*APPENDIX II: Extracts from Dr. Gilchrist's Dialogues, English and Hindoostanee [[536-637]]* -- part 2
[] That the shoe encroachment is only of a piece with the other
latent schemes which exist, to sink us imperceptibly and by degrees, while
the Hindoostanees raise themselves to proportionate consequence at our
expense, is obvious from innumerable circumstances; trivial indeed each
in itself, but taken together, well worthy of serious opposition on our
By the papers found at Sreerungputtun, of which a translation was published by authority, we find that the late Teepoo Sooltan denominated himself and his government "surkar khooda-dad," a government the gift of god, i.e. by the grace of god. When I observe these and similar instances of encroachment, the eagerness that overgrown rich natives betray to jostle us with their carriages and palkees: to hire Europeans as coachmen, servants, or as masters of ceremonies; to have their grand processions and marriages graced in the open streets of Calcutta, with the attendance of military bands of music, I cannot avoid asking my countrymen one sober question: pray what is the aim, and how may all this end?
The Hindoostanees, while so sparing of sahib before an English name, readily [] confer it upon the descendants of the prophet called meer, such a one, but we are mister-ed and jee-d without ceremony, as being of an inferior order for whom jee is high enough.
We should never lose sight of one object which many of the natives have
in view; when they thrust theirselves into the private assemblies of men
of rank; when they affect to have free ingress to their houses; when they
can use the freedom to loll on their couches, and occasionally are indulged
by a game at chess with them and their families, with their shoes on. This
intercourse, not being altogether consonant to the religious prejudices
of many of the natives, cannot prove agreeable to them; but it serves the
dangerous purpose, to confound their wonder-struck countrymen into the
most abject submission, perceiving the height of insolence and supposed
power to which the monied men have ascended; it is naturally presumed they
could hurl the thunder of influence against any wretch who should be rash
enough to assert his liberty to breathe the vital air in their despite.
It is not enough that the legislature have wisely prohibited presents, as only a modified species of bribery and corruption, when the wealthy natives can still with impunity, and the most pernicious consequences, lend the chief or other officer of a district enormous sums, and can also lose to them whatever they choose at play.
Men long acquainted with Indian affairs, and whose hearts are as sound as their heads are clear, need not be warned of what they themselves will most conscientiously avoid. This is not exactly the case, however, with the inexperienced youth who proceed for Hindoostan to occupy the highest stations in the state, and who, unless put on their guard, may yet split on this latent rock, so obnoxious to the happiness and prosperity of British India, and to the good effects of the salutary laws and regulations, which are or should be blended, framed, and administered, with the liberal and benign spirit of the British constitution, by the several governments in that most fertile and delicious portion of the globe.
A wealthy native having such access to the principal officers of any district as above detailed, has the easiest task imaginable, without the expense of a single douceur, to constitute himself receiver general of bribes for the whole: and to retire in independence, before his unsuspecting protectors could well be aware of his conduct and designs. The wages of corruption here are similar to the gambling debts at home--considered as sacred to honor. The donor is equally bound to conceal with the receiver: whence the difficulty of learning, till too late, [] what a native favourite has been carrying on in his unconscious superior's name. A preventive is surely much better than a cure, for this undermining evil, and should be adopted by every honest man in power as soon as possible.
I have been an eye witness of a whole district in motion to complain of a native magistrate for his rapacity and extortion, but who were silenced in one moment, by the man cunningly managing to procure for his son a khilut, or honorary dress, from the investigating British officer; who unguardedly delivered it to the boy on his waiting upon him. The khilut had been brought on purpose by the father, and was disposed of, as above related, about an hour before his accusers could appear, to bring him if possible to justice. This apparent mark of influence and favor, though so surreptitiously obtained, had the desired effect of appalling the sufferers, they retired, and left their oppressor to chuckle over, and enjoy with impunity, the iniquitous fruits of his own adroitness.
That the indians are adepts in the science of circumvention, no man conversant with them can deny; it behoves all of us, therefore, to prevent their making us the unconscious abettors of their injustice; this they obtain the means of perpetrating, through circuitous channels, and under the most trivial circumstances of real or imaginary ascendancy, with a success equalled only by the effrontery and perseverance exerted by them in all such infamous pursuits. If the hints communicated here and in my other works, shall tend to conduct any of my countrymen with credit and safety through those endless mazes of Hindoostanee tergiversation, to which they must be exposed, I shall consider myself amply repaid for the pains I have not failed to take, as must be evident from my freedom of speech on this interesting theme, involving [] the property and happiness of many millions of our Indian fellow subjects, who are ultimately exposed to greater sufferings by our ignorance and folly than we can possibly encounter therefrom.
