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Full text of "Castes and tribes of southern India"

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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



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CASTES AND TRIBES 

OF 

SOUTHERN INDIA 



CASTES AND TRIBES 



OF 



SOUTHERN INDIA 



EDGAR THURSTON, c.i.e., 

Superintendent, Madras Government Museum ; Correspondant Etranger, 

Soci£t6 d'Anthropologie de Paris ; Socio Corrispondante, 

Societa Romana di Anthropologia. 



ASSISTED BY 

K. RANGACHARI, m.a., 

of the Madras Government Museum. 



VOLUME I— A and B 



GOVERNMENT PRESS, MADRAS 
1909. 



College 
brary 




PREFACE. 



fTlJfN 1894, equipped with a set of anthropometric 
yrk instruments obtained on loan from the Asiatic 
Society of Bengal, I commenced an investiga- 
tion of the tribes of the Nllgiri hills, the Todas, 
Kotas, and Badagas, bringing down on myself the 
unofficial criticism that " anthropological research at 
high altitudes is eminently indicated when the thermo- 
meter registers ioo° in Madras." From this modest 
beginning have resulted : — (1) investigation of various 
classes which inhabit the city of Madras ; (2) periodical 
tours to various parts of the Madras Presidency, with 
a view to the study of the more important tribes and 
classes ; (3) the publication of Bulletins, wherein the 
results of my work are embodied ; (4) the establishment 
of an anthropological laboratory ; (5) a collection of 
photographs of Native types ; (6) a series of lantern 
slides for lecture purposes ; (7) a collection of phono- 
graph records of tribal songs and music. 

The scheme for a systematic and detailed ethno- 
graphic survey of the whole of India received the 
formal sanction of the Government of India in 1901. A 
Superintendent of Ethnography was appointed for each 



20G50G9 



X PREFACE. 

Presidency or Province, to carry out the work of the 
survey in addition to his other duties. The other 
duty, in my particular case — the direction of a large 
local museum — happily made an excellent blend with 
the survey operations, as the work of collection for 
the ethnological section went on simultaneously with 
that of investigation. The survey was financed for a 
period of five (afterwards extended to eight) years, 
and an annual allotment of Rs. 5,000 provided for 
each Presidency and Province. This included Rs. 2,000 
for approved notes on monographs, and replies to the 
stereotyped series of questions. The replies to these 
questions were not, I am bound to admit, always 
entirely satisfactory, as they broke down both in accuracy 
and detail. I may, as an illustration, cite the following 
description of making fire by friction. " They know 
how to make fire, i.e., by friction of wood as well as 
stone, etc. They take a triangular cut of stone, and 
one flat oblong size flat. They hit one another with 
the maintenance of cocoanut fibre or copper, then fire 
sets immediately, and also by rubbing the two barks 
frequently with each other they make fire." 

I gladly place on record my hearty appreciation 
of the services rendered by Mr. K. Rangachari in the 
preparation of the present volumes. During my tem- 
porary absence in Europe, he was placed in charge 
of the survey, and he has been throughout invaluable 
in obtaining information concerning manners and cus- 
toms, as interpreter and photographer, and in taking 
phonograph records. 



PREFACE. XI 

For information relating to the tribes and castes 
of Cochin and Travancore, I gratefully acknowledge 
my indebtedness to Messrs. L. K. Anantha Krishna 
Aiyer and N. Subramani Aiyer, the Superintendents of 
Ethnography for their respective States. The notes 
relating to the Cochin State have been independently 
published at the Ernakulam Press, Cochin. 

In the scheme for the Ethnographic Survey, it 
was laid down that the Superintendents should supple- 
ment the information obtained from representative 
men and by their own enquiries by " researches into 
the considerable mass of information which lies buried 
in official reports, in the journals of learned Societies, 
and in various books." Of this injunction full advantage 
has been taken, as will be evident from the abundant 
crop of references in foot-notes. 

It is impossible to express my thanks individually 
to the very large number of correspondents, European 
and Indian, who have generously assisted me in my 
work. I may, however, refer to the immense aid 
which I have received from the District Manuals edited 
by Mr. (now Sir) H. A. Stuart, I.C.S., and the District 
Gazetteers, which have been quite recently issued under 
the editorship of Mr. W. Francis, I.C.S., Mr. F. R. 
Hemingway, I.C.S., and Mr. F. B. Evans, I.C.S. 

My thanks are further due to Mr. C. Hayavadana 
Rao, to whom I am indebted for much information 
acquired when he was engaged in the preparation of 
the District Gazetteers, and for revising the proof 
sheets. 

B* 



Xll PREFACE. 

For some of the photographs of Badagas, Kurumbas, 
and Todas, I am indebted to Mr. A. T. W. Penn of 
Ootacamund. 

I may add that the anthropometric data are all the 
result of measurements taken by myself, in order to 
eliminate the varying error resulting from the employ- 
ment of a plurality of observers. 

E.T. 



INTRODUCTION. 



JHE vast tract of country, over which my inves- 
tw &n tigations in connection with the ethnographic 
survey of South India have extended, is 
commonly known as the Madras Presidency, and officially 
as the Presidency of Fort St. George and its Depend- 
encies. Included therein were the small feudatory States 
of Pudukottai, Banganapalle, and Sandur, and the larger 
Native States of Travancore and Cochin. The area of 
the British territory and Feudatory States, as returned 
at the census, 1901, was 143,221 square miles, and the 
population 38,623,066. The area and population of the 
Native States of Travancore and Cochin, as recorded 
at the same census, were as follows : — 

Area. Population. 
SQ. MILES. 

Travancore .. .. .. 7,091 2,952,157 

Cochin .. .. •• 1,361 512,025 

Briefly, the task which was set me in 1901 was to 
record the ' manners and customs ' and physical charac- 
ters of more than 300 castes and tribes, representing 
more than 40,000,000 individuals, and spread over an 
area exceeding 1 50,000 square miles. 

The Native State of Mysore, which is surrounded 
by the Madras Presidency on all sides, except on part 
of the west, where the Bombay Presidency forms the 
boundary, was excluded from my beat ethnographically, 
but included for the purpose of anthropometry. As, 
however, nearly all the castes and tribes which inhabit 
the Mysore State -are common to it and the Madras 



XIV INTRODUCTION. 

Presidency, I have given here and there some informa- 
tion relating thereto. 

It was clearly impossible for myself and my assistant, 
in our travels, to do more than carry out personal inves- 
tigations over a small portion of the vast area indicated 
above, which provides ample scope for research by many 
trained explorers. And I would that more men, like 
my friends Dr. Rivers and Mr. Lapicque, who have 
recently studied Man in Southern India from an 
anthropological and physiological point of view, would 
come out on a visit, and study some of the more import- 
ant castes and tribes in detail. I can promise them 
every facility for carrying out their work under the 
most favourable conditions for research, if not of climate. 
And we can provide them with anything from 1 1 2° in 
the shade to the sweet half English air of the Nilgiri 
and other hill-ranges. 

Routine work at head-quarters unhappily keeps me 
a close prisoner in the office chair for nine months in the 
year. But I have endeavoured to snatch three months 
on circuit in camp, during which the dual functions of the 
survey — the collection of ethnographic and anthropo- 
metric data — were carried out in the peaceful isolation of 
the jungle, in villages, and in mofussil (up-country) towns. 
These wandering expeditions have afforded ample 
evidence that delay in carrying through the scheme for 
the survey would have been fatal. For, as in the Pacific 
and other regions, so in India, civilisation is bringing 
about a radical change in indigenous manners and 
customs, and mode of life. It has, in this connection, 
been well said that " there will be plenty of money and 
people available for anthropological research, when there 
are no more aborigines. And it behoves our museums 
to waste no time in completing their anthropological 



INTRODUCTION. XV 

collections." Tribes which, only a few years ago, were 
living in a wild state, clad in a cool and simple garb of 
forest leaves, buried away in the depths of the jungle, 
and living, like pigs and bears, on roots, honey, and 
other forest produce, have now come under the domes- 
ticating, and sometimes detrimental influence of contact 
with Europeans, with a resulting modification of their 
conditions of life, morality, and even language. The 
Paniyans of the Wynaad, and the Irulas of the Nllgiris, 
now work regularly for wages on planters' estates, and I 
have seen a Toda boy studying for the third standard 
instead of tending the buffaloes of his mand. A Toda 
lassie curling her ringlets with the assistance of a cheap 
German looking-glass ; a Toda man smeared with Hindu 
sect marks, and praying for male offspring at a Hindu 
shrine ; the abandonment of leafy garments in favour 
of imported cotton piece-goods ; the employment of 
kerosine tins in lieu of thatch ; the decline of the 
national turban in favour of the less becoming pork-pie 
cap or knitted nightcap of gaudy hue ; the abandonment 
of indigenous vegetable dyes in favour of tinned anilin 
and alizarin dyes ; the replacement of the indigenous 
peasant jewellery by imported beads and imitation 
jewellery made in Europe — these are a few examples of 
change resulting from Western and other influences. 

The practice of human sacrifice, or Meriah rite, has 
been abolished within the memory of men still living, 
and replaced by the equally efficacious slaughter of a 
buffalo or sheep. And I have notes on a substituted 
ceremony, in which a sacrificial sheep is shaved so as 
to produce a crude representation of a human being, a 
Hindu sect mark painted on its forehead, a turban stuck 
on its head, and a cloth around its body. The pictur- 
esque, but barbaric ceremony of hook-swinging is now 



XVI INTRODUCTION. 

regarded with disfavour by Government, and, some time 
ago, I witnessed a tame substitute for the original 
ceremony, in which, instead of a human being with 
strong iron hooks driven through the small of his back, 
a little wooden figure, dressed up in turban and body 
cloth, and carrying a shield and sabre, was hoisted on 
high and swung round. 

In carrying out the anthropometric portion of the 
survey, it was unfortunately impossible to disguise the 
fact that I am a Government official, and very consider- 
able difficulties were encountered owing to the wicked- 
ness of the people, and their timidity and fear of 
increased taxation, plague inoculation, and transporta- 
tion. The Paniyan women of the Wynaad believed that 
I was going to have the finest specimens among them 
stuffed for the Madras Museum. An Irula man, on the 
Nilgiri hills, who was wanted by the police for some 
mild crime of ancient date, came to be measured, but 
absolutely refused to submit to the operation on the 
plea that the height-measuring standard was the gallows. 
The similarity of the word Boyan to Boer was once fatal 
to my work. For, at the time of my visit to the Oddes, 
who have Boyan as their title, the South African war was 
just over, and they were afraid that I was going to get 
them transported, to replace the Boers who had been 
exterminated. Being afraid, too, of my evil eye, they 
refused to fire a new kiln of bricks for the club chambers 
at Coimbatore until I had taken my departure. During 
a long tour through the Mysore province, the Natives 
mistook me for a recruiting sergeant bent on seizing 
them for employment in South Africa, and fled before 
my approach from town to town. The little spot, which 
I am in the habit of making with Aspinall's white paint 
to indicate the position of the fronto-nasal suture and 



INTRODUCTION. XV11 

bi-orbital breadth, was supposed to possess vesicant 
properties, and to blister into a number on the forehead, 
which would serve as a means of future identification for 
the purpose of kidnapping. The record of head, chest, 
and foot measurements, was viewed with marked suspi- 
cion, on the ground that I was an army tailor, measuring 
for sepoy's clothing. The untimely death of a Native 
outside a town, at which I was halting, was attributed to 
my evil eye. Villages were denuded of all save senile 
men, women, and infants. The vendors of food-stuffs 
in one bazar, finding business slack owing to the flight 
of their customers, raised their prices, and a missionary 
complained that the price of butter had gone up. My 
arrival at one important town was coincident with a 
great annual temple festival, whereat there were not 
sufficient coolies left to drag the temple car in proces- 
sion. So I had perforce to move on, and leave the 
Brahman heads unmeasured. The head official ol 
another town, when he came to take leave of me, 
apologised for the scrubby appearance of his chin, as the 
local barber had fled. One man, who had volunteered 
to be tested with Lovibond's tintometer, was suddenly 
seized with fear in the midst of the experiment, and, 
throwing his body-cloth at my feet, ran for all he was 
worth, and disappeared. An elderly Municipal servant 
wept bitterly when undergoing the process of measure- 
ment, and a woman bade farewell to her husband, as she 
thought for ever, as he entered the threshold of my 
impromptu laboratory. The goniometer for estimating 
the facial angle is specially hated, as it goes into the 
mouth of castes both high and low, and has to be taken 
to a tank (pond) after each application. The members 
of a certain caste insisted on being measured before 
4 p.m., so that they might have time to remove, by 



XV111 INTRODUCTION. 

ceremonial ablution, the pollution from my touch before 
sunset. 

Such are a few of the unhappy results, which attend 
the progress of a Government anthropologist. I may, 
when in camp, so far as measuring operations are 
concerned, draw a perfect and absolute blank for several 
days in succession, or a gang of fifty or even more 
representatives of different castes may turn up at the 
same time, all in a hurry to depart as soon as they have 
been sufficiently amused by the phonograph, American 
series of pseudoptics (illusions), and hand dynamometer, 
which always accompany me on my travels as an 
attractive bait. When this occurs, it is manifestly im- 
possible to record all the major, or any of the minor 
measurements, which are prescribed in ' Anthropological 
Notes and Queries,' and elsewhere. And I have to rest 
unwillingly content with a bare record of those measure- 
ments, which experience has taught me are the most 
important from a comparative point of view within my 
area, viz., stature, height and breadth of nose, and 
length and breadth of head, from which the nasal and 
cephalic indices can be calculated. I refer to the 
practical difficulties, in explanation of a record which is 
admittedly meagre, but wholly unavoidable, in spite of 
the possession of a good deal of patience and a liberal 
supply of cheroots, and current coins, which are often 
regarded with suspicion as sealing a contract, like the 
King's shilling. I have even known a man get rid of 
the coin presented to him, by offering it, with flowers 
and a cocoanut, to the village goddess at her shrine, and 
present her with another coin as a peace-offering, to get 
rid of the pollution created by my money. 

The manifold views, which have been brought 
forward as to the origin and place in nature of the 



INTRODUCTION. XIX 

indigenous population of Southern India, are scattered 
so widely in books, manuals, and reports, that it will 
be convenient if I bring together the evidence derived 
from sundry sources. 

The original name for the Dravidian family, it may 
be noted, was Tamulic, but the term Dravidian was 
substituted by Bishop Caldwell, in order that the desig- 
nation Tamil might be reserved for the language of that 
name. Dravida is the adjectival form of Dravida, the 
Sanskrit name for the people occupying the south of 
the Indian Peninsula (the Deccan of some European 
writers).* 

According to Haeckel,t three of the twelve species 
of man — the Dravidas (Deccans ; Sinhalese), Nubians, 
and Mediterranese (Caucasians, Basque, Semites, Indo- 
Germanic tribes) — " agree in several characteristics, 
which seem to establish a close relationship between 
them, and to distinguish them from the remaining 
species. The chief of these characteristics is the strong 
development of the beard which, in all other species, 
is either entirely wanting, or but very scanty. The 
hair of their heads is in most cases more or less curly. 
Other characteristics also seem to favour our classing 
them in one main group of curly-haired men (Euplo- 
comi) ; at present the primaeval species, Homo Dravida, 
is only represented by the Deccan tribes in the southern 
part of Hindustan, and by the neighbouring inhabitants 
of the mountains on the north-east of Ceylon. But, 
in earlier times, this race seems to have occupied the 



* " Deccan, Hind, Dakhin, Dakhan ; dakkina, the Prakr. form of Sskt. 
dakshina, ' the south.' The southern part of India, the Peninsula, and especially 
the table-land between the Eastern and Western Ghauts." Yule and Burnell. 
Hobson-Jobson. 

t History of Creation. 



XX INTRODUCTION. 

whole of Hindustan, and to have spread even further. 
It shows, on the one hand, traits of relationship to the 
Australians and Malays ; on the other to the Mongols 
and Mediterranese. Their skin is either of a light or 
dark brown colour ; in some tribes, of a yellowish brown. 
The hair of their heads is, as in Mediterranese, more 
or less curled ; never quite smooth, like that of the 
Euthycomi, nor actually woolly, like that of the 
Ulotrichi. The strong development of the beard is 
also like that of the Mediterranese. Their forehead is 
generally high, their nose prominent and narrow, their 
lips slightly protruding. Their language is now very 
much mixed with Indo-Germanic elements, but seems 
to have been originally derived from a very primaeval 
language." 

In the chapter devoted to ' Migration and Distribu- 
tion of Organisms,' Haeckel, in referring to the continual 
changing of the distribution of land and water on the 
surface of the earth, says : " The Indian Ocean formed 
a continent, which extended from the Sunda Islands along 
the southern coast of Asia to the east coast of Africa. 
This large continent of former times Sclater has called 
Lemuria, from the monkey-like animals which inhab- 
ited it, and it is at the same time of great importance 
from being the probable cradle of the human race. The 
important proof which Wallace has furnished by the help 
of chronological facts, that the present Malayan Archi- 
pelago consists in reality of two completely different 
divisions, is particularly interesting. The western 
division, the I ndo- Malayan Archipelago, comprising the 
large islands of Borneo, Java, and Sumatra, was for- 
merly connected by Malacca with the Asiatic continent, 
and probably also with the Lemurian continent, and pro- 
bably also with the Lemurian continent just mentioned. 



INTRODUCTION. XXI 

The eastern division, on the other hand, the Austro- 
Malayan Archipelago, comprising Celebes, the Moluccas, 
New Guinea, Solomon's Islands, etc., was formerly 
directly connected with Australia." 

An important ethnographic fact, and one which is 
significant, is that the description of tree-climbing by 
the Dyaks of Borneo, as given by Wallace,* might have 
been written on the Anaimalai hills of Southern India, 
and would apply equally well in every detail to the 
Kadirs who inhabit those hills.t An interesting custom, 
which prevails among the Kadirs and Mala Vedans of 
Travancore, and among them alone, so far as I know, 
in the Indian Peninsula, is that of chipping all or some 
of the incisor teeth into the form of a sharp pointed, 
but not serrated, cone. The operation is said to be per- 
formed, among the Kadirs, with a chisel or bill-hook and 
file, on boys at the age of eighteen, and girls at the age 
often or thereabouts. It is noted by Skeat and Blagden { 
that the Jakuns of the Malay Peninsula are accustomed 
to file their teeth to a point. Mr. Crawford tells us 
further that, in the Malay Archipelago, the practice 
of filing and blackening the teeth is a necessary prelude 
to marriage, the common way of expressing the fact 
that a girl has arrived at puberty being that she had 
her teeth filed. In an article § entitled "Die Zauber- 
bilderschriften der Negrito in Malaka," Dr. K. T. Preuss 
describes in detail the designs on the bamboo combs, 
etc., of the Negritos of Malacca, and compares them 
with the strikingly similar designs on the bamboo combs 
worn by the Kadirs of Southern India. He works out 
in detail the theory that the design is not, as I called it j| 



* Malay Archipelago, 1890. f See article Kadir. 

J Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula, 1906. 

§ Globus, 1899. II Madras Museum Bull., II, 3, 1899. 



XX11 INTRODUCTION. 

an ornamental geometric pattern, but consists of a 
series of hieroglyphics. It is noted by Skeat and 
Blagden * that " the Semang women wore in their hair 
a remarkable kind of comb, which appears to be worn 
entirely as a charm against diseases. These combs 
were almost invariably made of bamboo, and were deco- 
rated with an infinity of designs, no two of which 
ever entirely agreed. It was said that each disease had 
its appropriate pattern. Similar combs are worn by the 
Pangan, the Semang and Sakai of Perak, and most 
of the mixed (Semang-Sakai) tribes." I am informed 
by Mr. Vincent that, as far as he knows, the Kadir 
combs are not looked on as charms, and the markings 
thereon have no mystic significance. A Kadir man 
should always make a comb, and present it to his wife 
just before marriage or at the conclusion of the marriage 
ceremony, and the young men vie with each other as to 
who can make the nicest comb. Sometimes they repre- 
sent strange articles on the combs. Mr. Vincent has, 
for example, seen a comb with a very good imitation 
of the face of a clock scratched on it. 

In discussing the racial affinities of the Sakais, Skeat 
and Blagden write # that " an alternative theory comes 
to us on the high authority of Virchow, who puts it 
forward, however, in a somewhat tentative manner. It 
consists in regarding the Sakai as an outlying branch of 
a racial group formed by the Vedda (of Ceylon), Tamil, 
Kurumba, and Australian races ... Of these the 
height is variable, but, in all four of the races compared, 
it is certainly greater than that of the Negrito races. 
The skin colour, again, it is true, varies to a remarkable 
degree, but the general hair character appears to be 

* Op. cit. 



INTRODUCTION. XXlii 

uniformly long, black and wavy, and the skull-index, on 
the other hand, appears to indicate consistently a doli- 
chocephalic or long-shaped head." Speaking of the 
Sakais, the same authorities state that " in evidence 
of their striking resemblance to the Veddas, it is per- 
haps worth remarking that one of the brothers Sarasin 
who had lived among the Veddas and knew them very 
well, when shown a photograph of a typical Sakai, at 
first supposed it to be a photograph of a Vedda." For 
myself, when I first saw the photographs of Sakais pub- 
lished by Skeat and Blagden, it was difficult to realise 
that I was not looking at pictures of Kadirs, Paniyans, 
Kurumbas, or other jungle folk of Southern India. 

It may be noted en passant, that emigration takes 
place at the present day from the southern parts of the 
Madras Presidency to the Straits Settlements. The 
following statement shows the number of passengers 
that proceeded thither during 1906 : — 

Madras — Total. 

("Porto Novo 2,555 

South Arcot. { Cuddalore 583 

^Pondicherry ... ... ... ... 55 

fNegapatam ... ... ... ... 238 

• and 
Taniore . . < XT 

J ] Nagore 45,453 

^Karikal ... ... ... ... 3,422 

"The name Kling (or Keling) is applied, in the 
Malay countries, to the people of Continental India who 
trade thither, or are settled in those regions, and to the 
descendants of settlers. The Malay use of the word is, 
as a rule, restricted to Tamils. The name is a form of 
Kalinga, a very ancient name for the region known as 
the Northern Circars, i.e., the Telugu coast of the Bay of 
Bengal." * It is recorded by Dr. N. Anandale that the 



* Yule and Buraell, Hobson-Jobson, 



XXIV INTRODUCTION. 

phrase Orang Kling Islam {i.e., a Muhammadan from 
the Madras coast) occurs in Patani Malay. He further 
informs us * that among the Labbai Muhammadans 
of the Madura coast, there are " certain men who make a 
livelihood by shooting pigeons with blow-guns. Accord- 
ing to my Labbai informants, the ' guns ' are purchased 
by them in Singapore from Bugis traders. There is 
still a considerable trade, although diminished, between 
Kilakarai and the ports of Burma and the Straits 
Settlements. It is carried on entirely by Muham- 
madans in native sailing vessels, and a large proportion 
of the Musalmans of Kilakarai have visited Penang and 
Singapore. It is not difficult to find among them men 
who can speak Straits Malay. The local name for 
the blow-gun is senguttan, and is derived in popular 
etymology from the Tamil sen (above) and kutu (to 
stab). I have little doubt that it is really a corruption 
of the Malay name of the weapon sumpitan." 

On the evidence of the very close affinities between 
the plants and animals in Africa and India at a very 
remote period, Mr. R. D. Oldham concludes that there 
was once a continuous stretch of dry land connecting 
South Africa and India. "In some deposits," he writes,f 
" found resting upon the Karoo beds on the coast of 
Natal, 22 out of 35 species of Mollusca and Echino- 
dermata collected and specifically identified, are identical 
with forms found in the cretaceous beds of Southern 
India, the majority being Trichinopoly species. From the 
cretaceous rocks of Madagascar, six species of cretaceous 
fossils were examined by Mr. R. B. Newton in 1899, of 
which three are also found in the Ariyalur group (Southern 
India). The South African beds are clearly coast or 



* Mem. Asiat. Soc., Bengal, Miscellanea Ethnographica, I, 1906. 
+ Manual of the Geology of India, 2nd edition, 1893, 



INTRODUCTION. 



XXV 



shallow water deposits, like those of India. The great 
similarity of forms certainly suggests continuity of coast 
line between the two regions, and thus supports the view 
that the land connection between South Africa and India, 
already shown to have existed in both the lower and upper 
Gondwana periods, was continued into cretaceous times." 
By Huxley * the races of mankind are divided into 
two primary divisions, the Ulotrichi with crisp or woolly 
hair (Negros ; Negritos), and the Leiotrichi with smooth 
hair ; and the Dravidians are included in the Australoid 
group of the Leiotrichi " with dark skin, hair and eyes, 
wavy black hair, and eminently long, prognathous skulls, 
with well-developed brow ridges, who are found in 
Australia and in the Deccan." There is, in the collection 
of the Royal College of Surgeons' Museum, an exceed- 
ingly interesting "Hindu" skull from Southern India, 
conspicuously dolichocephalic, and with highly developed 
superciliary ridges. Some of the recorded measurements 
of this skull are as follows : — 

Length .. .. .. .. 19*6 

Breadth . . . . . . . . i3'2 

Cephalic index .. .. .. 67 '3 

Nasal height . . . . . . 4*8 

,, breadth .. .. .. 2-5 „ 

„ index .. .. .. 52*1 

Another "Hindu" skull, in the collection of the 
Madras Museum, with similar marked development of the 
superciliary ridges, has the following measurements : — 
Length . . . . . . . . 18-4 cm. 



cm. 



cm. 



Breadth 
Cephalic index 
Nasal height 
„ breadth 
index 



i3'8 
75 
4'9 

2*1 

42-8 



cm. 



• Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals, 187 1. 



XXVI INTRODUCTION. 

I am unable to subscribe to the prognathism of the 
Dravidian tribes of Southern India, or of the jungle 
people, though aberrant examples thereof are contained 
in the collection of skulls at the Madras Museum, e.g., 
the skull of a Tamil man (caste unknown) who died a 
few years ago in Madras (PI. l-a). The average facial 
angle of various castes and tribes which I have examined 
ranged between 6y° and 70 , and the inhabitants of 
Southern India may be classified as orthognathous. 
Some of the large earthenware urns excavated by Mr. 
A. Rea, of the Archaeological Department, at the 
" prehistoric " burial site at Aditanallur in the Tinnevelly 
district,* contained human bones, and skulls in a more 
or less perfect condition. Two of these skulls, preserved 
at the Madras Museum, are conspicuously prognathous 
(PI. \-b). Concerning this burial site M. L. Lapicque 
writes as follows.! " J'ai rapporte un specimen des 
urnes funeVaires, avec une collection assez complete du 
mobilier fune>aire. J'ai rapporte aussi un crane en assez 
bon 6tat, et parfaitement determinable. II est hyperdoli- 
choc^phale, et s'accorde avec la serie que le service 
d'archeologie de Madras a dej'a reunie. Je pense que 
la race d'Adichanallour appartient aux Proto-Dravidi- 
ens." The measurements of six of the most perfect 
skulls from Aditanallur in the Madras Museum collection 
give the following results : — 



Cephalic 
length, cm. 


Cephalic 
breadth, cm. 


Cephalic 
index. 


18-8 


12-4 


66- 


19-1 


I2'7 


66-5 


i8-3 


I 2 '4 


67-8 


18- 


I2'2 


67-8 


18- 


I2'8 


77-1 


168 


I3'I 


78- 



* See Annual Report, Archaeological Survey of India, 1902-03. 
■f Bull, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, 1905. 




a. SKULL OF TAMIL MAX. 

/>. SKULL FROM ADITANALLUR. 



INTRODUCTION. XXV11 

The following extracts from my notes show that 
the hyperdolichocephalic type survives in the dolicho- 
cephalic inhabitants of the Tamil country at the 
present day : — 

p. Number Cephalic index 

ass " examined. below 70. 

Palli .. .. .. 40 64*4; 66'9; 67; 68'2 ; 

68'9 ; 69*6. 

Paraiyan . . . . 40 64*8 ; 69*2 ; 69*3 ; 69*5 

Vellala . . . . 40 67*9 ; 69*6. 

By Flower and Lydekker,* a white division of man, 
called the Caucasian or Eurafrican, is made to include 
Huxley's Xanthochroi (blonde type) and Melanochroi 
(black hair and eyes, and skin of almost all shades from 
white to black). The Melanochroi are said to " comprise 
the greater majority of the inhabitants of Southern 
Europe, North Africa, and South-west Asia, and consist 
mainly of the Aryan, Semitic, and Hamitic families. 
The Dravidians of India, the Veddahs of Ceylon, and 
probably the Ainus of Japan, and the Maoutze of China, 
also belong to this race, which may have contributed 
something to the mixed character of some tribes of Indo- 
China and the Polynesian islands, and have given at least 
the characters of the hair to the otherwise Negroid 
inhabitants of Australia. In Southern India they are 
largely mixed with a Negrito element, and, in Africa, 
where their habitat becomes coterminous with that of 
the Negroes, numerous cross-races have sprung up 
between them all along the frontier line/' 

In describing the " Hindu type," Topinard t divides 
the population of the Indian peninsula into three strata, 
viz., the Black, Mongolian, and the Aryan. " The 
remnants of the first," he says, "are at the present time 



• Introduction to the Study of Mammals, living and extinct, 1891. 
J Anthropology. Translation, 1894. 



XXV111 INTRODUCTION. 

shut up in the mountains of Central India under the name 
of Bhils, Mahairs, Ghonds, and Khonds ; and in the 
south under that of Yenadis, Kurumbas, etc. Its primi- 
tive characters, apart from its black colour and low 
stature, are difficult to discover, but it is to be noticed 
that travellers do not speak of woolly hair in India.* 
The second has spread over the plateaux of Central India 
by two lines of way, one to the north-east, the other to 
the north-west. The remnants of the first invasion are 
seen in the Dravidian or Tamil tribes, and those of the 
second in the J hats. The third more recent, and more 
important as to quality than as to number, was the 
Aryan." In speaking further of the Australian type, 
characterised by a combination of smooth hair with 
Negroid features, Topinard states that "it is clear 
that the Australians might very well be the result of the 
cross between one race with smooth hair from some 
other place, and a really Negro and autochthonous race. 
The opinions held by Huxley are in harmony with this 
hypothesis. He says the Australians are identical with 
the ancient inhabitants of the Deccan. The features of 
the present blacks in India, and the characters which 
the Dravidian and Australian languages have in 
common, tend to assimilate them. The existence of the 
boomerang in the two countries, and some remnants of 
caste in Australia, help to support the opinion." 

Of the so-called boomerangs of Southern India, 
the Madras Museum possesses three (two ivory, one 
wooden) from the Tanjore armoury (PI. II). Concern- 
ing them, the Dewan of Pudukkottai writes to me as 
follows. " The valari or valai tadi (bent stick) is a short 
weapon, generally made of some hard-grained wood. 



• I have only seen one individual with woolly hair in Southern India, and 
he was of mixed Tamil and African parentage. 




< 

— 

o 

o 



< 



x 



13 



INTRODUCTION. XXIX 

It is also sometimes made of iron. It is crescent-shaped, 
one end being heavier than the other, and the outer end 
is sharpened. Men trained in the use of the weapon 
hold it by the lighter end, whirl it a few times over their 
shoulders to give it impetus, and then hurl it with great 
force against the object aimed at. It is said that there 
were experts in the art of throwing the valari, who 
could at one stroke despatch small game, and even man. 
No such experts are now forthcoming in the Pudukkottai 
State, though the instrument is reported to be occa- 
sionally used in hunting hares, jungle fowl, etc. Its 
days, however, must be counted as past. Tradition 
states that the instrument played a considerable part in 
the Poligar wars of the last century. But it now reposes 
peacefully in the households of the descendants of the 
rude Kalian and Maravan warriors, preserved as a sacred 
relic of a chivalric past, along with other old family 
weapons in their puja (worship) room, brought out and 
scraped and cleaned on occasions like the Ayudha puja 
day (when worship is paid to weapons and implements 
of industry), and restored to its place of rest immedi- 
ately afterwards." At a Kalian marriage, the bride and 
bridegroom go to the house of the latter, where boom- 
erangs are exchanged, and a feast is held. This custom 
appears to be fast becoming a tradition. But there is a 
common saying still current " Send the valai tadi, and 
bring the bride." * 

It is pointed out by Topinard.t as a somewhat 
important piece of evidence, that, in the West, about 
Madagascar and the point of Aden in Africa, there are 
black tribes with smooth hair, or, at all events, large 
numbers of individuals who have it, mingled particularly 



* See article Maravan. f Op. cit. 



X XX INTRODUCTION. 

among the Somalis and the Gallas, in the region where 
M. Broca has an idea that some dark, and not Negro, 
race, now extinct, once existed. At the meeting of the 
British Association, 1898, Mr. W. Crooke gave expres- 
sion to the view that the Dravidians represent an 
emigration from the African continent, and discounted 
the theory that the Aryans drove the aboriginal inhabit- 
ants into the jungles with the suggestion that the 
Aryan invasion was more social than racial, viz., that 
what India borrowed from the Aryans was manners and 
customs. According to this view, it must have been 
reforming aborigines who gained the ascendancy in 
India, rather than new-comers ; and those of the abori- 
gines who clung to their old ways got left behind in the 
struggle for existence. 

In an article devoted to the Australians, Professor 
R. Semon writes as follows. " We must, without hesita- 
tion, presume that the ancestors of the Australians stood, 
at the time of their immigration to the continent, on a 
lower rung of culture than their living representatives 
of to-day. Whence, and in what manner, the immi- 
gration took place, it is difficult to determine. In the 
neighbouring quarter of the globe there lives no race, 
which is closely related to the Australians. Their 
nearest neighbours, the Papuans of New Guinea, the 
Malays of the Sunda Islands, and the Macris of New 
Zealand, stand in no close relationship to them. On the 
other hand, we find further away, among the Dravidian 
aborigines of India, types which remind us forcibly of 
the Australians in their anthropological characters. In 
drawing attention to the resemblance of the hill-tribes 
of the Deccan to the Australians, Huxley says: 'An 
ordinary cooly, such as one can see among the sailors of 
any newly-arrived East India vessel, would, if stripped, 



INTRODUCTION. XXXI 

pass very well for an Australian, although the skull and 
lower jaw are generally less coarse.' Huxley here goes 
a little too far in his accentuation of the similarity of 
type. We are, however, undoubtedly confronted with a 
number of characters — skull formation, features, wavy 
curled hair — in common between the Australians and 
Dravidians, which gain in importance from the fact that, 
by the researches of Norris, Bleek, and Caldwell, a 
number of points of resemblance between the Australian 
and Dravidian languages have been discovered, and this 
despite the fact that the homes of the two races are 
so far apart, and that a number of races are wedged in 
between them, whose languages have no relationship 
whatever to either the Dravidian or Australian. There 
is much that speaks in favour of the view that the 
Australians and Dravidians sprang from a common main 
branch of the human race. According to the laborious 
researches of Paul and Fritz Sarasin, the Veddas of 
Ceylon, whom one might call pre- Dravidians, would 
represent an off-shoot from this main stem. When 
they branched off, they stood on a very low rung of 
development, and seem to have made hardly any pro- 
gress worth mentioning." 

In dealing with the Australian problem, Mr. A. H. 
Keane * refers to the time when Australia formed almost 
continuous land with the African continent, and to its 
accessibility on the north and north-west to primitive 
migration both from India and Papuasia. "That such 
migrations," he writes, " took place, scarcely admits of 
a doubt, and the Rev. John Mathew t concludes that the 
continent was first occupied by a homogeneous branch 
of the Papuan race either from New Guinea or Malaysia, 



* Ethnology, 1896 



* fc-thnology, 1890. 

t Proc. R. Soc. N. S. Wales, XXIII, part III. 



XXX11 INTRODUCTION. 

and that these first arrivals, to be regarded as true 
aborigines, passed into Tasmania, which at that time 
probably formed continuous land with Australia. Thus 
the now extinct Tasmanians would represent the pri- 
mitive type, which, in Australia, became modified, but 
not effaced, by crossing with later immigrants, chiefly 
from India. These are identified, as they have been by 
other ethnologists, with the Dravidians, and the writer 
remarks that ' although the Australians are still in a 
state of savagery, and the Dravidians of India have been 
for many ages a people civilized in a great measure, and 
possessed of literature, the two peoples are affiliated by 
deeply-marked characteristics in their social system as 
shown by the boomerang, which, unless locally evolved, 
must have been introduced from India.' But the varia- 
tions in the physical characters of the natives appear to 
be too great to be accounted for by a single graft ; hence 
Malays also are introduced from the Eastern Archi- 
pelago, which would explain both the straight hair 
in many districts, and a number of pure Malay words 
in several of the native languages." Dealing later 
with the ethnical relations of the Dravidas, Mr. Keane 
says that " although they preceded the Aryan-speaking 
Hindus, they are not the true aborigines of the Deccan, 
for they were themselves preceded by dark peoples, 
probably of aberrant Negrite type." 

