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'He left His Father's throne above;
'Long my imprisoned nature lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
I woke; the dungeon flamed with light;
'No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the Eternal Throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.'
THE ENGLISHMAN IN INDIA.
BY CHARLES RAIKES,
SOMETIME COMMISSIONER OF LAHORE.
HAVELOCK.-THE SIKHS AND THE PUNJAB.
HAVELOCK, finding himself once again in cantonments, with only a life of regimental routine before him, set to work as in former days to teach the private soldiers of his regiment. His friends hinted to him that it was impossible for a man to be both saint and soldier at once, and that he would never obtain any worldly distinction so long as he would persist in preaching to his men. His answer was modest but firm. 'I humbly trust that I should not change my opinions and practice, though it rained garters and coronets as the rewards of apostasy.'
About this time he made an attempt to obtain the rank of major by purchase. This attempt failed, and he worked on at his regimental duty until Sir Hugh Gough, coming out as Commander-in-Chief, placed Havelock on his staff as Persian Interpreter.* He now had his usual good fortune in the matter of fighting, and soon found himself once again in the battle-field, taking an active part in a campaign against the Mahrattas. After the victory of Maharaj poor, head-quarters retired to the cool mountain-tops at Simla, and Havelock had a little rest.
*This appointment, be it remarked, was after all due, not to Havelock's long and eminent services, but to the solicitations of an influential friend.
In June, 1844, Lord Ellenborough was recalled. His successor, Sir Henry Hardinge, a Peninsular veteran, came out determined on a career of peace. But Broadfoot, who had been wisely chosen by the late Governor-General to take charge of our frontier on the north-west, bid him prepare for war; and Broadfoot was right, for war was inevitable, and such a war as British India had never seen before.
Here I must stay the thread of Havelock's history for a time, whilst I describe in few words the people with whom we were now about to strive for the mastery of India, and the country which they inhabit.
I remember, about the time when Broadfoot warned the GovernorGeneral of impending war, whilst presiding at a rent audit dinner on behalf of an absent relation, I described a certain wonderful double shot that I had once made at antelopes.
'Antelopes!' said the farmer I was addressing. 'Antelopes! never heard tell of them birds in this country!'
There was a general laugh at poor Hodges' expense. Now, if instead of this veritable romance about antelopes I had told my friend that I had just come from the Punjab, and he had said, 'Never heard tell of the Punjab before,' nobody would have wondered. The people of England had seldom heard of the great country of the five rivers, or of the bold race of Sikhs who held sway therein.
Since 1845, however, the Punjab has left its mark plainly enough upon the history of our nation. Every well-instructed Englishman has heard of the great victories of Sobraon and Gujerat, of the great capitals of Amritsur and Lahore, and of the great monarch, Runjeet Singh. In some families the word Punjab calls up the flush of honest pride, as they point to honours fairly won in that distant field. In many English homes it is written over with mourning, lamentation, and woe, as the grave of husband, son, or brother.
The Punjab is so named from the Persian words, Punj, (five,) and Ab, (water.) It is the country of the five rivers, which, rising amidst the snows of Chinese Tartary, or cleaving the glaciers of the Himaleyeh mountain chain on the north-east, between the parallels of North Lat. 30° and 35°,* sooner or later join their streams near the town of Mithunkote with a sixth river, the Indus, as it flows boldly through Scinde to the Indian Ocean. These five,† or rather six rivers, then, form the boundaries of five large tracts of country. Each tract being bounded by two rivers, and called Doab, or two waters.
The traveller from Hindostan, say from Delhi, following the great line of rail and high-road from Calcutta to Peshawur, would enter the Punjab on crossing the Sutlej River, (at Philour,) and pass into the rich Julundur Doab. Thence, after leaving the Julundur cantonments, he
71° and 76° East Long., the centre being about the same as Cairo or New Orleans.
