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nun Jattra; on which occasion, Juggernauth deputes several idols to partake of a bath of sandal-wood water, prepared on purpose, in a little temple on a neighbouring tank. The ceremony closes by a procession of these petty idols on rafts, which are floated three times round the tank, or large reservoir of water. The Rajah of Khoordah, who is the hereditary high priest, is expected to attend, and perform certain ceremonies; but the present Rajah is a very timid man, and at the last festival, in May 1822, he could not be prevailed upon to risk himself on the water. The priests and attendants of the idol, during these great occasions, always have small sticks or canes in their hands, which they use with very little ceremony. On the last celebration of the Chundnun Jattra, the pilgrims thought that the blows were rather too hard, and too frequent to be borne patiently; they suddenly wrested the canes out of the hands of the priests, and retaliated pretty smartly, till the brahmins found it prudent to retire, and the festival terminated without any further “fracas.” This constant use of the stick is a remarkable feature during all the great festivals, and, joined to the great rapacity of the priests, may easily account for the strong dislike the pilgrims manifest towards all the attendants on the idol. Instead of mentioning the priests with respect, they commonly express the greatest contempt, and accuse them openly of extortion and every kind of vice. The pilgrims who attend the festival of Chundnun Jattra, and wish to remain in order to see the Ruth Jattra, are termed Loll Jattrees: and they pay a much higher tax: viz. ten rupees to government, and three rupees to the priest who brought them, if they come from the northward; and six rupees if they come from the southward, and three rupees for the priest. This regulation occasions the receipts to be usually greater at this festival than at any other. Forty-three days after its commencement, the Chaund Jattra (ordinarily called the Asnan) is celebrated. The idol is brought outside the tower, and placed on an elevated platform within the boundary wall, (but visible from the outside,) and is bathed. A great many pilgrims attend this ceremony, and those who wish to remain a fortnight, and see the Ruth
Jattra, are termed Neem Lolls. If they come from the northward, they are obliged to pay government five rupees; or if from the southward, three rupees, and one rupee eight annas to the pundah who brought them: two rupees six annas is the tax for five days. In 1822, a rich lady made an agreement with the British Collector, and on her paying a fixed sum, all the pilgrims who arrived during one day were admitted without paying. The Chaund Jattra only lasts a day, after which the idol of Juggernauth is not visible for nearly a fortnight. He is reported sick; but it is understood, that during this time he undergoes a thorough repair, and is fresh painted, &c. When two new moons occur in Assaur, which is said to happen about once in seventeen years, a new idol is always made. A neem tree is sought for in the forests, on which no crow or carrion bird was perched: it is known to the initiated by certain signs. This is prepared into a proper form by common carpenters, and is then entrusted to certain priests, who are protected from all intrusion: the process is a great mystery. One man is selected to take out of the old idol a small box, containing the spirit, which is conveyed inside the new : the man who does this, is always removed from this world before the end of the year. Fifteen days after the Chaund Jattra, or on the new moon of the month of Assaur, the grand festival of the Ruth Jattra is celebrated; the usual tax is two rupees for government, and six annas for the permium to the pundahs. Three ruths or cars of wood are prepaired for the occasion:—the first has sixteen wheels, six feet in diameter; the platform to receive the idol of Juggernauth is twenty-three feet square, and the whole car is thirty-eight feet high from the ground. The wood work is ornamented with images,” and painted; the car has a lofty dome, covered with English woollens, of the most gaudy colours; a large wooden image is placed on one side as a charioteer or driver of the car; and several wooden horses are suspended in front of the car, with their legs in the air. Six strong cables are fastened to the ruth, by which it is dragged on its journey. The other two ruths are like this, except being a little smaller, one having only fourteen wheels, and the other twelve. On the 19th June 1822, the temple was opened for the worship of Juggernauth, for the first time after his retirement. The concourse of pilgrims is always very great, and the British authorities had taken every precaution to guard against accidents; but as only Hindoos are admitted within the temple, it was necessary to trust to the priests, to prevent the ingress of too many pilgrims at once. Unfortunately, they neglected this precaution. Men, women, and children, all rushed in the moment the gates were thrown open. When they reached the square building next to the grand tower, they had to descend three steps, which were slippery from some holy food having been spilt; eighteen women were thrown down at the foot of the steps, and trampled to death by the crowd in the rear, before any assistance could be rendered. At last, with difficulty, the gates were again closed, and the bodies were examined, but it was too late. A singular difficulty occurred: the dead bodies of strangers are only touched by men of very low caste; and people of this description are not admitted into the temple. If a corpse were carried through one of the gates, it would be a very bad omen for whoever might pass through afterwards. To obviate all these difficulties, whilst the temple was emptied of pilgrims, the dead bodies were removed with hooks and poles, and thrown over the boundary wall like so many dogs. The relations of the poor creatures were observed lamenting their untimely fate, and must have felt shocked at the mode of removing them from the temple. On the 21st June 1822, the town of Pooree Juggernauth was filled with pilgrims; at noon every one crowded to the temple to see Juggernauth, his brother Bulbudra, and his sister Shubudra, carried to their ruths or cars, which were drawn up close to the gate. A loud shout from the multitude announced the opening of the gates, and the approach of Juggernauth. A number of priests were dragging slowly the ponderous Asiatic Journ.—No. 99.
