T. L. (Theodore Leighton) Pennell.

Things seen in northern India online

. (page 1 of 9)
Online LibraryT. L. (Theodore Leighton) PennellThings seen in northern India → online text (page 1 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


UC-NRLF




ma



THINGS SEEN IN NORTHERN INDIA




Copyright Stereograph, IV. ft. White Co. London

A STREET SCENE.

In the background is the palace of the Maharaja of Volaipur. Notice
the dazzling whiteness of the buildings, and of the men's spotless
garments, which are distinctive of this part of India.



THINGS SEEN IN
NORTHERN INDIA



BY

T. L. PENNELL, M.D., B.Sc., F.R.C.S.

AUTHOR OF
" AMONG THE WILD TRIBES OF THE AFGHAN FRONTIER "



WITH FIFTY ILLUSTRATIONS



NEW YORK
E. P. BUTTON AND COMPANY

31 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET
1912



TO

MY WIFE



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

PAGE

First Sight of Bombay The Ballard Pier First Faces
Engagement of Servants Their Peculiarities
"Chits" Good and Bad Points Contrasts
between East and West Indian Etiquette-
Native Bazaar The Market New Fruits and
Vegetables The Water-carriers - - 17

CHAPTER II

THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY

The Variety of the East How to Recognize the People
An Afghan Merchant A Sikh Soldier A
Bengali Babu Wilayati v. Swadeshi The Parsis
The Pardah Lady Mahratta Women Rajput
Women "Churnars" Change of Costume and
Manners in the North Railway Travelling
Indian Habits Betel-nut Indian Postures
SoeiaUAmenities A Travelling Episode - - 44



Contents



CHAPTER III

THE COUNTRY AND ITS CLIMATE

PACK

Ancient India The Canals of the Country The
Plains of the North Cornfields Bengal Raj-
putana Sandstorms The Monsoon The Areas
of Greatest Heat Travelling Outfit Guarding
against Malaria Milk and Water Varieties of
Headdress Their Significance Baths and Bath-
ing - - - 65

CHAPTER IV

MODES OF TRAVEL

The Old and the New Road-making The Grand
Trunk Road The Romance of It Indian Rail-
waysHow to Travel The Dak Bungalow-
Travellers' Complaints Eavesdropping The
Third-class Passenger Camel Transport Ele-
phantsThe Indian Ox-cart The Useful Ekka
The Mail Tonga - - 88

CHAPTER V

RAJPUTANA AND THE NATIVE STATES OF THE NORTH

Their Origin Rise of the Mahrattas The Rajput
States Panjab States Kashmir Its Beauties
Amber Jaipur Sambliar Alwar Udaipur
Its Lake Chitor Its Romantic History The
Queen of Indore Gwalior Historical Events - 116
x



Contents

CHAPTER VI

DELHI AND ITS EMPIRE

PAG!

The Old and the New The Fort The Mughal Palace
Gems of Architecture Modern Vandalism
Relics of the Siege The Death of Nicholson
The Tomb of Nizam-ud-din A Humble Grave-
Remarkable Diving The Kutb Minai The
Juma Masjid The Chandni Chowk Delhi
Workmanship The Snake-charmer Workers in
Copper and Brass Arts and Trades of Delhi A
Sleeping City The Story of Akbar Memories of
the Dead - - 141

CHAPTER VII

THE RELIGIOUS ROMANCE OF THE NORTH

Variety of Religions The Vedic Dawn The Origin
of Buddhism The Jains Islam The Sikhs
The Arya Somaj The BrahmoSomaj Benares
The Bathing Ghats The Mosque of Aurangzeb
The Temples Hardwar Sadhus and Faqirs
The Muhammadan Cities The Taj at Agra The
Tomb of Akbar The Fulfilment of his Prophecy 162

CHAPTER VIII

WHERE FAITHS ARE P,ORN

The Sikhs The Tank of Immortality The Golden
Temple The Story of the Gurus The Arya
xi



Contents

PAQ*

Somaj Its Founder and Ideals The Brahmo
Somaj Buddhism The Jains Their Temples-
Christianity in India Indian Churches - - 187



CHAPTER IX

RURAL LIFE

Importance of the Villages The Representatives of
the "Sarkar" The ' ' Patw&i " The Police
Officials How the People are Governed The
Centre of Village Life The Work of the Women
Fetching the Water Midday Rest Village
Diet Lawful and Unlawful Sobriety of the
People Their Contentment and Hospitality
Poverty of the People Ravages of the Plague
Strange Suspicions The Advent of Famine The
Struggle with Death - 200

