Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 486 pages of information about Observations on the Mussulmauns of India.

It is not surprising that the strongly grounded persuasion should be too deeply rooted to give way to my feeble efforts; time, but more especially the mercy of Divine goodness extended to them, will dissolve the delusion they are as yet fast bound by, as it has in more enlightened countries, where superstition once controlled both the ignorant and the scholar, in nearly as great a degree as it is evident it does at this day the people of India generally.  Here the enlightened and the unenlightened are so strongly persuaded of the influence of supernatural evil agency, that if any one is afflicted with fits, it is affirmed by the lookers on, of whatever degree, that the sick person is possessed by an unclean spirit.

If any one is taken suddenly ill, and the doctor cannot discover the complaint, the opinion is that some evil spirit has visited the patient, and the holy men of the city are then applied to, who by prayer may draw down relief for the beloved and suffering object.  Hence arises the number of applications to the holy men for a written prayer, called taawise ( talisman) which the people of that faith declare will not only preserve the wearer from the attacks of unclean spirits, genii, &c., but these prayers will oblige such spirits to quit the afflicted immediately on their being placed on the person.  The children are armed from their birth with talismans; and if any one should have the temerity to laugh at the practice, he would be judged by these superstitious people as worse than a heathen.

[1] Kanhaiya, a name of the demigod Krishna, whom Kansa, the wicked King
    of Mathura, tried to destroy.  For the miracle-play of the
    destruction of Kansa by Krishna and his brother Balarama, see Prof. 
    W. Ridgeway, The Origin of Tragedy, 140, 157, 190.  The author seems
    to refer to the Ramlila festival.

[2] For cases of witches sucking out the vitals of their victims, see
    W. Crooke, Popular Religion and Folklore of N. India, ii. 268 ff.

[3] Mazdurni, a day labourer.

[4] On the efficacy of shaving or plucking out hair from a witch in order
    to make her incapable of bewitching people, see W. Crooke, Popular
    Religion and Folklore of N. India
[2], ii. 250 f.

[5] Mantra.

[6] Ta’wiz, see p. 214.

LETTER XXVII

Memoir of the life of Meer Hadjee Shah.—­His descent.—­Anecdote of a youthful exploit.—­His predilection for the army.—­Leaves his home to join the army of a neighbouring Rajah.—­Adventures on the way.—­Is favourably received and fostered by the Rajah.—­His first pilgrimage to Mecca.—­Occurrences during his stay in Arabia.—­Description of a tiger-hunt.—­Detail of events during his subsequent pilgrimages.—­The plague.—­Seizure by pirates.—­Sketch of the life of Fatima, an Arabian lady.—­Relieved from slavery by Meer Hadjee Shah.—­He marries her.—­Observations on the piety of his life.—­Concluding remarks...Page 400

Follow Us on Facebook