Page images

nun Jattra ; on which occasion, Jugger- Jattra, are termed Neem Lolls. If they nauth deputes several idols to partake of a come from the northward, they are obliged bath of sandal-wood water, prepared on to pay government five rupees; or if from purpose, in a little temple on a neighbour- the southward, three rupees, and one ruing tank. The ceremony closes by a pro- pee eight annas to the pundah who brought cession of these petty idols on rafts, which them: two rupees six annas is the tax for are floated three times round the tank, or five days. large reservoir of water. The Rajah of In 1822, a rich lady made an agreement Khoordah, who is the hereditary high with the British Collector, and on her paypriest, is expected to attend, and performing a fixed sum, all the pilgrims who arcertain ceremonies; but the present Rajah rived during one day were admitted without is a very timnid man, and at the last festi- paying. val, in May 1822, he could not be pre

The Chaund Jattra only lasts a day, vailed upon to risk bimself on the water. after wbich the idol of Juggernauth is not The priests and attendants of the idol, visible for nearly a fortnight. He is reduring these great occasions, always have ported sick; but it is understood, that small sticks or canes in their hands, which during this time he undergoes a thorough they use with very little ceremony. On repair, and is fresh painted, &c. When the last celebration of the Chundnun Jattra, two new moons occur in Assaur, which is the pilgrims thought that the blows were said to happen about once in seventeen rather too hard, and too frequent to be years, a new idol is always made. A borne patiently; they suddenly wrested neem tree is sought for in the forests, the canes out of the hands of the priests, on which no crow or carrion bird was and retaliated pretty smartly, till the brah- perched : it is known to the initiated by mins found it prudent to retire, and the certain signs. This is prepared into a festival terminated without any further proper form by common carpenters, and is “ fracas."

then entrusted to certain priests, who are This constant use of the stick is a re- protected from all intrusion: the process markable feature during all the great fese is a great mystery. One man is selected tivals, and, joined to the great rapacity of to take out of the old idol a small box, the priests, may easily account for the containing the spirit, which is conveyed strong dislike the pilgrims manifest towards inside the new : the man who does this, is all the attendants on the idol. Instead of always removed from this world before the mentioning the priests with respect, they end of the year. commonly express the greatest contempt, Fifteen days after the Chaund Jattra, or and accuse them openly of extortion and on the new moon of the month of Assaur, every kind of vice.

the grand festival of the Ruth Jattra is ceThe pilgrims who attend the festival of lebrated; the usual tax is two rupees for Chundnun Jattra, and wish to remain in government, and six annas for the permium order to see the Ruth Jattra, are termed to the pundahs. Loll Jattrees: and they pay a much higher Three ruths or cars of wood are pretax: viz. ten rupees to government, and paired for the occasion :- the first has sirthree rupees to the priest who brought teen wheels, six feet in diameter; the platthem, if they come from the northward; form to receive the idol of Juggernauth is and six rupees if they come from the south. twenty-three feet square, and the whole car ward, and three rupees for the priest. This is thirty-eight feet high from the ground. regulation occasions the receipts to be The wood work is ornamented with imausually greater at this festival than at any ges, * and painted; the car has a lofty other. Forty-three days after its com- dome, covered with English woollens, of mencement, the Chaund Jattra (ordinarily the most gaudy colours; a large wooden called the Asnan) is celebrated. The idol image is placed on one side as a charioteer is brought outside the tower, and placed or driver of the car; and several wooden on an elevated platform within the boundary wall, (but visible from the outside,) * It deserves to be noted, that all obscene ima. and is bathed. A great many pilgrims at- ges, so commonly seen on similar cars, have been tend this ceremony, and those who wish to

removed here, and similar offensive representa

tions have been lately removed also frons the outer remain a fortnight, and see the Ruth walls of the temple.

horses are suspended in front of the car, and clumsy idol down the steps, stopping with their legs in the air. Six strong ca- very frequently. The manifest helplessbles are fastened to the ruth, by which it is ness of the block of wood weakened not dragged on its journey. The other two the faith of the infatuated pilgrims, and ruths are like this, except being a little the idol was lifted into his car, amidst the smaller, one having only fourteen wheels, shouts of his votaries, who were eager to and the other twelve.