Satlej-Hesudrus of Pliny. Beas-Hyphasis. Ravec-Hydraotes. ChenabAcesines. Jhelum-Hydaspes.
would cross the Beas into the Doab formed by that river and the Ravee, (Baree Doab,) the home of the Manjha, or mid-country Sikhs. Between the Beas and the Ravee he would pass first Amritsur, the commercial capital of the Punjab, with its population of some hundred thousand of souls, and then Lahore, the political capital, with almost as many inhabitants as Amritsur.
On leaving Lahore, still with his face to the north-western frontier, the traveller at once crosses the Ravee and enters the Rechnab (Ravee and Chenab) Doab. Crossing this tract, he comes through Goojeranwalla ; and leaving the large cantonment of Sealkote on the right, reaches Wuzeerabad, and passes on to cross the bridge of boats over the Chenab river into the Chuch (Chenab and Jhelum) Doab.
Then passing through Jhelum, and crossing the river of that name, he comes to the Doab called Sinde-Sagur, and finds his course at last arrested on the left bank of the mighty Indus, where, near Attock, a tunnel is being made under that river to carry the traveller onwards to Peshawur. At Peshawur there is a commanding force stationed to guard the frontier of the British Empire from the rough tribes of Affghanistan.
It was by a journey the reverse of that which I have just been tracing that Alexander invaded India. And it is worthy of note, that the self-same policy which enabled him to fight his way down has enabled us to fight our way up to the Punjab. He was the first to lead a compact European army across this tract of country, and to train the men of Asia to conquer their own country and people. Alexander the Great was, in short, the first Sepoy General, and the Punjab was one of the scenes of his greatest success.
Such being the geographical features of the country, I must say a few words as to the climate. English people generally picture their cousins in India at all seasons sitting in white jackets, or no jackets at all, under the punkah, with their feet on the table, sipping brandy pawnee, and perspiring at every pore. This sketch may suit the latitude of Calcutta, Madras, or Bombay, but will not do for Lahore. A stout overcoat and a blazing fire is as much wanted from November to March in the Punjab as in England. My house at Lahore, built by Sir John Lawrence, had two fire-places in drawing and dining-room. I have seen a shepherd in the month of March asleep on the ground, his black blanket covered with hoar-frost. In short, from October to May the climate of the Punjab is charming; to use my own words : (Notes on the Northwestern Provinces of India)
We allow the physical privations and sufferings of cutcherry work, in the hot season, to be severe; but when the sun gives some respite, there are many enjoyments in store for the man of simple tastes and contented mind. Then is the time to sally out into the fields amongst the people. Amidst their villages, under the shade of the tent or mango grove, the wanderer may almost forget that he is in a strange land. India need not, and cannot, rival England in our affections. We miss the hill and dale, the steaming pasture, the clear trout-stream, of our native land; still we may rejoice in the rural beautics of a less-favoured scene. The freshness of an Indian morning in the cold season may charm us, if only by contrast. 'Tis true we wake not to the carol of the thrush, nor to the voice of newly-wakened herds 'lowing across the meadow;' our morning dreams are not mixed up with the sound of the gardener's early scythe under our window. But, none the less, we wake to a glorious morn. The air is clear and frosty; the dew glistens on the broad fields of springing wheat and barley; all nature seems instinct with life and joy. A mixed sound—the shouts of the villagers watching their crops, or driving their cattle to the field, the barking of their dogs, the shrill cries of their children-come sweeping down the morning breeze; nearer still is the chorus of birds, amidst which, the plaintive silvery note of the dove rises ever clear and long. Man and horse seem alike inspirited by the fresh breath of the morning as we gallop along, throwing care to the winds. Mornings so passed, in exercise or rural sport, days under the trees or in the cheerful tent, the village people crowding round to claim our care and protection-time thus spent flies fast and well! Each day to see some old feud reconciled, some village strife composed, some benefit conferred upon a grateful people-yes ; life in Upper India may be pleasant enough; at least from October to May, if not from May to October.
