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.

18.  These notions are still prevalent.

19.  December, 1835, Christmas Day.

20.  ‘Overthrower of horses’; the same epithet is applied to the Utangan river, south of the Agra district, owing to the difficulty with which it is crossed when in flood (N.W.P.  Gazetteer, 1st ed., vol. vii, p. 423).

21.  Sindhia’s territories, measuring 25,041 square miles, are in parts intermixed with those of other princes, and so extend over a wide space.  Gwalior and its government have been discussed already in Chapter 36.

CHAPTER 50

Dholpur, Capital of the Jat Chiefs of Gohad—­Consequence of Obstacles to the Prosecution of Robbers.

On the morning of the 26th,[1] we sent on one tent, with the intention of following it in the afternoon; but about three o’clock a thunder-storm came on so heavily that I was afraid that which we occupied would come down upon us; and, putting my wife and child in a palankeen, I took them to the dwelling of an old Bairagi, about two hundred yards from us.  He received us very kindly, and paid us many compliments about the honour we had conferred upon him.  He was a kind and, I think, a good old man, and had six disciples who seemed to reverence him very much.  A large stone image of Hanuman, the monkey-god, painted red, and a good store of buffaloes, very comfortably sheltered from the pitiless storm, were in an inner court.  The peacocks in dozens sought shelter under the walls and in the tree that stood in the courtyard; and I believe that they would have come into the old man’s apartment had they not seen our white faces there.  I had a great deal of talk with him, but did not take any notes of it.  These old Bairagis, who spend the early and middle parts of life as disciples in pilgrimages to the celebrated temples of their god Vishnu in all parts of India, and the latter part of it as high priests or apostles in listening to the reports of the numerous disciples employed in similar wanderings are, perhaps, the most intelligent men in the country.  They are from all the castes and classes of society.  The lowest Hindoo may become a Bairagi, and the very highest are often tempted to become so; the service of the god to which they devote themselves levelling all distinctions.  Few of them can write or read, but they are shrewd observers of men and things, and often exceedingly agreeable and instructive companions to those who understand them, and can make them enter into unreserved conversation.  Our tent stood out the storm pretty well, but we were obliged to defer our march till the next day.  On the afternoon of the 27th we went on twelve miles, over a plain of deep alluvion, through which two rivers have cut their way to the Chambal; and, as usual, the ravines along their banks are deep, long, and dreary.

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