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MADHOO ROW, A TALE OF MALABAR.
One of the most profitable sources of re- rity for the payment of their rent, the subject venue to the East India Company, in their of the following sketch was selected by them Eastern possessions, is derived from the mo- as the most desirable person to command a nopoly of tobacco, an article considered as an body of peons, amounting to between two absolute necessity by the Hindoos, and the and three hundred, which was raised for the consumption of which is consequently greater prevention of smuggling. Madhoo Row had than can be imagined. When the soil will long been known to the police as a most desadmit of it, the poorest ryot portions off a perate and reckless character; proud of being corner of the land he rents, for the cultivation a Mahratta, despising every other caste but of this odious and tooth-colouring weed. his own, possessing all the qualities of his Long ere the day dawns, the glow-worm countrymen, brave, crafty, and overbearing ; lights of hundreds of cigars are seen dancing ready to commit every sort of violence and through the streets of the villages; and if it excess, and far more willing to wield the sword were not for the well-known effect of the leaf in a bad cause, and live upon plunder, than upon the nasal nerves, the Anglo-Indian, as have recourse to the honourable and ample he steals out thus early for his morning ride, means which he possessed through his family. might romantically conjure the lights into a Over the undisciplined body intrusted to him, few lingering fire-fies retiring to their“ home and which included men of every faith, he posof rest,” which is generally found among the sessed a power that was as wonderful as it was leaves and tender shoots of the feathery bam- alarming; the bigoted Bundoola, the brave boos which skirt the villages.
Rajpoot, the marauding Pindarrey, the crafty At one of the principal stations in that far- but daring Mahratta, Hindoos of the highest away land, where the worldly wealth of man caste, even the proud Mahommedan,-all is pretty accurately ascertained by the defi- were subservient, and ready to execute his ciency of his liver, or the depth of mulliga- slightest wish. As he was now quite indetawney colouring in his complexion-the pendent of the police, and still smarting exclusive right of sale of tobacco for the year under several checks his lawless life had ex18—, had been rented to Ragavah Chitty and perienced, he rather sought to brave the Velepah Moodily, two rich native merchants. government officers than to conciliate them ; According to the written agreement entered to show his own power, more than to serve into by them with the local government, it was
his employers. He never moved abroad understood that they had the power of employ- without an armed body of these revenue ing any number of peons*, for the prevention peons attached to his person. His Arab horse of smuggling, that they might deem necessary. was caparisoned as if it belonged to a naEven in England this power is sometimes tive nobleman; shouts were raised by his fol. abused, and is frequently the cause of the most lowers as he passed through the villages, and dreadful affrays; but in India, where the dis- where respect was not shown to him by the tinction of caste holds such strange sway over inhabitants, houses were ransacked, under the the mind of the idolater, and the unlimited pretence of discovering contraband goods, use of bang t is rather encouraged, the un- caste, sex, and feelings were disregarded, lawful acts that have been perpetrated by and property, sometimes life, fell a victim to revenue peons in the service of private in- his remorseless and cruel spirit. Complaints dividuals, under the pretext of detecting were made to the magistrates; by perjured smugglers, is hardly to be credited; particu- witnesses he refuted them. Admonitions were larly when it is considered that they are offered ; they were spurned. His employers under the jurisdiction of English law, and were advised by government to check his are subject to the same punishment that ever daring career; he soothed and deceived them should await the murderer.
by promises, which were too easily listened to As soon as government had obtained from by those who were well aware that they, in a Ragavah Chitty and Velepah Moodily secu- great ineasure, benefited by acts which im
proved the sale of their property, and struck
terror into the heart of the smuggler. Once + A kind of coarse opium, made fr a small plant,
had Madhoo Row been brought to the bar on called in Tamul, ganger chudoy.
a charge of murder, and it was only owing to
* An armed servant.