worship the image. The idols Bulbudra On the 19th June 1822, the temple was and Shubudra were likewise carried to opened for the worship of Juggernauth, their ruths in the same manner. At sunfor the first time after his retirement. The set, the Rajah of Khoorda, bereditary concourse of pilgrims is always very great, high priest, and master of the idol's wardand the British authorities had taken every robe, made his way through a prodigious precaution to guard against accidents; but crowd in a palankeen, followed by a large as only Hindoos are admitted within the state elephant. All the European ladies temple, it was necessary to trust to the and gentlemen, mounted on elephants, priests, to prevent the ingress of too many had assembled close to the cars, to observe pilgrims at once. Unfortunately, they the ceremonies. The Rajah alighted near neglected this precaution. Men, women, the ruth of the idol Bulbudra; he was and children, all rushed in the moment dressed in very plain muslin, and barethe gates were thrown open. When they footed, and a very stout priest led him by reached the square building next to the the hand, and others surrounded him with grand tower, they had to descend three sticks in their hands, which they used very steps, which were slippery from some holy freely to keep off the crowd, and, as a food having been spilt; eighteen women further security, his palankeen and clewere thrown down at the foot of the steps, phant were kept close in the rear.

The and trampled to death by the crowd in the Rajah is a young man, who for the last rear, before any assistance could be ren. two years is said to have lost all energy of dered. At last, with difficulty, the gates mind. On this great occasion he exhiwere again closed, and the bodies were bited every symptom of excessive trepidaexamined, but it was too late. A singular tion and alarm. Nothing of a devotional difficulty occurred: the dead bodies of spirit was observeable, but a great appre. strangers are only touched by men of very hension of suffering from the crowd. On low caste; and people of this description ascending the car by a sloping platform, are not admitted into the temple. If a be stopped at every third step, looked corpse were carried through one of the round, ordered his attendants to remove gates, it would be a very bad omen for from the ruth many intruders, and was the whoever might pass through afterwards. very image of sulkiness and vexation. To obviate all these difficulties, whilst the Several silver trumpets sounded, and the temple was emptied of pilgrims, the dead pilgrims shouted most loudly. When the bodies were removed with hooks and poles, Rajah reached the top of the platform, he and thrown over the boundary wall like so worshipped the idol Bulbudra, and then many dogs. The relations of the poor with a broom swept the floor all round. creatures were observed lamenting their He was afterwards presented by the priests untimely fate, and must have felt shocked with a silver vessel, containing essence of at the mode of removing them from the sandal-wood, with which he sprinkled the temple.

floor; and then presented some offerings On the 21st June 1822, the town of to the idol, from whom he received, as a Pooree Juggernauth was filled with pil- mark of honour, a garland of flowers, grims; at noon every one crowded to the which the priests took from the images, temple to see Juggernauth, his brother and put round the Rajah's neck; and the Bulbudra, and his sister Shubudra, car- ceremony concluded with the Rajah's pros. ried to their ruths or cars, which were trating himself Alat on the floor before the drawn up close to the gate.

idol, amidst the shouts of the pilgrims and A loud shout from the multitude an- the piercing notes of the shrill silver trumnounced the opening of the gates, and the pets. He then descended slowly from the approach of Juggernauth. A number of car, and proceeded barefooted to the car of priests were dragging slowly the ponderous Juggernauth, and finally to that of his Asiatic Journ.--No. 99.

Vol. XVII. 2 L

sister Shubudra, where the same ceremo- probably exceeds that of any other. The nies were performed, and to close bis la- aged, the weak, the sick, are persuaded bours for the day, he went bebind each to atteinpt this pilgrimage, as a panacea car, and endeavoured to propel it forward, for all evils. The number of women and without which ceremony it could not after- children is very great. The pilgrims leave wards be moved. On a signal being given, their families, and all their occupations, to a most active scene commenced : several travel an immense distance, with the deluthousand men, each holding a sınall green sive hope of obtaining eternal bliss. Their branch in his hand, came running up to means of subsistence on the road is scanty. the ruths, clearing their way through the Their light clothing and little bodily crowd from a considerable distance, in re- strength is ill calculated to encounter gular files; they soon removed the sloping inclemency of the weather. When they platforms, each man having first touched reach the district of Cuttack, they cease to the car with his branch. When all was experience the hospitality shown elsewhere ready, these men, aided by the pilgrims, to pilgrims. It is a burthen which the inlaid bold of the cables, taking care to keep habitants could not sustain ; and they pretheir faces towards the idol. The ruth of fer availing themselves of the increased Bulbudra was the first moved ;-the shrill. demand for provisions to augment the ness of the trumpets, the shouts of the price. This difficulty is more severely felt pilgrims, and the creaking of the ponde- as they approach the temple, till they find rous wheels, made a most frightful noise. scarcely enough left to pay the tax to goThe car was crowded by people, many had vernment, and to satisfy their rapacious crept under, and clung to the large axle brahmin. At Pooree Juggernauth, during trees, and it was impossible to look on the great festival, fire-wood or fuel, of any without shuddering with the apprehension description, is scarcely procurable. It is that some shocking accidents would hap- not even customary for the pilgrims to pen, whilst so many pilgrims were evi- cook their victuals; they are expected to dently in imminent danger. Each car buy holy food, which, on such occasions, was moved but a short distance on that day, is sold at an enormous price, and of very and fortunately without the loss of any inferior quality. Whilst the idol is traJives. On the following day the dreaded velling in his car no rice is cooked, no event was but too awfully realized. A thing but purchased grain is procurable. crowd of pilgrims, too poor to pay for ad

