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mixed with cotton proportionably wide. The elderly ladies have a coloured handkerchief round the head, but the young women draw up their hair, in separate locks, which are united at the top in a kind of knob, that at a distance looks like a cap.
The wake' for the dead is kept with revelry and jollity, as was formerly the case in many parts of Great Britain, and as it still is in Ireland. They marry, as Mr. Pottinger thinks, according to the law of Moses, though he does not pretend to have discovered any traces of a Jewish origin among them; yet, as a branch of the Affghans, tradition, both written and oral, assigns to them a descent from the Israelites,
The Brahooes have none of the ferocious character of the Belooches; they are active, strong, and hardy, equally enured, from their roving life, to the mountain cold and the desert heat. They have neither the tall figure, the long visage, nor the raised features of the Belooches, but short thick bones, round faces, and flat lineaments. Some few till the ground, but they mostly subsist by their flocks, which yield them cheese and ghee, coarse blankets, carpets, and felts. Their food consists chiefly of mutton, which they devour in a half-dressed state, without salt; it is cured for winter consumption by drying it in the sun, and then smoking it over a fire of green wood. They are a quiet and industrious race of men, free from those habits of rapine and violence that disgrace the Belooches; and their fidelity is such, that the chiefs of the latter are glad to retain them as their most confidential servants. Their dress is nearly the same as that of the Belooches, they use the same weapons, and follow the same amusements; but their women are not secluded from the society of men, but all live and eat together. The character of the government, if such it can be called, takes its complexion from the personal character of the chief. This personage may be considered as an absolute despot over a number of petty despots, who, though generally elected by their respective tribes, must nevertheless be approved by the principal khan. In their private disputes he interferes only when he is called upon, but in that case his decision is law. In his wars, each Sirdar or head of a clan must assist him with his contingent of troops; all the tribes indeed hold of him as feudal lord of the soil, and their tenure is that of military service. Every member of a kheil or clan, if he thinks himself aggrieved by his own khan or sirdar, may appeal to the khan of Khelat; he too inquires into all the cases of murder, or affects to do so, and no criminal can be executed without his sanction, unless where a traveller is way-laid and murdered;
the chief of the district may then try and execute, if so disposed. The most common way of punishing murder is to deliver over the perpetrator to the friends of the
person killed, who either exact from the culprit blood for blood, or a heavy fine, as they may feel inclined; and Mr. Pottinger says, this measure is often successful in saving the man's life, as they generally prefer the penalty, or keep the offender as a slave at hard labour for the rest of his life :should the murdered person be a foreigner, all the parties concerned in his death are immediately executed. Minor offences are punished by fine, flogging, or imprisonment.
The khan of Khelat has a muster roll of the Belooche army amounting to 250,000 men, which Nusseer Khan sent as an answer to Ahmed Shah when the latter demanded tribute of him ; but this number was an oriental hyperbole ; and his present list comprehends 120,000 men, which Pottinger thinks about double the number that he might be able to raise on any great emergency. His revenues, at the utmost, do not exceed 350,000 rupees, or 43,700l. sterling: the sum is small, but, in a country from which little or nothing is exported, money is dear, and labour and produce cheap.
Such is the general outline of the country and its inhabitants, on the shores of which our two travellers landed from a Bombay boat, in January, 1810, at the village of Sonmeany, at the bottom of the bay of the same name, celebrated as the rendezvous of the fleet of Nearchus ; and we are here told, that the description given by Doctor Vincent, from Arrian, of the Port of Alexander, so exactly corresponds with its actual state, that it is a high testimony of the correctness of the Greek historian.' (p. 9.)
The first operation, after landing, was to shave their heads, and adopt the entire native costume. Sonmeany is a place of considerable trade, monopolized, however, by the Hindoos, whose indefatigable industry is conspicuous wherever they are to be met with.' It is situated on the southern bank of the Pooralee river, and consists of about 250 houses, the inhabitants of which, with the exception of the Hindoos, are wretchedly poor, and subsist chiefly by fishing; their fresh water is obtained by digging a few feet in the sand.
The intention of the travellers was to proceed in the direct road through Bela to Kelat; but a merchant of Kandahar endeavoured to dissuade them by saying, that the first tribe of the Belooches they would meet with was that of the Bezunjas, “who care not for the king, the khan, God, or the prophet, but murder and plunder every person or thing they can lay their hands on. They adhered, notwithstanding, to their
first resolution; travelled a whole day over one continued salt marsh without a human habitation ; slept in an empty stable at the first village they met with, and the next day, after passing a flat uncultivated country covered with jungle, halted
at the village of Ootul, containing about four hundred houses :
the people of the village appeared very contented and happy; and they had immense flocks of sheep and goats, beside herds of black cattle and camels.
On reaching Bela they found it was a holiday, and the Jam, or chief, was amusing himself with horse-racing, on which occasion all the inhabitants mount their horses or camels, and gallop over a great extent of country. On his return in the evening, he expressed himself to the strangers in terms of great civility, and gave them permission to remain a few days at Bela. At an audience given to them, he put many questions relative to the religion, customs, and castes of the English ; whether the French resembled them, and whether we still continued to beat them at sea. He received their answers in some points with great distrust :
-You tell me," he observed, of a vessel that will carry one hundred guns, and one thousand men; it is morally impossible! where are the latter to get food and water? The King has scarcely so many guns in his Tope khanu, or arsenal; and the crews of two such ships would overrun the whole of my country :' and, after listening to their description of the battle of Trafalgar, he observed, “ As you say it has been so, I am bound to believe it; but had the holy prophet foretold it, the Numrees (the people of the province) would have demanded proof of it from him. The Jam had neither jewels nor ornaments, but was very plainly dressed ; his sword and shield lay before him on the carpet; his son and two brothers sat near him; and there was an appearance of poverty throughout the whole party, which they neither seemed to be ashamed of nor solicitous to disguise. The durbar was an open room raised a few feet from the ground; the flat mud roof supported by a few crooked sticks, rough and unpolished, just as they had been cut from the jungle; and the attendants offered their remarks and observations on the subjects of conversation with the greatest freedom.
