Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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the husbands brought their wives,! jjqj- ^jjg fathers their
daughters ; observing that their neighbours were simpletons
in having supplied him with the latter, because the
children might not continue in their household, but must
follow the footsteps of the daughters' future husbands.

Some few years since there existed great dissensions in
the royal family of Little Tibet} a country bordering on
Kachemire. One of the pretenders to the crown having
applied secretly to the Governor of this kingdom for
assistance, the latter was commanded by Chah-Jehan to
afford all the succour he might need. The Governor
accordingly invaded Little Tibet, slew or put to flight the
other competitors, and left this prince in undisputed
possession of the throne, subject to an annual tribute of
crystal, musk, and wool. Thus circumstanced, this petty
King has not well been able to avoid paying his personal
obeisance to Aureng-Zebe, bringing with him some of these
articles as presents; but he is come with so wretched a
retinue that I should never have taken him for a person
of distinguished rank. My Naimab invited this personage
to dinner, hoping to obtain some information concerning
those mountainous regions. He informed us that his
kingdom was bounded on the east by Great Tibet; that it
was thirty or forty leagues in breadth; that he was very
poor, notwithstanding the crystal, musk, and wool, which
he had in small quantities; and that the opinion generally
entertained of his possessing gold mines was quite erroneous.

^ The system of polyandry, strictly confined to brothers, still prevails
in Ladak. ' Each family of brothers has only one wife in common.
The most usual number of husbands is two, but three, and even four
husbands, are not uncommon. This system prevails, of course, only
among the poorer classes, for the rich, as in all Eastern countries,
generally have two or three wives, according to their circumstances.
Polyandry is the principal check to the increase of population, and how¬
ever revolting it may be to our feelings, it was a most politic measure
for a poor country which does not produce sufficient food for its inhabi¬
tants.'—Cunningham's Laddk, p. 306.    London, 1854.

^ Or Baltistan, as it is now called.
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