* It deserves to be noted, that all obscene images, so commonly seen on similar cars, have been removed here, and similar offensive representations have been lately removed also from the outer walls of the temple.
and clumsy idol down the steps, stopping very frequently. The manifest helplessness of the block of wood weakened not the faith of the infatuated pilgrims, and the idol was lifted into his car, amidst the shouts of his votaries, who were eager to worship the image. The idols Bulbudra and Shubudra were likewise carried to their ruths in the same manner. At sunset, the Rajah of Khoorda, hereditary high priest, and master of the idol's wardrobe, made his way through a prodigious crowd in a palankeen, followed by a large state elephant. All the European ladies and gentlemen, mounted on elephants, had assembled close to the cars, to observe the ceremonies. The Rajah alighted near the ruth of the idol Bulbudra; he was dressed in very plain muslin, and barefooted, and a very stout priest led him by the hand, and others surrounded him with sticks in their hands, which they used very freely to keep off the crowd, and, as a further security, his palamkeen and clephant were kept close in the rear. The Rajah is a young man, who for the last two years is said to have lost all energy of mind. On this great occasion he exhibited every symptom of excessive trepidation and alarm. Nothing of a devotional spirit was observeable, but a great appre. hension of suffering from the crowd. On ascending the car by a sloping platform, he stopped at every third step, looked round, ordered his attendants to remove from the ruth many intruders, and was the very image of sulkiness and vexation. Several silver trumpets sounded, and the pilgrims shouted most loudly. When the Rajah reached the top of the platform, he worshipped the idol Bulbudra, and then with a broom swept the floor all round. He was afterwards presented by the priests with a silver vessel, containing essence of sandal-wood, with which he sprinkled the floor; and then presented some offerings to the idol, from whom he received, as a mark of honour, a garland of flowers, which the priests took from the images, and put round the Rajah's neck; and the ceremony concluded with the Rajah's prostrating himself flat on the floor before the idol, amidst the shouts of the pilgrims and the piercing notes of the shrill silver trumpets. He then descended slowly from the car, and proceeded barefooted to the car of Juggernauth, and finally to that of his Vol. XVII. 2 L
sister Shubudra, where the same ceremonies were performed, and to close his labours for the day, he went behind each car, and endeavoured to propel it forward, without which ceremony it could not afterwards be moved. On a signal being given, a most active scene commenced: several thousand men, each holding a small green branch in his hand, came running up to the ruths, clearing their way through the crowd from a considerable distance, in regular files; they soon removed the sloping platforms, each man having first touched the car with his branch. When all was ready, these men, aided by the pilgrims, laid hold of the cables, taking care to keep their faces towards the idol. The ruth of Bulbudra was the first moved;—the shrillness of the trumpets, the shouts of the pilgrims, and the creaking of the ponderous wheels, made a most frightful noise. The car was crowded by people, many had crept under, and clung to the large axletrees, and it was impossible to look on without shuddering with the apprehension that some shocking accidents would happen, whilst so many pilgrims were evidently in imminent danger. Each car was moved but a short distance on that day, and fortunately without the loss of any lives. On the following day the dreaded event was but too awfully realized. A crowd of pilgrims, too poor to pay for admission, had collected at the barrier, and the British collector, on finding that twenty-four had already died from exposure to rain and want of food, humanely opened the gate. These poor creatures rushed to worship the idols on the ruths, and shewed their zeal by pulling the ropes. It has been observed, that they are obliged, out of respect for the idol, to walk backward. Six pilgrims, stationed close to the car, were aiding in pulling a rope, which suddenly yielded, having become slacker than the others. These men fell to the ground, unheeded by the shouting mob; four of them were instantly crushed to atoms, the fifth had a leg dreadfully mangled, and the sixth fell between two wheels, and escaped unhurt. The practice which formerly prevailed of enticing pilgrims to sacrifice their lives, by voluntarily throwing themselves under the wheels, has happily ceased, and nothing of the kind was attempted. The loss of life, however, occasioned by this deplorable superstition,
probably exceeds that of any other. The
aged, the weak, the sick, are persuaded
to attempt this pilgrimage, as a panacea
for all evils. The number of women and
children is very great. The pilgrims leave
their families, and all their occupations, to
