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robbers of various castes, some occupying fixed stations, and others moving over large tracts with incredible rapidity, must have made it a miserable abode to its peaceable inhabitants. This is a part of the general subject to which we may have to recur, but we shall pause in this place to notice one of the most singular of these predatory combinations.
· The Thugs are composed of all castes ; Mahommedans even were admitted; but the great majority are Hindoos; and among these thie Brahmins, chiefly of the Buldelcund tribes, are in the greatest numbers, and generally direct the operations of the different bands. Their principal residence is on the banks of the Chumbul and Kuwary, north east of Gwalior, where they have viilages, and usually maintain a connexion, or at least an understanding, with the manager of the district. Their expeditions, which extend as far as Nagpoor and the Deckan, have of late years been very frequent in Central India ; and more than three hundred of them were in that country in A. 1). 1819. They have fixed rules, particularly as to the division of booty. Auxiliaries to their enterprises are sought for in all ranks, but the most abandoned of the officers of government of the countries to which they proceed, are those they chiefly desire; and after having ascertained, by letter or verbal report, that circum. stances are favourable, they usually send as precursors, for the pur. pose of minute local information, spies disgnised as religious mendicants, as tradesmen, or as soldiers looking for service, who connect themselves with the loose characters of the country, and all is prepared for the principal party, which often consists of three or four Inundred; but these are never seen together, though the different bands travel in perfect communication with each other. Some of them have horses, camels, and tents, and are equipped like mer chants; others are dressed like soldiers going under a leader to take service; some affect to be Mahomedan beggars and Hindu Byragees or holy mendicants; they assume, in short, every disguise. Parties of the boldest and most active are always detached from the main band; these sometimes seek protection from travellers ; it others, afford it: in either case, the fate of those who join them is the same. The Thugs have, concealed, a long silken cord with a poose, which they throw round the necks of their heedless companions, who are strangled and plundered. Their victims, who are always selected for having property, are, when numerous or at all on their guard, lulled by every art into conficience. They are invited to feasts, wliere their victuals and drink are inixed with soporific or poisonous drugs, through the chiects of which they fall an easy pray to these murderers and robbers, the extraordinary success of whose atrocities can only be accounted for by the condition of the countries in which they take place. They attained' great strength in Central India, and many gangs of tliis class passed annually through the country, on their way to the duminions of the Nizanr and Prixhwah. It is not six years ago since the managor of Mundissoor (Appah Gunghadur) surrounded a body of Thugs, wlio protossed them
selves, and appeared to be, a party of horse and foot soldiers that were escorting their baggage on camels and bullocks from the Deckan, He had, however, gained information who they were, and com. manded them to submit; they refused, and an action took place, in which the Thugs were routed, some of them killed, and others made prisoners. The whole of their booty was captured, amounting in value to more than a lac of rupees, and comprising every variety of personal clothes and ornaments, rich and poor, for they plunder all classes indiscriminately. Among other articles a great number of their strangling cords were taken and exhibited.'
Vol. II. pp. 187—190. The country described by Sir John Malcolm, may be taken loosely as lying between the twenty-first and twenty-fifth degrees of North latitude, and the seventy-third and eightieth of East longitude, including the provinces situated between Harrouttee and the river Taptee, North and South, and
exo tending from Guzerat West, to Bundelound East.
Within these limits, the principal sovereignties are the Mahratta don minions of Sindia and Holkar, the Afghan principality of Bhopal, and the different Rajpoot states. According to a more strict definition, Malwa Proper comprises the lofty table-land supported to the North and South by the mountain ranges of Mokundra and Vindhya, and stretching East and West from Bhopal to Dohud. It may be generally described as an elevated plain, open and highly cultivated, intersected by hills and low ridges, abundantly irrigated by rivers and tributary streams, covered with a rich soil, and enjoying a mild and healthy climate. For this fine country Providence, it appears, has done every thing; but the malignant passions of nian have blasted it with the miseries of war and misrule : desolation has been sent forth over its fertile fields, both by the oppression of governors, and the wasting incursions of fierce and rapacious aliens.