In the ' Manual of Administration of the Madras 
Presidency,' Dr. C. Macleane writes as follows. " The 
history proper of the south of India may be held to 
begin with the Hindu dynasties formed by a more or 
less intimate admixture of the Aryan and Dravidian 
systems of government. But, prior to that, three 
stages of historical knowledge are recognisable ; first, as 
to such aboriginal period as there may have been prior 



INTRODUCTION. XXX111 

to the Dravidian ; secondly, as to the period when 
the Aryans had begun to impose their religion and 
customs upon the Dravidians, but the time indicated by 
the early dynasties had not yet been reached. Geology 
and natural history alike make it certain that, at a time 
within the bounds of human knowledge, Southern India 
did not form part of Asia. A large southern continent, 
of which this country once formed part, has ever been 
assumed as necessary to account for the different circum- 
stances. The Sanscrit Pooranic writers, the Ceylon 
Boodhists, and the local traditions of the west coast, all 
indicate a great disturbance of the point of the Peninsula 
and Ceylon within recent times.* Investigations in 
relation to race show it to be by no means impossible 
that Southern India was once the passage-ground, by 
which the ancient progenitors of Northern and Mediter- 
ranean races proceeded to the parts of the globe which 
they now inhabit. In this part of the world, as in 
others, antiquarian remains show the existence of peoples 
who used successively implements of unwrought stone, 
of wrought stone, and of metal fashioned in the most 
primitive manner, t These tribes have also left cairns 
and stone circles indicating burial places. It has been 
usual to set these down as earlier than Dravidian. But 
the hill Coorumbar of the Palmanair plateau, who are 
only a detached portion of the oldest known Tamulian 



* " It is evident that, during much of the tertiary period, Ceylon and South 
India were bounded on the north by a considerable extent of sea, and probably 
formed part of an extensive southern continent or great island. The very 
numerous and remarkable cases of affinity with Malaya require, however, some 
closer approximation to these islands, which probably occurred at a later 
period." Wallace. Geographical Distribution of Animals, 1876. 

t See Breeks, Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilgiris ; Phillips, 
Tumuli of the Salem district ; Rea, Prehistoric Burial Places in Southern India ; 
R. Bruce Foote, Catalogues of the Prehistoric Antiquities in the Madras Museum, 
etc. 



XXXIV INTRODUCTION. 

population, erect dolmens to this day. The sepulchral 
urns of Tinnevelly may be earlier than Dravidian, or 
they may be Dravidian . . . The evidence of the 
grammatical structure of language is to be relied on as 
a clearly distinctive mark of a population, but, from this 
point of view, it appears that there are more signs of the 
great lapse of time than of previous populations. The 
grammar of the South of India is exclusively Dravidian, 
and bears no trace of ever having been anything else. 
The hill, forest, and Pariah tribes use the Dravidian 
forms of grammar and inflection . . . The Dravidi- 
ans, a very primeval race, take a by no means low place 
in the conjectural history of humanity. They have 
affinities with the Australian aborigines, which would 
probably connect their earliest origin with that people." 
Adopting a novel classification, Dr. Macleane, in assum- 
ing that there are no living representatives in Southern 
India of any race of a wholly pre-Dravidian character, 
sub-divides the Dravidians into pre-Tamulian and Tamu- 
lian, to designate two branches of the same family, one 
older or less civilised than the other. 

The importance, which has been attached by many 
authorities to the theory of the connection between the 
Dravidians and Australians, is made very clear from the 
passages in their writings, which I have quoted. Before 
leaving this subject, I may appropriately cite as an 
important witness Sir William Turner, who has studied 
the Dravidians and Australians from the standpoint of 
craniology.* " Many ethnologists of great eminence," 
he writes, " have regarded the aborigines of Australia 
as closely associated with the Dravidians of India. 



* Contributions to the Craniology of the People of the Empire of India, 
Part II. The aborigines of Chuta Nagpur, and of the Central Provinces, the 
People of Orissa, Veddahs and Negritos, 1900. 



INTRODUCTION. XXXV 

Some also consider the Dravidians to be a branch of the 
great Caucasian stock, and affiliated therefore to Euro- 
peans. If these two hypotheses are to be regarded as 
sound, a relationship between the aboriginal Australians 
and the European would be established through the 
Dravidian people of India. The affinities between the 
Dravidians and Australians have been based upon the 
employment of certain words by both people, apparently 
derived from common roots ; by the use of the boom- 
erang, similar to the well-known Australian weapon, 
by some Dravidian tribes ; by the Indian peninsula 
having possibly had in a previous geologic epoch a land 
connection with the Austro- Malayan Archipelago, and 
by certain correspondences in the physical type of the 
two people. Both Dravidians and Australians have 
dark skins approximating to black ; dark eyes ; black 
hair, either straight, wavy or curly, but not woolly or 
frizzly ; thick lips ; low nose with wide nostrils ; usually 
short stature, though the Australians are somewhat 
taller than the Dravidians. When the skulls are com- 
pared with each other, whilst they correspond in some 
particulars, they differ in others. In both races, the 
general form and proportions are dolichocephalic, but in 
the Australians the crania are absolutely longer than in 
the Dravidians, owing in part to the prominence of the 
glabella. The Australian skull is heavier, and the outer 
table is coarser and rougher than in the Dravidian ; the 
forehead also is much more receding ; the sagittal region 
is frequently ridged, and the slope outwards to the 
parietal eminence is steeper. The Australians in the 
norma facialis have the glabella and supra-orbital ridges 
much more projecting ; the nasion more depressed ; the 
jaws heavier ; the upper jaw usually prognathous, some- 
times remarkably so." Of twelve Dravidian skulls 



XXXVI INTRODUCTION. 

measured by Sir William Turner, in seven the jaw 
was orthognathous, in four, in the lower term of the 
mesognathous series; one specimen only was prognathic. 
The customary type of jaw, therefore, was orthognathic* 
The conclusion at which Sir William Turner arrives 
is that "by a careful comparison of Australian and 
Dravidian crania, there ought not to be much difficulty 
in distinguishing one from the other. The comparative 
study of the characters of the two series of crania has not 
led me to the conclusion that they can be adduced in 
support of the theory of the unity of the two people." 

The Dravidians of Southern India are divided by 
Sir Herbert Risley t into two main groups, the Scytho- 
Dravidian and the Dravidian, which he sums up as 
follows : — 

"The Scytho- Dravidian type of Western India, 
comprising the Maratha Brahman s, the Kunbis and the 
Coorgs ; probably formed by a mixture of Scythian and 
Dravidian elements, the former predominating in the 
higher groups, the latter in the lower. The head is 
broad ; complexion fair ; hair on face rather scanty ; 
stature medium ; nose moderately fine, and not con- 
spicuously long. 

" The Dravidian type extending from Ceylon to 
the valley of the Ganges, and pervading the whole of 
Madras, Hyderabad, the Central Provinces, most of 
Central India, and Chutia Nagpur. Its most charac- 
teristic representatives are the Paniyans of the South 
Indian Hills and the Santals of Chutia Nagpur. Prob- 
ably the original type of the population of India, now 
modified to a varying extent by the admixture of Aryan, 



* Other cranial characters are compared by Sir William Turner, for which 
I would refer the reader to the original article. 
| The People of India, 1908. 



INTRODUCTION. XXXV11 

Scythian, and Mongoloid elements. In typical speci- 
mens, the stature is short or below mean ; the complexion 
very dark, approaching black ; hair plentiful with an 
occasional tendency to curl ; eyes dark ; head long ; nose 
very broad, sometimes depressed at the root, but not so 
as to make the face appear flat." 

It is, it will be noted, observed by Risley that the 
head of the Scytho-Dravidian is broad, and that of the 
Dravidian long. Writing some years ago concerning 
the Dravidian head with reference to a statement in 
Taylor's " Origin of the Aryans,"* that " the Todas are 
fully dolichocephalic, differing in this respect from the 
Dravidians, who are brachycephalic," I published f 
certain statistics based on the measurements of a num- 
ber of subjects in the southern districts of the Madras 
Presidency. These figures showed that "the average 
cephalic index of 639 members of 19 different castes and 
tribes was 74*1 ; and that, in only 19 out of the 639 indi- 
viduals, did the index exceed 80. So far then from the 
Dravidian being separated from the Todas by reason of 
their higher cephalic index, this index is, in the Todas, 
actually higher than in some of the Dravidian peoples." 
Accustomed as I was, in my wanderings among the 
Tamil and Malayalam folk, to deal with heads in which 
the dolichocephalic or sub-dolichocephalic type pre- 
ponderates, I was amazed to find, in the course of an 
expedition in the Bellary district (in the Canarese area), 
that the question of the type of the Dravidian head was 
not nearly so simple and straightforward as I had ima- 
gined. My records of head measurements now include 
a very large series taken in the plains in the Tulu, 
Canarese, Telugu, Malayalam, and Tamil areas, and 



* Contemporary Science Series. f Madras Museum Bull., II, 3, 1899. 



XXXV111 



INTRODUCTION. 



the measurements of a few Maratha (non-Dravidian) 
classes settled in the Canarese country. In the fol- 
lowing tabular statement, I have brought together, for 
the purpose of comparison, the records of the head- 
measurements of representative classes in each of these 
areas : — 





Language. 


o 

V 

'3 

<•* 

O . 


Cephalic Index. 


V 

a 


Class. 




£ 






4) > 

£ ° 

■M (S 






t3 








<** 2; 






<u 















u a 


4> 


~ 


£ 


h 






<u "3 


to a 




u 00 






.O S 


a .£ 




■° </> 






5" 


V 

> 

< 




'3 
2 


£ ctf 


Sukun Sale 


Marathi 


30 


82'2 


90*0 


73 '9 


21 


Suka Sale 


Do. 


30 


Si-8 


88-2 


76-1 


22 


Vakkaliga 


Canarese 


So 


817 


93'8 


72'5 


27 


Billava 


Tulu 


50 


8o-i 


91-5 


71*0 


27 


Rangari 


Marathi 


30 


79-8 


92*2 


707 


14 


Agasa 


Canarese 


40 


78-5 


857 


73 '2 


13 


Bant 


Tulu 


40 


78-0 


91-2 


70 -8 


12 


Kapu 


Telugu ... 


49 


78-0 


87-6 


71*6 


16 


Tota Balija 


Do 


39 


78-0 


86 -o 


73'3 


10 


Boya ... 


Do 


50 


77'9 


89-2 


70-5 


14 


Dasa Banajiga 


Canarese 


40 


77-8 


86-2 


72-0 


II 


Ganiga 


Do. 


5o 


77-6 


85-9 


70-5 


II 


Golla 


Telugu ... 


60 


77'5 


89-3 


70*1 


9 


Kuruba 


Canarese 


So 


77*3 


83-9 


69-6 


10 


Bestha 


Telugu 


60 


77-1 


85-1 


70-5 


9 


Pallan 


Tamil ... 


50 


75-9 


87-0 


70-1 


6 


Mukkuvan ... 


Malayalam 


40 


75-i 


83-5 


68-6 


2 


Nayar 


Do. 


40 


74 "4 


81-9 


70-0 


1 


Vellala 


Tamil 


40 


74"i 


8ri 


67-9 


2 


Agamudaiyan 


Do 


40 


74 -o 


80 -9 


667 


1 


Paraiyan 


Do 


40 


73 " 6 


78-3 


64-8 




Palli 


Do 


40 


73 'O 


8o-o 


64-4 


1 


Tiyan 


Malayalam 


40 


73 'o 


78-9 


68-6 


... 



The difference in the character of the cranium is 
further brought out by the following tables, in which the 



INTRODUCTION. XXXIX 

details of the cephalic indices of typical classes in the 
five linguistic areas under consideration are recorded : — 

(a) Tulu. BlLLAVA. 



71 


♦ ♦ 




72 


♦ ♦ 




73 


♦ 




74 






75 






76 


♦ ♦♦ 




77 


♦ ♦♦♦♦ 




78 


♦♦♦♦♦♦ 




79 


♦ ♦ 




80 


♦ ♦ 


Average, 


81 


♦ ♦♦ 




82 


♦ ♦♦♦♦ 




83 


♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 




84 


♦ ♦♦♦ 




85 


♦ ♦♦♦ 




86 


♦ 




87 






88 






89 






90 


♦ 




9 1 


♦ 






{!>) Canarese. 


Vakkaliga. 


73 


♦ 




74 






75 


♦ ♦ 




76 


♦ ♦♦♦♦ 




77 


♦ ♦ 




78 


♦ ♦♦♦♦ 




79 


♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 




80 


♦ ♦ 




81 


♦ ♦♦ 




82 


♦ ♦♦ 


... Average 


83 


♦ ♦♦ 




84 


♦ ♦ 




85 


♦ ♦♦ 




86 


♦ ♦♦ 





xl INTRODUCTION. 

87 ♦♦ 

88 44 

89 4 
90 

9i ♦ 

92 4 

93 ♦ 

94 ♦ 

(c) Telugu. Kapu. 

72 4 

73 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

74 ♦♦ 

75 ♦♦ 

76 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

77 ♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

78 4 ... ... ... ... Average. 

79 ♦♦♦♦ 

80 44*4 

81 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

82 44 

83 ♦♦♦ 

84 ♦ 

85 ♦ 
86 

87 

88 4 

(d) Vellala. Tamil. 

68 4 
69 

70 4 

7i ♦♦♦ 

72 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

73 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

74 44 Average. 

75 ♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

76 4^4 

77 ♦♦♦♦ 

78 

79 

80 44 

81 4 



INTRODUCTION. xli 

(<?) Malayalam. Nayar. 

7° ♦♦ 

71 ♦♦♦♦♦ 

72 ♦♦♦♦♦ 

73 ♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

74 + ... ... ... ... Average. 

75 ♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

76 ♦♦ + ♦ 

77 ♦♦♦♦ 

78 ♦♦♦ 

79 ♦♦ 
80 

81 
82 * 

These tables not only bring out the difference in the 
cephalic index of the classes selected as representative 
of the different areas, but further show that there is a 
greater constancy in the Tamil and Malayalam classes 
than in the Tulus, Canarese and Telugus. The number 
of individuals clustering round the average is conspicu- 
ously greater in the two former than in the three 
latter. I am not prepared to hazard any new theory 
to account for the marked difference in the type of 
cranium in the various areas under consideration, and 
must content myself with the observation that, what- 
ever may have been the influence which has brought 
about the existing sub-brachycephalic or mesaticephalic 
type in the northern areas, this influence has not 
extended southward into the Tamil and Malayalam 
countries, where Dravidian man remains dolicho- or 
sub-dolichocephalic. 

As an excellent example of constancy of type in the 
cephalic index, I may cite, en passant, the following 



xlii 



INTRODUCTION. 



results of measurement of the Todas, who inhabit the 
plateau of the Nilgiri hills : — 



69 

70 

71 

72 

73 
74 

75 
76 

77 
78 

79 
80 
81 



♦ ♦ 
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

♦ ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ ••• Average. 
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

♦ 



I pass on to the consideration of the type of cranium 
among various Brahman classes. In the following tables, 
the results of measurement of representatives of Tulu, 
Canarese, Marathi, Tamil and Malayalam Brahmans 
are recorded : — 





Language. 


J3 -a 
in p 

S 


Cephalic Index. 


Number 
of times 


Class. 


V 

to 

d 


6 

a 


a 
1 

'3 


index 

was 80 

and 

over. 


Shivalli 


Tulu 


30 


80-4 


96-4 


69-4 


17 


Mandya 


Canarese 


50 


80 -2 


88-2 


69-8 


31 


Karnataka 


Do. 


60 


78-4 


89-5 


69-8 


19 


Smarta (Desastha). 


Marathi * 


43 


76-9 


87-1 


71 


9 


Tamil (Madras city). 


Tamil ... 


40 


76-5 


84- 


69 


3 


Nambutiri 


Malayalam t ... 




76-3 






... 


Pattar 


Tamil % 


25 


74'5 


81-4 


69*1 


2 



* The cephalic indices of various Brahman classes in the Bombay Presidency, 
supplied by Sir H. Risley, are as follows: — Desastha, 76^9 ; Kokanasth, 77*3 ; 
Sheni or Saraswat, 79 ; Nagar, 797. 

f Measured by Mr. F. Fawcett. 

X The Pattar Brahmans are Tamil Brahmans, settled in Malabar. 



INTRODUCTION. xliii 

(a) Tulu. Shivalli. 

69 + 

70 

7i 

72 ♦ 

73 ♦ 
74 

75 

76 ♦♦♦* 

77 

78 + + « 

79 ♦♦♦ 

80 + + ... ... ... ... Average. 

81 ♦♦♦ 

82 * + + ♦ 

83 ♦♦ 

84 ♦♦ 

85 

86 * 

87 

88 4. 

89 ♦ 
90 

9 1 
92 

93 
94 

95 

96 4 

(3) Canarese. Karnataka Smarta. 

70 ^ 

7i ♦♦ 

72 ** 

73 ♦♦ 

74 ♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

75 ♦♦♦ 

76 *♦ + ♦ 

77 ♦♦♦♦♦ 

78 ♦♦♦♦*♦♦♦♦♦ ... Average. 

79 ♦♦ 



xliv INTRODUCTION. 

80 *♦♦♦♦ 

81 ♦♦♦♦ 

82 ♦♦♦♦ 

83 ♦♦ 

84 ♦♦ 

85 ♦ 

86 ♦ 

87 ♦ 

88 ♦♦ 

89 ♦ 

(c) Tamil. Madras City. 

69 + 

70 ♦♦ 
7i ♦ 

72 + 

73 ♦♦ 

74 ♦♦♦ 

75 ♦♦♦♦ 

76 ♦♦♦♦ Average. 

77 ♦♦♦♦♦♦ 

78 ♦♦♦♦♦ 

79 ♦♦♦♦♦ 

80 ♦♦ 
81 

82 +* 

83 ♦ 

84 ♦ 

(d) Tamil. P attar. 

69 ♦♦ 

70 + 

7i ♦♦♦ 

72 ♦♦ 

73 ♦♦♦ 

74 ... ... ... ... Average. 

75 ♦♦♦♦ 

76 *♦♦♦♦ 

77 

78 ♦ 

79 ♦♦ 

80 + 

81 ♦ 



INTRODUCTION. xlv 

Taking the evidence of the figures, they demonstrate 
that, like the other classes which have been analysed, 
the Brahmans have a higher cephalic index, with a wider 
range, in the northern than in the southern area. 

There is a tradition that the Shivalli Brahmans of 
the Tulu country came from Ahikshetra. As only males 
migrated from their home, they were compelled to take 
women from non- Brahman castes as wives. The ranks 
are said to have been swelled by conversions from these 
castes during the time of Sri Madhvacharya. The 
Shivalli Brahmans are said to be referred to by the Bants 
as Mathumaglu or Mathmalu (bride) in allusion to the 
fact of their wives being taken from the Bant caste. 
Besides the Shivallis, there are other Tulu Brahmans, 
who are said to be recent converts. The Matti Brah- 
mans were formerly considered low by the Shivallis, 
and were not allowed to sit in the same line with the 
Shivallis at meal time. They were only permitted to 
sit in a cross line, separated from the Shivallis, though 
in the same room. This was because the Matti Brah- 
mans were supposed to be Mogers (fishing caste) 
raised to Brahmanism by one Vathiraja Swami, a 
Sanyasi. Having become Brahmans, they could not 
carry on their hereditary occupation, and, to enable 
them to earn a livelihood, the Sanyasi gave them 
some brinjal (Solanum Melongend) seeds, and advised 
them to cultivate the plant. From this fact, the variety 
of brinjal, which is cultivated at Matti, is called 
Vathiraja gulla. At the present day, the Matti Brah- 
mans are on a par with the Shivalli Brahmans, and have 
become disciples of the Sodhe mutt (religious institution) 
at Udipi. In some of the popular accounts of Brah- 
mans, which have been reduced to writing, it is stated 
that, during the time of Mayura Varma of the Kadamba 



xlvi INTRODUCTION. 

dynasty,* some Andhra Brahmans were brought into 
South Canara. As a sufficient number of Brahmans 
were not available for the purpose of yagams (sacrifices), 
these Andhra Brahmans selected a number of families 
from the non- Brahman caste, made them Brahmans, 
and chose exogamous sept names for them. Of these 
names, Manoli (Cepkalandra Indica), Perala {Psidium 
Guyava), Kudire (horse), and Ane (elephant) are 
examples. 

A character, with which I am very familiar, when 
measuring the heads of all sorts and conditions of 
natives of Southern India, is the absence of convexity 
of the segment formed by the posterior portion of the 
united parietal bones. The result of this absence of 
convexity is that the back of the head, instead of forming 
a curve gradually increasing from the top of the head 
towards the occipital region, as in the European skull 
figured in plate Ilia, forms a flattened area of consid- 
erable length almost at right angles to the base of the 
skull as in the " Hindu " skull represented in plate \\\b. 
This character is shown in a marked degree in plate IV, 
which represents a prosperous Linga Banajiga in the 
Canarese country. 

In discussing racial admixture, Quatrefages writes 
as follows, f " Parfois on trouve encore quelques tribus 
qui ont conserve plus on moins intacts tous les caracteres 
de leur race. Les Coorumbas du Malwar [Malabar] et 
du Coorg paraissent former un noyau plus considerable 
encore, et avoir conserv6 dans les jungles de Wynaad 
une independence a peu pres complete, et tous leurs 



* According to the Brahman chronology, Mayiira Varma reigned from 455 
to 445 B.C., but his probable date was about 750 A.D. See Fleet, Dynasties of 
the Kanarese Districts of the Bombay Presidency, 1882-86. 

f Histoire generale des Races Humaines, 1889. 




a. EUROPEAN SKULL. 

b. HINDU SKULL. 



INTRODUCTION. 



xlvii 



caracteres ethnologiques." The purity of blood and 
ethnological characters of various jungle tribes are 
unhappily becoming lost as the result of contact meta- 
morphosis from the opening up of the jungles for 
planter's estates, and contact with more civilised tribes 
and races, both brown and white. In illustration, I may 
cite the Kanikars of Travancore, who till recently were 
in the habit of sending all their women into the seclusion 
of the jungle on the arrival of a stranger near their settle- 
ments. This is now seldom done, and some Kanikars 
have in modern times settled in the vicinity of towns, 
and become domesticated. The primitive short, dark- 
skinned and platyrhine type, though surviving, has 
become changed, and many leptorhine or mesorhine 
individuals above middle height are to be met with. 
The following are the results of measurements of 
Kanikars in the jungle, and at a village some miles from 
Trivandrum, the capital of Travancore : — 



— 


Stature cm. 


Nasal Index. 




Av. 


Max. 


Min. 


Av. 


Max. 


Min. 


Jungle 


155-2 


170-3 


150-2 


84-6 


105 


72-3 


Domesticated 


1587 


170-4 


148 


81-2 


90-5 


70-8 



Some jungle Chenchus, who inhabit the Nallamalai 
hills in the Kurnool district, still exhibit the primitive 
short stature and high nasal index, which are character- 
istic of the unadulterated jungle tribes. But there is a 
very conspicuous want of uniformity in their physical 
characters, and many individuals are to be met with, 
above middle height, or tall, with long narrow noses. 
A case is recorded, in which a brick-maker married a 
Chenchu girl. And I was told of a Boya man who 



xlviii 



INTRODUCTION. 



had married into the tribe, and was living in a gudem 
(Chenchu settlement). 



Stature cm. 



Av. 
162-5 



Max. 
175 



Min. 
149-6 



Nasal Index. 



Av. 
81-9 



Max. 
957 



Min. 
68-1 



By the dolichocephalic type of cranium which has 
persisted, and which the Chenchus possess in common 
with various other jungle tribes, they are still, as shown 
by the following table, at once differentiated from the 
mesaticephalic dwellers in the plains near the foot of the 
Nallamalais : — 



— 


Cephalic 
Index. 


Number of 

times the 

index was 80 

or over. 


40 Chenchus 


74'3 


1 


60 Gollas ... ... 


77'S 


9 


50 Boyas 


77'9 


14 


39 Tota Balijas 


78-0 


10 


49 Kapus ... 


78-8 


16 


19 Upparas 


78-8 


4 


16 Mangalas ... ... ... 


78-8 


7 


17 Yerukalas ... ... 


78-6 


6 


12 Medaras 


80-7 


S 



In a note on the jungle tribes, M. Louis Lapicque,* 
who carried out anthropometric observations in Southern 
India a few years ago, writes as follows. " Dans les 
montagnes des Nilghirris et d'Anemale, situees au cceur 



* Les Negres d'Asie, et la race Negre en general. Revue Scientifique, VI 
July, 1906. 




. 



^ * *■* 



* * 



iu>i 



LINGA IiAXAIICA. 



INTRODUCTION. 



xlix 



de la contree dravidienne, on a signale" depuis longtemps 
des petits sauvages crepus, qu'on a meme pens6 
pouvoir, sur des documents insuffisants, identifier avec 
les negritos. En r6alite\ it n'existe pas dans ces 
montagnes, ni probablement nulle part dans l'lnde, un 
temoin de la race primitive comparable, comme purete, 
aux Andamanais ni meme aux autres Negritos. Ce que 
Ton trouve la, c'est simplement, mais c'est fort precieux, 
une population metisse qui continue au dela du Paria la 
serie generale de l'lnde. Au bord de la foret vierge ou 
dans les collines partiellement defrichees, il y a des castes 
demi-Parias, demi-sauvages. La hierachie sociale les 
classe au-dessous du Paria ; on peut meme trouver des 
groupes ou le facies negre, nettement dessine, est tout 
a fait predominant. Ehbien, dans ces groupes, les 
chevelures sont en general frisees, et on en observe 
quelques-unes qu'on peut meme appeler crepues. On a 
done le moyen de prolonger par l'imagination la serie 
des castes indiennes jusq'au type primitif qui etait (nous 
n'avons plus qu'un pas a faire pour le reconstruire), un 
Negre . . . Nous sommes arrives a reconstituer les 
traits negres d'un type disparu en prolongeant une serie 
graduee de metis. Par la meme methode nous pouvons 
determiner theoriquement la forme du crane de ce type. 
Avec une assez grande certitude, je crois pouvoir affirmer, 
apres de nombreuses mesures systematiques, que le 
negre primitif de l'lnde etait sousdolichocephale avec 
un indice voisin de 75 ou 76. Sa taille, plus difficile a 
preciser, car les conditions de vie modifient ce caractere, 
devait etre petite, plus haute pourtant que celle des 
Andamanais. Quant au nom qu'il convient de lui 
attribuer, la discussion des faits sociaux et linguistiques 
sur lesquels est fondee la notion de dravidien permet 
d'etablir que ce negre etait anterieur aux dravidiens ; 



1 



INTRODUCTION. 



il faut done l'appeller Pre'dravidien, ou, si nous voulons 
lui donner un nom qui ne soit pas relatif a une autre 
population, on peut l'appeler Negre Pariah 

In support of M. Lapicque's statement that the 
primitive inhabitant was dolichocephalic or sub- 
dolichocephalic, I may produce the evidence of the 
cephalic indices of the various jungle tribes which 
I have examined in the Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu 
countries : — 

Cephalic Index. 



— 


Average. 


Maximum. 


Minimum. 


Kadir 


72-9 


80 -o 


69-1 


Irula, Chingleput 


73'l 


78-6 


68 -4 


Kanikar 


73'4 


78-9 


69*1 


Mala Vedan 


73'4 


80-9 


68-8 


Panaiyan 


74 -o 


8i-i 


69-4 


Chenchu 


74*3 


So-5 


64-3 


Sholaga 


74*9 


79*3 


67-8 


Paliyan 


757 


79-1 


72-9 


Irula, Nilgiris ... 


75-8 


80-9 


70 -8 


Kurumba 


76-5 


83-3 


71-8 



It is worthy of note that Haeckel defines the nose 
of the Dravidian as a prominent and narrow organ. For 
Risley has laid down * that, in the Dravidian type, the 
nose is thick and broad, and the formula expressing the 
proportionate dimension (nasal index) is higher than in 
any known race, except the Negro ; and that the typical 
Dravidian, as represented by the Male Paharia, has a 
nose as broad in proportion to its length as the Negro, 
while this feature in the Aryan group can fairly bear 
comparison with the noses of sixty-eight Parisians, 
measured by Topinard, which gave an average of 69 "4. 



* Tribes and Castes of Bengal, 1891. 



INTRODUCTION. 



li 



In this connection, I may record the statistics relating 
to the nasal indices of various South Indian jungle 
tribes : — 



Nasal Index. 



Average. 



Maximum. ' Minimum. 



Paniyan 


95'i 


108-6 


72'9 


Kadir ... 


89-8 


"5'4 


72-9 


Kurumba 


86-1 


in -i 


70-8 


Sholaga 


85-i 


1077 


72-8 


Mala Vedan 


84-9 


102-6 


71-1 


Irula, Nilgiris ... 


84-9 


IOO* 


72-3 


Kanikar 


84-6 


105- 


72-3 


Chenchu 


81-9 


957 


68-i 











In the following table, I have brought together, for 
the purpose of comparison, the average stature and nasal 
index of various Dravidian classes inhabiting the plains 
of the Telugu, Tamil, Canarese, and Malayalam countries, 
and jungle tribes : — 



Linguistic area. 


Nasal 
Index. 


Jungle tribe ... 


95-i 


Do 


89-8 


Do 


86-1 


Do 


85-i 


Do 


84-9 


Do 


84-9 


Do 


84-6 


Do 


81-9 


Tamil... 


81 -5 


Malayalam 


8i- 


Tamil ... ... 


So- 


Do 


77-9 


Canarese 


76-1 


Telugu 


75*9 


Malayalam ... 


75' 



Stature. 



Paniyan ... 

Kadir ... 

Kurumba 

Sholaga ... 

Irula, N'llgiris 

Mala Vedan 

Kanikar 

Chenchu 

Pallan 

Mukkuvan 

Paraiyan 

Palli 

Ganiga 

Bestha 

Tiyan 



157-4 
1577 
157-9 
I59-3 
159-8 

154*2 
155-2 
162-5 

164-3 
163-1 
163-1 
162-5 
165-8 
165-7 
1637 



Ill 



INTRODUCTION. 



Linguistic area. 



Nasal 
Index. 



Stature. 



Kuruba ... 

Boya 

Tota Balija 
Agasa 
Agamudaiyan ... 

Golla 

Vellala 

Vakkaliga 

Dasa Banajiga ... 

Kapu 

Nayar 



Canarese 
Telugu 

Do. 
Canarese 
Tamil ... 
Telugu 
Tamil 
Canarese 

Do. 
Telugu 
Malayalam 



74*9 
74*4 
74"4 
74'3 
74-2 

74-i 

73*i 

73' 

72-8 

72-8 

7i-i 



1627 
163-9 
163-9 
162-4 
165-8 
163-8 
162-4 
167-2 
165-3 
164-5 
165-2 



This table demonstrates very clearly an unbroken 
series ranging from the jungle men, short of stature and 
platyrhine, to the leptorhine Nayars and other classes. 

In plate V are figured a series of triangles represent- 
ing (natural size) the maxima, minima, and average nasal 
indices of Brahmans of Madras city (belonging to the 
poorer classes), Tamil Paraiyans, and Paniyans. There 
is obviously far less connection between the Brahman 
minimum and the Paraiyan maximum than between the 
Brahman and Paraiyan maxima and the Paniyan average ; 
and the frequent occurrence of high nasal indices, result- 
ing from short, broad noses, in many classes has to be 
accounted for. Sir Alfred Lyall somewhere refers to 
the gradual Brahmanising of the aboriginal non-Arayan, 
or casteless tribes. "They pass," he writes, "into 
Brahmanists by a natural upward transition, which leads 
them to adopt the religion of the castes immediately 
above them in the social scale of the composite population, 
among which they settle down ; and we may reasonably 
guess that this process has been working for centuries." 
In the Madras Census Report, 1891, Mr. H. A. Stuart 
states that " it has often been asserted, and is now the 



PLATE V. 




brahman. 




Paraiyan. 




Min. 



Paniyan. 
Average. 

DIAGRAMS OF NOSES. 



Max. 



Hv INTRODUCTION. 

general belief, that the Brahmans of the South are not 
pure Aryans, but are a mixed Aryan and Dravidian 
race. In the earliest times, the caste division was much 
less rigid than now, and a person of another caste could 
become a Brahman by attaining the Brahmanical standard 
of knowledge, and assuming Brahmanical functions ; and, 
when we see the Nambudiri Brahmans, even at the 
present day, contracting alliances, informal though they 
be, with the women of the country, it is not difficult to 
believe that, on their first arrival, such unions were even 
more common, and that the children born of them would 
be recognised as Brahmans, though perhaps regarded as 
an inferior class. However, those Brahmans, in whose 
veins mixed blood is supposed to run, are even to this 
day regarded as lower in the social scale, and are not 
allowed to mix freely with the pure Brahman community." 
Popular traditions allude to wholesale conversions 
of non-Brahmans into Brahmans. According to such 
traditions, Rajas used to feed very large numbers of 
Brahmans (a lakh of Brahmans) in expiation of some 
sin, or to gain religious merit. To make up this large 
number, non-Brahmans are said to have been made 
Brahmans at the bidding of the Rajas. Here and there 
are found a few sections of Brahmans, whom the more 
orthodox Brahmans do not recognise as such, though 
the ordinary members of the community regard them as 
an inferior class of Brahmans. As an instance may be 
cited the Marakas of the Mysore Province. Though it 
is difficult to disprove the claim put forward by these 
people, some demur to their being regarded as Brahmans. 
Between a Brahman of high culture, with fair com- 
plexion, and long, narrow nose on the one hand, and a 
less highly civilised Brahman with dark skin and short 
broad nose on the other, there is a vast difference, which 



INTRODUCTION. 



lv 



can only be reasonably explained on the assumption of 
racial admixture ; and it is no insult to the higher 
members of the Brahman community to trace, in their 
more lowly brethren, the result of crossing with a dark- 
skinned, and broad-nosed race of short stature. Whether 
the jungle tribe are, as I believe, the microscopic rem- 
nant of a pre-Dravidian people, or, as some hold, of 
Dravidians driven by a conquering race to the seclu- 
sion of the jungles, it is to the lasting influence of some 
such broad-nosed ancestor that the high nasal index of 
many of the inhabitants of Southern India must, it 
seems to me, be attributed. Viewed in the light of this 
remark, the connection between the following mixed 
collection of individuals, all of very dark colour, short 
of stature, and with nasal index exceeding 90, calls for 
no explanation : — 





Stature. 


Nasal 
height. 


Nasal 
breadth. 


Nasal 
Index. 




cm. 


cm. 


cm. 




Vakkaliga 


156 


4-3 


3-9 


90-7 


Moger 


160 


4*3 


3-9 


90-7 


Saiyad Muhammadan ... 


160 


4*4 


4 


90-9 


Kammalan 


1 54 '4 


4'4 


4 


90-9 


Chakkiliyan 


156-8 


4-4 


4 


90-9 


Vellala 


154-8 


4-7 


4-3 


91-6 


Malaiyali 


158-8 


4 


37 


92-5 


KoDga Vellala 


157 


4-1 


3-8 


92-7 


Pattar Brahman 


157-6 


4-2 


3-9 


92-9 


Oddi 


159-6 


4'3 


4 


93 


Smarta Brahman 


159 


4'i 


3'9 


95-1 


Palli 


157-8 


4-1 


3-9 


95-1 


Pallan 


155-8 


4-2 


4-2 


100 


Bestha 


156-8 


4-3 


4*3 


100 


Mukkuvan 


150-8 


4 


4 


100 


Agasa 


156-4 


4*3 


4'3 


100 


Tamil Paraiyan ... 


160 


4 


4-2 


105 



lvi INTRODUCTION. 

I pass on to a brief consideration of the languages 
of Southern India. According to Mr. G. A. Grierson * 
" the Dravidian family comprises all the principal langu- 
ages of Southern India. The name Dravidian is a con- 
ventional one. It is derived from the Sanskrit Dravida, 
a word which is again probably derived from an older 
Dramila, Damila, and is identical with the name of Tamil. 
The name Dravidian is, accordingly, identical with 
Tamulian, which name has formerly been used by 
European writers as a common designation of the langu- 
ages in question. The word Dravida forms part of the 
denomination Andhra-Dravida-bhasha, the language of 
the Andhras {i.e., Telugu), and Dravidas {i.e., Tamilians), 
which Kumarila Bhatta (probably 7th Century A.D.) 
employed to denote the Dravidian family. In India 
Dravida has been used in more than one sense. Thus 
the so-called five Dravidas are Telugu, Kanarese, 
Marathi, Gujarati, and Tamil. In Europe, on the other 
hand, Dravidian has long been the common denomination 
of the whole family of languages to which Bishop Cald- 
well applied it in his Comparative Grammar, and there 
is no reason for abandoning the name which the founder 
of Dravidian philology applied to this group of speeches." 