CHAPTER X

THE MOUNTAINEERS OF THE BORDERLANDS

The Influence of the Himala3 T as The Passes of the
North-West The Gates of India The Pathans of
the North-West Feuds and Factions Instance
of Loyalty Contrasts of Character The In-
habitants of Kashmir Their Skill in Moun-
taineeringBridges and Boats The People of
the Himalayas Nepal and Sikkim Darjeeling - 226



xn



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



A Street Scene - - - Frontispiece



PAGE



Watering the Roads - . X vi

Temple Interior, Dihvarra - - 20

A Scene in the Market - - 24

Water-carriers - - - 28

An Indian Bazaar - - 33
Snake-charmers ... -37

A Jain Temple - - - . - 41

Muhammadans Praying - - - 48

The Gateway to Akbar's Tomb - 51

A Hindu Ascetic - - - - 58

A Scene in Jaipur - - - (51

Grass-carriers in the Hills - - 67

A Canal Scene - . - 71
xiii



List of Illustrations



PAGE



A Tank at Alwar - - - 76

Palace at Fatehpur Sikri - - 80

Hindus' Ceremonial Bathing - - 84

A Camel-cart - - 89

Elephant-riding - - 93

The Ox-cart - 97

The Marble Screen at the Taj - 104

The River Jamiia from the Taj - - 108

Akbar's Tomb - 112

A Poplar Avenue in Kashmir - 117

A Temple in Amber - - 121

A Street in Jaipur - 125

Maharaja's Palace, Jaipur - 132

The Holy Tank at Alwar - 135

The Chitor Tower of Victory - - 140

Diving-Tanks at Delhi - - 145

Kutb Minar - 151

Juma Magjid, Delhi - 158

Cremation on the Banks of the Ganges - - 164

Bathing-Ghat, Benares - 169

Riverside, Benares - 173



List of Illustrations



PAGE



The Taj, Agra - - 177

The Tomb of Akhar . . 184

The Golden Temple, Amritsar - 190

Bhuddhist Pagoda - . - 195

Jain Temples . . 201

Threshing- . . 205

Harvesting ... 210

A Village Homestead - . - 214

A Village Well - . - 218

A Village Potter - ... 2'2o

Sunrise on the Himalayas - - 227

A Rustic Bridge - - - 231

A Novel Raft - - 237

A Himalayan Village - - - 241

The Car of Jugganaut - ... 246



xv




WATERING THE ROADS



Things Seen in Northern
India



CHAPTER I

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

First Sight of Bombay The Ballard Pier First Faces-
Engagement of Servants Their Peculiarities "Chits"
Good and Bad Points Contrasts between East and
West Indian Etiquette Native Bazaar The Market
New Fruits and Vegetables The Water- Carriers.

EVERY morning since leaving Aden the
traveller has looked eastward over an un-
broken expanse of sea and sky, but, on the
fifth morning, he must be up betimes to receive
the first salutations of the East.

The harbour of Bombay ranks with those of
Naples, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro, and it is
alive with the craft of all nations, while its wharves
are piled high with the merchandise of the East
and the West.

First you descry the revolving gleam of the
lighthouse off Colaba Point, and then a long, low

17 B



Things Seen in Northern India

shoreline on your port bow. As you draw nearer
you see the crescent-shaped bay culminating in
Malabar Hill over to the left, where the fashion-
able residences of the rich merchants and officials
nestle among beautiful hanging gardens, and then
you dimly descry the fine public buildings lining
the bay itself. Cocoanut palms are gleaming and
waving in the light, and whispering to you the
welcome of the sunny East. Over on your star-
board bow you see the lovely palm-covered islands
that stud the harbour, on one of which are the
wonderful caves of Elephanta.

A pilot-boat has come along dancing on the
waves, the mighty engines of your liner cease
their throbbing for a few moments, the pilot
clambers up the side, the captain's bell rings
from the bridge, and you are full steam ahead
again, and then slow down as you thread your
way up the channel among steamers, and liners,
and gun-boats, and fishing-boats, and launches, till
you reach your moorings, or enter one of Bombay's
many fine docks.

The P. and O. and larger steamers moor off the
Ballard pier, to which you and your luggage are
taken in bustling little launches, which dart about
with an important air among the graceful sailing-
boats and yachts. On the pier is a heterogeneous
crowd of all nations in all garbs. There are the
hungry coolies in their turbans and loin-cloths,
and the brass badge with their number fastened
round their arms, and if one of them rushes off
18




CopyrigJtt Stereograpli, Jr. H. White Co.



THE TEMPLE INTERIOR^ DILWARRA.

