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30th class. There are enumerated 10 more classes of the Shoodru cast, which are included in the above.

The Hindoo shastrus bear the most evident proofs, that the founders of the system of casts, must have been men who designed to deify themselves. This institution has been, and ever will be one of the greatest scourges, which can afflict those who are doomed to suffer under it. It has no regard to merit, or demerit. It consigns nine tenths of the people even before birth, to a state of mental and bodily degradation, in which they are forever shut out from all the liberties, honour, or even religion of the country. But not only is the system of cast repugnant to every principle of justice and policy, but to every feeling of benevolence and humanity. The social circle excludes every person, except of the same cast. It arms one class of men against another; it gives rise to the most insufferable ostentation and pride on the one hand, and to the most abject state of degradation and apathy on the other. It is a sufficient excuse for not doing an act of benev. olence towards another, that he is not of the same cast ; nay, a man dying with thirst, will not accept of a cooling draught of water, from the hand or cup of a person of lower cast. In short, the cast murders all feelings of benevolence, or pity; and shuts up the heart of man against his neighbour, in a manner unknown even among savage tribes.

The loss of cast, is the most terrible calamity a Hindoo can guffer. It is worse than death. Instances have frequently happened, where persons have pined away and died on this account. Still the crime for which a person forfeits his cast, is often of the most trivial kind, or perhaps an unavoidable, or even a benevolent act. Perhaps the person has been found eating with a virtuous neighbour of a lower cast, or he has visited other countries on business, and has been compel. led to starve, or eat food not cooked by persons of his own cast. Or perhaps he has associated with a person of low cast, so far as to help him out of distress. For these, or such like reasons, the cast proscribes him his father's house, and if his mother consents to talk with him, it must be by stealth, at a distance from the place which was once his bome, into which he must never enter. · Not only is a person who has lost cast deprived of his property, and renounced by his friends, but he is excluded from all the services and comforts of religion, and from all its sopposed benefits, at and after death, and is of course considered as certainly miserable in a future state. Numbers of such outcasts abandon their homes, and wander about till death.

Children. The birth, nursing, and education of their chil. dren, are considered as matters of the utmost importance, by the higher classes of Hindoos.

Before the birth of a child, to keep off evil spirits, they lay the scull of a cow smeared with red lead at the door of the house. When a child is born, and the father first goes to see it, if a rich man, he puts money into its hand, and the relations do the same. On the sixth day after birth, a certain goddess is worshipped in the room where the child was born, and her blessing implored on it.

The respectable Hindoos, at the birth, keep a record, drawn up by a gunuku, or astrologer, who is informed by the father, of the exact time the child was born, and is requested to cast its nativity, and open the roll of its fate. The astrologer goes home, and draws up a paper, describing what will happen to the child annually, for as many years as he is paid. If the fortune of the infant turns out to be good, the astrologer receives additional sums from year to year. The parent carefully deposits the record in his house, and looks at it occasionally, when good or evil happens to the child.

At the age of a few days the infant is named, generally after some favourite god, but is never called after the father. The reason of this practice probably is, that the Hindoos believe, the repetition of the names of the gods is meritorious, and operating like fire, consumes all sin ; hence, the oftener they are repeated in the family, the better.

A Hindoo woman suckles her child, if she have only one, till it is five or six years old ; and it is not uncommon to see such children standing and drawing the mother's breast. A Hindoo mother seldom employs a wet nurse ; nor is the child fed with prepared food before the expiration of six months. The children of the rich generally go naked till they arrive at their second or third year, and those of the poor till they are six or seven.

As Hindoo women never learn to read, they are unable to teach their children their first lessons, but a father may frequently be seen teaching his child to write the alphabet when five years old ; at which age the male children are commonly sent to the village school.

Rich men employ persons to teach their children, even at five years of age, how to behave on the approach of a bramhun, a parent, a spiritual guide, &c.; how to sit, to bow, and appear to advantage in society. When a boy speaks of his father, he calls him t'kakooru, lord ; or of his mother, he calls her thakooranee. When he returns from a journey, he bows to bis father and mother, and taking the dust from their feet, 30th class. There are enumerated 10 more classes of the Shoodru cast, which are included in the above.

The Hindoo shastrus bear the most evident proofs, that the founders of the system of casts, must have been men who designed to deify themselves. This institution has been, and ever will be one of the greatest scourges, which can afflict those who are doomed to suffer under it. It has no regard to merit, or demerit. It consigns nine tenths of the people even before birth, to a state of mental and bodily degradation, in which they are forever shut out from all the liberties, honour, or even religion of the country. But not only is the system of cast repugnant to every principle of justice and policy, but to every feeling of benevolence and humanity. The social circle excludes every person, except of the same cast. It arms one class of men against another; it gives rise to the most insufferable ostentation and pride on the one hand, and to the most abject state of degradation and apathy on the other. It is a sufficient excuse for not doing an act of benevolence towards another, that he is not of the same cast ; nay, a man dying with thirst, will not accept of a cooling draught of water, from the band or cup of a person of lower cast. In short, the cast murders all feelings of benevolence, or pity; and shuts up the heart of man against his neighbour, in a manner unknown even among sayage tribes. · The loss of cast, is the most terrible calamity a Hindoo can suffer. It is worse than death. Instances have frequently happened, where persons have pined away and died on this account. Still the crime for which a person forfeits his cast, is often of the most trivial kind, or perhaps an unavoidable, or even a benevolent act. Perhaps the person has been found eating with a virtuous neighbour of a lower cast, or he has visited other countries on business, and has been compelled to starve, or eat food not cooked by persons of his own cast. Or perhaps he has associated with a person of low cast, so far as to help him out of distress. For these, or such like reasons, the cast proscribes him his father's house, and if his mother consents to talk with him, it must be by stealtb, at a distance from the place which was once his bome, into which he must never enter. : Not only is a person who has lost cast deprived of his property, and renounced by his friends, but he is excluded from all the services and comforts of religion, and from all its sapposed benefits, at and after death, and is of course considered as certainly miserable in a future state. Numbers of such outcasts abandon their homes, and wander about till death.

