Page images

of the third light cavalry, suffered some loss. On the 19th March 1832 the leaders surrendered to the Commissioner. Great changes in the administration followed. The zemindari police was restored to the hereditary chiefs; the border Mankis, whose dispossession from their tenures was the main cause of their insurrection, were reinstated. The Mankis obtained title-deeds. The head-quarters of the Agency were established at Kishanpur or Ranchi.


I prevailed upon certain friendly Mundas, as soon as they were convinced of the sincerity of my purpose, to disclose to me some of their martial songs which their forefathers sang, at the time of the invasion of their country by European troops or or the former's victory on the top of the Kuchang hillock. The songs were sung as the Mundas dandled a war-dance.

[blocks in formation]

5. The troops have invaded, O friend

6. Let us take with us the double-barrelled gun

7. The Europeans have followed, O friend,

8. Let us go out with double wick.

The following song, called Racha, was sung by the Munda warriors on the Kuchang hillock without musical instruments, while playing a war-dance.

I. Sukan buru re gating, chikanko jolop jolop

2. Sering jolare sanging, chikanko jilipa jalang
3. Telenga ko gating jolop jolop

4. Ferangi ko sanging jilipa jalang.



In the Sukanburu (hillock), O friend what's there that is glittering

2. In the precipice, O friend, what thing is riding up in


3. The troops' armour, O friend, is glittering

4. The Ferangis (Europeans), O friend, are riding up in




LITERATURE serves to record in a durable way

the history of nations, their manners, customs, religions, the productions of art, science and philosophy and their thoughts and sentiments expressed either in prose or poetry. The civilisation of a nation depends upon the excellence of its literature and no nation can hold its own in the scale of civilised nations without

literary distinction. India is a rich store house for antiquarian researches. Sanskrit literature contains vast treasures of thought on a variety of subjects affecting the best interests of mankind. Sanskrit is one of the classical languages. Sir William Jones, who announced that Sanskrit, Greek and Latin had all sprung from one common source, characterised it to be of a wonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and more exquisitely refined than either. The oldest Sanskrit literature is the Vedas. The Rig Veda is a collection of hymns and poems of various dates, some of which go back to the earliest days of Aryan invasion of North-Western India; the whole collection, however, may be roughly ascribed to the 14th or 15th century B.C.

In course of time it came to assume a sacred character and the theory of inspiration in support of this shows at least the high veneration in which it is held. The Rig Veda was divided into ten mandals or books, each mandal being assigned to some old family and out of these were formed three new Vedas, the Yajur, the Sama and the Atharva. The Yajur and the Sama may be described as prayer books compiled from the

Rig for the use of the choristers and the ministers of the priests. The Atharva Veda is described as a collection of poems mixed with popular sayings, medical advice, magical formulæ and the like. A high order of civilisation prevailed in the Vedic age. The history of Aryan Hindu civilisation undoubtedly forms a unique chapter in the history of human culture and progress extending over a period of thirty centuries. Besides its great antiquity and sublime poetry the Rig Veda has been correctly interpreted as showing at a glance how the human mind had travelled from the simplicity of nature worship to grasp the most intricate and complicated problem of metaphysics-the idea of the Creator from His works of creation. It presents also a faithful record of the first phase of Hindu civilisation in Aryavarta when the Aryan patriarch hewed down with his own hands hills and constructed villages and towns, bridges and high roads; when every ablebodied Hindu unlike the modern times took the sword and the spear to defend his country, when women composed hymns for the Rig Veda, watched the motions of the stars, wove the web of metaphysical enquiry; when caste did not separate the people into so many fragmentary sections, each moving in its narrow groove, but when the Hindu community was conglomerated into one united whole able and willing to act in combination and concert in their country's cause; when religious worship was not a solemn farce of priests and temples, but when every father of a family lighted the sacrificial fire in his own hearth and made to it the simple offerings of rice and milk, the sacrificial animal or the libation of Soma-beer and the mother of the family acted as her husband's assistant; when widows were brought to the altar of a second marriage and when the hymeneal

knot was not tied round the neck of an infant daughter. This revered volume contains not only the nucleus of Hindu religion, mythology and philosophy, but it contains also the seeds of those grand and sublime truths of religion which have so vastly and variously influenced the world at large. And do they not shed a flood of light on the early phases of Hindu civilisation and culture of bygone days? The primary doctrine of the Vedas is the Unity of God. The three principal manifestations of the Divinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) with other personified attributes and energies are indeed mentioned, but the worship of deified heroes is no part of the system. Then we have the Upanishads or philosophical commentaries on the Vedas and the six Darshans or schools of philosophy, viz., the prior Mimansa founded by Jaimani, the latter Mimansa or Vedanta attributed to Vyasa, the Nya or the logical school of Gautama, the Atomic School of Konada, the Atheistical School of Kapila and the Theistic School of Patanjali. These two last schools agree in many points and are included in the common name of Sankhya. The two principal schools are the Sankhya and the Vedanta. The first maintains the eternity of matter and its principal branch denies the existence of God. The other school derives all things from God and one sect denies the reality of matter. All the Indian systems, atheistic as well as theistic, agree in their object which is to teach the means of obtaining beatitude, or in other words, Metempsychosis or deliverance from all corporeal encumbrances. Next we have the Manu Sanhita or the Institutes of Manu. Manu's Code, according to Mr. Elphinstone, seems rather to be the work of a learned Brahman designed to set forth his idea of a perfect commonwealth under Hindu

« PreviousContinue »