a doubt existing in the surgeon's mind (one own; you I would not harm; you are my of the witnesses produced on the trial) as to world, the Swarga * to which my thoughts whether the deceased died of the wounds turn; the only thing I love." received from the prisoner, or in consequence “ My soul, my life,” she replied, “praise of his native medical attendant being deficient be to Parumahl for preserving you; my eyes in knowledge, that the life of this daring cul- are again made bright by your presence ; prit was preserved: this the jury specified in long has your place been empty. I am now their verdict, and this the judge made known from the Pagoda at Meilapoor, where I to Madhoo Row upon his discharge, beseeching made a vow to Iswaran to make over to her him to beware in future ; and concluding his temple all I possess, if I was again permitted address in the following impressive words:- the happiness of beholding those blessed feet “ Prisoner, you are at liberty ; but, ere you which are the true flowers of Niluphart; hapleave the court, let His word sink deep into piness is mine from this moment. Do not your heart—whose word is law to the Hindoo think I have not watched you
left as well as to the Englishman : He who yonder hated city, and longed to cheer the sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood heart of sorrow by the tongue of consolation ; be shed.'”
but fear fell coldly upon me, for it is against The last words of the judge were still your caste for woman to venture on your ringing in his ears, and an impression of thoughts." gloomy foreboding had settled upon his “ Feared! caste! what words are these, my manly and expressive countenance, as he Sita ? dust be upon my house! Am I to stood under the shade of some far spreading make no sacrifice for you—who have given banyan trees near his home, unconscious of up the brother you loved--a caste even where he was. This was a much loved spot; greater than my own—and for whom? A for often on the calm night had he sat and hated, despised”listened to the outpourings of the heart of one “Hush, beloved Madhoo Row; have you so who, on his account, had sacrificed her caste, soon forgotten your flower of Aruli, who is less character, and family; he was all in all to than the least ? Still I am guilty, dearest, her, and she loved him with the warmth and for long ere you reached the areka grove fondness of a woman; even then she watched that bounds the Lotus Lake, your steps were him, had followed him, and had waited long watched, and the earth you had pressed beand patiently to attract his attention. The came a book, whereon my eyes pored, trying neighing of his favourite steed Ulmas* started to read your thoughts; but come and rest, him from his reverie, and now that an oppor- while I pluck sweet Mogray flowers and tunity offered itself, she stretched forth her luscious Champa, for an offering to the God clasped hands towards his feet, a gesture ex
that hath restored thee to me.” pressive of respect, and said, “ Dandam arya, Luchsmi Sita was the orphan daughter of (health to my lord,) may Luchsmi Sita, who a rigid and respected Brahmin, and was left loves you, approach ?” The single word“ Asir- at the age of sixteen in the charge of a brovadam," (benediction,) with a slight wave of ther, a few years older than herself, who was the hand, betokened compliance, and the next as strict and proud of his caste as he was moment the timid but lovely Hindoo was in fond of his sister : his love almost amounted the arms of the dreaded Madhoo Row. to romance, and was unlike what is usually
“ The steps of my flower of Arulit are pros- expressed by the Hindoos, who display little perous !" said the chief;“ but whence comest or no affection for their relations, unless thou, my Sita, and why those looks of alarm ? from motives of interest, or when they really You see me free;" then in a smothered are in distress ; and then relief is granted more tone of bitterness, he added, “ Aye! free as from the knowledge that it is required of the hunted tiger, whom all men are panting them by their religious tenets, than from that
destroy; but by Mari Ammat, by Kalif, love (I might say instinct) which springs from may their souls bum in Narakas; my ene- the heart, and strengthens the ties of blood mies shall rue this day. Tremble not, my
When Anuntya (Luchsmi's brother) was not * Ulmas signifies Diamond of the Desert.
employed in prayer or at the temple, he taught + One of the trees sacred to Vishnu; the ninth her botany and astronomy, acquirements in Avata.
