« PrejšnjaNaprej »
a corresponding pride of race quite as strong as that felt by the best-born European. So, too, some of the oldest Musulman families, tracing their origin to the relatives of the Prophet himself, are in respect of long descent equal to any European houses. Nevertheless, although the more educated and tactful among the English pay due honour to these families, colour would form an insurmountable barrier to intermarriage, even were the pride of the Rajputs disposed to invite it. The oldest of the Rajput dynasties, that of Udaipur, always refused to give a daughter in marriage even to the Mogul Emperors.
There was no severing line like this in the ancient world. The only dark races (other than the Egyptians) with whom the Romans came in contact were some of the Numidian tribes, few of whom became really Romanized, and the Nubians of the Middle Nile, also scarcely within the pale of civilization. The question, therefore, did not arise in the form it has taken in India. Probably, however, the Romans would have felt and acted not like Teutons, but rather as the Spanish and Portuguese have done. Difference of colour does not repel members of these last-named nations. Among them, unions, that is to say legitimate unions, of whites with dark-skinned people, are not uncommon, nor is the mulatto or quadroon offspring kept apart and looked down upon as he is among the Anglo-Americans. Nothing contributed more to the fusion of the races and nationalities that composed the Roman Empire than the absence of any physical and conspicuous distinctions between those races, just as nothing did more to mitigate the horrors of slavery than the fact
that the slave was usually of a tint and type of features not markedly unlike those of his master. Before the end of the Republic there were many freedmen in the Senate, though their presence there was regarded as a sign of declension. The son of a freed-man passed naturally and easily—as did the poet Horace-into the best society of Rome when his personal merits or the favour of a great patron gave him entrance, though his detractors found pleasure in reminding one another of his origin. In India it is otherwise. Slavery, which was never harsh there, has fortunately not come into the matter, in the way it did in the Southern States of America and in South Africa. But the population is sharply divided into whites and natives. The socalled Eurasians, a mixed race due to the unions of whites with persons of Indian race, give their sympathies to the whites, but are treated by the latter as an inferior class. They are not numerous enough to be an important factor, nor do they bridge over the chasm which divides the rulers from the ruled. It is not of the want of political liberty that the latter com
plain, for political liberty has never been enjoyed in rosse the East, and would not have been dreamt of had not
English literature and English college teaching implanted the idea in the minds of the educated natives. But the hauteur of the English and the sense of social incompatibility which both elements feel, are unfortunate features in the situation, and have been so from the first. Even in 1813 the representatives of the East India Company stated to a committee of the House of Commons that ‘Englishmen of classes not under the observation of the supreme authorities were notorious for the contempt with which, in their ignorance and arrogance, they contemplated the usages and institutions of the natives, and for their frequent disregard of justice and humanity in their dealings with the people of India?' And the Act of 1833 requires the Government of India 'to provide for the protection of the natives from insult and outrage in their persons, religions, and opinions ??
It may be thought that, even if colour did not form an obstacle to intermarriage, religion would. Religion, however, can be changed, and colour cannot. In North America blacks and whites belong to the same religious denominations, but the social demarcation remains complete. Still it is true that the difference of religion does constitute in India a further barrier not merely to intermarriage but also to intimate social relations. Among the Musulmans the practice, or at any rate the legal possibility of polygamy, naturally deters white women from a union they might otherwise have contemplated. (There have, however, been a few instances of such unions.) Hinduism stands much further away from Christianity than does Islam; and its ceremonial rules regarding the persons in whose company food may be partaken of operate against a form of social intercourse which cements intimacy among Europeans 3.
One must always remember that in the East religion constitutes both a bond of union and a dividing line of severance far stronger and deeper than it does in Western Europe. It largely replaces that national feeling which is absent in India and among the Eastern peoples (except the Chinese and Japanese) generally. Among Hindus and Musulmans religious practices are inwoven with a man's whole life. To the Hindu more especially caste is everything. It creates a sort of nationality within a nationality, dividing the man of one caste from the man of another, as well as from the man who stands outside Hinduism altogether. Among Muslims there is indeed no regular caste (though evident traces of it remain among the Muhamadans of India); but the haughty exclusiveness of Islam keeps its votaries quite apart from the professors of other faiths. The European in India, when he converses with either a Hindu or a Musulman, feels strongly how far away from them he stands. There is always a sense of constraint, because both parties know that a whole range of subjects lies outside discussion, and must not be even approached. It is very different when one talks to a native Christian of the upper ranks. There is then no great need for reserve save, of course, that the racial susceptibilities of the native gentleman who does not belong to the ruling class must be respected. Community of religion in carrying the educated native Christian far away from the native Hindu or Muslim, brings him comparatively near to the European. Because he is a Christian he generally feels himself more in sympathy with his European rulers than he does with his fellow subjects of the same race and colour as himself.
· Ibid. p. 91.
1 See Ilbert's Government of India, p. 77.
3 The number of Hindus in all India is estimated at 207 millions, that of Musulmans at fifty-seven millions, aboriginal races nine millions, Christians two millions.
Here I touch a matter of the utmost interest when one thinks of the more remote future of India. Political consequences greater than now appear may depend upon the spread of Christianity there, a spread whose progress, though at present scarcely perceptible in the upper classes, may possibly become much more rapid than it has been during the last century. I do not say that Hinduism or Islam is a cause of hostility to British rule. Neither do I suggest that a Christian native population would become fused with the European or Eurasian population. But if the number of Christians, especially in the middle and upper ranks of Indian society, were to increase, the difficulty of ascertaining native opinion, now so much felt by Indian administrators, would be perceptibly lessened, and the social separation of natives and Europeans might become less acute, to the great benefit of both sections of the population.
When we turn back to the Roman Empire how striking is the absence of any lines of religious demarca. tion! One must not speak of toleration as the note of its policy, because there was nothing to tolerate. All religions were equally true, or equally useful, each for its own country or nation. The satirist of an age which had already lost belief in the Olympian deities might scoff at the beast-gods of Egypt and the fanaticism which their worship evoked. But nobody thought of converting the devotees of crocodiles or cats. A Briton brought up by the Druids, or a Frisian who had worshipped Woden in his youth, found, if he was sent to command a garrison in Syria, no difficulty in attending a sacrifice to the Syrian Sun-god, or in marrying the daughter of the Sun-god's priest. Possibly the first injunctions to have regard to religion in choosing a consort that were ever issued in the ancient world were such as that given by St. Paul when he said, 'Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.' Christianity had a reason for this precept which the other religions had not, because to it