The Koran was the Book of books, spoken by God to the angel Gabriel in parts as occasion required, and repeated by him to Muhammad; who, unable to write himself, dictated them to any one who happened to be present when he received the divine communications; it contained all that it was worth man’s while to study or know—it was from the Deity, but at the same time coeternal with Him—it was His divine eternal spirit, inseparable from Him from the beginning, and therefore, like Him, uncreated. This book, to read which was of itself declared to be the highest of all species of worship, taught war against the worshippers of idols to be of all merits the greatest in the eye of God; and no man could well rise from the perusal without the wish to serve God by some act of outrage against them. These buildings were, therefore, looked upon by the Hindoos, who composed the great mass of the people, as a kind of religions volcanoes, always ready to explode and pour out their lava of intolerance and outrage upon the innocent people of the surrounding country.
If a Hindoo fancied himself injured or insulted by a Muhammadan he was apt to revenge himself upon the Muhammadans generally, and insult their religion by throwing swine’s flesh, or swine’s blood, into one of their tombs or churches; and the latter either flew to arms at once to revenge their God, or retaliated by throwing the flesh or the blood of the cow into the first Hindoo temple at hand, which made the Hindoos fly to arms. The guilty and the wicked commonly escaped, while numbers of the weak, the innocent and the unoffending were slaughtered. The magnificent buildings, therefore, instead of being at the time bonds of union, were commonly sources of the greatest discord among the whole community, and of the most painful humiliation to the Hindoo population. During the bigoted reign of Aurangzeb and his successors a Hindoo’s presence was hardly tolerated within sight of these tombs or churches; and had he been discovered entering one of them, he would probably have been hunted down like a mad dog. The recollection of such outrages, and the humiliation to which they gave rise, associated as they always are in the minds of the Hindoos with the sight of these buildings, are perhaps the greatest source of our strength in India; because they at the same time feel that it is to us alone they owe the protection which they now enjoy from similar injuries. Many of my countrymen, full of virtuous indignation at the outrages which often occur during the processions of the Muharram, particularly when these happen to take place at the same time with some religious procession of the Hindoos, are very anxious that our Government should interpose its authority to put down both. But these processions and occasional outrages are really sources of great strength to us; they show at once the necessity for the interposition of an impartial tribunal, and a disposition on the part of the rulers to interpose impartially. The