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officer who is interpreter, a more pleasing and active situation than the latter, and a -kind of " set off” against the sedentary hours passed in the trial of prisoners.
Mr. Hume mentions“ European serjeants who had acquired considerable intelligence in the Hindoostanee;" but if Mr. H. had ever heard these serjeants stammer out their smattering of the native tongue, I am sure he would laugk. Men who do not even know the thirty-two characters of the alphabet, and use one word for another, should not be ranked before a body of officers who have acquired the language grammatically, and in the Persian character, which is the way it is taught in India, and the way it ought to be taught every where.
When I went to France, at the age of fifteen, I scarcely knew a word of French, although I had been learning it seven years in England, so different did it sound when spoken on the continent: but I was able to comprehend a Frenchman in three months there. And thus, I conceive, it will be with all those who learn Hindoostanee in the English character : when they arrive in India, notwithstanding the acknowledgments of some, who profess to be well acquainted with it by means of the latter.
There never was such a fact, as that “ the Government of India, seeing the lamentable state of ignorance which prevailed among the European officers there, had been obliged to appoint an interpreter to every regiment.” The new rank of interpreter was instituted, as I have already said, as a relief to adjutants of regiments, as a reward to our distinguished army, as an additional staff appointment to excite industry and emulation among the junior officers, as an extra emolument to help those poor fellows who were in debt and backward in promotion, and last, but not least, as a highly necessary office in the present enlarged and improved state of the British native army. Such were some of the reasons adduced in the “ general order” which established that rank.
Mr. R. Jackson is in as great an error on the subject as Mr. Hume. Mr. J. says,
“if every officer understood the language, there would be no occasion for interpreters.” The truth is, the officers have nothing to do with the interpreters now they are established, nor are they in any way“ a medium of communication between the officers and the natives.” And “ each of the officers composing the courts-martial are able to understand all that is said in the native language,” because they are native soobadars and jemadars. - “Every court-martial has the benefit of an interpreter,” because, as I have already shewn, he sits in and conducts every regimental court.
There are subordinate courts, called “ detachment courts-martial,” which are assembled at out-posts when the interpreter is at head-quarters; but the experienced subaltern conducts them agreeably to the established rules of the service. Thus, when I pàs on command, and in a case of emergency, I received a special order from head-quarters to try a prisoner in a court composed of my owri native officers, viz. a soobadar and two jemadars. I wrote the proceedings-in English, and forwarded them to head-quarters for confirmation, when two alditional drummers were sent from thence to assist mine at the punishment, at which a native doctor attended.
So far from our Government not“ watching over the life of a fellow-creature;" even the most trifling sentence of a court must not be inflicted until the proceedinge has been confirmed at head-quarters, and sometimes, instead of an order for punishment, a pardon comes back, Asiatic Journ. Vol. XXI. No. 123. 3 B
It is so generally known, “that the native language can be best acquired in India,” that I should not have noticed it here, but to advert to a pecuniary reward which the Madras Government formerly granted to young officers for passing an examination. I believe it was 500 rupees for each language, and it was the only resource many officers had of wiping off their debts, and I, for one, sincerely regret that Government ever did it away; for although the officers of the army could converse fluently in Hindoostanee, yet “there never was a period in our rule in India, in which the native languages were so superiorily understood by them.” An honourable desire to pay their debts was what induced numbers to study several languages, nor did the stimulantmoney, quench the natural desire for that glory which “ actuates the members of the Madras army.”
I think Mr. Hume is under a great error when he says, but it is well known that, in the Madras regiments, the native officers were obliged to act as interpreters for their European officers.” If such has been the case with one regiment, I must infer that that regiment was unusually long in garrison at the presidency, where the natives may pick up a little English ; but I do not know a corps of native officers who understand English sufficiently to assist an ignorant ensign. I know that our young men, on joining the corps, had the usual reports made to them, and when they did not perfectly understand the reporters, their own native officer, or any other present, would take pains to explain it in Hindoostanee, more deliberately than a havildar or writer ; but there was not a native officer in our corps who knew a word of English except the words of command at drill.
I am much inclined to think that Mr. Hume's information comes from a King's officer, among which class there is a good deal of ill-feeling towards the Company's service, on the score of not sharing the staff appointments; but he who would foment discord between the two services is no patriot. If the King's officers must share, let it be in such staff appointments as have no connexion with the native troops or commissariat.
The sebundy corps belongs to the civil service, and I believe their privates are not under martial law, but are punished at the discretion of their own soobadars and jemadars; they are not officered by English officers, and consequently cannot require interpreters. The battalion of kolkars, and many other irregular troops, are governed in the same manner: the golandauze and artillery are regular troops, subject to the Articles of War, and cannot be tried without an interpreter or judge-advocate.
In the Madras army there are always several candidates (who are well acquainted with Hindoostanee) for every vacant staff appointment that occurs. This is one great stimulus to the junior officers ; and I wish Mr. Hume would exert his influence for the restoration of the pecuniary rewards abroad; it would be another stimulus, and a humane one.
