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CHAPTER XI.

Descriptive account of the country of the Batties

- fingular manners and customs of the inhabi

tantsmilitary operations against the Rajah of BeykaneerMr. Thomas returns to Jyjůr.

THE country of the Batties is bounded on

1 the north by the Punjab and the river Sutledge, east by the district of Hurrianah, west by the desert, and south by Beykaneer.

· It is fifty coss from east to west, and about one hundred from north to south.

On

That part of the country best adapted for the purposes of cultivation is along the banks of the river Cuggur, extending from the town of Futtahbad to that of Batnier. The soil is uncommonly productive, which arises in a great measure from the immense body of water descending from the mountains during the rainy season ; this causing the banks of the

river to overflow to an extent of several miles, leaves on the retiring of the waters a loamy earth, which rewards the labours of the pea. fant in the produce of an abundant harvest.

Where the river overflows, wheat, rice, and barley are plentiful, and in the higher parts of the country are likewise to be found those different species of grain which are common throughout India. The remainder of the Battie country, owing to a scarcity of water, is unproductive.

The course of the Cuggur river has already been laid down in our detail of the Punjab. It is here, therefore, sufficient to remark that during Mr. Thomas's residence at Batnier, he could perceive little vestige of what was called the ancient bed of this river ; but from the .fcanty information he procured, it appeared to him that the river, though it formerly ran along the north side of the fort, its channel had been choked up by vast quantities of earth forced down from the mountains; and, according to the prevailing opinion of the natives, though now lost in the sands west of the city,

it formerly extended as far as the Sutledge, which it joined in the vicinity of Feroze

pore. *

Batnier, the capital of the district, and refidence of the Rajah, is two hundred miles west of Delhi, and about forty south of Batinda. The towns of Arroah, Futtahbad, Sirsah, and Ranyah, constitute the other places of note in the Battie country; these towns, together with the numerous villages, afford a population sufficient to bring into the field an army of twenty thousand men, without detriment to the cultivation of the lands. Of late years, however, many of the Batties, migrating from their native country, have fixed their residence in the western parts of the dominions of Oude, and at the present day several families of this fingular tribe are to be met with in the vicinity of Chandowsy, in Rohilcund.

As peculiarity in manners more distinctly serves to discriminate the genius and character of a people, a few of the fingularities obferva

* Consult the map,

able among the Batties may perhaps not be deemed unworthy of our notice. A desert feparates them from any communication with the countries to the westward ; parties are often formed for crossing this desert, in order to invade the nearest district. They fet out numerous and well equipped; intelligent perfons amongst them are selected by the rest as guides to the party, to whose orders, during the journey, they pay the most implicit obedience, and on arrival at the frontier of the enemy's country their authority is at an end.

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For the performance of these journeys, they have camels, which are loaded with bread, water, and other necessary articles of provisions. 'This stock being previoufly sent off, is depofited at different parts of the desert, which extends from fixty to seventy coss. These places are confidered as points of rendezvous to meet with their supplies; not a drop of water, or provisions of any kind, being otherwise procurable; and should these supplies fail by any accident, inevitable death awaits them all.

The guides, whom we have before men.

tioned, become skilful by long experience and
constant practice. Without the aid of a tree,
or land mark of any description, to direct them
in their march over this dreary desert, they
seldom fail not only to ascertain the place
where the provisions are deposited, but like-
wise to conduct the intrepid adventurers to the
destined spot. It frequently happens, more-
over, that individuals of the party, who, from
heedlessness and inattention, stray from the
caravan, oppressed by the multiplied evils of
thirst, hunger, and fatigue, perilh miserably in
the desert.

“ So where our wide Numidian wastes extend,
“ Sudden th' impetuous hurricanes descend,
“ Wheel through the air, in circling eddies play,
“ Tear up the sands, and sweep whole plains away.
“ The helpless traveller with wild surprise,
“ Sees the dry desert all around him rise,
“ And, smother'd in the dusty whirlwind, dies !"*

In their progress during this singular march, the guides are directed by the Sun by day, and the North Star by night; and with these unersing marks they are enabled to perform journeys which appear almost incredible.

* See Addison's Cato.

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