The five principal languages are Tamil, Telugu, 
Malayalam, Canarese, and Oriya. Of these, Oriya 
belongs to the eastern group of the Indo-Aryan family, 
and is spoken in Ganjam, and a portion of the Vizaga- 
patam district. The population speaking each of these 
languages, as recorded at the census, 1901, was as 
follows : — 

Tamil i5»543»383 

Telugu 14,315,304 



* Linguistic Survey of India, IV, 1906. 



INTRODUCTION. Mi 

Malayalam 2,854,145 

Oriya 1,809,336 

Canarese ... ... ... ... 1,530,688 

In the preparation of the following brief summary of 
the other vernacular languages and dialects, I have 
indented mainly on the Linguistic Survey of India, and 
the Madras Census Report, 1901. 

Savara. — The language of the Savaras of Ganjam 
and Vizagapatam. One of the Munda languages. Con- 
cerning the Munda linguistic family, Mr. Grierson writes 
as follows. "The denomination Munda (adopted by 
Max M tiller) was not long allowed to stand unchallenged. 
Sir George Campbell in 1866 proposed to call the family 
Kolarian. He was of opinion that Kol had an older 
form Kolar, which he thought to be identical with 
Kanarese Kallar, thieves. There is absolutely no foun- 
dation for this supposition. Moreover, the name Kolarian 
is objectionable, as seeming to suggest a connexion with 
Aryan which does not exist. The principal home of the 
Munda languages at the present day is the Chota 
Nagpur plateau. The Munda race is much more widely 
spread than the Munda languages. It has already been 
remarked that it is identical with the Dravidian race, 
which forms the bulk of the population of Southern 
India." 

Gadaba. — Spoken by the Gadabas of Vizagapatam 
and Ganjam. One of the Munda languages. 

Kond, Kandhi, or Kui. — The language of the 
Kondhs of Ganjam and Vizagapatam. 

Gbndi. — The language of the Gonds, a tribe which 
belongs to the Central Provinces, but has overflowed 
into Ganjam and Vizagapatam. 

Gattu. — A dialect of Gondi, spoken by some of the 
Gonds in Vizagapatam. 



lviii INTRODUCTION. 

Koya or Kbi. — A dialect of Gondi, spoken by the 
Koyis in the Vizagapatam and Godavari districts. 

Poroja, Parjd, or Parjl. — A dialect of Gondi. 

Tulu. — The language largely spoken in South 
Canara (the ancient Tuluva). It is described by Bishop 
Caldwell as one of the most highly developed languages 
of the Dravidian family. 

Koraga. — Spoken by the Koragas of South Canara. 
It is thought by Mr. H. A. Stuart * to be a dialect of 
Tulu. 

Bellera. — Spoken by the Belleras of South Canara, 
and regarded as a dialect of Canarese or Tulu. 

Toda. — The language of the Todas of the Nilgiri 
hills, concerning which Dr. W. H. R. Rivers writes as 
follows. t " Bernhard Schmid,J who wrote in 1837, 
appears to have known more of the true Toda language 
than any one who has written since, and he ascribes two- 
thirds of the Toda vocabulary to Tamil, and was unable 
to trace the remaining third to any other language. 
Caldwell § believed the language of the Todas to be 
most closely allied to Tamil. According to Pope,|| the 
language was originally old Canarese with the addition 
of a few Tamil forms, but he has included in his voca- 
bulary words which have probably been borrowed from 
the Badagas." 

Kota. — A mixture of Canarese and Tamil spoken 
by the Kotas of the Nilgiri hills. 

Badaga. — The language of the Badagas of the 
Nilgiri hills. Said to be an ancient form of Canarese. 



• Manual of the South Canara district. f The Todas, 1906. 

X Madras Journ., Lit. and Sci., V., 1837. 

§ Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Languages. 2nd Ed., 1875. 
|| Outlines of the Toda Grammar appended to Marshall's Phrenologist 
among the Todas. 



INTRODUCTION. lix 

Irula. — Spoken by the Irulas of the Nilgiris, and 
said to be a dialect of Tamil. According to Mr. Stuart, 
Kasuba or Kasuva is another dialect of Tamil spoken 
by the sub-division of the Irulas which bears the same 
name. 

Kurumba. — Spoken by the Kurumbas of the Nilgiri 
hills, Malabar, and Mysore, and regarded as a dialect of 
Canarese. 

Konkani. — A dialect of Marathi, spoken almost 
entirely in the South Canara district by Sarasvat and 
Konkani Brahmans and Roman Catholic Christians. 

Marathi. — In the Tanjore district, the descendants 
of the former Maratha Rajas of Tanjore speak this 
language. It is also spoken in the Bellary district, 
which was formerly under Maratha dominion, by various 
Maratha castes, and in the feudatory State of Sandur. 

Patniili or Khatri. — A dialect of Gujarati, spoken 
by the Patnulkarans who have settled for the most part 
in the town of Madura. They are immigrants from 
Saurashtra in Gujarat, who are said to have come south 
at the invitation of the Nayak kings of Madura. 

Lambadi. — The language of the nomad Lambadis, 
Brinjaris, or Sugalis. It is described by Mr. W. Francis* 
as a patois " usually based on one of the local verna- 
culars, and embroidered and diversified with thieves' 
slang and expressions borrowed from the various loca- 
lities in which the tribe has sojourned. Cust thought 
that Lambadi was Semi-Dravidian, but the point is 
not clear, and it has been classed as Indo-Aryan." 

Korava or Yerukala. — A dialect of Tamil spoken 
by the nomad caste bearing these names. Like the 
Lambadis, they have a thieves' slang. 



* Madras Census Report, 1901. 



lx INTRODUCTION. 

Vadari. — Recorded as a vulgar Telugu dialect 
spoken by a wandering tribe of quarrymen in the 
Bombay Presidency, the Berars, and elsewhere. They 
are doubtless Oddes or Wudder navvies, who have 
migrated from their home in the Telugu country. 



TABLE A. 



lxi 



W 

PQ 
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lxii 



TABLE A. 






5 •-■ 

30 U 

9 5 
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TABLE A. 



lxiii 



o 


N 


M 


N 


M 


H 


N 


H 


w 


H 


o 


N 


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M 


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bv 

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vp 

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00 


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to 


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CO 


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00 
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00 


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CM 


CO 


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to 


to 


00 

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H 
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vp 

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op 
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Vt 


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vp 


1^. 


«o 


JO 

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op 
to 


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VO 

to 


1° 

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fO 


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to 


vp 
CO 


as 
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JN 

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to 

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l-*. 






M 


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tx. 


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0) 

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/ 



lxi 



IV 



TABLE A. 



A 

< 



© * 

oo «? 

a a 


00 


N 


O 


M 


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N 


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00 






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90 


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2 
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vb 


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73 


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c 

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3 


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H 


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to 


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H 




13 



lxvi 



TABLE A. 



« 





00 
H 


to 

M 


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r^ 


ON 
HI 


o 

H 


ON 
HI 


00 


to 


o 




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SO 


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w 


to 


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00 


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H 


b 






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00 
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to 

00 


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00 


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00 


vb 

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00 


yo 

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00 


00 




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00 


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00 


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8 
w 

6 


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1-1 


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M 


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M 


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M 


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HI 


to 

HI 


to 

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lO 


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00 
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lO 


lO 


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to 


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43 

to 
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53 


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w 


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HI 




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pq 

> 

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lO 


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1 





U 


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u 


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u 


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U 





TABLE A. 



lxvii 



M 


H 


to 

M 


oo 


M 


H 


H 

to 


M 


H 


o 

M 


VO 
l-l 






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b 


to 


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ON 

VO 


to 


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M 

vb 


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to 


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H 
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00 


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00 


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to 

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00 
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on 


00 

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b 

00 


M 

b 

00 


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b 

00 


H 

b 

CO 


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b 

OO 


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b 

00 


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b 

00 


op 
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00 


00 


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00 


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M 
00 


00 


vp 

to 


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vp 

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to 


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to 


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to 


to 


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to 


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vp 

to 


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to 


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to 


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to 


vo 


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VO 


op 


vp 
io 


VO 


7*- 
vb 


op 

VO 


vb 


f 

VO 


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VO 


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lxviii 



TABLE B. 



< 



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W 

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t« 



TABLE B. 



lxix 



o 
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lxx 



TABLE^B. 



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TABLE B. 



lxxi 



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lxxii 



TABLE B. 



a 



pq 

W 

pq 

< 



c 

»— * 




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TABLE B. 



lxxiii 



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CASTES AND TRIBES 
OF SOUTHERN INDIA. 



those 
ceremonies 



j^SBHISHEKA.— Abhisheka Pandarams are 

j|p|\f who are made to pass through some cerem 

in connection with Saiva Agama. 

Acchu Tali.— A sub-division of Vaniyan. The 
name refers to the peculiar tali (marriage badge) worn 
by married women. 

Acchuvaru.— Recorded, in the Madras Census 
Report, iqoi, as " Oriya-speaking carriers of grain, etc., 
on pack bullocks. Treated as a sub-division of Gaudo." 
The Acchuvarus are not Oriya people, but are attached 
to the Devanga weavers, and receive their name from 
the fact that they do acchupani, i.e., thread the long 
comb-like structures of the hand-loom. They corre- 
spond to the Jatipillais of the Kaikolan weavers, who 
do acchuvSlai. 

Acchu Vellala.— A name assumed by some Pat- 
tana vans. 

Achan.— Achan, meaning father or lord, was re- 
turned, at the Cochin census, 1901, as a title of 
Nayars. According to Mr. Wigram* it is used as a 
title of the following : — 

i. Males in the Royal Family of Palghat. 



• Malabar Law and Custom. 



ACHARAPAKAM CHETTI 2 

2. The minister of the Calicut Raja, known as 
Mangat Achan. 

3. The minister of the Cochin Raja, known as 
Paliyat Achan. 

4. The minister of the second Raja of Calicut, 
known as Chenli Achan. 

Acharapakam Chetti. — One of the sub-divisions 
of the Chettis, generally grouped among the Beri Chettis 
(q.v.). 

Achari. — See Asari. 

Adapadava (man of the wallet). — A name, referring 
to the dressing-bag which barbers carry, applied to 
Lingayat barbers in South Canara. 

Adapapa.— Returned in the Madras Census Report, 
1 90 1, as a sub-caste of Balija. The name is applied to 
female attendants on the ladies of the families of Zamin- 
dars, who, as they are not allowed to marry, lead a life 
of prostitution. Their sons call themselves Balijas [see 
Khasa). 

Adavi (forest or jungle). — The name of a sub-division 
of Yanadis, and also of a section of Gollas in Mysore.* 

Adaviyar.— Adaviyar or Ataviyar is the name of a 
class of Tamil-speaking weavers found in the Tanjore 
and Tinnevelly districts. 

Addaku (Baukinia racemosa). — A sept of Jatapu. 
The leaves of this tree are largely used as food platters, 
in Madras, and generally on the east coast. 

Addapu Singa. — Mendicants who beg only from 
Mangalas in the Telugu country. 

Adhigari. — Defined by Mr. Wigram t as the head 
of the amsam or parish in Malabar, corresponding to 
the Manigar (village munsiff) in east coast districts and 



* F. Fawcett. Journ. Anth. Soc, Bombay, I, 1888. 
f Malabar Law and Custom. 



3 ADIKAL 

Patel in South Canara. The title Adhigari (one in 
power) is assumed by some Agamudaiyans, and Adhikari 
occurs as an exogamous sept of the Badagas, and the 
title of village headman among some Oriya castes. In 
South Canara, it is a sept of Stanika. 

Adi (primitive or original). — The name of a division 
of Linga Balijas, and of Velamas who have abandoned 
the practice of keeping their females gosha (in seclu- 
sion). It is also applied by the Chenchus to the original 
members of their tribe, from whom the man-lion Nara- 
simha obtained his bride Chenchita. • 

Adichchan.— A sub-division of Nayar. 

Adikal (slaves or servants). — Included among the 
Ambalavasis. It is recorded, in the Travancore Census 
Report, 1 90 1, that "tradition states that Sankaracharya, 
to test the fidelity of certain Brahmins to the established 
ordinances of caste, went to a liquor-shop, and drank 
some stimulants. Not recognising that the obligations, 
from which adepts like Sankara were free, were none the 
less binding on the proletariat, the Brahmins that accom- 
panied the sage made this an excuse for their drinking 
too. Sankara is said to have then entered a foundry, and 
swallowed a cup of molten metal, and handed another to 
the Brahmins, who had apparently made up their minds 
to do all that may be done by the Acharya. But they 
begged to differ, apologised to him as Atiyals or humble 
servants, and accepted social degradation in expiation of 
their sinful presumption. They are now the priests in 
temples dedicated to Bhadrakali, and other goddesses 
who receive offerings of liquor. They practise sorcery, 
and aid in the exorcising of spirits. They have the 
upanayana-samskara, and wear the sacred thread. The 
simantam ceremony is not performed. They are to 
repeat the Gayatri (hymn) ten times, and observe eleven 



ADIMITTAM 4 

days' death pollution. Their own caste-men act as 
priests. The Atiyammamar wear the same jewellery as 
the Nambutiri women, but they do not screen themselves 
by a cadjan (palm leaf) umbrella when they go out in 
public, nor are they accompanied by a Nayar maid." 

Adimittam. — An occupational sub-division of 
Marans, who clean the court-yards of temples in Tra- 
vancore. 

Adisaivar.— Recorded, in the Madras Census Re- 
port, 1901, as " a sub-caste of Vellala. They are singers 
of Devara hymns in Saiva temples." The name indi- 
cates those who have been Saivites from the beginning, 
as opposed to recent Saivites. Adisaivas are Saivites, 
who have survived the absorbing influence of the Linga- 
yat sect. Saivites who profess the Lingayat doctrines 
are known as Vlrasaivas. Some Pandarams, who belong 
to the Sozhia sub-division of the Vellalas, regularly recite 
Tamil verses from Thevaram and Tiruvachagam " in 
Saivite temples. This being their profession, they are 
also called Oduvar (readers or reciters). 

Aditya Varada. — Kurubas, who worship their God 
on Sunday. 

Adiyan.— Adiyan (adi, foot) has been defined* as 
meaning literally " a slave, but usually applied to the 
vassals of Tamburans and other powerful patrons. Each 
Adiyan had to acknowledge his vassalage by paying 
annually a nuzur (gift of money) to his patron, and 
was supposed also to be ready to render service when- 
ever needed. This yearly nuzur, which did not gene- 
rally exceed one or two fanams, was called adima-panam " 
(slave money), adima meaning feudal dependency on a 
patron. 



* Wigram, Malabar Law and Custom. 



5 AGAMUDAIYAN 

Adiyodi. — Adiyodi or Atiyoti, meaning slave or 
vassal, has been returned at times of census as a sub- 
division of Samantan. It is, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes,* 
" the caste of the Kadattanad Rajah in North Malabar. 
The tradition is that, when he was driven out of his 
territories in and around Calicut by the Zamorin, he took 
shelter under the Rajah of Chirakkal, who gave him the 
Kadattanad country to hold as his vassal. Some AtiyOtis 
advance no pretension to be above Nayars in rank." 

AduttOn (a bystander). — A synonym for Kavuti- 
yan, a caste of Malayalam barbers. In like manner, the 
name Ambattan for Tamil barbers is said to be derived 
from the Sanskrit amba (near), s'tha (to stand), indicating 
that they stand near to shave their clients or treat their 
patients. 

Agamudaiyan.— The Agamudaiyans, Mr. W. 
Francis writes, t are " a cultivating caste found in all the 
Tamil districts. In Chingleput, North Arcot, Salem, 
Coimbatore and Trichinopoly, they are much less 
numerous than they were thirty years ago. The reason 
probably is that they have risen in the social scale, and 
have returned themselves as Vellalas. Within the same 
period, their strength has nearly doubled in Tanjore, 
perhaps owing to the assumption of the name by other 
castes like the Maravans and Kalians. In their manners 
and customs they closely follow the Vellalas. Many of 
these in the Madura district are the domestic servants 
of the Marava Zamindars." The Agamudaiyans who 
have settled in the North Arcot district are described J 
by Mr. H. A. Stuart as " a class of cultivators differing 
widely from the Agamudaiyans of the Madura district. 



* Madras Census Report, 1891. f Madras Census Report, 1901. 

X Manual of the North Arcot distriot. 



AGAMUDAIYAN 6 

The former are closely allied to the Vellalas, while the 
latter are usually regarded as a more civilised section 
of the southern Maravans. It may be possible that the 
Agamudaiyans of North Arcot are the descendants of 
the first immigrants from the Madura district, who, after 
long settlement in the north, severed all connexions 
with their southern brethren." In some districts, Aga- 
mudaiyan occurs as a synonym of Vellalas, Pallis and 
Melakkarans, who consider that Agamudaiyan is a 
better caste name than their own. 

The Agamudaiyans proper are found in the Tanjore, 
Madura, and Tinnevelly districts. 

It is noted in the Tanjore Manual that Ahamudaiyar 
(the equivalent of Agamudaiyan) is " derived from the 
root aham, which, in Tamil, has many significations. 
In one of these, it means a house, in another earth, and 
hence it has two meanings, householder and landholder ; 
the suffix Udeiyar indicating ownership. The word is 
also used in another form, ahambadiyan, derived from 
another meaning of the same root, i.e., inside. And, in 
this derivation, it signifies a particular caste, whose 
office it was to attend to the business in the interior of 
the king's palace, or in the pagoda." " The name," 
Mr. J. H. Nelson writes, * " is said by the Rev. G. U. 
Pope, in his edition of the Abb6 Dubois' work,t to be 
derived from aham, a temple, and padi, a step, and to 
have been given to them in consequence of their serving 
about the steps of temples. But, independently of the 
fact that Madura pagodas are not approached by flights 
of steps, this seems to be a very far-fetched and improb- 
able derivation of the word. I am inclined to doubt 



* Manual of the Madura district. 

t Description of the Character, Manners and Customs of the People of India. 



7 AGAMUDAIYAN 

whether it be not merely a vulgar corruption of the well- 
known word Ahamudeiyan, possessor of a house, the 
title which Tamil Brahmans often use in speaking of a 
man to his wife, in order to avoid the unpolite term 
husband. Or, perhaps, the name comes from aham in 
the sense of earth, and pati, master or possessor." 

Concerning the connection which exists between the 
Maravans, Kalians, and Agamudaiyans (see Kalian), 
the following is one version of a legend, which is 
narrated. The father of Ahalya decided to give her in 
marriage to one who remained submerged under water 
for a thousand years. Indra only managed to remain 
thus for five hundred years, but Gautama succeeded in 
remaining for the whole of the stipulated period, and 
became the husband of Ahalya. Indra determined to 
have intercourse with her, and, assuming the guise of a 
cock, went at midnight to the abode of Gautama, and 
crowed. Gautama, thinking that daybreak was arriving, 
got up, and went to a river to bathe. While he was 
away, Indra assumed his form, and accomplished his 
desire. Ahalya is said to have recognised the deception 
after two children, who became the ancestors of the 
Maravans and Kalians, were born to her. A third child 
was born later on, from whom the Agamudaiyans are 
descended. According to another version of the legend, 
the first-born child is said to have faced Gautama with- 
out fear, and Agamudaiyan is accordingly derived from 
aham or agam, pride, and udaiyan, possessor. There is 
a Tamil proverb to the effect that a Kalian may come to 
be a Maravan. By respectability he may develope into 
an Agamudaiyan, and, by slow degrees, become a 
Vellala, from which he may rise to be a Mudaliar. 

Of the three castes, Kalian, Maravan and Agamudai- 
yan, the last are said to have " alone been greatly 



AGAMUDAIYAN 8 

influenced by contact with Brahmanism. They engage 
Brahman priests, and perform their birth, marriage, and 
death ceremonies like the Vellalas." * I am told that the 
more prosperous Agamudaiyans in the south imitate the 
Vellalas in their ceremonial observances, and the poorer 
classes the Maravans. 

Agamudaiyan has been returned, at times of census, 
as a sub-division of Maravan and Kalian. In some 
places, the Agamudaiyans style themselves sons of 
SembunSttu Maravans. At Ramnad, in the Madura 
district, they carry the fire-pot to the burning ground at 
the funeral of a Maravan, and also bring the water for 
washing the corpse. In the Tanjore district the Aga- 
mudaiyans are called Terkittiyar, or southerners, a name 
which is also applied to Kalians, Maravans, and Valai- 
yans. The ordinary title of the Agamudaiyans is 
Servaikkaran, but many of them call themselves, like the 
Vellalas, Pillai. Other titles, returned at times of census, 
are Adhigari and Mudaliar. 

At the census, 1S91, the following were returned as 
the more important sub-divisions of the Agamudai- 
yans : — Aivali Nattan, Kottaipattu, Malainadu, Nattu- 
mangalam, Rajaboja, Rajakulam, Rajavasal, Kalian, 
Maravan, Tuluvan (cf. Tuluva Vellala) and Servaik- 
karan. The name Rajavasal denotes those who are 
servants of Rajas, and has been transformed into Raja- 
vamsa, meaning those of kingly parentage. Kottaipattu 
means those of the fort, and the Agamudaiyans believe 
that the so-called Kottai Vellalas of the Tinnevelly 
district are really Kottaipattu Agamudaiyans. One 
sub-division of the Agamudaiyans is called Sani (cow- 
dung). Unlike the Maravans and Kalians, the Aga- 
mudaiyans have no exogamous septs, or kilais. 

* Madras Census Report, 1891. 




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9 AGAMUDAIYAN 

It is recorded, in the Mackenzie Manuscripts, that 
" among the Maravas, the kings or the rulers of districts, 
or principal men, are accustomed to perform the cere- 
mony of tying on the tali, or in performing the marriage 
at once in full, with reference to females of the Agam- 
badiyar tribe. The female children of such marriages 
can intermarry with the Maravas, but not among the 
Agambadiyar tribe. On the other hand, the male 
offspring of such marriages is considered to be of the 
mother's tribe, and can intermarry with the Agambadi- 
yas, but not in the tribe of the Maravas." I am told 
that, under ordinary circumstances, the offspring of a 
marriage between a Maravan and Agamudaiyan becomes 
an Agamudaiyan, but that, if the husband is a man of 
position, the male issues are regarded as Maravans. 
Adult marriage appears to be the rule among the 
Agamudaiyans, but sometimes, as among the Mara- 
vans, Kalians and other castes, young boys are, in 
the southern districts, sometimes married to grown-up 
girls. 

The marriage ceremonial, as carried out among the 
poorer Agamudaiyans, is very simple. The sister of the 
bridegroom proceeds to the home of the bride on an 
auspicious day, followed by a few females carrying a 
woman's cloth, a few jewels, flowers, etc. The bride is 
seated close to a wall, facing east. She is dressed up in 
the cloth which has been brought, and seated on a plank. 
Betel leaves, areca nuts, and flowers are presented to 
her by the bridegroom's sister, and she puts them in her 
lap. A turmeric-dyed string or garland is then placed 
round the bride's neck by the bridegroom's sister, while 
the conch shell (musical instrument), is blown. On the 
same day the bride is conducted to the home of the 
bridegroom, and a feast is held. 



AGAMUDAIYAN IO 

The more prosperous Agamudaiyans celebrate their 
marriages according to the Puranic type, which is the 
form in vogue amongst most of the Tamil castes, with 
variations. The astrologer is consulted in order to 
ascertain whether the pair agree in some at least of the 
points enumerated below. For this purpose, the day of 
birth, zodiacal signs, planets and asterisms under which 
the pair were born, are taken into consideration : — 

i. Varam (day of birth). — Days are calculated, 
commencing with the first day after the new moon. 
Counting from the day on which the girl was born, if the 
young man's birthday happens to be the fourth, seventh, 
thirteenth, sixteenth, or seventeenth, it is considered 
good. 

2. Ganam (class or tribe). — There are three 
ganams, called Manusha, Deva, and Rakshasa. Of the 
twenty-seven asterisms, Aswini, Bharani, etc., some are 
Manusha, some Deva, and some Rakshasa ganam. 
Ashtham and Swathi are considered to be of Deva ganam, 
so individuals born under these asterisms are regarded 
as belonging to Deva ganam. Those born under the 
asterisms Bharani, Rogini, Puram, Puradam, Uththara- 
dam, etc., belong to the Manusha ganam. Under 
Rakshasa ganam arc included Krithika, Ayilyam, Makam, 
Visakam, and other asterisms. The bridal pair should 
belong to the same ganam, as far as possible. Manu- 
sha and Deva is a tolerable combination, whereas 
Rakshasa and Deva, or Rakshasa and Manusha, are bad 
combinations. 

3. Sthridirgam (woman's longevity). — The young 
man's birthday should be beyond the thirteenth day, 
counting from the birthday of the girl. 

4. Yoni (female generative organs). — The aste- 
risms are supposed to belong to several animals. An 



1 1 AGAMUDAIYAN 

individual belongs to the animal to which the asterism 
under which he was born belongs. For example, a man 
is a horse if his asterism is Aswini, a cow if his asterism 
is Uththirattadhi, and so on. The animals of husband 
and wife must be on friendly terms, and not enemies. 
The elephant and man, horse and cow, dog and monkey, 
cat and mouse, are enemies. The animals of man and 
wife should not both be males. Nor should the man be 
a female, or the wife a male animal. 

5. Rasi (zodiacal sign). — Beginning from the girl's 
zodiacal sign, the young man's should be beyond the 
sixth. 

6. Rasyathipathi (planet in the zodiacal sign). — 
The ruling planets of the zodiacal signs of the pair 
should not be enemies. 

7. Vasyam. — The zodiacal signs of the pair should 
be compatible, e.g., Midunam and Kanni, Singam and 
Makaram, Dhanus and Mlnam, Thulam and Makaram, 
etc. 

8. Rajjn (string). — The twenty-seven asterisms 
are arranged at various points on four parallel lines 
drawn across three triangles. These lines are called the 
leg, thigh, abdomen, and neck rajjus. The vertices of 
the triangles are the head rajjus. The asterisms of the 
pair should not be on the same rajju, and it is considered 
to be specially bad if they are both on the neck. 

9. Vriksham (tree). — The asterisms belong to a 
number of trees, e.g. : — 

Aswini, Strychnos Nux-votnica. 
Bharani, Phyllanthits Emblica. 
Krithikai, Ficus glomerata. 
Puram, Butta frondosa. 
Hastham, Sesbania grandiflora. 
Thiruvonam, Calotropis gigantea. 
Uththirattadhi, Melia Azadirachia. 



AGAMUDAIYAN 12 

Some of the trees are classed as milky, and others 
as dry. The young man's tree should be dry, and that 
of the girl milky, or both milky. 

10. Pakshi (birds). — Certain asterisms also belong 
to birds, and the birds of the pair should be on friendly 
terms, e.g., peacock and fowl. 

1 1 . Jadi (caste). — The zodiacal signs are grouped 
into castes as follows : — 

Brahman, Karkatakam, Miriam, and Dhanus. 

Kshatriya, Mesham, Vrischikam. 

Vaisya, Kumbam, Thulam. 

Sudra, Rishabam, Makaram. 

Lower castes, Midhunam, Singam, and Kanni. 

The young man should be of a higher caste, accord- 
ing to the zodiacal signs, than the girl. 

After ascertaining the agreement of the pair, some 
close relations of the young man proceed to some 
distance northward, and wait for omens. If the omens 
are auspicious, they are satisfied. Some, instead of so 
going, go to a temple, and seek the omens either by 
placing flowers on the idol, and watching the direction 
in which they fall, or by picking up a flower from a large 
number strewn in front of the idol. If the flower picked 
up, and the one thought of, are of the same colour, it is 
regarded as a good omen. The betrothal ceremony is 
an important event. As soon as the people have 
assembled, the bridegroom's party place in their midst 
the pariyam cloth and jewels. Some responsible person 
inspects them, and, on his pronouncing that they are 
correct, permission is given to draw up the lagna patrika 
(letter of invitation, containing the date of marriage, etc.). 
Vigngswara (the elephant god Ganesa) is then wor- 
shipped, with the lagna patrika in front of him. This 
is followed by the announcement of the forthcoming 



13 AGAMUDAIYAN 

marriage by the purohit (priest), and the settlement of 
the amount of the pariyam (bride's money). For the mar- 
riage celebration, a pandal (booth) is erected, and a dais, 
constructed of clay and laterite earth, is set up inside it. 
From the day on which the pandal is erected until the 
wedding day, the contracting couple have to go through 
the nalagu ceremony separately or together. This con- 
sists in having their bodies smeared with turmeric paste 
(Pkaseolus Mungo paste), and gingelly (Sesamipm) oil. 
On the wedding day, the bridegroom, after a clean shave, 
proceeds to the house of the bride. The finger and toe- 
nails of the bride are cut. The pair offer pongal (boiled 
rice) to the family deity and their ancestors. A square 
space is cleared in the centre of the dais for the sacred 
fire (hOmam). A many-branched lamp, representing the 
thousand-eyed Indra, is placed to the east of the square. 
The purohit, who is regarded as equivalent to Yama (the 
god of death), and a pot with a lamp on it representing 
Agni devata, occupy the south-east corner. Women 
representing Niruti (a devata) are posted in the south- 
west corner. 

The direction of Varuna (the god of water) being 
west, the bridegroom occupies this position. The best 
man, who represents Vayu (the god of wind) is placed in 
the north-west corner. As the position of Kubera (the 
god of wealth) is the north, a person, with a bag full of 
money, is seated on that side. A grinding-stone and 
roller, representing Siva and Sakthi, are placed in the 
north-east corner, and, at their side, pans containing nine 
kinds of seedlings, are set. Seven pots are arranged 
in a row between the grinding-stone and the branched 
lamp. Some married women bring water from seven 
streams or seven different places, and pour it into a pot 
in front of the lamp. The milk-post (pal kambam) is set 



AGAMUDAIYAN 14 

up between the lamp and the row of pots. This post is 
usually made of twigs of Ficus religiosa, Fiats bengal- 
ensis, and Erythrina indica, tied together and represent- 
ing Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Sometimes, however, 
twigs of Odina Wodier, and green bamboo sticks, are 
substituted. At the close of the marriage ceremonies, 
the Erythrina or Odina twig is planted, and it is regarded 
as a good sign if it takes root and grows. The sacred fire 
is kindled, and the bridegroom goes through the upana- 
yana (thread investiture) and other ceremonies. He then 
goes away from the house in procession (paradesa prave- 
sam), and is met by the bride's father, who brings him back 
to the pandal. The bride's father and mother then wash 
his feet, and rings are put on his toes (kalkattu, or tying 
the leg). The purohit gives the bridegroom a thread 
(kankanam), and, after washing the feet of the bride's 
father and mother, ties it on his wrist. A thread is also 
tied on the left wrist of the bride. The pair being seated 
in front of the sacred fire, a ceremony called Nandisra- 
dham (memorial service to ancestors) is performed, and 
new clothes are given to the pair. The next item is the 
tying of the tali (marriage badge). The tali is usually 
tied on a turmeric-dyed thread, placed on a cocoanut, 
and taken round to be blessed by all present. Then the 
purohit gives the tali to the bridegroom, and he ties it on 
the bride's neck amidst silence, except for the music 
played by the barber or Melakkaran musicians. While 
the tali is being tied, the bridegroom's sister stands 
behind the bride, holding a lamp in her hand. The 
bridegroom ties one knot, and his sister ties two knots. 
After the tali-tying, small plates of gold or silver, called 
pattam, are tied on the foreheads of the pair, and presents 
of money and cloths are made to them by their relations 
and friends. They then go seven times round the 



15 AGAMUDAIYAN 

pandal, and, at the end of the seventh round, they stand 
close to the grinding-stone, on which the bridegroom 
places the bride's left foot. They take their seats on 
the dais, and the bridegroom, taking some parched rice 
(pori) from the bride's brother, puts it in the sacred fire. 
Garlands of flowers are given to the bride and bridegroom, 
who put them on, and exchange them three or five times. 
They then roll flowers made into a ball. This is 
followed by the waving of arathi (coloured water), and 
circumambulation of the pandal by the pair, along with 
the ashtamangalam or eight auspicious things, viz., the 
bridesmaid, best man, lamp, vessel filled with water, 
mirror, ankusam (elephant goad), white chamara (yak's 
tail fly-flapper), flag and drum. Generally the pair go 
three times round the pandal, and, during the first turn, 
a cocoanut is broken near the grinding-stone, and the 
bride is told that it is Siva, and the roller Sakthi, the 
two combined being emblematical of Ardanarisvara, a 
bisexual representation of Siva and Parvathi. During 
the second round, the story of Arundati is repeated 
to the bride. Arundati was the wife of the Rishi 
Vasishta, and is looked up to as a model of conjugal 
fidelity. The morning star is supposed to be Arundati, 
and the purohit generally points it out to the bridal pair 
at the close of the ceremonial, which terminates with 
three homams. The wedding may be concluded in a 
single day, or last for two or three days. 

The dead are either buried or cremated. The 
corpse is carried to the burning or burial-ground on a 
bier or palanquin. As the Agamudaiyans are Saivites, 
Pandarams assist at the funeral ceremonies. On the 
second or third day after death, the son and others go to 
the spot where the corpse was buried or burnt, and offer 
food, etc., to the deceased. A pot of water is left at the 



AGARU I 6 

spot. Those who are particular about performing the 
death ceremonies on an elaborate scale offer cooked food 
to the soul of dead person until the fifteenth day, and 
carry out the final death ceremonies (karmandhiram) on 
the sixteenth day. Presents are then given to Brahmans, 
and, after the death pollution has been removed by 
sprinkling with holy water (punyaham), a feast is given 
to the relatives. 

The Agamudaiyans worship various minor deities, 
such as Aiyanar, Pidari, and Karupannaswami. 

Agaru.— Agaru, or Avaru, is recorded, in the 
Madras Census Report, 1901, as a small caste of Telugu 
cultivators in Vizagapatam and Ganjam, who are also 
sellers of vegetables and betel leaves. Agaru is said 
to mean betel in their language, which they call Bhasha, 
and contains a good deal of Oriya. An extensive 
colony of Agarus is settled at Nellimerla near Vizia- 
nagram. Both males and females engage in the cultiva- 
tion of the betel vine, and different kinds of greens, 
which find a ready sale in the Vizianagram market. 
Marriage is usually after puberty, and an Oriya Brahman 
officiates. The dead are burnt. 

Agarwal.— A few members of this Upper India 
trading caste, who deal in grain and jewellery, and are 
also bankers and usurers, have been returned at times 
of census. 

Agasa.— In the South Canara district, there are 
three distinct classes of washermen, viz., (1) Konkani 
Christians ; (2) Canarese-speaking washermen, who 
seem to be allied to the Agasas of Mysore ; (3) Tulu- 
speaking washermen. The Tulu-speaking Agasas 
follow the aliya santana law of inheritance (in the female 
line). Madivala (madi, a clean cloth) is a synonym for 



I 7 AGASA 

Agasa. The word Agasa is derived from agasi, a 
turban. 

The Agasas of Mysore have been described as 
follows.* " The Agasa is a member of the village 
hierarchy, his office being hereditary, and his remunera- 
tion being grain fees from the ryots. Besides washing, 
he occasionally ekes out his substance by carrying on 
his donkeys grain from place to place. He is also em- 
ployed in bearing the torch in marriage and other public 
ceremonies. The principal object of worship is the 
pot of boiling water (ubbe), in which dirty clothes are 
steeped. Animals are sacrificed to the god with the view 
of preventing the clothes being burnt in the ubbe pot. 
Under the name of Bhuma Deva, there are temples 
dedicated to this god in some large towns, the service 
being conducted by pujaris (priests) of the Agasa caste. 
The Agasas are Vishnuvaits, and pray to Vishnu, 
Pattalamma, and the Saktis. Their gurus (religious 
preceptors) are Satanis. A unique custom is attached 
to the washerman's office. When a girl-wife attains 
puberty, it is the duty and privilege of the washerman 
to carry the news, accompanied by certain presents, to 
her husband's parents, for which the messenger is duly 
rewarded." 

The Tulu Madivalas of the South Canara district, 
like other Tulu castes, have exogamous septs or balis. 
They will wash clothes for all castes above the Billavas. 
They also supply cloths for decorating the marriage 
booth and funeral cars, and carry torches. They worship 
bhuthas (devils), of whom the principal one seems to 
be Jumadi. At the time of kolas (bhntha festivals), the 
Madivalas have the right to cut off the heads of the 



Mysore Census Report, 1S91, 1901 ; Rice, Mysore and Coorg Gazetteer. 
2 



AGASTYA 1 8 

fowls or goats, which are sacrificed. The animals are 
held by Pombadas or Paravas, and the Madivala decapi- 
tates them. On the seventh day after the birth of a 
child, the washerwoman ties a thread round its waist. 
For purificatory ceremonies, the Madivali should give 
washed clothes to those under pollution. 

