The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians/Note (C).- Ethnological
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Native Opinions on the Aborigines of Sind
[p.503]: The names, which are given in the Beg-Lár-náma (p. 292) as three:-"Bína, Ták, Nabúmiya," amount to four in the Tuhfatu-l Kirám (MS. p. 4)-"Banya, Tánk, Múmíd, and Mahmír." They are given from Sindian authorities by Lieut. Postans, in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (No. cxi. 1841, p. 184), as "Nubeteh, Tak, and Moomeed;" and again, by the same author (No. clviii. 1845, p. 78), as "Nubuja, Jak, and Momid."
It would be a matter of great interest to restore these tribes correctly, and ascertain the course of their migrations. I can trace the mention of them to no earlier authority than the Beg-Lár-náma. All their names, except one, defy positive identification, and we may put the list of the Vishnu Purana and the Asiatic Researches through all kinds of contortions, without meeting any race that will yield a sufficient resemblance for our adoption. That single exception is "Ták," about which there can be no doubt. "Bína" may possibly represent "Mína," the probable founders of the celebrated Minagara, and the present occupants of the upper Árávalí range. Or if "Baniya" be the correct reading, then the designation may have been applied to them, as being foresters. In "Múmíd" we may perhaps have the "Med" of the Arabs; and in the "Mahmír," we may chance to have the representatives of the "Mhairs," or "Mairs" of Rájpútána, if, indeed, they differ from the Med. We can venture upon nothing beyond these dubious conjectures.
That we should find the "Ták" in Sind at an early period, is by no means improbable, and if the statement rested on somewhat better, or more ancient, authority than the Beg-Lár-náma, it might be assumed as an undoubted fact, with some degree of confidence.
Tod exalts the Táks to a high and important rank amongst the tribes which emigrated from Scythia to India, making them the same as the Takshak, Nágabansí, or serpent-race, who acted a conspicuous part in the legendary annals of ancient India. His speculations,
[p.504]: some of which are fanciful, and some probable, may be found in the passages noted below.1 One thing is certain that the Táks were progenitors of the Musulmán kings of Guzerát, before that province was absorbed into the empire of Akbar.
Tod observes, that with the apostacy of the Ták, when Wajíhu-l Mulk was converted, and became the founder of the Muhammadan dynasty of Guzerát, the name appears to have been obliterated from the tribes of Rajasthan, and that his search had not discovered one of that race now existing; but there are Táks amongst the Bhangís, who, though of spurious descent, have evidently preserved the name. There are also Tánk Rájpúts in the central Doáb and lower Rohil-khand, whose privileges of intermarriage show them to be of high lineage; and there is a tribe of nearly similar name existing near Jambhú, not far from their ancient capital Taksha-sila, or Taxila; of which the position is most probably to be sought between Manik-yála and the Suán River, notwithstanding some plausible and ingenious objections which have been raised against that opinion.2
Buddhists in Sind
[p.504]: Biláduri calls the temple of the sun at Multán by the name of budd, and he informs us, that not only temples, but idols, were called by the same name. As the Buddhist religion was evidently the prevalent one in Sind when the Musalmáns first came in contact with Indian superstitions, it follows that to Buddha must be attributed the origin of this name, and not to the Persian but, "an idol," which is itself most probably derived from the same source.
[p.505]: With regard to the budd of Debal,1 M. Reinaud has observed that the word not only is made applicable to a Buddhist temple, but seems also to indicate a Buddhist stupa,2 or tower, which was frequently the companion of the temple; and he traces the word budd in the feouthau, or rather foth, which we find mentioned in the Chinese relations, as serving at the same time to designate a Buddha, and the edifice which contains his image. "Feou-thou" says Klap-roth, "is the name which they give to pyramids, or obelisks, containing the relics of Sákya, or other holy personages. Chapels, like¬wise, are so called, in which these images are placed.3
Although Chach, who usurped the throne about the beginning of the Hijrí era, was a Bráhman, there is no reason to suppose that he attempted to interfere with the then popular religion of Buddhism. Bráhmanism is, indeed, so accommodating to anything that partakes of idol-worship, that Chach and Dáhir might have made their offerings in a Buddhist temple, without any greater sacrifice of consistency than a Roman was guilty of in worshipping Isis and Osiris, or than we witness every day in a Hindú presenting his butter and flowers at the shrine of Shaikh Saddú, Ghází Míán, Sháh Madár, or any other of the apotheosized Muhammadan impostors of Hindústán. There is even no incompatibility in supposing that Chach, though a Bráhman by birth, still continued a Buddhist in his persuasion;4 for the divisions of caste were at that time secular, not religious,- the four classes existing, in former times, equally amongst the Buddhists and amongst the Hindús of continental India, as they do at this day amongst the Buddhists of Ceylon, and amongst the Jains of the Peninsula, where even Bráhman priests may be found officiating in their temples.
There are several indications of the Buddhist religion prevailing
[p.506]: at that period in the valley of the Indus, not only from the specific announcement of the Chinese travellers, and the declaration of Ibn Khurdádba to that effect, but from certain incidental allusions of the Arabic writers, made without any particular reference to the opposite factions of Bráhmans and Buddhists-between which the distinctions, especially of worship, oblations, mythology, and cosmography, were generally too nice to attract the observations, or excite the enquiries of such ignorant and supercilious foreigners. Thus, when priests are mentioned, they are usually called Samaní;1 the state elephant is white, a very significant fact (supra, p. 170); the thousand Bráhmans, as they are styled, who wished to be allowed to retain the practices of their ancient faith, were ordered by Muhammad Kásim, with the permission of the Khalif, to carry in their hands a small vessel as mendicants, and beg their bread from door to door every morning-a prominent ceremony observed by the Buddhist priesthood (p. 186); and, finally, the sculpturing, or otherwise perpetuating, the personal representations of their conquerors (p. 124); all these indicate Buddhist rather than Bráhmanical habits. To this may be added the negative evidence afforded by the absence of any mention of priestcraft, or other pontifical assumption, of widow-burning, of sacerdotal threads, of burnt-sacrifices, of cow-worship, of ablutions, of penances, or of other observances and ceremonies peculiar to the tenets of the Bráhmanical faith.
