Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

may be expected within the month, before which I hope to have the satisfaction of seeing you at Loodianah,as my guest. Regarding your wish of visiting Cashmeer and Tibet, you had, I think, better speak to the Maharajah on the subject yourself. Mr. Burnes, whom you met at Cabool, was also desirous of seeing Cashmeer; but His Highness withheld his assent, and I have made it a point not to interfere in persuading the Maharajah to a measure to which he appears to object. Doctor Murray tells me, that he has written to Monsieur Allard to facilitate the resumption of your European costume, which I am sure the Chevalier will have great pleasure in doing, as well as in shewing you those marks of attention and hospitality, which are so natural to him. Since writing the above, the post has arrived with the enclosed letter for you from Lord William Bentinck, accompanied by another from Colonel Churchill. I have also just received your letter from Cabool, with the packet for Lady William, which I will forward to her Ladyship without delay. I refer you for the news of Europe to Monsieur Allard, to whom I beg you will offer my best regards. I hope to hear from you soon again.

Believe me, my dear sir, yours very faithfully,

(Signed) Wade.

I had already arrived at Lahore, after having crossed the Ravee upon an elephant, and was stretched out upon a sofa in the house of Monsieur Allard, a French gentleman, General in the service of Runjeet Singh, who was absent at Amritsir, when I received the following letters.

LETTER OF LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK.

Simla, June 12, 1832. Dear Sir, I have learnt with much pleasure your safe passage through all the perils of the very long journey that you have undertaken, and I sincerely trust that your excellent endeavours may be crowned with success. Capt Wade shewed me the letter he had received from you. I have taken the liberty of desiring the Post Master General at Calcutta to send under cover to me any letters to your address, and I have also desired the Post Master at Delhi to send direct to Loodianah those that may have been received there. I have no letters from hence making any mention of Lady Georgiana, and the silence of the newspapers is always a satisfactory proof of the existence of distant friends. We have taken our residence in these mountains during the summer heats. Simla is only four days march from Loodianah, is easy of access, and proves a very agreeable refuge from the burning plains of Hindoostaun. I hope I need not assure you of the gratification both Lady William and I should derive in receiving you here. I remain dear sir, yours faithfully, (Signed) W. C. Bentinck.

LETTER FROM COLONEL CHURCHILL.

Simla, June 11, 1832. My dear sir,

Accounts have reached this place of your arrival in the neighbourhood of Lahore; I understand that your probable intention is to proceed from that place to Loodiana on the Sutledge. I lost not a moment in acquainting you of my being at this station, and of expressing my hope and that of Mrs. Churchill, that you will not forget that you have cousins here, who will feel disappointed if you do not pay us a visit. The Governor General is here, as well as the Commander in Chief, to whom I am Military Secretary.

The station is worth your seeing, being lately established as the Montpelier of India. I hope Lady Georgiana was quite well when you left her. I request you will accept my services in any way they can be useful, in forwarding you to this place, where we hope to see you as our guest. Lady Bryant, a cousin of ours, is on a visit to us from Soobathoo, a place lower down in the hills. I request you will believe me,

My dear sir, very sincerely yours, (Signed) C. H. Churchill.

. To this, a very kind letter of Lady Bryant, inviting me to pay them a visit at Soobathoo, was annexed. How suddenly changed was my situation, after such a hard and troublesome journey.

Fakeer Noor Addeen Ansaree, one of the chief physicians and advisers of Runjeet Singh, handed to me a letter of His Majesty; the following are the contents.

"I received your kind letter informing me of your arrival at Cabool, and of the degree of your firm friendship, which, according to the most powerful treaty, shines like the sun; and that you arrived at Goojrat, by the grace of Agal Puruk; I was exceedingly happy to hear this, and have the pleasure to send Meer Murad Ali Shah, Jemedar, to join you in the vicinity of Goojrah or Vizirabad, and supply all necessary provisions, and guard you against thieves.

(Seal of Runjeet Singh.)