In their ceremonial observances, the Madivalas 
closely follow the Bants. In some places, they have 
a headman called, as among the Bants, Gurikara or 
Guttinaya. At marriages, the pouring of the dhare water 
over the united hands of the bride and bridegroom is 
the duty of the father or maternal uncle of the bride, not 
of the headman. 

Some Maratha washermen call themselves Dandu 
(army) Agasa. 

The insigne of the washermen at Conjeeveram is 
a pot, such as that in which clothes are boiled. 

Agastya (the name of a sage). — An exogamous sept 
of Kondaiyamkottai Maravans. 

Agni (fire). — An exogamous sept of the Kurubas 
and Gollas, and sub-division of the Pallis or Vanniyans. 
The equivalent Aggi occurs as an exogamous sept of 
Boya. The Pallis claim to be Agnikula Kshatriyas, 
i.e., to belong to the fire race of Kshatriyas. 

Agraharekala.— -A sub-division of Bhatrazu, mean- 
ing those who belong to the agraharam, or Brahman 
quarter of a village. 

Ahir.— A few members of this Upper India caste of 
cowherds have been returned at times of census. 

Ahmedi.— Returned, at times of census, as a general 
name for Muhammadans. 

Aivattukuladavaru (people of fifty families). — A 
synonym for Bakuda, 



19 AIYARAKULU 

Aiya.— Aiya or Ayya, meaning father, is the title of 
many classes, which include Dasari, Dgvanga, Golla, 
Idiga, Jangam, Konda Dora, Komati, Koppala Velama, 
Linga Balija, Mangala, Muka Dora, Paidi, Satani, Ser- 
vggara, and Tambala. It is further a title of the Pat- 
nUlkarans, who claim to be Brahmans, and a sub-division 
of the Tamil Pallans. 

Aiyar occurs very widely as a title among Tamil 
Brahmans, and is replaced in the Telugu and Canarese 
countries by Bhatlu, Pantulu, and Sastrulu. It is noted 
by the Rev. A. Margoschis that "the honorific title 
Aiyar was formerly used exclusively by Brahmans, but 
has now come to be used by every native clergyman. 
The name which precedes the title will enable us to 
discover whether the man is Christian or Hindu. Thus 
Yesudian Aiyar means the Aiyar who is the servant of 
Jesus." The Rev. G. U. Pope, the well-known Tamil 
scholar, was known as Pope Aiyar. 

Aiyanar.— A sub-division of Kalian, named after 
Aiyanar, the only male deity among the Grama Devata 
or village deities. 

Aiyar akulu.— In the Madras Census Report, 1901, 
Aiyarakam is summed up as being a caste of Telugu cul- 
tivators, who, in their social and religious observances, 
closely follow the Kapus and Balijas, may intermarry 
with Telagas, and will accept drinking water from the 
hands of Gollas. According to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao, 
to whom I am indebted for the following note, the Aiya- 
rakulu are a section of Kapus, who rose in the social 
scale by Royal favour. The name is derived from aiya 
and rikam, denoting the act of being an aiya or distin- 
guished person. The Aiyarakulu state that their fore- 
fathers were soldiers in the Vizianagram army, and 
rendered great services to the Rajas. They have a story 



AKASAM 20 

to the effect that, on one occasion, they proceeded on an 
expedition against a Golconda force, and gave so much 
trouble to the Muhammadan commander thereof that, 
after putting them to the sword, he proceeded to their 
own country, to destroy their homes. On hearing of 
this, the women, dressing themselves in male attire, 
advanced with bayonets and battle-axes against the 
Muhammadans, and drove them off in great disorder. 
The Raja, in return for their gallant conduct, adorned 
their legs with silver bangles, such as the women still 
wear at the present day. 

The Aiyarakulu are divided into gotras, such as naga 
(cobra), tabelu (tortoise), etc., which are strictly tote- 
mistic, and are further divided into exogamous septs or 
intiperulu. The custom of menarikam, according to 
which a man should marry his maternal uncle's daughter, 
is in force. Girls are married before puberty, and a 
Brahman officiates at the wedding rites, during which 
the bride and bridegroom wear silver sacred threads, 
which are subsequently converted into rings. Some 
Aiyarakulu call themselves Razus, and wear the sacred 
thread, but interdine and intermarry with other mem- 
bers of the community. The remarriage of widows, and 
divorce are forbidden. 

The principal occupation of the Aiyarakulus is culti- 
vating, but, in some parts, many of them are cart-drivers 
plying between the plains of Vizagapatam and the 
Agency tracts. The usual title of members of the caste 
is Patrudu. 

Akasam (sky).— An exogamous sept of Devanga. 

Akattu Charna.— A sub-division of Nayar. 

Akattlllavar.— A name, indicating those inside (in 
seclusion or gosha), by which Nambntiri and Elayad 
and other females are called. 



21 ALBINO 

Akshantala (rice grain). — A gotra of Odde. Ak- 
shathayya is the name of a gotra of Gollas, who avoid 
rice coloured with turmeric and other materials. 

Akula (betel leaf: Piper Betle). — An exogamous 
sept of Kamma and Bonthuk Savara, and a sub-division 
of Kapu. The presentation of betel leaves and areca 
nuts, called pan-supari, as a complimentary offering is 
a wide-spread Indian custom. 

Ala.— A sub-division of Golla. 

Alagi (pot). — An exogamous sept of Vakkaliga. 

Alavan.— The Alavans are summed up, in the 
Madras Census Report, 1901, as "workers in salt-pans, 
who are found only in Madura and Tinnevelly. Their 
titles are Pannaiyan and Muppan. They are not allowed 
to enter Hindu temples." In the Travancore Census 
Report, 1901, it is recorded that "the Alavans or Uppa- 
lavans (salt Alavans) are so called because they work in 
alams or salt-pans. Three or four centuries ago, seven 
families of them are said to have been brought over 
from the Pandyan territory to Travancore, to work in 
the salt-pans. It is said that there are at Tamarakkulam, 
Puttalam, and other places in South Travancore, inscrip- 
tions recording their immigration, but these have not 
been deciphered. They speak Tamil. They are flesh- 
eaters. Drinking is rare among them. Burial was the 
rule in ancient days, but now the dead are sometimes 
burned. Tattooing is a general custom. The tutelary 
deities are Sasta and Bhadrakali. As a class the 
Alavans are very industrious. There are no better salt 
labourers in all Southern India." 

Albino.— The picture drawn by the Abbe" Dubois * 
of albino Natives is not a pleasant one. "This extreme 



* Hindu Manners and Customs. Ed. 1897. 



ALBINO 22 

fairness," he says, " is unnatural, and makes them very 
repulsive to look at. In fact, these unfortunate beings 
are objects of horror to every one, and even their parents 
desert them. They are looked upon as lepers. They are 
called Kakrelaks as a term of reproach. Kakrelaks are 
horrible insects, disgustingly dirty, which give forth a 
loathsome odour, and shun the day and its light. The 
question has been raised as to whether these degenerate 
individuals can produce children like themselves, and 
afflicted with nyctalopia. Such a child has never come 
under my observation ; but I once baptised the child of 
a female Kakrelak, who owed its birth to a rash European 
soldier. These unfortunate wretches are denied decent 
burial after death, and are cast into ditches." 

This reference to albinos by the observant Abbe may 
be amplified by the notes taken on several albino Natives 
in Madras and Mysore, which show, inter alia, that the 
lot of the present day albino is not an unhappy one. 

Chinna Abboye, aet. 35. Shepherd caste. Rope 
(insigne of office) round waist for driving cattle, and tying 
the legs of cows when milking them. Yellowish-white 
hair where long, as in the kudumi. Bristles on top of 
shaved head pure white. Greenish-brown iris. Father 
dark ; mother, like himself, has white hair and pink skin. 
One brother an albino, married. One child of the usual 
Native type. Cannot see well in glare of sunlight, but 
sees better towards sunset. Screws his eyelids into 
transverse slits. Mother kind to him. 

Vembu Achari, set. 20. Artist. Kudumi (top-knot) 
yellowish-white. White eyebrows and moustache. 
Bright pink lips, and pink complexion. Iris light blue 
with pink radiating striae and pink peripheral zone. Sees 
best in the evening when the sun is low on the horizon. 
Screws up his eyelids to act as a diaphragm. Mother, 



23 ALIA 

father, brothers and sisters, all of the ordinary Native 
type. No relations albino, as far as he knows. Engaged 
to be married. People like himself are called chevapu 
(red-coloured), or, in derision, vellakaran (European or 
white man). Children sometimes make game of him, but 
people generally are kind to him. 

Moonoosawmy, set. 45. Belongs to the weaver class, 
and is a well-to-do man. Albino. Had an albino sister, 
and a brother of the ordinary type. Is the father often 
children, of whom five are albinos. They are on terms 
of equality with the other members of their community, 
and one daughter is likely to be married to the son of a 
prosperous man. 

, aet. 22. Fisherman caste. Albino. His 

maternal uncle had an albino daughter. Has four 
brothers, of whom two are albinos. Cannot stand the 
glare of the sun, and is consequently unable to do outdoor 
work. Moves freely among the members of his com- 
munity, and could easily secure a wife, if he was in a 
position to support one. 

, set. 36. Rajput. Hardware merchant. His 

father, of ordinary Native type, had twelve children, five 
of whom were albino, by an albino wife, whose brother 
was also albino. Married to a woman of Native type, 
and had one non-albino child. His sister, of ordinary 
Native type, has two albino children. Iris light blue. 
Hair yellowish. Complexion pink. Keeps left eye 
closed, and looks through a slit between eyelids of right 
eye. People call him in Canarese kempuava (red man). 
They are kind to him. 

Alia.— The Alias are an Oriya cultivating caste, found 
mainly in the Gumsur taluk of Ganjam. In the Madras 
Census Report, 1891, it is suggested that the name is 
derived from the Sanskrit holo, meaning a plough. The 



ALIGE 24 

further suggestions have been made that it is derived 
from alo, meaning crop, or from All, a killa or taluk of 
Orissa, whence the Aliyas have migrated. In social 
position the Alias rank below the Bhondaris and Odiyas, 
who will not accept water touched by them. 

Various titles occur within the caste, e.g., Biswalo, 
Bonjo, Bariko, Jenna, Kampo, Kondwalo, Lenka, Ma- 
hanti, Molla Nahako, Patro, Podhano, Podiyali, Ravuto, 
Siyo, and Swayi. Like other Oriya castes, the Alias 
have gotras, and the marriage rules based on titles and 
gotras are peculiar. A Podhano man may, for example, 
marry a Podhano girl, if their gotras are different. Fur- 
ther, two people, whose gotras are the same, may marry 
if they have a different title. Thus, a man, whose gotra 
is Goru and title Podhano, may marry a girl of a family 
of which the gotra is Goru, but title other than Podhano. 

Infant marriage is the rule, and, if a girl does not 
secure a husband before she reaches maturity, she goes 
through a mock marriage ceremony, in which the bride- 
groom is represented by a brass vessel or an arrow. 
Like many other Oriya castes, the Aliyas follow the 
Chaitanya form of Vaishnavism, and also worship various 
Takuranis (village deities). 

Alige (drum). — An exogamous sept of Kuruba. 

Aliya Santanam. — Inheritance in the female line. 
The equivalent, in the Canara country, of the Malayali 
marumakkathayam. 

Allam (ginger). — An exogamous sept of Mala. 

Allikulam (lily clan). — Returned, at times of census, 
as a sub-division of Anappan. 

Alvar.— An exogamous sept of Toreya. Alvar is a 
synonym of Garuda, the winged vehicle of Vishnu. Alvar 
Dasari occurs as a sub-division of Valluvans, which claims 
descent from Tiruppan Alvar, one of the Vaishnava saints. 



25 AMBALAKKARAN 

Amaravatiyavaru. — A name, denoting people of 
Amaravati on the Kistna river, recorded * as a sub- 
division of Desabhaga Madigas. Amaravati also occurs 
as a sub-division, or nadu, of Vallamban. 

Ambalakkaran. — In the Madras Census Report, 
1 89 1, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes that "Ambalakkaran 
(ambalam, an open place t) is the usual designation of a 
head of a village in the Maravan and Kalian districts, 
and it is, or was the common agnomen of Kalians. I am 
not able to state what is the precise connection between 
the Ambalakkaran and Kalian castes, but, from some 
accounts which I have obtained, the Ambalakkarans 
seem to be very closely connected, if not identical with 
Muttiriyans (Telugu Mutracha), who have been classed 
as village watchmen ; and this is borne out by the sub- 
divisions returned, for, though no less than 109,263 
individuals have given Ambalakkaran as the sub-division 
also, yet, of the sub-divisions returned, Muttiriyan and 
Mutracha are the strongest. Marriage is usually deferred 
until after puberty, and widow re-marriage is permitted, 
but there does not seem to be the same freedom of 
divorce at will as is found among Kalians, Maravans, etc. 
The dead are either burnt or buried. The consumption 
of flesh and liquor is allowed. Their usual agnomen 
is said to be Servaikkaran, but the titles Muttiriyan, 
Ambalakkaran, Malavarayan, Mutarasan, and Vannian 
are also used. The usual agnomen of Muttiriyans, on 
the other hand, is said to be Nayakkan (Naik)." 

In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the Ambalak- 
karans are summed up as follows. " A Tamil caste of 



* Mysore Census Report, 1901. 

f Ambalam is an open space or building, where affairs connected with justice 
are transacted. Ambalakkaran denotes the president of an assembly, or one who 
proclaims the decision of those assembled in an ambalam. 



AMBALAKKARAN 26 

cultivators and village watchmen. Till recently the term 
Ambalakkaran was considered to be a title of the 
Kalians, but further enquiries have shown that it is the 
name of a distinct caste, found chiefly in the Trichino- 
poly district. The Ambalakkarans and Muttiriyans of a 
village in Musiri taluk wrote a joint petition, protesting 
against their being classified as Kalians, but neverthe- 
less it is said that the Kalians of Madura will not eat 
in Ambalakkaran's houses. There is some connection 
between Ambalakkarans, Muttiriyans, Mutrachas, IJralis, 
Vedans, Valaiyans, and Vettuvans. It seems likely that 
all Of them are descended from one common parent 
stock. Ambalakkarans claim to be descended from Kan- 
nappa Nayanar, one of the sixty-three Saivite saints, 
who was a Vedan or hunter by caste. In Tanjore the 
Valaiyans declare themselves to have a similar origin, 
and in that district Ambalakkaran and Muttiriyan seem 
to be synonymous with Valaiyan. [Some Valaiyans have 
Ambalakkaran as a title.] Moreover, the statistics of 
the distribution of the Valaiyans show that they are 
numerous in the districts where Ambalakkarans are few, 
and vice versa, which looks as though certain sections of 
them had taken to calling themselves Ambalakkarans. 
The upper section of the Ambalakkarans style them- 
selves Pillai, which is a title properly belonging to 
Vellalas, but the others are usually called MOppan in 
Tanjore, and Ambalakkaran, Muttiriyan, and Servaiga- 
ran in Trichinopoly. The headman of the caste pancha- 
yat (council) is called the Kariyakkaran, and his office is 
hereditary in particular families. Each headman has a 
peon called the Kudi-pillai, whose duty it is to summon 
the panchayat when necessary, and to carry messages. 
For this he gets an annual fee of four annas from each 
family of the caste in his village. The caste has certain 



27 AMBALAKKARAN 

endogamous sections. Four of them are said to be 
Muttiriyan or Mutracha, Kavalgar, Vanniyan, and Valai- 
yan. A member of any one of these is usually prohi- 
bited by the panchayats from marrying outside it on pain 
of excommunication. Their customs are a mixture of 
those peculiar to the higher castes and those followed by 
the lower ones. Some of them employ Brahmans as 
purohits (priests), and wear the sacred thread at funerals 
and sraddhas (memorial services for the dead). Yet 
they eat mutton, pork, and fowls, drink alcohol, and 
allow the marriage of widows and divorced women." 
Muttiriyan and Kavalgar both mean watchman. Vanni- 
yan is certainly a separate caste, some members of which 
take Ambalakkaran as a title. The Ambalakkarans are 
apparently Valaiyans, who have separated themselves 
from the main stock on account of their prosperity. 

For the following note, I am indebted to Mr. F. R. 
Hemingway. The Ambalakkarans or Muttiriyans are 
more numerous in the Trichinopoly district and Puduk- 
kottai than in any other part of the Presidency. Though 
they have been treated as separate castes, they appear to 
be one and the same in this district, generally calling 
themselves Muttiriyan in the Trichinopoly taluk, and 
Ambalakkaran elsewhere, and having no objection to 
either name. They admit they are called Valaiyans, but 
repudiate any connection with the caste of that name, and 
explain the appellation by a story that, when Siva's ring 
was swallowed by a fish in the Ganges, one of their 
ancestors invented the first net (valai) made in the world. 
As relics of their former greatness they point to the 
thousand-pillared mantapam at Srirangam, which is called 
muttarasan koradu, and a big matam at Palni, both of 
which, they say, were built by their kings. To the 
latter every household of the caste subscribes four annas 



AMBALAVASI 28 

annually. They say that they were born of the sweat 
(muttu, a pearl or bead of perspiration) of Parama-siva. 
The caste is divided into a number of nadus, the names 
and number of which are variously given. Some of these 
are Ettarai, Koppu, AdavattOr, Tlrampalaiyam, Vima- 
nayakkanpalaiyam in the Trichinopoly taluk, and Amur, 
Savindippatti, and Karungali in Musiri taluk. Widow 
remarriage is allowed in some of these nadus, and not in 
others. They use the titles Muttiriyan, Ambalakkaran, 
Servaikaran, and Kavalkaran. They admit their social 
inferiority to the Vellalans, Kalians, Nattamans, and 
Reddis, from all of whom they will accept meals, but 
consider themselves superior to Pallis, Uralis, Uppiliyans, 
and Valaiyans. Their usual occupation is cultivation, 
but they have also taken to petty trade, and some earn a 
living as masons and kavalgars (watchmen). They wear 
the sacred thread during their marriages and funerals. 
They have panchayats for each village and for the nadu, 
and have also a number of the Patnattu Chettis, who 
are recognized as elders of the caste, and sit with the 
head of the nadu to decide cases of adultery, etc. 

Ambalavasi.— This is summed up, in the Madras 
Census Report, 1901, as "a generic name applied to all 
classes of temple servants in Malabar. There are many 
sub-divisions of the caste, such as Poduval, Chakkiyar, 
Nambiyassan, Pidaran, Pisharodi, Variyan, Nambi, 
Teyyambadi, etc., which are assigned different services 
in the Hindu temples, such as the preparation of gar- 
lands, the sweeping of the floor, the fetching of fire- 
wood, the carrying of the idols in procession, singing, 
dancing, and so on. Like most of the temple servant 
classes, they are inferior to the lower Brahmans, such 
as the Mussads, and food will not be taken from the 
hands of most of them even by Nayars." 



29 AMBALAVASI 

In the Travancore Census Report, 1901, it is noted 
that " the term Ambalavasi (one who lives in a temple) is 
a group-name, and is applied to castes, whose occupation 
is temple service. The Keralamahatmya speaks of them 
as Kshetravasinah, which means those who live in 
temples. They are also known as Antaralas, from their 
occupying an intermediate position between the Brahmans 
and the Brahmanical Kshatriyas of Malabar on the one 
hand, and the Sudras on the other. While according 
to one view they are fallen Brahmans, others, such as 
the writer of the Keralolpatti, would put them down as 
an advance from the Sudras. The castes recognised as 
included in the generic name of Ambalavasi are : — 



Nambiyassan. 
Pushpakan. 
Puppalli. 
Chakkiyar. 
Brahmani or 

Daivampati. 
Adikal. 
Nambidi. 



Pilappalli. 

Nambiyar. 

Pisharati. 

Variyar. 

Nattupattan. 

Tlyattunni. 

Kurukkal. 

Poduval. 



11 All these castes are not connected with pagodas, 
nor do the Muttatus, who are mainly engaged in temple 
service, come under this group, strictly speaking. The 
rationale of their occupation seems to be that, in accept- 
ing duty in temples and consecrating their lives to the 
service of God, they hope to be absolved from the sins 
inherited from their fathers. In the case of ascent from 
lower castes, the object presumably is the acquisition 
of additional religious merit . . . The delinquent 
Brahman cannot be retained in the Brahmanic function 
without lowering the standard of his caste. He had, 
therefore, to be allotted other functions. Temple service 
of various kinds, such as garland-making for the Pushpa- 
kan, Variyar and others, and popular recitation of God's 



AMBALAVASI 30 

works for the Chakkiyar, were found to hold an inter- 
mediate place between the internal functions of the 
Brahmans and the external functions of the other castes, 
in the same sense in which the temples themselves are the 
exoteric counterparts of an esoteric faith, and represent 
a position between the inner and the outer economy of 
nature. Hence arose probably an intermediate status 
with intermediate functions for the Antaralas, the inter- 
mediates of Hindu Society. The Kshatriyas, having 
commensal privileges with the Brahmans, come next to 
them in the order of social precedence. In the matter of 
pollution periods, which seem to be in inverse ratio to the 
position of the caste, the Brahmans observe 10 days, the 
Kshatriyas 11 days, and the Sudras of Malabar (Nayars) 
16 days. The Ambalavasis generally observe pollution 
for 12 days. In some cases, however, it is as short 
as 10, and in others as long as 13 and even 14, but never 
16 days." 

It is further recorded, in the Cochin Census Report, 
1901, that "Ambalavasis (literally temple residents) are 
persons who have the privilege of doing service in 
temples. Most of the castes have grown out of sexual 
relations between members of the higher and lower 
classes, and are therefore Anulomajas and Pratilomajas.* 
They may be broadly divided into two classes, (1) those 
that wear the sacred thread, and (2) those that do not 
wear the same. Adikal, Chakkiyar, Nambiyar or Pushpa- 
kan, and Tiyyattu Nambiyar belong to the threaded 
class, while Chakkiyar, Nambiyar, Pisharoti, Variyar, 
Puthuval, and Marar are non-threaded. Though all 
Ambalavasis have to do service in temples, they have 



* Anuloma, the product of the connection of a man with a woman of a 
lower caste; Pratiloma, of the connection of a man with a woman of a higher 
caste. 



31 AMBALAVASI 

many of them sufficiently distinct functions to perform. 
They are all governed by the marumakkathayam law 
of inheritance (through the female line) ; some castes 
among them, however, follow the makkathayam system 
(from father to son). A Nambiyar, Pisharoti, or Variyar 
marries under special circumstances a woman of his own 
caste, and brings home his wife into the family, and their 
issue thus become members of the father's family, with 
the right of inheriting the family property, and form 
themselves into a fresh marumakkathayam stock. In the 
matter of tali-kettu (tali-tying) marriage, and marriage 
by union in sambandham (alliance), they follow customs 
similar to those of Nayars. So far as the employment 
of Brahman as priests, and the period of birth and death 
pollution are concerned, there are slight differences. 
The threaded classes have Gayatri (hymn). The purifi- 
catory ceremony after birth or death pollution is per- 
formed by Nambudris, but at all funeral ceremonies, such 
as pinda, sradha, etc., their own caste men officiate as 
priests. The Nambndris can take meals cooked by a 
Brahman in the house of any of the Ambalavasis except 
Marars. In fact, if the Nambudris have the right of 
purification, they do not then impose any restrictions in 
regard to this. All Ambalavasis are strict vegetarians 
at public feasts. The Ambalavasis sit together at short 
distances from one another, and take their meals. Their 
females unite themselves in sambandham with their own 
caste males, or with Brahmans or Kshatriyas. Brahmans, 
Kshatriyas, or Nambidis cannot take water from them. 
Though a great majority of the Ambalavasis still follow 
their traditional occupations, many of them have entered 
the public service, and taken to more lucrative pursuits." 
The more important sections of the Ambalavasis are 
dealt with in special articles. 



AMBATTAN 32 

Ambattan.— For the following note I am indebted 
to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. The Ambattans are the 
Tamil barbers, or barber-surgeons. The word is usually- 
derived from the Sanskrit amba (near) and s'tha (to 
stand), i.e., he who stands near to shave his clients, 
or treat his patients. In like manner, the Kavutiyan 
caste of Malayalam barbers is called Adutton, signi- 
fying bystander. The Ambattan corresponds to the 
Mangala of the Telugu country, the Vilakkatalavan of 
Malabar, the Kshauraka of the Canarese Brahmans, and 
the Hajam of Muhammadans. Not improbably the name 
refers to the original occupation of medicine-man, to 
which were added later the professions of village barber 
and musician. This view seems to receive some support 
from the current tradition that the Ambattans are the 
descendants of the offspring of a Vaisya woman by a 
Brahman, to whom the medical profession was allotted as 
a means of livelihood. In this connection, it may be noted 
that the Ambattan women are the recognised midwives 
of the Hindu community in the Tamil country. It is 
impossible to say how far the above tradition is based on 
the verse of Manu, the ancient law-giver, who says that 
11 from a Brahmana with the daughter of a Vaisya is born 
a son called an Ambashtha." In a succeeding verse, he 
states that as children of a Brahmana by a woman of one 
of the three lower castes, the Ambashthas are one of the 
six base-born castes or apasada. He says further that 
Brahmans may eat of a barber's food — a permission which, 
it is hardly necessary to say, they do not avail themselves 
of. A single exception is, however, noteworthy. At 
the temple of Jugganath, within the temple precincts, 
neither the barber, nor the food which he prepares, and 
is partaken of by the higher classes, including Brah- 
mans, conveys pollution. The pujari, or officiating priest, 



33 AMBATTAN 

at this famous temple is a barber, and Brahman s, except 
those of the extreme orthodox section, partake of his 
preparations of rice, after they have been offered to the 
presiding deity. This is, apparently, the only case in 
which the rule laid down by Manu is followed in practice. 
It is not known how far the text of Manu is answerable 
for the popular Sanskrit saying, which calls the barber a 
11 good Sudra." There is an opinion entertained in cer- 
tain quarters that originally the barber's touch did not 
pollute, but that his shaving did. It is an interesting 
fact that, though the Ambattans are one of Manu's base- 
born castes, whose touch causes pollution which requires 
the pouring of water over the head to remove it, they 
are one of the most Brahmanised of the lower castes. 
Nothing, perhaps, shows this so well as their marriage 
ceremonies, throughout which a Brahman officiates. On 
the first two days, homam or sacred fire, fed with ghl 
(clarified butter) is kindled. On the third day, the tali 
(marriage badge) is placed in a circular silver or brass 
thattu (dish), and touched with the forefinger of the right 
hand first by the presiding Brahman, followed by other 
Brahmans, men of superior castes, and the caste-men 
headed by the Perithanakkaran or head-man. It is then, 
amid weird music, tied to the bride's neck before the 
sacred fire. During this ceremony no widows may be 
present. The relations of the bride and bridegroom 
scatter rice on the floor in front of the bridal pair, after 
the Brahman priest and head-man. This rice, which is 
called sesham (remainder), is strictly the perquisite of the 
local washerman. But it is generally purchased by the 
headman of the family, in which the marriage is taking 
place, and handed over, not to the washerman, but to 
the Perithanakkaran. The Brahman receives as his fee 
money and a pair of silk-bordered cloths ; and, till the 
3 



AMBATTAN 34 

latter are given to him, he usually refuses to pronounce 
the necessary mantras (prayers). He also receives the 
first pan-supari (betel leaves and areca nuts), plantains, 
and cocoanuts. Each day he has to get rid of the pollu- 
tion caused by entering a barber's house by bathing. 
During the fourth and fifth days, homam is burnt, and 
shadangu, or merry-making between the bride and 
bridegroom before the assembled spectators, takes place, 
during which the bride sings songs, in which she has 
been coached from infancy. On the fifth day the removal 
of the kankanam, or threads which have been tied round 
the wrists of the bride and bridegroom, is performed, 
after the priest's account has been settled. 

Among the Konga Vellalas of the Salem district, it is 
the Ambattan who officiates at the marriage rites, and 
ties the tali, after formally proclaiming to those present 
that he is about to do so. Brahmans are invited to the 
wedding, and are treated with due respect, and presented 
with money, rice, and betel. It would appear that, in 
this case, the Brahman has been ousted, in recent times, 
from his priestly functions by the Ambattan. The 
barber, when he ties the tali, mutters something about 
Brahman and Vedas in a respectful manner. The story 
goes that, during the days of the Chera, Chola, and 
Pandya Kings, a Brahman and an Ambattan were both 
invited to a marriage feast. But the Brahman, on his 
arrival, died, and the folk, believing his death to be an 
evil omen, ruled that, as the Brahman was missing, they 
would have an Ambattan ; and it has ever since been 
the custom for the Ambattan to officiate at weddings. 

A girl, when she reaches puberty, has to observe 
pollution for eleven days, during which she bathes daily, 
and is presented with a new cloth, and adorned by a girl 
who is said to have " touched " her. This girl has to 



35 AMBATTAN 

bathe before she can take her meals, or touch others. 
Every morning, a dose of pure gingelly [Sesamtcm indi- 
cum) oil, mixed with white of egg, is administered. The 
dietary must be strictly vegetarian. On the twelfth day, 
the girl who has been through the ceremonial has a 
final bath, and enters the house after it has been purified 
(punyavachanam). 

The rule, once a widow always a widow, is as true of 
Ambattans as of high-class Brahmans. And, if asked 
whether the remarriage of widows is permitted, they 
promptly reply that they are not washermen. 

The dead are cremated, with the exception of young 
children, who arc buried. The death ceremonies are 
conducted by a Brahman priest, who is remunerated for 
his services with money and a cloth. Gifts of money 
and cloths are also made to other Brahmans, when the 
days of pollution are over. Annual memorial cere- 
monies (sradh) are performed, as by Brahmans. It is a 
privilege (they consider it as such) of the Ambattans to 
cremate the bodies of village paupers other than Brah- 
mans. And, on ordinary occasions of death, they lead 
the son or person who is entitled to light the funeral 
pyre, with a brass pot in their hands, round the corpse, 
and indicate with a burning cinder the place to which 
the light must be applied. 

As a community the Ambattans are divided into 
Saivites and Vaishnavites. Members of the latter sec- 
tion, who have been branded by their Brahman guru 
with the chank and chakram, abstain from animal food, 
and intoxicating drinks. Intermarriage between the two 
sections is allowed, and commonly practised. They 
belong to the right-hand faction, and will not eat with 
Komatis, who belong to the left. They have, however, 
no objection to shaving Komatis. The Ambattans of 

3* 



AMBATTAN 36 

the Chingleput district are divided into four sections, 
each of which is controlled by a Perithanakkaran. One 
of these resides in Madras, and the other three live re- 
spectively at Poonamallee, Chingleput, and Karunguzhi 
in the Madurantakam taluk of the Chingleput district. 
Ambattans are now-a-days found over the whole Tamil 
area of the Madras Presidency. Originally, free move- 
ment into the various parts of the Presidency was far 
from easy, and every Ambattan, wherever he might 
migrate to, retained his subjection to the chief or head- 
man of his native village. Thus, perhaps, what was at 
first a tribal division gradually developed into a terri- 
torial one. Each Perithanakkaran has under him six 
hundred, or even a thousand Kudithalakkarans, or heads 
of families. His office being hereditary, he is, if only a 
minor, treated with respect and dignity. All the pre- 
liminaries of marriage are arranged by him. On impor- 
tant occasions, such as settling disputes, he is assisted 
by a panchayat, or council of elders. In this way are 
settled quarrels, questions arising out of adultery, or 
non-payment of fines, which it is his duty to collect. He 
is further responsible for the marriage rice-money, which 
is added to a communal tax of 2\ annas per family, 
which is imposed annually for charitable purposes. The 
charities take the form of the maintenance of chattrams, 
or places where pilgrims are fed free of charge at holy 
places. Two such institutions are maintained in the 
Chingleput district, the centre of the Ambattan commu- 
nity, one at TirupporOr, the other at Tirukalikundram. 
At these places Brahmans are given free meals, and to 
other caste Hindus sadabath, or things necessary for 
meals, are presented. Sometimes the money is spent 
in building adjuncts to holy shrines. At Srirangam, for 
example, the Ambattans, in days gone by, built a fine 



37 AMBATTAN 

stone mantapam for the local temple. If the Perithanak- 
karan cannot satisfactorily dispose of a case with the 
assistance of the usual panchayat (council), it is referred 
to the higher authority of the Kavarai or Desai Setti, or 
even to British Courts as a last resource. 

The barber has been summed up by a district official * 
as " one of the most useful of the village servants. 
He leads an industrious life, his services being in demand 
on all occasions of marriages, feasts, and funerals. He 
often combines in himself the three useful vocations of 
hair-dresser, surgeon, and musician. In the early hours 
of the morning, he may be seen going his rounds to his 
employers' houses in his capacity of shaver and hair- 
cutter. Later on, he will be leading the village band 
of musicians before a wedding procession, or playing at 
a temple ceremony. Yet again he may be observed pay- 
ing his professional visits as Vythian or physician, with 
his knapsack of surgical instruments and cutaneous drugs 
tucked under his arm. By long practice the barber 
becomes a fairly skilful operator with the knife, which 
he uses in a rough and ready manner. He lances 
ulcers and carbuncles, and even essays his hand in affec- 
tions of the eye, often with the most disastrous results. 
It is the barber who takes away cricks and sprains, 
procures leeches for those wishing to be bled, and 
otherwise relieves the physical ills of his patients. The 
barber woman, on the other hand, is the accoucheuse and 
midwife of the village matrons. It may be said without 
exaggeration that many of the uterine ailments which 
furnish patients to the maternity wards of the various 
hospitals in this country are attributable to the rude 
treatment of the village midwife." 



* Madras Mail, 1906. 



AMBATTAN 3$ 

The Ambattan will cut the nails, and shave not only 
the head and face, but other parts of the body, whereas 
the Telugu barber will shave only down to the waist. 
The depilatory operations on women are performed by 
female hair-dressers. Barbers' sons are taught to shave 
by taking the bottom of an old well-burnt clay cooking- 
pot, and, with a blunt knife, scraping off the collected 
carbon. They then commence to operate on pubescent 
youths. The barber who shaves Europeans must not 
be a caste barber, but is either a Muhammadan or a non- 
caste man. Quite recently, a youthful Ambattan had to 
undergo ceremonial purification for having unconsciously 
shaved a Paraiyan. Paraiyans, Malas, and other classes 
of the lower orders, have their own barbers and washer- 
men. Razors are, however, sometime lent to them by 
the Ambattans for a small consideration, and cleansed 
in water when they are returned. Parasitic skin diseases 
are said to originate from the application of a razor, 
which has been used on a number of miscellaneous 
individuals. And well-to-do Hindus now keep their own 
razor, which the barber uses when he comes to shave 
them. In the southern districts, it is not usual for the 
Ambattans to go to the houses of their customers, but 
they have sheds at the backs of their own houses, where 
they attend to them from daybreak till about mid-day. 
Occasionally, when sent for, they will wait on Brahmans 
and high-class non- Brahmans at their houses. Numbers 
of them, besides, wait for customers near the riverside. 
Like the English hair-cutter, the Ambattan is a chatter- 
box, retails the petty gossip of the station, and is always 
posted in the latest local news and scandal. The barbers 
attached to British regiments are migratory, and, it is 
said, have friends and connections in all military canton- 
ments, with whom they exchange news, and hold social 



39 AMBATTAN 

intercourse. The Ambattan fills the role of negotiator 
and go-between in the arrangement of marriages, feasts, 
and funeral. He is, moreover, the village physician and 
surgeon, and, in the days when blood-letting was still in 
vogue, the operation of phlebotomy was part of his busi- 
ness. In modern times, his nose has, like that of the 
village potter, been put out of joint by civil hospitals and 
dispensaries. His medicines consist of pills made from 
indigenous drugs, the nature of which he does not reveal. 
His surgical instrument is the razor which he uses for 
shaving, and he does not resort to it until local applica- 
tions, e.g., in a case of carbuncle, have failed. 

In return for his multifarious services to the villagers, 
the Ambattan was given a free grant of land, for which 
he has even now to pay only a nominal tax. But, in the 
days when there was no survey or settlement, if the 
barber neglected his duties, he was threatened with 
confiscation of his lands. At the present day, however, 
he can sell, mortgage, or make a gift thereof. As the 
Ambattans became divided up into a number of families, 
their duties in the village were parcelled out among them, 
so that each barber family became attached to certain 
families of other castes, and was entitled to certain 
rights from them. Among other claims, each barber 
family became entitled to three or four marakkals of 
paddy (unhusked rice), which is the perquisite of the 
married members thereof. It may be noted that, in village 
communities, lands were granted not only to the barber, 
but also to village officials such as the blacksmith, car- 
penter, washerman, astrologer, priest, dancing-girl, etc. 

