Tuesday, June 5, 2012

a feast in Jammu for the Prince of Wales, 1905

Feeding the Poor at Jammu. 1905
"At the appointed time the beggars gathered from far and near, on a spot surrounded by a cordon of regular troops and police, and divided into five separate blocks allotted to three following interesting classes of people in order of spiritual precedence: Hindus, Mahomedans, other castes, cripples, and sweepers. For the inhabitants of this land would rather starve in proud isolation than eat together.

At three o'clock in the afternoon began the feeding proceedings, and so earnest were they that a force of 250 military sepoys and police-constables had to be told off to keep the peace among the banqueters; but even these ministers of order had to be drawn from both the great castes, for a Hindu policeman could not interfere with a recalcitrant Mahomedan beggar in his dinner, nor would a Hindu beggar tolerate the contact of a Mahomedan constable. Thus they ate voraciously, and then washed the viands down with copious draughts from the Jogi Gate Canal, carried in skins of water-carriers of both sects. No fewer than 187 maunds of sweetmeats were that afternoon consumed in honour of the Prince of Wales. "

From 'Through India with the Prince' (1906) by George Frederick Abbott.


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