[p.507]: this Note, that the temple of the Sun at Multán is, by Biládurí, styled a budd (p. 123). Even in the time of Mas'údí, the kings of Kanauj, which he asserts to have then been under Multán, are all styled Búdh, Búdah or Bauüra, doubtless from the worship which the Arabs had heard to prevail in that capital (p. 22); and in this he is followed by Idrísí (p. 81), who wrote as late as the middle of the twelfth century: so that the use of budd is very indefinite; and whether applied to man, temple, or statue, it by no means determines the application to anything positively and necessarily connected with Buddhism, anymore than the absence of that word denotes the contrary, when incidental notices and negative testimonies, such as those mentioned in the preceding paragraph, can be adduced to support the probability of its prevalence.
[p.507]: General Cunningham in his Archælogical Report for 1863-4, says, "The traditions of the Hindu Játs of Biána and Bharatpur point to Kandahar as their parent country, while those of the Muhammadan Játs generally refer to Gajni or Garh-Gajni, which may be either the celebrated fort of Ghazni in Afghanistan or the old city of Gajnipur on the site of Rawul-Pindi. But if I am right in my identification of the Játs with the Xanthii of Strabo, and the Iatii of Pliny and Ptolemy, their parent country must have been on the banks of the Oxus, between Bactria, Hyrkania, and Khorasmia. Now in this very position there was a fertile district, irrigated from the Margus river, which Pliny calls Zotale or Zothale, and which, I believe to have been the original seat of the Iatii or Játs. Their course from the Oxus to the Indus may perhaps be dimly traced in the Xuthi of Dionysius of Samos, who are coupled with the Arieni, and in the Zuthi of Ptolemy who occupied the Karmanian desert on the frontier of Drangiana. As I can find no other traces of their name in the classical writers, I am inclined to believe, as before suggested, that they may have been best known in early times, by the general name of their horde, as Abars, instead of by their tribal name as Játs. According to this view, the main body of the Iatii would have occupied the district of Abiria and the towns of Parda-bathra and Bardaxema in Sindh, or Southern Indo-Scythia,
When the Muhammadans first appeared in Sindh, towards the end of the seventh century, the Zaths and Meds were the chief population of the country. But as I have already shown that the original seat of the Med or Medi colony was in the Panjab proper, I conclude that the original seat of the Iatii or Ját colony, must have been in Sindh. * * * *
At the present day the Játs are found in every part of the Panjab, where they form about two-fifths of the population. They are chiefly Musulmans, and are divided into not less than a hundred different tribes. * * * * To the east of the Panjab, the Hindu Játs are found in considerable numbers in the frontier states of Bikaner, Jesalmer, and Jodhpur, where, in Col. Tod's opinion, they are as numerous as all the Rajput races put together. They are found also in great numbers along the upper course of the Ganges and Jumna, as far eastward as Bareli, Farak-habad, and Gwalior, where they are divided into two distinct clans. * * * To the south of the Panjab, the Musulman Játs are said by Pottinger to form the entire population of the fruitful district of Haraud-Dajel, on the right bank of the Indus, and the bulk of the population in the neighbouring district of Kach-Gandava. In Sindh, where they have intermarried largely with Buluchis and Musulmans of Hindu descent, it is no longer possible to estimate their numbers, although it is certain that a very large proportion of the population must be of Ját descent.
The pirates, whose insolence led to the final subjugation of Sind, are stated, by a very good authority, to be of the tribe of Kerk, Kruk, Kurk, Karak, or some name of nearly similar pronunciation. The reading is too clear to be discarded in favour of 'Kurd,' or 'Coorg,' as has been proposed; and M. Reinaud, while he suggests the latter reading, which has been shown to be highly improbable, on the ground of Coorg being not a maritime, but an inland hilly country - nevertheless informs us that, in the annals of the Arabs, the Kurk are more than once spoken of as desperate pirates, carrying their expeditions even as far as Jidda,
[p.509]: in the Red Sea.1 We must, therefore, necessarily be content to consider them as of Sindian origin, otherwise Ráí Dáhir would not have been called to account for their proceedings.
Though the name of Kerk be now extinct, and declared to be entirely incapable of present identification, we must enquire whether we cannot find any trace of their having occupied the banks of the Indus at some remote period. And, first of all, the resemblance of the name of Krokala, which has conspicuous mention in the voyage of Nearchus, is sufficiently striking to attract our observation. Dr. Vincent and Heeren consider Krokala to be the modern Karachi. A later authority says Chalna, a small rocky island, about four miles from Cape Monze.2 Neither of these authorities knew that there is at present a large insular tract, which bears the name of Kakrála, at the mouth of the Indus, answering exactly all the requirements of Arrian's description-"a sandy island, subject to the influence of the tides."3 It is situated between the Wanyání and Pittí mouths of the river; but modern travellers differ about its precise limits. Captain Postans places it further to the west, and makes it include Karachi.4 This is no shifting, or modern name. We can see from the Ayín-i Akbarí, and from some of the works quoted in this volume, that it has been known, and similarly applied, for the last three centuries at least; and it may, without question, be regarded as the Krokala of Arrian. Its origin is easily accounted for, by conceiving it to mean the "abode of the Krok," or whatever their real designation may have been before its perversion by the Greeks. The only other vestige of the name is in Karaka, a place three miles below Haidarábád.