In his capacity of barber, the Ambattan is called 
Nasivan (unholy man), or, according to the Census Re- 
ports, Nasuvan (sprung from the nose), or Navidan, 
He is also known as Panditan or Pariyari (doctor), and 



AMBATTAN 40 

Kudimaghan (son of the ryot). The last of these names 
is applied to him especially on occasions of marriage, 
when to call him Nasivan would be inauspicious. The 
recognised insigne of his calling is the small looking- 
glass, which he carries with him, together with the 
razor, and sometimes tweezers and ear-pick. He must 
salute his superiors by prostrating himself on his stomach, 
folding his arms, and standing at a respectful distance. 
He may not attend at Brahman houses on new or full- 
moon days, Tuesday, Saturday, and special days such as 
Ekadasi and Dwadasi. The most proper days are Sunday 
and Monday. The quality of the shave varies with the 
skill of the individual, and there is a Tamil proverb " Go 
to an old barber and a new washerman." Stories are 
extant of barbers shaving kings while they were asleep 
without waking them, and it is said that the last Raja of 
Tanjore used to be thus entertained with exhibitions of 
their skill. The old legend of the barber who, in return 
for shaving a Raja without awakening him, requested 
that he might be made a Brahman, and how the Court 
jester Tennali Raman got the Raja to cancel his agree- 
ment, has recently been re-told in rhyme.* It is there 
described how the barber lathered the head " with water 
alone, for soap he had none." The modern barber, how- 
ever, uses soap, either a cheap quality purchased in the 
bazar, or a more expensive brand supplied by his client. 
By a curious corruption, Hamilton's bridge, which 
connects the Triplicane and Mylapore divisions of the 
city of Madras, has become converted into Ambattan, or 
barber's bridge. And the barber, as he shaves you, will 
tell how, in days before the bridge was built, the channel 
became unfordable during a north-east monsoon flood. 



* A. P. Smith, Madras Review, 1902. 



4 i AMBATTANS OF 

TRAVANCORE 

A barber, who lived on the Triplicane side, had to shave 

an engineer, whose house was on the Mylapore side. 

With difficulty he swam across, and shaved the sahib 

while he was asleep without waking him, and, in return, 

asked that, in the public interests, a bridge should be 

built over the channel. 

Ambattans of Travancore. — For the following 
note I am indebted to Mr. N. Subramani Aiyer. The 
barbers of Travancore are called by various designa- 
tions, those in Central and South Travancore preferring 
to be known by the name of Kshaurakan or Kshaurak- 
karan, a corruption of the Sanskrit kshuraka, while 
Ambattan seems to find general favour in the south. A 
curious name given to the caste throughout Travancore 
is Pranopakari, or one who helps the souls, indicating 
their priestly functions in the ceremonials of various 
castes. A contraction of this name found in the early 
settlement records is Pranu. The members of those 
families from which kings and noblemen have at any 
time selected their barbers are called Vilakkittalavan, or 
more properly Vilakkuttalayan, meaning literally those 
who shave heads. In North Travancore many families 
are in possession of royal edicts conferring upon them 
the title of Panikkar, and along with it the headmanship 
of the barber families of the village in which they reside. 
Others have the title of Vaidyan or doctor, from the 
secondary occupation of the caste. 

Endless endogamous septs occur among the bar- 
bers, and, at Trivandrum, there are said to be four 
varieties called Chala Vazhi, Pandi Vazhi, Attungal 
Vazhi, and Peruntanni Vazhi. But it is possible to 
divide all the Kshaurakans of Travancore into three 
classes, viz., Malayalam-speaking Ambattans, who follow 
the makkathayam law of inheritance ; (2) Malayalam- 



AMBATTANS OF 42 
TRAVANCORE 

speaking Ambattans who follow the marumakkathayam 
law of inheritance ; (3) Tamil-speaking barbers, who 
have in many localities adopted Malayalam as their 
mother-tongue, and indicate their recent conversion in 
this direction by preserving unchanged the dress and 
ornaments of their womenkind. In Pattanapuram, for 
example, there is a class of Malayalam-speaking barbers 
known as Pulans who immigrated into that taluk from 
the Tamil country about two hundred years ago, and 
reveal their kinship with the Tamil-speaking barbers in 
various ways. In Kottayam and some other North 
Travancore taluks, a large number of barbers may be 
described as recent converts of this character. In theory 
at least, the makkathayam and marumakkathayam 
Ambattans may be said to form two distinct endoga- 
mous groups, of which the former regard themselves as 
far superior to the latter in social position. Sometimes 
the makkathayam Ambattans give their girls in marriage 
to the marumakkathayam Ambattans, though the con- 
verse can never hold good. But, in these cases, the 
girl is not permitted to re-enter the paternal home, and 
associate with the people therein. 

A local tradition describes the Travancore Kshaura- 
kans as pursuing their present occupation owing to the 
curse of Surabhi, the divine calf. Whatever their origin, 
they have faithfully followed their traditional occupation, 
and, in addition, many study medicine in their youth, 
and attend to the ailments of the villagers, while the 
women act as midwives. When a high-caste Hindu dies, 
the duty of supplying the fuel for the funeral pyre, and 
watching the burning ground, devolves on the barber. 

In their dress and ornaments the Travancore barbers 
closely resemble the Nayars, but some wear round gold 
beads and a conch-shaped marriage jewel round the 



43 AMBATTANS OF 
TRAVANCORE 

neck, to distinguish their women from those of the 

Nayars. This, however, does not hold good in South 

Travancore, where the women have entirely adopted 

the Nayar type of jewelry. Tattooing prevails to a 

greater extent among the barbers than among other 

classes, but has begun to lose its popularity. 

The barbers not only worship the ordinary Hindu 
deities, but also adore such divinities as Murti, Maden, 
and Yakshi. The corpses of those who die as the result 
of accident or contagious disease, are buried, not burnt. 
A sorcerer is called on to raise the dead from the grave, 
and, at his instance, a kuryala or small thatched shed is 
erected, to provide a sanctum for the resurrected spirit. 
Every year, in the month of Makaram (January- Febru- 
ary), the day on which the Utradam star falls is taken as 
the occasion for making offerings to these spirits. 

In every village certain families had bestowed on 
them by the chieftains of Kerala the right of deciding all 
questions affecting the caste. All social offences are 
tried by them, and the decision takes the form of an 
order to celebrate iananguttu or feast of the equals, at 
which the first article served on the leaf placed before 
the assembled guests is not food, but a sum of money. 

The tali-kettu and sambandham ceremonies are 
celebrated, the former before, and the latter after the girl 
has reached puberty. The preliminary rites of betro- 
thal and kapu-kettu (tying the string round the wrist) 
over, the bridegroom enters the marriage hall in pro- 
cession. There are no Vedic rites ; nor is there any 
definite priest for the marriage ceremony. The conch- 
shell is blown at odd intervals, this being considered 
indispensable. The festivities last for four days. A 
niece and nephew are regarded as the most legitimate 
spouses of a son and daughter respectively. 



AMBIGA 44 

After the cremation or burial of a corpse, a rope is 
held by two of the relations between the dead person's 
remains and the karta (chief mourner), and cut in two, as 
if to indicate that all connection between the karta and 
the deceased has ceased. This is called bandham 
aruppu, or severing of connection. Pollution lasts for 
sixteen days among all sections of the barbers, except 
the Tamils, who regain their purity after a death in the 
family on the eleventh day. 

Ambiga. — A synonym of Kabbera. 

Ambojala (lotus : Nelumbium). — A house-name of 
Korava. 

Amma (mother). — A sub-division of Pallan and 
Paraiyan. It is also the title of the various goddesses, 
or mothers, such as Ellamma, Mariamma, etc., which are 
worshipped as Grama Devatas (village deities) at the 
temples known as Amman-koil. 

Ammukkuvan. — A sub-division of Katalarayan.* 
{See Valan.) 

Anapa (Dolichos Lablab). — A gotra of Komati. 

Anasa (ferrule). — A gotra of Kurni. 

Anchu (edge or border). — A gotra of Kurni. 

Andara (pandal or booth). — A sept of Kuruba. 

Ande.— -Ande (a pot) as a division of the Kurubas 
refers to the small bamboo or wooden vessel used when 
milking goats. It further denotes a division of the 
Koragas, who used to wear a pot suspended from their 
necks, into which they were compelled to spit, so as not 
to defile the highway. 

Anderaut.— -Recorded, in the Census Report, 1901, 
as a sub-division of Kurumba. Probably a form of Ande 



Cochin Census Report, 1901. 



45 ANDI 

Kuruba. Raut is frequently a title of headmen among 
Lingayats. 

Andi.— In a note on Andis in the Madras Census 
Report, 1901, Mr. W. Francis writes that "for a Brah- 
man or an ascetic, mendicancy was always considered 
an honourable profession, to which no sort of shame 
attached. Manu says ' a Brahman should constantly 
shun worldly honour, as he would shun poison, and rather 
constantly seek disrespect as he would seek nectar'; 
and every Brahman youth was required to spend part of 
his life as a beggar. The Jains and Buddhists held the 
same views. The Hindu Chattrams * and Uttupuras, 
the Jain Pallis, and the Buddhist Viharas owe their origin 
to this attitude, they being originally intended for the 
support of the mendicant members of these religions. 
But persons of other than the priestly and religious 
classes were expected to work for their living, and were 
not entitled to relief in these institutions. Begging 
among such people — unless, as in the case of the Pan- 
darams and Andis, a religious flavour attaches to it — is 
still considered disreputable. The percentage of beg- 
gars in the Tamil districts to the total population is '97, 
or more than twice what it is in the Telugu country, 
while in Malabar it is as low as "09. The Telugus are 
certainly not richer as a class than the Tamils, and the 
explanation of these differences is perhaps to be found 
in the fact that the south is more religiously inclined 
than the north, and has more temples and their connec- 
ted charities (religion and charity go hand in hand in 
India), and so offers more temptation to follow begging 
as a profession. Andis are Tamil beggars. They are 
really inferior to Pandarams, but the two terms are in 



* Houses where pilgrims and travellers are entertained, and fed gratuitously. 



ANDI 46 

practice often indiscriminately applied to the same class 
of people. Pandarams are usually Vellalas by caste, but 
Andis are recruited from all classes of Sudras, and they 
consequently have various sub-divisions, which are named 
after the caste to which the members of each originally 
belonged, such as the Jangam Andis, meaning beggars of 
the Jangam caste, and the Jogi Andis, that is, Andis of 
the Jogi caste. They also have occupational and other 
divisions, such as the Kovil Andis, meaning those who do 
service in temples, and the Mudavandis orthe lame beggars. 
Andi is in fact almost a generic term. All Andis are 
not beggars however ; some are bricklayers, others 
are cultivators, and others are occupied in the temples. 
They employed Brahman priests at their ceremonies, 
but all of them eat meat and drink alcohol. Widows and 
divorcees may marry again. Among the Tinnevelly 
Andis, the sister of the bridegroom ties the tali (marriage 
badge) round the bride's neck, whch is not usual." 

In the Madras Census Report, 1891, the Andis are 
summed up as " beggars who profess the Saiva faith. 
They may be found in all the Tamil districts, begging 
from door to door, beating a small gong with a stick. 
The Andis differ from most other castes, in that a per- 
son of any caste may join their community. Some of 
them officiate as priests in village temples, especially 
when large sacrifices of goats, buffaloes, and pigs are 
made. They usually bury the dead. They have re- 
turned 105 sub-divisions, of which the most important 
are the following : — Jangam, Komanandi, Lingadari, 
Mudavandi, and Uppandi. Komanam is the small loin 
cloth, and a Komanandi goes naked, except for this 
slight concession to decency. Mudam means lame, and 
the Mudavandis (g.v.) are allowed to claim any 
deformed child belonging to the Konga Vellala caste. 



47 ANE 

The etymology of Uppandi is difficult, but it is improb- 
able that it has any connection with uppu, salt. 

In the Tanjore Manual, it is noted that " in its ordi- 
nary acceptation the word Andi means houseless beg- 
gars, and is applied to those who profess the Saiva faith. 
They go out every morning, begging for alms of un- 
cooked rice, singing ballads or hymns. They play on a 
small gong called semakkalam with a stick, and often 
carry a conch shell, which they blow. They are given 
to drinking." 

It is recorded * that " South Indian beggars are 
divided into two classes, Panjathandi and Paramparaiandi. 
The former are famine-made beggars, an d the latter are 
beggars from generation to generation. The former, a 
common saying goes, would rob from the person of a 
child at a convenient opportunity, while the latter would 
jump into a well, and pick up a child which had fallen 
into it by an accident, and make it over to its parents." 

Andi (a god) occurs as an exogamous section of 
Sirukudi Kalians. 

Andinia.— Recorded by Mr. F. Fawcett as an 
inferior sub-division of Dombs, who eat frogs. 

Anduran.— A sub-division of Nayar potters, who 
manufacture earthenware articles for use in temples. 
The name is derived from AndOr, a place which was 
once a fief under the Zamorin of Calicut. 

Ane (elephant). — An exogamous sept of Holeya, 
Kappiliyan, Kuruba, Kadu Kurumba, Moger, and Gan- 
gadikara Vakkaliga. Yenigala or Yenuga (elephant) 
is further an exogamous sept of Kapus, who will not 
touch ivory. Anai-kombu (elephant tusk) occurs as a 
sub-division of Idaiyan. 



* C. Hayavadana Rao. Tales of Komati Wit and Wisdom, 1907. 



ANGARAKUDU 48 

Angarakudu (the planet Mars). — A synonym of 
Mangala. 

Anja.— In the Madras Census Report, 1891, Ajna is 
returned as a sub-division of Pallan. This, however, 
seems to be a mistake for Anja (father), by which name 
these Pallans address their fathers. 

Anju Nal (five days). — Recorded in the Salem 
Manual, as a name given to Pallis who perform the 
death ceremony on the fifth day after death. 

Anjuttan (men of the five hundred). — Recorded at 
times of census, as a sub-division of Panan, and a syno- 
nym of Velan. In the Gazetteer of Malabar, it appears 
as a sub-division of Mannans, who are closely akin to 
the Velans. The equivalent Anjuttilkar occurs as a 
synonym for Tenkanchi Vellalas in Travancore. 

Anna (brother). — The title of numerous classes, e.g., 
Dasari, Gavara, Golla, Konda Dora, Koppala Velama, 
Mangala, Mila, Paidi, and Segidi. 

Annam (cooked rice). — An exogamous sept of 
Gamalla and Togata. 

Annavi.— A title of Savalakkarans, who play on the 
nagasaram (reed instrument) in temples. 

Antalavar.— Recorded in the Travancore Census 
Report, 1 90 1, as a sub-division of Nayar. 

Antarala.— A synonym of Ambalavasi, denoting 
those who occupy an intermediate position between 
Brahmans and Sudras. 

Antarjanam (inside person). — A term applied to 
Nambutiri Brahman females, who live in seclusion.* 

Anuloma.— One of the two classes of Sodras, viz., 
Anuloma and Veloma. The term Anuloma is applied to 
those born of a higher-caste male and a lower-caste 



* Wigram, Malabar Law and Custom, 



49 ANUPPAN 

female, e.g., barbers are said to be the offspring of a 
Brahman and a Vaisya woman. 

Anumala (seeds of Dolichos Lablab). — An exoga- 
mous sept of Dgvanga. The equivalent Anumolla 
occurs as an exogamous sept of Kamma. 

Anuppan.— The Anuppans are described, in the 
Madras Census Report, 1891, as "a small caste of 
Canarese farmers, found chiefly in the districts of Madura, 
Tinnevelly, and Coimbatore. Their original home 
appears to have been Mysore or South Canara, probably 
the former. Their language is a corrupt form of 
Canarese. The most important sub-division is Allikulam 
(lily clan). Some of them are Saivites, and others 
Vaishnavites. Brahmans are employed as priests by 
the Vaishnavites, but not by the Saivites. Remarriage 
of widows is practised, but a woman divorced for adul- 
tery cannot remarry during the life-time of her husband." 

In the Gazetteer of the Madura district, it is stated 
that "the Anuppans are commonest in the Kambam 
valley. They have a tradition regarding their migration 
thither, which closely resembles that current among the 
Kappiliyans and Tottiyans (q.v.). Local tradition at 
Kambam says that the Anuppans were in great strength 
here in olden days, and that quarrels arose, in the course 
of which the chief of the Kappiliyans, Ra"machcha 
Kavandan, was killed. With his dying breath he cursed 
the Anuppans, and thenceforth they never prospered, and 
now not one of them is left in the town. Their title is 
Kavandan. They are divided into six territorial groups 
called Medus, which are named after three villages 
in this district, and three in Tinnevelly. Over each of 
these is a headman called the Periyadanakkaran, and 
the three former are also subject to a Guru who lives at 
Sirupalai near Madura. These three are divided again 
4 



APOTO 50 

into eighteen kilais or branches, each of which inter- 
marries only with certain of the others. Caste pancha- 
yats (councils) are held on a blanket, on which (compare 
the Tottiyan custom) is placed a pot of water containing 
margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, to symbolise the 
sacred nature of the meeting. Women who go astray 
with men of other castes are expelled, and various cere- 
monies, including (it is said) the burying alive of a goat, 
are enacted to show that they are dead to the community. 
The right of a man to his paternal aunt's daughter is as 
vigorously maintained as among the Kappiliyans and 
Tottiyans, and leads to the same curious state of affairs 
{i.e., a woman, whose husband is too young to fulfil the 
duties of his position, is allowed to consort with his near 
relations, and the children so begotten are treated as 
his). No tali (marriage badge) is tied at weddings, and 
the binding part of the ceremonies is the linking, on 
seven separate occasions, of the little fingers of the 
couple. Like the Kappiliyans, the Anuppans have 
many caste and family deities, a number of whom are 
women who committed sati." {See Kappiliyan). 

ApotO.— Apoto, or Oppoto, is a sub-division of 
Gaudos, the occupation of which is palanquin-bearing. 

Appa (father). — A title of members of various 
Telugu and Canarese castes, e.g., Idiga, Kannadiyan, 
Linga Balija, and Tambala. 

Arab. — A Muhammadan territorial name, returned at 
times of census. In the Mysore Census Report, 1 901, the 
Arabs are described as itinerant tradesmen, whose chief 
business is horse-dealing, though some deal in cloths. 

Aradhya.— For the following note I am indebted to 
Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. The Aradhyas are a sect of 
Brahmans found mainly in the four northern districts of 
the Madras Presidency, and to a smaller extent in the 



51 ARADHYA 

Cuddapah and Kurnool districts. A few are also found 
in the Mysore State. They differ in almost every 
important respect from other Brahmans. Basava, the 
founder of the Lingayat religion, was born in a family of 
Brahmans, who, with others round about them, were 
apparently the first converts to his religion. According 
to Mr. C. P. Brown,* they were " in all probability his 
personal friends ; he persuaded them to lay aside their 
name, and call themselves Aradhya or Reverend.' 
They revere the four Aradhyas, visionary personages of 
the Lingayat creed, of whom very little is known. At 
all social and religious functions, birth, marriage, initia- 
tion and funerals, four vases of water are solemnly placed 
in their name, and then invoked to preside over them. 
Their names are Re"vana"radhya, Marularadhya, Eko- 
ramaradhya, and PanditarSdhya. In four ages, it is said, 
these four successively appeared as precursors of the 
divine Basava, and were, like Basava, Brahmans. A 
Purana, known as the PanditarSdhya Charitra, is named 
after the last of these. Versions thereof are found both 
in Canarese and Telugu. A Sanskrit poem, called Sid- 
dhanta Sikhamani, represents RevanSrSdhya as a human 
manifestation of one of the ministers of Siva. 

As might be expected, the members of this sect are 
staunch Saivites. They wear both the Brahminical 
sacred thread, and the linga suspended from another 
thread. They revere in particular Ganapathi. The lingam 
which they wear they usually call the prana lingam, or life 
lingam. The moment a child, male or female, is born, it 
is invested with the lingam ; otherwise it is not considered 
to have pranam or life. The popular belief is that, if by 
some accident the lingam is lost, a man must either fast 



* Madras Juurn. Lit. and Science, XI, 176, 1840. 



ARADHYA 52 

until he recovers it, or not survive so dire a calamity. 
This is a fixed dogma with them. A man who loses his 
prana linga stands up to his neck in water, and repeats 
mantrams (sacred formulae) for days together ; and, on 
the last day, the lost lingam comes back to him miracu- 
lously, if he has been really orthodox in his life. If he 
does not succeed in recovering it, he must starve and 
die. The theory is that the lingam is the life of the man 
who wears it, and, when it is lost beyond recovery, he 
loses his own life. Incredible stories of miraculous re- 
coveries of the lingam are told. In one case, it is said to 
have returned to its owner, making a loud noise in water; 
and in another it was found in a box under lock and key. 
In this connection, the following story is narrated by 
Colonel Wilks.* " Poornia, the present minister of 
Mysore, relates an incident of a Lingayat friend of his, 
who had unhappily lost his portable God, and came to 
take a last farewell. The Indians, like more enlightened 
nations, readily laugh at the absurdities of every sect but 
their own, and Poornia gave him better counsel. It is a 
part of the ceremonial preceding the sacrifice of the in- 
dividual that the principal persons of the sect should 
assemble on the bank of some holy stream, and, placing 
in a basket the lingam images of the whole assembly, 
purify them in the sacred waters. The destined victim 
in conformity to the advice of his friend, suddenly seized 
the basket, and overturned its contents into the rapid 
Caveri. Now, my friends, said he, we are on equal 
terms ; let us prepare to die together. The discussion 
terminated according to expectation. The whole party 
took an oath of inviolable secrecy, and each privately 
provided himself with a new image of the lingam." 



* Historical Sketches of the South of India. 




ARADHVA BRAHMAN, 



53 ARADHYA 

Aradhyas, as has been indicated, differ from other 
Brahmans in general in some of their customs. Before 
they partake of food, they make an offering of it to the 
lingam which they are wearing. As they cannot eat 
without making this offering, they have the entire meal 
served up at the commencement thereof. They offer the 
whole to the lingam, and then begin to eat. They do 
not accept offerings distributed in temples as other 
Brahmans do, because they have already been offered to 
the God, and cannot therefore be offered again to the 
lingam. Unlike other Lingayats, Aradhyas believe in 
the Vedas, to which they give allegorical interpretations. 
They are fond of reading Sanskrit, and a few have been 
well-known Telugu poets. Thus, PalapOri Somanatha, 
who lived in the fourteenth century A.D., composed the 
Basava Purana and the Panditaradhya Charitra, and the 
brothers Piduparthi SSmanatha and the Basavakavi, who 
lived in the sixteenth century, composed other religious 
works. 

Aradhyas marry among themselves, and occasionally 
take girls in marriage from certain of the Niyogi sub- 
divisions of the Northern Circars. This would seem to 
show that they were themselves Niyogis, prior to their 
conversion. They do not intermarry with Aruvglu Ni- 
yogis. Unlike other Brahmans, they bury their dead in 
a sitting posture. They observe death pollution for ten 
days, and perform the ekodishta and other Brahminical 
ceremonies for their progenitors. They perform annu- 
ally, not the Brahminical sradha, but the aradhana. In 
the latter, there is no apasavyam (wearing the sacred 
thread from right to left), and no use of gingelly seeds 
and dharba grass. Nor is there homam (raising the 
sacrificial fire), parvanam (offering of rice-balls), or obla- 
tion of water. Widows do not have their heads shaved. 



ARAKALA 54 

The title of the Aradhyas is always Aradhya. 

Arakala.— A small class of cultivators, recorded 
mainly from the Kurnool district. The name is possibly 
derived from araka, meaning a plough with bullocks, or 
from arakadu, a cultivator. 

Arampukatti.— The name, denoting those who 
tie flower-buds or prepare garlands, of a sub-division 
of Vellalas. 

Aranadan, See Ernadan. 

Arane (lizard). — An exogamous sub-sept of Kappi- 
liyan. 

Arashina (turmeric). — A gotra or exogamous sept 
of Agasa, Kurni, Kuruba, and Odde. The equivalent 
Pasupula occurs as an exogamous sept of Devanga. In 
Southern India, turmeric (Curcuma) is commonly called 
saffron (Croats). Turmeric enters largely into Hindu 
ceremonial. For example, the practice of smearing the 
face with it is very widespread among females, and, 
thinking that it will give their husbands increase of years, 
women freely bathe themselves with turmeric water. 
The use of water, in which turmeric has been infused, 
and by which they give the whole body a bright yellow 
colour, is prescribed to wives as a mark of the conjugal 
state, and forbidden to widows.* To ward off the evil 
eye, a vessel containing turmeric water and other things 
is waved in front of the bridal couple at weddings. Or 
they are bathed in turmeric water, which they pour over 
each other. The tali or bottu (gold marriage badge) is 
attached to a cotton thread dyed with turmeric, and, 
among some castes, the tying together of the hands of 
the bride and bridegroom with such a thread is the bind- 
ing portion of the ceremony. 



* Ellis. Kural. 



55 ARAVA 

Arasu or Rajpinde. — " This caste,'' Mr. Lewis 
Rice writes (1877): — * "are relatives of or connected 
with the Rajahs of Mysore. During the life-time of the 
late Maharaja, they were divided into two factions in 
consequence of the refusal of thirteen families headed by 
the Dalavayi (the chief of the female branch) to pay 
respect to an illegitimate son of His Highness. The 
other eighteen families consented to the Rajah's wishes, 
and treat the illegitimate branch, called Komarapatta, as 
equals. The two divisions intermarry and eat together, 
and the family quarrel, though serious at the time, is not 
likely to be permanent. They are employed chiefly 
under Government and in agriculture, most of the former 
being engaged in the palace at Mysore. Rajpindes are 
both Vishnavites and Sivites, and their priests are both 
Brahmans and Lingayat Waders." 

In the Madras Census Report, 1891, Arasu ( = Raja 
or king) is given as a sub-division of the Tamil Pallis and 
Paraiyans. Urs appears as a contracted form of Arasu in 
the names of the Mysore royal family, e.g., Kantaraj Urs. 

Arathi.— The name, indicating a wave offering to 
avert the evil eye, of an exogamous sept of Kuruba. 

Arati (plantain tree). — An exogamous sept of 
Chenchu. 

Arava. — Arava, signifying Tamil, has been recorded 
as a sub-division of some Telugu classes, e.g., Golla and 
Velama. The name, however, refers to Tamil Idaiyans 
and Vellalas, who have settled in the Telugu country, 
and are known respectively as Arava Golla and Arava 
Velama. In some places in the Telugu country, Tamil 
Paraiyans, employed as servants under Europeans, horse- 
keepers, etc., are known as Arava Malalu (Malas). The 



* Mysore and Coorg Gazetteer, 1876-78. 



ARAVAN 56 

Irulasofthe North Arcot district are, in like manner, 
sometimes called Arava Yanadis. Arava also occurs as 
a division of Tigalas, said to be a section of the Tamil 
Pallis, who have settled in Mysore. An ingenious 
suggestion has been made that Arava is derived from 
ara, half, vayi, mouthed, in reference to the defective 
Tamil alphabet, or to the termination of the words being 
mostly in consonants. 

Aravan.— Recorded, in the Travancore Census 
Report, 1 90 1, as a sub-division of Nayar. 

Arayan.— SV* Valan. 

Archaka.— Archaka, or Umai Archaka, is a title of 
Occhans, who are priests at temples of Grama Devatas 
(village deities). 

Are.— A synonym for Marathi. The name occurs 
as a sub-division of Kunchigar and Kudubi. In South 
Canara Arya Kshatri occurs as the equivalent of Are, 
and, in the Telugu country, Are Kapu refers to Marathi 
cultivators. Arya Kuttadi is a Tamil synonym of 
Marathi Dommaras. Concerning the Ares, Mr. H. G. 
Stuart writes as follows. # " Of the total number of 
6,809 Args, 4,373 are found in South Canara, Bellary 
and Anantapur, and these are true Are"s. Of the rest I 
am not able to speak with certainty, as the term Arya, 
which is a synonym of Are, is also used as an equivalent 
of Marathi, and sometimes in a still wider sense. The 
true Ares are husbandmen of Maratha origin. They 
wear the sacred thread, have Brahmans as their priests, 
and give allegiance to the head of the Sringeri Mutt. 
Marriage of girls takes place either before or after 
puberty, and the remarriage of widows is not allowed. 
A husband may divorce his wife for adultery, but a wife 



Madras Census Report, 1891. 



57 ARI 

cannot divorce her husband. When the guilt of a woman 
is proved, and the sanction of the Guru obtained, the 
husband performs the act of divorce by cutting a 
pumpkin in two at a place where three ways meet. 
The use of animal food is allowed, but intoxicating 
liquors are forbidden." The Args of South Canara, 
Mr. Stuart writes further, # " usually speak Marathi or 
Konkani, but in the Kasaragod taluk, and possibly 
in other parts too, they speak Canarese. Their exoga- 
mous septs are called manathanas. They use the dhare 
form of marriage (see Bant), but the pot contains a 
mixture of water, milk, ghee (clarified butter), honey 
and curds instead of the usual plain water." 

The Marathi-speaking Areyavaru or Aryavaru of the 
South Canara district follow the makkala santana law 
of inheritance (from father to son). For ceremonial 
purposes, they engage Shivalli Brahmans. An interest- 
ing feature of the marriage rites is that the bridegroom 
makes a pretence of going to a battle-field to fight, 
presumably to show that he is of Kshatriya descent. 
The ceremony is called dandal jatai. The bridegroom 
ties a bead on the neck of the bride if of the Powar 
sept, and a disc if of the Edar sept. The Areyavaru eat 
fowls and fish. The former are killed after certain 
mantrams (prayers) have been uttered, and, if a priest is 
available, it is his duty to despatch the bird. The caste 
deity is AmmanQru (Durga), in the worship of whom the 
Areyavaru, like other Maratha castes, employ Gondala 
mendicants. 

Are (Baukinia racemosa). — A gotra of Kurni. 

Ari. — The Aris or Diitans are described, in the 
Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a " small but 



* Manual of the South Canara district. 



ARI 58 

interesting community confined to a village in the Tovala 
taluk. By traditional occupation they are the Ambala- 
vasis of the Saivaite temple of Darsanamkoppa. They 
are strict vegetarians, wear the Brahminical thread, 
perform all the Brahminical ceremonies under the guid- 
ance of Brahman priests, and claim a position equal to 
that of the Aryappattars. But they are not allowed to 
dine with the Brahmans, or to enter the mandapa in 
front of the garbhagriha, the inner sanctuary of a 
Hindu shrine. Their dress and ornaments are like 
those of the Tamil Brahmans, and their language is 
Tamil. Their period of pollution, however, is as long 
as fifteen days." 

Ari (ebony). — An exogamous sept of Kuruba. 

Arigala.-— Arigala, denoting a dish carried in pro- 
cession, occurs as an exogamous sept of Mutracha. 
Arigala and Arika, both meaning the millet Paspalum 
scrobiculatum, are septs of Jatapu and Panta Reddi. 
The latter may not use the grain as food. 

Arikuravan.— Recorded, in the Travancore Census 
Report, 1 90 1, as a sub-division of Nayar. 

Arisi.— A sub-division of Savara. 

Ariyar.— Ariyar or Ariyanattu Chetti is given as a 
caste title by Pattanavans. 

Ariyur.— AriyOr or Ariviyur is the name of a sub- 
division of Nattukottai Chettis. 

Arli [Ficus religiosa). — An exogamous sept of 
Stanika. 

Arudra (lady-bird). — An exogamous sept of Kalingi. 

Arupathukatchi (sixty house section). — A sub- 
division of Valluvan. 

Arupattanalu Taleikattu (sixty-four, who covered 
their heads). — A sub-division of Chetti. 



59 ARUVA 

Aruththukattatha.— The name, meaning those 
who do not tie the tali a second time, of a section of 
Paraiyans who do not allow the remarriage of widows. 

Aruva.— The Aruvas are an interesting caste of 
cultivators along the sea-coast in the Berhampur taluk 
of Ganjam. They say that they are descended from the 
offspring of alliances between Patanis (Muhammadans) 
and Oriya women. Like other Oriya castes, they have 
a number of titles, e.g., Nayako, Patro, Podhano, Ponda, 
Mondolo, and Mollana, some of which seem to be 
exogamous, and there are also numerous exogamous 
septs or bamsams. The headman is styled Nayako, 
and he is assisted by a Bhollobhaya. Both these 
offices are hereditary. The Aruvas say that they belong 
to two Vedas, viz., the males to Atharva Veda, and the 
females to Yajur Vgda. Muhammadans are believed by 
them to be Atharvavedis. 

A member of the caste, called Mollana, officiates on 
ceremonial occasions. A pure Oriya casteman will not 
allow his son to marry his sister's daughter, but this is 
permitted in most places by the Aruvas. The marriage 
ceremonial, except in a few points of detail, conforms 
to the general Oriya type. On the day before the 
wedding, a milk-post of bamboo is erected, and in front 
of it a new cloth, and various articles for worship are 
placed. When the fingers of the contracting couple are 
linked together, and at other stages of the marriage 
rites, the Mollana recites certain formulae, in which the 
words Bismillahi and Allah occur. 

The dead are always buried. In former days, stone 
slabs, with Arabic or Hindustani legends in Oriya 
characters inscribed on them, used to be set up over the 
grave. For these, two sticks are now substituted. The 
corpse of a dead person is sewn up in a kind of sack. 



ARYA 60 

As it is being lowered into the grave, the Mollana recites 
formulae, and those present throw earth over it before 
the grave is filled in. They then take their departure, 
and the Mollana, standing on one leg, recites further 
formulae. On the following day, bitter food, consisting 
of rice and margosa (Melia Azadirachtd) leaves, is 
prepared, and given to the agnates. On the third day 
after death, the burial-ground is visited, and, after water 
has been poured over the grave, a cloth is spread thereon. 
On this relations of the deceased throw earth and food. 
A purificatory ceremony, in which ghi (clarified butter) 
is touched, is performed on the fifteenth day. On the 
fortieth day, the Mollana officiates at a ceremony in 
which food is offered to the dead person. 

The Aruvas do not take part in any Muhammadan 
ceremonial, and do not worship in mosques. Most of 
them are Paramarthos, and all worship various Hindu 
deities and Takuranis (village gods). At their houses, 
the god is represented by a mass of mud of conical 
shape, with an areca nut on the top of it. In recent 
times, a number of Aruva families, owing to a dispute 
with the Mollana, do not employ him for their cere- 
monials, in which they follow the standard Oriya type. 
They neither interdine nor intermarry with other 
sections of the community, and have become an in- 
dependent section thereof. 

Arya.— Arya or Ariya (noble) occurs as a class of 
Pattar Brahmans, a division of SSmagaYas, and an exo- 
gamous sept of Kurubas. Some Pattanavans call them- 
selves Ariya Nattu Chetti (Chettis of the country of 
chiefs) Ariyar, or Ayyayirath Thalaivar (the five thou- 
sand chiefs). 

Asadi.— The Asadis of the Bellary district are 
summed up, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "a 



6l ASHTAKSHARI 

sub-caste of Mala or Holeya, which, in Bellary, are 
almost interchangeable terms. They are prostitutes 
and dancers." Among the Madigas, men called AsSdi, 
who have undergone an initiation ceremony, go about, in 
company with the Matangis (dedicated prostitutes), play- 
ing on an instrument called the chaudike, and singing 
the praises and reciting the story of Ellamma. (See 
Madiga.) 

Asan (teacher). — The title of Variyans, who have 
held the hereditary position of tutors in noblemen's 
families. Also a title of Pisharati and Kanisan. 

Asari.— In most parts of the Madras Presidency, 
Mr. H. A. Sturat writes, " Asari (or Achari) is synony- 
mous with Kammalan, and may denote any of the five 
artizan castes, but in Malabar it is practically confined 
to the carpenter caste. The Asari of Malabar is the 
Brahman of the Kammala castes. The Kammala castes 
generally pollute Nayars by approaching within twelve 
feet, and Brahmans by coming within thirty-six feet ; 
but an Asari with his measuring rod in his hand has the 
privilege of approaching very near, and even entering 
the houses of higher castes without polluting them. 
This exception may have arisen out of necessity." At 
the census, 1901, some Sayakkarans (Tamil dyers) re- 
turned AsaYi as a title. 

In a Government office, a short time ago, the head 
clerk, a Brahman named Rangachari, altered the spell- 
ing of the name of a Kammalan from Velayudachari to 
Velayudasari in the office books, on the ground that the 
former looked Brahmanical. 

Ashtakshari (eight syllables). — A sub-division of 
Satanis, who believe in the efficacy of the eight syllables 
om-na-mo-na-ra-ya-na-ya in ensuring eternal bliss. The 
name ashtabhukkulu, or those who eat the eight 



ASHTALOHI 62 

greedily, also occurs as a sub-division of the same 
people. 

