Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/61

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


an Autumn Festival of the Hhidus. 5 1

is hardly finished by this time and the cold weather has only just begun.^^

Again, the festival marks the resumption of communica- tions with neighbouring towns and villages which were interrupted during the rainy season. The procession of the Raja into the country appears to be a symbol of this. Like all arrangements which depend on the regularity of the seasons, this was a very ancient practice. In the Vedas the Kuru-Panchala princes march forth on raids in the dewy season which follows the rains, and return in the hot season.^^ Manu, it is true, directs the Raja to set out for war in January, February, and up to April, " according to the condition of his army." ^^ But Manu was a Brahman arm-chair philosopher, not a strategist. The old Germans used to hold a feast in honour of Odin about the beginning of summer, when the campaign opened, and the ways, whether by land or sea, became easy of passage.'^" It is not long since European armies habitually went into winter quarters owing to difficulties of transport, and awaited the coming of spring, when opefations were resumed. In India this was the custom of the Mahrattas and the Pindharis, who deferred their raids until the country became open after the rainy season. These bandits, says General Sleeman, " always took the auspices and set out kingdom-taking {jnulkgiri) after the Dasahra, in November, as regularly as English gentlemen go partridge- shooting on the 1st September.'"'^

This also is the time which some tribes in India select for their annual hunt, which Sir J. G. Frazer interprets as

^'G. L. Corbett, R. V. Russell, Hoshangabad Gazetteer (1908), vol i. p. 92.

  • ^ A. A. Macdonell, A. B. Keith, A Vedic Index of Navies and Subjects

(1912), vol. i. p. 165.

^^ Laws of Manu, vii. 182.

"F. R. Gummere, Gertnanic Origins (1892), p. 422.

'^W. H. Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Off cial {iSg;^), vol. i. p. 355.