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0201 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 201 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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great weight can be attached to this where his knowledge was evidently so dim. Because of Ibn Batuta's praise of the Mahratta women, M. Reinaud will have Thafan to be in the Dekkan, nay he localises it "in the present province of Aurungabad," and Lassen following up this lead with equal precision will prefer to put it in Baglana, which was then the Mahratta country.' But Ibn Batuta certainly does not say that the Mahratta women were white, the very last attribute I suppose that they could claim, and we find that Masudi couples Thafan with Kashmir and Kandahar (i.e. GandIaécra, the country about Peshawar and Attok) as one of the countries in which the Indus had its sources.2 The traveller Ibn Mohalhal speaks of Thé bein as a chief city of Kabul,3 but whether that be meant for the same place or no, this Thafan is certainly to be sought on the N.W. frontier of India, and the fair women are very probably those of the race now called Kafirs, whose beauty and fair complexion are still so much extolled .3

Contiguous to these, according to the Arab writer, was the Kingdom of Ruhmi, Rahma, or RAH:IIAN,4 who was at war with the Jurz and the Balhara. He was not of great consideration, though he had the greatest army, and was accompanied by some fifty thousand elephants and fifteen thousand washermen ! Muslins that could pass through a ring were made in his country. Gold, silver, aloes-wood, and chowries were also found in it. Cowries were the money used ; and in the forests was the rhinoceros, of which a particular description is given under the name of Karkadan.s The Kingdom of Rahma, adds Masudi, extends both inland and on the sea.

Of this Reinaud says : " This seems to me to answer to the ancient Kingdom of Visiapour ;" and Lassen will have it that it fits none but the Kingdom of the Chalukyas of Kalliani (iu the Dekkan). Why, it would be hard to say ; the washermen doubtless exist in those regions, and to a certain extent the elephants, but none of the other alleged products. Gold, silver, aloes-wood, chowries, rhinoceroses, and the fabulous stud of elephants all point to Transgangetic India, perhaps including

I Lassen, iv, 921. Prairies d' Or, i, 207.

3 See the notices of the Kafir women quoted at p. 555 infra. Kazwini mentions a very strong fortress of India called Thaifand, on the summit of a mountain almost inaccessible, but which had water, cultivation, and everything needful for the maintenance of its garrison. It was taken, he says, by Mahmud Sabaktagin in the year 414 (A.D. 1023), and five hundred elephants were found in it. This is like the account given of a stronghold on the west of the Indus, at M ahaban, which has been admirably identified by Col. James Abbott with Aornos. The name may have to do with our Th tfan (see Gildem, p. 208).

4 Some copies of Mas'udi have Wahman, which seems to point to Rahman as the proper name (see Reinauâ, Relations, i, cii). Edrisi (in Jaubert, i, 173) has Dumi.

5 This is probably the word which Aelian intends in his description of the Indian unicorn, which he calls rcapTa~l vov (De Nat. Animalium, xvi, 20).