Lahore is a city containing about 80,000 inhabitants, with most splendid mosques, and a great many Mohammedan Mullahs. It is the winter residence of Runjeet Singh. In the summer he resides generally at Umritsir, a city entirely built by himself. There are at Lahore a great many Hindoos, and a few Armenians from Cabool. The Fakeer of Runjut Singh entered with me into a long conversation about Jesus Christ. Runjeet Singh has three such Fakeers, who are his physicians and chief advisers; their ancestors came from Arabia to Hindoostaun, some hundred years ago, and took service with the Mohammedan King of this country as physicians. During the time of the great-grandfather of the present three Fakeers (for they are three brothers) the first visit from an European, of which they have any knowledge at Lahore, was that of Antoon Meseekh, who came, in the character of a physician, and their ancestors feel themselves indebted to him for their medical information. He was a missionary from Portugal. The names of these three Fakeers are: Fakeer Azeez-oodeen, Fakeer Imaum-oodeen, and Fakeer Noor-oodeen.

Doctor Hoenigberger, a Jewish physician from Hungary, who had seen me in Mount Lebanon, called upon me; he was employed by Runjeet Singh, first as a physician, and then in the prepar- . ing of gunpowder, and of a kind of distilled spirits, which Runjeet Singh is in the habit of drinking.

I received from General Allard a letter, telling me that His Majesty Runjeet Singh wished me to come to Umritsir, when he would receive me with distinction; but that his Majesty did not wish me to circulate proclamations. Two hundred and fifty rupees were given me again by order of King Runjeet Singh.

June 20.—I left Lahore for Umritsir. We arrived at Pool, 22 English miles from Lahore. I received a second letter from the King; the following are the contents.

"I received your letter, stating your satisfaction with the treatment you received from Fakeer Noor-oodeen, and Ameer Bakhsh, and that your object in travelling was to visit the learned men of every sect and religion, and that you would proceed to Cashmeer and Tibet, if you could obtain my consent; and that you travel for the purpose of meeting clever men, if not, you would go to Simla, and return to your country, after having had an interview with me at Umritsir. I have to state as an answer, that after you shall have seen me, this point shall be considered, conforming to the force of friendship subsisting between this and the British government. Instructions have been sent to Fakeer Azeez-oodeen to introduce you to the learned men at Lahore.

(Signed) Runjeet Singh.

RUNJEET SINGH.

As I am now soon coming to this great and extraordinary man, I think it worth while to give a short sketch of his life.

Runjeet Singh was the son of Maha Singh, a petty Rajah of Goojra-Wala, in whose time the Punjaub was divided among several Rajahs, who were continually at war with each other. Runjeet Singh was ten years old when his father died. He made friendship with several of the small Rajahs, and made war against Lena Singh, Rajah of Lahore, defeated him, and took the latter city. When Zemaun Shah Dooranee, King of the Affghauns, invaded the Punjaub, all the Rajahs of the country fled before him, and Runjeet himself fled with his army to Umritsir. At that time the news arrived in the Aflghaun camp, that an intestine war had broken out at Cabool, and Shah Zemaun retreated. Immediately after this, the revolution in Aftghanistaun took place, by which Shah Zemaun was dethroned, and the country thrown into disorder.

Runjeet Singh, being at liberty to prosecute his designs in the Punjaub, became the Maharajah, or great King of all the Seiks. In the reign of Shah Mahmood Dooranee, he took the fort of Stack; afterwards he took the castle of Kote Kangra and Moultan, and finally completed his conquests, by driving the Affghauns out of Cashmeer.

One day Runjeet Singh was riding in the field. He met a Fakeer. Runjeet Singh dismounted to perform his devotion to the Fakeer. The Fakeer, without looking at him, said, "What use is thy external devotion, as long as thou oppressest the poor, and tyrannisest over thy subjects?" The Maharajah promised to reform, and the account of this fact appeared in the court newspaper, published under his own eye.

Runjeet Singh pays a great deal of respect and veneration to the Akalee, though he knows at the same time how to keep them in proper bounds.

