- Wed, Feb 11, 2009
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
The horrors of idolatry
The horrors of idolatry - Miss Harriet Brittan is writing some interesting letters depicting life in India, to the "Christian at Work". From a recent one we make the following extract in which she describes a religious gathering: "And now to turn to a sad sight witnessed during my visit to Allahabad...".
[Long article discusses diseased beggars, religious pilgrims who come once a year to bathe and shave at this spot. She describes one street "which appeared to be entirely devoted to fakirs...men who are supposed by self-inflicted tortures to have become very holy...They were about the vilest creatures that it is possible to describe; it made you shudder to think that humanity could be so degraded...These men were almost all of them almost entirely nude - none of them had any covering but one filthy little piece of rag, not more than a fig leaf...
Their hair and beards were all long and matted with filth, their bodies smeared with a mixture of cow dung and ashes; some of them had a thick mixture of whitewash or white plaster, with 1, 2 or 3 broad stripes, like, blood, down the forehead...One man...sat in a bed of ashes, with 4 fires built around him on either side; not of course close enough to burn him, but close enough to scorch him and cause great suffering...
There was another, a miserable looking creature, who for many years had held his arms up over his head with his hands crossed. At first when he began to do this, he was obliged to have his hands bound to poles, to keep them up until they stiffened in that position...
[Check out Fakir in Wikipedia].
Subjects: Animals / Reptiles, Barber / Hair, Charity, Cults, Diseases, Fires, Food, Garbage, Literature / Web Pages, Magic and Magicians, Outhouses, Religion, Rivers / Lakes / Oceans, Women, Stunt performers, Geography, Clothing, Water