and the Shiahs. The Shiahs are the less
numerous, and the head-quarters of the sect are
in Persia. Lucknow, once the capital of the
Nawabs of Oudh, still celebrates the festival as
an occasion for marking the distinction, because
these Nawabs were of the Shiah sect, and the
Shiahs are still more numerous and powerful
here than in any other part of India.

The first three successors of Muhammad were
selected by the faithful without regard to the
claims of Ali, his son-in-law; and Ali only suc-
ceeded to the fourth vacancy. The two sons of
Ali, Hassan and Hussain, were killed by a rival,


fighting bravely at the battle of Kerbela. The
sect of the Sunis accept the first three; but the
sect of the Shiahs reject them, and look upon the
two sons of Ali as the great martyrs of their faith.
They were preparing to commemorate this mar-
tyrdom when I returned to Lucknow. When
the day came the whole city, as it seemed to me,
turned itself into a procession. Shrines made of
paper, bamboo and tinsel, some small, carried by
a single person ; others huge affairs, carried by a
dozen men, were borne along, the crowd march-
ing far out into the country, where these shrines
were solemnly interred. Various features of the
tragic history of the death of Hassan and Hussain
are represented during the procession and at the
interment; and every now and again the proces-
sion halted, while an excited orator rehearsed
some portion of the story. They marched, shout-
ing the names of the martyrs, beating their
breasts, throwing dust on their heads, they are
all bareheaded on this occasion, weeping and
wailing. One group carried what looked like
short flails, and to the ends of the cords were tied
knife-blades; these they whirled around their
heads, bringing them down on their shoulders
and backs, which were streaming with blood.

This was not a procession of boys, or of hyster-
ical youths and women, but of grown men, many


of whom were pointed out to me as men of stand-
ing in the community. To see a group of these
men stop, and burst into groans, tears, and wild
cries of grief; to see their breasts bruised, and in
some cases the skin broken, by the beating from
their fists; to see them covered with blood, dust,
and sweat, their faces haggard, their eyes blazing
w^ith excitement; to hear one of them recite part of
the tale of w^oe, his eyes streaming with tears and
his voice choked with emotion ; and the tale punc-
tuated with wild cries and shrieks and lusty pum-
melling of the breast on the part of his hearers,
while little children and old women threw dust
on their own and each other's heads, is the most
amazing spectacle of religious enthusiasm that
one may see anywhere in the w^orld to-day. This
is the kind of man, this is the quality of human
stuff, which spread like lava over Arabia, Egypt,
Spain, up to the very gates of France, and burst
through the Afghan passes and conquered India.
One readily understands why. Apparently the
faith is still alive, sincere, and as ready for the
torch to light it against the infidel as ever. They
abhor pig, insist upon the rite of circumcision,
ignore the bondage of caste, and W'ith sword and
crescent crumpled up almost the whole of the
fighting w orld at one time, declaring : there is one
God, Muhammad is his prophet, and we are the


chosen people, with a paradise of delights await-
ing us as a recompense for our slaughter of the
infidel and the idolater.

One in every five of the population of India is
a Mussulman, and the British King-Emperor
rules over more ^Mussulmans than even the Sultan
of Turkey. This frenzied crowd is tuned up to a
delicate pitch of excited sectarianism; and their
rivals the Sunis, and the Hindus, generally ofl^er
cause for fighting before the day is over; and
sometimes, as lately in Bombay, actual riots,
which call for the intervention of the police and
the shooting of the rioters. It is hard to believe
that these men, cutting their backs with knives,
and beating their breasts to a pulp with their fists,
over a question of Caliphic succession a thousand
years old, are the fathers and l^rothers and cous-
ins of the cricket-playing students at Aligarh.
It is hard to believe that those worshippers in the
gloomy temple at Benares are in any way related
to the distinguished and learned judge in the
court at Bombay. It is hard to believe that those
catechists crowding into the Golden Temple at
Amritsar are cousins of the Sikh ruler who knows
his Paris better than most Parisians; harder still
to reconcile the facts that the pink pasteboard
uniformity of Jaipur, and the tawdry architect-
ural decadence of Lucknow, are phases of the


same civilization which built the Pearl Mosque
at Delhi, the Taj at Agra, the great red sandstone
fort of Akbar, and the town of Fatehpur-Sikri.
Only India has the right to be called the land of