In pointing out another possible remnant of this ancient name, I am aware I shall be treading on dangerous and very disputable ground. Nevertheless, let us at once, without further preliminary, transfer ourselves to the north-eastern shores of the Euxine sea,
[p.510]: where we shall find, among other peoples and places recalling Indian associations, the tribe of Kerketæi or Kerketæ1 -the bay of Kerketis2 -the river of Korax3 -the mountains of Korax4 -the town of Korok-ondame5 -the river and peninsula of Korok-ondame6 -the sea, or lake, of Korok-ondametis7 -the tribe of Kerketiki8 - the city of Karkinitis9 -the city of Karkine10 -the bay of Karki-nitis11 -the city of Kirkæum12 -the river of Karkenites13 -the region of Kerketos14 -the tribe of Koraxi15 -the wall of Korax16 - and other similar names,-all within so narrow a compass as to show, even allowing many to be identical, that they can have but one origin, derived from the same fundamental root-Kerk, Kurk, Karak, Korak, Kark -retaining immutably the same consonants, but admitting arbitrary transpositions, or perhaps unsettled pronunciations of unimportant vowels.
It may be asked what connection these names can possibly have with our Sindian stock. Let us, then, carry the enquiry a little further, and many more Indian resemblances may be traced:-for,
[p.511]: next to these wild Kerketiki, we are struck with finding the very Sindians themselves.
KERKETIKIque, ferox ea gens, SINDIque superbi.1
We have also a Sindikus portus2 -a town of Sinda3 -the tribe of Sindiani4 -the town of Sindica5 -the tract of Sindike6 -the town of Sindis7 -the tribe of Sindones8 -the town of Sindos9 -the tribe of Sinti10 Here, again, it may be admitted, that some of these may be different names for the same tribes and the same places.
The old reading of the passage in Herodotus, where the Sindi are mentioned (iv. 28), was originally Indi, but commentators were so struck with the anomaly of finding Indians on the frontiers of Europe, and they considered it so necessary to reconcile the historian with geographers, that they have now unanimously agreed to read Sindi, though the reading is not authorized by any ancient manuscripts. It is impossible to say what is gained by the substitution; for Sindi must be themselves Indians, and the difficulty is in no way removed by this arbitrary conversion. Hesychius, moreover,-no mean authority-says that the Sindi of the Euxine were, in reality, Indians; nay, more, though writing two centuries before our Kerks are even named or alluded to, he expressly calls the Kerketæ also "an Indian nation."11
It has been remarked, that even if no such direct testimony had been given, the hints that remain to us concerning the character and manners of these Sindi, the peculiar object of their worship, and their dissolute religious rites and sorceries, would leave no doubt as to the country from which they were derived.
It is from this region that the Indian merchants must have sailed
who were shipwrecked in the Baltic, and presented by the king of the Suevi, or of the Batavi, to L. Metellus Celer, the pro-consul of Gaul; for they could not have been carried round from the continent of India to the north of Europe by the ocean. Various solutions of this difficulty have been attempted. It has been surmised that they might have been Greenlanders, or mariners from North America, or even painted Britons: but the fact cannot be disputed, that they are called plainly "Indians," by all the authors who have recorded the fact, however improbable their appearance in those regions might have been.1
Their nautical habits were no doubt acquired originally in the Indian Ocean, and were inherited by generations of descendants. It is even highly probable that their inveterate addiction to piracies, which led to the Muhammadan conquest, and has only now been eradicated by the power of the British, may have been the cause of this national dislocation, which no sophistry, no contortion of reading, no difficulty of solution, can legitimately invalidate. The very term of ignobiles, applied to them by Ammianus Marcellinus (xxii. 8), and the curious expressions used by Valerius Flaccus (vi. 86),-
- Degeneresque ruunt Sindi, glomerantque, paterno
- Crimine nunc etiam metuentes verbera, turmas,-
Whether this degradation adheres to any of their descendants at the present time will form the subject of a future essay; but before closing the subject of these early Indian piracies, we should not omit to notice the evident alarm with which they always inspired the Persian monarchy, even in the days of its most absolute power. Strabo and Arrian inform us, that in order to protect their cities
[p.513]: against piratical attacks, the Persians made the Tigris entirely inaccessible for navigation. The course of the stream was obstructed by masses of stone, which Alexander, on his return from India, caused to be removed for the furtherance of commercial intercourse. Inspired by the same dread, and not from religious motives, (as has been supposed), the Persians built no city of any note upon the seacoast.1
We may here make a passing allusion to another memorial of Indian connexion with these parts. The southern neighbours of these Euxine Sindi were the Kolchians. C. Ritter, in his Vorhalle, quoted at the end of this Note, asserts that they came originally from the west of India. Pindar2 and Herodotus3 both remark upon the darkness of their complexion. The latter also mentions that they were curly-headed. He states that he had satisfied himself, not only from the accounts of others, but from personal examination, that they were Egyptians, descended from a portion of the invading army of Sesostris, which had either been detached by that conqueror, or, being wearied with his wandering expedition, had remained, of their own accord, near the river Phasis. He also mentions the practice of circumcision, the fabrication of fine linen, the mode of living, and resemblance of language, as confirmatory of his view of an affinity between these nations. He has been followed by Diodorus and other ancient writers, as well as many modern scholars, who have endeavoured to account for this presumed connection.4 I will not lengthen this Note by pursuing the enquiry; but will merely remark that this Egyptian relationship probably arises from some confusion (observable in several other passages of Herodotus), respecting the connection between the continents of India and Ethiopia,-which pervaded the minds of poets and geographers
from Homer down to Ptolemy,1 -or rather down to Idrísí and Marino Sanuto;3 and which induced even Alexander, when he saw crocodiles in the Indus, although their existence therein had already been remarked by Herodotus, to conceive that that river was connected with the Nile, and that its navigation downwards would conduct into Egypt.4
