chapter  VI
2 Pages

GROWTH AND EDUCATION

IN Baluchistan a boy is given trousers at the age of three, a girl between two and four. On the falling of the first tooth the child's mouth is washed with salt and bitter oil, that the new tooth may be white and shapely. He is made to jump out of doors, shouting ' 0 crow ! Thy teeth are black ! Look, mine are bright ! 0 crow ! Thy teeth are crooked, mine aright ! ' 1

After a boy or girl has finished the reading of the Koran from end to end, a propitious day is fixed, according to the system used in selecting names, for the purpose of making gifts to the tutor and exhibiting the child's skill in reading. The friends are invited, and the boy now able to read the Koran (qur'an-khwcin), dressed in his best, is seated in the men's hall with the Koran in his hands. A robe of honour (khil'at) and other gifts are set out for the tutor, and the boy is made to read the first, part of the second, the thirty-sixth; and the fifty-fifth chapters. The tutor then recites the Fatiha over the food in the name of the Prophet-the Blessing !-and makes the boy breathe on it. After the blessing he says ' I forgive all the trouble I have undergone in teaching the sacred Koran, and I freely bestow on thee the knowledge which I have taught thee ! ' Then the food which has become sacred by having the whole contents of the Koran blown upon it is distributed, and the gifts are given to the tutor. 2

Besides this ceremony, at every feast, marriage, or dinner the tutor receives his dues. He is honoured, says Ja'far Sharif, as a father, because a man is said to have four fathers : his

52 ISLAM IN IND IA CHAP. Vl

natural father, his tutor, his father-in-law, and his Murshid or spiritual guide. Besides this, the Prophet has assured us that if any person in his daily prayers says the Du'a-i-ma'siir, or prayer for the remission of sins, for his parents and his tutor, the Almighty will hear and answer. For children who go to school the master usually writes the 'ldi or 'feast verse', or a blessing on the child, on papc1· sprinkled with gold dust (zar-ifishlln), and desires him to read it to his parents, who seml an 'Idi, or feast gift, in return. Such presents arc made at four festivals, the Akhiri-char-shmnba, the Shab-i-barat, the Hamazan, and the Baqar 'Id. In Musalrnfm schools in north India the pupils on the eve of the Friday holiday bring lampmoney (charaghi, chiraghi) for the teacher, a term also used for money spent in lighting a lamp on a Saint's tomb, or the percentage taken by the owner of a gambling-house.1