Thursday, March 02, 2006


Sorry, this blog also serves as a scrapbook for me. The following is not very edifying.

Thomas Babington Macaulay,
From a speech made to the House of Commons, March 9, 1843

...His Majesty is the ruler of a larger heathen population than the world ever saw collected under the sceptre of a Chriistian sovereign since the days of the Emperor Theodosius. What the conduct of rulers in such circumstances ought to be is one of the most imortant moral questions, one of the most important political questions, that it is possible to conceive.

There are subject to the British rule in Asia a hundred millions of people who do not profess the Christian faith. The Mahometans are a minority: but their importance is much more proportioned to their number: for they are an united, a zealous, an ambitious, a warlike class.

The great majority of the population of India consists of idolaters, blindly attached to doctrines and rites which, considered merely with reference to the temporal interests of mankind, are in the highest degree pernicious. In no part of the world has a religion ever existed more unfavourable to the moral and intellectual health of our race. The Brahminical mythology is so absurd that it necessarily debases every mind which receives it as truth; and with this absurd mythology is bound up an absurd system of physics, an absurd geography, an absurd astronomy.

Nor is this form of Paganism more favourable to art than to science. Through the whole Hindoo Pantheon you will look in vain for anything resembling those beautiful and majestic forms which stood in the shrines of ancient Greece. All is hideous, and grotesque and ignoble. As this superstitition is of all superstititions the most irrational, and of all superstitions the most inelegant, so is it of all superstitions the most immoral. Enblems of vice are objects of public worship. The courtesans are as much a part of the establishment of the temple, as much ministers of the god, as the priests. Crimes against life, crimes against property, are not only permitted but enjoined by this odious theology. But for our interference human victims would still be offered to the Ganges, and the widow would still be laid on the pile of the corpse of her husband, and burned alive by her own children. It is by the command and under the especial protection of one of the most powerful goddesses that the Thugs join themselves to the unsuspecting traveller, make friends with him, slip the noose round his neck, plunge their knives in his eyes, hide him in the earth, and divide his money and baggage. I have read many examinations of Thugs; and I particularly remember an altercation which took place between two of those wretches in the presence of an English officer. One Thug reproached the other for having been so irreligious as to spare the life of a traveller when the omens indicated that their patroness required a victim. "How could you let him go? How can you expect the goddess to protect us if you disobey her commands? That is one of your North country heresies."