The writer of an essay to teach inexperienced youth the art of speaking with propriety, among eastern nations, may surely indulge in a few admonitions on the best modes of acting and thinking also for that attractive portion of the world's great stage, still open to performers in both peaceful and warlike scenes. To regulate or control those passions most prevalent in hot voluptuous climes, on every occasion, is almost a hopeless task, unless strong religious or moral impressions, and a phlegmatic habit from the hand of nature, exactly fitted to receive them, have paved the way to such salutary self-denial as must constantly be made to escape from loathsome, if not fatal, diseases in our oriental colonies, where the example of licentious indulgences is powerful enough to eradicate all those pure principles and precepts which have been previously inculcated under the parental roof of the young emigrant.
Of three evils, at an early period of life, it is my sincere advice that he should prefer the least, if with my counsel he cannot substitute a remedy, during several years, against those very temptations with which every sojourner in Hindoostan is more or less beset. Where innate abilities preside, and can direct the mind to a due cultivation of the fine arts and sciences, by way of recreation from official toils, there let the fortunate possessor direct his intellectual energies; only so far, however, as not to undermine his constitution. When rare talents do not apparently exist, no man should despair of laying out his whole stock, even slender as it may seem on first sight, at a species of compound interest, never losing that confidence inseparable from this idea: all is the gift of industry, [] without whose friendly aid each lofty genius were a barren tree, and fancy's flights a garden full of weeds.
Idleness, on the contrary, is the prolific parent of all vice, and the
insidious assassin of every virtue, especially when cherished in the lap
of a warm delicious region, beneath a vertical sun and cloudless skies,
whose serenity alone is calculated to lull the most vigilant spirit that
ever breathed, to inglorious repose, and into the miseries of life which
follow in her train. Mere animal exercise and motion applied in the most
laudable manner, though wholesome and requisite, are not such powerful
antidotes to vicious propensities as mental exertions and pursuits; every
individual, therefore, must find it a matter of the greatest moment to
his present and future happiness, to mount as speedily as possible some
scientific, professional, useful, or innocent hobby, on which he may ride
with safety, success, and pleasure, the live-long day and every conscious
hour of night; even amidst the luxurious plains of British India, uncorrupted
or defiled by their glaring impurities
In the centre of universal immorality in this instance, or that of general concubinage, many people have lived long enough after their return from the east, to think that the last mentioned resource was ultimately productive of worse consequences than any bodily complaint whatever; the numerous crying sins for which they had thus become responsible, being alone a terrific [=terrifying] idea on this side of time, independent of everlasting punishment, beyond the present state of existence. For their procreation, the last but by no means the least panacea is undoubtedly that of seasonable matrimony, to which it will be wise to fly from the various ills of every other nostrum, being better, in the language of scripture, to marry than to burn with concupiscent oil, that may daily add fuel to the lambent flame in this holy condition, which is the very reverse in all the rest--as most rakes and libertines have found, when too late, to their cost, to counterbalance the increased expense of matrimonial incumbrances. A new stimulus to sobriety and lucrative labour, with additional influence and respect in the eyes of god and man, besides domestic felicity and comfort, occupy the bright side of the picture, and contribute with renovated activity to exalt, embellish, and render society delightful, while an old battered bachelor has to mourn in silence over his lot forlorn, and cheerless passage to the gloomy tomb.
The rigid seclusion of the female sex, by the Asiatics in general, has produced a species of anacreontic poetry, the subjects of which must of course greatly detract from the elegance and beauty otherwise visible in many of those amatory effusions; so striking, indeed, that the great father of orientalism in the west [=Sir William Jones] was fascinated with their charms; and from the total want of sexual terminations and pronouns in the melodious [] Persian, he had it in his power to throw a feminine veil, undiscovered, over the exquisite English translations quoted in his grammar; thus rendered more remarkable for its gay delusive flowers, than its substantial, moral, or even philological fruits.
