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JOURNEY TO AHMOOD.
of drawing, and had acquired a skill and judgment in that amusement beyond any native I ever met with ; he presented me, on a further acquaintance, with fifty portraits of persons well known at Cambay and the adjacent country, high and low, of different tribes and religions, in their various costume and distinct character of countenance, together with drawings taken from the life of the most celebrated yogees, senassees, and other religious pilgrims, who frequented the Hindoo temples at Cambay.
· On leaving Cambay we crossed the Myhi, and returned to Jamboseer by a different route, but not sufficiently interesting to discriminate. I remained a few days with one of my friends conversing with the Hindoos and principal people in Jamboseer, whose manners and customs varied but little from those in in the Dhuboy districts. From thence I performed a solitary journey to Ahmood, Baroche, and my own purgunnas ; during which, deprived of my interesting companion, I had leisure to reflect on all we had lately seen, and to form an estimate of the happiness enjoyed by the inhabitants of Guzerat under the native princcs, compared with the blessings of security and protection extended to those in the Eng'lish districts, or rather the empire of British India ; no longer under the government of only a commercial company, but subjects of a sovereign who sways his sceptre over those distant realms, where at least sixty millions of civilized, industrious, and peaceable people, look up to British energy and public virtue for a preservation of tranquillity and happiness. Much bas been done both at home and abroad to effect this glorious purpose ; much yet remains for improvement
in the civil and religious establishment of that vast empire. We must, by our national character for justice, clemency, and generosity, gradually secure the gratitude and affection of the natives : and then great will be the ascendancy of British administration, patriotic virtue, arts, and science, over Asiatic despotism, venality, and corruption.
Let British India boast of a mild, free, uniform, and stable government; let its delegated 'rulers shew by their religious, moral, and political conduct, that they are themselves actuated by the religion, morality, and policy which they wish to enforce—a religion of love and mercy, of inward purity and heartfelt delight; a religion, which dwells in the heart, and influences the conduct. And under the blessing of Him by whom kings reign and princes decree justice, posterity will behold a wonderful change, and be convinced that the Hindoos are not so rivetted to the prejudices of caste and superstitious ceremonies, as to refuse the proffered blessings of liberty, protection, and peace. Let a wise Administration remove ignorance and vice, and individual example exhibit the perfection of British virtue and Christian piety, and the beneficial effects will be ere long proved.
If the traveller in various countries makes a comparative statement of human happiness, he will find, with few exceptions, that the Great Author of Nature has distribnted it more equally than he first imagined, from imperial Akber, fakeer with his staff and lark; from the splendid rajah and proud Brahmin, to the wretched Pooleah and outcast Chandalah! Although he cherishes a hope that ere long, under British jurisdiction, the con
dition of the latter will be ameliorated, he also enjoys some degree of satisfaction in observing, that man, in a state of ignorance, is generally reconciled to his situation, and that consequently there is less individual happiness or misery than is at first apparent.
THE GRACIAS AND BHEELS.
Irruptions of the Gracias and Bheels-Account of the Bhauts
Astrologers and Soothsayers in Hindostan-Astrology and Geomancy taught in the Hindoo Seminaries - Wise Women of the East - Anecdote of Zeida-Stanzas from the Yusef Zelakha of Jami-Virtues of Ointments and Love-potions.
The emigrations from the Brodera purgunna, occasioned by Futty Sihng's oppressive government, added so much to the prosperity of the Dhuboy districts, that at the commencement of the fair season, after the most seasonable rains in 1782, I found their population, and consequently the cultivation and revenue, much increased. They would have been still more flourishing, had not the cruel depredations of the Bheels and Gracias prevented the distant villages from sharing the tranquillity enjoyed by those situated nearer the protection of the capital. I have occasionally mentioned both these banditti; the former were wild mountaineers, under no regular government, and almost in a savage state ; the latter, in considerable numbers, were arranged according to their religion and caste, under a variety of petty sovereigns, Hindoos and Mahomedans, who were dignified by the titles of rajah, ranah, and other royal appellations ; and had their viziers, officers of state, and usual appointments in an oriental durbar, blended with a
THE GRACIAS AND BHEELS.
meanness and rapacity difficult to conceive. In this instance I allude to the rajahs and ranahs of Mandwa, Vazeria, and Veloria, contiguous to the Dhuboy purgunnas. There were Gracia chieftains at Ahmood and other places in Guzerat of a more respectable character.
These Gracias style themselves the aborigines of the country; alleging that many ages ago the ancestors of the modern Hindoos possessed themselves of their property, and drove them to the eastern bills ; under this plea, they rush down, armed, in large bodies of horse and foot, upon the defenceless villages, and make heavy demands upon the inhabitants ; which, if not complied with, subjects them to the most atrocious cruelty and depredation. The marauders leave a written menace, or deliver a threat to the patell of the village, and probably on the following night come down with considerable force to burn the houses, drive off the cattle, and destroy the harvest. They sometimes murder men, women, and children, without the least provocation.
During the Hindoo and Mogul governments at Dhuboy, detachments of armed cavalry patrolled the country, and protected the inhabitants ; if the cruel Bheels and merciless Gracias did not retire on their approach, they cut them down, or destroyed them as so many wild beasts. On my appointment to Dhuboy, willing to give the Gracias a better opinion of British administration, and to impress their minds with a sense of our justice and moderation, I wrote letters to the different chieftains, desiring them to send proper persons to state their claims, in the cutcheree (or revenue-court) at Dhuboy; assuring them, that at