« PreviousContinue »
to people of other religions, or at least would shun their society (as I believe they do in Persia), but this is by no means the case: I have had a great many acquaintances among the Moollahs, and found some of them very intelligent and agreeable. 1 was particularly well acquainted with two Moollahs, who were the sons of the Khaunee Ooloom (or lord of the learned), one of the greatest of the Ulima of his time; and I found them the best informed and most liberal men I ever met, either in Afghaunistaun or in Jndia.
It is not easy to say whether the Moollahs are, on the whole, a useful body, or otherwise. They are of eminent utility in most parts of the country, from their effect in moderating the violence of an ungoverned people, by the morality which they inculcate, and from the tendency of their habits to keep up the little science and literature which is known: I believe the existence of their order is beneficial in the present situation of the Afghauns; but it is more than probable that it obstructs the transition to a better state of things, and it is certain that neither they nor their religion are at all adapted to a high stage of civilization, though well suited to the rude Arabs, for whom that religion was first invented.
EDUCATION AND LITERATURE OF THE AFtfHAUNS.
(From, the tame.)
All the Afghauns arc sent in their infancy to a Moollah for Vot. LV1I.
education. Some learn no more than their regular Namauz, and other occasional prayers and passages of the Koraun, with the ceremonies of their religion, and the duties of a Mussulman; About Peshawer, and among the Dooraunees, the next step is to learn to read the Koraun in Arabic, often without understanding it; but in other tribes this study is reserved for a more advanced stage. This is the education of the lower orders, of whom not a quarter can read their own lan<guage.
The rich keep Moollahs in their houses to teach their children, but allow them all the power of a common schoolmaster. The Moollah who had charge of the prime minister's son (a boy of sixteen when 1 saw him), told me that he kept him to his book for almost, the whole day.
There is a schoolmaster in every village and camp, who is maintained by a piece of land allotted to him, and by a small contribution which he receives from his scholars. His office is sometimes united with that of the priest of the village; but it is oftener distinct, especially in large places. In towns thereare regular schools, like those in European countries, where the master is maintained by his scholars alone. The sum commonly paid to a schoolmaster in Peshawer, is about fifteen, pence a-month; but the payments are in proportion to the circumstances of the boy's father. In most parts of the country, the boys live with their fathers, and only attend the school during the day; but among the Berdoonwnees, a boy is sent at a very early *l age age to a distant village, where he lives in the mosque, subsists by alms, and has little or no intercourse with his parents, but is taken care of by the schoolmaster under whom he has been placed.
The following is the course of study pursued about Peshawer : a child begins its letters (in conformity to a traditional injunction of the Prophet) when it is four years, four months, and four days old; but its studies are immediately laid aside, and not resumed till it is six or seven years old, when it learns iu letters, and is taught to read a little Persian poem of Saadis, which points out the beauty of each of the virtues, and the deformity of each of the vices, in very simple, and not inelegant language. This takes from four months to a year, according to the child's capacity. After this, common people learn the Koraun, and study some books in their own language; people of decent fortune proceed to read the Persian classics, and a little of the Arabic grammar: boys who are to be brought up as Moollahs, give a great deal of their time to this last study, which, as the Arabic grammars are very elaborate, and comprehend a great deal of science, that we do not mix with the rudiments of a language, sometimes occupies several years. When a young Moollah has made sufficient proficiency in this study, he goes to Peshawer, Hushtnuggur, or some other place famous for its Moollahs, and begins on logic, law, and theology. No further knowledge is required to complete a Moollah's education, but many push their researches into ethics,
metaphysics, and the system of
physics known in the east. as well as history, poetry, and medicine, which last is a fashionable study for men of all professions. For those studies, and for the more advanced branches of theology and law, they often travel to distant cities, and even to Bokhaura, which is a great seat of Mahommedan learning > but Peshawer seems, on the whole, to be the most learned city is these countries, and many more students come thither from Bokhaura, than repair to that city from Peshawer. India has not a great reputation for learning, and the heresy of the Persians makei all Soonnees avoid the infectica of their colleges.
