« הקודםהמשך »
Register of the Thermometer kept at Nungkhlow, during parts of
the Months of October and November, 1827.
October 13 69 691
683 67 64
70 20 64 68 70 21 58 70 62 22 56
66 November 1 55 663) 2 60
NOON. 4 P. M. 9
RISE. A. M.
62 62} 25.600 25560 25.490
25.510 14 48
25:504 151 50
25:508 16 483
25.486 17 60
25.565 25.449 18 51}| 50
ART. II.-Hindu Traditions of the Origin and History of the
Rajput Tribes. The great division of the Hindus into four principal pure castes, and a variety of others of mixed origin, is a national peculiarity familiar to European observation, and easily enough accounted for by primitive institutions, and the progress of intermixture. Such, however, is the tendency of the people to multiply distinctions, that these leading differences form but a small part of those which prevail; and in every district in India families and tribes are infinitely numerous, rarely eating together, and never intermarrying. How much of this is of recent and spontaneous origin, it is now perhaps useless to enquire ; but the Tribes or clans of martial caste, the Rajputs of upper and central India, appear to boast of some antiquity, and to form an important part of the early history of India. It is a subject at any rate infinitely curious, and not the less so because it has scarcely been at all investigated.
The means of obtaining information on this subject are probably more ample than is imagined ; but European attention has been so exclusively directed to the exotic literature of Hindustan, to Persian and Urdú, that the language and popular literature of the Hindus are almost as little known to us now as they were fifty years ago--of course little can be done in Bengal to remedy the defect; but it is to be hoped that our improved intercourse with the Rajput states may tend to some amendment in this respect.
AMONGST the works which reflect light upon the history of the Rajput Tribes, is a very voluminous composition, attributed to Chandra the Poet, entitled the Prithwi Rai Rayasa, a history of Prithwi Rai or Pithoura, the last Hindu King of Delhi. The author was his cotemporary, his companion, his bard and friend ; and the work 'should be, therefore, above six centuries old. We are indebted to the kindness of a friend for a copy of this work, and propose to draw upon it for the amusement, if not for the information, of our readers. For, the work is a Poem, not a History. Amidst abundant and very wild fiction, however, it apparently contains some historical facts, and at all events it is good authority for the distinctions that existed when it was written. There is great reason to question the authenticity of the work as it is now procured, and even if part be original, it has probably grown into its present bulky form by subseqnent interpolations. It is, nevertheless, a compendium of all that the Rajput Tribes know or believe of their past origin and history; and we may be content, as we must be content, to possess no further information about them than they can give us.
The origin of the chief Kshetri or Rajput Tribes, is placed in the mountains of Abu, in the West of India, bordering on Guze
rat. These mountains are covered with ancient temples, sculptures and inscriptions, and to people in general may be more interesting, from the exceeding magnificence and richness of the scenery. The forthcoming volume of the Asiatic Researches, will give some account of the antiquities. The first number of GRINDLAY's views will convey a tolerable notion of their natural beauties. The work of Chandra, the bard, gives the following legend of their origin, and that of the Military Tribes :
Origin of the Mountain Abu. The sage Uttanka having completed his course of study under the celebrated Rishi Gálava was urgent with his Preceptor to name the present that would be acceptable. Gálava declared he did not wish for any acknowlegement, but as his pupil was importunate, referred him to his wife, and desired him to present to her what she might wish for. On consulting her, she said he wished to have the ear-rings of the Queen of Poshya Raja. Uttanka accordingly repaired to the Raja, and stated his case, and the Raja hav. ing sent for the Rani, and told her of the circumstance, she cheerful. ly gave her ear-rings to the Brahman. These ear-rings, which were more than common ear-rings, were objects of desire to the Snake divinity, Takshaka, who dwelt on the place where Abu is now situated, and he contrived to trick Uttanka out of his prize, and glide below to Pátála- Uttanka on discovering the theft had recourse to Indra, who came to his aid, and striking the ground with his thunderbolt, opened to Uttanka a passage to the regions below the earth. Uttanka penetrated to Pátála, propitiated the Serpent conclave, and recovered the ear-rings, which he presented to the wife of his Guru.
