Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/56

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its merest outlines, in order to show of what it mainly consists, whither it tends, and how it affects those that lead it. Hindoo exclusiveness absolutely prohibits outsiders from personally observing what I am about to describe, and all that can possibly be done by persons such as I, is to procure our facts as nearly at first hand as practicable. Hence the necessity of explaining briefly what the sources of my information are. Chiefly, then, I have drawn upon matters which have come to me as the first hearer of the tale; partly because I am quite sure that all the facts thus learned are straight from the mouths of trustworthy natives of India, and partly because I should be sorry to be, by any mishap, a misinterpreter of other people's writings. Although I shall not be wittingly guided by any one of them, there are several works of original information, more or less directly bearing on my subject, which all who are interested in it would do well to study. Among these are "Hindoos as they are," written, indeed, by a Christian convert with something of the convert's proverbial asperity toward the followers of the religion he has discarded, but containing much that is valuable to the student; "The Hindoo Family" of Balram Malik, a far superior work to the last, by the wellknown Judge of the Calcutta Small Cause Court, who has treated his subject as only he can, that is, in full sympathy with it, and, of course, with complete knowledge; and "The Life of a Hindoo Woman," by the celebrated Brahmani Ramabai, who was driven to Christianity at last by the persecution of her co-religionists. For Mohammedans, there are Dr. Herklot's "Quanoon-e-Islam" and "Notes on the Indian Musalmans," by the wife of Mir Ali Hasan, who was an Englishwoman. And then there are several collections of folk-songs—notably Gover's from southern India, and Grierson's from the north—which, between the lines, contain facts about Indian women that none can gainsay. However, I shall now confine myself to statements based, firstly, on notes supplied me by natives for "Panjab Notes and Queries," which I have edited from the commencement; secondly, to the late Dr. Fallon's splendid collection of "Hindustani Proverbs," 12,500 in number, which I commenced editing and translating in 1883; and, thirdly, to the various collections of folk-songs that I have made and published at different times within the last eight years.

An Indian woman's life in its ordinary course is divided into two clearly defined parts, which are quite distinct, though separated from each other only by the fateful day on which she first goes to take up her abode within her father-in-law's family. Note that it is not called in the Indian languages her husband's family, for that, under the Indian family system, it can seldom be in the case of a bride. Childhood rather than girlhood is the heyday of the Indian woman. Free to play as she pleases, with plenty of