I fear I have already extended my information to too great a length; I forward it, however, for insertion in the Asiatic Journal, and remain,
Sir, your's, &c. Colchester, Feb. 15, 1826.
A Madras RETIRED OFFICER.
Ritvirw of Books.
Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol. i, Part ii. 1826.
Pp. 155-382. This second pledge of the labours of the Royal Asiatic Society, we have no doubt, will be as cordially welcomed by oriental scholars, both at home and abroad, as the first part, which made its appearance at the beginning of last year. It is, as the reader will perceive, considerably larger in bulk, and it possesses, in our opinion (without meaning the least disparagement to the valuable contents of the preceding part), a superior degree of interest. As we cannot afford space for any prefatory remarks, we shall proceed at once to give an epitome of its contents.
The initial article is an Analytical Account of the Pancha Tantra, illustrated with occasional translations,” by Horace Hayman Wilson, Esq., Secretary to the Asiatic Society of Bengal. This very excellent article, which affords an elucidation of the ancient manners of the Hindus by an analysis of some of their most entertaining and popular stories, we have already made our readers acquainted with,* and laid under contribution; we shall therefore confine our extracts, on the present occasion, to some of the introductory observations of the author, on the origin of fabulous composition.
It is now too late to inquire, whether we are to consider Persia as the birth-place of fictitious narrative: for, if such narrative was cultivated there, it must have been clad in the Pahlevi language; and both body and dress are irrecoverably lost.
We must, therefore, be content to admit the claims of the Hindus, amongst whom we may trace the original of much that has interested, and amused, our forefathers and ourselves.
The oldest collection of fables and tales, of the class here intended, is the work that passes by the title of the Fables of Bidpai, or Pilpay. The history of this work is too well known to require any elucidation. Mr. Wilkins, and Sir William Jones, brought to light its original, from amongst the bidden stores of Sanscrit literature; and Mr. Colebrooke gave the text itself of the Hitópadésa to the public. The learning and industry of the Baron de Sacy have finally traced the work through all its stages ; and there are few subjects of investigation, the history of which has been more successfully ascertained, than the bibliographical adventures of the salutary instructions of Vishnusarml, or Fables of Pilpay.
Although the stories of the Hitópadésa are undoubtedly identical with most of those, which are found in all the forms of Pilpay's fables, yet it has been clearly shewn by Mr. Colebrooke, that it is not the source from which its successors have been directly derived. It is, in fact, itself but a scion of the same parent stock, and in common with the rest, originates, as it indeed admits, from an older collection, the Pancha Tantra. The text of this work is not very rare in India, and it were therefore to have been wished, that it had been selected for translation, in preference to the Hitópadésa ; but the opportunity has passed. The identity of the two works, for the greater part, renders the translation of both a work of supererogation : and, fully as the topic has been developed, it is likely that the main defect will long continue to mutilate it, at the very outset.
The deficiency has, in some measure, been supplied by the sketch, given by Mr. Colebrooke, of the contents of the Pancha Tantra ; but, as his chief object was only to substantiate the greater affinity between it and the Kalila Damana, than between the Arabic work and the Hitópadésa, he has not prosecuted its details farther than was sufficient to effect his purpose. In the want, therefore, of a full analysis, and in the little likelihood that exists, of a translation of the entire work being now published, it has been presumed that a more minute account of the Pancha Tantra, than has yet been given to the world, will not be an unacceptable communication to the Royal Asiatic Society of London.
published, * See the article, p. 189.
The second article is entitled “ Inscriptions upon rocks in South Bihár, described by Dr. Buchanan Hamilton, and explained by Henry Thos. Colebrooke, Esq.” These inscriptions are found amongst the fac-similes collected, with other antiquities, by Dr. Hamilton, whilst engaged in statistical researches in the Bengal provinces. The first inscription is taken from a rock named Taraehandi, near Sahasram, in South Bihár, dated 1229 Sanvat (A.D. 1173); and is the same appealed to by Mr. St. George Tucker as an evidence that the people of Bengal not only possessed private property in land, but resisted their sovereign's attempt to usurp their possessions.* The inscription contains the protest of a chieftain named Pratapa Dhávala Deva, bearing the title of Raja of Japila, against the usurpation of two villages by certain Brahmins, under colour of a grant surreptitiously obtained from the Raja of Canouj, the celebrated Vijaya Chandra, or Jaya-Chaud. The denunciation or protest is first expressed in verse (in two stanzas of the Vasanta-tilaca metre) and is then repeated in prose. The following is Mr. Colebrooke's translation :
“ Pratápa dhavala, wholly divine (déva), possessor of happily risen and celebrated glory, addresses his own race. In these villages, contiguous to Calahandi, that contemptible ill copper (grant], which has been obtained by fraud and bribery, from the thievish slaves of the sovereign of Gadhinagara, by priests sprung from Suvalluhala : there is no ground of faith to be put therein by the people around. Not a bit of land, so much as a needle's point might pierce, is theirs.