It is admitted that grave objections may be raised, and have been urged with some force, against carrying these presumed analogies too far; and sceptics are ready to exclaim with Fluellen, "there is a river in Macedon, and there is also, moreover, a river at Monmouth * * * there is salmons in both." But, while some have endeavoured to trace the indications of a direct Indian connection between the inhabitants of the Euxine shores and India, on the ground of such names as Acesines,5 Hypanis,6 Kophes, or Kobus,7 Typhaonia,8
[p.515]: Phasis,1 Caucasus, and such like, being found in both one country and the other; and while the resemblance between the worship of Odin and Buddha has been strongly urged by similar advocates;2 it may, on the other hand, and with great reason, be asserted that these names are not local in India, and that they have generally been grafted on some Indian stock, offering a mere partial likeness, either through the ignorance of the Greeks, or with the view of flattering the vanity of Alexander, by shifting further to the eastward the names and attributes of distant places, already removed almost beyond mortal ken and approach, and lying far away-
- "Extra flammantia mœnia mundi."3
In the grossness of their indiscriminate adulation, they were at all times ready to ascribe to that conqueror the obscure achievements of mythical heroes, whose glory was inseparably connected with certain streams and mountains, which even they, in the plenitude of their power, had found it no easy matter to traverse and surmount. Strabo, indeed, informs us that the Argonautic monuments were industriously destroyed by Alexander's generals, from a ridiculous alarm lest the fame of Jason might surpass that of their master. Parmenio is especially mentioned both by him and Justin, as one whose jealousy was prompted to destroy several temples erected in honour of Jason, "in order that no man's name in the east might be more venerable than that of Alexander."4
Hence, it has been justly remarked, even by early writers, open to the influence of reason and philosophy, and guided by the results
[p.516]: of an extended observation, that the Greeks have transposed these localities upon very slender foundations, and that many of the barbaric names have been Hellenised."1
We find frequent instances of the same tendency to corruption in our own Oriental nomenclature, but with even greater perversions. Thus, we have heard our ignorant European soldiery convert Shekhawati into 'sherry and water;' Siráju-d Daula into a belted knight, 'Sir Roger Dowler;' Dalíp into 'Tulip;' Sháh Shujá'u-l Mulk into 'Chá sugar and milk,' and other similar absurdities; under which, in like manner, "many of the barbaric names have been Anglicised,"
But when we apply the same argument to the cases under consideration, we shall see it has no force; for here there has been no room for the corruptions and flatteries to which allusions have been made; nor did it ever occur to the Greeks to enter upon the same comparisons which are engaging our attention. When we carry these identifications yet further, we shall find names with which the Greeks were not even acquainted; and it is not between streams, towns, and mountains, that the similitudes exist, but between peoples in the one country and places in the other,-the latter known, the former unknown, to ancient historians and geographers,-who have, therefore, left the field open for moderns alone to speculate in.
Now, it is not merely in the two instances already adduced that these striking monuments of connection attract our observation; but, when we also find the Maidi next to the Sindi and Kerketæ,2 a tribe
[p.517]: of Arii or Arichi,1 an island of Aria or Aretias,2 a river Arius,3 a tribe of Maetes or Mæotai,4 a town of Madia,5 a town of Matium,6 a tribe of Matiani,7 a town of Mateta,8 a tribe of Kottæ,9 a country of Kutaïs,10 a city of Kuta,11 a city of Kutaia,12 a tribe of Kolchi,13 a district of Kolchis,14 a Kolchian sea,15 a tribe of Koli,16 the mountains of Koli,17 a district of Koli,18 a province of Iberia,19 a tribe of Iberes,20 a tribe of Bounomai,21 a district of Minyas,22 a city of Male,33 a tribe of Baternæ,24 a river of Bathys,25 a port and town of Bata;26 when we find all these names in close juxtaposition, reminding us in their various forms of our own Meds, Káthis, Koles, Abhírs, Mínas, Mallinas, and Bhatis, tribes familiar to us as being, at one time, in and near the valley of the Indus; and when we consider, moreover, that all these different names, including the Sindi and Kerketæ, were congregated about the western region of the Caucasus, within a
[p.518]: space scarcely larger than the province of lower Sind, and when again we reflect upon the curious coincidence, that Pliny1 calls the former province "Scythia Sendica," while Ptolemy2 calls the latter "Indo-Scythia;" that even as late as the fifth century, the judicious ecclesiastical historian, Socrates,3 as well as the accurate geographer, Stephanus,4 continued to call the former by the name of "India," it is very difficult to resist the conviction, that these cumulative instances of combinations and affinities cannot be altogether accidental, or the mere result of diligent and ingenious exploration.
But, even allowing that all these miscellaneous instances of resemblance, brought forward in the preceding paragraph, are indeed purely fortuitous,-and it is willingly acknowledged that there is "ample room and verge enough" for a sharp eye, a nice ear, and a playful fancy, in the selection of such alliterative illustrations,- even if we reject them altogether as the products of a wild and dreamy imagination, and since they add little to the cogency of our argument, they may be resigned as such without a murmur, still it is impossible to yield the Sindi, the Kerketæ, or even the Maidi, to the cavils of such an illiberal and hostile spirit of criticism, for, with respect to them, it must be confessed by all but the most obstinately sceptical, that they, at least, stand boldly and prominently forth, as undoubted evidences of actual Indian occupancy on the shores of the Euxine.
It is not the purport of this Note to show how these coincidences could possibly have arisen; how nations, separated by so many mountains, seas, forests, and wastes, could have preserved any signs whatever of original identity, much less of such close approximation in names, as has been here adduced. Ukert, the strongest opponent of this supposed connection between the Caucasus and India, mentions that the ancients are express in asserting that the Indians
[p.519]: never sent out of their country any armies or colonies;1 but migrations might easily have arisen from other causes, and a hint has been thrown out above, that in this particular instance, the expatriation might perhaps not have been altogether voluntary.
