Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.
occupation of an old fortress of this kind, that has remained long unoccupied, they always make a solemn religions ceremony of it; and, having fed the priests, the troops, and a crowd of followers, all rush in at once with beat of drums, and as much noise as they can make.  By this rush, and the fires that follow, the bad air is, perhaps, driven off, and never suffered to collect again while the fortress remains fully occupied.  Whatever may be the cause, the fact is certain that these fortresses become deadly places of abode for small detachments of troops, or small parties of any kind.  They all get ill, and few recover from the diseases they contract in them.

From the year 1817, when we first took possession of the Sagar and Nerbudda Territories, almost all the detachments of troops we required to keep at a distance from the headquarters of their regiments were posted in these old deserted fortifications.  Our collections of revenue were deposited in them; and, in some cases, they were converted into jails for the accommodation of our prisoners.  Of the soldiers so lodged, I do not believe that one in four ever came out well; and, of those who came out ill, I do not believe that one in four survived five years.  They were all abandoned one after the other; but it is painful to think how many hundreds, I may say thousands, of our brave soldiers were sacrificed before this resolution was taken.  I have known the whole of the survivors of strong detachments that went in, in robust health, three months before, brought away mere skeletons, and in a hopeless and dying state.  All were sent to their homes on medical certificate, but they almost all died there, or in the course of their journey.

Notes: 

1.  December, 1835.  The name of the village is spelled Behrole by the author.

2.  The Dasan river rises in the Bhopal State, flows through the Sagar district of the Central Provinces, and along the southern boundary of the Lalitpur subdivision of the Jhansi District, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.  It also forms the boundary between the Jhansi and Hamirpur Districts, and falls into the Betwa after a course of about 220 miles.  The name is often, but erroneously, written Dhasan.  It is the Sanskrit Dasarna.

3.  This emblem is a lotus, not a rose flower.  The latter is never used in Hindoo symbolism.  The lotus is a solar emblem, and intimately associated with the worship of Vishnu.

4.  It rather indicates that the husband was on horseback when killed.  The sculptures on sati pillars often commemorate the mode of death of the husband.  Sometimes these pillars are inscribed.  They usually face the east.  An open hand is often carved in the upper compartment as well as the sun and moon.  A drawing of such a pillar will be found in J.A.S.B., vol. xlvi.  Part I, 1877, pl. xiv. A.S.R., vol. iii, p. 10; vol. vii, p. 137; vol. x, p. 75; and vol. xxi, p. 101, may be consulted.

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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