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THE ABORIGINES OF THE HIGHLANDS 
OF CENTRAL INDIA 



THE ABORIGINES 

OF THE 

HIGHLANDS OF CENTRAL INDIA 



BY 

B. C. MAZUMDAR 

ADVOCATE, CALCUTTA HIGH COtfRT ; 
LECTUREK IN OUL1URAL ANTHROPOLOGY, CALCUTTA 




CALCUTTA : 
PUBLISHED BY TI1L l-MVEKSITV OF CALCUTTA 



PRINTED BY BHUPENDBALAL BANERJEE AT THE CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 
SENATE HOUSK. CALCUTTA 



THE ABORIGINES 

OF THE 
HIGHLANDS OF CENTRAL INDIA 

I 

GEOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF CENTRAL INDIA 

India, we all know, has been the home of 
various races of Man from a very remote past. 
Some of them who still live almost in a state of 
isolation, may, in my opinion, he shown to 
possess some such physical characteristics and 
social habits as are likely to have been due to the 
influence of the geographical areas which they 
inhabit, or rather have been inhabiting since very 
long. Buxton has very rightly remarked in his 
Peoples of Asia that the influence of geographic 
environment can be very conveniently studied in 
India and opens a very wide field of research 
which has been at present but little traversed. 

We know very little of the early migratory 
movements of man here in India but looking to 
the various blends of culture in the population of 
India distinctly and definitely characterised by 



2 THE ABORIGINES 

heterogeneity, we have to admit that there must 
have been once in dim past incessant migrations, 
displacements and shuffling and re-shuffling 
consequent upon many tribal disintegration of 
numerous bands or swarms or hordes of men. 
We should do well, however, to resist our temp- 
tation to make some conjectural inferences relating 
to the ancestry of those people and should try 
first of all to see if we can get hold of some facts 
in situ which may disclose the originating cause of 
some aspects of their physical and social culture. 

Leaving aside for the present the theories 
(however meritorious they be) regarding their 
origin, we proceed to study some races of a parti- 
cular area to get at their history. If we know 
for certain that some people have been isolated 
for long periods in their wild home which can 
never have been easy to traverse, we may push our 
inquiry to see if they of the particular region have 
been long enough there to allow the local nature to 
impress itself upon their bodies and institutions. 

The region which is taken up for investigation 
in this paper is the Central Indian belt mainly 
covered by hills and forests which stands as a 
partition line between Northern India which once 
acquired the name Aryavartta and the Peninsular 
India which has mainly been the region of 
Dravidian culture. 

This central belt under consideration is a vast 
tract of land of the size of a continent mostly hid 
under indigenous forest. To give a rough idea, 



GEOGEAPHICAL SKETCH 3 

this region lies almost between 24 and 19 latitude 
extending from the northern fringe of the 
Vindhyan range_to the left bank of the Godavery 
and between 87 and 80 longitude stretching from 
the western frontier of Bengal to the lovely 
district of Jubbulpur in the Central Provinces. 
It is well known that this vast tract has been 
from a very remote past the home of some abori- 
ginal tribes. Despite the establishment in 
historic times of many Aryan settlements many 
scattered classes of various aborginal tribes still 
form an important factor in the population of the 
area. How long the aborigines have been in that 
land and which of them in early times domineered 
the land principally are subjects of great interest 
both to ethnologist and historian. 

What Holdich has stated very briefly with 
scientific accuracy in the first volume of the 
Empire of India to describe the physical aspect of 
almost the whole of the above region is given here 
in his words. From the valley of the Ganges 
towards the south, India slopes gently upwards to 
a central transverse water-parting which crosses 
the continent from west to east about the parallel 
of 23 N. latitude, curving slightly where it follows 
the crest of the Vindhya Hills overlooking the 
deep narrow trough of the Nerbudda river on 
the west and breaking into irregularity where it 
parts the Ganges affluents from those of the 

Mahanadi on the east The general lie of the 

Vindhyan strata is so nearly horizontal that 



4 THE ABORIGINES 

throughout Central India there is one prevailing 

type of scenery The climate is for the most part 

delightful in winter and tolerable in summer. 

As I have given the extension of the mid- 
Indian region in the south to the left bank of the 
Godavery I should mention here this fact that 
where the Godavery parts Hyderabad from British 
territory^ and commences to form the southern 
boundary line of the tract I have spoken of, " it 
receives the waters of the Indravati and the 
Savari and develops into a wide and important 
river with a broad channel and many islets." I 
show presently how the Indravati and the Savari 
are of great ethnical value to us. 1 

The geographical area roughly outlined above 
falls outside the sea-board districts of Orissa in 
the east, and in the west in the district of Jubbul- 
pur its boundary line extends along the portion 
of the Nerbudda which lies between the scarps of 
the Vindhyas on the north and the spurs of the 
Satpura Hills on the south where the Nerbudda is 
a rushing stream. It is of much significance to 
note here that the Korjtus of Kolarian speech, 
of whom notice will be taken later on, inhabit 

1 A conjecture of mine relating to the Indravati and the Savari is 
relegated to this footnote here. These two rivers of the Bastar 
Feudatory State are perhaps the Tamasfc and the Murala immortalized 
by Bhavabhuti in his drama the Uttara Kamacharita. The Indravati 
flows past the Head-quarters town Jagdalpur; because of Aryan 
settlements on its banks this river of the Goods (perhaps 
Indaru in Qondi originally) has acquired a Sanskrit name, while the 
Savari lying to the east still retains in the name the history that 
once the tract watered by it was within the range of Savara influence. 



GEOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 5 

now the Satpura region and it is in the tradition 
of the Gonds who speak a Dravidian dialect that 
the Satpuras were once their original home. It 
is also worth taking note of that the tract of the 
^country watered by the Indravati, which has been 
mentioned above as a big tributary of the 
Godavery, is still the abode of the Gonds of 
low culture. The statement of Holdich on 
this^pbint as appears in the Empire of India 
(Vol. I) runs as follows : Of the minor rivers of 
India none is more interesting than the Indravati 
which traverses the most untrodden regions of 
the Peninsula. Here in the deepest recesses of the 
wild forests which cover the Mardian Hills, is the 
home of the Gond races one of the aboriginal 
Dravidian peoples whose origin is indistinct; a 
people who still erect rude stone monuments and 
use stone implements unwitting of the processions 
of the centuries and the advance of civilization to 
their borders. In the scale of the civilized 
peoples they are cccn lower than the Bhils of 
the Ncrbudda basin. 

The Bhils of Dravidian reputation have been 
referred to in the final sentence of the previous 
paragraph. They are not whom I propose to take' 
notice of in this thesis but it has to be noted that 
they are in the Nerbudda basin to the west of the 
region of Korku influence and their presence in 
the region covered by the Aravallis is of much 
significance. The Aravallis are to the west of the 
region which forms the subject matter of this 



6 THE ABORIGINES 

thesis. The Aravallis which are but the depressed 
and degraded relics of a far more prominent 
system as stood in the Palaeozoic times on the 
edge of the Bajputana sea, formed perhaps once 
the western portion of the southern boundary of 
Aryavartta and were in all likelihood designated 
by the name Paripatra mountains. Referring at 
the present time to the remnants of some tribes 
of low culture inhabiting this region we feel very 
strongly inclined to suggest that the Yilubars or 
the people noted as archers (if not also the 
Minabars or the people of fishing occupation) of 
Dravidian tradition were once the dominating 
people there, and the Bhils (spoken of perhaps in 
the Mahabharata in the story of Ekalavya, the 
great archer) are their representatives to-day. 

I have set out the limits of the highlands of 
Central India which form the subject matter of 
my inquiry; 1 proceed now to consider the facts 
relating to the early inhabitants of the area noted 
in some ancient records of India. It is doubtless 
that some rude aboriginal tribes of very remote 
pre-historic days had their settled abode in the 
region extending from the east of the Aravallis 
proceeding eastwards along the Vindhyan and 
Kaimur ranges to Sirguja on the western border 
of Chutia Nagpur (now called Chota Nagpur) , for 
in these parts remains of the most ancient human 
settlements have been discovered, but with whom 
those pre-historic people have to be identified 
to-day, is the question. 



II 

THE SABARAS IN OLD HINDU LITERATURE 

jgabara in the Aitareya Brahmana (an early 
time work forming a part of the Vedic Literature) 
is such a definite name for an aboriginal tribe 
as may be unmistakably identified to-day with the 
name of those people of low culture who scatter 
about in some isolated parts of Cental India, in 
Orissa and in the Oriya-speaking tracts of the 
districts of Ganjam and Vizagapatam in the 
presidency of Madras. Sabar, Suir, Sahara and 
Sabara itself are the names which the various 
sections of the aforesaid people bear to-day in 
different localities of their modern distribution. 

Of other references to the Sabaras in ancient 
records we should mention the accounta. of India 
by Pliny and Ptolemy, the Mahabharata and the 
Ramayana. Both Pliny and Ptolemy mention 
them by the name Sabara but nothing definite 
has been said as to their geographical distri- 
bution. Mention of them yL_the Mahabharata. 
is_j*ather_rare, but where spoken of (e.g., 
Santiparya, Ch. G5) they have been called along 
with some western foreigners, wicked Dasyu, prac- 
ticising evil customs ;' clear statement is however 
noticeable in the passages of the Mahabharata 
that they had their habitation in the wild 
region of Central India. The Bamayana is more 
explicit in its reference ir^the Ayanya Kanda or 



8 THE ABORIGINES 

the third canto. Rama, in course of his vigorous 
search for Sita in the great forest of Central India, 
came upon the region of the Sabaras and met 
there a partly Aryanized pious Sabari woman 
near a lake. The scholars, I think, generally 
agree in fixing this locality as a portion of the 
modern Chhattishgarh which is in the neighbour- 
hood of the upper stream of the Mahanadi. 
Kosala or Daksiha Kosala became the name of 
the whole of the Chhatishgarh Tract when the 
Aryans colonized that part of the country and 
this old name Kosala for this tract still survives 
in the memory of the common people. In the 
J.R.A.S., 1894, p. 246 very good reasons have 
been adduced for placing the Panchapsaras lake 
in this region, where Rama spent ten years of his 
exile. It is in the memory of this, some say, 
that the old Hindu kingdom of the locality was 
given the name Kosala. It is of much signifi- 
cance to note that so late as in tluLStk-gcntury 
A.D. Pallavamalla of South India in recording 
his military expedition against Udayana the 
ruler of this tract, has called this country the land 
of the Sabaras (Sabhor). 

It has been mentioned before that of the two 
noted streams flowing into the Godavery, the Indra- 
vati flows through the land principally occupied 
by the Dravidian Gonds, and the other stream, the 
Sabari, retains in its name the history that the 
Sabaras once dominated the eastern part of the 
Feudatory State of Bastar, It is of great 



SABABAS 

historical importance that in the Halvi dialect of 
Bastar both Gondi and Sabari elements are clearly 
discernable. I note another fact here the full 
significance of which will appear later : the 
Dravidian Gonds who predominate now all 
throughout the Central Provinces retain this 
reliable tradition that the very hilly region which 
is occupied to-day by the Korkus who speak Kola- 
rian speech, constituted of the Satpuras, the Maikul 
Hills and the Mahadeo Hills, was the early time 
home of theirs. For the Mahadeo Hills the 
Lingo-Wangad occurs in the Gond tradition. It 
should be explained that merely from sound 
suggestion Lingo of the Gonds was made the 
Lingam or the phallus symbol of Mahadeva by the 
Hindus and thus the name Mahadeo has been 
substituted for Lingo-Wangad. 

Of the jiabaras themselves and of their geogra- 
phical distribution some Puranas give us good 
information, but asTtEese Puranas are of various 
uncertain times (though in no case later in date 
than the 6th century A.D.) it is difficult to say of 
what time the record relating to this information 
is. The Puranas tell us that the Sabaras are 
Vindhya Maulikas, that is to say, the aborigines 
of the Vindhya Mountains. How far, however, 
the Vindhyas extended in the opinion of the 
Puranas cannot be very definitely said. 

That the Sabaras were once rude and mighty 
forest people in the Vindhyan region of indefinite 
extent is what we read in some stories of the 
2 



10 THE ABORIGINES 

poets Dandin and Banabhatta who flourished 
during the early part of the 7th century A.D. 
^aviJVakpati who flourished during the last half 
of the 7th century A.D., gives us such accounts 
of the Sabaras in his poem Gauda Vaho, as are of 
ethnic interest. It is said that the hero of the 
poem found Vindhyachal (which is close to Mirza- 
pur Station and is a Hindu shrine now) as a 
shrine of a goddess of the Sabaras where Sabara 
men and women who had leaves of trees for their 
garment, were offering human sacrifices to a 
goddess* It has been mentioned by the poet in 
this connexion that his hero, the Hindu Raja, wor- 
shipped the goddess of the Sabaras as Kali 
Vindhyavasini. " 

1 We have seen in the foregoing accounts that the 
Sabaras once had for their habitat the Vindhyan 
region in the neighbourhood of the districts of 
Mirzapore and Allahabad. In the Baghelkhand 
Tract (mostly taken up by the State of Rewa) 
which is in continuation of the forest region just 
nam^d there are remnants of Kol people even 
to-day and General Cunningham informs us that 
the name Sabara for the aboriginal people is quite 
familiar in that locality. That there was once a 
principality qf the Sabaras (Buiriki Raj) near 
Ghazipur hasbeen proved by General Cunning- 
ham. The .presence of the Sabaras in the 
open country of North India, quite outside the 
Vindhyan region, will be explained subse- 
quently. We note here merely this fact on the 



SABABAS 11 

strength of the evidence adduced above that the 
Sabarasjwere^once the inhabitants of the whole 
of the Vindjxyan region and their home in the 
Chhatishgarh Division of the Central Provinces 
extended to theHblml^Qf the Godavery where it 
receives the waters of the Savari in the Native 
State of Bastar. That the Sabaras are distributed 
to-day widely throughout the western parts of 
Orissa and in the districts of Ganjam and Vizaga- 
patani in the presidency of Madras has already 
been mentioned. It is notable that all through 
out the area of their geographical distribution tin 
Sabaras are the neighbours of the Kol people 
What relation subsisted once between_tha-Kol 



and the Sabaras should now be ascertained by 
referring to some facts relating to the language 
and social conditions of those who retain in one 
form or another the old name Sahara. 