Bela stands on the northern bank of the Pooralee river; a mud wall encompasses about one-third of the town; the rest is entirely open. It contains about two thousand houses, of which three hundred are inhabited by Hindoos, who enjoy every protection in their mercantile pursuits from the Jam. The streets are narrow: but, as well as the bazaar, clean and neat, from having a considerable slope, which prevents the water from lodging.
As the only certain protection against the Bezunja robbers between Bela and Kelat, the Jam had sent for the chief of that tribe, whose name was Ruhmut Khan; but as he did not appear at the appointed time, our travellers set out on their journey. They soon, however, met this chief accompanied by fifteen or twenty followers. He peremptorily refused to suffer them to proceed through his
country unless escorted by himself, or before he had talked with the Jam; they were therefore under the necessity of returning. • We found him,' says Mr. Pottinger, ' possessed of all that ingenuous hospitality and predatory ferocity which are so curiously blended in the Belooche character. He repeatedly swore by his beard that had we attempted to advance through his country, without his leave, he would have annihilated our whole party;' and he assured them that they must be extremely ignorant of his tribe if they thought they could pass unobserved, ' for that a hare could not pass through Ruhmut Khan's country if he chose to prevent it;' but,' he continued, having once given his word for your safety you need not fear any thing mortal; farther it rests with the Almighty and his prophet. The protection offered by this chief of the robbers was not, however, gratuitous; he drove a hard bargain with Jam as to the sum of money that was to be given, which was settled, not much to his satisfaction, at sixty rupees. Their first halt was in the bed of the Pooralee river, in which the Bezunjas made a blazing fire, and by which they sat the greater part of the night, entertained by the songs and music of three or four sookrees, or wandering musicians, bawling out the exploits of their different chiefs, and accompanying their songs with the most frantic and unmeaning gestures.
• A clearer picture of the savage life of the Bezunjas, and many other Belooche tribes, cannot well be portrayed than by this scene : all outwarıd distinction and respect for chiefs were at that moment thrown aside ; at intervals they, as well as their people, in the height of their enthusiasm, snatched ihe setars, or musical instruments, from the hands of the sookrees, and sung in “ descant wild” their favourite airs, gradually working themselves, by ridiculous and violent action, into a state of absolute frenzy : their din then became universal and quite stunning, and the auditory continued to applaud and join in chorus with the singers until they were so completely exhausted that they could exert themselves no longer; the instruments were then laid hold of by others, and thus they were regularly passed round the circle.'--p. 29.
Travelling for several days over a wild and rugged country, generally by the banks, or in the bed of the river, among the ever varying sublime and majestic mountain scenery, they found themselves amidst many kheils, or small societies of Brahooe shepherds, whose quiet and inoffensive manners formed a singular contrast with those of the Bezunja robbers.
*A little before sunset we took up our lodging for the night close to the ghedans or tents of three or four Brabooe shepherds, one of whom supplied us with abundance of milk, firewood, and water. This little kheil bad selected a most romantic and retired spot, immediately under
a stupendous range of mountains, for their abode; their manners were mild, simple, and prepossessing; and the only cares they seemed to have in this peaceful retreat were to protect their flocks from the nightly depredations of wolves and hyenas, to tend them while grazing during the day, and to milk them morning and evening; at all of which both sexes are equally alert and skilful. The flocks were just brought home as we dismounted, and it was surprising to see with what quickness and regularity they were all milked and pent up; at this, every soul assisted, from the father of the family to the infant that could not walk : when the household avocations were over, the women and children came and sat round our fire, and chatted without the least reserve ; their demeanour, as well as that of the men, evinced a truly hospitable desire to oblige, uninfluenced by the hope of reward ; and few, who have not been situated as we were at that moment, can fully appreciate the gratification of such treatment as we met with from these wild and uncivilized shepherds.'-p. 34.
A rocky road, intersected with deep and almost impassable ravines, brought them to the town of Khosdar, where the inhabitants viewed them with suspicion and surprise, but, after some difficulty, admitted them to a lodging in an empty hovel. Khosdar consists of about five hundred habitations, situated in a valley encompassed by mountains, and having a low mud wall around it, enclosing some gardens which produce grapes, figs, almonds, apricots, apples, &c.; but the trees were then
(5th February) leafless. The inhabitants are chiefly Hindoos from Mooltan and Shikarpoor, who have so much influence that the keys of the town gate are, every night, intrusted to the hands of the senior Brahmin of those who officiate at a pagoda dedicated to Kalee, the Goddess of Fate; though Mr. Pottinger says they seem to be a most dissolute, debauched set,' whose whole employment consists of smoking tobacco, chewing bhang, and sitting over the fire.
On the 7th February, after a further ascent of rugged mountainous country, they found the water in their leathern bags frozen into a mass of ice. They continued to ascend for nearly fifty miles further, through a bleak and desert country, when they arrived at the village of Soherab, situated on a plain of the same name, thirty or forty miles in length, and from ten to twelve in breadth ; the mountains on the eastern side were white with snow; and a snowy peak to the northward showed itself, which, as they afterwards ascertained, was not less than one hundred and twenty miles from them; a march of fifty miles beyond this brought them to Kelat, the capital of Beloochistan, the word Kelat meaning, in their language, the city.
Kelat is situated on an elevated site on the western side of a well cultivated valley, eight miles long and from two to three broad, the greater part of which is laid out in gardens and other enclosures.
VOL. XV. NO. XXIX.