However, from the end of May to September the plains of the Punjab are furnace-like. The rains, which in other parts of India cool the air, are scanty and uncertain, and the atmosphere unsufferably hot, the very crows holding their beaks open in the vain hope of getting a little fresh air.
The soil of the Punjab well repays the labour of the Jāt peasant, who with the aid of well-irrigation grows cotton, indigo, flax, wheat, and barley. In the dry season, the creaking sound of the Persian waterwheel may be heard all through the night. The salt-mines of the SindSagur Doab are famous throughout Hindostan. The manufactures are not extensive; but the wrought silks of Mooltan, and the iron inlaid with gold of Sealkote, display both the taste and industry of the people. The strong cotton cloths of the Punjab are cheaper and more durable than those of Manchester. The noble plain which I have been describing, with an area of fifty-nine thousand square miles, and a population of some ten millions, is bounded on the north and east by mountain-ranges, which rise two and three miles into the air, and possess every variety of climate, and every kind of natural produce. Of these mountains I may say more hereafter. Now for a few words about the Sikhs.
* I have still my Indian thermometer marked at 87°. If my drawing-room was kept at this temperature in the north-west provinces by dint of wet mats of grass and machines called thermantidotes, I was content. But when I went to the Punjab, I was obliged to accept 90° as the hot weather standard.
In the early part of the fifth century the Scythian Getes (the Játs or Juts of modern India) invaded the Punjab. From the banks of the Oxus and Jaxartes, from the regions west of the Indus, down came these military colonists, the most conspicuous tribe of ancient Asia from the days of Cyrus, and the most stalwart men of India at the present hour. These Jāts form the bulk of the agricultural peasantry of the Punjab. Many hare become nominally Mahomedan; and they are to be found, some as Hindoos, and some as followers of Mahomed, on both sides of the Sutlej.
About A.D. 685, the Mahomedan invasions of India began, and the Punjab became for centuries the battle-field of Hindoos and Mahomedans, or the pathway for Caliphs, Turks, Persians, Affghans, and Mongul Tartars, on their way to Delhi, intent upon proselytism and plunder.
Amidst this tumult of arms, and from the very flame of persecution, arose the gentle voice of a poor Hindoo, calling upon both Hindoos and Mahomedans to forget their strife, and to adore the one Supreme Being.
Nanuk, the son of a Hindoo trader, was born in 1469 on the banks of the Beas. Leaving early the petty shop of his father, he led for some years a wandering or ascetic life. At length he returned home to preach alike to all the Lord of lords, the One God, the Almighty. Declaring that he had failed to find the Deity in the sacred books of either Hindoo or Mahomedan, he solemnly called upon all men to seek after the true God, to practise good works, and to seek the favour of the Almighty.
The earnest voice of the reformer was not without effect. Many followers, calling themselves Sikhs or Disciples, attached themselves to Nanuk and his simple habit of life. The sect thus founded by a Hindoo devotee was increased by masses of the agricultural Jāts. Guroo Gobind, a succesor of Nanuk, set to work to found a kingdom of Jāts, devoted to arms, ever wearing steel, from Sikhs or Disciples, converted into Singhs or Lions, with flowing hair, and with the inspiring war-cry, 'Wah Guru jee ke Khalsa !' or, “Success to the State of the Guru ! ever on their lips.
In the eighteenth century, two hundred years after the death of Nanuk, we find the Sikhs as soldier-robbers, swarming in the country round Lahore and Amritsur. During the invasion of Nadir Shah, these rough Singhs played just the same part round Lahore which the Goojur and other robber tribes enacted round Delhi during the late mutiny. Gathering into small bands, they looted stragglers from the Persian army, and the wealthy citizens who fled from Nadir's approach; just as the Goojurs about Delhi, in 1857, plundered Englishman and Sepoy alike.
When the officers of the Mogul and the Affyhans had abandoned the Sirhind and Laliore provinces, the Sikhs remained undisputed masters of the Punjab. Like the Saxons over England, like the Franks under Clovis over Gaul, so spread the Lion Warrior Sikh tribe over the