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fair advantage of the difficulties in which he is placed. The principal beasts of prey are foxes, wolves, jackals, hyenas, and tigers: the last, however, are by no means common, but they are eagerly sought for by the lovers of the chase, as, in addition to the excitement such noble game affords, the bones of tigers are considered as infallible remedies of all disease, and possessed also of a power to protect persons and habitations: for this reason, in Sindh, tigers are frequently kept in cages near the tombs of holy men, and fed by the pious in the neighbourhood. The wolves are so daring and voracious as to attack human beings when asleep or unprepared; the jackals are exceedingly numerous and very bold.
The poor classes among the Sindhians are fortunate in having two great means of subsistence in the fish and wild fowl, with which the river, lakes, and tanks abound. The latter are to be seen in flocks on every large piece of water in the country, and the people are expert in snaring them; while of the latter, so great a variety abounds in every season, that it is impossible to enumerate them: sixteen varieties, it is said, are to be found in the Indus in Upper Sindh alone, and of these the best known is the sable fish, or pullah, which the people broil, by this means divesting it of its extreme fatness, and rendering it wholesome food. The khuggur, the singara, the gar, and the kúni, are all excellent and wholesome, but many of the rest are too bony
to be agreeable food. The villagers also breed large quantities of fowls, which are to be purchased very cheaply, and are much used as food by the Mahommedans. When first our troops entered Sindh, a pair of fine fowls might always be had in exchange for an empty bottle, but the constant demand has now increased their value: empty bottles, however, are not such curiosities now as they were wont to be; three or four years' occupation of the country by British troops has occasioned a very liberal supply of the article. Sindh is a very thirsty climate!
The Indus, in addition to the multiplicity of fish to be found in its waters, abounds with alligators, badgers, and otters. The alligator is venerated in Sindh, as it was amongst the ancient Egyptians, and, like the tigers, occupies distinguished positions near the tombs of their saints, as at Pír Puttír or the Bàgàr creek, and at Pír Mungar near Karrachi, where it receives divine honours, and is sacred to the river, as elsewhere noticed: the description peculiar to the Indus is styled the gurrial, or long-snouted. The badgers are hunted for the sake of their skins, for it is quite cold enough in Sindh at times to estimate the comfort of warm clothing; and the otter is petted and becomes, in some instances remarkably docile.
River Indus.-Productive Value. -Fickle Character of Stream. - Obliteration of Ancient Geographical Features. Former Eastern Course of River.-Inundation - Causes of.-Natural Phenomena of Indus.-Importance and Difficulties of Navigation. Steam Boats. - Present Steamers ill adapted. Description required. - Native Methods of navigating the River. Description of Dúndi.-Zoruck.-Craft too weak for the Stream.-Jumptis of the Amirs-Picturesque Character of.
In considering Sindh, its noble river forms its first and most characteristic feature.
As a rich vein, it now glides, now rushes from its mountain source amid the snow-capped Himalayas to the Indian ocean, becoming as it flows the benefactor of all around, offering fertility to the husbandman and bringing wealth to the merchant.
Still, calm, and tranquil during the winter months, the Indus creeps sluggishly on through Sindh, between banks covered with dark tamarisk or shaded by the thick foliage of the Amirs' hunting forests; but as the snows of the mountains dissolve beneath the intense heat of summer, they swell the river tide, its waters rise, overflow the neighbouring lands, and rolling on in fast succession, present to the eye the rush of a turgid stream, scarcely less rapid than that of the Rhone, and having gyratory cur
rents, with whirlpools of the most dangerous description.
It is at this period, however, that the Indus is really valuable. At other seasons it is a medium of transit only, but now it also becomes the productive source of every benefit which the immediate country yields to its inhabitants. Flowing as a broad and noble stream, navigable from Attock to the sea, a distance of more than nine hundred miles, it becomes, like the Nile, the great benefactor of the denizens of a large and peculiar country, who, situated beyond the periodical rains of the tropics, would be, but for the rich gifts of the Indus waters, exposed to perpetual labour, as well as to the dreadful chances of frequent famine, in the almost hopeless task of endeavouring to raise the means of life by artificial irrigation, in a country where, from excessive heat, the large tracts must still remain a wide, burning, and uncultivated desert.
Happily, however, such is not the case; and from the misery and devastating effect of such famines as are too common in India, the river of Sindh not only saves its inhabitants, but has made them the envy of less favoured tracts, many of which, though holding a high character for fertility, must yield the palm of productive power to Sindh with its eternal source of productiveness in the Indus.
As much learned and intricate controversy has been occasioned, and will yet in all probability arise, in attempting to solve questions of ancient
geography, particularly as affects the localities of Lower Sindh, the subject may advantageously be dismissed at once, by referring the curious in such intricate matters to the authorities themselves, for, in consequence of the capricious character of the river in its flow, channels, currents, and inundations, sometimes gliding along almost imperceptibly, and again rushing on at the speed of seven knots an hour, sometimes inundating the country on either side to a distance of several miles, and in the following season bursting violently over one bank to the destruction of towns and villages, leaving the opposite country dry and desert, ever forsaking old boundaries and making for itself fresh channels, it would seem, that on this its peculiar character may be charged much of the doubt, difficulty, and, it may be said, impossibility of dating the fluctuations of its waters, or calculating with necessary exactness the probable position of cities and places which have an interest to the classical historian.
In proof of this the natives themselves consider it quite uncertain when they leave the upper part of the river as to which of its arms in the Delta may be open to them on arrival there. The very accurate and elaborate surveys completed some six or seven years since, are now of little or no value as guides in the navigation of particular portions of the stream, so completely is it altered; and any further remarks therefore on its fickle character