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RACIAL CHARACTER OF MARATHAS.

from utter insignificance only by their richly carved wooden facade.

§4. Maratha character.

But such a country and climate have their compensating advantages, too. They develop self-reliance, courage, perseverance, a stern simplicity, a rough straightforwardness, a sense of social equality and consequently pride in the dignity of man as man. As early as the 7th century of the Christian era, a learned Chinese traveller thus noted the character of the Maratha people living in the more prosperous Central Deccan : "The inhabitants are proud-spirited and warlike, grateful for favours and revengeful for wrongs, self-sacrificing towards suppliants in distress and sanguinary to death with any who treated them insultingly." (Watters's Yuan Chwang, ii. 239.) "If they are going to seek revenge, they first give their enemy warning." (Beal, ii. 256.)

This racial character was somewhat modified in the course of the next ten centuries. The disappearance of the protective influence of the large Hindu monarchies of the province, the growing rigour of the Muslim occupation of the country, and the ravages of constant warfare between rival States, forced the remnant of the Maratha population to be more cunning and less chivalrous. Shivaji did not "first give warning" to Afzal or Shaista Khan.[1]

  1. In 1880 an English observer wrote of the Maratha