Poet Vakpati's account of the dress and of the 
religious belief and practices of the Sabaras as 
noted before may now be taken into consideration 
to see how those who retain now the name Sahara 
and dwell in and about the Oriya-speaking tracts, 
agree or differ from the Sabaras of old of the 
poet's description. These Sabaras or Sabaras of 
to-day do not certainly offer any human sanrifipp 
to any deity of theirs but the accounts published 
of them and of those who were supposed to be 
their congeners (such as the Bhuiyans) in the 
Feudatory Gazetteer of Orissa by Cobden-Kamsay, 
lead us to suspect that the horrid custom spoken 



12 THE ABORIGINES 

above was not an unlikely custom of the people in 
past time. 

The Juangs who survive in small numbers in 
the States of Eeonjhar and Mayurbhanj, and 
speak Kolarian speech are leaf-wearers but do not 
profess any faith similar to what is alluded to 
here. The Kandhs or Khands or more properly 
the Kui people of Orissa and Ganjam are notori- 
ous for their rite of human sacrifice, but their 
connection with the Sabaras is difficult to 
establish. 

It is a notorious fact that the Sabaras of to-day 
are widely known in Orissa as adepts in the 
matter of charms and witchcraft ; the whole 
system of practising magical charms by muttering 
mantras or words of magical efficacy, is called 
Sabarividya in Orissa. A legend relating to the 
Drigin of the cult of Jagannath at Puri maintains 
that the gods now enshrined in the celebrated 
temple of Jagannath at Puri were originally in the 
custody ofjhe_Saharas who resided in, and in the 
jvicinity of, the State of Sonepur situate in the 
Sambalpur tract. It is also believed by many in 
Orissa that a section of thejiieyayfits or servants 
of Jagannath originates from the fip.hftgfl.fl 

The Sabaras^could not but have been in Orissa 
since very long, as reference to them as inhabitants 
of Orissa has been in old time literature. In the 
Nattyasastra by Bharata the Sabaras as speakers 
of Bibhasa on the stage have been mentioned 
along with the Odras ; this work on dramaturgy 



SABARAS IS 

s certainly not later than the 6th century 
k.D. It is noticeable that the Sabaras have been 
spoken of as charcoal-burners by Bharata and this 
occupation is still with the Sabaras of Sambalpur. 
The Bmjl^als of Sambalpur area have been 
thoroughly Hinduized now, and those of them who 
have not learnt the honourable fashion of not dis- 
closing their old tradition, confess that the name 
Binjhal originates from the name of their original 
place of residence the Bin j ha or Bindhya 
country. It is difficult to say if Binjha is a cor- 
ruption of the term Vindhya or whether the name 
Binjha of the aboriginal speech was adopted in 
the Aryan speech as Vindhya ; it is significant 
that Binjha is actually the clan-name of a section 
of the Kolarian people and it will be shown later 
on that all the Kolarians are but branches of the 
Sabara people. The Binjhal zemindar of Bora- 
sambar in preferring a claim of Ksattriya origin 
in the Nrisimha Mahatmya edited by him, admits 
that the remote ancestor j)f the Binihals. though 
a Ksattriya, married a Sabara girl to become their 
progenitor. This fact shows that Binjha was 
once the name of a section of the Sabaras who 
came to Orissa by migrating from the Vindhyan 
region ; but how far the Vindhyan region extend- 
ed in early times in the opinion of the rude people 
is not determinable. 

The Sabaras and the people of their sub- 
sections speak Oriya but have retained in their 
language many words (specially those which are 



14 THE ABORIGINES 

used on ceremonial occasions) which are of the 
Kolarian language ; this fact may be very easily 
detected by examining the speech of the Sabaras 
of Ganjam. The Sabaras venerate snakes as the 
Naga- worshipping people of Chutia Nagpur do. 
The statistics which have been collected by Risley 
and his assistants show that the Sabaras differ 
only slightly in their physical characteristics from 
the Kol people. In the matter of head measure- 
ment and nasal index they agree both with the 
Bhuiyans and those who admit their Kolarian 
origin. Like other aboriginal tribes including 
the Kols maintaining their pristine purity ^ the 
Sabaras do jiot eat any cooked food or drink any 
water offered by any other people, no matter, 
whether the cook, or the giver of the water is a 
high caste_Brahmin . Though in ceremonial 
matters the Sabaras differ much to-day from the 
Kol people, I am strongly inclined to hold that 
once there was no ethnic difference between them. 
There is no doubt that the Sabaras have lost their 
tribal language owing to their having been 
Hinduized a bit, and this is why some changes 
have been effected in their domestic ceremonies. 
They bug; or burn their dead according to conve- 
nience, but the rude people in the wild tracts 
do not worship any Hindu god or goddess. 
TheyHbelieve in spirits whom they appease by 
sacrificing fowls generally under the shade 
of a big tree. They invoke spirits and generally 
a woman medium becomes possessed of the 



SABARAS 15 

spirit, and this woman foretells many things 
and prescribes medicines when in a state of 
assumed trance. Sympathetic magic of vari&Ufc 
sorts is practised by them and male adepts (never 
forming a separate class) practise the magic. In 
these matters they do not really differ much from 
their neighbours, the Kol people. 

As a part of their marriage ceremony the bride 
(no matter how big or heavy she be) is carried on 
the back of a male relative of her to the marriage 
booth. The bridegroom takes the bride home 
either by placing the bride behind him on a horse 
back or the bride is carried on a Dola or swing 
and the bridegroom walks on. This special 
custom is partly Hindu and is certainly a borrow- 
ed system. Drinking of wine together in the 
company of guests and utterance of some effective 
mantras by an elderly man are the only essential 
things in the marriage ceremony, and in this 
respect agreement with the Kol custom is quite 
evident. 

That the Sabaras should be linked with the 
Kol people ethnically has been the opinion of all 
leading ethnologists. The noted archaeologist 
General Cunningham suggested long ago by 
adverting to facts other than what have been 
noted above that the name Sahara in early times 
covered all the different divisions of the Kols. 
We shall refer to the Kols presently for proper 
consideration of the subject I have taken up for 
discussion, but I should simply note here that the 



16 THE ABORIGINES 

Korkus who live in the Jubbulpur District speak 
Kolarian speech, and though the Kols reside to-day 
principally in Chutia Nagpur and in its neigh- 
bourhood, remnants of them are still obtainable 
in Baghelkhand as well as in other parts of Upper 
India which are in, or in the vicinity of, the 
Vindhyan region. 

Another fact regarding which there is no 
doubt or dispute should also be mentioned here. 
The Gadaba people who speak Kol language and 
reside far away in Peninsular India proceeded to 
their present habitat from the bank of the 
Godavery river. Now in the Kolarian language 
the term for river is Gada and that is the name 
which evidently the Godavery bore in remote past. 
We can see that the Dravidian word Aru which 
signifies river, if conjoined with Gada, the 
euphonic combination according to Dravidian 
grammar will be Gada-varu, the progenitor of the 
name Godavari in use in Aryan language. I may 
note that liCa + ^rw=Kavaru, is the original word 
for the Aryanized form Kaveri, the South Indian 
river of note. 



Ill 

SOME THEORIES CRITICALLY CONSIDERED 

It is doubtless that the poets Dandin, Bana- 
bhatta and Vakpati had direct and intimate 
information of the Sabaras and in* their days 
during the sixth and seventh centuries A. D., the 
Sabaras were numerous in the Vindhyan region, 
the northern limit of which extended at least 
from the modern railway station Vindhyachal in 
the district of Mirzapur onward to the west along 
or parallel to the southern bank of the Ganges. 
As to the depth of this land of Sabara influence 
in those clays, it has already been mentioned that 
Baghelkhand still retains some unmistakable 
remnants of the Sabaras of old ; it has also to be 
noted that archaeologists have discovered in the 
forest tracts extending through Rewa and Bundel- 
khand many ancient stone weapons and flint chips 
which, for very good reasons, should be associated 
with, or related to, the ancient artefacts of the 
Sabara people. The distance from Bundelkhand 
to Jubbulpur is not at all long ; this gives us the 
clue to determine the route which the Korkus 
might have followed in* proceeding to the region 
.covered by the Satpuras, the Maikul range and 
the Mahadeo Hills. The Sabaras, we now know, 
have disappeared from the land where they were 
very numerous in the sixth and seventh centuries 
A. D., according to the accounts of the poets of 
3 



18 THE ABORIGINES 

those days. They are now with their very tribal 
name in. the western parts of Orissa and in some 
hilly tracts in the northern part of the Madras 
Presidency, and their congeners who are known 
to-day as Kol people are distributed principally in 
Chutia Nagpur and some tracts not much removed 
from Chutia Nagpur. 

, We do not know how and when there was 
displacement of the Sabaras in the Vindhyan 
region which falls within the United Provinces ; 
there is evidence, however, that various sections of 
them migrated to the east from time to time in 
successive swarms. Some sections of them resid- 
ing principall^jiijCJiutia Nagpur, as will be noted 
presently, maintain some traditional accounts of 
their migratory movements which have to be 
subjected_Jo_ critical examination. It may be 
presumed before noticing those accounts that the 
people who migrated into the forest tract (or 
Jharkhand) on the western frontier of Bengal and 
Orissa did not find the country at the time of 
their appearance there as res nullius, and the 
new comers must have been encouraged to come 
upon the new tract on account of the tract having 
been from; before the land of their old people* 
This point will, however, be discussed later on. 

In his admirable monograph on the Mundas 
Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Eoy has offered some 
worth considering .suggestions relating to the 
antiquity of these people in connexion with his 
able discussion regarding their early migratory 



tHEOEIES CRITICALLY CONSIDERED 10 

movements and geographical distribution. I 
direct my attention to them. The learned author 
has referred to several passages of the Rig- Veda- 
Samhita containing allusions of some non-Aryan 
hordes, and has attempted to identify them with 
some sections of the people ^hqJiamJberu-givea 
the general name S abara . 

The difficulty of identifying the old Rig-Vedic 
names with the names of some modern tribes is 
very great, for, as far as facts have hitherto been 
discovered and ascertained, no old record earlier 
than the Aitareya Brahmana in date speaks of the 
Sabaras explicitly ; again, in dealing with the 
Rig-Vedic names, distant sound suggestions have 
to be depended upon in most cases, and conse- 
quently our inferences become highly conjectural 
and unconvincing. Suggestions of Mr. Roy 
regarding two names only appear to me to be 
'acceptable tentatively ; they are the names Van- 
grida and Ongha. Vangrida stands for a short- 
statured non-Aryan enemy and the Bangra Kols 
are really short-statured people ; it is for this 
typical shortness of stature that the word Bangra 
signifies dwarfish in a provincial Mundari and in 
this very sense the word is in use in Oiiya in the 
district of Sambalpur which abounds with various 
sections of the Mundas. Onga is also the clan 
name of a section of the Mundas and we know 
that the river Ong (which is always Onga in 
old epigraphic records of the Hindus) which 
forms the southern boundary of the district of 



20 THE ABORIGINES 

Sambalpur, flows where the Kols were once 
numerous and ^Sahara Smjfeals still live in 
large jiumbers. 

In my opinion Mr. Roy has very wrongly 
taken the name Pulinda to be identical with the 
name Kol. He was evidently misled by the 
wrong reading of the name in a Purana as 
Kulinda. Pargiter in his excellent edition of the 
Markandeya Purana has ably shown that the 
reading is wrong. Moreover, the ancient reliable 
work, the Aitareya Brahmana states unmistakably 
that the Sabaras, the Pulindas and the Mutivas 
were quite distinct and separate aboriginal tribes. 
Pliny and Ptolemy also name those tribes quite 
separately ; the latter gives us the pronunciation 
Mulinda for Pulinda but that is immaterial. 
Mulinda has been in one or two cases reduced to 
Murinda, but that does not justify us in identify- 
ing Murinda with the Mundas. The name 
Munda must be a late time name as I shall show 
later on. It has been very ably shown by Pargi- 
ter and other scholars that the Pulindas were the 
people of Western and North- Western India while 
the Sabaras were the people of the Vindhyan 
range. Again, the town in Rohilkhand which 
is Mo-ti-pu-lo in Hiuen Tsang's accounts is more 
likely to have been a seat of the Mutiva people 
than of the Mundas ; the sound suggestion of the 
modern name is quite unsafe to follow. Somfe 
very late time Puratias have confounded the well- 
Dravidian Cholas with the Kol people .and 



THEORIES CRITICALLY CONSIDERED 21 

this has misled Mr. Roy in one or two cases. 
Like the Cholas, the Cheros are historically well- 
known Dravidian people and their accounts can- 
not be mixed up with those of the Kols. There 
are some rpmnnntg^nf {.fa phprofl in a small num- 
ber in Cbutia Nagpur to-day, and it is no wonder 
that coming under the influence of the Kol people 
there, they have adopted the language of the pre- 
dominant people. The example of the Oraons in 
this matter in Ranch! clearly shows that such 
adoption of new language by the Cheros could 
very easily be effected. 

I am strongly inclined to hold that the Asuras 
of Chutia Nagpur who are also in small number 
there, do not belong to the Kol people and they 
have also been forced to adopt Kol speech under 
conditions similar to those of the Cheros. It is 
impossible to assert now if the Asuras of the 
Vedic days had many sections of theirs in past 
time, but references to them in the Yedic -literature 
point to the fact that the Asuras constituted by 
themselves a distinct and separate mighty people. 
They have not been made identical with the 
Sabaras in the Aitareya Brahmana. The Maha- 
bharata mentions the Sabaras quite specifically 
in the Vindhyan region while its numerous state- 
ments regarding the mighty Asuras are of differ- 
ent character. In their ignorance of detailed 
tribal characteristics of various aboriginal tribes 
including the Sabaras and in consequence of the 
deep impression upon them about the Asuras, the 



22 THE ABOKIGINES 

Vedic fathers could loosely designate some hostile 
sections of the non-Aryan hordes by the term 
Asura, but we know that excepting the small 
section of the Asuras referred to above none else 
of the Sahara people acknowledges the Asura 
name. To do justice to Mr. Eoy I should men- 
tion that in his later research he has himself 
brought to light some facts which tend to prove 
that the mighty Asuras with their knowledge 
of art and architecture resided once in the 
eastern part of the Chutia Nagpur Tract and 
were then no way connected with the Kols. His 
paper on the Asuras appeared in the first volume 
of the Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research 
Society. 

