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"Its streets, well arranged, were refreshed with ceaseless streams of water-its walls, variously ornamented, resembled the checkered surface of a chess-board. It was filled with merchants, dramatists, elephants, horses, and chariots. The cloud of fragrantincense darkened the sun at noonday; but the glowing radiance of the resplendent diamonds and jewels that adorned the persons of the ladies relieved the gloom! The city was decorated with precious stones, filled with riches, furnished with abundance of provisions, adorned with magnificent temples, whose towers, like the gods, dwelt in the heavens, such was their height-palaces whose lofty summits were in perpetual conflict with the soft clouds-baths and gardens. It was inhabited by the twinborn, the regenerate, profoundly instructed in the Vedas, adorned with every good quality, full of sincerity, zeal, of compassion, and like the venerated sages."
In another passage the father of Rama is described as inviting other princes to assist at an Asswamedhathe solemn sacrifice of a horse, peculiar to high occasions. The personages enumerated are the Rajahs of Kasi (Benares), Magadha (Behar), Sindu,Surashtra (Surat), Unga, which is conjectured to be Ava, and Savira, supposed to be a tract on the Persian frontier, with the princes of the south (Deccan)-a tolerably extensive acquaintance, we submit, and amply sufficient to establish the family pedigree in the most august court of Germany. The venerable metropolis was situated on the left bank of the Gogra, a river as wide as the Ganges at Chunar, where its extensive ruins are still to be seen, though vast quantities were taken by the Mohammedans to build the adjacent town of Fyzabad. The ruins still bear the name of Ramghur, and the stone cradle is shown in which Rama was born-like the bricks that Jack Cade's father built into the chimney -to attest his exalted origin. The spot is also shown from which the hero took his flight into heaven, carrying with him all the population of the place! This is the only account vouchsafed us in Hindu story, of the decay of so celebrated a capital, and the Hindu mind desires nothing more.
*Land of the Veda.
It must be confessed that this sudden disappearance from the page of history of a community so advanced in wealth and civilisation, is would you have? It is surely not not entirely satisfactory. But what the fault of Hindu historians that we English Mlechas have no faith in Vishnu or his Paradise on Mount Sumeru. The latter being, according to their information, 85,000 miles in circumference, built of gold, with the principal edifices of jewels and precious stones, and its spacious gardens filled with flowers of surpassing beauty and fragrance, in the midst of which Vishnu and his wife Lukshmi appear shining like the sun-no better accommodation could be reasonably expected for a Hindu population. If Europeans choose to be sceptical, they are at liberty to imagine that the city and people of Rama fell a prey to intestine divisions, or to some of those devastating neighbour-wars, which, from the first appearance of Brahminism to the present hour, formed the special delight and never-wearying occupation of its amiable votaries.
A grand field for such operations was opened in the Great War which forms the theme of the Mahabharat, and the poem is to this day the most popular of Hindu writings. "Apart from the Bharat (demands the Bengal proverb), what narrative is there?" and the question is not misplaced, for, like a "good old Hindu gentleman," Sanscrit literature utterly ignores history, geography, statistics, and physical science generally. It is deep in metaphysics, fathomless in philosophy, and unapproachable in theology; but it prefers theories which have no connection with facts or legitimate induction. Its department is the imagination, and there its abundance equals its antiquity. The Vedas with their appendages fill eleven folio volumes; the Puranas, which are only a selection from their class, extend to more than two millions of lines. And how long, gentle reader, do you suppose may the epics be? The Iliad contains about 24,000 lines; the Æneid half as many; but the Ramayana — to show that high numbers are not
By Rev. DR PERCIVAL,
always fictitious in India-extends to 100,000; and the Mahabharat spins the immortal verse to the tune of 400,000, and, after all, is only a fragment of the original poem as recited in the assembly of the gods!
or inferior divinity, being exiled to a sacred forest, sends his love to his wife by a cloud which he invokes for the purpose:
"I view her now! long weeping swells her eyes,
And those dear lips are dried by parting sighs;
Sad on her hand her pallid cheek declines, And half unseen through veiling tresses shines,
As when a darkling night the moon enshrouds,
A few faint rays break straggling through
Now at thy sight I mark fresh sorrows
And tells the tuneful Sarika her grief;
And fondly questions of its absent mate.