Notice the beautiful carving of the pillars, arches, and shrine. A worshipper
squatting on his heels is making an offering. The official guardian of the
place stands by.



First Impressions

with your belongings, giving you this brass badge
in exchange, do not be alarmed ; that is a pledge
that you will get them all safely back from him
on the customs platform or at the railway-station.
Then there are the uniformed touts of the various
hotels clamouring for your custom ; some gorgeous
individuals in red coats gold-braided and bedecked
are " chaprassies," or the satellites of Government
officials, waiting to convey their masters or their
masters' guests to their residences on Malabar
Hill. Among .the Europeans you see the anxious
husband and father, who has come a week's
journey from some jungle station to meet his
wife and bairns ; those who have come to welcome
back some friend or chief; sunburnt faces of
officers who have been on active service and won
well-merited furlough ; pallid faces of others who
have had their health and strength sapped by
climate or disease, and are now going to cooler
climes in hopes of regaining them. You see, too,
the gay dresses of the Parsi ladies, who, unlike
their Muhammadan and Hindu sisters, mix freely
in society and glitter like the roses in a Persian
garden, the harmonious hues of their graceful
"saris" contrasting with the more sombre and
more Western clothes of their husbands and
brothers.

Beyond the customs barrier, where you have

to declare what dutiable articles or firearms you

have with you, is a line of shigrams and victorias

waiting to convey you to your destination. Last

21



Things Seen in Northern India

year the London taxicab invaded Bombay, and
threatens to oust the horse traffic much as it has
done already in the West.

The Bombay hotels are fine buildings, well
appointed, comfortable, well served, and with an
excellent cuisine, but there is this difference
between them and the hotels of the West that
you are expected to bring your own " bearer," or
native servant, with you.

This man performs the duty of both valet and
chambermaid, and not infrequently of butler, too.
You can have the choice of one soon after landing,
for many of this species flock down to Bombay in
expectation of securing an easy job on good pay.
But beware of too precipitately engaging one,
unless you are acquainted with their wiles or
have the assistance of some friend who is. They
appear before you, a whole row of them, all
sorts and sizes, tall and short, stout and thin,
good-looking and evil-looking, smiling and grave ;
all are clad in spotlessly white robes, but the
Anglo-Indian soon learns to recognize little differ-
ences of get-up which enable him to locate the
home of the wearer. Some have flat turbans :
these are Suratis, mostly neat-handed and useful,
willing to travel, not of high caste, and so willing
to do services which others of higher caste might
refuse. Some have coloured turbans, oval in shape,
and speak English : these are Madrasis, and are
preferred by many because they save you from
the language difficulty. They are smart, deft-
22




Stereo Copyright, Under-wood & l>-

A SCENE IN THE MARKET.



London & Xe-w York.



The stalls are by the side of the road, the sellers sit surrounded by their
various fruits and vegetables, mangoes and sugar-cane, carrots and potatoes ;
" falsas " and other fruits are seen.



First Impressions

handed though often light-fingered ; they cost
more, but this is made up for to the visitor by
the freedom from worry that comes from having
a servant whom you can understand and who can
interpret. Some have neat, tall turbans, usually
white, but sometimes with gold- and blue-fringes :
these are the Muhammadan servants of the
northern provinces. They are polite, good
travellers, loyal and faithful, but as they seldom
know much English they are more useful to the
resident than the visitor. Very different in
character and appearance is the Portuguese
servant from Goa ; he, being a Christian, is free
from all caste restrictions, he speaks English, is
usually a good cook, but he is generally expensive,
and not infrequently is too fond of drink. They
are all furnished with " chits," or letters of recom-
mendation, but you have to be on your guard and
make sure that the papers really do refer to the
man whom you are engaging, as not infrequently
good letters are misappropriated, borrowed, or
even purchased by men who have none of their
own, and who have no claim to the virtues
described in them. Some of these " chits " are
entertaining reading, and some would certainly
not be tendered by the would-be servant were he
able to understand the purport of what is written
therein. Thus a night-watchman proffered a
" chit " in which his employer had recorded,
" This man sleeps sounder than any man I have
yet had." A butler presented a letter in which his
25



Things Seen in Northern India

sahib had written: -Abdul Karim, bearer, blest
with the useful power of seeing two sides of a
question at once (in other words, he has external
squint) has been my bearer for four months.