travel an immense distance, with the delusive hope of obtaining eternal bliss. Their means of subsistence on the road is scanty. Their light clothing and little bodily strength is ill calculated to encounter inclemency of the weather. When they reach the district of Cuttack, they cease to experience the hospitality shown elsewhere to pilgrims. It is a burthen which the inhabitants could not sustain; and they prefer availing themselves of the increased demand for provisions to augment the price. This difficulty is more severely felt as they approach the temple, till they find scarcely enough left to pay the tax to government, and to satisfy their rapacious brahmin. At Pooree Juggernauth, during the great festival, fire-wood or fuel, of any description, is scarcely procurable. It is not even customary for the pilgrims to cook their victuals; they are expected to buy holy food, which, on such occasions, is sold at an enormous price, and of very inferior quality. Whilst the idol is travelling in his car no rice is cooked, nothing but purchased grain is procurable. The weather is often bad, and the smallest shelter is only to be had at a heavy expense. The pilgrim, on leaving Juggernauth, has still a long journey before him, and his means of support are often almost, if not quite exhausted. The work of death then becomes rapid, and the route of the pilgrims may be traced by the bones left by the jackals and vultures. The country near the temple seems suddenly to have been visited by pestilence and famine; dead bodies are seen in every direction; pariah dogs, jackals, and vultures are observed watching the last moments of the dying pilgrim, and not unfrequently hasten his fate. It is true, that there are at Pooree, and at Cuttack, hospitals where the sick may get medicines gratis; but the starving pilgrim is not supplied with food; there is no establishment to carry the sick to the hospital : and at Pooree Juggernauth, by some strange arrangement, the hospital, instead of being entrusted to the military surgeon residing at the place, has been put
under the civil surgeon at Cuttack, who has important duties to perform at the latter place, distant fifty miles. Some charitable Hindoos endeavoured to lessen this evil, by leaving lands for the purpose of maintaining poor pilgrims; but these benevolent intentions have been defeated
by the avarice of those intrusted with the lands; and sufficient attention has not yet been paid by the Civil authorities to these charitable institutions.—Missionary Quarterly Circular.
SLAVERY IN THE MAURITIUS.
The following statement was written by a French gentleman in 1769. We hope and trust that the present state of things is different.
We have extracted the article from the eighth number of the British and Colonial Weekly Register.
“The blacks who till the ground are brought from Madagascar, where a slave may be bought for a barrel of powder, or a few muskets, linen, or especially piastres; the greatest price paid is fifty crowns (£7. 10s.), and that rarely. [After describing their simple arts and habits in their own country, he continues.] “These arts and these manners they bring with them to the Isle of France, where they are landed with a rag round their loins. The men are ranged on one side, and on the other the women, with their insants, who cling for fear to their mothers. The inhabitant having examined them, as he would a horse, buys what are fit for his purpose. Brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, are torn asunder ; and, bidding each other a long farewell, are driven weeping to the plantations they are bought for. Sometimes they turn desperate, fancying that the white people intend eating their flesh, making red wine of their blood, and gunpowder of their bones. “They are treated in the following manner:—At break of day a signal of three smacks of the whip calls them to work; each of them betakes himself with his spade to the plantations, where they work almost naked in the heat of the sun. Their food is maize, bruised and boiled, or bread made of manioc, and their clothing a single piece of linen. Upon the commission of the most trivial offence, they are tied hand and soot to a ladder; the overseer then comes with a whip, like a postilion's, and gives them fifty, a hundred, or perhaps two hundred lashes, upon the posteriors. Each stroke carries off its
portion of skin. The poor wretch is then untied, an iron collar with three spikes put round his neck, and he is then sent back to his task. Some of them are unable to sit down for a month after this whipping, which punishment is inflicted with equal severity on women as on men. “In the evening, when they return home, they are obliged to pray for the prosperity of their masters; and before they go to rest they wish him a good night. “There is a law in force in their favour, called the Code Noir, which ordains that they shall receive no more than thirty lashes for any one offence—that they shall not work on Sundays—that they shall eat meat once a week—and have a new shirt every year; but this law is not observed. Sometimes, when grown too old to labour, they are turned out to get their bread where they can. One day I saw a poor creature, who was nothing but skin and bone, cutting off the flesh of a dead horse to eat. It was one skeleton devouring another. “When a European seems affected at these sights, the inhabitants tell him he does not know the blacks,—that they are such gluttons as to go and steal victuals from the neighbouring houses;—so idle that they take no manner of care of their master's business, nor do what they are set about ;-that the women are totally inattentive to family affairs, and so little concerned about children, that they had rather procure an abortion than bring them into the world. “The Negroes are naturally lively, but, after having been some time in slavery, become melancholy. Love seems the only passion their sorrows will permit them to be sensible of. They do all in their power to get married; and if their choice is suffered to take place, they generally prefer those who have passed the prime of their
