MALABAR HILL, n.p. This favourite site of villas on Bombay Island is stated by Mr. Whitworth to have acquired its name from the fact that the Malabar pirates, who haunted this coast, used to lie behind it.

[1674.—“On the other side of the great Inlet, to the Sea, is a great Point abutting against Old Woman’s Island, and is called Malabar-Hill … the remains of a stupendous Pagod, near a Tank of Fresh Water, which the Malabars visited it mostly for.”—Fryer, 68 seq.]

[MALABAR OIL, s. “The ambiguous term ‘Malabar Oil’ is applied to a mixture of the oil obtained from the livers of several kinds of fishes frequenting the Malabar Coast of India and the neighbourhood of Karachi.”—Watt, Econ. Dict. v. 113.

MALABAR RITES. This was a name given to certain heathen and superstitious practices which the Jesuits of the Madura, Carnatic, and Mysore Missions permitted to their converts, in spite of repeated prohibitions by the Popes. And though these practices were finally condemned by the Legate Cardinal de Tournon in 1704, they still subsist, more or less, among native Catholic Christians, and especially those belonging to the (so-called) Goa Churches. These practices are generally alleged to have arisen under Father de’ Nobili (“Robertus de Nobilibus”), who came to Madura about 1606. There can be no doubt that the aim of this famous Jesuit was to present Christianity to the people under the form, as it were, of a Hindu translation!

The nature of the practices of which we speak may be gathered from the following particulars of their prohibition. In 1623 Pope Gregory XV., by a constitution dated 31st January, condemned the following:—1. The investiture of Brahmans and certain other castes with the sacred thread, through the agency of Hindu priests, and with Hindu ceremonies. For these Christian ceremonies were to be substituted; and the thread was to be regarded as only a civil badge 2. The ornamental use of sandalwood paste was permitted, but not its superstitious use, e.g., in mixture with cowdung ashes, &c., for ceremonial purification. 3. Bathing as a ceremonial purification. 4. The observance of caste, and the refusal of high-caste Christians to mix with low-caste Christians in the churches was disapproved.

The quarrels between Capuchins and Jesuits later in the 17th century again brought the Malabar Rites into notice, and Cardinal de Tournon was sent on his unlucky mission to determine these matters finally. His decree (June 23, 1704) prohibited:— 1. A mutilated form of baptism, in which were omitted certain ceremonies offensive to Hindus, specifically the use of ‘saliva, sal, et insufflatio.’ 2. The use of Pagan names. 3. The Hinduizing of Christian terms by translation. 4. Deferring the baptism of children. 5. Infant marriages. 6. The use of the Hindu tali (see TALEE). 7. Hindu usages at marriages. 8. Augury at marriages, by means of a coco-nut. 9. The exclusion of women from churches during certain periods. 10. Ceremonies on a girl’s attainment of puberty. 11. The making distinctions between Pariahs and others. 12. The assistance of Christian musicians at heathen ceremonies. 13. The use of ceremonial washings and bathings. 14. The use of cowdung-ashes. 15. The reading and use of Hindu books.

With regard to No. 11 it may be observed that in South India the distinction of castes still subsists, and the only Christian Mission in that quarter which has really succeeded in abolishing caste is that of the Basel Society.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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