It is reckoned a good work in the sight of God to promote learning, and, consequently, beside* the king's colleges, there is an establishment in every village for maintaining students. The consequence is, that the country is over-run with half-taught Moollahs, who rather impede than promote the progress of real learning.
Before saying more about ti* learning of the Afghauns, it will be well to give some account o; their language, which, as I hare already mentioned, is called Pushtoo. Its origin is not easily discovered. A large portion of the words that compose it, spring from some unknown root, and in this portion are included must of thosewords which, from the early necessity for designating the objects they represent, must hart formed parts of the original language of the people; yet some of this very class belong to the Z*nd
and Pehlevee; such as the terms For father and mother, sister and brother. This seems also to be the case with the numerals; though the Zend and Pehlevee numerals bear so strong a resemblance to the Shanscrit ones, that it is difficult to distinguish them. Most of the verbs, and many of the particles again belong to the unknown root. The words connected with religion, government, and science, are mostly introduced from the Arabic through the Persian.
Of two hundred and eighteen words which 1 compared with the corresponding ones in Persian, Zend, Pehlevee, Shanscrit, Hindostaunee, Arabic, Armenian, Georgian, Hebrew, and Chaldaic, I found one hundred and ten that could not be referred to any of those languages, but seemed distinct and original. Of the remainder, by far the greater part were modern Persian; but some of thesewereintroduced into the latter language from the Zend, and many more from the Pehleree, while a good number were words of those languages not employed in modern Persian. Some of these Zend and Pehlevee words are, however, common to the Shanscrit, the three languages having a great affinity; and some words also occur, which are to be found in Shanscrit alone, as do five or six words of the Hindostaunee language. It is probable some Punjaubee words would also be detected, if the list were compared with a vocabulary of that language. Not one word of the two hundred and eighteen has the smallest appearance of being de
ducible from the Hebrew or Chaldaic, Georgian or Armenian.
The Afghauns use the Persian alphabet, and generally write in the Nushk character. As they have some sounds, which are not represented by any Persian letters, they express them by adding particular points or other marks to the nearest Persian letter.
The Pushtoo, though rather rough, is a manly language, and not unpleasing to an ear accustomed to oriental tongues. The dialects of the East and West, differ not only in the pronunciation, but in the words they make use of, to a degree at least equal to the difference between Scots and English. None of the famous Pushtoo authors arc of more than a century and half old; and, I should imagine, that there were no books in the language that can pretend to more than double that antiquity. What literature there is, has been derived from that of the Persians; and their compositions would resemble that model, but for their greater rudeness and superior simplicity. 1 have the names of eight or nine Afghaun poets, besides translators from the Persian.
(From the same.J
All the tribes who have as yet been considered, possess some country of their own, the position of which has decided the order in which they were to be mentioned; but the Naussers hiive no land at all, and we arc at liberty to place
2 12 tbenx thenv wherever it suits our convenience. They ore chiefly distinguished from the other tribes by their wandering life, to which my observations shall, therefore, be confined.
In spring we find them scattered -in parties of three, four, or five tents, over the wastes in the countries of the Tokhees and Hotukees. Later in the year, they assemble in camps of one or two hundred tents, move about by short stages in quest of grass for their flocks; and as soon as the autumn begins to close, they hold their councils, strike their tents, and set off on their long migrations to the warm plains of Damaun.
The tribe marches through the hostile country of the Vizeerees, in two divisions; and it is settled by the Khaun, and the Mooshirs, which is to march first. The rendezvous for each division is at Kunzooron the Gomul, to which place all the hordes direct their march from their different Eilanks in Khorassaun. In the beginning of this march, they pass through barren wilds, where they see nobody but their own companions; but as they approach Kunzoor, the roads are choked with other hordes flocking from various and distant stations, to the rendezvous. Great confusion now arises; two hordes which are at war, are often crowded together in one narrow valley, and new quarrels arc also occasioned by the impatience of different parties, to get first through the passes in the hills. At last they join the confused mass of tents, men, and cattle, which arc heaped together at Kunzoor.