Our race's old commemorative strain ;
The religious hero of this prodigious poem is Krishna, another avatar or incarnation of Vishnu, or rather, it would seem, the only true incarnation of the divinity. Rama and all other avatars seem to rise no higher than a kind of influence or inspiration; Krishna alone is deemed to be the very person of the god in human nature. Krishna, however, is lugged into the story, as a divinity ought to be, rather than one of the natural actors. The human subject is the Great War between the hundred sons of blind old king Dritavashtra and the five Pandus. The eldest of these, Yudisthira, the Agamemnon of the poem, is renowned for refusing in his dying moments to enter Indra's Paradise, unless his dog might go with him; and for quitting the Swarga again the instant he was admitted, to go and share the fate of his lady-love and brothers in hell. The gods so applauded his spirit that they set aside the verdict of Yamun, and authorised the "king of men to take his friends back with him to Swarga. But makes a sad wild warbling of its The king and population of Oude being all this while in Sumeru, cannot be expected to figure in the Great War. In fact, there is little more to be traced of Ayodhya in the traditions of the ensuing ages, when Canouj appears to have been the capital city. Vicramaditya (B. C. 57) sheds a ray upon the darkness by repeopling the city of Rama, which he embellished with 360 temples, and still more by reviving its arts and literature. This famous king is called, with his eight literary friends, the Nine Gems of Hindustan-one of them, Kalidas, a diamond of the purest water, has even been designated the Hindu Shakespeare. The Swan of Avon, it is true, has nothing to fear from the comparison; still the court of Oude knew somewhat of the divine art when the Celts of Britain were as yet innocent alike of Latin and of broadcloth. Take the following, for instance, from the Cloud Messenger, a simple drama, wherein a Yaksha,
The truth and tenderness of the Hindu drama offer a pleasing contrast to the stilted, sensual stuff which came in with the comparatively idealess Mussulmans.
Still we hear no more of Oude as an independent royalty. The throne of Ramchunder has not yet been restored in a world which has doubtless never proved worthy of its revival. During the atrocities of the late Sepoy rebellion, some sanguine enthusiasts thought they recognised the signs of their demigod, and went about the streets shouting "Ramchunder is come, and claims his head." We do not remember to have read that the hero left that important portion of the human frame in Ayodhya when he took his numerous tail to Paradise if so, it was never found, and the revolt, like the immortal, has died without a head.
Taking a flying leap from Ramchunder down the steeps of time, we light
to peace and good order, the evils principally dreaded by the true sons of Ramchunder. Baber, however, found little difficulty in reducing the Mussulman "king of the east," and Oude became a Soubah of the Mogul empire. The Ayeen Akbarry describes the capital as still one of the largest cities of Hindustan, and one of the most sacred places of antiquity. In ancient times, it is added, it measured about 200 miles in length.*
upon Ayodhya again in the doomsday of establishing an opposition throne book of Akbar. It is a prodigious de--not indeed a native, but still a rival scent! from fifteen centuries before, to government-and consequently a foe the same figure after, the Christian era! from Moses to Queen Elizabeth! from Hindoo beatitude to the revenue survey of the Mogul conqueror! Yet, looking back through all these thirty centuries, the history of Oude is almost a blank. After the conquest of Canouj by the Affghans, at the close of the twelfth century, Oude submitted to the Sultan of Ghiznee, and so became an integral portion of the empire of Delhi. We may be quite sure that all along the Brahmins schemed, and the Kshatryas fought, and everybody -lovers included-cheated, robbed, and killed in the true spirit of Hindu civil and religious institutions. But the wasps had it all to themselves, and we hear nothing of them beyond their sanctified and highlyfavoured nests. It was very likely in Oude that the battle was fought which one of the Puranas records, between the two upper castes of the twice-born children of Brahma, in which the Brahmins so utterly routed the Kshatryas as to exterminate the caste. Accordingly, all the so-called Kshatryas of the present day are declared by the Brahmins impure, and denied the use of the Veda.