After some interval, the pious Vasishtha came to this spot, with the divine cow Nandini. The road to Pátála remaining open, the cow fell into the chasm, and it required the aid of Ganga, propitiated by the prayers of Vasishtha, to extricate her. The sage then considered that it would be highly desirable to prevent similar accidents by filling up the abyss, for which purpose he prayed to Himachala, to spare him one of his hundred mighty sons. The mountain accordingly consulted them on the subject, but they said it was a vile country, and were very much disinclined to take up their residence in it. Vasishtha vindicated the country by the story of Valmiki, who was originally an inhabitant of it, and a thief and murderer, but obtained the favour of the seven Rishis, became a Rishi himself, and wrote the Rámáyana. This story had its due effect upon Girinanda, one of the sons of Himachala, and he professed his readiness to go to the South, if he could be conveyed, for he was a cripple. He also suggested that the Naga Arbuda should be asked to carry him. Vasishtha consequently ap
plied to Arbuda, who agreed to convey Girinanda to his destination provided the spot should become a holy place, and bear his name. Vasishtha promised that so it should be, and away went Arbrida with Girinanda on his back, and deposited the mountain over the chasm that opened to Pátála. Vasishtha now by his prayers, at. tracted Siva and his train to dwell upon the mountain, and it thence became a holy place, the sight of which removes all sin.
Origin of the Rajput Tribes.
Vasishtha again proceeded to offer a solemn sacrifice, to which the Saints and Gods were invited. Other guests came' unbidden, the demons Yantraketu and Dhumaketu, who endeavoured to pollute and interrupt the rite. To check their presumption, Vasishtha called
three warriors from the consecrated fire-hearth, Parihara, Chalukya and Pamar, who engaged in conflict with the demons, but could not overpower them, nor prevent their disturbing the sacrifice. Then Vasishtha enraged, invoked a being from a second altar, who appeared radiant as the youthful sun, broad chested, long armed, and bearing a bow and quiver, a scymitar and shield. Vasishtha termed him Anala Chauhan, (Chahuvan) blessed him, and gave him a Sakti, with the attributes of the territic Goddess, as his companion, and stationed him on the mountain to protect the sacrifice. This hero defeated and hurled the demons to the infernal regions. His companion Sakti blessed him, and went to heaven, and Vasishtha finished his ceremony.
Hence there were thirty-six races of Kshetris. These are their names: 1.-Surya Bansi.
19.-Rajsút. 2.Soma Bansi.
21.- Tánk. 4.-Kakutstha.
24.- Potek. 7.-Chalukka.
28.-Haritut. 11, -Doyamat.
31.- Dhányapál. 14.-Gohilot.
34.--Bains. 17.- Rao.
36.- Pratihar. 18.-Rathor,
The pious characters of this legend are well known to Hino du Mythology, and the first part of the adventures of Uttanka are borrowed from the Mahabharat. As much as relates to the mountain is probably of topical fabrication. The origin of the four principal Tribes of Western Rajputs, the Parihára, Chalukka, Paramára and Chahuvan, from the sacrificial fire on Mount Aba, is tantamount to an admission that their origin is unknown, and to an inference that they were originally from the West of Hindustan. Parihara and Paramára may be derived etymologically from the Sanscrit, but the affinity may be accidental, for it is not easy to conjecture Sanscrit original for the other two, the Chalukka or Chalukya, and Chahuvan, Cháhumán or Chouhan. Of these two, the Chá lakja seems to have played a prominent part in the West of India. The ruling Princes of Guzerat belonged to this race at the Ma. hommedan invasion, and branches of it seem to have spread across the upper part of the peninsula, the Princes of Kalyan and even of Rajamahendri, bearing till a recent period, the designation of Chalukya. The Chouhans acquired the ascendancy in a more Eastern direction, in Central India, and Prithi Rai, the hero of the work belongs to their Tribe.
The thirty-six Tribes of Rajputs are generally recognised as the primitive and pre-eminent races, but the number into which they are divided at present is much more numerous. The list printed in the volume of Hindi Selections at the College of Fort Wil. liam for the use of Military Students, divides the Martial Tribes into three great divisions, the Suraj Bansi, or Solar family, Chandra Bansi, Lunar family, and the Kshetriya, properly the second caste of the Hindus, but no where pure and unmixed. The first division has ten clans, the second has fifty, the third is again divided into Eastern and Western branches, of which the former has twelve, and the latter fifty-three, making altogether therefore one hundred and twenty-five clans, the names of which are given in the list referred to. Of these, only nine or ten can be identified with any of the above, and several of them only conjecturally, It is to be observed, however, that the mode of writing in Hindi books, stringing words together without beginning or ending, leaves great uncertainty about the extraction of proper names where the sense is of no service. Sanscrit proper names being usually epithets, may be made out, but very few of the thirty-six are Sanscrit. Such as belong to that language are epithets indicating origin or occupation as the Suraj Bansi the man born in the Solar family, and Rajpála, the Royal guard. Inaccuracy of copy is also another source of perplexity, and it is not unlikely that many of the appellations in the preceding list are inaccurate : no correction, however, of which the text admits, will identify the greater number of them with Tribes now known to exist,