Ashtalohi.— The name, meaning workers in eight 
metals, of a small class of Oriya artizans. According to 
one version the eight metals are gold, silver, bell-metal, 
copper, lead, tin, iron, and brass ; according to another, 
gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, load-stone, iron, and steel. 

Ashtikurissi. — Ashtikurissi (ashti, a bone) or Atti- 
kurissi is an occupational sub-division of Nayars and 
Marans, who officiate at the funerals of NambOtiri 
Brahmans and Nayars, and help in collecting the re- 
mains of the bones after cremation. 

Asili.— The name for Telugu toddy-drawers in the 
Cuddapah district. (See Idiga.) 

Asupani.— An occupational name for Marans who 
play on the temple musical instruments asu and pani. 

Asvo (horse). — An exogamous sept of Ghasi> 

Atagara or Hatagara.— A sub-division of 
Devanga. 

Aththi (Ficus glomerata). — An exogamous sept of 
Stanika. 

Atikunnan.— Recorded, in the Travancore Census 
Report, 1 90 1, as a sub-division of Nayar. 

Atreya.— A Brahmanical gotra of Bhatrazus. 
Atreyas are descendants of Atri, a rishi who is regarded 
by some as one of the ten Prajapatis of Manu. 

Atta (mother). — A sub-division of Pallan. 

Attangarai (river-bank). — A sub-division of Konga 
Vellala. 

Attikankana (cotton marriage thread). — A sub- 
division of Kurubas, who tie a cotton thread round the 
wrist at weddings. 

Atumpatram. — A name, meaning an object which 
dances, for Deva-dasis in Travancore. 



63 BADAGA 

Aunvallur (possessors of cattle). — A fanciful name 
for Idaiyans. 

Avar U.— A synonym of Agaru. 

Aviri {Indigofera tinctorid). — An exogamous sept 
of Padma Sale's, who use indigo in the manufacture of 
coloured cloth fabrics. 

Avisa {Sesbania grandiflora). — A gotra of Medara. 

Avu (snake). — An exogamous sept of Kuruba. 

Avula (cow), — An exogamous sept of Balija, Boya, 
Golla, Kapu, Korava, Mutracha, and Yerukala. 

Ayar (cow-herd). — A synonym or sub-division of 
Idaiyan and Kolayan. 

Ayodhya (Oudh). — A sub-division of Kapus, who 
say that they originally lived in Oudh. 

Azhati.— Recorded, in the Travancore Census 
Report, 1 90 1, as a synonym of Pisharati. 



Badaga.— As the Todas are the pastoral, and the 
Kotas the artisan tribe of the Nilgiris, so the agricultural 
element on these hills is represented by the Badagas (or, 
as they are sometimes called, Burghers). Their number 
was returned, at the census, 1901, as 34,178 against 
1,267 Kotas, and 807 Todas. Though the primary 
occupation of the Badagas is agriculture, there are 
among their community, schoolmasters, clerks, public 
works contractors, bricklayers, painters, carpenters, saw- 
yers, tailors, gardeners, forest guards, barbers, washer- 
men, and scavengers. Many work on tea and coffee 
estates, and gangs of Badagas can always be seen break- 
ing stones on, and repairing the hill roads. Others are, 
at the present day, earning good wages in the Cordite 
Factory near Wellington. Some of the more prosperous 



BADAGA 64 

possess tea and coffee estates of their own. The rising 
generation are, to some extent, learning Tamil and 
English, in addition to their own language, which is said 
to resemble old Canarese. And I have heard a youth- 
ful Badaga, tending a flock of sheep, address an errant 
member thereof in very fluent Billingsgate. There were, 
in 1 904- 1 905, thirty-nine Badaga schools, which were 
attended by 1,222 pupils. In 1907, one Badaga had 
passed the Matriculation of the Madras University, and 
was a clerk in the Sub-judge's Court at Ootacamund. 

A newspaper discussion was carried on a few years 
ago as to the condition of the Badagas, and whether they 
are a down-trodden tribe, bankrupt and impoverished 
to such a degree that it is only a short time before 
something must be done to ameliorate their condition, 
and save them from extermination by inducing them to 
emigrate to the Wynad and Vizagapatam. A few have, 
in recent years, migrated to the Anaimalai hills, to work 
on the planters' estates, which have been opened up 
there. One writer stated that "the tiled houses, costing 
from Rs. 250 to Rs. 500, certainly point to their pros- 
perity. They may frequently borrow from the Labbai 
to enable them to build, but, as I do not know of a 
single case in which the Labbai has ever seized the 
house and sold it, I believe this debt is soon discharged. 
The walled-in, terraced fields immediately around their 
villages, on which they grow their barley and other 
grains requiring rich cultivation, are well worked, and 
regularly manured. The coats, good thick blankets, 
and gold ear-rings, which most Badagas now possess, 
can only, I think, point to their prosperity, while their 
constant feasts, and disinclination to work on Sundays, 
show that the loss of a few days' pay does not affect 
them. On the other hand, a former Native official on 



65 BADAGA 

the NUgiris writes to me that "though the average 
Badaga is thrifty and hard-working, there is a tendency 
for him to be lazy when he is sure of his meal. When a 
person is sick in another village, his relatives make it an 
excuse to go and see him, and they have to be fed. 
When the first crop is raised, the idler pretends that 
1 worms ' have crept into the crop, and the gods have to 
be propitiated, and there is a feast. Marriage or death, 
of course, draws a crowd to be fed or feasted. All this 
means extra expenditure, and a considerable drain on the 
slender income of the family. The Rowthan (Muham- 
madan merchant) from the Tamil country is near at 
hand to lend money, as he has carried his bazar to the 
very heart of the Badaga villages. First it is a bag of 
ragi (food grain), a piece of cloth to throw on the coffin, 
or a few rupees worth of rice and curry-stuff doled out 
by the all-accommodating Rowthan at a price out of all 
proportion to the market rate, and at a rate ranging from 
six pies to two annas for the rupee. The ever impecu- 
nious Badaga has no means of extricating himself, with 
a slender income, which leaves no margin for redeeming 
debts. The bond is renewed every quarter or half year, 
and the debt grows by leaps and bounds, and consumes 
all his earthly goods, including lands. The advent of 
lawyers on the hills has made the Badagas a most 
litigious people, and they resort to the courts, which 
means expenditure of money, and neglect of agriculture." 
In the funeral song of the Badagas, which has been 
translated by Mr. Gover,* one of the crimes enumerated, 
for which atonement must be made, is that of preferring 
a complaint to the Sirkar (Government), and one of their 
numerous proverbs embodies the same idea. " If you 



* Folk-songs of Southern India. 



BADAGA 66 

prefer a complaint to a Magistrate, it is as if you had 
put poison into your adversary's food." But Mr. Grigg 
writes,* " either the terrors of the Sirkar are not what 
they were, or this precept is much disregarded, for the 
Court-house at Ootacamund is constantly thronged with 
Badagas, and they are now very much given to 
litigation." 

I gather from the notes, which Bishop Whitehead 
has kindly placed at my disposal, that "when the 
Badagas wish to take a very solemn oath, they go 
to the temple of Mariamma at Sigur, and, after bathing 
in the stream and putting on only one cloth, offer 
fruits, cocoanuts, etc., and kill a sheep or fowl. They 
put the head of the animal on the step of the shrine, 
and make a line on the ground just in front of it. The 
person who is taking the oath then walks from seven 
feet off in seven steps, putting one foot immediately 
in front of the other, up to the line, crosses it, goes 
inside the shrine, and puts out a lamp that is burning 
in front of the image. If the oath is true, the man 
will walk without any difficulty straight to the shrine. 
But, if the oath is not true, his eyes will be blinded, and 
he will not be able to walk straight to the shrine, or see 
the lamp. It is a common saying among Badagas, when 
a man tells lies, ' Will you go to Sigur, and take an 
oath ? ' Oaths are taken in much the same way at the 
temple of Mariamma at Ootacamund. When a Hindu 
gives evidence in the Court at Ootacamund, he is often 
asked by the Judge whether he will take an oath at the 
Mariamma temple. If he agrees, he is sent off to the 
temple with a Court official. The party for whom he 
gives evidence supplies a goat or sheep, which is killed 



* Manual of the Nilagiri district. 



6 7 



BADAGA 



at the temple, the head and carcase being placed in front 
of the image. The witness steps over the carcase, and 
this forms the oath. If the evidence is false, it is 
believed that some evil will happen to him." 

The name Badaga or Vadugan means northerner, and 
the Badagas are believed to be descended from Canarese 
colonists from the Mysore country, who migrated to the 
Nllgiris three centuries ago owing to famine, political 
turmoil, or local oppression in their own country. It is 
worthy of notice, in this connection, that the head of the 
Badagas, like that of the Todas and Kotas, is dolicho- 
cephalic, and not of the mesaticephalic or sub-brachy- 
cephalic type, which prevails throughout Mysore, as in 
other Canarese areas. 

Average. 





t 
Cephalic 


Cephalic 


Cephalic 




length. 


breadth. 


index. 




cm. 


cm. 




Badaga 


18-9 


136 


717 


Toda 


19-4 


14*2 


73'3 


Kota 


19*2 


14*2 


74-i 



Of the Mysorean heads, the following are a few 
typical examples : — 



Average. 





Cephalic 


Cephalic 


\ 

Cephalic 




length. 


breadth. 


index. 




cm. 


cm. 




Ganiga 


185 


143 


77-6 


Bedar 


iS-3 


I4-3 


777 


Holeya 


17-9 


14T 


79-1 


Mandya Brahman 


i8-5 


14-8 


80-2 


Vakkaliga . . . 


177 


I4-5 


817 



Concerning the origin of the Badagas, the following 
legend is current. Seven brothers and their sisters 
were living on the Talamalai hills. A Muhammadan 

5* 



BADAGA 68 

ruler attempted to ravish the girl, whom the brother 
saved from him by flight. They settled down near the 
present village of Bethalhada. After a short stay there, 
the brothers separated, and settled in different parts of 
the Nilgiris, which they peopled. Concerning the 
second brother, Hethappa, who had two daughters, the 
story goes that, during his absence on one occasion, two 
Todas forced their way into his house, ravished his wife, 
and possessed themselves of his wordly effects. Hear- 
ing of what had occurred, Hethappa sought the assistance 
of two Balayaru in revenging himself on the Todas. 
They readily consented to help him, in return for a 
promise that they should marry his daughters. The 
Todas were killed, and the present inhabitants of the 
village Hulikallu are supposed to be the descendants of 
the Balayaru and Badaga girls. The seven brothers are 
now worshipped under the name Hethappa or Hetha. 

In connection with the migration of the Badagas to 
the Nilgiris, the following note is given in the Gazetteer 
of the Nilgiris. "When this flitting took place there is 
little to show. It must have occurred after the founda- 
tion of the Lingayat creed in the latter half of the 
twelfth century, as many of the Badagas are Lingayats 
by faith, and sometime before the end of the sixteenth 
century, since in 1602 the Catholic priests from the west 
coast found them settled on the south of the plateau, and 
observing much the same relations with the Todas as 
subsist to this day. The present state of our knowledge 
does not enable us to fix more nearly the date of the 
migration. That the language of the Badagas, which 
is a form of Canarese, should by now have so widely 
altered from its original as to be classed as a separate 
dialect argues that the movement took place nearer the 
twelfth than the sixteenth century. On the other hand, the 



69 BADAGA 

fact (pointed out by Dr. Rivers *) that the Badagas are not 
mentioned in a single one of the Todas' legends about 
their gods, whereas the Kotas, Kurumbas, and Irulas, 
each play a part in one or more of these stories, raises 
the inference that the relations between the Badagas and 
the Todas are recent as compared with those between 
the other tribes. A critical study of the Badaga dialect 
might perhaps serve to fix within closer limits the date 
of the migration. As now spoken, this tongue contains 
letters (two forms of r for instance) and numerous words, 
which are otherwise met with only in ancient books, and 
which strike most strangely upon the ear of the present 
generation of Canarese. The date when some of these 
letters and words became obsolete might possibly be 
traced, and thus aid in fixing the period when the 
Badagas left the low country. It is known that the two 
forms of r, for example, had dropped out of use prior 
to the time of the grammarian Kesiraja, who lived in 
the thirteenth century, and that the word betta (a hill), 
which the Badagas use in place of the modern bettu, is 
found in the thirteenth century work Sabdamanidarpana." 
It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Nilgiris, that 
" Nellialam, about eight miles north-west of Devala as 
the crow flies, is the residence of the Nellialam Arasu 
(Urs), who has been recognised as the janmi (landlord) 
of a considerable area in the Munanad amsam, but is 
in reality a Canarese-speaking Lingayat of Canarese 
extraction, who follows the ordinary Hindu law of inheri- 
tance, and is not a native of the Wynad or of Malabar. 
Family tradition, though now somewhat misty, says that 
in the beginning two brothers named Sadasiva Raja 
Urs and Bhujanga Raja Urs moved (at some date and for 



* The Todas, 1906. 



BADAGA 70 

some reason not stated) from UmmattDr (in the present 
Chamarajnagar taluk of Mysore), and settled at Malai- 
kota, the old fort near Kalhatti. Their family deities 
were Bhujangesvara and Ummattur Urakatti, which are 
still worshipped as such. They brought with them a 
following of Bedars and Badagas, and thereafter always 
encouraged the immigration to the hills of more Canarese 
people. The village of Bannimara, a mile west of 
Kalhatti, is still peopled by Bedars who are said to be 
descendants of people of that caste who came with the 
two brothers ; and to this day, when the Badagas of the 
plateau have disputes of difficulty, they are said to go 
down to Nellialam with presents (kanikai) in their hands, 
and ask the Arasu to settle their differences, while, at 
the time of their periodical ceremonies (manavalai) to 
the memory of their ancestors, they send a deputation to 
Nellialam to invite representatives of the Arasu to be 
present." 

Close to the village of Bethalhada is a row of 
cromlechs carved with figures of the sun and moon, 
human beings, animals, etc., and enclosed within a stone 
kraal, which the Badagas claim to be the work of their 
ancestors, to whom periodical offerings are made. At the 
time of my visit, there were within one of the cromlechs 
a conch shell, lingam, bell, and flowers. A number of 
these sculptured cromlechs at SholDr, MelDr, and other 
spots on the Nllgiris, aie described and figured by 
Breeks,* who records that the cromlech at Jakata Kambe 
is interesting as being the place of the yearly sacrifice 
performed by the Badagas of the Jakaneri grama 
(village) by their Kani Kurumba. And he adds that the 
Badagas would seem to have usually selected the 



* Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilagiris, 1873. 




•J 
< 

c 
< 

Z 
W 



71 BADAGA 

neighbourhood of these cromlechs for their temples, as 
for example, at Melur, Kakusi, H'laiuru, Tudur, and 
Jakatada. 

It is recorded *, in connection with the legends ot 
the Badagas, that " in the heart of the Banagudi shola, 
not far from the DoddQru group of cromlechs, is an odd 
little shrine to Karairaya, consisting of a ruined stone 
hut surrounded by a low wall, within which are a tiny 
cromlech, some sacred water-worn stones, and sundry 
little pottery images representing a tiger, a mounted 
man, and some dogs. These keep in memory, it is said, 
a Badaga who was slain in combat with a tiger ; and 
annually a festival is held, at which new images are 
placed there, and vows are paid. A Kurumba makes 
fire by friction and burns incense, throws sanctified 
water over the numerous goats brought to be sacri- 
ficed, to see if they will shiver in the manner always 
held necessary in sacrificial victims, and then slays, 
one after the other, those which have shown them- 
selves duly qualified. Hulikal Drug, usually known as 
the Drug, is a precipitous bluff at the very end of the 
range which borders on the south the great ravine which 
runs up to Coonoor. It is named from the neighbouring 
village of Hulikal, or tiger's stone, and the story goes 
that this latter is so called because in it a Badaga killed 
a notorious man-eater which had long been the terror of 
the country side. The spot where the beast was buried 
is shown near the Pillaiyar temple to the south of Hulikal 
village, and is marked by three stones. Burton says 
there used formerly to be a stone image of the slain tiger 
thereabouts. Some two miles south-east of Konakarai 
in a place known as Kottai-hada, or the fort flat, lie 



* Gazetteer of the Nilgiris. 



BADAGA 72 

the remains of the old fort Udaiya Raya Kota. Badaga 
tradition gives a fairly detailed account of Udaiya Raya. 
It says he was a chief who collected the taxes for the 
UmmattOr Rajas, and that he had also a fort at Kullan- 
thorai, near Sirumugai, the remains of which are still to 
be seen. He married a woman of Netlingi hamlet of 
Nedugula, named Muddu Gavari, but she died by the 
wrath of the gods because she persuaded him to cele- 
brate the annual fire-walking festival in front of the fort, 
instead of at the customary spot by the Mahalingasvami 
temple about half a mile off. Anaikatti is a hamlet 
situated in the jungle of the Moyar valley. The stream 
which flows past it tumbles over a pretty fall on the 
slopes of Blrmukku (Bimaka) hill. The Badagas call 
the spot Kuduraihallo, or the ravine of the horse, and 
say the name was given it because a Badaga, covered 
with shame at finding that his wife gave him first sort 
rice but his brother who lived with them only second 
sort, committed suicide by jumping his horse down the 
fall." 

According to Mr. Grigg, the Badagas recognise 
eighteen different " castes or sects." These are, how- 
ever, simplified by Mr. S. M. Natesa Sastri * into six, 
" five high castes and one low caste." They are — 

1. Udaya. 

2. Haruva. 

3. Adhikari. \- High caste. 

4. Kanaka. 

5. Badaga. 

6. Toreya ... Low caste. 

" Udayas are Lingayats in religion, and carry the 
Siviilinga — the Siva image — tied round their necks. 
They claim to be superior to all the other Badagas, and 



Madras Christian College Magazine, 1892. 




X 

< 



73 BADAGA 

are regarded as such. They are priests to all the Bada- 
gas of the Lingayat class, and are strict vegetarians. 
They do not intermarry with any of the other high caste 
Badaga sects. Udaya was, and is the title assumed by 
the Maisur Rajas, and those Badagas, by being thus 
designated as a caste, claim superior blood in their veins." 
The Lingayat Badagas are commonly called Lingakutti. 
" Next in rank come the Haruvas. From their name 
being so closely connected with the Aryas — the respect- 
able — and from their habit of wearing the Brahmanical 
thread, we are warranted in believing that they must 
originally have been the poor Brahman priests of the 
Badagas that migrated to this country (the Nllgiris), 
though they have now got themselves closely mingled 
with the Badagas. These Haruvas are also strict vege- 
tarians, and act as priests." It has been suggested that 
the Haruvas (jumper) derive their name from the fire- 
walking ceremony, which they perform periodically. 
A further, and more probable suggestion has been made 
to me that Haruva comes from a Canarese word meaning 
to beg or pray ; hence one who begs or prays, and so a 
Brahman. The Canarese Basava Purana frequently 
uses the word in sense. " The Adhikaris are to a certain 
extent vegetarians. The other two high castes, and of 
course the low caste Toreyas also, have no objection of 
any kind to eating llesh. It is also said that the vege- 
tarian Adhikari, if he marries into a flesh-eating caste 
of the Badagas, betakes himself to this latter very 
readily." The Kanakas are stated by Mr. Grigg to be 
the accountants, who were probably introduced when the 
hills were under the sway of the Tamil chiefs. This 
would, however, seem to be very improbable. " The 
Toreyas are regarded as sons and servants to the five 
high caste Badaga sects — to the Haruvas especially. 



BADAGA 74 

They are the lowest in the scale, and they are prohibited 
from intermarrying with the other or high caste Badagas, 
as long as they are sons to them." The Toreya does 
the menial duties for the tribe. He is the village servant, 
carries the corpses to the burning-ground, conveys the 
news of a death from village to village, is the first to get 
shaved when a death occurs, and is sent along with a 
woman when she is going to visit her mother or mother- 
in-law at a distance from her own home. " The Udayas, 
Adhikaris and Kanakas are Lingayats in religion, and 
the other three, the Haruvas, Badagas, and Toreyas are 
Saivites." Of the six divisions referred to, the Udayas 
and Toreyas are endogamous, but intermarriage is per- 
missible between the other four. At the census, 1891, a 
large number of Badagas returned as their sub-division 
Vakkaliga, which means cultivator, and is the name of 
the great cultivating caste of Mysore. 

Seven miles west of Coonoor is a village named 
Athikarihatti, or village of the Athikari or Adhikari 
section of the Badagas. " The story goes that these 
people, under a leader named Karibetta Raya, came 
from Sarigur in Mysore territory, and settled first at 
Nelliturai (a short distance south-west of Mettupalaiyam) 
and afterwards at TudOr (on the plateau west of 
Kulakambi) and Tadasimarahatti (to the north-west of 
MelOr), and that it was they who erected the sculptured 
cromlechs of TudQr and Melur. Tudur and Tadasi- 
marahatti are now both deserted ; but in the former a 
cattle kraal, an old shrine, and a pit for fire-walking may 
still be seen, and in the latter another kraal, and one of 
the raised stone platforms called mandaikallu by the 
Badagas. Tradition says that the Badagas left these 
places and founded Athikarihatti and its hamlets instead, 
because the Kurumbas round about continually troubled 




BADAGA GIRLS. 



75 BADAGA 

them with their magic arts, and indeed killed by sorcery 
several of their most prominent citizens." * 

Like other Canarese people, the Badagas have 
exogamous septs or kulas, of which Mari, Madhave 
(marriage), Kasturi (musk), and Belli (silver) are 
examples. A very large number of families belong to 
the Mari and Madhave septs, which were time after 
time given as the sept name in reply to my enquiries. 
It may be noted that Belli occurs as an exogamous sept 
of the Canarese classes Vakkaliga, Toreya, and Kuruba, 
and KastDri is recorded in my notes as a sept of the 
Vakkaligas and Telugu Kammas. 

The Badagas dwell in extensive villages, generally 
situated on the summit of a low hillock, composed of 
rows of comfortable thatched or tiled houses, and 
surrounded by the fields, which yield the crops. The 
houses are not separate tenements, but a line of dwel- 
lings under one continuous roof, and divided by party 
walls. Sometimes there are two or three, or more lines, 
forming streets. Each house is partitioned off into an 
outer (edumane) and inner apartment (ozhaga or 
ogamane). If the family has cows or buffaloes yielding 
milk, a portion of the latter is converted into a milk- 
house (hagottu), in which the milk is stored, and which 
no woman may enter Even males who are under 
pollution, from having touched or passed near a Kota or 
Paraiyan, or other cause, may not enter it until they 
have had a ceremonial bath. To some houses a loft, 
made of bamboo posts, is added, to serve as a store- 
house. In every Badaga village there is a raised 
platform composed of a single boulder or several stones 
with an erect stone slab set up thereon, called sOththu 



* Gazetteer of the Nilgiris. 



BADAGA 76 

kallu. There is, further, a platform, made of bricks 
and mud, called mandhe kallu, whereon the Badagas, 
when not working, sit at ease. In their folk-tales men 
seated thereon are made to give information concerning 
the approach of strangers to the village. Strangers, 
who are not Badagas, are called Holeya. The Rev. 
G. Richter gives* Badaga Holeya as a division of the 
lowly Holeyas, who came to Coorg from the Mysore 
country. In front of the houses, the operations of drying 
and threshing grain are carried out. The cattle are 
kept in stone kraals, or covered sheds close to the habi- 
tations, and the litter is kept till it is knee or waist deep, 
and then carried away as manure for the Badaga' s land, 
or planters' estates. 

" Nobody," it has been said, t " can beat the Badaga 
at making mother earth produce to her utmost capacity, 
unless it be a Chinese gardener. To-day we see a portion 
of the hill side covered with rocks and boulders. The 
Badagas become possessed of this scene of chaos, and 
turn out into the place in hundreds, reducing it, in a 
few weeks, to neat order. The unwieldy boulders, 
having been rolled aside, serve their purpose by being 
turned into a wall to keep out cattle, etc. The soil is 
pounded and worried until it becomes amenable to 
reason, and next we see a green crop running in waves 
over the surface. The Badagas are the most progres- 
sive of all the hill tribes, and always willing to test any 
new method of cultivation, or new crops brought to their 
notice by the Nilgiri Horticultural Society." 

Writing in 1832, Harkness states } that "on leaving 
his house in the morning the Burgher pays his adoration 



* Manual of Coorg. t Pioneer, 4th October 1907. 

J Description of a singular Aboriginal Race inhabiting the summit of the 
Neilgherry Mills. 



77 BAD AG A 

to the god of day, proceeds to the tu-el or yard, in 
which the cattle have been confined, and, again addres- 
sing the sun as the emblem of Siva, asks his blessing, 
and liberates the herd. He allows the cattle to stray 
about in the neighbourhood of the village, on a piece of 
ground which is always kept for this purpose, and, 
having performed his morning ablutions, commences the 
milking. This is also preceded by further salutations 
and praises to the sun. On entering the house in the 
evening, the Burgher addresses the lamp, now the only 
light, or visible emblem of the deity. ' Thou, creator of 
this and of all worlds, the greatest of the great, who art 
with us, as well in the mountain as in the wilderness, 
who keepeth the wreaths that adorn the head from 
fading, who guardeth the foot from the thorn, God, 
among a hundred, may we be prosperous.' ' 

The Badaga understands the rotation of crops well. 
On his land he cultivates bearded wheat (beer ganji), 
barley, onions, garlic, potatoes, klre (Amarantus), samai 
(Panicutn miliare), tenai {Setaria italica), etc. 

"Among the Badagas," Mr. Natesa Sastri writes, 
"the position of the women is somewhat different from 
what it is among most peoples. Every Badaga has a 
few acres to cultivate, but he does not mainly occupy 
himself with them, for his wife does all the out-door 
farm work, while he is engaged otherwise in earning 
something in hard cash. To a Badaga, therefore, his 
wife is his capital. Her labour in the field is considered 
to be worth one rupee per day, while an average male 
Badaga earns merely three annas. A Badaga woman, 
who has not her own acres to cultivate, finds work on 
some other lands. She thus works hard for her hus- 
band and family, and is quite content with the coarsest 
food — the korali [Setaria italica) flour — leaving the 



BADAGA 7 8 

better food to the male members of the family. This 
fact, and the hard work the Badaga women have to 
perform, may perhaps account to some extent for the 
slight build of the Badagas as a race. The male 
Badaga, too, works in the field, or at his own craft if he 
is not a cultivator, but his love for ready cash is always 
so great that, even if he had a harvest to gather the 
next morning, he would run away as a cooly for two 
annas wages." Further, Mr. Grigg states that "as the 
men constantly leave their villages to work on coffee 
plantations, much of the labour in their own fields, as 
well as ordinary household work, is performed by the 
women. They are so industrious, and their services of 
such value to their husbands, that a Badaga sometimes 
pays 150 or 200 rupees as dowry for his wife." In the 
off season for cultivation, I am informed, the Badaga 
woman collects faggots for home consumption, and 
stores them near her house, and the women prepare the 
fields for cultivation by weeding, breaking the earth, and 
collecting manure. 

In his report on the revenue settlement of the 
Nilgiris (1885), Mr. (now Sir) R. S. Benson notes that 
"concurrently with the so-called abolition of the bhurty 
(or shifting) system of cultivation, Mr. Grant abolished 
the peculiar system in vogue up to that time in Kundah- 
nad, which had been transferred from Malabar to the 
Nilgiris in i860. This system was known as erkadu 
kothukadu. Under it, a tax of Re. 1 to Re. 1-8-0 was 
levied for the right to use a plough or er, and a tax of 
from 4 to 8 annas was levied for the right to use a hoe 
or kothu. The so-called patta issued to the ryot under 
this system was really no more than a license to use one 
or more hoes, as the case might be. It merely specified 
the amount payable for each instrument, but in no cases 



79 BADAGA 

was the extent or position of the lands to be cultivated 
specified. The ryot used his implements whenever and 
wherever he pleased. No restrictions, even on the 
felling of forests, were imposed, so that the hill-sides 
and valleys were cleared at will. The system was 
abolished in 1862. But, during the settlement, I found 
this erkadu kothukadu system still in force in the flour- 
ishing Badaga village of Kinnakorai, with some fifty 
houses." 

In connection with the local self-government of the 
Badagas, Mr. A. Rajah Bahadur Mudaliar writes to me 
as follows. "In former days, the monegar was a great 
personage, as he formed the unit of the administration. 
The appointment was more or less hereditary, and it 
generally fell to the lot of the richest and most well-to- 
do. All disputes within his jurisdiction were placed 
before him, and his decision was accepted as final. In 
simple matters, such as partition of property, disputes 
between husband and wife, etc., the monegars them- 
selves disposed of them. But, when questions of a com- 
plicated nature presented themselves, they took as their 
colleagues other people of the villages, and the disputes 
were settled by the collective wisdom of the village 
elders. They assembled at a place set apart for the 
purpose beneath a nim (Melia Azadirachta) or pipal 
tree {Ficus religiosd) on a raised platform (ratchai), 
generally situated at the entrance to the village. The 
monegar was ex-officio president of such councils. He 
and the committee had power to fine the parties, to 
excommunicate them, and to readmit them to the caste. 
Parents resorted to the monegar for counsel in the dis- 
posal of their daughters in marriage, and in finding 
brides for their sons. If any one had the audacity to 
run counter to the wishes of the monegar in matters 



BADAGA 80 

matrimonial, he had the power to throw obstacles in the 
way of such marriages taking place. The monegar, in 
virtue of his position, wielded much power, and ruled 
the village as he pleased." In the old days, it is said, 
when he visited any village within his jurisdiction, the 
monegar had the privilege of having the best women or 
maids of the place to share his cot according to his 
choice. In former times, the monegar used to wear a 
silver ring as the badge of office, and some Badagas 
still have in their possession such rings, which are pre- 
served as heirlooms, and worshipped during festivals. 
The term monegar is, at the present day, used for the 
village revenue official and munsiff. 

I gather that each exogamous sept has its headman, 
called Gouda, who is assisted by a Parpattikaran, and 
decides tribal matters, such as disputes, divorce, etc. 
Fines, when inflicted, go towards feasting the tribe, and 
doing puja (worship) to the gods. In the case of a 
dispute between two parties, one challenges the other to 
take an oath in a temple before the village council. A 
declaration on oath settles the matter at issue, and the 
parties agree to abide by it. It is the duty of the 
Parpattikaran to make arrangements for such events as 
the Heththeswami, Devve and Bairaganni festivals, and 
the buffalo sacrificing festival at Konakkore. The Par- 
pattikaran takes part in the purification of excommuni- 
cated members of the tribe, when they are received 
back into it, for example, on release from prison. The 
tongue of the delinquent is burnt with a hot sandal stick, 
and a new waist thread put on. He is taken to the 
temple, where he stands amidst the assembled Badagas, 
who touch his head with a cane. He then prostrates 
himself at the feet of the Parpattikaran, who smears his 
forehead with sacred ashes. It is, further, the duty of 



8 1 BADAGA 

the Parpattikaran to be present on the occasion of the 
Kannikattu (pregnancy) ceremony. 

A quarter of a century ago, a Badaga could be at 
once picked out from the other tribes of the Nllgiris by 
his wearing a turban. But, in the present advanced 
age, not only does the Toda sometimes appear in the 
national head-dress, but even Irulas and Kurumbas, who 
only a short time ago were buried in the jungles, living 
like pigs and bears on roots, honey and other forest 
produce, turn up on Sundays in the Kotagiri bazar, clad in 
turban and coat of English cut. And, as the less civilised 
tribes don the turban, so the college student abandons 
this picturesque form of head-gear in favour of the less 
becoming and less washable porkpie cap, while the 
Badaga men and youths glory in a knitted night-cap of 
flaring red or orange hue. The body of the Badaga 
man is covered by a long body-cloth, sometimes with 
red and blue stripes, wrapped " so loosely that, as a man 
works in the fields, he is obliged to stop between every 
few strokes of his hoe, to gather up his cloth, and throw 
one end over his shoulder." Male adornment is limited 
to gold ear-rings of a special pattern made by Kotas or 
goldsmiths, a silver waist-thread, silver bangle on the 
wrist, and silver, copper, or brass rings. The women 
wear a white body-cloth, a white under-cloth tied round 
the chest, tightly wrapped square across the breasts, and 
reaching to the knees, and a white cloth worn like a cap 
on the head. As types of female jewelry and tattooing, 
the following examples may be cited : — 

i . Tattooed on forehead with dashes, circles and 
crescent ; spot on chin ; double row of dots on each 
upper arm over deltoid ; and devices and double row of 
dots on right forearm. Gold ornament in left nostril. 
Necklets of glass beads and silver links with four-anna 
6 



BADAGA 82 

piece pendent. Silver armlet above right elbow. Four 
copper armlets above left elbow. Four silver and seven 
composition bangles on left forearm. Two silver rings 
on right ring-finger ; two steel rings on left ring-finger. 

2. Tattooed on forehead; quadruple row of dots 
over right deltoid ; star on right forearm. 

3. Tattooed like the preceding on forehead and 
upper arm. Spot on chin ; elaborate device on right 
forearm ; rayed star or sun on back of hand. 

4. Tattooed like the preceding on forehead and 
arm. Triple row of dots on back and front of left wrist, 
and double row of dots, with circle surrounded by dots, 
across chest. 

Toreya women are only allowed to wear bangles on 
the wrist. 

The tattoo marks on the foreheads of Udayar women 
consist of a crescent and dot, and they have a straight 
line tattooed at the outer corners of the eyes. Women 
of the other sub-divisions have on the forehead two circles 
with two vertical dashes between them, and a horizontal 
or crescentic dash below. The circles are made by 
pricking in the pigment over an impression made with a 
finger ring, or over a black mark made by means of such 
a ring. The operation is performed either by a Badaga 
or Korava woman. The former uses as needles the 
spines of Carissa spinarum, and a mixture of finely 
powdered charcoal or lamp-black mixed with rice gruel 
The marks on the forehead are made when a girl is 
about eight or nine years old, and do not, as stated by 
Mr. Natesa Sastri, proclaim to the whole Badaga world 
that a girl is of marriageable age. 

In colour the Badagas are lighter than the other hill 
tribes, and the comparative pallor of the skin is specially 
noticeable in the females, whom, with very few excep- 



83 



BADAGA 



tions, I was only able to study by surreptitious examina- 
tion, when we met on the roads. In physique, the 
typical Badaga man is below middle height, smooth- 
skinned, of slender build, with narrow chest and shoulders. 

Badaga men have cicatrices on the shoulder and 
forearm as the result of branding with a fire-stick when 
they are lads, with the object, it is said, of giving strength, 
and preventing pain when milking or churning. In like 
manner, the Todas have raised cicatrices (keloids) on 
the shoulder produced by branding with a fire-stick. 
They believe that the branding enables them to milk the 
buffaloes with perfect ease. 

The Badagas have a very extensive repertoire of 
hora hesaru, or nicknames, of which the following are 
examples : — 



One who eats in bed during the 

night. 
Snorer. 
Stupid. 
Bald head. 
Brown-eyed. 
Thin and bony. 
Big head. 
Bandy-legged. 
One who returned alive from 

the burning ground. 
Ripe fruit. 
Big-thighed. 
Blind. 
Lame. 
Big calves. 
Piles. 
Liar. 
Cat-eyed. 

Fond of pot-herbs 
Rheumatic. 
6* 



Bad-tempered. 

Left-handed. 

Buffalo grazer. 

Saliva dribbling. 

Honey-eater. 

Black 

Spleen. 

Teeth. 

Potato-eater. 

Glutton. 

Belly. 

Itch-legged. 

One who was slow in learning 

to walk. 
Tall. 

Thief-eyed. 
Pustule-bodied. 
Scarred. 
Hairy. 

Weak, like partially baked pots. 
Strong, like portland cement. 



BADAGA 84 

Among the Badagas, Konga is used as a term 
of abuse. Those who made mistakes in matching 
Holmgren's wools, with which I tested them, were, 
always called Konga by the onlookers. 

When two Badagas meet each other, the elder touches 
the head of the younger with his right hand. This form 
of salutation is known as giving the head. A person of 
the Badaga section gives the head, as it is called, to an 
Udaiyar, in token of the superiority of the latter. When 
people belong to the same sept, they say " Ba, anna, 
appa, thamma, amma, akka " (come, father, brother, 
mother, sister, etc.). But, if they are of different septs, 
they will say " Ba, mama, mami, bava " (come, uncle, 
aunt, brother-in-law, etc.). " Whenever," Dr. Rivers 
writes,* " a Toda meets a Badaga monegar (headman), 
or an old Badaga with whom he is acquainted, a saluta- 
tion passes between the two. The Toda stands before 
the Badaga, inclines his head slightly, and says ' Madtin 
pudia.' (Madtin, you have come). The Badaga replies 
'Buthuk! buthuk!' (blessing, blessing), and rests his 
hand on the top of the Toda's head. This greeting only 
takes place between Todas and the more important 
of the Badaga community. It would seem that every 
Badaga headman may be greeted in this way, but a Toda 
will only greet 'other Badaga elders, if he is already 
acquainted with them. The salutation is made to 
members of all the various castes of the Badagas, except 
the Toreyas. It has been held to imply that the Todas 
regard the Badagas as their superiors, but it is doubtful 
how far this is the case. The Todas themselves say 
they follow the custom because the Badagas help to 
support them. It seems to be a mark of respect paid 



* The Todas, 1906. 



