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.

21.  Since the annexation of the Panjab in 1849, the Sikhs have justly earned so much praise as loyal and gallant soldiers, the flower of the Indian army, that their earlier less honourable reputation has been effaced, Captain Francklin, writing in 1803, and apparently expressing the opinion of George Thomas, declares that ’the Seiks are false, sanguinary, and faithless; they are addicted to plunder and the acquirement of wealth by any means, however nefarious’. (Military Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas, London reprint, p. 112.) The Sikh states of the Panjab are now sufficiently well governed.

22.  I know of no authority for the name Charat (Churut), which seems to be a blunder for Satrughna.  The sons of Dasaratha were Rama, by the chief queen; Bharat, by a second; and Lachhman (Lakshmana), and Satrughna by a third consort.

23.  The species referred to is the long-tailed monkey called ‘Hanuman’, and ‘langur’ in Hindi, the Presbytis entellus of Jerdon (=_P. anchises_, Elliot; = Semnopithecus, Cuvier).

24.  The author seems to have forgotten that he has already told this story, ante, this chapter following [8] in the text.

25.  It is in the Mathura district.  The town of Mathura (Muttra) became the head-quarters of a separate District in 1832.  The official at Govardhan in 1836 must, therefore, have been subordinate to Mathura, not to Agra.

CHAPTER 57

Veracity.

The people of Britain are described by Diodorus Siculus (Book V, chap. 2) as in a very simple and rude state, subsisting almost entirely on the produce of the land, but as being ’a people of much integrity and sincerity, far from the craft and knavery of men among us, contented with plain and homely fare, and strangers to the luxuries and excesses of the rich’.  In India we find strict veracity most prevalent among the wildest and half-savage tribes of the hills and jungles in Central India, or the chain of the Himalaya mountains; and among those where we find it prevail most, we find cattle-stealing most common; the men of one tribe not deeming it to be any disgrace to lift, or steal, the cattle of another.  I have known the man among the Gonds of the woods of Central India, whom nothing could induce to tell a lie, join a party of robbers to lift a herd of cattle from the neighbouring plains for nothing more than as much spirits as he could enjoy at one bout.  I asked a native gentleman of the plains, in the valley of the Nerbudda, one day, what made the people of the woods to the north and south more disposed to speak the truth than those more civilized of the valley itself.  ’They have not yet learned the value of a lie,’ said he, with the greatest simplicity and sincerity, for he was a very honest and plain-spoken man.

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