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.

e.  The Sikhs do not now detest us.  They willingly furnish soldiers and military police of the best class, equal to the Gorkhas, and fit to fight in line with English soldiers.  The Panjab chieftains have been among the foremost in offers of loyal assistance to the Government of India in times of danger, and in organizing the Imperial Service troops.  The Sikh states are now sufficiently well governed.

CHAPTER 66

Collegiate Endowment of Muhammadan Tombs and Mosques.

On the 20th[1] we came to Badarpur, twelve miles over a plain, with the range of hills on our left approaching nearer and nearer the road, and separating us from the old city of Delhi.  We passed through Faridpur, once a large town, and called after its founder, Shaikh Farid, whose mosque is still in good order, though there is no person to read or hear prayers in it.[2] We passed also two fine bridges, one of three, and one of four arches, both over what were once streams, but are now dry beds of sand.[3] The whole road shows signs of having been once thickly peopled, and highly adorned with useful and ornamental works when Delhi was in its glory.

Every handsome mausoleum among Muhammadans was provided with its mosque, and endowed by the founder with the means of maintaining men of learning to read their Koran over the grave of the deceased and in his chapel; and, as long as the endowment lasted, the tomb continued to be at the same time a college.  They read the Koran morning and evening over the grave, and prayers in the chapel at the stated periods; and the rest of their time is commonly devoted to the instruction of the youths of their neighbourhood, either gratis or for a small consideration.  Apartments in the tomb were usually set aside for the purpose, and these tombs did ten times more for education in Hindustan than all the colleges formed especially for the purpose.[4] We might suppose that rulers who formed and endowed such works all over the land must have had more of the respect and the affections of the great mass of the people than we, who, as my friend upon the Jumna has it, ’build nothing but private dwelling-houses, factories, courts of justice, and jails’, can ever have; but this conclusion would not be altogether just.[5] Though every mosque and mausoleum was a seat of learning, that learning, instead of being a source of attraction and conciliation between the Muhammadans and Hindoos, was, on the contrary, a source of perpetual repulsion and enmity between them—­it tended to keep alive in the breasts of the Musalmans a strong feeling of religions indignation against the worshippers of idols; and of dread and hatred in those of the Hindoos.

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