It has been a memorable time, for not only
^as he been attached to me personally, but, I find,
he is also attached to my personalty (as the
lawyers say !). His own spirits have always been
good and so, in his generous way, he has not
scrupled to give mine the benefit of good company.
He has kept my accounts and my cash the latter
he still retains. His godliness is unquestion-
>le, for his daily prayers occupy most of the
time, being rigorously performed five times a
day, when I am most in need of his services
h^cleanliness may develop later, as it comes

When you find that a servant has six or more

ters to show for the last two years, not one of

them covering more than three months' service

T when he has no letter more recent than five

years back, it is well to beware of him. Tourists

rften see the worst side of the Indian servants

1 alas ! the modern invasion of India has done

auch to ruin the race. It is not easy, but still

not impossible, to meet really good servants ; but

these are generally to be found only in the

houses of people who have been in India for

many years, or for several successive generations ;

hen the son takes on the servants of his father'

the servants get to regard themselves as




Stereo Copyright, Underwood & U.

WATER -CARRIERS.



London & New York.



These men are laying the dust in the Maidan of Calcutta, a daily function
preparatory to the promenade of the fashionable world.



First Impressions

members of the family, and bring up their boys
with the same loyalty. For loyalty and devotion
the good Indian servant is not to be beaten.
He is capable, quick, intelligent, resourceful,
faithful, and untiring.

Many of us have had reason to bless the
devotion of an Indian servant in sickness, when,
night after night, he or she will watch untiringly,
and with heartwhole sympathy. I have known a
servant to fast for days, hoping thereby to secure
blessings for his sick master, or perhaps his
master's babe. It is always a matter of surprise
in camping, when one arrives tired and hungry,
to find that one's servants (who have only started a
couple of hours ahead) have the tents all pitched,
a savoury meal ready, the books and papers all
laid out as they were at the last camp, and they
themselves, though probably just as tired as
oneself, ready to wait on one and make one
comfortable. Good Indian servants will sacrifice
everything for their masters ; their own interests,
even their children, are of no account if they clash
in any way with those of the master whose " salt
they eat." The greatest horror such a man has
is that of being a " nimak haram," or traitor to
his salt.

But alas ! it is not often now that such servants
are found, for they are very particular about
where they take service, and demand as high a
record for their masters as they have to show for
themselves.

29



Things Seen in Northern India

India is the land of topsy-turvy, and the visitor
is surprised and amused to find everything done
in just the opposite way to which he is accustomed.
The shops are open-fronted, and have all their
wares exposed on an erection of planks and pack-
ing-cases outside, the vendor squatting in the
midst of them with a fan in one hand, which
serves the double purpose of keeping himself cool
and whisking the flies off his wares.

The native houses are gorgeously decorated
outside even when the inside is poor and mean,
and when a man has made up his mind to build
himself a local habitation and a name, he first
starts on a gateway, proportionate in height and
size and decoration to what he considers his own
dignity. Unfortunately, he is often unable to
build the rest of his house on the same scale,
or his resources may even become exhausted
before the house is commenced, and a magnificent
gateway is left in solitary grandeur with only
a mean, dilapidated house inside, or even none
at all.

The Persian character, in which most of the
Indian languages are inscribed, is written from
right to left, and a native book begins, so to
speak, at the end and reads backwards, In the
Persian character, instead of the writing being
on the line, it is over it, or above it, or under it,
or all three at once, and the diacritical points are
dotted about wherever there is a convenient free
space, or left out altogether at the fancy of the
30



First Impressions

penman, so that it is impossible to read the
character without knowing the meaning of the
words and their context. Thus the same sign
with the diacritical points omitted may be " b " or
" p " or " t " or " s " or " th," and only the context
enables you to decide which. When this writing
appears on tiles, painted walls, carpets, or rugs,
the writing is usually beautifully distinct and
graceful, the diacritical points are all there, yet
the writing is an enigma to the unpractised be-
cause the letters are arranged where they look
aesthetically prettiest rather than with any regard
to grammatical sequence. One word may be
intercalated in the centre of another, the centre
letters of a word may be placed above those of
the beginning or end of the word instead of
between them, while the diacritical points appear
almost anywhere and seem to belong promiscuously
to a number of letters together. As the object of
the artist is to display his skill and please the eye,
it is of little moment to make the writing plain
to the ordinary mortal. Some of the Indian
characters, however, such as Gurmukhi and Shastri,
read from left to right like ours.