Not only in the eastern part of Chutia Nagpur 
as has been noticed by Mr. Roy, the Asuras and 
the Mundas must have once fought out their cause 
against each other over a vast tract of country 
extending to the State of Ealahandi ; in the State 
of Kalahandi (which borders upon the district of 
Ganjam) where the Kandhs or^ the Kui people are 
most dominating of all aboriginal races, the 
Mundas and the As^fas^once^struggled against 
each other for supremacy, and Mundagarh and 
Asurgarh lying in proximity to each other in the 
zemindary of Kashipur in the State of Kalahandi 
still bear the history of that struggle in these 
place-names. Interpenetration of many races in 
later times has obliterated the history of these 
peoples to a considerable extent. 



THEORIES CRITICALLY CONSIDERED 23 

That the Asuras were mighty well-organised 
people whom the Vedic fathers had to contend 
with in long-standing serious conflicts, cannot be 
doubted. The Aryan term Asura signifies supre- 
me God ; from the root 'As, 9 breath, comes the 
word 'Asu' (life), and this word taking the suffix 
'ra' came to denote the ' Being ' whose life is 
endless and inexhaustible. This highly honoured 
term for God (unchanged in meaning in Iranian) 
had to be forsaken by the Vedic Rishis because a 
mighty and hated well-known people of non- 
Aryan speech had the term for their tribal name. 
The impression of the Asuras upon their oppo- 
nents was deep and abiding. Very likely they 
were all extirpated, for no mighty tribe survives 
to-day with this tribal name of unknown meaning, 
excepting the small number of the Asuras in 
Chutia Nagpur who may be a degraded and 
distintegrated remnants of them. What, however, 
we should note in this connexion, is that the 
Sabaras and their congeners do not appear to be 
identical with the noted Asuras of Hindu mytho- 
logy. If they were, the Hindus of the post- Vedic 
days could not forget the fact of so much social 
importance when noting distinctly the name 
Sabara in a work in which reference to the Asuras 
abounds. 

Sambara is the next name of importance 
referred to in the Rig-Veda as enemy of Indra 
who had 90, 99, or 100 forts. References to 
Sambara are many in different passages in the 



24 THE ABORIGINES 

Rig- Veda ; in one passage he is called Dasa and 
again the son of Kulitara and in another passage 
it is said that he assumed some divine character, 
for he has been called Devaka. Divodasa is said 
to have conquered him once. Sambara does not 
appear to be an individual name, for references to 
Sambara seem to relate to various times. Like 
other such names this name appears to represent 
the name of a tribe. Vedic scholars agree in 
holding that Sambara was a dweller of some 
mountainous region. It is difficult to hazard the 
opinion that Sabara is but a slight variation of 
Sambara, even though we discover to-day the 
name Sambara as a tribal name in connexion 
with sonic non-Aryan activities in the very region 
which was once the land of the Sabaras and 
where Sabaras and Mundas are met with in great 
number. Sambalpur (now a district in Western 
Orissa) which continued in the valley of the 
Mahanadi as a part of the old Kosala country 
(the Chhattishgarh Division in the Central Pro- 
vinces) till^Dntober 1905, o\\es its name to the 
word Satnbara^r Sambala. Pliny calls this place 
Sambalaka without adding pura to it. Sambalpur 
is also the namejjj: another jjlacc which is in the 
Native Stale of Kanker (in the Chhattishgarh area 
in the Central Provinces) wliich^adjoins the State 
of Bastar in which the river SavaxL flows. There 
is a zemindary area in the Sambalpur district 
called Bom^Sirmbar and the zemindar family 
belongs to the Binjhal tribe originating from the 



THEOEIES CRITICALLY CONSIDERED 26 

Sabaras. It was at Sambargarh in this zemin- 
dary that the ancestor , of the Chohan Rajas of 
Sambalpur was first enthroned. The goddess of 
this tribe goes by the name Samlai to-day and is 
worshipped in the temples of the Hindus in the 
Sambalpur area. The goddess does not possess a 
human form in her Temple at Sambalpur and the 
time-honoured worshippers or priests of Samlai 
are the Thanapatis who, despite their priestly 
position,^ are regarded as Sudras and are strongly 
suspected to be of non-Aryan origin. It is 
beyond any doubt that once human sacrifice was 
customary at the altar of the goddess ; now when 
human sacrifice is prohibited a person is dressed up 
as a ball or sacrifice in the States of Sonepur and 
Patna and is led to the altar in night time during 
the Durga Pujah days where the sharp edge of the 
sacrificing knife is gently put upon the neck of the 
man and perhaps taking a drop of blood from his 
neck, the man is released. This reminds us 
strongly of the story of the Sabaras offering 
human sacrifices as described by poet \ 7 akpati in 
the Gauda Vaho Kavya. If my suggestion be 
considered tentatively tenable, it is to be presumed 
that a particular section of the Sabaras, that is to 
say, the Sambaras became more advanced in 
civilization for in respect of the Sambaras we 
learn that they had forts or citadels in some 
mountainous region in the old Vedic days. We 
may or may not be justified in connecting the 
Vedic Sambara with the Sambaras regarding whom 



26 THE ABORIGINES 

good evidence is available in the district of 
Sambalpur ; it is a fact, however, that the 
Sambaras of Sambalpur must be associated with 
some people who could not be much different from 
the Sabaras and the Kols. 

Regarding the antiquity of the Sabaras in 
India we refer now to the tradition of the Mundas 
regarding their original home. I have said before 
that even though the name Sahara is retained 
by some aboriginal people who do not identify 
themselves with the Kols, Sahara was the general 
name of all the tribes under consideration. To 
study^EEe traditional account of the Mundas 
arjight, let me name all the tribes socially different 
f rppT one^another who speak what may be^ called 
to-day Kolarian speech. They are, besides the 
Mundas, the Birhors of Hazaribagh. the Hos^of 
Singhbhum, the Santals of the perganas of their 
name, the Kodas, theJKorwas, the Kharias, the 
Juangs, the^Turis, the Bhumijas who must be 
connected with the Bhuiyans, some Sabaras, the 
Asuras, the Gadabas of the Madras Presidency 
and the Korkus of the district of Jubbulpur. 

Of the tribes named the j^uangs who reside 
on the western frontier of Orissa, _are the only 
people ^SKho-^=e leaf- wearers. The Asuras carry 
a vague tradition that they were formerly at the 
foot of the Dhawalgiri ; if this Dhawalgiri be 
interpreted as the Mount Everest many difficulties 
occur, for in the first place Dhabala Giri is a 
name which the Asuras must have got from the 



THEOEIES CRITICALLY CONSIDERED 2? 

Hindus and in the second place the Aryans of 
India are never known to have any conflict with 
the people of that far off region ; either this name 
is for some other mountain or this is merely a 
vague tradition pointing to no specific geo- 
graphical situation. The JKorwas _ of 



_ 

State of Sirguja say that their original home was 
in the ^fahadeo Hills ; this is rather a reliable 
tradition, for the Mahadeo Hills of Jubbulpur are 
inhabited by tha Korkus^and the Korwas and the 
Korkus belong-to one and the same race. It is, 
however, to be noted that the Lingo-Wangad 
of the Gonds got the name Mahadeo when the 
Hindus came to dominate that part of the country. 
f.t has already been remarked that the Gadabas 
must have proceeded to where they are, from some 
place of Sabara influence near about the Godavery. 
Of the other tribes of the list the Mundas are 
most advanced and we refer now to the accounts 
which they give of themselves. 

It should be noted first of all that the Mundas 
of all localities do not give one and the same story 
regarding their origin and some Mundas are not 
at all in possession of any tradition about their 
former residence elsewhere. Mr. Saratchandra 
Boy's invaluable work on the Mundas records three 
different traditions which are all worth referring 
to. The first tradition given by one section of 
the Mundas is that they originally were at a place 
characterized by f Ekasipidi and Terasibadi f ; 
the words ' Ekasi ' and ' Terasi ' being of Hindu 



28 THE ABORIGINES 

vocabulary Mr. Eoy has justly remarked that this 
tradition is of a very late time and moreover, no 
definite geographical situation is signified by it. 
The second tradition is equally vague, for it speaks 
of a barren forest tract by the phrase ' Seya-sandi- 
bir.' I should note that ' Saudi* to indicate 
barrenness, is a word borrowed from the voca- 
bulary of the Hindus. The third traditional 
account enumerates many real geographical names 
of Upper India and as such the migratory move- 
ments described in the tradition have been much 
relied upon. In my opinion this account also 
does not speak of the events of far removed time. 
I show how. 

It is said that the Kols were originally at 
Azabgarh or Azamgarh which is in the Benares 
Division in the United Provinces. Mr. Roy 
holds that Azam or Azab is not of Moham- 
medan origin and in his opinion the Kols rightly 
remember that Azabgarh is the place where they 
were previous to the days of Rama the hero of 
the Ramayana. Mr. Roy has not proved (and 
I fear, he cannot) that the place name Azamgarh 
or Azabgarh was in existence in pre-Mohammedan 
days, nor has he shown' that the word Azab or 
Azam occurs anywhere in the language of the 
Kols. 

Such a modern personal name as Asiba or 
Asba borne by some Mundas does not prove any- 
thing, for, neither the origin, nor the meaning 
of the term Asba is traceable in Munda language. 



THEORIES CRITICALLY CONSIDERED 29 

Again, the Mundas are not very particular in the 
matter of giving names ; they are not chary in 
giving foreign names to their boys and girls. 
Etwa (from the name of Sunday in use by the 
Mohammedans) is a very common name among the 
people. I personally know that in 1885 a Munda 
who was charmed with the sight of a chimney of 
a lamp supplied by Messrs. Osier to the Raja of 
Bamra, gave the name Chimney to his newly born 
daughter. Siba, Soma, Monglu, Budhu, Guru- 
wari, Dasami, Chaitu, Faguni and other such 
names of Hindu origin are borne by lots of Munda 
men and women. Even names, the meaning of 
which the Mundas do not know but are fascinating 
to them for their sound, are not unusual with 
them to adopt. 

If it be even conceded that the word Azab is of 
Kol origin we do not understand how the word 
' Garh ' of a very late time Prakrita could be a 
component of the word at such an early time as has 
been suggested . This remark applies equally to the 
names of other places mentioned in the tradition. 
Excepting the name Kalanjar, all such names are 
of Hindu origin as Garh Chitra, Garh Nagarwar, 
Garh Pali, Mandar Pahar and so forth. It is 
impossible to prove that these names came into 
existence even so late as in Maurya times to 
speak nothing of the Vedic or post-Vedic days. 
These place-names must be of very late date. 
It appears that some Kols (and some Kols only) , 
when they were forced to be dispersed from their 



fiO THE ABOKIGINES 

forest home, sought to live at different places 
in Upper India dominated by the Hindus and 
the memory of this movement of not very distant 
time is in the memory of those whose ancestors 
preferred finally to live with their own kinsmen 
in Chutia Nagpur. It is not unlikely that the 
Kols once proceeded to different places in Upper 
India solely in quest of labour. Certainly the 
Kols did not establish in prehistoric time towns 
and villages with names not their own and it is 
also unimaginable that the Kols continued to 
keep themselves informed for many thousand 
years after their evacuation, how the towns and 
villages of their creation were changing their 
names with a view to commit all the latest names 
to memory aright. 

Again, by the accounts of their early time 
movement, the Munclas post-date themselves in 
respect of their presence in the Vindhyas and in 
Jharkhand, for it is narrated that before they 
reached Jharkhand proper they had a conflict 
with a Kharwar chief bearing such a Hindu name 
as Madho Das at such a place of Hindu name as 
Ruhidasgarh or Rotashgarh. It will be shown 
presently that those who must be ethnically 
affiliated to the Mundas, have been in the 
Jharkhand Tract and in the Utkala Country since 
a time decidedly earlier than what is suggested 
by the Rdtashgarh incident. The fact appears to 
be that the Mundas came into the eastern tracts 
in many successive swarms during various times, 



THEORIES CEJTICALLY CONSIDERED 81 

and only some incidents of comparatively late time 
are now remembered with some vagueness here 
and with some definiteness there. 

The Bhuiyans who have been sufficiently 
Hinduized in some parts of Bihar, have been 
in the Utkala Country since very long, for 
Gotama Buddha mentions them as Bhaiyans of 
Ukkalabasa or Utkala Country. My article 
on the Buiyans which has been incorporated in 
the Castes and Tribes of the Central Provinces 
by Russell and Hiralal, and my accounts 
of them in my recently published work, Orissa 
in the Making, may be referred to in this 
connection. That the Bhuiyans are of Kol or 
Sahara descent and that they have been 
inhabiting a narrow strip of well-defined land 
extending from the Oriya Native State of Nilgiri 
to the north-western limit of the Oriya Native 
State of Gangpur from a time not later than the 
fifth century B. C., are what have been main- 
tained in those works. That this situation 
necessarily implies, independent of the traditional 
account that the Hos or the Larka Kols of 
Singhbhum pushed the Bhuiyans to Utkala side, 
that Chutia Nagpur and its neighbourhood on 
the western frontier of Bengal and Orissa were 
fully inhabited by some tribes of Sahara origin, 
need not be demonstrated. I have considered 
critically some propositions which occur in Mr. 
Roy's monograph on the Mundas, but this should 
not create any wrong impression regarding the 



32 THE ABORIGINES 

merit of that work on the minds of the readers. 
My debt to that work is great and I consider 
that work highly valuable. I agree with the 
learned author of the Mundas that the Sabaras 
and their congeners, the Kols have been in the 
forest tracts of mid-India from prehistoric days. 



IV 

DISPLACEMENT AND DISPERSION OF THE SABARA- 
KOL PEOPLE 

The Korkus of the rude mountainous region 
of the district of Jubbulpur, who agree thoroughly 
with the Kol people of Chutia Nagpur and 
Sambalpur area in their tribal name, in language, 
in religious faith and in general social habits, 
are in a peculiarly isolated situation, being 
many hundred miles away from the people 
of their kin and being surrounded on all sides 
by races of men wholly dissimilar to them in 
race and culture. We have seen that we are 
justified in holding that once they were linked 
up and connected with the people of their race 
of the northern Vindhyan region of the Tnited 
Provinces through Bundelkhand and Rewa, but 
how long ago, we do not know. We have also 
seen that even so late as in the 8th century A. D., 
when the bulk of the area of the Central 
Provinces became greatly Hinduized under the 
influence of many Hindu principalities established 
all over the country since long, the Ghhattishgarh 
area forming the kingdom of 1 1 day ana was a 



Sahara country . We can therefore reasonably hold 
flmTlTthorough-going connexion of the Korkus of 
Jubbulpur with the Kols of the Mahanadi Valley 
of the district of Sambalpur was not altogether 
severed in the 8th century A, D, 
5 



34 THE ABOKIGINES 

It is, again, a pretty well-established fact of 
history that despite the dominant rule of the Kajput 
rulers the whole of the eajtojijsecti^ 
Provinces together_with a very considerable area of 
the San^alj?ur_Ti^^ had been the land of 

the Sabaras,- became- by about the 9th century 
A. D., thg jjind of (rond influence, and the whole 
country as indicated above assumed the name 
Gondwana. We know that most of the Euling 
Chiefs of the aforesaid area are Gonds to-day. 