The same impenetrable cloud of fable which envelopes the primary facts of Indian þistory, rests, dark and dense, on the early annals of Malwa. It is, however, sufficiently clear, that this province was under the administration of Hindu rajahs, who resided at first in Oojein as their capital, but subsequently in Dhar. Ferishta allirms, that it was one of the fifty kingdoms into which India was divided at the origin of the Hindu rule. When the Mahommedan invasions had dispossessed the native rajahs of Hindostan, Dhar became the residence of a Mussulman sovereign of Malwa, and its most splendid pagodas were dilapidated to build palaces and mosques for the intolerant conquerors. in 1404, however, Alit Khan, afterwards celebrated as Hoshung Shah, removed the seat of empire to the extensive and romantic fortress of Mandoo, on the crest of the Vindhyamountains. This extra ordinary capital lies in latitude 22° 20', N.: Longitude 750.281. East; and, when in its splendour, occupied a site of which the circumference was not less than thirty-seven miles. It is on a level with the table-land of Malwa, from which it is only separated on the north by a deep and rugged ravine, from two hundred feet to four hundred yards in width. The southern face is formed by the very ridge of the Vindhya, and a strong wall enclosed the whole at the edge of the precipice. Within this secure and extensive precinct were combined the advan. tages of abundant water, rich soil, and healthy air. This favoured metropolis attained its highest magnificence under the reign of Mahomed Khiljee, a high-minded usurper, and sus, tained it under his immediate successors. It is now deserted and in ruins, but its remains attest its former splendour : the Jumma Musjeed, the mausoleum of Hussein Shah, the palaces of Baz Bahadur, still exhibited, in 1820, an imposing aspect, but the jungle was encroaching on their precincts, and they were fast mouldering to decay. The Mahommedan dynasties of Malwa were, at one time, powerful and flourishing, but they ultimately sank under the ascendancy of Akber, and their kingdom afterwards shared, as a province, the revolutions of Delhi, until the Mahratta hordes swept over it, and reduced it to their dominion.
The Paishwahs, or heads of the Mahratta league, had, early as 1732, obtained, as Soubabdars, the investiture of this fine province from the Moghul government; but as it became subsequently divided into smaller states, we shall give a brief sketch of their history, beginning with that which fell under the sway of the family of Sindia. This race, of recent ele, vation, owes its rise to the talents of Ranojee and Madhajee, both retaining the original surname. The advancement of the first is attributed to accident. It was his very humble employ ment to carry the slippers of the Paishwah, and the latter having one day been long detained in the apartment of a rajah with whom he was holding conference, found on quitting the room, the guardian of his pantoufles fast asleep, with the ob. ject of his charge clasped with fixed hands to his breast.' Gratified by this care in so trifling a matter, the Paishwah advanced his faithful servant. Ranojee Sindia became an officer in the body-guard, and in the event ranked among the most active and enterprising of the Mahratta chiefs. His natural son, Madhajee Sindia, obtained by his abilities a station to which his birth gave him no claim. He was present at the battle of Paniput, in which the whole united Mahratta force
was: routed, with tremendous loss, by the Afghan army of Ahmed Shah. -A'
He fled from the disastrous field, but was pursued to a great distanee by an Afghan, who, on reaching him, gave him so severe a cut, on the knee with a battle-axe, that he was deprived for life of the use of ḥis right leg. His enemy, content with inflicting this wound, and stripping him of some ornaments and his mare, left him to his fate. He was first discovered by a water-carrier, of the name of Rana Khan, who was among the fugitives : this man, placing him upon his bullock, carried him towards the Deckan. Madhajee used frequently to recount the particulars of this pursuit. His fine Deckany mare carried bim a great way ahead of the strong ambling animál upon which the soldier who had marked him for his prey was mounted; but, whenever be rested for an interval, however short, his enemy appeared keeping the same pace; at last his fatigued mare fell into a ditch. He was taken, wounded, spit upon, and left. He used to say to the British Resident at bis Court, the late General Palmer, that the circumstance had made so strong an impression' upon his imagination, that he could not for a long time sleep without seeing he Afghan and his clumsy charger pacing after him and his fine Deckany mare. Vol. 1. pp. 118, 119.