In another part of this work I have traced, step by step, the progress of one Indian family from the banks of the Indus to the remotest shores of Europe; and in the following Note upon the Meds, I have shown several instances of compulsory transportations to countries nearly as remote; so that this branch of the enquiry need not engage our attention further in this place, the object of showing the probable existence of a tribe of Kerks, both on the Indus and Euxine, having, it is hoped, already been sufficiently proved to the satisfaction of every candid and unprejudiced mind.2
[p.519]: We find the Meds frequently mentioned by the Arab authors on Sind, and, together with their rivals the Jats, they may be considered the oldest occupants of that province, who, in their names as well as persons, have survived to our own times.
The first account we have of them is in the Mujmalu-t Tawáríkh, That work mentions that the Jats and the Meds are reputed to be descendants of Ham, the son of Noah, and that they occupied the banks of the Indus, in the province of Sind. The Meds, who devoted themselves to a pastoral life, used to invade the territories of the Jats, putting them to great distress, and compelling them to take up their abode on the opposite side of the river; but, subsequently, the Jats, being accustomed to the use of boats, crossed over and defeated the Meds, taking several prisoners and plundering their country.
[p.520]: At last these two tribes, seeing the inutility of protracting their contests any longer, agreed to send a deputation to Duryodhana, the king of Hastinápur, begging him to nominate a king to rule over them. Duryodhana accordingly nominated his sister Dassal (Duh-sálá), the wife of Jayadratha, who exercised the functions of government with great wisdom and moderation. The families and adherents of 30,000 Bráhmans, who were collected from all parts of Hindústán, were sent by Duryodhana to her court, and from that time Sind became flourishing and populous, and many cities were founded. The Jats and the Meds had separate tracts of land assigned to them, and were governed by chiefs of their own election.
The queen and Jayadratha made the city of 'Askaland their capital; the same place, apparently, which is called in a subsequent passage 'Askaland-úsa, perhaps the Úchh of later times, as has been shown in another Note of this Appendix (p. 365).
Jayadratha was killed in the fatal field of Thanesar, and his faithful wife ascended the funeral pile, after their reign had continued for more than twenty years. On the same field was extinguished the dynasty called after the name of Bharata, he being the most celebrated ancestor of Dhritarashtra, the father of Duryodhana and the Kurus. On the transfer of the empire to the Pandavas, Yudhishthira conferred Sind upon Sanjwára, the son of Jayadratha and Dassal (Duhsála), and from him Hál was descended (supra, p. 103). As the Great War, in which these heroes enacted a conspicuous part, has been supposed, on astronomical grounds, to have taken place during the twelfth century B.C.,1 we must assign an equal antiquity to their contemporaries the Meds of Sind, if we put faith in this narrative; but as this early settlement is not, in Lassen's opinion, opposed to probability in the case of the Jats, we need not withhold our faith in its correctness with respect to the Meds. Indeed, admitting that the 'Jartikas' of the Mahabharata and the Puránas represent the Jats, we cannot but consider the Madras as representing
- 1. Sir W. Jones, Works, Vol.III,p.213;VII.17. Some fix it earlier. See Prechard, Researches into the Phy. Hist. of Mankind, Vol.IV,p.110, et.seq. Lassen Indische Alterthumskunde, Vol.I, p.499 et.seq. Prof. Wilson JAS Bengal Vol.XIII,p.81
[p.521]: the Meds- confirming thereby the antiquity and synchronism of these two races on the banks of the Indus.1
During the period of Arab occupation, Muhammad Kásim is represented as making peace with the Meds of Suráshtra, "seafarers and pirates, with whom the men of Basra were then at war." This gives a great extent to their dominion at that period towards the south-east.
In the time ofMu'tasim Bi-llah, 'Amrán, the Barmekide, governor of Sind, directed an expedition against the Meds, in which he killed three thousand of them, and constructed an embankment, which he called the Meds' embankment, probably for the purpose of depriving them of the means of irrigation, as was done so effectually in 1762 and 1802 at Mora and Ali Bandar, when the Sindians ruined the prosperity of north-western Kachh. The word Sakar, 'embankment,' is preserved in the town of that name opposite to Rorí, where, however, the mound is a natural limestone formation of about one hundred feet high, and not an artificial causeway.2 Nevertheless, we might, if we could be sure that any Meds were then on the western side of the Indus, pronounce this to be the identical locality; for certainly, in Biládurí (supra p. 128), the whole transaction seems to be closely connected with 'Amrán's proceedings against Kandábel and the Jats on the Aral river, not far from Sakar, insomuch that, immediately after settling affairs with them he returns to attack the Meds, having the chief of the Jats in his company. But, as on the occasion of this second attack, he dug a canal from the sea to their lake, rendering their water salt and nauseous, there can be no question of this scene, at least, being in the southeastern portion of the province, where they were settled in the greatest numbers; and here, therefore, we must also look for the embankment raised in the first incursion. They are said to have been attacked by 'Amrán from several different directions, and were thus doubtless reduced to great extremities.
