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The Village of Naree

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May 10, 1838
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Mohammed Abdulkarim
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Scenery and Places
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Bahadur shah II

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The above image is found from the book The Indian Empire Illustrated, The London Printing and Publishing Company Limited.


Wherever human habitation is found in the course of a tour through the Himalaya,ample proof is afforded of the inveterate nature of the prejudice entertained by the

people of the mountains against personal cleanliness ; and yet the Puharies (as the

hill people are called), though, perhaps, not equal in mental capacity to the inhabi

tants of the plains, exhibit no want of intelligence, and are easily made to comprehend

the means of procuring for themselves additional comforts to their scanty stock : but

there is one quality essentially necessary to render them agreeable to European visitors—

which is unteachable ; and that is, cleanliness ! Dirt, and all its odious concomitants, appear to give zest to the existence of the Puharie; and thus, while strangers pause to admire the picturesque appearance of their villages, the ingenuity displayed in the construction of the houses, and the convenient

arrangement of some of the interiors, they are deterred from anything approaching to

close contact either to men or dwellings, by the vermiu and horrible smells that invariably

accompany both.


The number of houses composing the village of Naree is small; the primitive hamlets.

of the hill districts not usually exceeding twenty-five or thirty, and the. families being

in the same proportion. The advantages of the division of labour not being yet under

stood, all the mechanical arts belonging to one trade are carried on by the same indi

vidual, who transmits his occupation to his descendants. The greater number of these

mountaineers call themselves Rajpoots—i.e., descendants of rajahs; but they are not

able to show any legitimate claim to the title—a degenerate race, seldom springing from

warlike ancestry. From whatever circumstance it may be caused, it is clear they do not

exhibit the intrepidity, hardihood, and enterprise which usually characterise people who

inhabit alpine regions; buttheir timidity and apathy are not so offensive as their total

want of manly sentiment. Notwithstanding the absence of refinement of feeling in the Hindoo character generally, the people of the plains manifest a high sense of honour :

their marriages may be contracted without respect to that mutual affection which seems

so requisite for the security of domestic happiness; but they regard female chastity as an

essential; and, if not so easily roused to jealousy as the Mohammedans, will not brook

dishonour, and will sacrifice themselves, and those nearest and dearest to them, rather

than see their women degraded. On the hills, on the contrary, no sort of respect is paidto the sex: women are looked upon as expensive articles, since every man must purchase his wife; and in order to diminish the cost attendant upon the acquisition and support of the domestic slave, four or five brothers will join in a partnership for the joint possession of the woman. The demand being small, it is generally supposed that the infanticide common to many of the Rajpoot tribes is practised chiefly with regard to daughters; since the proportion of unmarried females in the houses of their parents, is far less than it would be if the number of female children reared bore any proportion to that of the males.


The Hindoo of the plains, though sunk in sensuality, occasionally evinces some susceptibility of high feeling ; but nothing of the kind can exist amidst a people who, like the Puharies, can neither understand or appreciate the charm of female purity ; while the women, so long as the abominable system of polygamy prevails (which, from time immemorial, has been established in the Himalaya), must inevitably remain in their present abject and unnatural condition.

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

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