IF the only impressions of India one carried
away were received on entering India as the
guest of the Governor of Bombay, and on
leaving India as the guest of the Viceroy at Cal-
cutta, and during the six months between as the
guest of English and Indian officials and poten-
tates, the American would have only a tale to
tell of wonders and splendors, and of a hospitality
as kindly as it was brilliant.

But India is a land of "braided light and
gloom." Close beside the beautiful temple are
creatures fantastically deformed; there are no
such exotically magnificent princes, and no such
millions living from hand to mouth; no mortal
succeeds as does the Indian Yogi, who has ac-
quired Yoga or union with the Divinity, in di-
vorcing body and soul, and no other land has
such a swarm, estimated at five million, of beg-
gars; there is no such practical exponent of
peace as the orthodox Jain, no such ruffian as the
untrained Bhil; there is no land, I believe, gov-



erned by such self-sacrificing rulers, and ruling
over such ignorant multitudes; there is no land
where you may see a picked man of our race,
soldier, sportsman, administrator, the best we
have produced in short in the matter of man-
hood, and beside him our best expression of
dignified womanhood; and not far away an
Indian fakir naked, })ainted, covered with dust
and vermin, illustrating the disorderliness of
fanatical ignorance.

I had had some six months of this "braided
light and gloom" when I arrived at Calcutta as
the guest of the Viceroy who had had five years
of it. The Viceroy and the Governors of prov-
inces are not permitted to leave India during their
term of office, and five years of Indian climate
and Indian responsibility is killing work. If
there be faults and mistakes in the administra-
tion of India, India has taken toll in the health
and lives of those who have governed her. Lord
Minto has not taken his duties lightly, and I
can fancy that he looks back upon his daring
feats as a horseman, as to the risks of the nur-
sery, compared to his burdens as Viceroy of

Fast mail steamers and the telegraph, and a
fussy Secretary of State for India, and back of
him the ignorant prying of representatives who


wish his administration no good, may make a
present-day governor the most governed man in
the whole dependency he is supposed to govern.
England has produced many men and still pos-
sesses a few, who decline to be governed gov-
ernors. That type of man founded, fought for,
freed, and made both England and America
what they are. You have only to walk about
Calcutta to see that England has, however un-
willingly, let it be known that the unlearned, the
untra veiled, the superficial are in control at
home. Though the working man, why he arro-
gates to himself that title I am always at a loss
to understand, may be getting even more than
his rights at home, his short-sighted shrewdness
there, may be losing him his markets abroad.
Indeed, that is what is actually happening.
They are even now grinding INIanchurian wheat
with Chinese labor at Woosung. A steamship
line carries pig-iron from the Yellow River to
Seattle; and they are making shoes at Cawn-
pore with American machinery. Both Peking
and Mukden are to have a water supply. They
are getting on!

Coming as I did from the north of India, the
scarcely veiled impudence, the assertion of
equality and independence, the ugly temper of
the Bengali were not only evident, they were ob-


trusive in Calcutta. Here you see the ullage of
the cask of India, and it is gaseous as might be
expected, and ever ready to be touched into ex-

There can be nothing more dangerous in deal-
ing with a population such as this, than to give
the impression that the man sent to rule has a
string tied to him, which may be jerked from
London. I have no means of knowing whether
this supposition is true or not true; but that it
is firmly believed by the Indian politicians and
their followers there is no doubt ; and that it puts
the ruler in a cruelly embarrassing position goes
without saying. Lord Minto's administration
has nevertheless persisted in reforms, persisted
in the optimistic view, and resisted the tempta-
tion to panicky repression; but that is because
Lord Minto himself is a brave man.