[p.522]: During the reign of the same Khalif, we find an Arab chieftain, Muhammad bin Fazl, who had taken possession of Sindán, in the Abrása district of Kachh, attacking the Meds with a squadron of seventy vessels;1 on which occasion he took Málí, of which the position may be identified with Mália on the Machú. This powerful armament seems to have been directed against the sea-board of the tract invaded by 'Amrán, now occupied by the Ran of Kachh; where Vígogad, Vingar, and Ballyárí, on the northern, and Phang-warrí, Nerona, Bitáro, etc., on the southern shore, are all known, both by concurrent native tradition, as well as by independent European observation, to have been once washed by the sea. All these various expeditions, however, had but little permanent effect in reducing the power of the Meds, for Mas'údí informs us that, when he visited Sind, the inhabitants of Mansúra were obliged continually to protect themselves against their aggressions.2
Ibn Haukal notices them under the name of Mand (p. 38), and though, without the diacritical point, the word might be read Med, yet as all the MSS., few as they are, concur in this reading, it must be retained. He describes them as dwelling on the bank of the Indus from the borders of Multán to the sea, and in the desert between that river and Fámhal, the frontier town of Hind. They had many stations which they occupied as pasture grounds, and formed a very large population, unconverted to the faith. What Abú-l Fidá says of them is taken from this passage, and we do not read of them in any subsequent author.3
Hence we might suppose that the tribe is entirely extinct, and have left no memorial of their existence, except the passages above quoted. M. Reinaud, indeed, observes that he finds it impossible to apply the name of Med or Mand, to any known population, and therefore conceives that the denomination is disfigured. But he is mistaken in this supposition, for the tribe of Med still exists, both to the east and the west of the Indus;4 and those on the coast, being
[p.523]: unable now to practice piracy after the mode of their ancestors, devote themselves to the more tranquil pursuit of fishing. To the east, we find them roving on the borders of Sind and Jodhpur, the site of their occupation during the Arab period; and to the west, they are found in the little ports of Makrán, from Súnmíání to Charbar, divided into the clans of Gazbúr, Hormárí, Jellar-záí, and Chelmar-záí.
It is possible that the Meds, or some offshoot of that stock, may have been designated as Mand, for that syllable enters into the name of several native tribes and places existing to this day: as the Mand-ar, the Mand-hor, the Mind-hro, besides the Bulúch tribe of Mond-rání, as well as the ancient towns of Mand-rá and Mand-ropat, in Cháchagám, to the east of the Gúní, Mand-rása to the north of the Makalí hills, and Mund-ra and other similar names in Kachh.
That the Mers of the Árávalí mountains and Káthíwár are descendants of the same family, is also not beyond the bounds of probability. The native pronunciation, especially in the western and north-western provinces of Hindústan, tends so much to an intermixture of the cerebral letters r and d,-the written character, indeed, being the same in both, and the diacritical marks being a mere modern innovation-that Mer and Med may be identical: and the addition of the aspirate, which sometimes makes the former into Mher, or, as we commonly write it Mhair, offers still no argument against identity, for that also is an optional excrescence, especially in the names of peoples and families. For the same reason, the connection of the Mahr of Úbáro, and other tracts in the Upper Sind, where they are reckoned by their neighbours as the aboriginal inhabitants of the country between Bhakkar and Baháwalpúr, is equally plausible.1
Tod pronounces the Mers to be of Bhattí origin, and derives their name from Meru, "a mountain." But at the same time that he pronounces them to be Bhattís, he says they are a branch of the Mína, or Maina, one of the aboriginal races of India. These statements are obviously incompatible, and the Bhattí hypothesis must be rejected.
During the whole period of their known history, they have been conspicuous for their lawless and predatory habits, from the time when four thousand Mer archers defended their passes against Pirthí-Ráj,1 down to A.D. 1821, when their excesses compelled the British government to attack them in their fastnesses, and reduce them to complete obedience. Since which period, it is gratifying to observe that they have emerged from their barbarism, and, under the judicious management of European officers, have learnt to cultivate the arts of peace, and set a notable example of industry to the surrounding tribes.
Taking into consideration, therefore, the fact that the Mers of the Árávalí are but little advanced beyond the tract where the Meds are known, a thousand years ago, to have formed a numerous and thriving population; that their brethren, the Mínas, can themselves be traced in their original seats to the banks of the Indus; that Káthíwár, or the Saurashtran peninsula, was the very nursery of the piractical expeditions for which the Meds were about the same period celeberated and feared, and where Mers still reside, we may conclude that to declare them identical, is doing no great force to reason and probability.2
The simple permutation of a letter-not unnaturally forced, but based upon a law of common observance-introduces us to a new connexion of considerable interest; for we may make bold to claim, as an ancient representative of this race, Meris, or Moeris, the king of Pattala, who, on the approach of Alexander, deserted his capital, and fled to the mountains. The site of this town, at the head of the Delta of the Indus, answers well to the position which we may presume the chief of the Meds to have occupied at that period; and, that the name was not personal, but derived from his tribe, we may be satisfied, from the common practice of Alexander's historians, as
[p.525]: exemplified in the instances of Abisares, Porus, Sambus, Musicanus, Assacanus, and Taxiles, who have these names severally attributed to them from the nations, countries, or towns over which they ruled. Dr. Vincent, in admitting, as the etymon of Moeris, the Arabic words Mír Rais, "the ruling chief," has suffered his too easy credulity to be played upon by an ambitious young orientalist. Bohlen has attempted to trace in the name of Moeris a corruption of Mahárájá, "the great king," in which he is followed by Ritter; but, independent of the fact that his kingdom was circumscribed within very narrow limits, he is expressly noticed by Arrian, under the humble title of ύπραχος, which invariably implies subordination, and not supremacy.1 A more probable, but still unlikely, origin has been suggested, from the tribe of Maurya;2 but they were far away in the east, remote from Sind, so that altogether locality and verbal resemblance are most favourable to the present hypothesis, that Meris is a Grecised form for the "chief of the Mers."
We may even extend our views to a still more remote period, and indulge in speculations whether this tribe may not originally have been a colony of Medes. There is nothing in the distance of the migration which would militate against this supposition, for Herodotus mentions the Sigynnæ, as a colony of the Medes settled beyond the Danube:-"How they can have been a colony of the Medes," he observes, "I cannot comprehend; but anything may happen in course of time."3 The Medians are also said to have accompanied the expedition of Hercules, when he crossed over from Spain into Africa.4 The Sauromatæ were Median colonists beyond the Tanais, or Don.5 The Matienoi, or Matienes,6 the Kharimatai,7 and possibly the Mares,8 were Caucasian colonists from Media, preserving in their names the national appellation of Mata or Madia.