In the Hindoostanee, no such surreptitious versions can be made without instant detection, through the masculine a and feminine ee, that would be conspicious in every line, were ashiq lover, and muushooq beloved, always what they naturally ought to be among the poets of the east--from whose books one is thence led to believe that the most offensive leaves of the Greek and Latin classics, in this respect, were originally stolen, and unaccountably admired by nations whose fair sex was not immured from the eyes and love of their countrymen, as they have for ages been by the majority of Moosulmans. This practice is not so prevalent among the Hindoos, who consequently, with us, put the subject and object of concupiscent affections in their proper place, in all their love songs and romances; which the Arabians likewise do, but we cannot always say so much in favour of the Persians, Turks, and Indian Mooslims, either as prose or poetical authors.
Should this theme be introduced in conversation with or by a raw dialogist, after his arrival in Hindoostan, let him recollect that he will be treading on slippery ground, and the sooner it is dropt the more readily will he escape those shoals and quicksands which unskilful navigators on the boundless ocean of human speech are apt to encounter, at their own peril, while unprovided with the pilot or monitor whom my readers will discover in these pages; and can steer clear of every danger by using that rational compass now placed at their disposal.
For their guidance through Hindoostanee colloquies of this nature, it is my province to state facts as they absolutely are, [] since it is unfair to distort them, as others have done, to what they should be; a step that, for decency's sake, I also have been obliged to take on various occasions, in the guide and large grammar, which without this intermediate explanation might have misled thoughtless and superficial scholars into a dialogical whirlpool quite out of their depth.
With no pretensions whatever to infallibility in these matters, I avowedly court and here solicit correction from every gentleman who may have reason to believe that facts have been accidentally misstated or wilfully misrepresented by me, in any instance produced in support of my present positions. I shall never think it dishonourable to correct the effects of momentary vexation, to retract opinions founded in error, or change those that cannot be supported by experience, however plausible they may otherwise be. If the Hindoostanees alone be consulted and followed on the shoe and slipper theme, I shall expect no mercy of course, but as a public attack, which can perhaps be repelled, is more honorable than a stab in the dark, common justice and candour require that the arguments adduced on the other side should be published also, they may not be wholly unanswerable: but if they prove so, the hand of charity could never be better employed than in removing the veil of ignorance from the eyes of an author, lest he continue to mislead his successors also, who may treat on the languages, manners, and morality of India.
Having been led beyond my intended limits on the subjects here discussed,
i shall further merely state in the briefest manner such particulars as
still occur to me; first, regarding the propriety of our conduct towards
the natives of Hindoostan; and secondly, in respect to that degree of polite
attention to us, consistently with their notions [] on this subject,
and those marks of respect for the support of our own consequence and relative
rank among them, which we ought by all proper means invariably to exact
from them, with as much of the suaviter in modo as possible.
A little water may be kept on our writing desks to dip the wafer in, and this can be done either by our servants or ourselves; from not attending to an expedient of this sort, we sometimes see a native writer bring, even to his master, a letter with a wafer to be closed by him, with a gesture that seems to say, "though you indelicately oblige me to receive a note from your hands improperly wetted, yet my superiority of nature shall be evident to every by-stander, by my obliging you to perform for me an office, that your very scullion would hesitate to execute!" Such other unexplained circumstances as may be here noted, I must leave entirely to the investigating enquiries of new comers, to enable them fully to understand them.
We should never give a native a letter closed with a wafer wetted, except in water; we should never present [] anything to them with our left hands; nor put pur feet on a chair or table occupied by them; nor in their presence lift up our feet so that the soles of our shoes may face towards them. We should never touch them unnecessarily, especially their beards; nor take off their pugrees, or turbans; this last act being understood by them as an insult, figuratively equal to depriving them of their heads. We should not give them three of any hing, when we can conveniently avoid it, and we should observe that they are not fond of sums in cyphers. A nod of the head from us, as a salute, is much less respectful in their estimation than a courteous motion with our right hands. It has been already explained that the left hand is for this purpose inadmissible; nevertheless, as an expedient of polite necessity, we see their great men at their own durbar or levee constantly keep both hands, going; lest either on the right or on the left, among the number of salutations offered, one might possibly pass unacknowledged.
In the same manner, the sacredness of the beard is waived on solemn occasions, when they ardently invoke each other by it to the performance of some required concession; and the exchange of pugrees is likewise considered the most solemn tie of reciprocal friendship. We should not say to any native kya mangta, literally 'what do you beg?', but kya chahiye, what is necessary? And vice versa: we should say panee, &c. chahiye not mangta, when calling for anything.
