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and it is sad to see the medical profession amongst those excluded. These are thieves, spirit-drinkers, atheists, physicians, dancers, and persons with diseased nails and teeth. It seems strange that the last two should be excluded, but the reason seems to be that a man who has stolen gold from a Brahmin in one life will have diseased nails in the next, and one who drinks intoxicating liquor in this life will have discoloured teeth in the next.
Each day, for ten days after cremation, the offering must be repeated, the number of balls increasing daily; and if this food is not provided, the spirit will wander about as a restless, unclad ghost.
A curious story is told of a British officer who was wounded at the siege of Seringapatam. His servants were carrying him to the coast, when he died. As he had always been good to them they tried to do what they could for the peace of his soul; but it was no use offering balls of rice with native spices, as that was not the food an English spirit would care for. After much discussion it was decided that the offerings must be the things most desired by an Englishman during life, so the kind servants fed their master's spirit for ten days with brandy and cigars.
Mourning lasts for ten days in the case of a Brahmin, for thirty-one in any of the other castes, which from their lower position require more mourning than Brahmins. During these days the relations are unclean, they may not shave, there are various restrictions in dress, and only one meal a day is allowed. As all this is very irksome there are many little dodges for shortening the time. A Brahmin friend of mine received one morning a letter, on the outside of which was written, "Do not open this till 11-30 p.m." He knew at once that it was the announcement of a relation's death, and that he would
become ceremonially unclean as soon as he had read it. He opened it at 11-30 p.m., and from then till midnight counted as one day's mourning. At the end of the days the mourners bathe, are shaved, and purified, and then Brahmins, relations, and holy beggars (or unholy beggars as they often are) are feasted and receive presents. The cost of these "Shraddha Feasts" are often enormous.
The most gorgeous one on record is that performed by a rich Calcutta gentleman after the death of his mother. It is said to have cost £100,000. The ceremonies, feasting, and giving of presents lasted two months, during which learned Brahmins and all comers were treated with boundless liberality, in return for which they prayed for the peace of the old lady's soul and for her happiness in the next birth. In this case the giver of the "Shrad" was as rich as Croesus, but in middle-class and poor families the expenses of these feasts with those of marriage often plunge the families into debt from which they never escape. It is said by some that the great majority of the agricultural labourers live practically in a state of serfdom to the money lenders, the debts incurred by one member of the family falling on all members and descending from generation to generation.
There is nothing wholly bad in the world, and the redeeming feature of these costly entertainments is that the poor share in them. I have been told that in a large town where there are numerous weddings, mournings, or celebrations of some sort every day, the poor and helpless practically can always get at least one meal a day, and that in a hot climate with a lazy life is enough for all necessities. The trouble is, that this form of out-door relief falls unequally on the paying population.
When the great Shraddha" is over the mourners return to their usual occupations, but every month on the
anniversary of the death for a year a small ceremony is performed for the benefit of the lately deceased, whilst his spirit also shares in the benefits derived from the "Shraddhas" offered to the general body of deceased ancestors. So with the help of its own good deeds, and the loving piety of its descendants, the Hindu spirit passes to Yama, the Great Judge of the dead, to render an account of its works on earth and to receive its reward or punishment.
EVOLUTION OF SANITATION
By E. W. HOPE, M.D., D.Sc.,
MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH.
THE daily routine of business falling to the lot of most of us is sufficient in itself to absorb the time and energy of the worker, and hence it is that opportunities seldom arise. to enable one to look back through past records to ascertain the directions in which the current of advance has been strongest, and the measures which have proved the most valuable.
It may be that in some forms of business the time taken up by a retrospect would not be adequately rewarded, and it may also be that the records of some callings are so barren as to contain nothing worthy of study or imitation, nothing which may be of use for present or future guidance.
The records of Municipal sanitation, however, are widely different from these, and a retrospect is not only of interest, but of much value, since it furnishes the most useful, as well as the most convenient means for an enquiry into results.
Progressive improvements are the outcome of unceasing effort, indomitable perseverance, and great monetary outlay; nothing can be more encouraging than a consideration of the extent to which, year by year, in the face of great difficulties and much opposition, sanitary administration of cities has become more efficient in organisation, more precise in direction, more successful in results.