« PreviousContinue »
and is inherited. The sisters are inherited by the brothers from the father and their bride money which is called walwar is divided amongst them in the same proportion as other chattels. She does not wear trousers -the Kakar woman-but only a long red shift which reaches just above her ankles. Round her ankles she sews small pieces of cloth, the colour of which is meant to indicate whether she is a virgin or a married woman. Red is the sign of virginity and green of marriage.
The Kakar boy does not, as a rule, wear trousers before he is twelve, and the year of sheltering his naked limbs is deemed a landmark for reckoning a Kakar' sage. The boys and girls usually mix together up till they are well grown up and therefore they have a fair opportunity of choosing mates for each other. The boys are allowed to visit their fiancées long before (nikah) the proper marriage ceremony is performed a custom which establishes the Israelite extraction of the Afghans.
Every Kakar carries his own blood price called nek, probably from the Persian word neki which means a good turn because it patches up the quarrel. Tooth for tooth is not their principle, and it would have caused a continual bloodshed had it not been that the ancient Kakars have introduced à very wholesome custom. It has saved them from the feuds which are working havoc amongst their cousins of the other frontier-I mean Afridis, Mohmands, etc. The rawaj (customary law) of the race obliges the murderer to give a Bazoo (hand) which means a girl, or two, according to the circumstances of the murder, in marriage to the next in kin of the murdered. Of course the girls are given in addition to the blood money and the wound which can in no other way be cured is healed up in a very short time.
He leaves his smelly half underground caverns in the summer and sets out on a nomad-like itineracy. His movements are usually regulated by the requirements of his flock. The pasture grounds are defined and nobody can trangress his tribal limits. A black tent (called kizdee) generally 4 feet high and of various dimensions, some being as much as 50 feet long usually shelters his family, flock, and himself. He has a great liking for these wanderings and even the Chiefs would not forego it for all the comfort of a settled life.
He is a very quiet man-the Kakar. It is only on Id day or on the occasion of a marriage that a stir could be perceived in his otherwise peaceful village. On such occasions they usually run races, have tentpegging and rough-riding competitions, and those who have no horses amuse themselves with a wild dance
called "Hammi, " Hammi," Ten to twenty persons - often men and women together-spin round in a ring giving out a hollow sound closely resembling a roar and shaking their heads so that the hair which is usually worn long and cut round the shoulders, plays wildly on their faces giving them a savage expression. After two or three rounds they bend down to clap their hands together.
He doesn't know anything of the modern world except what thrusts itself on him through the local officials. Nor does he care to know. He is happy and contented, though it is a treat for him to gapingly listen to the mixed stories of the adventurous wiseacres who have seen the Kaffir's horse which ambles at a terrific speed and his cities out of which hundreds of his villages could be carved out.
KAZI MIR AHMAD.
Art. VI.-THE CHARMS OF POETRY.
POETRY is the child of enthusiasm. There is a power in the harmonious association of sounds, capable of making the most pathetic appeals to the fancy, and of soothing the passions of the most barbarous savages. From the observations that modern writer have made in respect to the manners and customs of America, we are inclined to pronounce that man is born a poet. All the rites and ceremonies of religion have, from the earliest ages, been highly indebted to this art and the cultivation of poetical talent has been always considered of the highest importance.
It is not to nature alone that we are indebted for this attainment; she has indeed conferred on some, a favourable distinction and greater endowments in this respect, but much has been left to the industry of man. There are certain rules and instructions to be observed which may inspire and promote true genius, correct that redundancy which is so often prevalent in the works of natural but uncultivated minds, and bring more forcibly to their notice, those beauties which are peculiarly worthy of observation, by strongly contrasting them with the principal faults that are sedulously to be avoided.
Everything that regards the study of poetical composition merits the greatest attention, not only because it is of the highest importance to the improvement of our intellectual powers, but that it materially assists us in arranging and expressing our thoughts with accuracy and enables us to clothe our indistinct conceptions in purer language and more elegant construction.
There are few subjects on which there exists wider difference of opinion than on the nature of poetical talent; few which present a more difficult task to the critic to explain with precision.
It is a clear perception of whatever constitutes the beautiful and sublime in nature; a lively sensation and keen relish of the external ornaments of natural objects presented to the vision, united with a distinct conception of their individual and abstract parts; which teaches us to express the pleasurable excitements we enjoy with enthusiasm tempered by reason--for simplicity constitutes the greatest charm of poetry. It is this principally which has rendered the reputation of the poets of antiquity so lasting, so universal among all nations capable of appreciating their merits.
The most striking difference between the writers of Greece and Rome, and those of England, modern Italy, France and Germany is this:—the former having a new field, an untrodden soil to cultivate, abound in original fancy, unrivalled simplicity and more lofty conceptions; but among the latter, although the exertions of genius are more feeble, a greater correctness of style, and a more studied and artful arrangement, in point of regularity and accuracy, are conspicuous. It appears, therefore, to be essential to man to enjoy this power of discernment. Although in some the glimmerings of poetical talent may be so feeble as to prohibit the lively enjoyment of the refinement of beauty, yet some weak and confused impression of a pleasurable nature will strike the dullest of mankind, when the beauties and sublimities of nature are in a manner presented to their view by lively and enthusiastic description; and this can only be produced by poetical talent. These various causes tend to induce a belief
that the sympathy which is awakened in our bosoms by the perusal of the best poetical writers may be in a great measure attributed to some hidden vein of poesy which is innate in man, and which vibrates responsively to the harmony of composition; the seeds of refinement, indeed, are more deeply implanted in some breasts, and require greater care and higher cultivation to bring them to maturity, and hence arises that great inequality of genius among men. There are some writers who have endeavoured to attribute this inequality to external circumstances, and have affirmed that however bountiful Nature may have been in bestowing her gifts, unless refined society and knowledge of mankind be added, nothing truly grand, sublime, or heroic, can result. It is impossible, therefore, to devote too much attention to the acquirement of a thorough knowledge of the ancient poets; their sole aim was the instruction of their fellow-men; and it is needless to assert how much they contributed, in the early ages of the world, towards polishing mankind, constituting them into states and societies, and uniting them in one common interest.
The nature and design of poetry is to render us wiser and happier and not, as some say, to please the imagination and corrupt the heart. Since the beauty of language and harmony of numbers are admittedly more likely to arrest the attention and captivate the soul, they are used merely as canals to convey moral and religious truths to the mind and heart.
It is by no means our intention here to enter into a detailed account of the various styles and orders of poetry, but merely to analyse the general principles, so far as they are directly connected with the subject. It is an established fact that animated descriptions and