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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/139

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THE PEOPLE: RELIGIONS

or pir, who combines the functions in the Roman Catholic Church of spiritual director in this world and the saint in heaven. The pir may be the custodian of some little saint's tomb in a village, or of some great shrine like that of Baba Farid at Pakpattan, or Bahawal Hakk at Multan, or Taunsa Sharif in Dera Ghazi Khan, or Golra in Rawalpindi. His own holiness may be more official than personal. About 1400 a.d. the Kashmiris were offered by their Sultan Sikandar the choice between conversion and exile, and chose the easier alternative. Like the western Panjabis they are above all things saint-worshippers. The ejaculations used to stimulate effort show this. The embankment builder in the south-western Pan jab invokes the holy breath of Bahawal Hakk, and the Kashmiri boatman's cry " Ya Pir, dast gir," " Oh Saint, lend me a hand," is an appeal to their national saint.

Effect of Education.— The Musalmans of the western Pan jab have a great dislike to Sikhs, dating from the period of the political predominance of the latter. So far the result of education has been to accentuate religious differences and animosities. Both Sikhs and Musalmans are gradually dropping ideas and observances retained in their daily life after they ceased to call themselves Hindus. On the other hand, within the Hindu fold laxity is now the rule rather than the exception, and the neglect of the old ritual and restrictions is by no means confined to the small but influential reforming minority which calls itself Arya Samaj.

Christians.— The number of Christians increased three-fold between 1901 and 1911. The Presbyterian missionaries have been especially successful in attracting large numbers of outcastes into the Christian Church.

Hinduism in the Panjab.— Hinduism has always been, and to-day is more than ever, a very elastic term. The