[p.526]: They may either have been transplanted to the banks of the Indus when the Medo-Persian empire extended so far to the eastward; or they may have migrated thither at some indefinitely early period; or they may have sought an asylum there upon the occupation of their country by the Scythians; or during the persecution of the Magi, who constituted one of the six tribes of Medes, just as the Pársís did in Guzerát, at a later period and on similar occasion. It is worthy of remark that Ibn Haukal places the Budhas, or Budhyas, in the same category with the Mand, representing them as comprising several tribes to the west of the Indus. Now, the Budii were also one of the six Median tribes, and the juxtaposition of these two names in the province of Sind should not escape notice, for they also may have formed a body of similar emigrants.1
All arguments against the probability of such dispersions stand self-confuted, when we consider that Sindians were on the Euxine;2 and that, besides the familiar instances of Samaritans and Jews under the Assyrians, we read over and over again in Persian history, of the deportations of entire tribes, expressly termed αυασπάστοι by Herodotus.3 Thus we have the removal of Pæo-nians to Phrygia,4 of Barcæans from Africa to Bactria,5 of Milesians to Ampe, near the Tigris,6 of Egyptians to Susa,7 of Eretrians from Eubœa to Ardericca,8 and to Gordyene,9 of Antiochians to Mahúza,10 and others which it would be tedious to specify.
There is another curious coincidence worthy of notice. It is well known, that from below the junction of the Panjáb rivers down to Sihwán, the Indus takes the name of Sar, Siro, or Sira, and from below Haidarábád to the sea, that of Lár. It is more correct, but unusual, to add an intermediate division, called Wicholo, "central," representing the district lying immediately around Haidarábád, just
[p.527]: as on the Nile, the Wustání, "midlands," of the Arabs represented the tract between Upper and Lower Egypt.1 Sir A. Burnes says that Sir and Lár are two Bulúch words for "north" and "south." But the first is a Slavonic word also, which Gatterer and Niebuhr tell us is retained in Sauro-matæ, signifying "northern" Medes. There were also a province of Siracene, and a tribe of Siraceni, and other similar names north of the Caucasus.2 The Slavonic and Persian show a great similarity: thus, spaco signifies "a bitch" in both, and the same with the first syllable of Sauromatæ, or Sar-matæ.3 Hence Sar for the "northern" Indus, was more probably a remnant of Median than Bulúch emigration, though the Persian element could be accounted for, even on the latter supposition, seeing what a strong tincture the Bulúchí language retains of its original Íránian connection.4
Moreover, amongst the several tribes of Kshatriyas, who, having neglected to observe the holy customs, and to visit the Bráhmans, became so degenerate that they were expelled their caste, and regarded as "Dasyus," or robber tribes, Manu enumerates the "Pah-lavas." 5 "They are," continues the holy legislator, "Dasyus, whether they speak the language of Mlechchhas, or that of Áryas." Árya in Sanskrit, airya in Zend, means "noble," "sacred," "venerable;" hence a portion of Upper India is called Aryavarta, "the holy land," or "country of the Áryas." The Medes being also of the same original stock, were universally called Arii. The Áryas of Manu, therefore, are not necessarily, as some interpret, only degenerate natives, but may likewise have been Medes occupying
[p.528]: the valley of the Indus. It is probable that a still earlier, and more degenerate branch of the same family may be spoken of under the name of "Meda," in the code of Manu, "who must live without the town, and maintain themselves by slaying beasts of the forest." Allusion seems here to be made to the Mers of the Árávalí.1
These indications need not be enlarged on further in this place. Many will, of course, look upon them as fanciful and extravagant. Others, who feel so disposed, must pursue the investigation for themselves; for it is foreign to the main design of this Note, which has merely been to show that we have the Meds of the Arabs retaining their own name to this day, as well as probably under a slightly varied form, in and around the original seats of their occupation. That object has, it is hoped, been accomplished satisfactorily, and with regard to all extraneous matter, to use the words of Cicero, sequimur probabilia, nec ultrà quam id, quod verisimile occurrerit, pro-gredi possumus, et refellere sine pertinaciâ et refelli sine iracundiâ parati sumus.2
General Cunningham, in his Report for 1863-64, says:-"The Meds or Mands are almost certainly the representatives of the Man-drueni , who lived on the Mandrus river, to the south of the Oxus; and as their name is found in the Panjáb from the beginning of the Christian era downwards, and in none before that time, I conclude that they must have accompanied their neighbours, the Iatii, or Játs, on their forced migrations to Ariana and India. In the classical writers, the name is found as Medi and Mandueni, and in the Muhammadan writers, as Med and Mand." To show that these
[p.529]: two spellings are but natural modes of pronunciation of the same name, the General notices the various ways in which the name of a village on the Jhelam is spelt in different maps and books- Meriala, Mandiali, Mámriála, Mandyála, Mariála, and Merali.
"The earliest notice of the Meds is by Virgil, who calls the Jhelam Medus Hydaspes. The epithet is explained by the statement of Vibius Sequester, which makes the Hydaspes flow "past the city of Media." Now this is clearly the same place as Ptolemy's Euthy-media , or Sagala, which was either on or near the same river, and above Bukephala. Lastly, in the Peutingerian Tables, the country on the Hydaspes, for some distance below Alexandria Bucefalos, is called Media. Here then we have evidence that the Medi, or Meds, were in the Panjáb as early at least as the time of Virgil, in B.C. 40 to 30, and as we know that they were not one of the five tribes of Yuchi, or Tochari, whose names are given by the Chinese writers, it may be inferred, with tolerable certainty, that they must have belonged to the great horde of Sus, or Abars, who entered India about B.C. 126, and gave their name to the province of Indo-Scythia."
