He endured all without a murmur. Not a chance did he throw away. Once or twice he made a splendid effort, once he tried to catch the Brahmin again by the leg. Roopnarain pounced down, but the arm was as quickly within its shield. It was now but a question of time and endurance. Every dodge that he was master of did the Brahmin bring into play. They were both in perfect training, muscles as hard as steel, every nerve and sinew strained to the utmost tension. Roopnarain actually tried tickling his man, but he would not give him a chance. At length he got his hand in the bent elbow of the free arm, and slowly, and laboriously forced it out. There were tremendous spurts and struggles, but patient determination was not to be baulked. Slowly the arm came up over the back, the struggle was tremendous, but at length both the poor fellow’s arms were tightly pinioned behind his back. He was powerless now. The Brahmin drew the two arms backwards, towards the head of the poor little fellow, and he was bound to come over or have both his arms broken. With a hoarse cry of sobbing-pain and shame, the brave little man came over, both shoulders on the mould, and the scientific old veteran was again the victor.
This is but a very faint description of a true wrestling bout among the robust dwellers in these remote villages. It may seem cruel, but it is to my mind the perfection of muscular strength and skill, combined with keen subtle, intellectual acuteness. It brings every faculty of mind and body into play, it begets a healthy, honest love of fair play, and an admiration of endurance and pluck, two qualities of which Englishmen certainly can boast. Strength without skill and training will not avail. It is a fine manly sport, and one which should be encouraged by all who wish well to our dusky fellow subjects in the far off plains and valleys of Hindostan.
Indigo seed growing.—Seed buying and buyers.—Tricks of sellers. —Tests for good seed.—The threshing-floor.—Seed cleaning and packing.—Staff of servants.—Despatching the bags by boat.—The ‘Pooneah’ or rent day.—Purneah planters—their hospitality.—The rent day a great festival.—Preparation.—Collection of rents.—Feast to retainers.—The reception in the evening.—Tribute.—Old customs. —Improvisatores and bards.—Nautches.—Dancing and music.—The dance of the Dangurs.—Jugglers and itinerary showmen.—’Bara Roopes,’ or actors and mimics.—Their different styles of acting.
Besides indigo planting proper, there is another large branch of industry in North Bhaugulpore, and along the Nepaul frontier there, and in Purneah, which is the growing of indigo seed for the Bengal planters. The system of advances and the mode of cultivation is much the same as that followed in indigo planting proper. The seed is sown in June or July, is weeded and tended all through the rains, and cut in