85 BADAGA 

by the Todas to the elders of a tribe with which they 
have very close relations, and it is perhaps significant 
that no similar sign of respect is shown to Toda elders 
by the Badagas." 

Every Badaga family has its Muttu Kota, from 
whom it gets the agricultural implements, pots, hoes, 
etc. In return, the Kotas receive an annual present of 
food-grains, mustard and potatoes. For a Kota funeral, 
the Badagas have to give five rupees or a quantity of 
rice, and a buffalo. The pots obtained from the Kotas 
are not used immediately, but kept for three days in the 
jungle, or in a bush in some open spot. They are then 
taken to the outer apartment of the house, and kept 
there for three days, when they are smeared with the 
bark of Meliosma pungens (the tud tree of the Todas) 
and culms of Andropogon Sckcznantkus (bzambe hullu). 
Thus purified, the pots are used for boiling water in for 
three days, and may then be used for any purpose. The 
Badagas are said to give a present of grain annually to 
the Todas. Every Toda mand (or mad) seems to have 
its own group of Badaga families, who pay them this 
gudu, as it is called. " There are," Dr. Rivers writes, 
" several regulations concerning the food of the palol 
(dairy-man of a Toda sacred dairy). Any grain he eats 
must be that provided by the Badagas. At the present 
time more rice is eaten than was formerly the case. 
This is not grown by the Badagas, but nevertheless the 
rice for the palol must be obtained through them. The 
palol wears garments of a dark grey material made in 
the Coimbatore district. They are brought to the palol 
by the Badaga called tikelfmav. The earthenware 
vessels of the inner room (of the ti dairy) are not obtained 
from the Kotas, like the ordinary vessels, but are made 
by Hindus, and are procured through the Badagas." 



BADAGA 86 

The Badagas live in dread of the Kurumbas, and the 
Kurumba constantly comes under reference in their 
folk-stories. The Kurumba is the necromancer of the 
hills, and believed to be possessed of the power of out- 
raging women, removing their livers, and so causing 
their death, while the wound heals by magic, so that no 
trace of the operation is left. He is supposed, too, to 
have the power of opening the bolts of doors by magic, 
and effecting an entrance into a house at night for some 
nefarious purpose. The Toda or Badaga requires the 
services of the Kurumba, when he fancies that any 
member of his family is possessed of the devil, or when 
he wants to remove the evil eye, to which he imagines 
that his children have been subjected. The Kurumba 
does his best to remove the malady by repeating various 
mantrams (magical formulae). If he fails, and if any 
suspicion is aroused in the mind of the Toda or Badaga 
that he is allowing the devil to play his pranks instead of 
loosing his hold on the supposed victim, woe betide him. 
The wrath of the entire village, or even the whole tribe, 
is raised against the unhappy Kurumba. His hut is 
surrounded at night, and the entire household massacred 
in cold blood, and their huts set on fire. This is very 
cleverly carried out, and the isolated position of the 
Kurumba settlements allows of very little clue for iden- 
tification. In 1835 no less than fifty-eight Kurumbas 
were thus murdered, and a smaller number in 1875 and 
1882. In 1 89 1 the live inmates of a single hut were 
murdered, and their hut burnt to ashes, because, it was 
said, one of them who had been treating a sick Badaga 
child failed to cure it. The crime was traced to some 
Kotas in conjunction with Badagas, but the District 
Judge disbelieved the evidence, and all who were charged 
were acquitted. Every Badaga family pays an annual 



Sy BADAGA 

tax of four annas to the Kurumbas, and, if a Kurumba 
comes to a Badaga hatti (village), a subscription is 
raised as an inducement to him to take his departure. 
The Kurumba receives a fee for every Badaga funeral, 
and for the pregnancy ceremony (kannikattu). 

It is noted by Dr. Rivers that " the Toda sorcerers 
are not only feared by their fellow Todas, but also by 
the Badagas, and it is probably largely owing to fear of 
Toda sorcery that the Badagas continue to pay their 
tribute of grain. The Badagas may also consult the 
Toda diviners, and it is probable that the belief of the 
Badagas in the magical powers of the Todas is turned 
to good account by the latter. In some cases, Todas, 
have been killed by Badagas owing to this belief." 

Among the Todas, the duties of milking the 
buffaloes and dairy-work are entrusted to special 
individuals, whereas any Badaga male may, after initia- 
tion, milk the cows and buffaloes, provided that he is 
free from pollution. Every Badaga boy, when he is 
about seven or nine years old, is made to milk a cow on 
an auspicious day, or on new year's day. The ceremony 
is thus described by Mr. Natesa Sastri. " Early in the 
morning of the day appointed for this ceremony, the boy 
is bathed, and appears in his holiday dress. A she- 
buffalo, with her calf, stands before his house, waiting to 
be milked. The parents, or other elder relations of the 
boy, and those who have been invited to be present on 
the occasion, or whose duty it is to be present, then 
conduct the boy to the spot. The father, or some one of 
the agnatic kindred, gives into the hands of the boy a 
bamboo vessel called hone, which is already very nearly 
full of fresh-drawn milk. The boy receives the vessel 
with both his hands, and is conducted to the buffalo. 
The elder relations show him the process, and the boy, 



BADAGA 88 

sitting down, milks a small quantity into the hone. This 
is his first initiation into the duty of milking, and it is that 
he may not commit mistakes on the very first day of his 
milking that the hone is previously filled almost to the 
brim. The boy takes the vessel filled with milk into his 
house, and pours some of the sacred fluid into all his 
household eating vessels — a sign that from that day he 
has taken up on himself the responsibility of supplying 
the family with milk. He also throws some milk in the 
faces of his parents and relatives. They receive it very 
kindly, and bless him, and request him to continue thus 
to milk the buffaloes, and bring plenty and prosperity to 
the house. After this, the boy enters the milk-house 
(hagSttu), and places milk in his hone there. From 
this moment, and all through his life, he may enter 
into that room, and this is therefore considered a very 
important ceremony." 

A cow or buffalo, which has calved for the first time, 
has to be treated in a special manner. For three or five 
days it is not milked. A boy is then selected to milk it. 
He must not sleep on a mat, or wear a turban, and, 
instead of tying his cloth round his waist, must wear 
it loosely over his body. Meat is forbidden, and he 
must avoid, and not speak to polluting classes, such as 
Irulas and Kotas, and menstruating women. On the 
day appointed for milking the animal, the boy bathes, 
and proceeds to milk it into a new hone purified by 
smearing a paste of Meliosma (tud) leaves and bark 
over it, and heating it over a fire. The milk is taken to 
a stream, where three cups are made of Argyreia (mlnige) 
leaves, into which a small quantity of the milk is placed. 
The cups are then put in the water. The remainder 
of the milk in the hone is also poured into the stream. 
In some places, especially where a Madeswara temple is 



89 BADAGA 

close at hand, the milk is taken to the temple, and given 
to the pujari. With a portion of the milk some plantain 
fruits are made into a pulp, and given to an Udaya, who 
throws them into a stream. The boy is treated with 
some respect by his family during the period when he 
milks the animal, and is given food first. This he must 
eat off a plate made of Argvreia, or plantain leaves. 

Besides the hagottu within the house, the Badagas 
have, at certain places, separate dairy-houses near a 
temple dedicated to Heththeswami, of which the one at 
Bairaganni (or Berganni) appears to be the most im- 
portant. The dairy pujari is here, like the Toda palol, 
a celibate. In 1905, he was a young lad, whom my 
Brahman assistant set forth to photograph. He was, 
however, met at a distance from the village by a head- 
man, who assured him that he could not take the photo- 
graph without the sanction of fifteen villages. The 
pujari is not allowed to wander freely about the village, 
or talk to grown-up women. He cooks his own food 
within the temple grounds, and wears his cloth thrown 
loosely over his body. Once a year, on the occasion of 
a festival, he is presented with new cloths and turban, 
which alone he may wear. He must be a strict vege- 
tarian. A desire to marry and abandon the priesthood 
is believed to be conveyed in dreams, or through one 
inspired. Before leaving the temple service, he must 
train his successor in the duties, and retires with the 
gains acquired by the sale of the products of the herd 
and temple offerings. The village of Bairaganni is 
regarded as sacred, and possesses no holagudi (menstrual 
hut). 

Bishop Whitehead adds that "buffaloes are given as 
offerings to the temple at Bairaganni, and become the 
property of the pujari, who milks them, and uses the 



BADAGA 90 

milk for his food. All the villagers give him rice every- 
day. He may only eat once a day, at about 3 p.m. He 
cooks the meal himself, and empties the rice from the 
cooking-pot by turning it over once. If the rice does 
not come out the first time, he cannot take it at all. 
When he wants to get married, another boy is appointed 
in his place. The buffaloes are handed over to his 
successor." The following legend in connection with 
Bairaganni is also recorded by Bishop Whitehead. 
" There is a village in the Mekanad division of the 
Nilgiris called Nundala. A man had a daughter. He 
wanted to marry her to a man in the Paranganad division 
about a hundred years ago. She did not wish to marry 
him. The father insisted, but she refused again and 
again. At last she wished to die, and came near a tank, 
on the bank of which was a tree. She sat under the 
tree and washed, and then threw herself into the tank. 
One of the men of Bairaganni in the Paranganad division 
saw the woman in a dream. She told him that she was 
not a human being but a goddess, an incarnation of 
Parvati. The people of Nundala built a strong bund 
(embankment) round the tank, and allow no woman to go 
on it. Only the pUjari, and Badagas who have prepared 
themselves by fasting and ablution, are allowed to go on 
the bund to offer puja, which is done by breaking 
cocoanuts, and offering rice, flowers, and fruits. The 
woman told the man in his dream to build a temple 
at Bairaganni, which is now the chief temple of Heth- 
theswami." 

Concerning the initiation of a Lingayat Badaga into 
his religion, which takes place at about his thirteenth 
birthday, Mr. Natesa Sastri writes as follows. "The 
priest conducts this ceremony, and the elder relations of 
the family have only to arrange for the performance 



91 BADAGA 

of it. The priests belong to the Udaya sect. They live 
in their own villages, and are specially sent for, and 
come to the boy's village for the occasion. The cere- 
mony is generally done to several boys of about the v 
same age on the same day. On the day appointed, 
all the people in the Badaga village, where this ceremony 
is to take place, observe a strict fast. The cows and 
buffaloes are all milked very early in the morning, 
and not a drop of the milk thus collected is given 
out, or taken by even the tenderest children of the 
village, who may require it very badly. The Udaya 
priest arrives near the village between 10 a.m. and noon 
on the day appointed. He never goes into the village, 
but stops near some rivulet adjacent to it. The relations 
of the boy approach him with a new basket, containing 
five measures of uncooked rice, pulse, ghl, etc., and a 
quarter of a rupee — one fanam, as it is generally desig- 
nated. The priest sits near the water-course, and lights 
a fire on the bank. Perfumes are thrown profusely into 
it, and this is almost the only ceremony before the fire. 
The boys, whose turn it is to receive the linga that day, 
are all directed to bathe in the river. A plantain leaf, 
cut into one foot square, is placed in front of the fire 
towards the east of it. The lingas, kept in readiness by 
the parents of the boys, are now received by the priest, 
and placed on the leaves. The boys are asked to wash 
them — each one the linga meant for his wearing — in 
water and milk. Then comes the time for the expendi- 
ture of all the collected milk of the morning. Profusely 
the white fluid is poured, till the whole rivulet is nothing 
but a stream of milk. After the lingas are thus washed, 
the boys give them to the priest, who places them in his 
left palm, and, covering them with his right, utters, with 
all the solemnity due to the occasion, the following 



BADAGA 92 

incantation, while the boys and the whole village assem- 
bled there listen to it with the most profound respect and 
veneration ' Oh ! Siva, Hara, Basava, the Lord of all 
the six thousand and three thousand names and glories, 
the Lord of one lakh and ninety-six thousand ganas 
(body-guards of Siva), the donor of water, the daily-to-be 
worshipped, the husband of Parvati. Oh ! Lord, O ! 
Siva Linga, thy feet alone are our resort. Oh ! Siva, 
Siva, Siva, Siva.' While pronouncing this prayer, the 
priest now and then removes his right palm, and pours 
water and milk round the sacred fire, and over the lingas 
resting in his left palm. He then places each of the 
lingas in a cloth of one cubit square, rolls it up, and 
requests the boys to hold out their right palms. The 
young Badaga receives it, repeats the prayer given about 
five times, and, during each repetition, the palm holding 
the linga tied up in the cloth is carried nearer and nearer 
to his neck. When that is reached (on the fifth utterance 
of the incantation), the priest ties the ends of the rolled 
up cloth containing the Siva emblem loosely round the 
boy's neck, while the latter is all the while kneeling 
down, holding with both his hands the feet of the priest. 
After the linga has been tied, the priest blesses him 
thus : ' May one become one thousand to you. May you 
ever preserve in you the Siva Linga. If you do so, you 
will have plenty of milk and food, and you will prosper 
for one thousand years in name and fame, kine and coin.' 
If more than one have to receive the linga on the same 
day, each of them has to undergo this ceremony. After 
the ceremony is over, the priest returns to his village 
with the rice, etc., and fees. Every house, in which 
a boy has received the linga, has to give a grand feast 
on that day. Even the poorest Badaga must feed at 
least five other Badagas." 



93 BADAGA 

The foregoing account of the investiture with the 
lingam apparently applies to the Mekanad Udayas. The 
following note is based on information supplied by the 
Udayas of Paranginad. The ceremony of investiture is 
performed either on new year's day or Sivarathri by 
an Udaya priest in the house of a respected member 
of the community (doddamane), which is vacated for the 
occasion. The houses of the boys and girls who are to 
receive lingams are cleaned, and festoons of tud and 
mango leaves, lime fruits, and flowers of Leucas aspera 
(thumbe) are tied across the doorways, and in front of 
the house where the ceremony is to be performed. 
Until the conclusion thereof, all the people of the village 
fast. The candidates, with their parents, and the offici- 
ating priest repair to the doddamane. The lingams are 
handed over to the priest, who, taking them up one 
by one, does puja to them, and gives them to the 
children. They in turn do pOja, and the lingams, 
wrapped in pink silk or cotton cloths, are tied round 
their necks. The puja consists of washing the lingams 
in cow's urine and milk, smearing them with sandal and 
turmeric paste, throwing flowers on them, and waving 
incense and burning camphor before them. After the 
investiture, the novices are taught a prayer, which is not 
a stereotyped formula, but varies with the priest and 
village. 

Like other Lingayats, the Udayas respect the Jan- 
gam, but do not employ the Jangama thirtham (water 
used for washing the Jangam's feet) for bathing their 
lingams. In Udaya villages there is no special menstrual 
hut (holagudi). Milk is not regarded by them as a 
sacred product, so there is no hagottu in their houses. 
Nor do they observe the Manavalai festival in honour of 
ancestors. Other ceremonies are celebrated by them, as 



BADAGA 94 

by other Badagas, but they do not employ the services 
of a Kurumba. 

Important agricultural ceremonies are performed by 
the Badagas at the time of sowing and harvest. The 
seed-sowing ceremony takes place in March, and, in 
some places, e.g., the Mekanad and Paranginad, a 
Kurumba plays an important part in it. On an auspici- 
ous day — a Tuesday before the crescent moon — a pujari 
of the Devve temple sets out several hours before dawn 
with five or seven kinds of grain in a basket and sickle, 
accompanied by a Kurumba, and leading a pair of 
bullocks with a plough. On reaching the field selected, 
the pujari pours the grain into the cloth of the Kurumba, 
and, yoking the animals to the plough, makes three 
furrows in the soil. The Kurumba, stopping the 
bullocks, kneels on the ground between the furrows 
facing east. Removing his turban, he places it on 
the ground, and, closing his ears with his palms, bawls 
out " Dho, Dho," thrice. He then rises, and scatters 
the grain thrice on the soil. The pujari and Kurumba 
then return to the village, and the former deposits what 
remains of the grain in the store-room (attu). A new 
pot, lull 01 water, is placed in the milk-house, and 
the pujari dips his right hand therein, saying " Nerathu- 
bitta " (it is full). This ceremony is an important one 
for the Badagas, as, until it has been performed, sowing 
may not commence. It is a day of feasting, and, in 
addition to rice, Dolichos Lablab is cooked. 

The other agricultural ceremony is called Devve 
habba or tenai (Setaria italica), and is usually celebrated 
in June or July, always on a Monday. It is apparently 
performed in honour of the two gods Mahalingaswami 
and Hiriya Udaya, to whom a group of villages will 
have temples dedicated. For example, the Badagas in 



95 BADAGA 

the neighbourhood of Kotagiri have their Hiriya Udaya 
temple at Tandanad, and Mahal ingaswami temple at 
KanneYmukku. This Devve festival, which should on 
no account be pronounced duvve, which means burning- 
ground, is celebrated at one place, whither the Badagas 
from other villages proceed, to take part in it. About 
midday, some Badagas and the temple pujari go from 
the temple of Hiriya Udaya to that of Mahal ingaswami. 
The procession is usually headed by a Kurumba, who 
scatters fragments of tud bark and wood as he goes 
on his way. The pujari takes with him the materials 
necessary for doing puja, and, after worshipping Maha- 
lingaswami, the party return to the Hiriya Udaya temple, 
where milk and cooked rice are offered to the various 
gods within the temple precincts. On the following 
day, all assemble at the temple, and a Kurumba brings 
a few sheaves of Setaria italica, and ties them to a stone 
set up at the main entrance. After this, puja is done, 
and the people offer cocoanuts to the god. Later on, 
all the women of the Madhave sept, who have given 
birth to a first-born child, come, dressed up in holiday 
attire, with their babies, to the temple. On this day 
they wear a special nose ornament, called elemukkuththi, 
which is only worn on one other occasion, at the funeral 
of a husband. The women do puja to Hiriya Udaya, 
and the pDjari gives them a small quantity of rice on 
minige {Argyreia) leaves. After eating this, they leave 
the temple in a line, and wash their hands with water 
given to them by the p0j5ri. This ceremonial, perform- 
ed by women of the Madhave sept, is called Mande- 
dhanda. As soon as the Devve festival is concluded, 
the reaping of the crop commences, and a measure or 
two of grain from the crop gathered on the first day, 
called nlsal, is set apart for the Mahalingaswami temple. 



BADAGA 96 

The most important gods of the Badagas are Heth- 
theswami, Mahalingaswami, Hiriya Udaya, Madeswara, 
Mankali, Jadeswami, and Nllgiri Rangaswami. And at 
the present day, some Badagas proceed to the plains, to 
worship at the Saivite temple at Karamadai in Coimba- 
tore, or at Nanjangod in Mysore. 

The festival in honour of Heththeswami is celebrated 
in the month of January at Baireganni. It is sometimes 
called ermathohabba, as, with it, ploughing operations 
cease. It always commences on a Monday, and usually 
lasts eight days. A Sedan or Devanga weaver comes 
with his portable hand-loom, and sufficient thread for 
weaving a dhubati (coarse cloth) and turban. At Baire- 
ganni there is a special house, in which these articles are 
woven. But, at other places where the festival is 
observed, the Badagas go to the weaver's village to 
fetch the required cloths. Early on the second morning 
of the festival, some of the more respected Badagas and 
the weaver proceed to the weaving house after bathing. 
The weaver sets up his loom, and worships it by offering 
incense, and other things. The Badagas give him a 
new cloth, and a small sum of money, and ask him 
to weave a dhubati and two kachches (narrow strips 
of cloth). Daily, throughout the festival, the Badagas 
collect near the temple, and indulge in music and songs. 
Until the last day, they are not permitted to set eyes on 
the god Heththeswami. On the morning of the last 
day, the pujari, accompanied by all the Badagas, takes 
the newly woven cloths to a stream, in which they 
are washed. When they are dry, all proceed to the 
temple, where the idol is dressed up in them, and all, 
on this occasion only, are allowed to look at it. Devo- 
tees pay a small offering of money, which is placed on a 
tray near the idol. The crowd begins to disperse in 



97 BAD AG A 

the afternoon, and, on their way back to their villages, 
the wants of the travellers are attended to by people 
posted at intervals with coffee, fruit, and other articles of 
food. If the Badagas have to go to a weavers village for 
the cloths, the weaver is, when the order is given for 
them, presented with four annas, after he has bathed. 
When handing the money to him, the Badagas bawl out 
" This is the fee for making the cloths to be worn 
by Heththe Iramasthi and Parasakti Parvati." On the 
last day of the festival, the cloths are washed, and one of 
them is made to represent an idol, which is decorated 
with waist and neck ornaments, and an umbrella. All 
prostrate themselves before it, and make offerings of 
money. Fruits and other things are then offered to 
Heththeswami and some recite the following prayer. 
" May all good acts be remembered, and all bad ones be 
forgotten. Though there may be a thousand and one 
sins, may I reach the feet of God." 

The following further information in connection with 
the Baireganni festival is given by Bishop Whitehead 
"The people from other villages offer money, rice, fruits, 
umbrellas of gold or silver for the goddess, cloths, and 
buffaloes. The buffaloes are never killed, but remain as 
the property of the temple. The pujari calls the re- 
presentatives of one village, and tells them what Hethe- 
swami says to him, e.g., ' This year you will have good 
[or bad] crops ; cholera or small-pox, good [or bad] rain, 
etc.' As the people present their offerings, they prostrate 
themselves, kneeling down and touching the ground 
with their foreheads, and the pujari gives them some 
flowers, which they wear in their hair. The people and 
the pujari play on the kombu [horn], and ring bells 
while the offerings are being made. After the offerings 
have finished, all the men dance, in two companies, in 
7 



BADAGA 98 

front of the temple, one shouting ' How-ko, How-ko,' 
and the other ' Is-holi.' The dance was taught them by 
the Todas, and the words are Toda." 

In connection with the Jadeswami festival the 
ceremony of walking through fire [burning embers] is 
carried out at Mglur, Tangalu, Mainelg, Jakkanare, 
Tenad, and Nidugala. At Mglur and Tangalu, the 
temples belong to the Haruvas, who carry out all the 
details of ceremony. The temple at Tenad is owned by 
the Udayas, by whom the ceremonial is performed. In 
other places, the celebrants are Badagas. The festival 
is observed, on an elaborate scale, at Nidugala during 
the month of January. All those who are going to walk 
over the burning embers fast for eight days, and go 
through the rite on the ninth day. For its performance, 
Monday is considered an auspicious day. The omens 
are taken by boiling two pots of milk side by side on two 
hearths. If the milk overflows uniformly on all sides, 
the crops will be abundant for all the villages. But, if 
it flows over on one side only, there will be plentiful 
crops for villages on that side only. The space over 
which the embers are spread is said to be about five 
yards long, and three yards broad. But, in some places, 
e.g., Jakkanare and Melur, it is circular as at the 
Muhammadan fire-walking ceremony. For making the 
embers, the wood oi Eugenia J ambolana and Phyllanthus 
Emblica are used. For boiling the milk, and setting 
fire to the wood, a light obtained by friction must be 
used. The process is known as niligolu, or upright stick. 
The vertical stick is made of a twig of Rhodomyrtus 
tomentosus, which is rotated in a socket in a long thick 
piece of a bough of Debregeasia velutina, in which a row 
of sockets has been made. The rotation is produced by 
a cord passed several times round the vertical stick, of 







o 

— 



< 
< 



99 BADAGA 

which each end is pulled alternately. The horizontal 
block is pressed firmly on the ground by the toes of a 
man, who presses a half cocoanut shell down on the top 
of the vertical stick, so as to force it down into the socket. 
A Badaga, who failed in an attempt to demonstrate the 
making of fire by this method, gave as an excuse that he 
was under worldly pollution, from which he would be free 
at the time of the fire-walking ceremony. Though the 
Badagas make fire by friction, reference is made in their 
folk legends, not to this mode of obtaining fire, but to 
chakkamukki (flint and steel), which is repeatedly referred 
to in connection with cremation. After the milk boiling 
ceremonial, the pujari, tying bells on his legs, approaches 
the fire pit, carrying milk freshly drawn from a cow, 
which has calved for the first time, and flowers of 
Rhododendron arboretim, Leucas aspera, or jasmine. 
After doing puja, he throws the flowers on the embers, 
and they should remain unscorched for a few seconds. 
He then pours some of the milk over the embers, and 
no hissing sound shoud be produced. The omens being 
propitious, he walks over the glowing embers, followed 
by an Udaya, and the crowd of celebrants, who, before 
going through the ordeal, count the hairs on their feet. 
If any are singed, it is a sign of approaching ill fortune, 
or even death. In an account of the fire-walking cere- 
mony, in 1902, it is noted that " the Badagas strongly 
repudiate the insinuation of preparing their feet to face 
the fire ordeal. It is done to propitiate JeddayswSmi, 
to whom vows are invoked, in token of which they grow 
one twist or plait of hair, which is treasured for years, 
and finally cut off as an offering to Jeddayswami. 
Numbers of Chettis were catering to the crowd, offering 
their wares, bangles, gay-coloured handkerchiefs, as 
well as edibles. The Kotas supplied the music, and an 
7* 



BADAGA IOO 

ancient patriarch worked himself up to a high pitch of 
inspiration, and predicted all sorts of good things for 
the Badagas with regard to the ensuing season and 
crops." 

The following legend, relating to the fire-walking 
ceremony, is recorded by Bishop Whitehead. " When 
they first began to perform the ceremony fifty or sixty 
years ago, they were afraid to walk over the fire. Then 
the stone image of Mahalinga Swami turned into a 
snake, and made a hole through the temple wall. It 
came out, and crawled over the fire, and then went back 
to the temple. Then their fear vanished, and they walked 
over the embers. The hole is still to be seen in the 
temple." 

Of the fire-walking ceremony at Melur, the following 
account is given in the Gazetteer of the Nllgiris. " It 
takes place on the Monday after the March new moon, 
just before the cultivation season begins, and is attended 
by Badagas from all over Merkunad. The inhabitants 
of certain villages (six in number), who are supposed to 
be the descendants of an early Badaga named Guruvajja, 
have first, however, to signify through their Gottukars, or 
headmen, that the festival may take place ; and the Got- 
tukars choose three, five, or seven men to walk through 
the fire. On the day appointed, the fire is lit by certain 
Badaga priests and a Kurumba. The men chosen by 
the Gottukars then bathe, adorn themselves with sandal, 
do obeisance to the Udayas of Udayarhatti near Keti, 
who are specially invited and feasted ; pour into the 
adjacent stream milk from cows which have calved for 
the first time during the year ; and, in the afternoon, 
throw more milk and some flowers from the Mahalinga- 
svami temple into the fire pit, and then walk across it. 
Earth is next thrown on the embers, and they walk across 



IOI BADAGA 

twice more. A general feast closes the ceremony, and 
next day the first ploughings are done, the Kurumba 
sowing the first seeds, and the priests the next lot. 
Finally, a net is brought. The priest of the temple, 
standing over it, puts up prayers for a favourable agricul- 
tural season ; two fowls are thrown into it, and a pretence 
is made of spearing them ; and then it is taken and put 
across some game path, and some wild animal (a sambhar 
deer if possible) is driven into it, slain, and divided 
among the villagers. This same custom of annually 
killing a sambhar is also observed at other villages on 
the plateau, and in 1883 and 1894 special orders were 
passed to permit of its being done during the close 
season. Latterly, disputes about precedence in the matter 
of walking through the fire at Melur have been carried 
as far as the civil courts, and the two factions celebrate 
the festival separately in alternate years. A fire-walking 
ceremony also takes place annually at the Jadayasvami 
temple in Jakkaneri under the auspices of a Sivachari 
Badaga. It seems to have originally had some connec- 
tion with agricultural prospects, as a young bull is made 
to go partly across the fire-pit before the other devotees, 
and the owners of young cows which have had their 
first calves during the year take precedence of others 
in the ceremony, and bring offerings of milk, which are 
sprinkled over the burning embers." 

At the Sakalathi festival, in the month of October, 
Badagas, towards evening, throw on the roofs of their 
houses flowers oiPlectranthus Wightii, Crotalaria obtecta y 
Lobelia nicotianazfolia, Achyranthes asfiera, and Leucas 
aspera. On the following day, they clean their houses, 
and have a feast. In the afternoon, numbers of them 
may be seen in the streets drawing in front of their 
houses pictures in wood-ashes of buffaloes, bulls, cows, 



BADAGA I 02 

ploughs, stars, sun and moon, snakes, lizards, etc. They 
then go into their houses, and wash their hands. Taking 
up in his clean hands a big cake, on which are placed a 
little rice and butter, the Badaga puts on it three wicks 
steeped in castor oil, and lights them. The cake is then 
waved round the heads of all the children of the house 
taken to a field, and thrown therein with the words 
" Sakalathi has come." The cake-thrower returns home, 
and prostrates himself before a lamp placed in the inner 
room, and repeats a long formula, composed of the 
various synonyms of Siva. 

In the month of November, a festival called Dodda 
Habba (big feast) is celebrated. In the afternoon, rice 
is cooked in whey within the hagottu, and eaten on 
mlnige leaves. Throughout the day the villagers play 
at various ball games. 

A festival, which is purely local, is celebrated near 
Konakore in honour of Mahangkali. A buffalo is led to 
the side of a precipice, killed by a Kurumba with a spear, 
and thrown over the edge thereof. There is a legend 
that, in olden days, a pujari used to put a stick in the 
crevice of a rock, and, on removing it, get the value of a 
buffalo infanams (gold coins). But, on one occasion, he 
put the stick in a second time, in the hopes of gaining 
more money. No money, however, was forthcoming 
and, as a punishment for his greed, he died on the spot. 
All Badaga villages, except those of the Udayas, have 
a hut, called holagudi, for the exclusive use of women 
during their monthly periods. A few months before a 
girl is expected to reach puberty, she is sent to the 
holagudi, on a Friday, four or five days before the new 
moon day. This is done lest, in the ordinary course of 
events, the first menstruation should commence on an 
inauspicious day. The girl remains in the holagudi one 



103 BADAGA 

night, and returns home on the following day clad in 
new cloths, leaving the old ones in the hut. When she 
arrives at her house, she salutes all the people who are 
there, and receives their blessing. On Sunday she goes 
to the houses of her relations, where she is given kadalai 
(Cicer arietinum) and other food. She may not enter 
the inner apartment of her house until she has seen the 
crescent moon. Badaga women observe five days men- 
strual pollution. If a woman discovers her condition 
before washing her face in the early morning, that day is 
included in the pollution period. Otherwise, the period 
must be prolonged over six days. On the third day she 
bathes in cold water, using the bark of Ponzolzia (thorg- 
kolu), and on the fourth day is allowed a change of 
clothing after a bath. On this day she leaves the hut, 
and passes a portion of the night in the verandah of her 
house. After cooking and eating her evening meal, she 
bathes, and enters the outer room. Early on the follow- 
ing morning, the spot which she has occupied is cleaned, 
and she bathes in a stream. Returning home, she eats 
her food in the outer room, where she remains till next 
morning. Even children may not be touched by a 
menstruating woman. If, by chance, this happens, the 
child must be washed to remove the pollution, before it 
can be handled by others. This restriction is apparently 
not observed by any other tribe or caste. 

Writing concerning marriage among the Badagas, 
Harkness states * that " it is said to be common for one 
who is in want of labourers to promise his daughter in 
marriage to the son or other relative of a neighbour not 
in circumstances so flourishing as himself. And, these 
engagements being entered into, the intended bridegroom 



Op. cit. 



BADAGA 104 

serves the father of his betrothed as one of his own 
family till the girl comes of age, when the marriage is 
consummated, and he becomes a partner in the general 
property of the family of his father-in-law." 

A man may marry a girl belonging to the same 
village as himself, if he and she are not members of the 
same exogamous sept. In most cases, however, all the 
inhabitants of a village are of the same sept, and a man 
has to take as his wife a girl from a village other than 
his own. 

Among all sections of the Badagas, adult marriage is 
the general rule, though infant marriage is also practised. 
Marriage is preceded by a simple form of courtship, but 
the consent of the parents to the union is necessary. A 
girl does not suffer in reputation if she is rejected by 
a number of suitors, before she finally settles down. 
Except among the Udayas, the marriage ceremony is of 
a very simple nature. A day or two before that fixed 
for taking the girl to the house of her husband-elect, 
the latter proceeds to her village, accompanied by his 
brothers, who, as a token of respect, touch the feet of 
all the Badagas who are assembled. The bride is taken 
to the house of the bridegroom, accompanied by the Kota 
band. Arrived there, she stands at the entrance, and her 
mother-in-law or sister-in-law brings water in a vessel, 
and pours it into her hands thrice. Each time she lets 
the water fall over her feet. The mother-in-law then 
ties round her neck a string of beads (male mani\ and 
leads her to the outer room (edumane), where cooked 
samai {Panicum miliare) and milk is given to her. This 
she pretends to eat, and the bridegroom's sister gives 
her water to wash her hands with. The bride and two 
married women or virgins (preferably the bridegroom's 
sisters) go to a stream in procession, accompanied by the 



105 BADAGA 

Kota musicians, and bring therefrom water for cooking 
purposes in decorated new pots. The bride then salutes 
all her new relations, and they in turn give her their 
blessing. The ceremonial concludes with a feast, at the 
conclusion of which, in some cases, the bride and bride- 
groom sit on the raised verandah (pial), and receive 
presents. 

"Though," a correspondent writes, "the Badaga is 
simple, and his wants are few, he cannot resist the 
temptation of wine and women. The Badaga woman 
can change husbands as often as she pleases by a simple 
system of divorce, and can also carry on with impunity 
intimacy within the pale of her own community. It is 
not uncommon to find Badaga women changing husbands, 
so long as youth and vigour tempt them to do so, and 
confining themselves eventually to the last individual, 
after age and infirmity have made their mark, and render 
such frolics inexpedient." A former Magistrate of the 
Nllgiris informs me that he tried more than one case, in 
which a married man filed a complaint against another 
man for kidnapping or enticing away his wife for im- 
moral purposes. The father of the woman was always 
charged as an abetter, and pleaded that, as no pariyam 
(bride price) had been paid by the husband, though he 
and the woman lived together as man and wife, no 
criminal offence could be proved against either the 
father or the abductor. Polygamy is permitted, and the 
plurality of wives is a gain to the husband, as each 
wife becomes a bread-winner, and supports her children, 
and the man makes each wife superintend one depart- 
ment of the day's work. Remarriage of widows is very 
common, and a widow may marry the brother of her 
deceased husband. It is said to be etiquette among the 
Badagas that, when a woman's husband is away, she 



BADAGA i 06 

should be accessible to her brothers-in-law. Instances 
occur, in which the husband is much younger than his 
wife, who, until he has reached maturity, cohabits with 
her paternal aunt's son, or some one whom she may 
have a fancy for. The marriage ceremony of the Udayas 
is carried out on an elaborate scale, and is based on the 
type of ceremonial which is carried out by some castes 
in the plains. Before dawn on the marriage day, the 
brothers and cousins of the bridegroom go, accompanied 
by some Udayas and the Kota band, to the forest, 
whence they bring two sticks of Mimusops hexandra, to 
do duty as the milk-posts. The early hour is selected, 
to avoid the chance of coming across inauspicious 
objects. The sticks should be cut off the tree at a 
single stroke of the bill-hook, and they may not be laid 
flat on the ground, but placed on a blanket spread 
thereon. The Udayas, who joined in the procession, 
collect twelve posts of Mimusops as supports for the 
marriage booth (pandal). In front of the house, which 
is to be the scene of the wedding, two pits are dug, into 
which cow-dung water is poured. The pujari does puja 
to the milk-posts by offering sugar-cane, jaggery (crude 
sugar), etc., and ties two threads thereto. The posts are 
then placed in the pits by five people — the parents of 
the bridal couple and the priest. The booth, and dais 
or enclosure, are then erected close to the milk-posts. 
On the second day, the bridegroom's party, attended by 
Kota musicians, dressed up in dancing costume, go to 
the house of the bride, where a feast is held. The 
bride then salutes a lamp, and prostrates herself at the 
feet of her parents, who bless her, saying " May your 
body and hands soon be filled (i.e., may you have a 
child), and may your life be prosperous." The bride is 
taken in procession to the house of the bridegroom, 



107 BADAGA 

accompanied by some Udayas, and a Toreya carrying 
a bag of rice. At the entrance to the house she is 
blindfolded, and her mother-in-law pours water over her 
feet, and waves coloured water (arathi) in front of her. 
She then enters the house, right foot foremost, and sits 
on a mat. Three married women, nearly related to 
the bridegroom, proceed, with the Kota musicians, to a 
stream, carrying three pots decorated with leaves of 
Leucas aspera. The priest does puja, and the pots are 
filled with water, and brought back in procession to the 
marriage dais. The water is poured into three vessels 
placed thereon three times by each of the three women. 
Within the marriage enclosure, two raised platforms are 
set up by a Toreya. The bridegroom, after going round 
the enclosure three times with his brothers and sisters, 
enters it, and bathes with the water contained in the 
vessels. He then dresses himself in new clothes, and is 
carried to the outer room by his maternal uncle. The 
bride is then treated in like manner, but is taken to the 
inner room. At a fixed auspicious hour, the bridal 
couple repair to the enclosure, where the bridegroom 
stands on a mat. A screen is held up by four or five 
men between him and the bride, who stands facing him, 
while the priest ties the ends of their clothes together. 
They then link their little fingers together, the screen is 
removed, and they seat themselves on the mat. The 
bridegroom's sister brings a tray with a mass of rice 
scooped out into a cavity to hold ghl for feeding a lighted 
wick (annadha arathi) on it, and, placing it before the 
bridal pair, sits down. The tali, consisting of a golden 
disc, is worshipped by the priest, and given to the bride- 
groom, who ties it on to the bride's neck. In some 
places it is tied by four or five elders, belonging to 
different villages, who are not widowers. The contracting 



BADAGA I 08 

couple then put on wreaths called sammandha malai, 
or wreaths establishing relationship, and the wrist threads 
are tied on. The bride's sister brings some rice and 
milk in a cup, into which the linked fingers of the bride 
and bridegroom are thrust. Taking up some of the 
rice, they put it into each other's mouths three times. 
After they have washed their hands, the maternal uncle 
or priest asks them if they have seen Aranjoti (the pole- 
star), and they reply in the affirmative. On the third 
day, presents are given to the newly-married couple, and 
the wrist threads are removed. Going to a stream, they 
perform a mimic ceremony of sowing, and scatter cotton 
and rice seed in two small pans made by a Toreya with 
cow-dung. Widow remarriage is permitted among the 
Udayas, and a widow may marry a cousin, but not her 
dead husband's brother. At the marriage ceremony, a 
priest makes a mark with sacred ashes on the foreheads 
of the contracting couple, and announces the fact of 
their union. 

