42 THE NON-ARYANS. back by the Aryan invaders from the plains, they have lain hidden away in the mountains, like the remains of extinct animals found in hill-caves. India thus forms a great museum of races, in which we can study man from his lowest to his highest stages of culture. The specimens are not fossils or dry bones, but living tribes, each with its own set of curious customs and religious rites. The Andaman Islanders. — Among the rudest fragments of mankind are the isolated Andaman islanders, or non-Aryans of the Bay of Bengal. The Arab and early European voyagers described them as dog-faced man-eaters. The English officers sent to the islands in 1855 to establish a settlement, found themselves in the midst of naked cannibals ; who daubed their bodies at festivals with red earth, and mourned for their dead friends by plastering themselves with dark mud. They used a noise like crying to express friendship or joy ; bore only names of common gender, which they received before birth, and which therefore had to be applicable to either sex; and their sole conception of a god was an evil spirit, who spread disease. For five years they repulsed every effort at inter- course with showers of arrows ; but our officers slowly brought them to a better frame of mind, by building sheds near the settlement, where some of these poor beings might find shelter and receive medicines and food. The Hillmen of Madras. — The Anamalai hills, in Southern Madras, form the refuge of many non-Aryan tribes. The long- haired, wild-looking Puliyars live on jungle products, mice, or any small animals they can catch ; and worship demons. Another clan, the Mundavers, have no fixed dwellings, but wander over the innermost hills with their cattle. They shelter themselves in caves or under little leaf sheds, and seldom remain in one spot more than a year. The thick-lipped, small- bodied Kaders, ' Lords of the Hills,' are a remnant of a higher race. They live by the chase, and wield some influence over the ruder forest-folk. These hills abound in the great stone monuments (kistvaens and dolmens) which the ancient non- Aryans erected over their dead. The Nairs, the old military non-Aryan ruling race of South- Western India, still keep up the
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/46
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