The whole assemblage smotniti to more than thirty thousand people, with all their numbexiat* flocks and herds of camels, and indeed with all their possession?. The bustle and disorder of such a throng may well be conceived.
During the day, they issue forth in swarms to search for forap? and fire-wood; and at nightfall. these unfrequented valleys resound with the confused voices of the multitude, the bleating and lowing of their flocks and herds, the hoarse roar of the camel, and the shouts and songs of the Nanssers.
When the whole division is assembled, Chelwashtees are appointed, and they renew their progress towards Damaun.
The Vizeerees, in the mean tune, are preparing for their reception with all the caution and secrecy of savage war: their claw arc assembled in the depths of the mountains, and a single scoot, perhaps, watches on the brow of a rock, and listens in the silence of that desolate region, for the* hum of the approaching crowd, till, at length, the Naussers are heard, and the valleys are filled with the stream of men and flocks that pours down the bed and banks of the Gomul. The word is then passed round to the Vizeerees, who hasten to the defiles by pat! -known only to themselves, and attack the disorderly crowd, or lie in ambush to cut off the stragglers, according to the remissness or vigilance they observe among their enemies. During this time of danger, which lasts a week or ten days, the Naussers are in an unusual state of preparation; the power of the Chelwashtees suppresses
presses all feuds, and arranges the order of march, and the means of defence; the whole division moves in a body; parties of chosen men protect the front, the flanks, and the rear, while the other Naussers drive on the sheep and camels, and hold themselves ready to repel any attack that may be made by their enemies. They had need, indeed, to be prepared, for the predatory disposition of the Vizeerees is sharpened by long enmity; and they give no quarter to any Nausser that falls into their hands. At length they reach the pass of Zirkunny, issue out into the plains, and are spread over the whole of Damaun from the frontier of Upper Sind to the hills of the Murwuts. Each horde has a particular tract where it is accustomed to encamp, and round which it ranges as the supply of forage requires. They-encamp in circles, within which they shut up their eattle at night. Their life is now idle and unvaried, except when enlivened by hunting, which they keenly pursue, and which is almost their only active employment. The women do all the labour, pitch the tents, gather the wood, bring in water, and cook the dinner: the men only saunter out with the sheep and camels, and for this labour a very few men suffice. The rich hire out their cattle during their long halts, but the owner makes over the dutv of accompanying them to some poor man, who gets a third of the hire for his labour.
The women are never concealed; but the same chastity and jnodesty which distinguish all rude tribes is common among them.
When the snow has melted on Solomon's throne, the chief of the Nausser camps send to theKhaun of the whole, to fix a time for a council: on the appointed day they all repair to his camp, determine their route, appoint Chelwashtees, and soon after break up their camps, and commence their return to Khorassaun.
The Naussers, ns has been seen, depend entirely on their flocks and herds: the fleeces of their 9heep supply the materials for their tents, their carpets, and the sacks which hold their flour: their posteens, and some other articles are made of sheep-skins: the milk of the ewe affords the cheese, butter, and cooroot, which is their usual diet, and its flesh is their only luxury.
The produce of their sheep, and the hire of their camels, also furnish the means of obtaining the few articles they require from without; and the carriage of their tents and other property, which is so material to wandering people, is entirely performed by the camels. Their sheep and camels are extremely numerous, and every part of their economy is adapted to the moving life which is necessary to feed such a number of animals: their tents are small and light: their whole property is a suit or two of clothes, a few sacks of flour, with half a dozen earthen pots, and one or two of brass.
Their dress is between those of the east, and the west; but their loose White turban seems to make it most resemble the former.
In their persons they are small, black, and ugly: they are barbarous in their manners, and rude