We should be cautious of giving to a warfaring follower, or armed servant, an order for the simple chastisement of another, in the terms of maro! For an explanation of the danger of this, and for some particulars regarding the best mode of exacting truth from the natives, I shall subjoin as follows. "The reader must learn that marna, like the verb to smite, has a very equivocal meaning; properly it should signify to kill, being the regular efficient from murna, [] to die; whereas it commonly signifies to beat only; the place, time, and manner it is introduced, serve to illustrate its particular acceptation; but which, however, cannot in every instance be accurately ascertained, without a proper knowledge of the language: an acquisition that in courts martial may sometimes contribute to preserve the life of a fellow creature, and which will always be of use in doing that justic, which is expected from, and is really consistent with, the character of a British officer.
An order, in particular cases, hastily and inconsiderately given, with the verb marna, might be attended with the most fatal consequences; especially if an armed sipahee were inclined to do a rash action, by taking advantage of such an ambiguous command as oosko maro, smite him, to which he might perhaps be impelled, either from a malicious intention to ruin his own officer, or from a desire of revenge on the unfortunate victim to his villany.
If ever such an accident should happen, the decision of a court upon it must almost entirely depend on the knowledge which the members (or the person who acts as interpreter for them) may have of the Hindoostanee language, the advantages, nay, the necessity of an acquaintance with which, from this and many similar circumstances which might be adduced, may be rendered so obvious, as in a great measure to exculpate the author from a charge of presumption, when he ventures to recommend the matter to the serious attention of those whose duty or interest, or inclination, may lead them at any time to be connected with the natives.
It will, however, be impossible for him also to avoid the imputation of being, on this subject, interested and selfish; he therefore candidly avows it in part, but at the same time takes the liberty of observing, that his readers in general, for their own sakes, will in fact be as much interested in a compliance [] with the advice, as his motives can be for submitting it to them.
The little regard which the Asiatics pay to the oaths administered in our courts of justice, is a charge of a very serious nature, and too well founded to have escaped the observation of our learned judges in India; one of whom, Sir William Jones, in an elegant speech to the grand jury, having cautioned our countrymen with regard to this dangerous enormity; it is to be hoped that effectual steps will be taken to prevent perjury in future among the natives, or at all events to punish them in the most exemplary manner, when guilty of a crime that in consequences may often pervert the intention of justice, and stain its sword with the blood of the innocent
I have known many instances where people have sworn by the Qooran, &c., to falsehoods which they have shrunk from when desired to swear by the head of their own child. If religious prejudices operate strongly on the mind, what must they not do when backed by natural affection! A man may sometimes laugh at the fears impressed by the former; hut he must be a savage indeed who can resist the solicitous impulses of the latter. Should this digression have half the effect desired by the author, he will glory in having lent his mite towards a reformation, the want of which now concerns the dearest interests of his countrymen. In cases where the person sworn is not a parent, he will probably have some near and dear relations, as father, wife, &c.
We should not touch any of their culinary utensils, or unecessarily approach their fire places, or enter their cooking apartments; and we should for our own sakes, pay some attention to their prejudices regarding lucky and unlucky days, lest we force them to commence any business on one of the latter, when we are [] obliged to depend, in the slightest degree; on their exertions or zeal in the execution of it.
On the other hand, we should require from the natives not only those external marks of respect which our customs have tendered indispensable (particularly among our menials), but those also, however foreign to our ideas, which they themselves usually bestow on each other. Their wearing their shoes in our houses as a mark of their high disrespect for us, has been, I trust, already sufficiently discussed; while they are suffered to do so, all our other attention to impressive dignity, so highly proper in our official as well as relative capacities, must, I fear, go for nothing in their estimation.
The insolence of their mode of sometimes addressing us with the singular pronoun "too," " tuen," may be thus explained: too, tuen, as in English, are generally used to indicate solemnity, familiarity, or contempt: but as the two latter are most frequently implied or understood in common discourse, it is rather surprising that servants, sipahees, &c. should be allowed to take such advantage of their masters' ignorance of the language and customs of the country, as to too and tera them on every occasion: a liberty they dare not take with one another, and which ought not on any account to be suffered by us.
