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GHEE (Hindostani ghi)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 919 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GHEE (Hindostani ghi), a kind of clarified butter made in the East. The best is prepared from butter of the milk of cows, the less esteemed from that of buffaloes. The butter is melted over a slow fire, and set aside to cool; the thick, opaque, whitish, and more fluid portion, or ghee, representing the greater bulk of the butter, is then removed. The less liquid residue, mixed with ground-nut oil, is sold as an inferior kind of ghee. It may be obtained also by boiling butter over a clear fire, skimming it the while, and, when all the water has evaporated, straining it through a cloth. Ghee which is rancid or tainted, as is often that of the Indian bazaars, is said to be rendered sweet by boiling with leaves of the Moringa pterygosperma or horse-radish tree. In India ghee is one of the commonest articles of diet, and indeed enters into the composition of everything eaten by the Brahmans. It is also extensively used in Indian religious ceremonies, being offered as a sacrifice to idols, which are at times bathed in it. Sanskrit treatises on therapeutics describe ghee as cooling, emollient and stomachic, as capable of increasing the mental powers, and of improving the voice and personal appearance, and as useful in eye-diseases, tympanitis, painful dyspepsia, wounds, ulcers and other affections. Old ghee is in special repute among the Hindus as a medicinal agent, and its efficacy as an external application is believed by them to increase with its age. Ghee more than ten years old, the purana ghrita of Sanskrit materia medicas, has a strong odour and the colour of lac. Some specimens which have been much longer preserved—and " clarified butter a hundred years old is often heard of "—have an earthy look, and are quite dry and hard, and nearly inodorous. Medicated ghee is made by warming ordinary ghee The wealth brought back to Ghazni was enormous, and con-temporary historians give glowing descriptions of the magnificence of the capital, as well as of the conqueror's munificent support of literature. Mahmud died in 1030, and some fourteen kings of his house came after him; but though there was some revival of importance under Ibrahim (1059-1099), the empire never reached anything like the same splendour and power. It was overshadowed by the Seljuks of Persia, and by the rising rivalry of Ghor (q.v.), the hostility of which it had repeatedly provoked. Bahram Shah (1118-1152) put to death Kutbuddin, one of the princes of Ghor, called king of the Jibal or Hill country, who had withdrawn to Ghazni. This prince's brother, Saifuddin Suri, came to take vengeance, and drove out Bahram. But the latter recapturing the place (1149) paraded Saifuddin and his vizier ignominiously about the city, and then hanged them on the bridge. Ala-uddin of Ghor, younger brother of the two slain princes, then gathered a great host, and came against Bahram, who met him on the Helmund. The Ghori prince, after repeated victories, stormed Ghazni, and gave it over to fire and sword. The dead kings of the house of Mahmud, except the conqueror himself and two others, were torn from their graves and burnt, whilst the bodies of the princes of Ghor were solemnly disinterred and carried to the distant tombs of their ancestors. It seems certain that Ghazni never recovered the splendour that perished then (1152). Ala-uddin, who from this deed became known in history as Jahan-soz (BrIlemonde), returned to Ghor, and Bahram reoccupied Ghazni; he died in 1157. In the time of his son Khusru Shah, Ghazni was taken by the Turkish tribes called Ghuzz (generally believed to have been what are now called Turkomans). The king fled to Lahore, and the dynasty ended with his son. In 1173 the Ghuzz were expelled by Ghiyasuddin sultan of Ghor (nephew of Ala-uddin Jahansoz), who made Ghazni over to his brother Muizuddin. This famous prince, whom the later historians call Mahommed Ghori, shortly afterwards (1174-1175) invaded India, taking Multan and Uchh. This was the first of many successive inroads on western and northern India, in one of which Lahore was wrested from Khusru Malik, the last of Mahmud's house, who died a captive in the hills of Ghor. In 1192 Prithvi Rai or Pithora (as the Moslem writers call him), the Chauhan king of Ajmere, being defeated and slain near Thanewar, the whole country from the Himalaya to Ajmere became subject to the Ghori king of Ghazni. On the death of his brother Ghiyasuddin, with whose power he had been constantly associated, and of whose conquests he had been the chief instrument, Muizuddin became sole sovereign over Ghor and Ghazni, and the latter place was then again for a brief period the seat of an empire nearly as extensive as that of Mahmud the son of Sabuktagin. Muizuddin crossed the Indus once more to put down a rebellion of the Khokhars in the Punjab, and on his way back was murdered by a band of them, or, as some say, by one of the Muldhidah or Assassins. The slave lieutenants of Muizuddin carried on the conquest of India, and as the rapidly succeeding events broke their dependence on any master, they established at Delhi that monarchy of which, after it had endured through many dynasties, and had culminated with the Mogul house of Baber, the shadow perished in 1857. The death of Muizuddin was followed by struggle and anarchy, ending for a time in the annexation of Ghazni to the empire of Khwarizm by Mahommed Shah, who conferred it on his famous son, Jelaluddin, and Ghazni became the headquarters of the latter. After Jenghiz Khan had extinguished the power of his family in Turkestan, Jelaluddin defeated the army sent against him by the Mongol at Parwan, north of Kabul. Jenghiz then advanced and drove Jelaluddin across the Indus, after which he sent Ogdai his son to besiege Ghazni. Henceforward Ghazni is much less prominent in Asiatic history. It continued subject to the Mongols, sometimes to the house of Hulagu in Persia, and sometimes to that of Jagatai in Turkestan. In 1326, after a battle between Amir Hosain, the viceroy of the former house in Khorasan, and Tarmashirin, the reigning khan of Jagatai, the former entered Ghazni and once more subjected it to devastation, and this time the tomb of Mahmud to desecration. to remove contained water, melting, after the addition of a little turmeric juice, in a metal pan at a gentle heat, and then boiling with the prepared drugs till all moisture is expelled, and straining through a cloth.
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