National Geographic : 1911 Jan
WOMEN OF ALL NATIONS the lower lids to heighten their beauty. Her lips are reddened, and her skin, from seclusion and the use of cosmetic oils, is as smooth and soft as satin. Of a different type altogether are the Marwari ladies (see page 53). The Marwari is a merchant and money lender, known as a bunnia. He is a dealer in corn, in which commodity he makes "corners." The jewels worn by the women indicate the lucrativeness of the trade. There are bunnias all over India, and the trade is not confined to one caste. By religion the Marwaris who come from Marwar and Guzerat are Jains. The Jains of the present day venerate the cow, employ Brahmans in their religious rites, and worship at Hindu temples. In some of its features Jainism bears a resemblance to Bud dhism, but it rejects the doctrine of Nir vana. The preservation of life in every form is an article of the faith. It has led to the establishment of animal hos pitals called pinjrapoles. The unfortu nate creatures that find an asylum in these institutions would be happier dead. They are ill-fed and ill-cared for. Particularly striking, says E. A. Craw ford, are the women of Ceylon. Most travelers east of Suez touch at Colombo, and are more or less familiar with the brown faces, regular features, and deftly coiled long hair of the crowds thronging its quays and streets. Perhaps many also have shared the mistake of the English lady who wondered why so many more women than men walked abroad in this Oriental city. She soon discovered that the round tortoise-shell comb, to us reminiscent of little girls of mid-Victorian period, is reserved exclu sively for male persons, and that the adornment of long hair and petticoats is shared by men with the gentler sex. So, of the seeming feminine crowd, maybe all are males. The immigrant Tamils, especially on the up-country tea estates and south and west of Ceylon, are of the coolie caste, so that few Tamil ladies are usually met with. There are, however, some who, in good looks, charm of manner, and educa tion, need not fear comparison with their European sisters. Their dress is rich and effective, and they are loaded with costly ornaments in their ears, round their neck, in their hair, and across the forehead, and also round their arms, wrists, and slim ankles. The toes, too, are decorated with rings, and the wing of the nostril is pierced to receive a jewel. Amongst the population of immigrant Tamils who cultivate tea and other prod ucts in the hill country of Ceylon, large numbers of women and children of the coolie caste are employed chiefly to pluck the leaf and care for the bushes. One sees them dotted over the steep hillsides during the sunny hours, each with a large but light basket strapped to the back. The mothers arrive on the field with their babe across their hips, and, leaving them to slumber or kick about, innocent of garments, under the shade of a tea bush near, proceed to fill their baskets with the glossy leaves. The Tamil mother brings her elder children to help in the plucking, and all day the family is out of doors, happy in the fragrant sunshine. It is an exist ence that may well be envied by strug gling workers in murky cities. Perfect air, congenial labor, and freedom from care, on five shillings a week for a pater familias ! Ceylon is a kind of El Dorado to the dense population of the southern part of the Madras Presidency, whence the cool ies (or laborers) arrive in crowds, often miserably emaciated. They soon fatten on prosperous Ceylon, and invariably re turn to their "coast," as they call the continent of India, in better circum stances, and not seldom purchase the coveted bit of land which is the summit of their ambition.