“ Samval 1229. Jyéshtha badi 3d Wednesday. “ The feet of the sovereign of Japila, the great chieftain, the fortunate Pratápa dhavala déva, declare the truth to his sons, grandsons, and other descendants sprung of his race : this ill copper (grant] of the villages of Calahandi and Badayitá, obtained by fraud and bribery, from the thievish slaves of the fortunate Vijaya Chandra, the king, sovereign of Canyacubja by Swalluhaniya folks: no faith is to be put therein. Those priests are every way libertines. Not so much land, as might be pierced by a needle's point, is theirs. Knowing this, you will take the share of produce and other dues; or destroy.”
“ (Signature) of the great Rujaputra (king's son), the fortunate SATRYGHMA." This inscription, it appears, was strangely interpreted by the Pundit attached to the survey in which Dr. Hamilton was engaged. He supposed the chieftain, Pratapa Dhavala, to premise an intention of commemorating his descendants, and to proceed to the mention of Vijaya Chandra, proprietor of Canyacubja, or Canouj, and Satraghna, son of the Maharaj: whence Dr. Hamilton was led to infer that Vijaya Chandra was son of Pratapa Dhavala! This circumstance should teach Europeans not to rely implicitly upon the versions which even pundits give of what is written in their sacred language.
Mr. Colebrooke observes that the style of the protest is singular; and he adds that it serves to show that the paramount dominion of Canouj extended to the mountains of South Bihar, and presents an instance of the characteristic turbulence of Indian feudatories.
There are two more inscriptions which possess no other chronological value, but as they corroborate one, possessing more historical interest, noticed in the Asiatic Researches, vol. ix, p. 441. The third and fourth articles may be classed together : they relate to an inscription- upon marble at Madhucarghar, and three grants inscribed on copper,* found at Ujjayani, or Ujein. The communication is from Major Tod; to which are added notes and translations of the grants by Mr. Colebrooke. Fac-similes of the three copper-plates, beautifully printed from stone, are appended to the volume.
inscription * See Asiatic Journ., last vol., p. 823.
These documents are of material importance to history, as they fix, it appears from the comments of Major Tod, the period of the celebrated Prarara or Puar dynasty, one of the most distinguished of the royal races of India, and including the celebrated Chandragupta, or Sandracottus of the Greek historians. Some writers have even identified the name of Porus with that of Puar, but this rests alone upon the very uncertain basis of slight etymological resemblance.
The historical dissertation with which Major Tod has accompanied this communication, discovers great diligence of research and extensiveness of reading. Mr. Colebrooke's account of these inscriptions, prefixed to his translation, we here insert, to show more distinctly the result to which these documents have led :
One of these grants or patents, records a donation of land made by the reigning sovereign of Dhárá, on the anniversary of the death of his father and predecessor, in 1191 of the Samvat era; confirmed by the prince, his son, at the time of an eclipse of the moon, in Srávána 1200 Samvat. It appears from calculation that a lunar eclipse did occur at the time; viz. on the 16th day of July A.D. 1144, about 94 P.M. apparent time, at Ujjayani.
This date, so authenticated, becomes a fixed point, whence the period, in which the dynasty of sovereigns of Dhára flourished, may be satisfactorily computed. The series of four princes, wliose names are found in these patents, two of them anterior to A.D. 1134 (1190 Samvat), and two of them subsequent to that date (for the anniversary of Nará varma's funeral rites in 1191, determines his demise in 1190 Samvat ;) may be taken to extend from the latter part of the eleventh century of the Christian era to near the close of the twelfth. It is carried retrospectively, through a line of three more princes, to Sindhu, grandfather of Rájá Bhója, by the marble at Madhucara-ghar, and other evidence; as shown by Major Tod.
The earliest of the three patents inscribed upon copper, which were procured by Major Tod at Ujjayani, bears the date of 3d Mágha sudi 1192 Samvat, answering to January A.D. 1137. It has the signature of Yas'óvarma déva, who, in the preceding year, 1191 Samvat, had made a donation of land on the anniversary of the demise of his father, Nara varma déva, which was confirmed (apparently in Yasóvarma's lifetime), by his son, Lacshmi varma déva, in 1200 Samvat : as above noticed. The latest of the three grants is by his successor Jaya varma déva, and, being incomplete, exhibits no date. Both these patents agree in deducing the line of succession from Udayáditya déva, predecessor of Nara varma. There is consequently this series perfectly authenticated :
Nara varma déva
Jaya varma déva. Lacshmi varma déva. The fifth article is entitled “ Some Account of a Secret Association in China, entitled the Triad Society.” By the late Dr. Milne. This paper
contains * This is a practice conformable to the Hindu law, which directs that such grants should either be written on silk, or inscribed on corper.