The Eastern covers his head, but leaves his feet
bare, thinks it important to keep the head warm
and the feet cool, and when he goes into his
mosque, temple, or other place of worship, care-
fully removes his shoes from his feet, but keeps
his head covered. It is a grave breach of decorum
for a man to remove his turban in company without



Things Seen in Northern India

first asking permission, and your Indian servant
would as soon come into your presence with bare
head as your English servant would with bare feet.
Sometimes inferior servants take advantage of the
ignorance of newly arrived sahibs to perpetrate
little acts of rudeness which pass unnoticed, but
which anyone acquainted with the country would
not tolerate. They perhaps do not remove their
shoes, or bind their turban like a " munshi ' (or
clerk) instead of like a "khit" (butler), or speak
disrespectfully because they are imperfectly under-
stood.

In eating and drinking, too, the native customs
in many ways contrast with ours ; tables, chairs,
spoons, forks and all such appurtenances of a
conventional civilization are entirely dispensed
with. The meal often begins with the sweets,
or all the dishes are placed on the cloth at once
and the guest makes his selection. It is not only
allowable, but a compliment to the host and his
excellent dinner to eructate at the end of the
meal, and finish up by licking the fingers and
washing out the mouth into the basin that is
passed round. When drinking tea, to sip it with
a loud, smacking noise only shows how much you
appreciate it, and if you do not want your cup
refilled, you must invert it in your saucer.

With the exception of the Parsis, men do not
walk abroad with their women-folk. If a man has
to take his wife or sister out, he will walk un-
concernedly ahead while she walks at a respectful
32




Cofyright Stereograph, It-. H. White Co.



AN INDIAN BAZAAR.



This represents a street in a small town. Notice how the women balance
their vessels on their heads.



First Impressions

distance behind with her eyes cast down, not
daring to incur his wrath by glancing at any man
who may chance to pass.

When one man beckons to another to come, he
turns his hand downwards and beckons down.
When he mounts his horse, he does so from the
offside, and he clicks to make it stop and not to
make it go.

The traveller will soon notice other points, too,
in which the custom of the East is in contrast with
that of the West. The tourist must not leave
Bombay without visiting the native part of the
city, where jostling, bustling crowds of all races
and religions are buying and selling in truly
Oriental fashion. He must visit, too, the fine
markets of the town, where not only are all kinds
of edibles to be had in profusion, but excellent
bargains in all kinds of Oriental art can be readily
purchased.

In the fruit and vegetable market you can get
not only the kinds which you have been accustomed
to in the West and much cheaper, too, for the
most part but a number of strange ones which
will probably be new to you, and others which
you know well in the imported form but which
you have never tasted so delicious and fresh as
you can get them here. Such are the mangoes
and bananas for which Bombay is specially famous,
and good varieties of which are esteemed by
many the most delicious fruits in existence. The
deliciously flavoured rosy red banana is so different
35



Things Seen in Northern India

from the large, tasteless, potato-like fruit you often
get elsewhere, that you might imagine it a
different fruit altogether. Mangosteens, shalils,
and letchees, among other fruits, are other
delicate novelties that can be purchased here.
In the hot season immense quantities of melons
are eaten by the people of North India, and in the
autumn the bazaars are full of sugar-cane. The
melons are of all kinds musk melons, water
melons, big ones, small ones, every shade of green
and yellow and brown. The melon is one of the
most popular national fruits, and the amount that
can be consumed by one man on a hot summer's
day is something appalling. In the villages of
the Punjab a melon feast out in the fields some
summer day is a sight you will long remember,
and if you have been tempted to eat with the
generosity and courage of the people you will
remember it longer still, unless indeed you
succumb on the spot. The men and boys gather
under some shady tree or grove, and the melons
are brought and piled up in the centre of the
group, till you think there must be at least a
donkey-load to each man and boy ; then those
who possess knives commence cutting them into
slices, and these disappear as quickly as cut ; the
musk melons (called " hinduanis ") are opened by
cutting out a square piece from one side and first
consuming the juicy pulp.

At the end of the feast little is left but the
seeds and the strips of rind scattered about which

36




Stereo Copyright, Under-wood & U.



London & New York.



SNAKE-CHARMERS.



These men are met with in all the large towns, earning their livelihood by
showing their legerdemain with their pythons and cobras.



First Impressions

the cows and sheep collect round to devour, and
the diners arrange their beds in the shadiest and
coolest places and soon fall into a profound
slumber, from which they do not rise till the
cooler breezes of the late afternoon have begun to
blow.

When the sugar-cane is in season it is the most
prominent feature in the bazaar. You see great
sheaves of it piled up everywhere, and you can
get a fine, long, juicy stalk for a halfpenny. Or
you can go to the stall where it is sold ready
peeled and cut up by a special machine into little
pieces of an inch long, which can conveniently be
put into the mouth whole, and which slake the


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Online LibraryT. L. (Theodore Leighton) PennellThings seen in northern India → online text (page 1 of 9)