WcfTearn, again, from the epigraphic records 
of some Sulki rulers published in the 2nd volume 
of the Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Eesearch 
Society that the kingdom of these Sulkis in 
Orissa constituted of the western tract of Dhen- 
kanal and perhaps the whole of Pal Laliara, Bonai 
and Bamra together with a slice of the State of 
Gangpur in the north-east, was (during the 10th 
century and a little earlier) the land of Gond 
influence ; Gondamandala and Gondramandala are 
the words which occur in the above epigraphic 
records to describe the country. That the 
forest kingdom of the Sulkis extended to that 
portion of the State of Gangpur where the rivers 
Sankh and Koel meet to give rise to the river 
Brahmani is distinctly ascertainable in the copper- 
plate charter of Jaystambha (J.B.O.R.S., Vol. II, 
p. 401) and it is also ascertainable that the 
grantor exercised his authority over lands falling 
within the circuitous bend of the Sankh river ; 
Sankha-Joti-balaya-pari-lwrita-paryanta are the 



DISPEBSION OF THE SABARA-KOL PEOPLE 35 

words of the charter which 1 refer to. The 
Gonds who are mighty even to-day in the Central 
Provinces and are numerous with some influence 
in the district of Sambalpur could not certainly 
push on into Clmtia Nagpur beyond the State of 
Bonai, as statistics of population in the Govern- 
ment Gazetteers will clearly show ; but that once 
they acquired much influence in the Gondamandala 
of the Sulki Rajas can be ascertained to-day by 
referring to their social status in the State of 
Bonai. Though the Gonds have now thinned 
away in the State of Bonai and the old Bhuiyans 
in whose country the Gonds are intruders do 
predominate, there are a few influential Gond 
houses holding Jaigirs, and these Jaiyirdars have 
the honourable surname Mahapatra. Despite the 
fact that this State once came within the 
Gondamandala the superior position of the 
Bhuiyans appears never to have suffered any 
diminution. The Bhuiyans have always been the 
principal zemindars possessing the bulk of the 
land of the State and by virtue of their position 
as commanders of the militia of the State, claim 
the right of conferring the tika on the Chiefs at 
their accession to the Gadi. It may be mentioned 
that the Bhuiyans maintain the very social situa- 
tion in the State of Gangpur and this was once 
their recognised position in the States of Mayur- 
bhanj and Keonjhar. It should also be noted that 
the Bhuiyans have been the priests of the oldest 
temples and shrines in the State of Bonai, at 



30 THE ABOlilOINES 

some of which human sacrifices were formerly 
offered in the old Sahara fashion noticed previously. 
For detailed accounts the readers should refer to 
the Feudatory Gazetteer of Orissa hy Cobden 
Ramsay from which information relating to Bonai 
has been principally culled. 

Unlike what has been in the district of 
Sambalpur, the influence of the Gonds in the land 
of the Bhuiyans and other Kol people in the State 
of Bonai and in its neighbourhood could not be 
of long duration. We find by referring to the 
undated copper-plate record of Udaya Yaraha 
(J.B.O.R.S., 1920, p. 241) that at a time, not 
at all much removed from the days of Sulki 
supremacy a pseudo Rajput ruler, the origin of 
whoso family is strongly suspected to have been 
partly Kol, came into power in Bonai. This ruler 
bears the surname Varaha Avhich is a kill or 
gotra name of the Bhumijas, and after this name 
there is the pergana Varahabhumot the Bhumijas 
not at a much distance from Bonai. There is 
also this suggestion in the above record that these 
Varaha Rajputs had some^connexion with the old- 
time Bhuiyans of peacock origin. That the 
Bhanjas of old epigraphic records were not in 
those days far above the social influence of the 
Kols, can be gathered from the fact (recorded in 
S. C. Roy's work on the Mundas) that a princess 
of the Bhanja house once fell in love with a genuine 
Munda. It is also a fact as has been nicely 
brought out by Mr. Roy, that the Kols of various 



tUSPEKSlON OF THE SABAKA-KOL PEOPLE 37 

clans became Kajput rulers in the tract extending 
from Manbhum to Bonai. 

The Gonds came into power in the Central 
Provinces sometime not later than the 9th century 
A.D., embracing some favourable opportunities 
(to be noted presently) which offered themselves 
during the rule of the country by some Hindu 
principalities, and by coming upon the lands 
previously occupied by the Kol people (or the 
Sahara people as some might be inclined to say) 
effaced the Kols or the Sabaras altogether. This 
is what can be inferred from the old-time ethnical 
accounts of the country and from the modern 
state of things differing from the old-time 
accounts. In the valley of the Mahanadi in the 
district of Sambalpur the Kols and the Sabaras 
'iliad not been effaced by the Gonds but there is 
unmistakable evidence that the Gonds came upon 
Itluit land from elsewhere and in many localities 
robbed the Kols of their land. The very geogra- 
phical names Kolabira (this very name occurs for 
a locality in Chutia Nagpur), Kodabaga, Jojomura 
(spelt also as Jujumura), Atabira (originally 
Hatubira), Hansamura and so forth show that 
these localities were founded and named by the 
Kol people. We now know that the Kols though 
living in good number elsewhere in the district 
are unknown in the aforenamed places. Kolabira, 
Kodabaga and Jujumura, for instance, form three 
zernindary areas principally populated by the 
Gonds, and the zemindars of those zemindaries are 



38 THE ABORIGINES 

Gonds. These instances of the displacement of 
the Kol people by the Gonds will quite do to show 
how once a mighty wave of the Gonds swept the 
Kol people away. This wave, we have seen, did 
not reach any point in Chutia Nagpur beyond the 
river Brahmani flowing through the State of 
Bonai. Of the population of nearly 7 lacs of 
souls of Sambalpur excluding the Feudatory Areas, 
the pure Kol people (taking the Mundas, the 
Kharias, the Kodas, the Turis, etc., together) are 
44;000 in number ; the Bhuiyans number 9,000 
strong. The Binjhals are over 39,000 and those 
who retain the myjip ftabnra am 77,000 nttrVmg . 
We thus get nearly 1,80,000 people who represent 
thje^old Sabaras. The Gonds have a big 
number of 63,000 in the district and are more 
influential than the Kol people, having many aris- 
tocratic houses of theirs at different places. We 
find to-day/that one-fourth of the whole population 
of the district^of^mbalpur is of the Sabara-Kol 
stock ; we can easily imagine that when in remote 
past the maximum population of the district could 
not normally 'exceed one lac and a half the whole 
district could have been well populated with 
the Sabara-Kol people. A large number of place- 
names of Kolarian origin in the district, from the 
Onga in the south to Kolabira in the north, 
confirms this conjecture that the district was once 
wholly populated by the Sabara-Kol people. 

To understand aright some ethnical character- 
istics of the Sabara-Kol people we try to ascertain 



DISPERSION OF THE SABARA-KOL PEOPLE 39 

the conditions which proved favourable to the 
Dravidian Gonds in expanding themselves over 
the land of the people of Sabara-Kol descent. 
The Gonds, we all know, are strongly inclined 
like other Dravidians, to be Hinduized. The 
Gonds of the district of Sambalpur have al- 
together given up their tribal language and the 
number of them is small in the Central Provinces 
who have not adopted the Hindi language. Those 
who are sufficiently rich to command some 
respect have employed Hindu priests to officiate 
in all social or religious ceremonies. By thus 
deviating from, or forsaking tjfieir tribal custom 
of all sorts they do not suffer any degradation in 
society but do rather rise high in the estimation 
of many. With these tendencies in past time they 
were bound to be favoured by the Hindu Rajas of 
old. This is what I think, helped the Gonds to 
become powerful ; they became, as Rajas or 
zemindars, the vassals of the Hindu rulers and 
helpful allies of the Hindu Rajas. 

The Kols or the Sahara s have always been 
radically different in these matters from the Gonds. 
Though their number is quite small and they 
live in an isolated area in the district of Jubbul- 
pur, the Korku s have retained their tribal langu- 
age and tribal customs, wholly unimpaired. No 
section of the Sahara or Kol people anywhere in 
this country can be persuaded to drink a drop of 
water though it be offered by a high caste Brah- 
min, The Bhuiyans who have been a bit 



40 THE ABORIGINES 

Hinduized and have forgotten their tribal language 
have been wholly ostracised by the Kols ; the 
Binjhals also have been similarly disowned by the 
Kols. It is a wonderful fact that the Kols have 
retained through all times their tribal language 
though at most places they are surrounded by 
powerful Hindus who are not unfavourably dis- 
posed to them. Men of the lowest and degraded 
section of the Sabaras, who are called Pab in the 
district of Sambalpur, do not, though they are 
needy and indigent, eat any cooked food offered 
to them even by a man of the highest caste of the 
Hindu society. How difficult it has been in 
Chutia Nagpur to bring the Mundas under the sub- 
jection of the Raja who is a Hindu Rajput to-day 
to all intents and purposes and whom the Mundas 
regard to have originated from them, is well- 
known in' the history of Chutia Nagpur. We can 
clearly see from the conduct and ideas of the Kols 
to-day that in past time it was impossible for the 
Hindu Rajas in the Central Provinces or elsewhere 
to give the Kols a degraded subordinate position. 
This is why-pfcrhaps they had to run away from 
west to east and had to take shelter mostly in the 
wild regioil of Chutia Nagpur and Sambalpur. 
They have' always been keen in maintaining their 
pristincTpurity. 

Pressed by the Gonds in the Central Provinces 
the Kol people must have proceeded to eastern 
lands to be settled peacefully among the people 
of their kin ; we have noticed before that the 



DISPEESION OF THE SABARAJvOL PEOPLE 41 

Kharwars of Sirguja give, us this account that 
they came to Sirguja by migrating from the valley 
of the Nerbbuda in the vicinity of which the 
Korkus still live. The Oraons of Chutia Nagpur 
and Sambalpur who should rightly be designated as 
Korukhs, give us exactly the same history of their 
migration. These Korukhs who in this tribal 
name of theirs and in their physical type agree 
fully with the Kols, speak Dravidian speech and do 

not in the matter of their social habits and ideas 



agree with any section of the Dravidian people. 
Tt is strongly suspected that a section of the 
Kor or Kol people akin to the Korkus of the 
Nerbbuda side came under the domination of 
the Dravidians at the time of Dravidian rising 
in the Central Provinces, and in their long sub- 
jugation adopted the Dravidian speech but not 
the Dravidian habits of life. These Korukhs, 
I suggest, because of their settled social and 
political notions ran away from the Nerbbuda 
side and settled in eastern lands as non-hostile 
neighbours of the Mundas. Were they genuine 
Dravidians they would not have been forced to run 
away from their original home, nor could it be 
possible for them to secure peaceful settlements in 
the neighbourhood of the Mundas. I cannot afford 
to discuss this proposition any further here. 

I have already suggested that the Chutia 
Nagpur area had remained populated with the Kol 
people before swarms of newcomers came from else- 
where under some pressure to live in that land, A 



42 THE ABORIGINES 

few facts relating to it should now be stated. The 
Bhuiyans (or more properly the Bhaiyans of 
Buddhistic mention) have been in the northern 
part of Utkala (extending from the State of 
Nilgiri to the!' farthest limit of Gangpur) from a 
time not later than the 5th century B.C. These 
Bhuiyans (said to have been pushed away by the 
Hos or Larka Kols of Singhbhuin) who are dena- 
tionalized Kols, are connected in their geographi- 
cal situation with the Mundas by the Bhumijas, 
for Colonel Dalton rightly remarks that the table- 
land lying between the Cossai and the Subarna- 
rekha forms the real home of the Bhumija people. 
The Hinduized forms of the names Bhuiyan and 
Bhumija are certainly of a very late origin. 
Bhaiyan seems once to have been a kill or sept 
name of the Kols, for in this name the people 
were known in the days of Gotama Buddha ; if 
the name were really Bhniyan derived from 
Sanskrit Bhumi, such a familiar Sanskritic form 
would not have been disregarded in the Pali 
literature. It may also be noted that this is also 
a kill or sept name with a section of the Birhors 
of Hazaribagh. It should be noted that those who 
have got the name Bhumija, call themselves by the 
tribal name Horoh. Bhumija is an altogether 
Sanskritic word which is a tribal name of a 
distinctly Kol-speaking tribe. I have no hesi- 
tation to pronounce that the word Bhaiyan was 
reduced to Bhuiyan by the Hindus. Looking 
certainly to the fact that the Bhumijas (who 



bTSPERSION OF THE SABAUA-KOL PEOPLE 43 

were also perhaps known once by the name 
Bhaiyan) were where thjey are from dim past, 
the Hindus Sanskritized their name in their fancy, 
to express the idea that those people were born 
of the very soil they live upon. Extension of the 
Kol people to the western limit of the district of 
Balasore from a remote past cannot be doubted. 
Various sections of the Kol people do still live in 
the State of Mayurbhanj. The name of the river 
Borabalang is Kolarian in origin ; Bulling means 
salt in the Kol language and the form of the 
name of the river seems originally to have been 
Borabulung ; Nan (vernacular form of the word 
Labana, salt) is actually the name of a branch of 
this river to-day, and it is doubtless that B idling 
or Nan or Labana was always obtained from some 
parts of that river. 

The Bhuiyans have been in the north of 
Orissa since long and their congeners the Bhumijas 
must have been in their neighbourhood from a 
remote past ; it is again a fact that the Bhuiyans 
are met with in the south-eastern part of Bihar 
and in the western frontier of Bengal in the 
neighbourhood of Asansol. That the rude tract 
of the country lying between Bihar and Orissa 
designated as Jharkhand in many old time works 
have been also from remote past the home of the 
congeners of the Bhuiyans and the Bhumijas, is 
what should be the natural inference. Though 
the Puranas do not inform us exactly of the Kol 
people residing in Jharkhand, I proceed to 



44 THE ABORIGINES 

consider some Pauranic statements relating to the 
rude people of Bengal frontier to help us in our 
research. 

