Page:Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Vol 62, Part 3.djvu/19

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JOURNAL

OF THE

ASIATIC SOCIETY OF BENGAL.


VOL, LXII, Part [IL—ANTHROPOLOGY AND COGNATE‘. SUBJECTS.


No. I.—1898.


The Hindus of Eastern Bengal.—From the papers of the late DR.

JAMES WISE. Edited by the Anthropological Secretary.

The Hindus of Bengal claim to be pure Aryans, but the Hindus of Upper India repudiate any relationship with them. The Aryan immigration extended gradually throughout Bengal, and the tie which bound the settlers to their faith and peculiar usages was relaxcd by residence among aliens. The example of races untrammelled by caste or religious scrnples also led them to shake 0E all bonds and assert greater freedom of action. The priesthood formed illegal connections and neglected their religious duties. while the mixed offspring observed none of the Brahmanical ordinances. In the tenth century corruption and irreligion being universal, Adisura introduced priests, trained in the orthodox school of Kanauj, to reform and educate the people. But the arrival of a small body of religious teachers did little towards elevating the Bràhmans, or laity, and in the twelfth century Ballzil Sen found only nineteen families of the Rérhi Bréhmans living in strict obedience to all that their religion demanded These families were raised to thc highest rank, but those who had forfeited all respect and formed illegal marriages were reduced to secondary, or even lowcr grades. The innovations made by this monarch only affected the Rfirhi and Varendra