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.

11.  This is the Brahman and Baniya theory.  A high-spirited Rajput of Rajputana, full of pride in his long ancestry, and yet fond of wild boar’s flesh, would indeed be wroth if denounced as a low-caste man.  It is, however, unfortunately, quite true that all races which become entangled in the meshes of Hinduism tend to gradually surrender their freedom, and to become proud of submission to the senseless formalities and restrictions which the Brahman loves.

12.  Akbar II.  He was titular emperor from A.D. 1806 to 1837, and was succeeded by Bahadur Shah II, the last of his line.  The portrait of Akbar II is the frontispiece to volume i of the original edition of this work, and a miniature portrait of him is given in the frontispiece of volume ii.

13.  One of these tombs, namely, that of Bibi Zarina, dated A.H. 942 = A.D. 1535-6, is described by Cunningham (A.S.R., xx, p. 113, pl. xxxvii), who notes that according to an obviously false local popular story, the lady was a daughter of Shah Jahan, who lived a century later.  This story seems to have misled the author.  No inscription of the reign of Shah Jahan at Dholpur is recorded.

14.  The three sons were Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb, and Murad Baksh.

CHAPTER 51

Influence of Electricity on Vegetation—­Agra and its Buildings.

On the 30th and 31st,[1] we went twenty-four miles over a dry plain, with a sandy soil covered with excellent crops where irrigated, and a very poor one where not.  We met several long strings of camels carrying grain from Agra to Gwalior.  A single man takes charge of twenty or thirty, holding the bridle of the first, and walking on before its nose.  The bridles of all the rest are tied one after the other to the saddles of those immediately preceding them, and all move along after the leader in single file.  Water must tend to attract and to impart to vegetables a good deal of electricity and other vivifying powers that would otherwise he dormant in the earth at a distance.  The mere circumstance of moistening the earth from within reach of the roots would not be sufficient to account for the vast difference between the crops of fields that are irrigated, and those that are not.  One day, in the middle of the season of the rains, I asked my gardener, while walking with him over my grounds, how it was that some of the fine clusters of bamboos had not yet begun to throw out their shoots.  ’We have not yet had a thunderstorm, sir,’ replied the gardener.  ’What in the name of God has the thunderstorm to do with the shooting of the bamboos?’ asked I in amazement.  ‘I don’t know, sir,’ said he, ’but certain it is that no bamboos begin to throw out their shoots well till we get a good deal of thunder and lightning.’  The thunder and lightning came, and the bamboo shoots soon followed in abundance.  It might have been a mere coincidence; or the tall bamboo may bring down from the passing clouds, and convey to the roots, the electric fluid they require for nourishment, or for conductors of nourishment.[2]

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