In Jaina literature the western tract of 
Bengal has been designated as the Ladha country 
inhabited by some rude tribes of wild disposition. 
The term Ladha is of uncertain meaning and 
Ladha and Eadha may be safely said to be variants 
of Ladha. Even during the early period of the 
llth century A.D., the name Lada occurs for the 
tract in the Tirumalai Inscriptions of Southern 
India though the name Ra.dfea was then fully 
current in Bengal. The mention in the Jaina 
literature as aforesaid does not enable us to fix 
the limits of the Radha country, but that the 
district of Manbhum and the Santal Perganas 
were included in the Radha country is pretty clear 
from the statement in the Acharanga Sutta in that 
the river Darakesvar and the temple at Baidyanath 
have been said to be in the Ladha or Radha 
country. This statement in the Jaina literature 
agrees with what we get in the Brahmanda sec- 
tion of the Bhavisya Purana. 

Who those non- Aryan hordes of Radha were 
as mentioned in the Jaina works should be tried 
to be determined. In some Pur anas we get the 
names of some tribes of the western frontier of 
Bengal under the name Pravangah. The names 
of the tribes thus mentioned are the Malas, the 
Manas or Manavattikas, the Mahisikas and the 
Marhattas. It is first to be noticed here that 



DISPEBS10N OF THE SABAIiA-KOL PEOPLE 45 

though in olden times Vanga as the Samatata 
land lay apart from Surnbha, Radha, etc., the 
whole of the country could be designated by the 
name Vanga, for otherwise the western frontier 
tribes residing in and about Radha could not be 
called Pravangas or the people of Vanga frontier. 
It is next to be noticed that the Malas and the 
Manas are still in existence and the district of 
Manbhum owes its name to the Mana people. 
The Malas are found in the district of Bankura 
as well as in the hilly parts of Rajinahal ; the 
Malas of Rajmahal are called Malpahadis and 
they speak Bengali now. 

What is historically very much important 
regarding the mention of the Malas in some 
Puranas, should be carefully considered now. It 
is in the tradition of the Kols and of the Onions 
that the Malas or Male people formed once a 
section of the Onions or Korukhs and during the 
time of .the migration of the Onions the Mala 
people parted company with the Oraons at 
Rotashgarh and proceeded to got themselves settled 
where they are now to-day. That this happened 
long after the Santals had settled themselves in 
the Pcrgana of their present occupation, need not 
be pointed out. It is the tradition of the Mundas 
as well as of those whom we now call Santal that 
the Santals advanced in their migratory movement 
with a swarm of the Mundas, and the Santals 
and the Mundas parted company to follow different 
routes after they had all reached Omedanda; 



46 THE ABORIGINES 

that the Oraons are late comers in the land 
of the Mundas is clearly admitted by the Oraons 
and the Mundas. Consequently when the Puranas 
recorded the presence of the Mala people on 
Bengal frontier the Santals and the Mundas must 
have been where they are now, though specific 
mention of the rude Kol people is wanting in the 
Puranas. The rude people who were not very 
friendly to the Jaina intruders in the Jharkhand 
Tract, must be presumed to be the Kol people. 



V 

THE milieu OF RACIAL CHAHACTKEISATTON 

OF THFj SABAHA-KOLS 

In all probability at a time not later than the 
6th century B.C., when the Anga country (or the 
South-Eastern Bihar) and the province of Bengal 
lay outside the holy land of the people of Yedic 
traditions, the forest area of Kalakavana formed 
the eastern boundary of Aryyavartta. This Kala- 
kavana obtained subsequently the designation 
Jharkhand, and this Jharkhand of indefinite 
extension lay to the south of Gaya, to the east 
of Shahabad, to the south of Bhagalpur and to 
the west of the districts of Bankura and Midnapur. 
Details of the geography of this wild area have 
been set out and discussed in my works The 
History of the Bengali Language, and Orissa in 
the Making, and I shall merely state here that 
the Santal Perganas, Chutia Nagpur, the district 
of Sambalpur ' and the Native States adjoining 
Chutia Nagpur and 'Sambalpur fall within 
Jharkhand. Ft is a fact that this portion of 
Jharkhand is largely inhabited to-day by the 
people of Sabara-Kol origin, and it has been 
tried to be shown that these people have been in 
that area since long. That these people or rather 
the people of their kin were once numerous and 
influential all over the highlands of Central 
India as defined by me has been made pretty 



48 THE ABORIGINES 

clear. It has to be remembered in this connexion 
that the region to the east of Jharkhand, viz., 
the open country of Bengal and the seaboard dis- 
tricts of Orissa were, previous to the colonization 
of them by the people of Aryan culture, prin- 
cipally the home of the Dravidian people who 
differ from the Kols very radically ; T rfefer the 
readers to my works named above to test the 
correctness of this proposition. 

I now direct my attention to consider 
whether the highlands of Central India have all 
along been the area of racial characterisation of 
the Sabara-Kol people, or whether any proof is 
available relating to their coming into the high- 
lands of Central India from elsewhere. Kol 
(identical with the word Kor) which runs into 
many such variants as Hodh, Horh, Horo and 
Ho, signifies undoubtedly Man ; this word having 
become widely popular as a tribal name, is a 
fitting term to-day for use as the general name 
for all the sections of the people under considera- 
tion in substitution for the old-time generic name 
Sabara. It has been well ascertained by a com- 
parative study of the Kol dialects that the initial 
' K ' of a word has been reduced to ' H ' in many 
cases in the Kol speech; and it is also equally 
certain that either the word Kol or a variant of it as 
noted above is retained by each and every section 
of the people to signify man, and in most cases to 
indicate the tribal name. The Mundas have the 
term Hodh for man, Koda-han for child and so forth, 



THE SABARA-KOL8 49 

I refer here to the false derivation of the word 
Kol which has been due to vagaries of imagina- 
tion. It is highly ridiculous and absurd to hold 
that the Hindus hunted out such a word as Kola 
(never in general use) from the corner of a lexi- 
cob and used that term signifying pig for the 
name of the people under consideration and the 
people themselves accepted that term for contempt 
for their tribal name. Examples, however, are 
not wanting of Hindus having coined false deri- 
vation in their fancy to give Sanskritic explana- 
tion of foreign or unfamiliar names; for instance, 
on the basis of the Vedic word Saka-dhuma (cow- 
dung) this amusing story was got up that the 
Sakas of historical fame came out of the dung of 
Vasistha's cow. 

The term Munda signifies properly a well-to- 
do man of agricultural occupation and in this 
very sense the term is in use among the Ho peo- 
ple of Singhbhum who are sharply distinguished 
from the Mundas. In the economic administra- 
tion of the people each and every country or 
political unit of the Kol people was formerly 
divided into twelve divisions with twelve head- 
men as Mundas and one Manki was appointed as 
the headman over the twelve Mundas. The term 
is in use among the Oriyas of Sambalpur in a 
tertiary sense; a water reservoir constructed to 
improve the fertility of soil is called Munda. 
Many forest areas brought under cultivation have 
obtained names with mura suffix in the district 
7 



60 THE ABORIGINES 

of Sambalpur. Miinda could not have been a 
tribal name to begin with. 

The Kols of Dhalbhum who have been given 
the name Bhumija by the Hindus, call themselves 
Horoh people in giving accounts of themselves 
in an orthodox way. The Turis call thetan- 
selves Turi-Horo and the word Tun is an occu- 
pational name with them. In Santali, exactly 
as it is in Mundari, Hod is a man and Hodom 
an old man. It is a fact that those who are 
called Santals to-day, formed at least during 
Mahomedan times the militia of some Hindu 
chiefs; very likely on account of it they were 
.called Samantas or S aunts, and from that term 
the word Saontal has originated. The word 
Sir of the district name of Birbhum is strongly 
suspected to be Kolarian in origin in which Bir 
signifies a forest; my suggestion relating to the 
origin of the name Bhuiyan may be considered in 
determining the signification of the Bhum por- 
tion of the geographical name Birbhum. It is 
quite noteworthy that from Birbhum to Singhbhum 
a good number of geographical names occur with 
' Bhum '-ending and all these places located in 
Jharkhand have been the lands of Ko] predomi- 
nance. 

It is well-known that the tribal name Korku 
of the Kol people of Jubbulpur is more properly 
Korko ; Kor means man and Ko is the plural- 
denoting suffix. in the speech. Nothing peculiar 
or usual is disclosed by this fact of. a tribe 



THE SABABA-KOL8 Si 

designating itself by the term ' man ' , for almost 
all the peoples of the world are known to have 
named originally .their own people by the term 
signifying man to indicate that men of each and 
every tribe in their self-regarding feeling consi- 
dered their own people to have been men par 
excellence. We find that Kol people of various 
sections not having social inter-communication 
with one another and in one or two cases living 
since remote past far away from one another, 
agree very wonderfully in their tribal name. 
They maintain different legendary accounts 
relating to their origin ; we shall have to see if in 
these accounts we can get one or two essential 
points wherein they all agree, for in the case of 
such an agreement alone historical value may be 
attached to tradition. Surer will be our ground 
if by examining the Kol language we can get 
facts to bear evidence to the history of the growth 
of the culture of the Kol people in any particular 
geographical area. Before, however, we push our 
inquiry in the proposed manner we consider the 
value of two theories which are now considered 
probable by some scholars. 

Irrespective of what Mr. S. C. Roy has said in 
his noted work on the Mundas relating to the legend 
of the migratory movements of the Kols or relating 
to thfe conflict which the Kols might have 
encountered with the "Vedic fathqrs^ it is generally 
asserted by some, merely on the ground that the 
Kols have been in forest countries, that the Kol 



62 THE ABOEIG1NES 

people must have been forced by some conquering 
people to live in forest areas by forsaking the 
open country of Aryyavartta, for in their opinion 
all forest dwellers must have been pushed into 
their rude home by some powerful people. This 
is a wrong notion. It is not necessarily true that 
hilly or forest-covered lands have been the last 
refuge of the oppressed or conquered people. In 
the days of the early distribution of mankind over 
the globe many swarms of people found the hilly 
and forest-covered tracts more suitable for resi- 
dence than the open tracts for many reasons. 
When men did not follow agricultural pursuits 
and depended for their sustenance wholly upon the 
forest produce, the swampy plains breeding des- 
tructive diseases were eschewed by many though 
the trees of the alluvial land offered many luscious 
fruits, and the rivers presented many advantages 
to life. Moreover, when men were moving on 
swarm after swarm in all directions in quest of 
fresh rich lands for their support, they alone could 
with much ease repell the attack of the newcomers 
who were well secure in their hilly forts. What 
are rude lands to-day, were most 'welcome regions 
once. 

It is true that those who had to occupy the 
comparatively open countries in those early days 
became powerful and progressive because of their 
constant struggle for existence generated by the 
incoming of new and newer hostile races, while 
those who were secure in their isolated homes 



THE SAteABA-KOLS S3 

and could not expand themselves by constantly 
coming in contact with various races of man, but 
the early time seekers of peaceful existence did 
not and could not think of the far-off future 
result of their selection of habitation. 

It would have been quite a different thing with 
the Kols in their mood of mind and general 
social conditions if being oppressed by others 
they would have been forced to occupy an unwel- 
come region ottering difficulties in life; how 
self-respecting and freedom-loving and non- 
pessimistic the Kol people are everywhere is 
quite well-known to those who have seen them. 
The low-class Hindus of various castes are their 
neighbours to-day all throughout Chutia Nagpur 
and Sambalpur, and no one can fail to notice 
how very depressed, void of joy in life and listless 
in mental habit these Hindus are, and how very 
lively, cheerful and active the forest-dwelling 
Kols are. What is called sense of humour is 
almost unknown among the low-class Hindus, 
while the Kols of both the sexes can take a joke 
and can sharply reply to a joke with smiling 
faces. It is a sight to see the Kols singing and 
dancing and enjoying their life. They are lovers 
of hills and forests and do not covet the open 
plain country of the Hindus. I have already 
remarked that there is no reliable evidence to 
prove that the Kols were ever settled in the open 
country of Aryyavartta. The internal evidence 
which I shall deal with presently, will clearly 



54 THE ABORIGINES 

show that the Kols were never the people of an 
open, country, but the facts I have here discussed 
will also show to some exteut that the. theory I 
have just now discussed is not tenable. 

An absolutely untenable theory about the 
origin, of the Kols, which has acquired respect- 
ability by being associated with one or two big 
names should be referred to next to show how 
unsafe it is to indulge in a theory without duly 
ascertaining essential facts; i mean the theory 
which seeks to connect the Kols with the Mon- 
Khmer tribes of Further India. It is admitted 
by all that in physical characteristics the Kols 
do widely differ from the Mon-Khmer people. 
That, the social institutions and the religious 
system of the Kols differ from those of the Mon- 
Khmer people in all essential points and in every 
particular, cannot for a moment be doubted. It 
is unusually surprising how the Kols who main- 
tain a thoroughly patriarchal system and worship 
Bongas which are never female spirits, could be 
suggested to have kinship with the Khasis of 
Assam. There is neither any suffix nor any 
other grammatical device in the Kol language to 
form or indicate feminine forms; feminine-form- 
ing words and one feminine-forming suffix have 
been only recently borrowed by the Kols from 
Bengali and Oriya, while on the other hand, 
feminine forms predominate in the Khasi speech, 
and ' U ' and ' Ka ' are required invariably to 
he prefixed to words to indicate male and . female 



THE SABAHA-KOLS 55 

respectively. The dual system of the Kols ife 
peculiar to the Kolarian speech. That in 
syntactical structure the two languages referred 
to here differ as from pole to pole, has been 
^oted by Sir George Grierson. It can be boldly 
asserted that not a word of Kolarian can be 
equated with any Mon-Khmer word; how one 
letter of the Kolarian numeral-indicating ' Miad ' 
and another letter of the numeral-indicating 
' Bar ' were once unsuccessfully taken up to 
equate with Mon-Khmer numerals, may now be 
left out of consideration. If remote sound 
suggestions are followed, many words of one 
language can be fancifully equated with many 
words of another language. The word c Hodom,' 
the name of the ancestor of the Kols can be 
fancifully equated with Adam of Jewish tradi- 
tion. Many gramophone records were taken 
of songs and conversations of the Mundas by 
some good scholars and when these records were 
made to give the Kol speech to the scholars of 
Burma, the latter unhesitatingly pronounced 
that neither in accent nor in any other matter 
the Kolarian speech agreed even distantly with 
the Mon-Khmer speech. To lay stress upon 
some forms of tombs to establish genetic affinity 
is highly unscientific. We know that the Khasis 
construct their tombs in the manner in which 
Europeans did the work in dim past and that the 
Khasis agree with the old Greeks in the matter 
of divination by breaking eggs open; no one, I 



50 THE ABORIGINES 

know, will seriously think of connecting the 
Greeks with the Ehasis for those reasons. The 
Mon-Khmer theory has been very much reckless- 
ly maintained by some and it has been suggested 
by a scholar by giving reins to his fancy that the 
people of India who originally procedcd to Burma 
from Monghyr, got the name Mon and Khmer 
though the name Monghyr is only a recent name. 
This statement occurs at page 119 of the llth 
volume of the Journal of the Burmese Research 
Society for 1921-22. 