As I have pointed out elsewhere, the Indian
only recognizes readily power that is autocratic
and personified in one man. When that power
is interfered with from unknown sources it con-
fuses him, and his violence is as often as not
the result of his confusion. If the British Gov-
ernment does not trust the viceroy sufficiently
to let him alone, the Indians will go still further,
as they have done, and throw stones at his motor-
car, and then bombs at himself and his wife, and


the six hundred members of Parliament are
more to blame than the three hundred millions
of India. If one reads Morley's " Life of Burke,"
with its bitter attacks upon Clive and Hastings,
one may find therein, though it be far distant, not
a little light thrown upon certain phases of recent
Indian administration. I can speak with au-
thority only upon one matter. Of the hospital-
ity dispensed at Government House, and at Bar-
rackpur, the country residence of the Viceroy, I
may write with the pleasantest memories; and
in candor rather than in compliment one must
congratulate the English people that they have a
woman to send abroad, as the consort of the
representative of their king, so queenly in man-
ner and appearance, as their representative who
was my hostess in Calcutta.

Calcutta with its million inhabitants, its large
seaport trade, its public buildings, fine clubs,
and beautiful race-course, perhaps the best-
equipped in the world, even the garden-party I
attended, given by the Lieutenant-Governor, with
the variety of costumes and races assembled
there, proved to me how soon the eye becomes
dulled and the interest languorous. I had seen
so much, that Calcutta seemed commonplace,
though I know well that it is not. ^Yhsii the
experienced x\nglo-Indians, on the ship which


carried us to India, told me of Bonibay, and
which my unaccustomed eyes found to be quite
untrue, in Bombay, I experienced in Calcutta.
The strange features and figures, the moving
mass of color were dulled by the film of ex-
perience which had gro^vn over my eyes. It
may be too that months of travel, where both
mind and body are travelling, and where the
experiences are novel and the contrasts so strik-
ing; where one shifts from a palace to a tent,
and from philosophy to pig-sticking all within
a few hours, teach the impression-receiving parts
of mind and body to defend themselves by be-
coming more opaque. It was almost with a sigh
of relief that I dropped into my deck-chair early
one morning on the steamer, on my way to

On the road to Mandalay,

Where the flyin'-fishes play.
An' the dawn comes up like thunder, outer*

China 'cros't the bay.

It is getting on toward April, and the moist
heat, even lolling on the deck of a moving
steamer, makes pulp of a man ; only the mosqui-
toes make him realize his manhood. Mosquitoes
have their place in the world. It is their func-
tion to prove to man that no discomfort is com-


plete without them. I was even too lackadaisi-
cal to do more than to smile weakly, when the
menu of the first day's luncheon informed me
that the only hot dish was grilled pork chops,
British gastronomies undefiled! Add to this
kind of fare the mental pabulum of a loquacious
and facetious skipper, and you have a ship
which christens herself the "Emetic," whatever
her name registered at Lloyd's may be.

Whether it was because I had just left the
sombreness of India, the contrast with Burma
was all in Burma's favor. I have chatted with
Indians who laughed and joked, with others who
had a certain dreamy humor, but India as a
whole, as a composite, leaves the impression of
being solemn and sullen. There is more laugh-
ter and gayety in Rangoon in one afternoon than
in all India in a week. The Burmese are the
Parisians of the East. As I look back from a
distance, India seems sober even to suUenness;
Burma gay and bright; Japan eager, curious,
supei-ficial; and the Chinese, strange to say,
though proud and indifferent, the forceful and
competent people of the East. Sir Robert Hart
writes of them: "Pride of race, pride of intel-
lect, pride of civilization, pride of supremacy,
in its massive and magnificent setting of bliss-
ful ignorance." Once they break through this


shell of satisfied ignorance, and take to modern
methods of agriculture, commerce, and warfare,
the East will come into her own again indeed.
Just now, we are hearing much of Asia for the
Asiatics, with Japan in control of the movement.
The little boy Japan may have this huge yel-
low puppy at the end of a string now, but there
will be some awful tumbles for him when the
puppy grows up.