The Rajpoots may console themselves under the privation, by the knowledge that there is probably not a Brahmin in India who ever did read the Veda, nor, in fact, a complete Veda to read, till Mr Dax Muller shall have finished the edition he is now preparing, under the patronage of the East India Company. The priests and population of the Djambhu-dwip will then be furnished on the banks of the Ganges and Gogra with their own scriptures from the pen of a Mlecha on the banks of the Isis! In Europe not a few good Christians would have esteemed it no great loss to humanity, if the said battle of the Brahmins and Kshatryas had ended like the duel between the two cats of Kilkenny.
In the decline of the Patan empire Oude was happy in the opportunity
The province continued under the Great Mogul-its priestly and martial spirits relieving themselves occasionally, like modern Italians, with an episodical insurrection or assassination-till that majestic potentate went the common way of Oriental despots, becoming first the puppet, then the prisoner, eventually the victim, of his feudatories and subjects. Oude was then in the charge of Sujah-udDowlah, the Vizier of the empire, who signalised his independence by invading Bengal, in concert with Cossim Ali the deposed Nabob, and Shah Allum the titular Emperor, whose father had perished by assassination in Delhi. The triple alliance was utterly routed by the British at Buxar (1764), and quickly dissolved after Asiatic fashion. The Emperor hastened to place himself on_the winning side, proposing that the English should exterminate the Vizier, and give the Oude provinces to himself. The victors declining this modest request, his imperial majesty liberally offered Oude to the Company, on the simple condition of our killing the bear, and paying him for wearing the skin. Eventually the Vizier sued for peace; and a treaty was concluded between the three "powers," by which the Vizier restored to the Emperor the provinces of Allahabad and Corah, and was confirmed in the government of the remainder. The restless Padishah soon after went over to the Mahrattas, who promised to put him in possession of Delhi, upon
The Hindus believe that Lucknow, which is forty miles distant, once formed a suburb of Ayodhya !!
VOL. LXXXIII.-NO. DXI.
which the English restored the forfeited provinces to the Vizier, and he was thenceforth regarded as their chief native ally.
The first result of this alliance was to put the Vizier in possession of Rohilcund-a transaction on which a mine of good eloquence was exhausted in the parliaments of Leadenhall and Westminster. The Rohilla Sirdars were described as brave, generous, and free-the Swiss of Asia-the terror and detestation of tyrants. The ravages of the war (in which our troops were lent to the Vizier) were painted in the liveliest colours of Burke's fervid oratory; but the whole was of the Sanscrit order-richer in imagination than in fact. These "brave" Rohillas were an Affghan banditti who, in the decay of the empire, had quartered themselves on the feeble Hindus between Delhi and Oude. Their sway was neither better nor worse than that of other Mohammedan caterans. The Hindu population, in being transferred to the Vizier, received a single tyrant in place of many petty ones, and neither fost nor gained by the exchange, As for the atrocities-torture, and massacres in cold blood are the ordinary incidents of Asiatic warfare, Hindu and Mohammedan. aborigines suffered them from the Brahmins, and the Brahmins from the Mohammedans, and each from their co-religionists, as often as victory afforded the opportunity. The claims of the Vizier were certainly better founded in right than those of the Sirdars; and no one can dispute the policy of strengthening the frontier of the only native ally on whom the English were to depend in the approaching struggle with the Mah
The Nawaub Vizier's was far enough, however, from being a model government. It aimed no higher than the "traditional policy" of the empire. "The good old rule," which had guided the Mussulman power from its first entry into India, continued the "simple plan" of the
Court of Oude; everybody preyed on his weaker neighbour, and everybody suffered all the wrongs which a stronger than himself could inflict.
Sujah was succeeded by Asoph, on whose death an alleged son was placed on the musnud, whom Sir John Shore dethroned again, as spurious, after a reign of some months, to elevate the next heir, Saadut Ali, brother of our old friend Sujah.* This measure of interference, right enough in itself, obviously increased the responsibility of the British in a government so directly their own creature. By-and-by the pretender took his revenge by assassinating the English Resident, and then there was more interference. After this it was found that when the combined forces were required on the frontier for the preservation of the kingdom, the British troops were detained in the capital to protect the Nawaub from his own mutinous battalions.