The Seiks are capable of enduring great fatigue, as they have shewn in the attack of Cashmeer, when Runjeet Singh and his whole army subsisted seven days without lighting a fire. They are strong, powerful and athletic men, and esteem the fatigues of war a pleasure. The Seiks have of late introduced into their religious customs the burning of wives after the death of their husbands, like the Brahmins.

BABA BETEE SAHEB SINGH

Is the Pope of the Seiks. He is 100 years old, and a descentdant of Baba Nanak, the founder of the Seiks' religion. He resides at Oonawala in the Himalayan mountains. When I asked a person belonging to this sect, in what his occupation consisted, he replied: "He can curse the Maharajah and all the Sirdars, and they humbly bow before him. He says to the Maharajah, 'I am he that has created and exalted thee.'" One day Runjeet Singh wanted to take possession of the castle Teere in the mountains. He went to Betee Saheb Sing, worshipped him, and said, "I want a horse of you, in order that the rest of my horses may be blessed." Betee Singh answered, 'Thou blind rascal, (for Runjeet Singh has only one eye) thou wantest a horse of me; I shall give thee a 100 bastinadoes.' Runjeet Singh said, "Not 100 only, but 500; only give me a horse." Betee Singh, seeing the humility of the Monarch, gave him a horse, and added, 'tomorrow thou shalt be in possession of the castle.' And thus it was. Betee Singh has a property of £30,000 sterling. He remains up the whole night, and performs worship and ablution. He gives harsh words only to his followers; and those who patiently bear the reproaches, become pure, whilst those who are offended at them become hated by their own wives. He is however a great wretch: he has killed his own son.

Arriving at Pool, about 25 miles east from Umritsir, I received an order from the Maharajah to stop there until the next day; for the Pundits and Brahmins had observed, that it was not a lucky day for me to enter the town of Umritsir. Monsieur Allard managed it with the Brahmins, by observing, that I might sleep outside Umritsir, in his garden house, till next morning. I therefore received a few hours after permission to advance towards Umritsir, in a Palankeen.

ARRIVAL AT UMRITSIR.

June 20.—Towards the evening my Palankeen stopped near a beautiful palace, situated in a garden; alighting from the Palankeen, I was embraced by a gentleman, with a silvery white beard, in an European dress; it was Monsieur Allard, ex-Aide de Camp of Marshal de Brun, and now General of the cavalry of Runjeet Singh.

June 21.—Chevalier Allard went to the Maharajah Runjeet Singh, and announced my arrival. Soon after, a great many sweetmeats were sent to me by His Majesty. Monsieur Allard told me that the people, sent with these presents, had orders to report to the Maharajah upon my look, my person, and all I may say. In the evening, an elephant was sent by the Maharajah with several Officers, to convey me to His Majesty. We entered two or three court yards of the palace, when I suddenly observed in the open air, a little old man, with one eye, seated upon a chair; it was Runjeet Singh. At his left hand a boy, 12 years of age, was seated; immediately after, a great many Pundits and Brahmins sat upon chairs. A chair was placed for me opposite the Maharajah.

His Majesty asked me why I had taken such a dangerous journey through Toorkestaun. I replied, "On account of God, that I may speak with all Mullahs, and especially with the Jews, about the best way of serving God."

Runjeet Singh. (Pointing to the Pundits and Brahmins.) These are our Padri (Priests).

Myself. Are these Mussulmans? (He burst into a fit of laughter.)

In order to understand this laughter, one ought to know, that a Brahmin feels himself as much insulted by being called a Mohammedan, as a Mussulman in Turkey would feel by being called a Jew; but Runjeet Singh took it in good humour, and repeating my words said, "Are these Mussulmans]"

R. S. What is the chief thing, that a man should observe?

M. Solomon said, "The fear of God is the chief thing."

R. S. Our book (Grunt Saheb) says the same.

M. I am very far from denying that there are not good things contained in other religions; but I will aska question of your Highness.

R. S. Ask.

M. What is necessary to be done in order to come nigh to God?

R. 8. To do good.

M. How can a man perform good, if his heart is bad? God searches the heart; every one, who examines himself, will find

« AnteriorContinuar »