Madhajee was a consummate politician, and by degrees, foviding cautiously but steadily, made himself master of a cnsiderable territory. Notwithstanding occasional acts of vilence, his disposition appears to have been mild; and, ibugh the rapidity and extent of his conquests prevented the ful accomplishment of his wishes, he was anxious to promote the beneficial administration of his dominions. The regular batilions of De Boigne secured his victory over the Rajpoot tribs, and over the inferior force of Junkajee Holkar; but, in the sidst of his prosperous career, he died, at Poonah, in 1794. The ollowing anecdote is too characteristic of this extraordinar man, to justify its omission. Madhajee, although ruling with ndependent sovereignty, always affected to maintain an entiresubserviency to the authority of the Paishwah. When, he vised Poonah,' tlie capital of the latter, during the rule of Madha Row,
... a sene was exJuibited, which stands perhaps alone amid all the mummer to which the mock humility of artful and ambitious leaders has resured to deceive the world. The actual sovereign of Hindustap frombe Sutleje to Agra, the conqueror of the princes of Rajpootana, he commander of an army composed of sixteen battalions of regulainfantry, five hundred pieces of cannon, and one hundred thonsand lrse, the possessor of two thirds of Malwa and some of the finest prov ces in the Deckan, when he went to pay his respects to
a youth who then held the office of Paishwah, dismounted from his elephant at the gates of Poona ; placed him in the great hall of. audience below all the Mankarries, or hereditary nobles of the state; and when the Paishwah came into the room, and desired him to be seated with others, he objected on the ground of being unworthy of the honour, and, untying a bundle that he carried under his arai, produced a pair of slippers, which he placed before Madhoo Row, saying, “ This is my occupation, it was that of my father.” Madhajee, at the moment he said ibis, took the old slippers the Paishwah had in use, which he wrapped up carefully, and continued to hold them under his arm; after whichi, though with apparent reluctance, he allowed himself to be prevailed upon to sit down. This was not the only instance in which Madhajee Sindia professed to feel pride, instead of shame, at the recollection of the origin of his family, as well as of its first occupations. He had added to their property as Mahratta Ryots in the Deckan, by some purchases, and he desired to be called by the title he derived from his humble inheritance. The feeling was national, and made him popular; but he had, no doubt, other motives : these indeed are described in a common saying in In. dia, “ that Madhajee Sindia made himself the sovereign of an empire, by calling himself a Potail, or head man of a village." But, though we may smile at a conduct which appeared an endeavour to reconcil stations and duties that were incompatible, it must be confessed, tht: this able chief was throughout his life consistent in the part be acier; which appeared more natural, from the manly simplicity of characer which led him equally to despise the trappings of state and theil. Jurements of luxury. His actions were suited to the constitutio of the society he was born in, which had a just pride in his talentiod energy, and esteemed him one of the ablest, as he was the inost;uccessful of Maliratta leaders.' pp. 123–125.
Madhajee Sindia, having no sons, he was succeeded iy his brother's grandson, the present Dowlet Row Sindia, whin lg hed adopted in preference to the elder branches of the fmily be was not more than thirteen, · when his granduncle died, and left him not only his vast possessions, but ai army which rendered him the arbiter of the Mahratta empir: The dispositions of tliis youth are spoken of by Sir John Jalcolm in favourable terms, but he was unfortunate in his coice of a minister, and the early part of his reiyn was disgiced by a series of grossly iniquitous transactions. At length he came in contact with the British armies; his trained brigales were dissipated, his immense train of 'artillery capturer and he Was compelled to purchase peace by the surrender o his finest provinces in Hindustan, Bundelcund, and Guzera In this position he remained at the commencement of the Ite war.
The fanily of Holkar, or more properly Hulkur,was of low origin, and the first who rose to eminence was Mulhar Row. This chief was born towards the close of the eigteenth cen