The weather is often bad, and the smallest mission, had collected at the barrier, and shelter is only to be had at a heavy expense. the British collector, on finding that The pilgrim, on leaving Juggernauth, has twenty-four had already died from ex- still a long journey before him, and his posure to rain and want of food, humanely means of support are often almost, if not opened the gate. These poor creatures quite exhausted. The work of death then rushed to worship the idols on the ruths, becomes rapid, and the route of the piland shewed their zeal by pulling the ropes. grims may be traced by the bones left by It has been observed, that they are obliged, the jackals and vultures. The country out of respect for the idol, to walk back- near the temple seems suddenly to have ward. Six pilgrims, stationed close to the been visited by pestilence and famine; dead car, were aiding in pulling a rope, which bodies are seen in every direction; pariah suddenly yielded, having become slacker dogs, jackals, and vultures are observed than the others. These men fell to the watching the last moments of the dying ground, unheeded by the shouting mob; pilgrim, and not unfrequently hasten his four of them were instantly crushed to fate. It is true, that there are at Pooree, atoms, the fifth had a leg dreadfully man- and at Cuttack, hospitals where the sick gled, and the sixth fell between two wheels, may get medicines gratis ; but the starving and escaped unhurt. The practice which pilgrim is not supplied with food; there is formerly prevailed of enticing pilgrims to no establishment to carry the sick to the sacrifice their lives, by voluntarily throw- hospital : and at Pooree Juggernauth, by ing themselves under the wheels, has hap- some strange arrangement, the hospital, pily ceased, and nothing of the kind was instead of being entrusted to the military attempted. The loss of life, however, surgeon residing at the place, has been put occasioned by this deplorable superstition, under the civil surgeon at Cuttack, who has important duties to perform at the by the avarice of those intrusted with the latter place, distant fifty miles. Some lands; and sufficient attention has not yet charitable Hindoos endeavoured to lessen been paid by the Civil authorities to these this evil, by leaving lands for the purpose charitable institutions. — Missionary Quarof maintaining poor pilgrims; but these terly Circular. benevolent intentions lave been defeated


SLAVERY IN THE MAURITIUS. The following statement was written portion of skin. The poor wretch is then by a French gentleman in 1769. We untied, an iron collar with three spikes hope and trust that the present state

put round his neck, and he is then sent of things is different.

back to his task. Some of them are un

able to sit down for a month after this We have extracted the article from the eighth number of the British and whipping, which punishment is inflicted' Colonial Weekly Register.

with equal severity on women as on men.

“ In the evening, when they return “ The blacks who till the ground are home, they are obliged to pray for the brought from Madagascar, where a slave prosperity of their masters ; and before may be bought for a barrel of powder, or they go to rest they wish him a good night. a few muskets, linen, or especially pias- “ There is a law in force in their favour, tres; the greatest price paid is fifty crowns called the Code Noir, which ordains that (£7. 10s.), and that rarely.

they shall receive no more than thirty (After describing their simple arts and lashes for any one offence, that they shall habits in their own country, he continues.) not work on Sundays--that they shall eat

“ These arts and these manners they meat once a week -- and have a new shirt bring with them to the Isle of France, every year; but this law is not observed. where they are landed with a rag round Sometimes, when grown too old to labour, their loins. The men are ranged on one they are turned out to get their bread where side, and on the other the women, with they can. One day I saw a poor creature, their infants, who cling for fear to their who was nothing but skin and bone, cutmothers. The inhabitant having examined ting off the flesh of a dead horse to eat. them, as he would a horse, buys what are fit It was one skeleton devouring another. for his purpose. Brothers, sisters, friends, “When a European seems affected at lovers, are torn asunder ; and, bidding these sights, the inhabitants tell him he each other a long farewell, are driven does not know the blacks,- that they are weeping to the plantations they are bought such gluttons as to go and steal victuals for. Sometimes they turn desperate, fancy- from the neighbouring houses ; --so idle ing that the white people intend eating that they take no manner of care of their their flesh, making red wine of their blood, master's business, nor do what they are and gunpowder of their bones.