youth; who, they tell you, make better
soup than the very young ones. They give the wife all they possess. If their mistress is the slave of another planter, they will go three or four leagues in the might to see her, through ways one would think impassible. When under the influence of this passion, they are alike fearless of fatigue or of punishment. Sometimes they appoint a rendezvous in the middle of the night, and, perhaps, under the shelter of a rock, they dance to the dismal sound of a bladder filled with peas: but the sight of a white person, or the barking of a dog, immediately breaks up the assembly. “They have also dogs with them, and it is an undoubted truth that these animals know perfectly, even in the dark, not only a white man, but a dog that belongs to a white man, both of whom they fear and hate, howling as soon as they approach. “The dogs of the white people seem, on their part, to have adopted the sentiments of their masters; and, at the least encouragement, will fly with the utmost fury upon a slave or upon his dog. “ In short, the blacks are sometimes unable to endure their hard lot, and give themselves up to despair. Some hang or poison themselves; others will get into a little boat, and without sails, provisions, or compass, hazard a voyage of 200 leagues, to return to Madagascar, where they have been seen sometimes to land, and have been taken and sent back to their masters. “In general they secrete themselves in the woods, where they are hunted by parties of soldiers, and by other Negroes with dogs. Some of the inhabitants form parties of pleasure for this purpose, put up a Negro as they would a wild beast, and if they cannot hunt him down, will shoot him, cut off his head, and bring it in triumph to town upon a stick. Of this I am an eye-witness every week. “When a Maron Negro is catched, he is whipped and one of his ears cut off: the second time he is again whipped, the sinews of his hams cut across, and he is put in chains; for the third offence he is hanged, but kept in ignorance of his sentence until put in execution. “I have seen some of them hanged, and broken alive. They went to execution with joy, and suffered without a cry. I once saw even a woman throw herself from the top of the ladder. They believe that they shall find more happiness in ano
ther world, and that the Father of Mankind is not unjust, as men are. “Sometimes they are baptized, and are told they thereby become the brethren of the white people, and will go to Heaven: but they are hardly to be made believe that the Europeans can ever be instrumental in their going to Paradise; saying, that on earth they are the cause of all the sufferings they endure.” [After detailing some disgusting scenes of cruelty, the writer proceeds :] “Not a day passes but both men and women are whipped for having broken earthenware, for not shutting the door after them, or some such trifling reason; and, when almost covered with blood, are rubbed with vinegar and salt to heal their wounds. On the quay, I have sometimes seen them so overwhelmed with grief, that they have been unable even to utter a cry; others biting the cannon to which they were tied. My pen is weary of writing this recital of horrors, my eyes of seeing, and my ears of hearing their doleful mournings. Happy you, who, when tired of continuing in town, can retire to a country where fertile plains are seen, with rising hills, villages, harvests, and vintages, the plenty of which cheers the hearts of a people who accompany their labours with dancing and singing: signs these, at least, of happiness! The sights I see are poor Negro women bent over a spade, the companion of their labour, their children, slung over their backs—Negroes who pass trembling and shrinking before me. Sometimes I hear the sound of their tambour afar off: but far more frequently the smack of the whips, that echo in the hills like the report of a pistol, and cries of “mercy, master, mercy '' which at once strike my ears and pierce my heart. “P.S.—Whether coffee and sugar are really necessary to the happiness of Europe is more than I can say; but I affirm that these two vegetables have brought wretchedness and misery upon America and Africa: the former is depopulated that Europeans may have a land to plant them in, and the latter is stripped of its inhabitants for hands to cultivate them. “It is thought more for our interest to have plantations for cultivating ourselves the commodities we want, than to purchase them of our neighbours; but, since carpenters, bricklayers, masons, and other