We proceed now in a constructive way to see 
what reliable facts we may get from the Kols 
themselves relating to their place of origin. 
Legendary accounts are many and some of them 
as are current in Chutia Nagpur are of compar- 
atively recent origin. Mr. S. C. Roy has very 
rightly remarked that the story of creation and 
of flood at Azamgarh as narrated by some Mundas 
must have been adopted by them from some 
accounts occuring in the Hindu mythology. The 
legend which the Birhors give of creation is 
undoubtedly of Hindu origin ; it is a bad edition 
of the story of Brahma creating the world taking 
his seat upon a lotus. 

The Santal story of creation recorded by the 
Rev. Dr. A. Campbell in the J. B. 0. R. S., 
Vol. I, p. 16, agrees in many important parti- 
culars with what the Eorkus of far-off Jubbulpur 
give us, what some Mundas of Sambalpur narrate 
and what also the Mundas of Chutia Nagpur 



THE SABARA-KOL8 57 

reveal in some accounts other than the Azamgarh 
legend. The first ancestor of Man is Hodom 
(i.e., the oldest or eldest human being) in the 
accounts of the Santals and the Mundas; this 
Hodom is Kodom in Korku speech, and I need 
not point out that the two terms do not in the 
least differ in origin and meaning. The wife of 
Hodom has been called Budhi by the Santals and 
the Mundas who have adopted Aryan words and 
forms, but the Korkus who have retained the ar- 
chaic form of the language, do not call their first 
ancestress by that Aryan word, but calls her in 
right Kol style the Era of Hodom. That their 
Adam and Eve were created on a Marang Burn 
(high mountain) and that the Marang Burn 
was appointed by the creator to be their guardian 
and protector, are narrated by all the people alike. 
Mr. S. C. Boy's later essay on the 'Divine Myths 
of the Mundas' corroborates this account. The 
significance of this statement is very great. The 
account of flood of Hindu origin as given by 
some Mundas is not in the legend of the Santals 
and is unknown to the Mundas of Sambalpur and 
to the Korkus of Jubbulpur. The story of des- 
tructive fire in the place of flood as is given by 
the Santals, is in the legend of the Korkus, and 
the Mundas of Chutia Nagpur also speak of it. 
That there was a great conflagration in a big 
forest area and many clans of the Kols were burnt 
down for their sins, is an important story, for 
destructive forest fire is a familiar phenomenon 
8 



58 THE ABORIGINES 

in the highlands of Central India. As all the 
sections of the Kols agree in these matters rela- 
ting to the origin of things, their earliest time 
abode in hills and forests is very strikingly sug- 
gested. 

I take up now to consider what evidence we 
may obtain of the origin of the Kols and of their 
culture by examining their language which does 
not in the least agree either with the Aryan or 
with the Dravidian speech. The Kol people of 
Bengal and Orissa frontier or rather the Kols of 
Jharkhand have not only borrowed many words 
from the Aryan source but have adopted some 
Bengali and Oriya suffixes'! * The Korkus as well 
have adopted and naturalized many Hindi words 
of their locality. These borrowed words and 
forms expressive of new and imported ideas show 
in many cases introduction of neu culture and 
new methods of life previously unknown to the 
people/ 

For a people of low culture, the Kols may be 
said to possess rather a pretty big stock of words 
wholly their own. For words for all the parts of 
human body from head to toe, for common desi- 
res and sentiments, for all usual activities of life, 
for all familiar objects and striking natural pheno- 
mena and for all useful articles manufactured by 
them, they have words of their own ; introduction 
of a few new words from foreign sources which 
come under the above groups shows rather very 
clearly the original condition of the Kol society. 



THE SABARA-KOLS 59 

The value of the examples set out below to explain 
the old social condition of the Kols should be 
judged carefully. 

1. Mandi jomtana (to eat Mandi) is the 
universal idiomatic expression for eating the prin- 
cipal meal. The staple is now rice and this rice 
is called Chauli in Jharkhand wholly in Oriya 
form ; only in Chutia Nagpur Dhan or paddy is 
called Badi and this foreign term Badi indicates 
that it is Bada or principle grain for consumption. 
The fact that outside Chutia Nagpur the word 
Badi of Aryan origin is unknown to the Kols and 
the name for the staple is Chauli in most parts 
of Jharkhand and is Chamal (Hindi) in the land 
of the Korku s, justifies me to hold that Mandia 
was formerly the grain which was the staple food 
for the Kol people. Mandia grain is largely cul- 
tivated in Chhattishgarh, Samba Ipur and through- 
out the high lands of Orissa. Mandia gruel is a 
delicacy with all classes of low people from Sam- 
balpur to Kandhmahal, and I know personally 
that in years of distress most people of the above 
area live upon Mandia gruel. This explains why 
though a man eats rice the phrase to express 
' eating rice ' is constituted of Mandi and the 
verb ' Jom ' to eat. This points in my opinion 
to the fact that the region mentioned by me 
where Mandia is grown and the tracts where 
Mandia was grown formerly with the name 
Mandia , were the original places of abode of the 
Kol people. Other facts detailed below should 



60 THE ABORIGINES 

of course be taken with it to constitute cumulative 
evidence in support of my proposition, but I must 
also note here that the legend of creation recorded 
by the Kev. Campbell in his paper referred to 
above informs us that the staple food which the 
Marang Bonga first directed the first created pair 
to use, were ' Gundi ' (panicum miliare) and 
' Iri ' (panicum frumentaceum) which are similar 
to Mandia ; I cannot say if one of them is iden- 
tical with Mandia, but Mandia comes under the 
same genus. 

2. The animals and plants with which the 
Kols could be familiar in the highlands of Cen- 
tral India have names in Kol speech while ani- 
mals and plants of other tracts of India are called 
by foreign names. It should be noted in this 
connexion that aborigines like the Lepchas are sel- 
dom met with who have named all plants and 
animals very accurately with almost scientific 
accuracy ; such trees and animals as proved use- 
ful to the Kols, or such animals as could not but 
be dreaded and known have obtained names in 
the language. I mention first the Korku words 
for animals as real names of standard words and 
show how in Jharkhand there has been some 
deviations from the original names, (a) Seta 
(dog), Sadom (horse), Merom (goat), Uri (cow), 
Tuyu (fox), Kula (tiger), Bing (snake), Haku 
(fish), etc., have the same signification every- 
where in all the dialects of the people ; but it must 
be noted that in Chutia Nagpur only Haku has 



THE SABARA-KOLS 61 

another name and Nag as a species of snakes is 
only known to the Kols of Jharkhand. It is 
also to be noted that fox is either * Tuyu ' or 
' Kakri ' but jackal is ' Kolea ' in Korku speech. 
This name Kolea is unknown in Chutia Nagpur, 
but is familiar in the Sambalpur area, where 
even Hindu Oriyas of all classes call a jackal or 
a fox a Kolea ; this shows the high antiquity of 
the Korku word Kolea. (b) Held, a bison, is not 
known in Jharkhand but ' Heda ' and Hedel ' 
for a flock of cattle is known ; such other words 
as ' Bana ' for bear, ' Koarli ' for hare, ' Dhopre ' 
for hyena, ' Senora' for leopard, ' Sara ' for mon- 
key, ' Kairea ' for panther, ' Lendyle ' for wolf, 
and ' Jekra ' for porcupine, have been almost 
forgotten in Jharkhand. ' Jekra ' for porcupine 
has been reduced to 'Jhinkra ' as well as to 
' Jhinki ' in Sambalpur and Jhinki has been the 
Oriya name for the animal all throughout the 
Sambalpur tract, (c) The Korku name Kutsar 
for antelope is current in the district of Sambal- 
pur in the form of Kutra and this is the name 
by which the Hindus of that locality also know 
the animal, (d) Though the ass has always 
been in the Aravalli region and camel has never 
been unknown in India the names for them are 
the names given to the animals by the Hindus. 

3. In taking account of the names of some 
plants I should note the common saying of the 
Kols that trees are as innumerable in species as 
the stars, Ipil, over head, and so no one can know 



62 THE ABORIGINES 

the names of all the trees. Those they did not 
care to use they did not name. Bir and Tharu are 
rather indiscriminately used to-day to denote a 
forest. This word Tharu is unknown to-day in 
Jharkhand but the name Darn for tree in Jhar- 
khand is in my opinion derived from Tharu ; 
though Dam is not a genuine Aryan word, this 
is not the word which is in the vocabulary 
of the Kols in Jharkhand. The real word 
for tree in the language is Sing and this 
word should not be confounded with Singi, the 
sun or the first portion of the Kol word for fire. 
Sing for tree has dropped out altogether from the 
Jharkhand vocabulary ; Koto is a branch, Sekam 
is a leaf, Bah is a flower, Jah is a fruit and Buti 
is a root with all the people everywhere, but 
flower has another new name in Chutia Nagpur 
and though Buti indicates root (as well as the 
navel) the word Jadi (a Prakrit a or Apabhramsa 
word from 'jata') is more in use in the Jhar- 
khand tract. 

The mango tree is indigenous in some hilly 
parts of Central India and the name for it in Kol 
speech is 'Uli' and is not Aryan 'Am 1 or Dravi- 
dian 'Mangai.' Tamarind is Jojosin ; 'jojo' means 
sour and 'sin' is the corruption of 'sing' (tree). 
The following Kol names of some trees have been 
adopted in Oriya and those names are not known 
elsewhere among the people of Aryan culture ; 
they are Char, Sa haj and Kendu ; the word 
'Kendu 9 (diospyros embruopteris) , however, has 



THE SABARA-KOLS 63 

been used in Orissa even in Sanskrit composition 
and on that account this name unknown elsewhere 
has got a place in the Sanskrit lexicon. This 
tree of black wood got the name 'Kendu' as 
'Kende' denotes black in Kol speech ; 'Kende' is 
pronounced in some places as 'Hende.' The 
useful 'Sal' tree (shorea robusta) of the forest 
has got the Kol name Suriye ; it has got another 
name Sargi in use in Chutia Nagpur. It is 
distinctly to be noted that trees not indigenous 
in the area under consideration and which have 
only recently been introduced in that area are 
known to the Kols by their Aryan names. It is 
worth noting that tomato which has undoubtedly 
been introduced only recently in the district of 
Sambalpur has been named Patar ganta by the 
Kols and by this name tomato is known also 
to the Oriyas of the locality. Pattar denoting 
morning or morning light is in full use among 
the Korkus and curiously enough the Oriyas of 
Sambalpur call daybreak by the term Pathar 
phuta. The bright red colour of ripe tomato is 
denoted by the newly coined word. 

4. It is admitted on all hands that the Kol 
language though pretty rich otherwise is devoid 
of words of genuine high culture, of words indi- 
cative of architecture, trade, polity and so forth. 
That in associating the old ruins of a place in 
the Banka sub-division of Bhagalpur District 
(where on a hill a colossal figure exists) with the 
Kols, a confusion has been made between the 



64 THE ABOBIGINES 

advanced Dravidian Cholas and the rude Kols, 
has already been suggested. No section of the 
Kols anywhere discloses in the least such mental 
culture of old days either in their language or in 
their deeds, as could justify one in supposing 
that the Kols once attained the sort of civilization 
indicated by the aforesaid ruins. At different 
places and in different times some Sabaras or 
Kols on being partly Hinduized might have set 
up some semi-Rajput principalities outside their 
hilly abode, but their descendants could not have 
been rehabilitated in their old tribal communities. 
The Dravidian Bhils of the Aravalli region have 
always been noted as archers but the Kols who 
have in their language a few words of some sharp 
iron implements, do not appear to have been the 
users of bow and arrow by originating those 
things among themselves. They are expert in 
the use of bow and arrow to-day but the articles 
bear names of Aryan vocabulary. The eyebrow 
is merely Urn or Ub (hair) of the Med (eye) in 
Korku, while it is Med Random in Jharkhand ; 
I need hardly point out that Kanda is the 
borrowed word which is in use to denote a bow. 
It is not free from doubt if sepulchral mounds of 
the Jharkhand area originated with the Kols. 
The Jharkhand Tract lying on the east (rather 
to the east) of the highlands of Central India 
proper has no doubt been from remote past the 
abode of some Kol people, but this frontier land 
has alwys been traversed by many tribes of un- 



THE SABARA-KOLS 65 

known origin, as the Pauranic accounts of the 
land already referred to, partly show. The Kols 
of Chutia Nagpur speak of many conflicts which 
their forefathers had with other tribes. It is 
true that the Kol influence in Jharkhand does 
not commence with the ascendancy of the Kols 
of Chutia clan there though the tract bears to-day 
their name, for this land surrounded by the 
Bhuiyans had borne the name Kokra (formed 
by metathesis from Korka) before the Chutias and 
their representatives the Nagabamsi Rajas flouri- 
shed ; but it connot be denied that the land was 
often interpenetrated by people of other races. 
Neither in the main highlands of Central India 
nor in the district of Sambalpur extending from 
Kolabira in the north to the Onga in the south 
tomb stones of the type met with in Chutia 
Nagpur are familiar. Brick-making having been 
unknown among the Kols in all their localities, 
the ruins discovered near Khunti cannot be asso- 
ciated with the Mundas. 

5. It is well known that cotton was once 
quite indigenous at several places in the high- 
lands of Central India. The Kols have got names 
in their language for cotton and loom, and the 
cloth they wear is * Lija ' which is also a genuine 
word in the language for cloth. It is in the 
tradition of the Kols (vide Campbell's paper 
referred to above) that their Adam and Eve and 
the early descendants of the first created pair 
wore leaves of trees ; this leaf- wearing by all the 
9 



66 THE ABORIGINES 

Sabaras has been recorded as noticed before in 
the Gauda Vaho. The Juangs of Keonjhar are 
the only leaf-wearers to-day. The time that has 
elapsed since the peoples' taking to weaving and 
wearing cloth must be very great, for the memory 
of the days of leaf- wearing is not preserved in any 
general tradition or folklore of the people. The 
time that took for the people to learn weaving 
and to get out of the use of leaves of trees for 
their raiment must also be measured by some 
hundreds of years. We can thus see for what 
great length of time the Kols must have 
been the residents of the highlands of Central 
India. 