# Names of the goddesses of destruction, who delight in all bloody sacrifices.
* Heaven. The name by which the Hindoos designate the in- + The Niluphar is the lily of the lakes, and consi. fernal regions.
dered by the Hindoos as the most beautiful of flowers.
which most of the natives of India, particu- their hair. The Mampoo, too, was there, larly the Brahmins, profess great proficiency. great Camdeo's arrow, with its honey-breatha The more common attainments of reading ing sighs; heart-burning Nagkeser, and the and writing, by the laws of their religion fe- tender Sitaphals. Here for hours would males were not permitted to learn ; such know- she sit, breathing the perfumed air, and ledge being supposed to belong exclusively gazing on the starry sky without another to the devadasi, dancing girls, or slaves of the heart to turn to and meet her feelings. This gods who are in the service of the temple— life was too much made up of sighs and bred up for the most profligate purposes, and sameness, to please the wild romantic mind known to be of the most dissolute and of the fawn-eyed Sita. She loved her birds abandoned habits. Her brother and her and flowers, it is true, but she loved far more flowers were all Luchsmi Sita knew, all to listen to the tale of wars from Rama's she cared for; her days were passed after page; of the wild mountain chief of olden the simple manner of her country: she was times; of Rajpoot warriors, who. for the strict in the performance of her religious duties, sake of obtaining the bur-mala (garland of and attentive to the customs of her caste. marriage) from some high-born damsel, perRegularly as the first rays of the morn- formed such feats, as even at the relation ing sun touched the golden dome of the of them would cause the sparkling blood Iswaran Pagoda, this beautiful Hindoo, with to leave the light transparent. olive of her the other Brahminy girls of the village, was cheek, and her bright eyes to be suffused seen ascending the 100 steps of the magni- with tears of excitement. One evening, ficent stone Thir Kolum*, which extended after her old and faithful attendant had to the very entrance of the temple, bearing on finished the tale of the brave Bula Ruksha their heads the bright lotas, or brazen ves- and the maid of the Moothe Jhorna (pearlsels, destined to contain the thirtham, or dropping stream,) she turned to her, and holy water, required for the performance of exclaimed in a voice of enthusiasm, “ Oh! poojaht during the day. The same tasteful why, Maiya, is our race so fallen ; why but simple description of dress was worn by all does not some brave chieftain unsheath the -a long piece of plain or coloured muslin, tulwah, and earn a name great as Mount the end of which is rolled several times round Maru ?” “ Hush, my girl," replied the old the waist, whence it flows in graceful folds nurse, nama Sivaya, (praise be to Siva,) to the ankle; the other end is drawn taste- these days are passed. What need have we fully round the bosom so as to cover the back of war or warriors, now the Sheemei Veleikur, * also, and serve as a veil; this is then all who resemble the Chintamanit, are kept fast by a silver or golden zone, an inch rulers. If the Moslem was on the musnud, and half in breadth, gradually increasing our homes, our temples, might then require towards the centre. Having bathed and defence; but now the tulwah, the sankh, or performed her morning devotions, as is the the matchlock of Boondi would never be mencustom of the country, Luchsmi Sita would tioned or heard of, if it was not for the daring return, and as she passed through the little Madhoo Row.” garden of her home, she would watch for a “ And who is he, Maiya, that ever at his time the growing of her flowers, feed her name you turn round, as if expecting his birds, and sometimes seating herself in her presence, and sink your voice.” favourite bower, listen to the wild and strange Narayana preserve me," said the old wotales of other years from her old and faithful man, “he is as powerful as the giant Ravana, attendant. In the evening she was in attend- equals Rama in feats of arms, and his power ance at the temple, where, having heard her pervades the fourteen worlds.” brother expound the Vedas and the Shas- “ Chi! Chi! (Fie! Fie!)” replied Sita," fear trahs, she would again return to her loved causes you to exaggerate. In this, the Satya spot of Aowers, where, to add to the charms of Yuga (age of peace), your hero can have no the calm night, the golden Champa, sacred to opportunity of displaying his uncommon Brahma, mingled its feverish and overpower- prowess. Describe him to me, and I will ing scent with that of the pure and delicate judge if he is worthy of being ranked amongst Mogray, with which the Hindoo girls adorn the young heroes of the olden times.”
• Thir Kolum is a tank or pond of great extent, paved with granite, with frequently a small island in the centre, on which is built a temple subject to the chief one of the village.
+ Poojah signifies worship.
* Sheemei Veleikar, a name given by the Hindoos to the English, meaning, I believe, “ white men of the island."
† Animaginary stone noted in Hindoo Fables ; supposed to procure everything that is good.