As the date of the Peutingerian Table is not later than A.D. 250, we have a break of upwards of four centuries before we reach the earliest notices of the Muhammadan writers. In these we find the Meds or Mands firmly established in Sindh, along with their ancient rivals the Játs, both of whom are said to be the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. Rashíd-ud dín further states that they were in Sindh at the time of the Mahábhárata, but this is amply refuted by the native histories of the province, which omit both names from the list of aborigines of Sindh. Ibn Haukal describes the Mands of his time (about A.D. 977), as occupying the banks of the Indus from Multan to the sea, and to the desert between Makrán and Famhal. Masudi, who visited India in A.D. 915-16, calls them Mind, and states that they were a race of Sindh, who were at constant war with the people of Mansura. These notices are sufficient to show, that at some time previous to the first appearance of the Muhammadans, the Meds must have been forced to migrate from the Upper Panjáb to Sindh. There they have since remained, as there can be no doubt that they are now represented by the Mers of the Árávalí Range to the east of the Indus, of Káthiáwar to the south, and of Biluchistán to the west."
"The name of Mer, or Mand, is still found in many parts of the Punjáb, as in Meror of the Bari and Rechna Doabs, in Mera, Mandra, and Mandanpur of the Sind Ságar Doab, and in Mandali, of Multan. Mera, which is ten miles to the west of Kalar Kahár, is certainly as old as the beginning of the Christian era, as it possesses an Arian Pali inscription, fixed in the side of a square well. The Mers would seem also to have occupied Lahore, as Abú Ríhán states that the capital of Loháwar was named Medhukur or Mandhukur.1 This place is said to have been on the east bank of the Ravi, and, if so, it was most probably Lahore itself, under a new name. There is an old place called Mandhyawála, on the west bank of the Ravi, and only twelve miles to the south-west of Lahore, which may possibly be the Mandhukur of Abu Ríhán. But the old mound of Mirathira, in the Gugera district, in which figures of Buddha and moulded bricks have been discovered by the railway cuttings, is a more likely place. This frequent occurrence of the name in so many parts of the Panjáb, and always attached to old places, as in Mera, Mandra, and Meriali, of the Sindh Ságar Doab, and in Med-hukur or Mandhukur, the capital of Loháwar, offers the strongest confirmation of the conclusion which I have already derived from the notices of the classical authors, that the Meds or Mers were once the dominant race in the Panjáb. The special location of the Medi on the Hydaspes by classical writers of the first century of the Christian era, the evident antiquity of Mera, Meriali, and other places which still bear the name, and the admitted foreign origin of their modern representatives, the Mers, all point to the same conclusion, that the Medi, or Meds, were the first Indo-Scythian conquerors of the Panjáb."
[* * * * "About this time (30 to 20 B.C.) the Meds may be supposed to have retired towards the south, until they finally established themselves in Upper Sindh, and gave their name to their new capital of Minnagara. As this could scarcely have been effected with the consent of the former occupants of Upper Sindh, whom I suppose to have been the Iatii, or Jats, I would refer to this period as the beginning of that continued rivalry, which the historian Rashídu-d dín attributes to the Jats and Meds.2 To this same cause I would also refer the statement of the Erythræan Periplus, that about A.D. 100, the rulers of Minnagara were rival Parthians, who were mutually expelling each other."
[p.531]: Wairsí, we are told in the Beg-Lar-náma (MS. p. 55), was a chief among the Sodhas. It would have been more correct to say that Wairsí was the chief clan among the Sodhas; for Wairsí was not a personal designation, as is evident from many passages of that work. It is written indiscriminately Wairsí and Wairsa, and a cognate, but then hostile, clan bore the closely similar name of Waisa (MS. pp. 190, 191). The Sameja tribe, often mentioned in the same work, is also a branch of the Sodhas. An exact translation of the text to which this note refers would represent Rájia as the daughter of the Ráná (which, by the way, is spelt throughout in the original as Ra'ná); but at p. 61 we learn that she was his sister's son, and so she is also styled in the Tuhfatu-l Kirám (MS. p. 73). Indeed, had she been his own daughter, we should not have found Abú-l Kásim Khán-i Zamán, who was the issue of the marriage with Mír Kásim Beg-Lár, passing his childhood among the Bhattís of Jesalmír after his father's death, but rather among the Sodhas of 'Umarkot.
The Soda or Sodha tribe (spelt Soda by Col. Tod, and Sodá by the Rev. Mr. Renouard) is an offshoot of the Pramara, and has been for many centuries an occupant of the desert tracts of Western India, into which they have receded, like their predecessors, when driven forward by more powerful neighbours from the banks of the Indus. Col. Tod contends that they are the descendants of the Sogdi of Alexander's time, in which there is greater probability than in most of his speculations. Sogdi may be a corruption, derived from the greater familiarity of historians with the northern nation of that name. The Sodræ of Diodorus offers an equal resemblance of name and position. It is not plain which bank of the river the Sodræ or Sogdi then occupied. They are not mentioned by Q. Curtius, and Arrian's use of "right" and "left," as applied to the banks of the Indus, is so opposed to the modern practice of tracing a river from its source downwards, that it adds to the confusion.
[p.532]: The transaction mentioned in the text shows the early period at which the Hindús began to disgrace themselves by their intermarriages with Muhammadans; and the high repute of the beauty of the Sodha women has served to maintain that practice in full vigour to the present time.
At the period treated of, we find the Sodhas in possession of 'Umarkot, of which the name and consequence have been subsequently much increased, independant of its importance as a border fortress, by being the birth place of the renowned Akbar.
The Ráná of the Sodhas was expelled from 'Umarkot by the Tálpúrs of Sind; and the present representative of the family, who still retains his title of Ráná, resides at Chor, a few miles north-east of his former capital, shorn of all power, and hard pressed for the means of subsistence.1