The Chinese are very much in evidence where-
ever one goes, all the way round the coast from
Calcutta via Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, Hong-
kong, and as far east and north as the borders
of Russian Asia. He is industrious, often pros-
perous, sometimes rich. Here in Burma he is
a favorite in the matrimonial market, as he is
all through the East. He may not appeal to
us as a lady's man exactly, but he is greatly
fancied by the Burmese, and the women all
through the Straits Settlements and elsewhere.
He supports his wife which is considered a negli-
gible duty by both the Burmese and the Malays.
In Rangoon with a population of 230,000 there
are 77,000 Hindus, 40,000 Muhammadans, and
some 15,000 Chinese. Like the Parsis in Bom-
bay they seem much more numerous than they
are. Certain races have the faculty of multiply-
ing their visibility. It is almost impossible to


believe that there are less than a million Jews in
America, and less than eleven million in all the
world; and much the same is true of the Parsis
in India. By their industry, their clannishness,
their pre-eminence in all matters dealing with
money, their facility in adapting themselves
to the rapid changes in the financial and com-
mercial temperature, they have won for them-
selves a prominence out of all proportion to their
numbers. The Chinese emigrants in Burma
and elsewhere in the Far East show something
of the same qualities. They are the money-
changers, and the trusted handlers of money
in the banks, offices, and commercial houses
throughout the Far East, and even to a limited
extent in Japan.

There is no caste system, no seclusion of the
women in Burma, and they seem a happy, lazy,
color-loving lot, short and thick-set in build, with
a certain flatness of feature that marks their
kinship to the Mongolian. The men wear their
hair long, and are without hair on their faces;
and the women are shopkeepers and are seen
everywhere, in the streets and bazaars and at
the temples, free and busy, and judging from
their expression, light-hearted, marking a change
and making a change in the street life, from that
of India, as from beetles to butterflies.


Every civilization in the East is old as we
mark the passage of time, but as compared with
the others, India seems rather aged than old.
These merry people in Burma, the busy people
in Japan, the industrious and cheerful Chinese,
all seem young by comparison. In this rich soil
and overwhelming vegetation, in this land of
jade and amber and rubies and teak-wood, with
its twenty million acres of forests of all kinds
of valuable hard-woods, with its eleven thousand
acres of rice fields, getting a living is not a diffi-
cult matter; and the Burmese men, at any rate,
scorn superfluous industry.

Here too is the home of Buddhism, pagodas
and monasteries are everywhere, and so far as my
experience goes, everywhere the monks are affa-
ble and hospitable. To build a new pagoda is
a charity deemed by the Burmese to be an act
more sure of reward in the future life than any
other; while to repair an old pagoda carries no
weight at all with those who mete out salva-
tion. As a consequence pagodas with their
fringes of bells, and their umbrella tops, dot
every hillside and every conspicuous bit of land-

Every Burmese is supposed to shave his head,
don the saffron-colored robe, and become a
monk for a certain time, which accounts for the


very youthful appearance and the rather merry
hoHness of many of the neophytes whom I met.
The monks are supported by the voluntary
contributions of the people, and in return they
constitute themselves the school-teachers of the
land. The monasteries are as a rule built upon
piles, and are always of one story, since it is con-
sidered derogatory to a priest that any one shall
live above him. I was told that the population
is more superstitious than Buddhistic in feeling.
The spirits of rivers, mountains and forests,
called Nats, are continually and carefully propi-
tiated by most of the people who, not differing
greatly from disciples of w^iat are deemed higher
forms of religion, are more conspicuous in their
loyalty to the powers that be, than obedient to
the mandates of the unseen and distant. We
might ourselves conceive of the powers of nature
as w^orthy of worshipful reverence if we lived in
Rangoon, where the rainfall averages ninety
inches per annum.

The good folk of Boston may be disturbed to
learn that in the palace at Mandalay there is a
high seven-storied gilded spire over the throne,
which the Burmese claim is the centre of the
universe, or o'7r

Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 20 of 29)