“Sita dear, question me no more; the childhood: the little garden of her “own drishti dosham (the evil influence) is upon old home,” which was once her world, me. Narayana preserve me; by the sacred would then appear deserted — her flowers herb Dharba, what thou askest portends withered; the birds, which so often had evil. I have never seen the being I named, nestled in her bosom, pining for food. Her but have heard the village damsels speak in brother-he who had loved and watched her, raptures of his face, his figure, his grace- was there; but oh! how changed — how ful horsemanship, his noble bearing, his worn, how bowed with sorrow. Sometimes prowess and feat of arms. Often, they say, she fancied she saw him dressed as a Vanadoes he pass through our village, the prastha Brahmin (penitent of the desert,) jewelled turban high above his followers, having forsaken his home and renounced and looking prouder than any native prince.” all intercourse with mankind, in hopes, by
“By great Camdeo*,” Sita replied, “ he continual prayer and purification in solideserves to be one if he is really such as is tude, to atone in some measure for her reported. Why is he not a Brahmin ? that crime; sometimes she saw him sick and I might love and worship him.”
exhausted on a pilgrimage to Kasi", fraught " Forbear! forbear!” whispered Maiya; with the same charitable intention. Then " he is a Mahratta, and scorns all castes.' would she stretch forth her clasped hands to
Three months from the time of this conver- wards Chandriah's † light, that streamed sation taking place, Luchsmi Sita was in through the small casement of the room, and another home, under circumstances for which pour forth a prayer to her for assistance ; till there was no excuse but the strongest infatua- at length, sick and exhausted, her long dark tion in favour of a being, who to the world eye-lashes, burdened with tears, would force appeared cruel and remorseless. For the hated her eye-lids to close, and she would gradually and stigmatised Madhoo Row she had sacri- sink into a feverish sleep, too soon to be disficed her caste, her brother, and her home. turbed by Madhoo Row's preparation for his Should she be deserted by him who was departure. now all in all to her, her punishment would One night, being more than usually excited be the most severe that a Hindoo could by the fears she had herself created, she suffer ; for, by expulsion from her caste, in
remained awake until the dawning of the consequence of her frailty, she would be. day, when she knew Madhoo Row had come debarred from all intercourse with determined to leave the house bent upon her fellow-creatures; she would be hereft an attack upon the smugglers. While he of her friends and relations, who would was in the act of priming a pair of English rather forsake her than share in her miser- pistols which he possessed, she said, in a able lot, which would certainly be the con- gentle tone :
have sequence of their commiseration. Wher- Madhoo Row, to be revenged for the death ever she should appear, she would be scorned of your friend and comrade, Purneah, who and pointed at as an outcast; and if she fell in the last encounter with smugglers sank under this grievous curse, her body at Meilapoor, the lizard † has not would be suffered to rot in the place where chirped, and thrice have I heard the she died. Such was the fate that awaited death foreboding Anda || scream. Indeed the beautiful Hindoo, if any unforeseen event the drishti dosham is upon us ; for my should snatch from her arms him whom she sake, dearest, forego your excursions for a loved better than life; and such a misfortune day.” “I cannot, Sita, for my life. This seemed not unlikely to occur, when she evening is the festival of Gauri, and my spies thought of the affrays in which he was almost have just been here to inform me, that the hourly engaged, and the narrow escapes which band of smugglers I spoke of to you are to a moment before he sank to sleep he had so
halt during the heat of the day in the great painfully described. With that gloomy fore- tope, near the village Singlandapooram, and boding, which a sense of danger impresses taking advantage of the rejoicings and proupon the excited imagination, often would cessions that take place this evening in celeshe lie awake restless and unhappy; and bration of our Goddess Parvati, intend introin the deep stillness of the night, when ducing into their several store-houses some only the breathing of the adored one by her side was to be heard, she would conjure to
+ Name for the moon, and worshipped as a goddess. eyes dimmed with tears the memories of her
| The chirping of the lizard is always considered a
fortunate omen, and no negociation or ceremony is * One of the names for the Hindoo Cupid.
