Heaven

The source of anxiety was Ghazis, “fanatics who were only too anxious to stick their knives into a European, as they believed that if they were killed in consequence of their act they would go straight to Heaven… When they propose to go to Heaven the Ghazis dress themselves in clean white clothes and refuse to take food or cut their hair until they have succeeded in killing an unbeliever. It is then best for them to get killed themselves before they have time to meet with temptation, and to commit further sins.”

Gallows stood outside the main gate, where Ghazis were hanged every few days, and Baden-Powell writes of a Ghazi who killed the sentry at the gate, walked to the guard room, threw his blood-stained knife on the table and demanded to be hanged. There’s also an account of a botched murder, followed by a botched hanging. A Ghazi failed to find a white victim and picked off an Asian camp follower instead, presuming him to be Christian like his masters. Before he was hanged, he was asked why he had killed a co-religionist, upon which he was horrified and demanded to be set free, because it was all a mistake.

— Pratik Kanjilal, “Speakeasy: As He Saw It,” Indian Express 4 November 2018 (on Robert Baden-Powell’s Indian Memories)

Heaven

Logic

A final reason for apparent contradictions may be found in the frequent use of hyperbole in didactic literature. Early western scholars of the Vedas encountered what they perceived as a problem: the vedic hymns take different gods to be the highest. This went against their monotheistic presuppositions, as also against common logic. How could several gods in a pantheon be supreme at the same time? Max Müller coined the word “henotheism” to account for this phenomenon. A quick glance at the royal panegyrics (prasastis) of a millennium later is instructive. All kings, from petty chieftains to Gupta emperors, are eulogized as conquerors of the whole world. One would hardly expect the panegyrist to be accurate — he is a petty king, a tributary to king X; he managed a couple of small-scale victories! That would hardly do. Neither can you go to god X and say “You are in the third rank below Y and Z. And by the way, will you give me a thousand cows?”

— Patrick Olivelle, introduction to Manu Smriti A Critical Edition and Translation

Logic

Bare necessities

“Credit” says an old French Proverb, “supports the farmer as the hangman’s rope supports the hanged.” But if credit is sometimes “fatal”, it is often indispensable to the cultivator. An Indian aphorism in verse tells him that only that village is fit to live in which has ‘ a moneylender from whom to borrow at need , a vaid to treat in illness, a Brahmin priest to minister to the soul and a stream that does not dry up in the summer’.

— The All India Rural Credit Survey Report, vol 2 (1954) (h/t Yashwant Thorat)

Bare necessities