Lord Wellesley was a man of some nerve; but his nerves were sorely tried when he found what a pretty pie the British finger was thrust into. He determined to extinguish the military power of Oude altogether, and to place the civil administration under the superintendence and control of the British Resident.
This was the object of the famous treaty of 1801, by the provisions of which the Nawaub Vizier's army of brigands was replaced by British troops, who undertook the defence of his government against all external and internal foes. At the same time, as it was visionary to expect payment of a money-tribute for the support of the troops, a transfer of territory equal to the charge was insisted upon and obtained. By this arrangement the Southern Doab, with the districts of Allahabad and some others, once more changed hands, and passed to the British. In agreeing to this surrender, the Nawaub Vizier demanded the uncontrolled government of his remaining territories, unchecked by the ad
A former Saadut Ali had fixed the seat of his provincial government at Fyzabad, built out of the ruins of Ayodhya. It was now transferred to Lucknow, the city of Lahshwana Ramchunder's brother.
vice or interference of the British. But, as his Excellency was henceforth to rely upon British troops to enforce his orders, it was plainly impossible to place them unreservedly at his disposal. Lord Wellesley felt that something was due to the subject as well as to the Prince, and that, in protecting the one, he was bound to see justice done to the other.* Accordingly, he not only stipulated, in the sixth article of the treaty, that the Vizier, "advising with, and acting in conformity to the counsel of, the officers of the Honourable Company, should establish, in his reserved dominions, such a system of administration (to be carried into effect by his own officers) as should be conducive to the prosperity of his subjects, and be calculated to secure the lives and property of the inhabitants;" but in reporting the treaty to the Home authorities, Lord Wellesley declared his determination to exercise the right of interference thus reserved, "to such an extent as shall afford every practical degree of security for the lives and properties of the Vizier's remaining subjects, and preclude any disturbance of the peace and good order of our dominions from the vicinity of his Excellency's administration."
Similar is the theory of all our arrangements with the subsidiary states of India. It has but one defect-it is impossible to reduce it to practice. An Asiatic prince-especially a Mohammedan ruling a Hindu population, as in Oude-depends on his army for the collection of the revenue and all the ordinary purposes of government. The practice is to farm all the revenues to large
contractors, who then collect them at their own risk and for their own profit. These speculators not only demand the assistance of the troops, but levy retainers of their own to enforce their claims on defaulting tax-payers. Oude is divided into large revenue districts. Many of the Zemindars occupy forts or fortified residences, having also their large body of armed retainers. In short, every man carries arms; even the ryot walks to the field with sword and shield at his back; and every man considers a demand for money, whether in the shape of taxes or debt, as the most legitimate causa belli. In such a state the revenue can only be collected at the point of the bayonet. A strong government is often defied; a weak one universally so. But before British troops could be despatched to burn and slay, in order to recover a treasury balance, it was necessary to satisfy British justice that the money was really owing, and could not be got in by milder means. In the end it was found impossible to employ our army for revenue purposes at all, and the Oude rulers were tacitly permitted to disregard the limit of the treaty, and augment their troops till they reached as many as 70,000 men. Thus all the evils of the brigand army returned upon the country, and the military part of Lord Wellesley's reforms proved a failure.
It fared no better with the scheme of civil administration. The native sovereign was bound to establish a good system of government, but the treaty contained no penalty in case of failure. He was to advise with, and act in conformity to the advice
* On the 22d January 1801, Lord Wellesley wrote to the Resident in these terms:-"Had the territories of Oude been subject to the frequent or occasional devastations of an enemy-had they been visited by unfavourable seasons, or by other calamities which impair the public prosperity, the rapid decline of the Vizier's revenues might be imputed to other causes than a defective administration. But no such calamitous visitations have afflicted the province of Oude, while in consequence of the protection which it derives from the presence of the British forces, it has been maintained, together with all the Company's possessions on this side of India, in the uninterrupted enjoyment of peace. A defective administration of the Government is therefore the only cause which can have produced so marked a difference between the state of his Excellency's dominions, and that of the contiguous territories of the Company. While the territories of the Company have been advancing progressively during the last ten years in prosperity, population, and opulence, the dominions of the Vizier, though enjoying equal advantages of tranquillity and security, have rapidly and progressively declined."