set about ;-that the women are totally “ They are treated in the following inattentive to family affairs, and so little manner :-At break of day a signal of concerned about children, that they had three smacks of the whip calls them to rather procure an abortion than bring work ; each of them betakes himself with them into the world. his spade to the plantations, where they “ The Negroes are naturally lively, but, work almost naked in the heat of the sun. after having been some time in slavery, Their food is maize, bruised and boiled, become melancholy, Love seems the only or bread made of manioc, and their cloth passion their sorrows will permit them to ing a single piece of linen. Upon the be sensible of. They do all in their power commission of the most trivial offence, to get married ; and if their choice is sufthey are tied band and foot to a ladder ; fered to take place, they generally prefer the overseer then comes with a whip, like those who have passed the prime of their a postilion's, and gives them fifty, a bun. youth; who, they tell you, make better dred, or perhaps two hundred lashes, upon soup than the very young ones. They give the posteriors. Each stroke carries off its the wife all they possess. If their mistress is the slave of another planter, they will ther world, and that the Father of Mango three or four leagues in the night to see kind is not unjust, as men are. her, through ways one would think im. “ Sometimes they are baptized, and are passible. When under the influence of told they thereby become the brethren this passion, they are alike fearless of fa- of the white people, and will go to Heatigue or of punishment. Sometimes they ven : but they are hardly to be made appoint a rendezvous in the middle of the believe that the Europeans can ever be night, and, perhaps, under the shelter of instrumental in their going to Paradise ; a rock, they dance to the dismal sound of saying, that on earth they are the cause of a bladder filled with peas : but the sight all the sufferings they endure.” of a white person, or the barking of a (After detailing some disgusting scenes dog, immediately breaks up the assembly. of cruelty, the writer proceeds :]

“ They have also dogs with them, and “Not a day passes but both men and it is an undoubted truth that these ani. women are whipped for having broken mals know perfectly, even in the dark, earthenware, for not shutting the door not only a white man, but a dog that be- after them, or some such trifling reason ; longs to a white man, both of whom they and, when almost covered with blood, are fear and hate, howling as soon as they rubbed with vinegar and salt to heal their approach.

wounds. On the quay, I have sometimes “ The dogs of the white people seem, seen them so overwhelmed with grief, that on their part, to have adopted the senti- they have been unable even to utter a cry; ments of their masters; and, at the least others biting the cannon to which they were encouragement, will fly with the utmost tied. My pen is weary of writing this fury upon a slave or upon his dog. recital of horrors, my eyes of seeing, and

“ In short, the blacks are sometimes my ears of hearing their doleful mourn. unable to endure their hard lot, and give ings. Happy you, who, when tired of themselves up to despair. Some hang or continuing in town, can retire to a counpoison themselves; others will get into a try where fertile plains are seen, with little boat, and without sails, provisions, rising hills, villages, harvests, and vinor compass, hazard a voyage of 200 lea- tages, the plenty of which cheers the gues, to return to Madagascar, where they hearts of a people who accompany their have been seen sometimes to land, and labours with dancing and singing: signs have been taken and sent back to their these, at least, of happiness! The sights

I see are poor Negro women bent over a “In general they secrete themselves in spade, the companion of their labour, their the woods, where they are hunted by children, slung over their backs, Negroes parties of soldiers, and by other Negroes who pass trembling and shrinking before with dogs. Some of the inhabitants form Sometimes I hear the sound of their parties of pleasure for this purpose, put

tambour afar off: but far more frequently up a Negro as they would a wild beast, the smack of the whips, that echo in the and if they cannot hunt him down, will hills like the report of a pistol, and cries shoot him, cut off his head, and bring it of mercy, master, mercy!' which at in triumph to town upon a stick. Of this once strike my ears and pierce my heart. I am an eye-witness every week.

“ P.S.- Whether coffee and sugar are When a Maron Negro is catched, he really necessary to the happiness of Euis whipped and one of his ears cut off: rope is more than I can say ; but I affirm the second time he is again whipped, the that these two vegetables have brought sinews of his hams cut across, and he is wretchedness and misery upon America put in chains; for the third offence he is and Africa: the former is depopulated that hanged, but kept in ignorance of his sen- Europeans may have a land to plant them tence until put in execution.

in, and the latter is stripped of its inhabi“ I have seen some of them hanged, tants for hands to cultivate them. and broken alive. They went to execu- “ It is thought more for our interest to tion with joy, and suffered without a cry. have plantations for cultivating ourselves I once saw even a woman throw herself the commodities we want, than to purfrom the top of the ladder. They believe chase them of our neighbours; but, since that they shall find more happiness in ano- carpenters, bricklayers, masons, and other



« PreviousContinue »