Children. The birth, nursing, and education of their chil. dren, are considered as matters of the utmost importance, by the higher classes of Hindoos.

Before the birth of a chịld, to keep off evil spirits, they lay the scull of a cow smeared with red lead at the door of the house. When a child is born, and the father first goes to see it, if a rich man, he puts money into its hand, and the relations do the same. On the sixth day after birth, a certaia goddess is worshipped in the room where the child was born, and her blessing implored on it.

The respectable Hindoos, at the birth, keep a record, drawn up by a gunuku, or astrologer, who is informed by the father, of the exact time the child was born, and is requested to cast its nativity, and open the roll of its fate. The astrologer goes home, and draws up a paper, describing what will happen to the child annually, for as many years as he is paid. If the fortune of the infant turns out to be good, the astrologer receives additional sums from year to year. The parent carefully deposits the record in his house, and looks at it occasionally, when good or evil happens to the child.

At the age of a few days the infant is named, generally after some favourite god, but is never called after the father. The reason of this practice probably is, that the Hindoos believe, the repetition of the names of the gods is meritorious, and operating like fire, consumes all sin ; hence, the oftener they are repeated in the family, the better.

A Hindoo woman suckles her child, if she have only one, till it is five or six years old ; and it is not uncommon to see such children standing and drawing the mother's breast. A Hindoo mother seldom employs a wet purse ; nor is the child fed with prepared food before the expiration of six months. The children of the rich generally go naked till they arrive at their second or third year, and those of the poor till they are six or seven.

As Hindoo women never learn to read, they are unable to teach their children their first lessons, but a father may frequently be seen teaching his child to write the alphabet when five years old ; at which age the male children are commonly sent to the village school.

Rich men employ persons to teach their children, even at five years of age, how to behave on the approach of a bramhun, a parent, a spiritual guide, &c.; how to sit, to bow, and appear to advantage in society. When a boy speaks of his father, he calls him t’kakooru, lord ; or of his mother, he calls her thakooranee. When he returns from a journey, be bows to his father and mother, and taking the dust from their icet

rubs it on bis head. Considering their inferiority to Europeans in most of the affairs of polished life, the Hindoos in general deserve much credit for their polite address.

Almost all the larger villages in Bengal contain common schools, where a boy learns his letters by writing them, never by pronouncing the alphabet, as in Europe ; he first writes them on the ground; next with an iron style, or a reed, on a palm leaf; and next on a green plantain leaf. After the simple letters, he writes the compounds ; then the names of men, villages, animals, &c. and then the figures. While employed in writing on leaves, all the scholars stand up twice a day, with a monitor at their bead, and repeat the numerical tables, ascending from a unit to guodas,* from gundas to voorees, from vooreest to punus, and from punus to kahuous ;and during school hours, they write on the palm leaf the strokes by which these numbers are defined. They next commit to memory an addition table, and count from one to a hundred ; and after this, on green plantain leaves, they write easy sums in addition and subtraction of money ; multiplication, and then reduction of money, measures, &c. The Hindoo measures are all reducible to the weights, beginning with ruttees,ll and ending with munus.** The elder boys, as the last course at these schools, learn to write common letters, agreements, &c. -The Hindoo schools begin early in the morning, and continue, till nine or ten ; after taking some refreshment at home, the scholars return about three, and continue till dark. The Bengalee school-masters punish with a cane, or a rod made of the branch of a tree ; sometimes the truant is compelled to stand on one leg, holding up a brick in each hand, or to have his arms stretched out, till he is completely tired. These school-masters are generally respectable shoodrus, though in some instances, bramhuns follow this employment. Their allowance is very small : for the first year's education, about a penny a month, and a day's provisions. When a boy writes on a palm leaf, two pence a month ; after this, as the boy advances in learning, as much as four pence or eight pence a month is given.

There are no female schools among the Hindoos; every ray of mental improvement is carefully kept from the sex. As they are always confined to domestic duties, and carefully excluded from the company of the other sex, a Hindoo sees no necessity for the education of females, and the shastrus themselves declare, that a woman has nothing to do with the text of the vedu ; all her duties are comprized in pleasing het

* Four. + Twenty. Eighty. One thousand two hundred and eighty. A seed of the abrus pricatorious. ** Eighty lbs.

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