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ART. V.-The Anglo-Hindustani Hand-Book; or Stranger's
Self-Interpreter and Guide to Colloquial and General Intercourse with the natives of India. With a map and five Illustrations. Calcutta. 1850.
This work is near akin to Mr. Grant's delightful book, the “Anglo-Indian Domestic Sketch," which we had the pleasure of reviewing at considerable length some months ago. The aim of each is to "put its readers up to a few things” respecting the daily life of Anglo-Indian people, in so far as that life takes its colour from the environments amidst which it is passed. But the two books are designed for quite different classes of readers, whose purposes, in seeking to be made acquainted with AngloIndian matters, are widely different. The “Sketch" is mainly designed for the use of those who wish to know about us and our on-goings, by reason of the pure affection they entertain towards us, and the kindly interest they take in all that is of interest to us. The“ Hand-book," on the other hand, is designed for ourselves, and for those who are on the eve of becoming members of our community; that they and we may be enabled to comport ourselves with the more propriety and credit in our daily and hourly intercourse with the people of the land, in which it is appointed unto us to sojourn. Hence it is evident, that the sentiment, that was all in its right place in the artist's “Sketch," would be quite unappropriate here. Like the sisterly conductors of some very respectable Seminaries, the brotherbooks exemplify the principle of the division of labour-the one undertaking the plain-work, while the other does the orna. mental. Not that we would be understood to sanction a divi. sion, that would imply that there is a necessary separation between the useful and the ornamental. Is there nothing ornamental in the husband's well stitched shirt-collar ? Is there notbing useful in those accomplishments, by which home is rendered more attractive ?
In the course of our review of the “Sketch,” we went a little out of our way to address a somewhat grave lecture to our Anglo-Indian readers, as to the propriety of their making a steady effort towards the acquirement of Hindustani at least, and (if possible) one other of the languages spoken by the natives of India, as Bengali, Ooriya, Tamul, or Marathi, according to the places of their residence. The lecture we then read to them, was not, we trust, out of place there ; but it would have been still more appropriate, had it been reserved till the present occasion, and delivered in connexion with our present text. It is surprising, indeed, with how small a stock of language a person may actually “get on” in India.
There is a legend of a lady, who once on a time travelled from Calcutta to Ferozepore, on the strength of one word-Jaldi (quick). Perhaps, after all, she acquitted herself fully as creditably as many with a more extensive vocabulary ;-for, to say the truth, there are many amongst us, whose knowledge of the language is more extensive than either elegant or correct. Mr. Coleridge's neighbour sank sadly in his estimation, from the mode in which he expressed his delectation at the appearance of his favourite viands. If our present lucubrations should by accident fall into the hands of any new comer, whose ambition aspires no higher than to the attainment of the minimum amount of knowledge of the ways and language of the people, which is absolutely necessary for the mere purpose of vegetating amongst them, or into those of any old resident, who has vegetated for many years, and who feels no want of any thing more than he already possesses—it is vain to recommend to either of these individuals to procure the volume before us. To them it would be but so much useless lumber, tending rather to impede, than to aid, the vegetative process. It is not, however, of such mere vegetables that the readers of the Calcutta Review are composed, and therefore we need not address ourselves to them. Again, we may safely calculate, that a large number of our readers have got far beyond the rudiments of the language, and have already acquired, from personal observation and experience, an adequate amount of acquaintance with the more immediately practical subjects, of which the Hand-book treats. To these also we need not recommend it, although we doubt not, that many of them will take no little pleasure in perusing considerable portions of it. The girl, who could not understand why people should take pleasure in reading Burns's Cotter's Saturday night, since it was not poetry at all, but just a description of what was every Saturday enacted “at hame," probably did not relish the description the less, because it gave her no new information, but only presented vividly, before her mind's eye, what had been familiar to her from her earliest childhood. So it may be, that some old Indians will take no little pleasure in perusing the book, on the very account that it contains so much of what they know already; and such perusal will be amply beneficial, even to them; as there is much in its pages, that cannot fail to be instructive even to the best informed on Indian affairs.