I proceed to adduce some linguistic evidence 
to disprove the proposition or rather the sugges- 
tion that the Kols in coming to Jharkhand not 
only passed through the open country of Bihar, 
but also lived at certain places of Bihar as ruling 
people by adopting Aryan civilization to certain 
extent. Some grammatical terminations which 
the Kols of Jharkhand have accommodated and 
naturalized in their language are not Hindi but 
are Bengali and Oriya. The Kols of Ranchi and 
Hazaribagh have only recently been influenced 
by the Hindi language ; though these Kols live 
in Hindi-speaking tracts to-day, they use, as 
I presently show, Bengali and Oriya grammatical 
terminations like their other people who live in 
closer proximity to Bengal and Orissa. This 
phenomenon will lead us to show that the 



THE SABARA-KOLS 67 

Hindi-speaking people have been recent intruders 
into the Jharkhand Tract. 

In Kolarian language case-denoting suffixes 
have always been altogether unknown and they 
are not used by the Korkus of Jubbulpur. In 
the Jharkhand Tract various terminations have 
been brought into use. To denote genitive case 
a peculiar accent developing into ' A ' is generally 
put upon the final syllable of the word ; the suffix 
' Ra ' is also added at times at many places includ- 
ing Ranch! . For case-denoting suffixes gestures 
and modulations of voice were formerly enough as 
now they are quite sufficient with the Korkus. 
TheOriya suffix ' Re ' to indicate locative case and 
at times to indicate instrumental case is rather in 
universal use in Jharkhand. The suffix ' Te ' of 
Bengali is also very generally used to denote 
locative and instrumental cases and it is also used 
in some infinite formations. Oka (where) is not 
enough in Jharkhand and it is either Okota or 
Okote ; this analysis will show that it is wrong to 
hold that Bengali Kotha has gone over to the 
Kols. Ne (here) and Han (there) are Nete and 
Hanta now. ' En ' as demonstrative pronoun and 
1 Chi ' (china as well) as interrogative pronoun 
are of pure Kol origin ; but the Mundari forms 
' Enamente ' (therefore) and ' Chinamente ' (for 
what reason) of the Mundas of Jharkhand have 
evidently been coined by adopting the Oriya 
expressions E-nimante (for this reason) and Ki- 
nimante (for what reason) . 



66 THE ABOEIGINBS 

I have already mentioned that difference of 
gender is not expressed in pure Kolarian by ter- 
minations. Females and males are, as a rule, 
known by their special names ; enga (mother) , 
era (wife), mising (sister), etc., are sufficiently 
feminine-indicating. To denote gender now in 
Jharkhand either the Aryan suffix ' i ' is used 
as we notice in Koda han (male child), Kudi han 
(female child) , or certain words of Bengali and 
Oriya origin are used as adjectives for the 
purpose : for instance, as in ' sandi sim ' (cock), 
and ' enga sim ' (hen) . Of the last named class 
another example is cited : a merom (goat) is 
' boda ' when male, and ' pantia ' when female. 
In Bengal a he-goat is ' bokapanta,' but 'boda' 
for ' boka ' is the form in use in Oriya; ' panta ' 
and ' panti ' for he-goat and she-goat are not in 
use in Hindi ; though ' panta ' is not in use in 
Orissa now, the word ' penti ' for she-goat is in 
use. 

In imitation of Bengali (or may be of Oriya) 
a new mode of idiomatic expressions has been 
introduced by creating ela and dala corresponding 
to Bengali esa and chala (Oriya asa and chala) ; 
this ela and dala are unknown in pure Kolarian 
and ela is nearer to esa than to asa of Oriya. 
Ela hijume (in asking one to come) and dala 
senabu (to express ' let us go ') are the new idio- 
matic forms in question. 

Use of many other words and forms could be 
cited but I adduce here only a few examples more. 



THE SABABA-KOLS 66 

Lekha, to signify ' like that ', ' in proportion as ' 
or ' in the account of ' agrees with old Bengali 
and modern Oriya use of it. ' Besati kadir lekha ' 
etc., of Bharatchandra or ' lekha jokha nai ' still 
in use in Bengal may be referred to ; in Oriya 
this word is now in use exactly as it is in 
Kolarian. Pronunciation of many vernacular 
words in use in Kolarian is exactly after Oriya 
pronunciation of them ; for instance, a tank or 
pond which is pukur in Bengal is pukhori in 
Oriya and exactly in this latter pronunciation 
the word is in use in Jharkhand including 
Ranchi, though the tract of Ranchi is rather 
away from the land of the Oriyas to-day. The 
use of alo, lo and ga in addressing others is also 
an important point to note, for the particles are 
not Hindi but are of Bengali or of Oriya origin. 
Bath towel is ' angichha ' in Oriya and the Hindi 
word for it is almost similar; the name ' gamchha ' 
for it is wholly and peculiarly Bengali and 
exactly in this form the word ffe in use among the 
Mundas of Ranchi. 

I have noted in noticing several linguistic 
factors that many words of Kol origin are in use 
in Oriya ; that the Kols of Jharkhand have also 
made some contributions to the vocabulary of the 
Bengali language may now be noted to show that 
the Kols have been the neighbours of the Bengalee 
people since long. (1) Koda han, male child and 
Kudi han, female child of the Kols have been 
reduced to Kokka hadu and Kukki hadu in Oraon 



70 THE ABOBIGINES 

or Kurukh. Both these sets are in use in Bengal. 
It is curious that koda and kudi for male and 
female child respectively are in use in other parts 
of Bengal as khoka and khuki ; again, in Eastern 
Bengal in addition to koda and kudi the terms 
koka and kuki (closely allied to the original) are 
in use. Retention of Kol words in purer form in 
Eastern Bengal proves that the borrowing took 
place very long ago. (2) Salang (tall) is in use 
in Eastern Bengal in the form ' sadanga ' to 
denote a tall tree. (3) Boda signifies blunt in 
Kolarian. The very word boda is in Bengali in 
a secondary sense to signify tastelessness, while 
to signify bluntness the word bhota which is a 
variant of boda is in use. (4) Hada (of which 
hedel is a connected form) signifies an ox ; this 
term was in use in Bengal as we notice in the 
poem of Isvar Gupta composed in 1859 wherein to 
speak of 'beef eating ' by some renegade Hindus 
the poet has said ' Yader pete heda, niejaj teda,' 
etc. (5) Ked, to call, is in Bengali in the form 
'kad,'as may be noticed in such a phrase as rakada. 
It has no connection with kada (to snatch) which 
is from akarsa. (6) Alang is tongue in Kolarian; 
it is retained in Bengali al jib. (7) Lutur is 
ear ; in some parts of East Bengal the lobe of the 
ear is called luti or loti and at times noti. (8) In 
Bengali there is the word mot derived from 
Dravidian mota to signify a heavy bundle of 
luggage. There is another non-Sanskritic word 
mot to signify 'total/ and this word seems to 



THE SABARA-KOLS 71 

have come from Kolarian source. In Kolarian to 
indicate a large number of things taken all 
together the word mote or its variant mode is in 
use ; when the whole series of numerals from one 
to hundred is divided into 5 groups of twenties 
and all the groups of twenty (hisi) are taken 
together to denote hundred, the expression that 
is used is mote (mode) hisi. From this mode of 
counting, mote or moda has come to mean hundred 
in Kolarian. (9) Baldness of head is denoted 
by chadra by the Kols ; the Oriya word to 
express the same thing is chandia and this word 
in this very sense is in use in the district of 
Rangpur. I could not get any Aryan word from 
which it can be derived. I need hardly say that 
the words I have cited, from (1) to (8) both 
inclusive have no roots in Sanskrit. 

I should note another point in connexion with 
the influence of Oriyas upon the Kols in contrast 
with the influence of the Hindi-speaking people 
upon them. Hindi has no doubt now become the 
dominating Aryan vernacular in the district of 
Ranchi as well as in its neighbourhood, but there 
are facts of which two or three are noted here to 
show that it was not so during the early period 
of Hindu settlements in the Jharkhand Tract. 
The Hindi-speaking people of the United Pro- 
vinces or of Bihar (but not the people either of 
of Bengal or of Orissa) are still designated as 
foreigners by the term Des-wali in Ranchi and in 
its neighbourhood ; this is exactly the term which 



72 THE ABORIGINES 

the Bengalees even now in East Bengal (very far 
away from the Chutia Nagpur Tract) use to desig- 
nate the foreigners aforesaid. Now deities to 
whom homage is done in Chutia Nagpur area (by 
the Ho people specially) and who have come over 
to the aboriginal people from their Hindi-speaking 
neighbours have acquired the distinctive name, 
Deswali Thakur or Deswali Bonga. Again, the 
Rajas and the zemindars of Ranchi, Singhbhum 
and Bengali-speaking Manbhum, are connected 
socially with the Oriya aristocratic families more, 
than those of other provinces : marriage alliances 
are made by them principally with the Oriya 
Rajas and zemindars. So late as in 1894 the 
zemindar of Biru in the district of Ranchi pro- 
ceeded to Sambalpur to convene a meeting of the 
Oriya Brahmins for a declaration that the ances- 
tor of the zemindar of Biru was a Hindu Rajput. 
It is to be noticed also that some Oriya-speaking 
zemindars of the district of G-anjam (the zemindar 
of Tarla near Palasa is one of them) assert that 
their place of origin was the Chutia Nagpur 
Tract. How the Hindi-speaking districts being 
very close to Hazaribagh the influence of Hindi 
could slowly assume proportions need not be dis- 
cussed. 

The Kols have been since very long on the 
frontiers of Bengal and Orissa and they have been 
in the highlands of Central India from a very 
remote antiquity ; this is what I have attempted 
to prove. In my opinion the whole evidence in 



THE SABARA-KOLS 73 

cumulative effect tends to prove that the Kols 
have been wholly in the geographical area of the 
highlands of Central India for such a very great 
length of time as cannot easily be measured by 
some centuries. Their whole racial characteri- 
sation has been due to the influence of the above 
area. I could say by accepting a proposition of 
Prof. Thompson of Aberdeen that the character 
of the nose of the Kols can be explained by the 
climatic conditions of the area aforesaid, but as 
I have avoided making any reference to purely 
physical characteristics T should not enter into 
any discussion about it in this thesis. I should, 
however, assert very distinctly that it will be very 
wrong to associate the Kols with those who are 
designated Dravidians whom the Kols have always 
avoided in their social or political relation. 



10 



VI 

QKNERAL SOCIAL ClIARAt'TIiRISTICS OF THK KOLS 

The highlands of Central India lying to the 
south of the Aryyavartta and bounded on all other 
directions by the lands of the people of Dravidian 
culture, constituted once the home of the Kol 
people, though now the Kols are inhabiting the 
eastern borderlands and the main area is domi- 
nated by the people of Aryan culture whose 
progressive career under the British rule has 
brought a large number of towns into existence 
some of which are much noted for their health. 
Situated between the Aryans and the Dravidians 
in this forest-covered area the Kols developed and 
nurtured a culture peculiar to themselves and this 
culture of low grade still survives with much 
persistence. 

The simple social life of Kols is not dominated 
by a well-defined system of religion nrul is not 
bound up with many domestic ceremonies. This 
requires explanation, for some of their institu- 
tions and practices having been wrongly interpre- 
ted in the light of Aryan and Dravidian customs, 
wrong notions have been formed by some scholars. 
In respect of one custom only it may be said 
that the Kol society is bound within a steel frame: 
to maintain their social or rather tribal existence 



SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE KOLS . 75 

thoroughly distinguished from others the Kols do 
not allow any man or woman of theirs to eat any 
food of other people or to have any sexual relation 
with any one belonging to any other tribe or 
society. Now living as close neighbours of the 
Hindus, the rule relating to eating of food has 
been only very slightly relaxed : girls below the 
age of five (keeping down till then the growth of 
their hair in flowing locks on their head) and 
boys as long as they have not married are allowed 
to-day to eat food given by others. This very 
relaxation shows that the Kols do very strictly 
and jealously maintain their tribal purity. In 
their zeal and watchfulness to save themselves 
from being merged in other tribes, they have 
refrained from forming social alliance even with 
their own people who live at distant places and 
consequently regarding whom definite information 
cannot be obtained. This is how in some cases 
some communities have been formed who do not 
intermarry or intcrdine. Excepting this matter 
which touches them very vitally, there are no 
dogmatic articles of faith or strict social rules 
of life, non-observance of which involves loss 
of social status. Some illustrative examples $re 
set forth below. 

They believe that the Supreme JSongra, the 
originator of all things, exists ; what is the 
character of Him and of His existence they do not 
know and they do not trouble themselves to know. 
It is a vague and impaJpaMTlcte^ with "them and 



76 THE ABOEIGINES 

they do not worship the Supreme Diety, either 
in love or in fear. Their diseases and natural 
disasters are attributed tc^somfijorniless ghostlike 
beings and they propitiate these mischeif-inakers 
by offering fowls and goats ; say, if there is 
anybody among them who is of dare-devil cha- 
racter and does not care to make an offering of 
blood to the unfriendly spirits the man will not. 
be held a delinquent liable to disciplinary punish- 
ment. In imitation of the Hindus or rather to 
emulate with the Hindus who are loud in pro- 
claiming their faith by holding public religious 
festivals, the Kols have introduced some religious 
and semi-religious festivals traceable to some 
sections of the Hindus. These innovations should 
not be referred to "in determining the religious 
notions of the people. Again, these festivals 
are occasions for merriments more, than for 
acquiring religious merit. 

Witchcraft or black magic is performed by 
some by acquiring the art by chance, but magical 
practices do not form a part of a regularly 
organized religious system. Offering of human 
sacrifice in some section has been noticed before 
aB an old time practice, but this sacrifice was made 
as far as can be ascertained at present by capturing 
mep of enemy tribes whose presence in the 
neighbourhood was a menace to the people. No 
doubt some beneficial effects through magical rites 
were sought in this cruel act, but this inhuman 
practice originated in reality to secure political 



SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE KOLS 77 

ends. What is called religious fervour or devo- 
tional feelings to gods is wholly unknown among 
the Kols. 