# Anda is a species of night hawk.
* The Hindoo name for Benares.
undertaken unless it is heard.
thousand maunds of tobacco. I must be mins. Even by accident, for one of an inferior abroad to prevent this; it is my duty, and caste to assault or even to touch a Brahmin, nothing shall make me swerve from it.” is considered a crime which only the greatest
True to his word, and regardless of penance can efface; but now that an outrage Luchsmi Sita’s protestations, he sallied was committed, as they thought intentionally, forth, and ere the last glimmer of twi- and by one who had ever treated the relilight had expired, was waiting with a chosen gious ceremonies of the Hindoos with conbody of peons at the corner of one of the tempt, there were no bounds to their astonishprincipal streets of Triplicane, through which ment and rage. One Brahmin, who was he knew both the processions from the tem- nearest to him that had been injured, called ple and that of the smugglers must pass. down“ Siva's curse upon the Pariah MahLong had he waited, impatient and excited, ratta,' an indignity the disappointed and and still no signs of the smugglers. His ap- excited Madhoo Row immediately resented. pearance at this moment was truly pictu- Calling koloo, koloo, (slay, slay,) in a tone of resque: his shawl turban richly embroidered frenzy to his followers, he rushed upon the with gold, was fastened round his black- unhappy offender, and struck him to the bearded chin by several strings of pearls, earth, and then, jumping from his horse, braided upon a piece of cloth in such a followed up his savage attack by repeatedly manner as to protect his cheek from a sword cutting his victim with his sword, while he cut: a thick and quilted tunic, of the same was lying on the ground; at length he reshawl pattern as his turban, was kept close mounted his horse, and rode off to join his to his figure by a crimson and gold sash, companions, who had pursued the frightened and loose Moorish trowsers, also thickly procession to the temple. In consequence of quilted, completed the dress.* The same the command given by Madhoo Row, many description of dress, but of coarser material, had suffered by the attacks of his followers, was worn by his followers, who stood around, but not one so severely as Anuntya, (for he close to his horse, which was gaily capari- it was who had fallen beneath the sword of soned, the stirrups and bit being of silver, Luchsmi's lover,) who was found some hours and a collar of embossed silver plates encir- afterwards lying, apparently lifeless, on the cling his neck, which, as he curveted im- spot where he had first been attacked by patiently, clashed with a martial sound. his savage foe. When he was taken to the
At the conclusion of the festival of Gauri, English hospital, it was found that both his a shapeless statue is erected in every village, arms had been completely dismembered, and composed of paste or grain. It is intended that his legs, in consequence of the dreadful to represent the goddess Gauri or Parvati, wounds he had received, would most likely the wife of Siva, and being placed under a require amputation, if the fever produced by sort of canopy, is carried about through the his situation could not be allayed : this proved streets with great pump, and receives the to be impossible, and before a fortnight had homage of the inhabitants, who flock to render expired, the unfortunate sufferer was a helpit their adorations. Once had the procession less trunk, without the power of moving or passed the place where Madhoo Row and his putting food into his mouth. As soon as it followers were standing, and was about to do was known to the police authorities, who was so again on its return to the temple for the per- the cruel author of the Brahmin's misforformance of further ceremonies. Even on its tunes, steps were taken for the apprehenfirst appearance, they did not suffer it to pass sion of Madhoo Row, an undertaking which, without some jeering remarks, both on the from his known reckless and daring character, image and its attendants; but on this second required the greatest caution and bravery; interruption, as they considered it, they felt these qualities were not wanting in the police more inclined to stop its progress and create a magistrate, who, in the most praiseworthy riot, than to wait any longer for the expected manner, undertook to accompany the police band of smugglers. Unfortunately, just as peons in search of the offender. Inrnone the procession approached, one of the fire- of his accustomed haunts was he to be works struck Madhoo Row's horse, which found, and they were beginning to be appreimmediately reared up, and then bounding hensive that he had absconded, when word forward, rushed, notwithstanding an attempt was brought that Luchsmi Sita had been obwas made to stop him, close to the image, served carrying fruit and rice into the areka and threw down one of the officiating Brah- Tope*, which was only a short distance from
* This quiłting, &c. is proof against any sword cut.
Areka is the betel nut, which is so much enjoyed by the natives of India. Tope, any cultivated wood.