But doubtless a large portion of our readers consists of the very class, for whose special benefit the Hand-book is composed—the strangers (Anglo-Indice, Griffins), who have lately arrived in India, and those, who, are only looking to India yet, as the unknown and mysterious land in which they are likely to spend the greater portion of their days. These will find it for their interest to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the contents of the Hand-book. If a man were to study it for an hour each day throughout the outward passage-if he would take it up occasionally after his arrival-if he would mark down under appropriate heads in an interleaved copy of it, every thing that struck him as disagreeing with any statement contained in it—the exercise would be a singularly salutary one, and would enable him soon to shake off the prejudices and false notions that we all bring with us to the land of our sojourn. We are quite willing to give our vote, that, in the case of all such as shall be able to shew that they have used diligence in this study, the period of griffinage shall be held to have terminated at the close of six-months-and-a-day's residence in India : whereas, in the case of all who fail in establishing the fact of such diligence, the period of griffinage shall extend, as at present and throughout all the past, over the full length of a year
and a day. It were impossible, within moderate limits, to give any but a very general account of the multifarious matter .contained in the thick and densely printed volume before us. First of all, we have got a grammar of the language, which seems to us to be simple and good; with the exception of one fault, as we esteem it, which indeed pervades the work, and which it may be as well to notice now, once for all. The Author has adopted the system of Romanizing, invented by Dr. Gilchrist, deliberately preferring it to that of Sir William Jones. To us it seems only strange, that such a preference should have been given to å system, which is both unsound in its principle, and difficult in its use. A good system of Romanizing should be such, that a person, knowing the original and the substituted character, should be able at once to convert the one into the other. Now the system of Sir William Jones, especially as modified and perfected by Dr. Duff, is such, that this can easily be effected. Even an ordinary compositor can print off in the Oriental character from Romanized"copy;" but this would be altogether impossible with a system which does not profess to give letter for letter in every case. We cannot but express our regret, that the very intelligent Author of the Hand-book should have given his suffrage in favour of the revival of a system, which we had regarded as deservedly exploded long ago.
After the grammar comes a vocabulary, arranged, according to the old-fashioned system in Latin and French vocabularies, according to subjects. This we should reckon any thing but a good arrangement for a mere vocabulary; but it is very suitable to the character of that before us, which is not merely a catalogue of words with their meanings, but includes also various dissertations upon things, which could not have been introduced so suitably, had an alphabetical arrangement obtained. There is, for example, a description of the various kinds of serpents, occupying four pages ; fishes (14 pp.) ; plants (14 pp.) ; domestic servants (10 pp.); Hindu Castes (6 pp.) ; native dresses and jewellery (5 pp.); boats (4 pp.); Indian Chronology (25 pp.); Indian moneys, weights and measures (23 pp.); Indian cookery (6 pp.); games, sports and pastimes (4 pp.); Musical Instruments (3 pp.); Hindu Mythology (48 pp.); Hindu and Muhammedan festivals (27 pp.). This list, which might be considerably extended by specifying more of the shorter articles, will shew that the vocabulary is rather an encyclopædia on a small scale. We should also state that a considerable number of cuts are introduced into this part of the work, which tend still further to enhance its value. We should like to give a specimen of this part of the work; but the parts that would suit us best, are those that are thus illustrated; and it would not be fair to give the text without the illustrations. Such are the notices on
games, sports and pastimes;" on "music and musical instruments;" and on "Hindu Mythology.” We therefore select a portion of the notice of "native dresses," as an average specimen of the way in which subjects are treated in this portion of the Hand-book :
