A Mohamedan Fakir

A Mohamedan Fakir

ca. 1905
13.70x
8.75cm

John Campbell Oman (1841-1911), author of The Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India (1903) describes the incident that made him take it upon himself to write this encyclopedic work towards the end of his life. This incident was probably around 1850, when he was a small boy in the Gangetic plain: "Out of that old India, so different, so remote in every way from the playground of the present-day winter tourist, I recall to mind a long journey by palanquin dak, a halt under some shady trees in a straggling thatched village, and apparently dying infant in my mother's arms, and a white-bearded faquir with many strings of beads about his neck, offering some medicine, contained in a mussel-shell, which, with Allah's blessing, would save the child's life. I recall to mind also how some hours later the venerable old man, respectfully but firmly, declined a handful of rupees, and, indeed, any reqard whatever, for the help which Allah had graciously enabled him to afford the distressed mother and her sick infant." (p. 3)