I cannot help recommending this subject to the attention of the company's officers, as they will generally find that the Rajpoots, &c. who pride themselves on their cast most, are the people that are aptest to be insolent and disrespectful in this way. Did the mischief end here, it would not be so bad; but what are the poor Buniyas or rueyuts, who may accidentally be present, to think of an officer who suffers a soldier under his command to sirrah him with impunity; and may not the sipahee who does so, take some advantage afterwards of the conseqence thus gained, at the expense perhaps of his [] superior, or the people standing by, when the former may be absent, and the latter under his (the sipahee's) controul?
When an inferior thou's his superior, the following reproof will silence him immediately:- ube too khubur-dar ho hum se tooá- taá jo kub,hee p.her kare tou too khoob mar k,ha ega; hum teree uesee be udubee se hurgiz burdasht nu kuringe; which I shall English thus; 'take thou care, sirrah, if ever thou thou'esit us again, thou shalt be severely punished; we shall never put up with such insolence from thee.'
After what had been observed above, it is incumbent to me to mention, that in some cases too and tera may be very properly used by an inferior. thus, u,e áaá¸ ib mueá tera ghoolam hooá o too mera khawind hue jo chahiye so mooj,he keejiye.' 'O! sir, I am thy slave, and thou art my master; do with me as seemeth good unto thee.' Here is absolute obedience and resignation to the will of the person, and therefore it could neither have been so properly expressed by toomhara, your, and toom, you; nor can it possibly be considered as disrespectful.
If a man be not anxious to preserve the respect and attention due to his station as an individual, it is not likely that he will be very solicitous about the consequence and dignity of his country and nation; though surely nothing can be more destructive to subordination and discipline, than that the meanest Indian soldier should have the audacity to address a British officer in the language of contempt, and that the latter should either be so ignorant or so indifferent as to submit to an insult derogatory in a great degree to both his rank and his understanding. A native, on being checked for the disrespect in question, from a consciousness of having committed a fault, will immediately change his mode of address to "ap," or "ap ka," "your honour," and so on.
We should enquire into the cast, or relative rank among themselves, of our servants [] of all descriptions, and be careful that none are admitted to attendance upon us, in capacities that may lower us in the estimation of the surrounding natives. Acts of un-cleanliness in our servants we should firmly reprehend; and even lead them to believe our delicacy on these points to be founded on something more than mere squeamishness of appetite; since it is of religious purity alone that they on this score can form any adequate idea.
An observation here occurs that may be worthy the consideration of the
zealous missionaries of our holy religion. It is a fact, that Hindoo proselytes
to the Moohummudun faith have been made, and not unfrequently among families
of rank and consideration in the country; while the Christian doctrines
have failed among all classes, except those whose example is more likely
to deter than lead the great body of the people. Yet the Roman Catholic
missionaries have tried the allurement of a sufficient mixture of eastern
pomp and pageantry in their religious ceremonies: but the less objectionable
though, for the end desired, the more effectual innovation of giving to
moral purity a religious basis, has been totally overlooked, or spurned
at as altogether inconsistent with the doctrines taught by them to the
Servants often conceive that, paying a necessary degree of respect to their own masters, they are exempt from all deference to other gentlemen; hence their unrestrained noisy impertinence before strangers; their replying to enquiries sitting, and often smoking; with other instances of marked disrespect, in the absence of their masters. A grave and dignified rebuke will ever have the wished-for effect, without further trouble, on occasions of this kind: We should however carefully check every tendency to instances of this species of impertinence which we may observe in our own servants.
I shall conclude this article with a solemn, but humble word of advice in behalf of the lower classes of my own countrymen, in which humanity and policy are equally concerned. When public duty calls upon gentlemen to deliver a european offender into Hindoostanee custody, it behoves them to enjoin his keepers in the most pointed manner to afford him that humane treatment to which every prisoner of whatever nation is entitled; it is, I fear, too usual with the natives to take opportunities of this kind for the practice of every indignity, and the exercise of every species of unprovoked cruelty, that the pretence of a struggle for liberty will in any measure justify. We should therefore minutely sift into matters of this kind, where the prisoner has reason to conceive himself ill-used: and at the same time that we point out to him the inefficacy and ill consequences to himself of refractoriness, he should ever meet a ready justice, in the punishment of any unnecessary harshness with which it may appear he has been treated.