NATIVE DRESSES—Hindoostanee Po,shak. Boor,ka : a Sheet Veil
, thrown over the head and concealing the whole person, having a net worked space for the sight, in that part which covers the eyes : worn, in Lucknow, Dehli, and other parts of Hindoostan, by
dest Moohummudun women, whom poverty compels to walk in public. This covering in Calcutta is confined to the Jewish women,-Moosul
manees there being seldom or never seen so attired. But,tee : f. a Turban, compactly formed, having its outer folds so twisted
as to resemble a coil of cloth cords : usually worn by Rajpoots, and Puthans, (as illustrated in the sketch of Eusuph Khan, in C. Grant's
“ Oriental Heads”). Cha,dur : f. literally Sheet : most usually worn by Moohummudun Chod,dur : f. I women, who use it as an outer covering, or Shawl for the
upper part of the body, and as a partial veil for the head and face. At
night, the Chadur is the bed sheet of all classes of natives, of both Chup,kan : f. a close long skirted gown, resembling the Ungarkba, and
the usual dress of respectable male domestic servants, both Hindoos and
Moohummuduns. Dho,tee : f. the usual home undress of all classes of male Hindoos, and
the common and only dress of the majority of the poor classes of Hin
doos and Moohummuduns ; consisting of a sheet of cloth wrapped round the waist-in the lower provinces, one end being gathered in loose plaits in front, and the other end passed between the thighs, and tucked within the upper skirt at the back: in the upper provinces, however, both
ends are passed under the thighs, and tucked in at the back. Do-put,ta (literally two breadths) : a sheet of cloth thrown loosely over
the shoulders of male Hindoos; the common every day costume of many of the middling classes consisting of the Dbotee and Doputta only. The Doputta is also generally worn by Moohummudun women, and Hin
doo women of the upper provinces, in lieu of the Chadur. Doo-Sha,la (literally two Shawls): a pair of shawls, substituted by wealthy
natives, and particularly in cold weather, for the Do-putta. Gosh,wa,ra : a band of brocade tied round the “ Khirkee,-dar-pugree ;"
formning part of the honorary dress, usually presented by native Princes, and the English Government, to native gentlemen on certain state oc
casions. Ja,ma : a male full dress Gown, worn by the higher classes at native
courts ; having loose skirts gathered in close plaits at the waist, with double breasted body (as partially seen in the figures of Baboo Chotalal
and Raja Kalikrishna, in Grant's " Oriental Heads”). Joob, ba : a Persian upper coat, or cloak. Joo,re,dar.pug,ree: f. a Turban, differing from the Put,tee-dar in the ad
dition of a knot on the crown : worn by respectable natives, Hindoo
and Moohummudun. Kbir,kee,dar-pug,ree : f. the full dress Turban of Indian Courts, worn by
Hindoos and Moohummuduns, though in the lower provinces worn only by Hindoos (as illustrated in the sketch of Raja Kalikrishna, in Grant's
« Oriental Heads”). Koor,ta : a long, loose skirted under gown, or shirt, worn by men, both
Hindoos and Moohummuduns. From the Arabic name of this dress the shirt of the English derives its Hindoostanee name-Kumeez. Koor,tee : f. a short bodice, reaching to the hips, with very short (if any)
sleeves ; open at the chest under the throat ; worn by Moohummudun Kub,a : f. a close long gown worn by men, Moohummuduns and Hindoos;
differing from the Ungurkha in being open-breasted, and worn over the
Mirzaee, Koorta, and sometimes the Ungurkha. Kuf,cha : an open Jacket, differing from the Mirzaee in having tight
sleeves. Kum,ur,bund : Waist-band or Sash, of various descriptions and sizes,
invariably worn round the loins of respectable natives, Hindoos and
Moohummudups, when full dressed. Luhn,ga : skirt Petticoat, tied round the loins, and extending to the feet,
or ground : worn by Moohummudun women in European service, and by Hindoo women of the upper provinces. Mir,za, ee : an under Jacket, with long loose sleeves and open cuffs, worn
by respectable Moohummuduns, and by upper servants, in European
employ, under the Kuba, &c. Page.ja,ma : Trowsers, variously made, loose or scant, in different parts of
India : worn by Moohummuduns of both sexes, and occasionally by
Hindoo gentlemen. Pesh,waz : f. a female full dress Gown, like the “Jama," but reaching
a little below the knee only : usually formed of colored muslin, and
now worn only by Hindoostanee dancing girls. Pug,ree : f. Turban, of which there are numerous varieties, taking their
names from the forms they bear, or the materials of which they are made.