What this sort of religion is due to may now 
only be surmised by looking to the social habits 
of the Kols. They had never any such person 
as king to dominate them with his arbitrary will. 
A Wanki is a tribal headman whose function is 
merely to arbitrate when matters of dispute are 
referred to him. Again, in their patriarchal 
system parents govern in the house only those 
"who have not attained the age of discretion. On 
commg~7)t age when young people marry they, 
as a rule, set up independent households for 
themselves. Another factor of life has to be 
taken into . account ; in the vast area in their 
occupation they always got enough "scope to earn 
and to live without depending upon others. 
Non-existence of social tyranny must have been 
at the rootoftEcT religious idea_pf the Kols that 
they do not appear either before the Supreme 
Bonga or before the mischief-making Bongas of 
lower order with humiliating supplications and 
prayers to obtain wealth, longevity or other boons 
of life. They have always enjoyed their life in 
joy and have only propitiated the devils that they 
might be saved from being affected with diseases 
or other misfortunes. The devils or lower Bongas 
have never been regarded to be the makers of 
their destiny and they never think that the real 
boons of life are in the gift of the devils. This 



78 THE ABORIGINES 

religious idea as well as religious practice differs 
wholly from the ideas and practices of the Hindus 
and the Dravidians. The Kols have now changed 
a bit having been Hinduized during the peaceful 
British rule, but that should not be taken into 
account in analysing their habits of life. 

In the matter of marriage some ceremonies 
have been recently introduced in the Jharkhand 
area by borrowing them from the Hindus ; to put 
a vermillion mark on the forehead or to besmear 
the body with turmeric paste, in right Oriya 
fashion, were formerly wholly unknown among 
the people. Young men and girls are free to 
choose the partners of their life and there is no 
need for a priest to join the hands of the bride 
and bridegroom in wedlock. The people of the 
community recognise marriage unions by coming 
together to a feast of food and drink, and singing 
and dancing is the only attending ceremony. A 
girl when married, goes away to live with her 
husband and never returns to the house of her 
parents. When a young man enters into wedlock 
he sets up a new independent household and does 
not as a rule live under the roof of his parents. 
The daughter of a man goes away to another 
kill or sepi and is not entitled to inherit the pro- 
perty of her father under any circumstances. 
Usually the youngest son of a man lives with the 
father. While the elder sons set up separate 
households by taking some property of the father, 
if such property is available, the youngest son 



SOCIAL CHAEACTEKISTICS OF THE KOLS 7<) 

lives with the parents and consequently inherits 
the paternal property. As the young people are 
free to marry according to their choice, they are 
free to be separated for good cause with the assent 
of the men of the community. On such separa- 
tion or divorce men and women are free to remarry 
and so also a widow is always at liberty to remarry. 
Nothing to speak of a man, a woman is at perfect 
liberty to live unmarried or dinda all throughout 
her life, and there is no social odium for it. 

The people are remarkable for their sexual 
morality. In their simple unsophisticated life 
men and women marry when they come of age and 
feel inclined to marry. They arc nionogamous, 
for their natural sentiments and condition of free 
living would not foster a system other than 
monogamy. Monogamy has always been the rule 
but as in other matters there has never been any 
strict social rule formulated in this direction, 
it has been possible now in some places for 
men to take more than one wife by imitating 
the Hindu custom. Marrying more than one 
wife is still very rare. 

I should refer in this connexion to the 
unfounded libel that the unmarried young folk in 
their specially set-up dormitories are licensed to 
live irregular life. The wrong notion in question 
has been formed by some because of their mis- 
conception regarding the character of the dormi- 
tories. The thing is that the poor people in a 
village cannot afford to build big houses for 



80 THE ABORIGINES 

themselves containing many rooms and conse- 
quently they cannot maintain strict decency in 
living with their wives when their children grow 
up. All the villagers contribute to the erection of 
common dormitories for boys and girls separately 
and all the boys and girls of the village pass their 
nights in those houses. This simple matter has 
been taken undue notice of as a peculier tribal 
institution though there is nothing special or 
peculiar about it. 

The women during the whole period of 
jestation move about and earn their living by 
labour and no domestic ceremony is necessary to 
be performed in respect of them. I know myself 
lots of cases when women going out in quest of 
labour gave birth to children and carried the 
new-born babies to their home, at times unas- 
sisted. Being in dread of evil spirit they may 
do this or that for the safety of the children but 
no domestic ceremonies are in force for observance. 
I mention another fact which has unnecessarily 
been made much of by some ethnologists. A 
sharp-edged bamboo slit is used to cut the navel 
cord ; this is so done because of the purity of the 
instrument. This practice is in force among the 
Hindus of all classes in Bengal and Orissa ; my 
information is that the bamboo slit is preferred 
to an iron knife even in Bihar, Nepal and Assam. 
I should also mention that anybody, a friend or 
a relation of a family, may suggest a name for a 
child and the suggested name may very easily be 



SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE KOLS 81 

given to the child without much ceremony. I 
learn that at some places purificatory ceremony at 
child birth has been introduced ; no doubt this 
has been in imitation of Hindu customs. 

Ceremonies at death seem to have been regu- 
larly formulated and observed since remote past. 
In the death of a person the cruel hand of an evil 
spirit is always suspected and something is always 
done that the fell hand of death may not fall 
upon others. They burn the dead and in doing 
so they believe that the spirit of the dead vanishes 
into thin air and cannot return to disturb the 
peace of the living. If the dead bodies be not 
fully burnt to ashes the spirit may survive and 
turn to the village ; the people of the sept of the 
deceased (generally the women who are left in the 
house and do not go to the cremation ground) 
test the non-return of dead man's spirit in a 
curious way. When men return from the cremation 
ground the women who remain inside the house 
by closing the doors, ask the names of the persons 
returning, and when the men give their names 
in clear voice the doors are opened, for in case 
the spirit would have returned the voice of the 
living man would have been husky and unnatural. 
In returning home from the cremation ground 
set apart for every village, no one looks behind, 
for it is believed that to cast a glance or a 
lingering look behind is to invite the surving 
spirit (if the spirits survive at all) to come to the 
old home. This belief is, I suspect, shared by 
11 



82 THE ABORIGINES 

the Hindus with the Kols, for the Hindus act 
similarly in returning from the cremation 
ground. 

The ashes are collected and kept in an 
earthen jar and this jar is buried underground 
after some days. To throw away the jar con- 
taining ashes into a river is not also uncommon 
at some places. This custom is not at all 
dissimilar to what obtains among the Hindus. 
To place a slab of stone upon the grave or build 
a sepulchral mound in any other way is not 
universal and the custom cannot be proved to be 
a genuine ancient custom of the Kols. As accord- 
ing to notions relating to spirits the Kols might 
be easily led to think that a piece of stone on the 
grave would effectually shut the spirit under- 
ground, they could take to the method in question 
in imitation of others in the neighbourhood. 

Belief in the rebirth of the liberated spirit 
of the dead is noticeable at some places among 
certain sections of the Kols and it is undoubted 
that this belief has come over to the people from 
the Hindus. The Santals put a silver coin be- 
tween the teeth of a dead man ; this practice 
which indicates that the spirit is supplied with 
funds to render help to it in its journey to the other 
world, is certainly a newly borrowed one, for 
coin of exchange was unknown to the people 
formerly. The Kols in Jharkhand have been 
influenced by the Hindus very largely, and so in 
studying their genuine faith and customs a very 



SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE KOLS 83 

careful comparative study of their various sections 
should be diligently pursued to ascertain their 
original racial characteristics. 

It cannot be doubted or rather I should say it is 
generally admitted that in the days of uninterfered 
Kol rule in the land of the Kols every individual 
was free to bring a new piece of land under culti- 
vation and to sit upon it as absolutely his own ; 
neither the village Munda nor the Mariki of a 
group of villages could stand against this right of 
new acquisition. The Mundas and Mankis were 
and have been to some extent to-day the authori- 
tative arbiters in all matters of dispute. 

If all these facts be carefully considered the 
Kols or the Sabara-Kol people will be found 
to be essentially differing from those who are 
called Dravidians and from the far-off Mon-Khmer 
people. If really there are good grounds to hold 
that those who are called Mon-Khmer people came 
once into India, their blood may be sought either 
in the veins of the Asuras who now only survive 
in a small number in Chutia Nagpur or their 
remains may be sought in the bones (if there be 
any) of some now extinct people. I have said 
that the sepulchral mounds of a special type are 
observable only in some parts of Chutia Nagpur 
in the neighbourhood of the iron-smelting Asuras 
whose old archaeological remains have recently 
been unearthed. I should also mention that the 
peculiar iron implement which hai been made 
much of to connect the Kols with some far-off 



84 THE ABOEIGINES 

people might either belong once to the Asuras or 
some other tribes now extinct. In other regions 
of Kol influence of old time or of modern days 
such implements have been unknown. 



WORKS BY THK S\ME AUTHOR 

1. Orissa in the Making: With an intro- 
ductory foreword by Sir Edward A. G-ait. M.A., 
K. C. S. L, Retd. Lieut. -Governor of Bihar & 
Orissa. Crown 8vo. pp. 247 (1925). Bs. 4-8. 
Published by the Calcutta University. 

This work which has no rival in the field presents a 
mass of new facts relating to the early history of Orissa 
and sets out the hitherto unnoticed course of events 
which culminated in the emergence of Orissa as a distinct 
national and linguistic unit. How the author has exe- 
cuted this work successfully after having been engaged 
for many years in his research work in Orissa, has been 
noticed by Sir Edward A. Gait in the introductory fore- 
word spoken of above. 

Mr. L. E B. Cobden-Bamsay. C.I.E., I. C. 3. (retd.), who 
is the noted author of the Gazetteer of the Orissa Feudatory States 
and is a recognised authority in the matter of history of Oriesa, writes 
in his letter to the author : " I must apologise for my long delay in 
acknowledging receipt of your book ' Orissa in the Making/ but I 
have wanted to read it carefully before writing to you and as you will 
understand it is a work which merits careful reading. May I be 
permitted to offer you my sincere admiration'of the deep scholarship 
and research you display in your work, the result of years of laborious 
research and study.'* 

Dr. Ii. D. Barnett writes in reviewing the book in J. B. A. S., 
p. 156, 1926 : 

Mr. Bijaychandra Mazumdar's work, to which a foreword is con- 
tributed by Sir Edward Gait, is an attempt to trace the history of 
Orissa from the earliest times with the aid of the materials furnished 
by epigraphy, literature, religion, ethnology, language and geography. 
After emphasizing with justice the original distinction between the 
ancient tribes of Utkalas and Odras in the interior, he endeavours to 
account for the altered conditions noted by Hiuen Tsang in the 
seventh century, and then sketches the fortunes of the chief dynasties, 
which have borne rule in the country. The Sulikas, who were 
defeated by the Maukhari Tsanavarman about the middle of the sixth 
century, he locates on the coast not far from Midnapur, and he then 
surveys the facts known about the Bhanja dynasty and its offshoots. 
Then comes a study of the important family of Koaala Guptas, whom 
he regards as the real makers of Orissa and connects with the dynasty 
descended from U day an a which ruled at Sripura (Sirpur) over 
Daksina-Kosala ; and after j.them come the Gangas of Mukhalingam 



U WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOU 

(1076.1484) and the solar dynasty of Kapilendra, Purusottama, and 
Prataparudra (1435-1540), with a final chapter on the later history of 
the Sambalpur tract. The work is marked by wide erudition and 

contains much that is instructive We cannot withhold 

a tribute of admiration for the oxtraordinary intellectual energy with 
which he combats his physical disability. 

The Literary Times of London (Sept. 16,1926) publishes 
the following opinion : 

In Mr. Mazumdar's scholarly treatise on the making of Orissa we 
are introduced to an exactly opposite tendency, the tendency, namely, 
of Hinduism to absorb and modify aboriginal tribes and cults without 
entirely obliterating them. Orissa is not known to the average reader 
of Indian history, though the great temple of Jagannath at Pori, on 
the coast, is the scene of those car festivals which gave rise to the 
familiar but quite inaccurate phrases now current in the English 
language. The geographical position of Oiissa, with a chain of hills 
almost skirting the sea and much wild country in the hinterland, 
doubtless protected it from invasion ; and the character of its inhabi- 
tants, coupled with their poverty, which held out little hopes of 
adequate plunder, offered no inducement to undergo the necessary 
hardships. The conquest of Kalinga by Asoka is one of the outstand- 
ing facts of early Indian history, but after that time we hear little 
of this tract which seems to have been left to the Hindu as a play- 
ground to fight out their quarrels and their ambitions. It was not 
until 1668, when the Mogul dynasty was firmly established, that 
Orissa fell under the sway of the Muhammadans, and even then part 
of it seems to have remained under Hindu princes. And since Hindus 
did not write history Mr. Mazumdar has been compelled to reconstruct 
his story from epigraphic and similar records, He has shown com. 
mendable patience in this task and has written a useful book. 

The Statesman in its editorial notes of October 12, 1926, after 
speaking in praise of the good execution of the work remarks : 

As Mr. Mazumdar had no predecessors, he has had to undertake 
an extensive original study of inscriptions and public records. 

2. The History of the Bengali Language : 

Demy 8vo. pp. 318. Rs. 7/- 

The book gives a sketch, in broad outline, of the 
origin of the Bengali Language and the various influences 
linguistic, ethnic, social that shaped and moulded its 
earlier history. 

In reviewing this book in the J.R.A.S- (1923, p. 443), Dr. L. D. 
Barnett writes : 

Mr. Mazumdar's work on account of its learning, vigorous style, 
and bold deviation from currently accepted doctrine deserves a fuller 
notice than can be accorded to it here. Opening with a stout denial 
of Sir G. Grierson's theory of the origin of Aryan vernacular, he 
maintains their derivation from the Vedic Language, and explains 
their variations as due to the influence of non- Aryan speech, mainly 



WORKS BY THB SAME AUTHOR iii 

Dravidian; in particular, Bengali, Oriya and Assamese are in his 
opinion all primarily evolved from one and the same Eastern Magadbi 
Prakrit and the first two have been influenced in a secondary degree 
by Dravidian speech. To us the most attractive Chapters are II -IV, 
on the names of Vanga and BftnglA, the geography of ancient Bflnglft, 

with the connected regions Gauda, Radha and Vanga VI, 

on Bengali phonology and VII-TX, a fine study of accent in Sanskrit 
and Bengali and of the Bengali mertrical system, which is of especial 
value as the author himself has won high distinction as a poet in bis 
native language. On the whole it may be said that the book is most 
stimulating and suggestive, and that it presents a remarkable mass of 
interesting facts relating to modern Bengali. 

3. Typical Selections from Oriya Literature 

Introductory Essays relating to the old time poets 
and the language of Orissa, in three volumes.