It is noted by Dr. Rivers that " Breeks has stated 
that the Toda custom is that the house shall pass to the 
youngest son. It seems quite clear that this is wrong, 
and that this custom is absolutely unknown among the 
Todas. It is, however, a Badaga custom, and among 
them I was told that it is due to the fact that, as the 
sons of a family grow up and marry, they leave the 
house of the parents and build houses elsewhere. It is 
the duty of the youngest son to dwell with his parents, 
and support them as long as they live, and, when they 
die, he continues to live in the paternal home, of which 
he becomes the owner." 

A ceremony is performed in the seventh month of a 
woman's first pregnancy, which is important, inasmuch 
as it seals the marriage contract, and, after its perform- 



109 BADAGA 

ance, divorce can only be obtained through the decree 
of the panchayat (tribal council). Moreover, if it has not 
been performed, a man cannot claim the paternity of the 
child. The ceremony is called kanni kattodu or kanni 
hakodu (thread tying or throwing). The husband and 
wife are seated in the midst of those who have assembled 
for the occasion, and the former asks his father-in-law 
whether he may throw the thread round his wife's neck, 
and, having received permission, proceeds to do so. If 
he gets the thread, which must have no knots in it, 
entangled in the woman's bunch of hair (kondai), which 
is made large for the occasion by the addition of false 
hair, he is fined three rupees. On the day of the 
ceremony, the man and his wife are supposed to be 
under pollution, and sit in the verandah to receive 
presents. The mats used by them for sleeping on are 
cleaned on the following morning, and they get rid of 
the pollution by bathing. 

A first confinement must not take place within the 
house, and the verandah is converted into a lying-in 
chamber, from which the woman is, after delivery, 
removed to the outer apartment, where she remains till 
she is free from pollution by catching sight of the 
crescent moon. If a woman has been delivered at her 
father's house, she returns to the home of her husband 
within a month of the birth of the child on an auspicious 
day. On arrival there, the infant is placed near the feet 
of an old man standing by a lamp within the milk-house. 
Placing his right hand over the head of the infant, the 
old man blesses it, and a feast is held, before the 
commencement of which two cups, one containing milk, 
and the other cooked rice, are produced. All the 
relations take up a little of the milk and rice, and touch 
the tongue of the baby with them. 



BADAGA HO 

A child receives its name on the seventh, ninth, or 
eleventh day. A sumptuous meal is given to the com- 
munity, and the grandfather (paternal, if possible) milks 
a cow, and pours the milk into a brass cup placed in the 
milk-house. With it a little cooked samai grain is 
mixed. The babe is washed with water brought from a 
stream ; marked on the forehead with sacred ashes ; a 
turmeric-dyed thread is tied round its waist ; a silver or 
iron bangle placed on its wrists ; and a silver bead tied 
by a thread round its neck. Thus decorated, the infant 
is taken up by the oldest man of the village who is not 
a widower, who gives it a name, which has already been 
chosen. The elder, and the child's parents and grand- 
parents then place a little milk in its mouth. 

Children, both male and female, go through a shav- 
ing ceremony, usually when they are seven months old. 
The infant is seated in the lap of a Badaga, and, after 
water has been applied to its head by a Badaga or a 
barber, the maternal uncle removes some of the hair with 
a razor, and then hands it over to another Badaga or a 
barber to complete the operation. 

Of the death rites as carried out by the Badaga sub- 
division, the following note was recorded during a visit 
to Kotagiri. When death is drawing near, a gold coin, 
called Vlraraya hana or fanam, dipped in butter or ghl, 
is given to the dying man to swallow. If he is too far 
gone to be capable of swallowing, the coin is, according 
to Mr. Natesa Sastri, tied round the arm. But our infor- 
mants told us that this is not done at the present day. 
" If," Mr. Gover writes,* " the tiny coin slips down, well. 
He will need both gold and ghl, the one to sustain his 
strength in the dark journey to the river of death, the 



Op. cit. 



1 1 1 BADAGA 

other to fee the guardian of the fairy- like bridge that 
spans the dreaded tide. If sense remains to the wretched 
man, he knows that now his death is nigh. Despair 
and the gold make recovery impossible, and there are 
none who have swallowed the Birianhana, and yet have 
lived. If insensibility or deathly weakness make it im- 
possible for the coin to pass the thorax, it is carefully 
bound in cloth, and tied to the right arm, so that there 
may be nought to hinder the passage of a worthy soul 
into the regions of the blessed." The giving of the coin 
to the dying man is apparently an important item, and, 
in the Badaga folk-tales, a man on the point of death is 
made to ask for a Vlraraya fanam. When life is extinct, 
the corpse is kept within the house until the erection of 
the funeral car (gudikattu) is completed. Though Gover 
states that the burning must not be delayed more than 
twenty-four hours, at the present day the Badagas post- 
pone the funeral till all the near relations have assembled, 
even if this necessitates the keeping of the corpse for two 
or three days. Cremation may take place on any day, 
except Tuesday. News of a death is conveyed to distant 
hamlets (hattis) by a Toreya, who is paid a rupee for 
his services. On approaching a hamlet, he removes his 
turban, to signify the nature of his errand, and, standing 
on the side of a hill, yells out " Dho ! Dho ! who is in the 
hamlet"? Having imparted his news, he proceeds on 
his journey to the next hamlet. On the morning of the 
day fixed for the funeral, the corpse is taken on a char- 
poy or native cot to an open space, and a buffalo led 
thrice round it. The right hand of the corpse is then 
lifted up, and passed over the horns of the buffalo. A 
little milk is drawn, and poured into the mouth of the 
corpse. Prior to this ceremony, two or three buffaloes 
may be let loose, and one of them captured, after the 



BADAGA 112 

manner of the Todas, brought near the corpse, and con- 
ducted round the cot. The funeral car is built up in five 
to eleven tiers, decorated with cloths and streamers, and 
one tier must be covered with black chintz. At the 
funeral of a young man, the Rev. A. C. Clayton noticed 
that the car was surmounted by a flag, and hung about 
with bread, oranges, plantains, and the bag containing 
the books which the youth had used in the Basel Mission 
School.* By the poorer members of the community the 
car is replaced by a cot covered with cloth, and sur- 
mounted by five umbrellas. I mmediately after the buffalo 
ceremony, the corpse is carried to the car, and placed in 
the lowest storey thereof, washed, and dressed in coat 
and turban. A new dhupati (coarse cloth) is wrapped 
round it. Two silver coins (Japanese yens or rupees) 
are stuck on the forehead. Beneath the cot are placed 
a crowbar, and baskets containing cakes, parched paddy, 
tobacco, chick pea (Cuer arietinum), jaggery and samai 
flour. A number of women, relations and friends of the 
dead man, then make a rush to the cot, and, sitting on it 
round the corpse, keep on waiting, while a woman near 
its head rings a bell. When one batch is tired, it is 
replaced by another. Badaga men then pour in in large 
numbers, and salute the corpse by touching the head, 
Toreyas and female relations touching the feet. Of 
those who salute, a few place inside the dhupati a piece 
of white cloth with red and yellow stripes, which has 
been specially prepared for the purpose. All then pro- 
ceed to dance round the car to the music of the Kota 
band, near male relations removing their turban or wool- 
len night cap, as a mark of respect, during the first three 
revolutions. Most of the male dancers are dressed up in 



* Madras Mail, 1907. 



113 BADAGA 

gaudy petticoats and smart turbans. " No woman," Mr. 
Natesa Sastri writes, "mingles in the funeral dance 
if the dead person is a man, but, if the deceased is a 
woman, one old woman, the nearest relative of the 
dead, takes part in it." But, at the funerals of two men 
which we witnessed, a few women danced together with 
the men. Usually the tribesmen continue to arrive until 
2 or 3 p.m. Relations collect outside the village, and 
advance in a body towards the car, some, especially the 
sons-in-law of the dead man, riding on ponies, some of 
them carrying samai grain. As they approach the car, 
they shout "Ja! hoch; Ja ! hoch." The Muttu Kotas 
bring a double iron sickle with imitation buffalo horns 
on the tip, which is placed, with a hatchet, buguri (flute), 
and walking stick, on the car or on the ground beside it. 
When all are assembled, the cot is carried to an open 
space between the house and the burning-ground, fol- 
lowed by the car and a party of women carrying the 
baskets containing grain, etc. The car is then stripped 
of its trappings, and hacked to pieces. The widow is 
brought close to the cot, and removes her nose ornament 
(elemukkuthi), and other jewels. At both the funerals 
which we witnessed, the widow had a narrow strip of 
coloured chintz over her shoulders. Standing near the 
corpse, she removed a bit of wire from her ear-rings, a 
lock of hair, and a palm leaf roll from the lobe of the 
ear, and tied them up in the cloth of her dead husband. 
After her, the sisters of the dead man cut off a lock of 
hair, and, in like manner, tied it in the cloth. Women 
attached to a man by illegitimate ties sometimes also 
cut off a lock of hair, and, tying it to a twig of Dodonaa 
viscosa, place it inside the cloth. Very impressive is 
the recitation, or after-death confession of a dead man's 
sins by an elder of the tribe standing at the head of the 



BADAGA 114 

corpse, and rapidly chanting the following lines, or a 
variation thereof, while he waves his right hand during 
each line towards the feet. The reproduction of the 
recitation in my phonograph never failed to impress the 
daily audience of Badagas, Kotas and Todas. 

This is the death of Andi. 

In his memory the calf of the cow Belle has been set free. 

From this world to the other. 

He goes in a car. 

Everything the man did in this world. 

All the sins committed by his ancestors. 

All the sins committed by his forefathers. 

All the sins committed by his parents. 

All the sins committed by himself. 

The estranging of brothers. 

Shifting the boundary line. 

Encroaching on a neighbour's land by removing the hedge. 

Driving away brothers and sisters. 

Cutting the kalli tree stealthily. 

Cutting the mulli tree outside his boundary. 

Dragging the thorny branches of the kotte tree. 

Sweeping with a broom. 

Splitting green branches. 

Telling lies. 

Uprooting seedlings. 

Plucking growing plants, and throwing them in the sun. 

Giving young birds to cats. 

Troubling the poor and cripples. 

Throwing refuse water in front of the sun 

Going to sleep after seeing an eclipse of the moon. 

Looking enviously at a buffalo yielding an abundance of milk. 

Being jealous of the good crops of others. 

Removing boundary stones. 

Using a calf set free at the funeral. 

Polluting water with dirt. 

Urinating on burning embers. 

Ingratitude to the priest. 

Carrying tales to the higher authorities. 



115 BADAGA 

Poisoning food 

Not feeding a hungry person. 

Not giving fire to one half frozen. 

Killing snakes and cows. 

Killing lizards and blood-suckers. 

Showing a wrong path. 

Getting on the cot, and a'lowing his father-in-law to sleep on 
the ground. 

Sitting on a raised verandah, and driving thence his mother-in- 
law. 

Going against natural instincts. 

Troubling daughters-in-law. 

Breaking open lakes. 

Breaking open reservoirs of water. 

Being envious of the prosperity of other villages. 

Getting angry with people. 

Misleading travellers in the forest. 

Though there be three hundred such sins, 

Let them all go with the calf set free to-day. 

May the sins be completely removed ! 

May the sins be forgiven ! 

May the door of heaven be open ! 

May the door of hell be closed ! 

May the hand of charity be extended ! 

May the wicked hand be shrivelled ! 

May the door open suddenly ! 

May beauty or splendour prevail everywhere ! 

May the hot pillar be cooled ! 

May the thread bridge * become light ! 

May the pit of perdition be closed ! 

May he reach the golden pillar ! 

Holding the feet of the six thousand Athis, 

Holding the feet of the twelve thousand Pathis, 

Holding the feet of Brahma, 

Holding the feet of the calf set free to-day, 

May he reach the abode of Siva ! 
So mote it be. 



* 



The bridge spanning the river of death, which the blessed cross in safety. 
8* 



BADAGA 116 

The recitation is repeated thrice, and a few Badagas 
repeat the last words of each line after the elder. It 
was noticed by the Rev. A. C. Clayton that, during the 
recitation, the people surrounded the bier on three sides, 
leaving a lane open to the west. The sins of the dead 
man were transferred to another as sin-bearer, and finally 
passed away down the lane. As the ceremony witnessed 
by us differs materially from the account thereof given by 
Gover nearly forty years ago, I may quote his descrip- 
tion. " By a conventional mode of expression, the 
sum total of sins a man may do is said to be thirteen 
hundred. Admitting that the deceased has committed 
them all, the performer cries aloud ' Stay not their flight 
to God's pure feet.' As he closes, the whole assembly 
chants aloud ' Stay not their flight.' Again the per- 
former enters into details, and cries ' He killed the 
crawling snake. It is a sin.' In a moment the last 
word is caught up, and all the people cry * It is a sin.' 
As they shout, the performer lays his hand upon the 
calf. The sin is transferred to the calf. Thus the whole 
catalogue is gone through in this impressive way. But 
this is not enough. As the last shout ' Let all be well ' 
dies away, the performer gives place to another, and 
again confession is made, and all the people shout ' It 
is a sin.' A third time it is done. Then, still in solemn 
silence, the calf is let loose. Like the Jewish scape- 
goat, it may never be used for secular work." Dr. 
Rivers writes that ■" the Badagas let loose a calf at a 
funeral, to bear the sins of the deceased. It is possible 
that the calf in the Toda ceremony may have the same 
significance. If so, the practice has not improbably 
been borrowed, and the fact that the bell which is hung 
on the neck of the calf is kept by Kotas or Badagas 
suggests that the whole incident may have been bor- 




w 

Ph 

O 

u 
w 



—i 
> 

u 

w 



< 

< 
Q 



1 1 7 BADAGA 

rowedciby the Todas from one or other of these races." 
At the funerals, of which we were spectators, no calf was 
brought near the corpse, and the celebrants of the rites 
were satisfied with the mere mention by name of a calf, 
which is male or female according to the sex of the 
deceased. At the funeral witnessed by the Rev. A. C, 
Clayton, a cow-buffalo was led three times round the 
bier, and a little of its milk, drawn at the time, put into 
the mouth of the corpse. Then a buffalo calf was led 
thrice round the bier, and the dead man's hand laid on 
its head. By this act, the calf was supposed to receive 
all the sins of the deceased. It was then driven away to 
a great distance, that it might contaminate no one, and 
it was said that it would never be sold, but looked on 
as a dedicated sacred animal. If a dead man leaves a 
widow in a state of pregnancy, who has not performed 
the kanni kattodu or marriage thread ceremony, this 
must be gone through before the corpse is taken to the 
pyre, in order to render the child legitimate. The preg- 
nant woman is, at the time of the funeral, brought close 
to the cot, and a near relation of the deceased, taking up 
a cotton thread, twisted in the form of a necklace with- 
out any knots, throws it round her neck. Sometimes 
the hand of the corpse is lifted up with the thread, and 
made to place it round the neck. At the funeral of 
the young man, Mr. Clayton saw this ceremony per- 
formed on his pregnant wife. After a turmeric-dyed 
cord had been taken from the hands of the corpse and 
tied round her neck, she was again brought to the side 
of the bier, and her ear-rings, nose ornaments, and other 
articles of jewellery, were removed in token that she had 
become a widow. Soon after the recitation of sins, all 
the agnates go to the house of the dead man, at the 
entrance to which a gunny-bag is spread, whereon a small 



BADAGA nS 

quantity of paddy is poured, and a few culms of Cynodon 
Dactylon and a little cow-dung are placed on it. The 
eldest of the agnates, sickle in hand, takes some of the 
paddy, and moves on, raising both hands to his forehead. 
The other agnates then do the same, and proceed in 
Indian file, males in front and females in the rear, to the 
corpse. Round it they walk, men from left to right, and 
women in the reverse direction, and at the end of each 
circuit put some of the paddy on its face. The cot is 
then carried to the burning-ground, a woman heading 
the procession, and shaking the end of her cloth all the 
way. The corpse is laid on the pyre with its feet to the 
south, and the pyre lighted by the eldest son standing 
at the head. The sticks of which the car was constructed 
are added to the fuel, of which the pyre is built up. In 
some places the son, when lighting the pyre, repeats 
the words " Being begotten by my father and mother, 
I, in the presence of all and the Deva, set fire at the 
head after the manner of my ancestors and forefathers." 
The Rev. A. C. Clayton records that, before the proces- 
sion started for the burning-ground, some female relatives 
of the dead man tied locks of their hair round the toes 
of the corpse, and others went three times round the bier. 
On the day following the funeral, the bereaved family 
distribute rice to all the Badagas of the hamlet, and all 
the near relations of the deceased go to the burning- 
ground, taking with them two new pots. The fire is 
extinguished, and the fragments of the bones are 
collected. A tray is made of the fronds of the bracken 
fern (Pteris aquilina) covered with a cloth, on which 
the bones are placed together with culms of Cynodon 
grass and ghl. The Badagas of the hamlet who are 
younger than the deceased salute the bones by touching 
them, and a few men, including the chief mourner, 




BAUAGA FUNERAL CAR. 



1 19 BADAGA 

hold the tray, and convey it to the bone pit, which 
every hamlet possesses. Into it the bones are thrown, 
while an elder repeats the words " Become united 
with the line of your relations, with your class, and 
with the big people," or " May the young and old who 
have died, may all those who have died from time 
immemorial up to the present time, mingle in one." 
When the pit has been closed up, all return to the spot 
where the body was burnt, and, clearing a space, make 
a puddle, round which they stand, and throw into it a 
handful of korali (Setaria italica), uttering the words 
" May deaths cease ; may evils cease ; may good prevail 
in the village ; in virtue of the good deeds of the 
ancestors and forefathers, may this one mingle with 
them." This ceremony concluded, they repair to a 
stream, where a member of the bereaved family shaves a 
Toreya partially or completely. Some take a razor, and, 
after removing a patch of hair, pass the Toreya on to a 
barber. All the agnates are then shaved by a Badaga 
or a barber. The chief mourner then prostrates himself 
on the ground, and is blessed by all. He and the 
Toreya proceed to the house of the deceased. Taking 
a three-pronged twig of Rhodomyrtus tomentosus, and 
placing a minige (Argyreia) leaf on the prongs, he 
thrusts it into a rubbish heap near the house. He then 
places a small quantity of samai grain, called street food, 
on the leaf, and, after sprinkling it thrice with water, 
goes away. 

It was noted by Harkness that, at the burning-ground, 
the son or representative of the deceased dropped a 
little grain into the mouth of the corpse, carrying in his 
left hand a small bar of iron, which is supposed to have 
a repulsive power over the spirits that hover about the 
dead. 



BADAGA 120 

The final death ceremonies, or korambu, are cele- 
brated on a Sunday. Towards evening the house of the 
deceased is cleansed with cow-dung, and- Badaga men 
assemble therein, sending away all women. The chief 
mourner, accompanied by two Badagas carrying new 
pots, proceeds to a stream, where the pots are cleaned 
with cow-dung, and rubbed over with culms of Andro- 
pogon Schcenanthus. They are then filled with water, 
carried to the house, and deposited in the milk-room. 
At the entrance to the inner apartment, five agnates 
stand, holding a circular bamboo tray (kerachi) made of 
plaited bamboo, on which the chief mourner pours a 
small quantity of paddy, and spreads it with a sickle. 
The widow and other female relations come near, and 
cry. A few sickles or knives (preferably those which 
were used at the funeral) are placed on the tray, which 
is saluted by all the Badagas present. The paddy is 
husked in a mortar, and the rice cooked with Dolichos 
Lablab, Cicer arietinum, and other pulses, without the 
addition of salt. Early on the following morning, the 
eldest son, taking a small quantity of the rice to the 
roof of the house, places seven balls made therefrom 
on plantain or mlnige leaves, and recites the names of 
the male and female ancestors and forefathers, his 
mother, father, and brothers. The remainder of the rice 
is eaten by relations. In some places, the whole of 
the rice is divided into seven balls, and taken outside 
the house. Water is sprinkled over the roof, and a 
portion of the rice thrown thereon. Standing up before 
the assembled Badagas, an elder says " To-day we 
have acted up to the observances of our ancestors and 
forefathers. New ones should not be considered as 
old, or old as new. There is not a man carrying a 
head (wise man), or a woman carrying breasts (wise 



121 BADAGA 

woman). May he become united with the men of his 
clan and caste." 

The funeral rites of the Udayas differ in some im- 
portant details from those of the Badaga sub-division. 
The buffalo catching, and leading the animal round 
the corpse, are omitted. But a steer and heifer are 
selected, and branded on the thigh, by means of a hot 
iron, with the lingam and other emblems. Bedecked 
with cloths and jewels, they are led to the side of the 
corpse, and made to stand on a blanket spread on the 
ground. They are treated as if they were lingams, and 
puja is done to them by offering cocoanuts and betel 
leaves, and throwing flowers over them. Round their 
necks kankanams (marriage threads) are tied. They 
are made to turn so as to face away from the corpse, 
and their tails are placed in the hands thereof. An elder 
then proceeds with the recitation of the dead person's 
sins. The Udayas bury their dead in a sitting posture 
in a cell dug out of the side of the grave, and, like the 
Irulas, prefer to use a grave in which a previous burial 
has taken place. At the four corners of the grave they 
place in the ground a plant of Leucas aspera, and pass a 
cotton thread laterally and diagonally across the grave, 
leaving out the side opposite the cell. Two men descend 
into the grave, and deposit the corpse in its resting 
place with two lighted lamps. 

In 1905, an elaborate Badaga memorial ceremony 
for ancestors called manavalai, which takes place at long 
intervals, was celebrated on the Nllgiris. I gather from 
the notes of a Native official that an enormous car, 
called elu kudi teru ( seven- storeyed car) was built of 
wood and bamboo, and decorated with silk and woollen 
fabrics, flags, and umbrellas. Inside the ground floor 
were a cot with a mattress and pillow, and the stem of 



BADAGA 122 

a plantain tree. The souls of the ancestors are supposed 
to be reclining on the cot, resting their heads on the 
pillow, and chewing the plantain, while the umbrellas 
protect them from the sun and rain. The ear ornaments 
of all those who have died since the previous ceremony 
should be placed on the cot. " A Badaga fell and hurt 
himself during the erection of the car. Whereupon, 
another Badaga became possessed, and announced that 
the god was angry because a Kurumba had something 
to do with the building of the structure. A council 
meeting was held, and the Kurumba fined twenty-five 
rupees, which were credited to the god. Sixty-nine 
petty bazars and three beer taverns had been opened for 
the convenience of all classes of people that had assem- 
bled. One very old Badaga woman said that she was 
twelve years old when the first European was carried in 
a chair by the Todas, and brought up the ghat to the 
Nllgiris from Coimbatore. On Wednesday at 10 a.m. 
people from the adjoining villages were announced, and 
the Kota band, with the village people, went forward, 
greeted them, and brought them to the car. As each 
man approached it, he removed his turban, stooped 
over the pillow and laid his head on it, and then went to 
join the ring for the dance. The dancers wore skirts 
made of white long-cloth, white and cream silks and 
satins with border of red and blue trimming, frock 
dresses, and dressing-gowns, while the coats, blouses, 
and jackets were of the most gaudy colours of silk, 
velvet, velveteen, tweed, and home-spun. As each 
group of people arrived, they went first to the temple 
door, saluted the god, and went to the basement of the 
car to venerate the deceased, and then proceeded to 
dance for an hour, received their supplies of rice, etc., 
and cleared off. Thursday and Friday were the grandest 



123 BADAGA 

days. Nearly three thousand females, and six thousand 
males, assembled on Thursday. To crown all the con- 
fusion, there appeared nearly a thousand Badagas armed 
with new mamotis (spades). They came on dancing for 
some distance, rushed into the crowd, and danced round 
the car. These Badagas belonged to a gang of public 
works, local fund, and municipal maistries. On the last 
day a sheep was slaughtered in honour of the deity. 
The musicians throughout the festivities were Kotas 
and Kurumbas. The dancing of the men of three score 
showed that they danced to music, and the stepping 
was admirable, while the dancing of young men did not 
show that they had any idea of dancing, or either taste 
or knowledge of music. They were merely skipping 
and jumping. This shows that the old art of the Badaga 
dance is fast decaying." The cot is eventually burnt 
at the burning-ground, as if it contained a corpse. 

A kind of edible truffle (Mylitta lapidescens) is 
known as little man's bread on the Nllgiris. The 
Badaga legendary name for it is Pandva-unna-buthi, or 
dwarf bundle of food,* i.e., food of the dwarfs, who are 
supposed once to have inhabited the Nllgiris and built 
the pandu kulis or kistvaens. 

The story goes that Lord Elphinstone, a former 
Governor of Madras, was anxious to build a residence at 
Kaiti. But the Badagas, who had on the desired site a 
sacred tree, would not part with the land. The Gover- 
nor's steward succeeded in making the Badaga headman 
drunk, and secured, for a rental of thirty-five rupees 
annually, the site, whereon a villa was built, which now 
belongs to the Basel Mission.! 



* Report, Government Botanic Gardens, Nilgiris, 1903. 
t E. Schmidt. Reise nach Sudindien, 1894. 



BADAGI 



124 



In a recent work,* Mr. A. H. Keane, in a note on 
the " Dravidian Aborigines," writes as follows. " All 
stand on the very lowest rung of the social ladder, being 
rude hillmen without any culture strictly so called, and 
often betraying marked negroid characters, as if they 
were originally Negroes or Negritos, later assimilated in 
some respects to their Dravidian conquerors. As they 
never had a collective racial name, they should now be 
called, not Dravidians or proto-Dra vidians, but rather 
pre-Dravidians, as more collectively indicating their true 
ethnical relations. Such are the Kotas, Irulas, Badagas, 
and Kurumbas." It may be pointed out that the 
Badagas and Kotas of the Nilgiri plateau are not " wild 
tribes," have no trace of negroid characters, and no 
affinities with the Kurumbas and Irulas of the Nilgiri 
slopes. The figures in the following table speak for 
themselves : — 





Stature. 


Nasal Index. 




u 

rt . 

<u £ 
> u 
< 


S 

3 

a 

e3 g 


S 

a 

6 . 

3 a 


v 

U 


a 

3 

a 

'B 

8 


s' 

3 

a 

a 


Badaga ... 

Kota 

Irula 

Kurumba 


164-1 
162-9 
159-8 
157-5 


180-2 
174-2 
168' 
103-6 


159-9 

155- 

152' 

149-6 


75-6 
77-2 
84-9 
88-8 


88-4 
92-9 

100- 

Ill- 


C2-7 
64' 
72'3 
79-1 



Badagi.— The carpenter sub-division of Panchalas. 

Badhoyi.-— The Badhoyis are Oriya carpenters and 
blacksmiths, of whom the former are known as Badhoyi, 
and the latter as Komaro. These are not separate 
castes, and the two sections both interdine and inter- 



The World's Peoples, 1908. 



125 badhOyi 

marry. The name Badhoyi is said to be derived from 
the Sanskrit vardhaki, which, in Oriya, becomes bar- 
dhaki, and indicates one who changes the form, i.e., of 
timber. Korti, derived from korto, a saw, occurs as the 
name of a section of the caste, the members of which 
are wood-sawyers. Socially, the Badhoyis occupy the 
same position as Doluvas, Kalinjis, and various other 
agricultural classes, and they do not, like the Tamil 
Kammalans, claim to be Viswakarma Brahmans, de- 
scended from Viswakarma, the architect of the gods. 

The hereditary headman is called Maharana, and, in 
some places, there seem to be three grades of Maharana, 
viz., Maharana, Dondopato Maharana, and Swangso 
Maharana. These headmen are assisted by a Bhollo- 
bhaya or Dolobghara, and there is a further official called 
Agopothiria, whose duty it is to eat with an individual 
who is re-admitted into the caste after a council meeting. 
This duty is sometimes performed by the Maharana. 
Ordinary meetings of council are convened by the 
Maharana and Bhollobhaya. But, if a case of a serious 
nature is to be tried, a special council meeting, called 
kulo panchayat, is held in a grove or open space outside 
the village. All the Maharanas and other officers, and 
representatives of five castes (panchapatako) equal or 
superior to the Badhoyis in the social scale, attend such 
a council. The complainant goes to the Swangso 
Maharana, and, giving him fifty areca nuts, asks him to 
convene the council meeting. Punishment inflicted by 
the caste council usually assumes the form of a fine, the 
amount of which depends on the worldly prosperity of 
the delinquent, who, if very indigent, may be let off with a 
reprimand and warning. Sometimes offences are con- 
doned by feeding Brahmans or the Badhoyi community. 
Small sums, collected as fines, are appropriated by the 



BADHOYI 126 

headman, and large sums are set apart towards a fund for 
meeting the marriage expenses of the poorer members 
of the caste, and the expenditure in connection with 
kulo panchayats. 

Concerning the marriage ceremonies, Mr. D. 
Mahanty writes as follows. " At a marriage among the 
Badhoyis, and various other castes in Ganjam, two pith 
crowns are placed on the head of the bridegroom. On 
his way to the bride's house, he is met by her purohit 
(priest) and relations, and her barber washes his feet, and 
presents him with a new yellow cloth, flowers, and kusa 
grass (also called dharbha grass). When he arrives 
at the house, amid the recitations of stanzas by the 
priest, the blowing of conch shells and other music, the 
women of the bride's party make a noise called hulu- 
huli, and shower kusa grass over him. At the marriage 
booth, the bridegroom sits upon a raised ' altar,' and the 
bride, who arrives accompanied by his maternal uncle, 
pours salt, yellow-coloured rice, and parched paddy 
(rice) over the head of the bridegroom, by whose side 
she seats herself. One of the pith crowns is removed 
from the bridegroom's forehead, and placed on that of 
the bride. Various Brahmanical rites are then per- 
formed, and the bride's father places her hand in that of 
the bridegroom. A bundle of straw is now placed on 
the altar, on which the contracting parties sit, the bride- 
groom facing east, and the bride west. The purohit 
rubs a little jaggery over the bridegroom's right palm, 
joins it to the palm of the bride, and ties their two hands 
together with a rope made of kusa grass (hasthagonti). 
A yellow cloth is tied to the cloths which the bridal pair 
are wearing, and stretched over their shoulders (gonti- 
yala). The hands are then untied by a married woman. 
Sradha is performed for the propitiation of ancestors, 



127 BADHOYI 

and the purohit, repeating some mantrams (prayers), 
blesses the pair by throwing yellow rice over them. On 
the sixth day of the ceremony, the bridegroom runs 
away from the house of his father-in-law, as if he was 
displeased, and goes to the house of a relation in the 
same or an adjacent village. His brother-in-law, or 
other male relation of the bride, goes in search of him, 
and, when he has found him, rubs some jaggery over 
his face, and brings him back." As an example of the 
stanzas recited by the purohit, the following may be 
cited : — 

I have presented with my mind and word, and also 
with kusa grass and water. 

The witnesses of this are fire, Brahmans, women, 
relations, and all the devatas. 

Forgive this presentable faithful maid. 

I am performing the marriage according to the 
Vedic rites. 

Women are full of all kinds of faults. Forgive 
these faults. 

Brahma is the god of this maid. 

By the grace of the god Vasudeva, I give to thee 
the bridegroom. 

The Badhoyis are Paramarthos, and follow the 
Chaitanya form of Vaishnavism. They further worship 
various village deities. The dead are cremated. The 
corpse of a dead person is washed, not at the house, 
but at the burning-ground. 

The most common caste title is Maharana. But, in 
some zemindaris, such titles as Bindhani Rathno, and 
Bindham Bushano, have been conferred by the zemin- 
dars on carpenters for the excellence of their work. 

The carpenters and blacksmiths hold inams or rent- 
free lands both under zemindars and under Government. 



BAGATA 128 

In return, they are expected to construct a car for the 
annual festival of the village deity, at which, in most 
places, the car is burnt at the conclusion of the festival. 
They have further to make agricultural implements for 
the villagers, and, when officials arrive on circuit, to 
supply tent-pegs, etc. 

Bagata.— The Bagatas, Bhaktas, or Baktas are a 
class of Telugu fresh-water fishermen, who are said to 
be very expert at catching fish with a long spear. It is 
noted, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, that "on the 
Dasara day they worship the fishing baskets, and also 
(for some obscure reason) a kind of trident." The 
trident is probably the fishing spear. Some of the 
Bagatas are hill cultivators in the Agency tracts of 
Vizagapatam. They account for their name by the tradi- 
tion that they served with great devotion (bhakti) the 
former rulers of Golgonda and Madugula, who made 
grants of land to them in mokhasa tenure. Some of 
them are heads of hill villages. The head of a single 
village is called a Padal, and it may be noted that Padala 
occurs as an exogamous sept of the Kapus, of which 
caste it has been suggested that the Bagatas are an 
offshoot. The overlord of a number of Padals styles 
himself Nayak or Raju, and a Mokhasadar has the title 
of Dora. It is recorded, in the Census Report, 1 871, 
that " in the low country the Bhaktas consider them- 
selves to take the rank of soldiery, and rather disdain 
the occupation of ryots (cultivators). Here, however (in 
hill Madugulu in the Vizagapatam district), necessity 
has divested them of such prejudices, and they are com- 
pelled to delve for their daily bread. They generally, 
nevertheless, manage to get the Kapus to work for 
them, for they make poor farmers, and are unskilled in 
husbandry." 



129 BAGATA 

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam 
district, that " Matsya gundam (fish pool) is a curious 
pool on the Macheru (fish river) near the village of 
Matam, close under the great Yendrika hill, 5,188 feet 
above the sea. A barrier of rocks runs right across the 
river there, and the stream plunges into a great hole and 
vanishes beneath this, reappearing again about a hun- 
dred yards lower down. Just where it emerges from 
under the barrier, it forms a pool, which is crowded with 
mahseer of all sizes. These are wonderfully tame, the 
bigger ones feeding fearlessly from one's hand, and even 
allowing their backs to be stroked. They are protected 
by the Madgole zamindars — who on several grounds 
venerate all fish — and by superstitious fears. Once, goes 
the story, a Brinjari caught one and turned it into curry, 
whereon the king of the fish solemnly cursed him, and 
he and all his pack-bullocks were turned into rocks, 
which may be seen there till this day. At Sivaratri, 
a festival occurs at the little thatched shrine near by, 
the priest at which is a Bagata, and part of the ritual 
consists in feeding the sacred fish. 

"In 1901, certain envious Bagatas looted one of 
the villages of the Konda Malas or hill Paraiyans, a 
pushing set of traders, who are rapidly acquiring wealth 
and exalted notions, on the ground that they were 
becoming unduly arrogant. The immediate cause of the 
trouble was the fact that at a cockfight the Malas' birds 
had defeated the Bagatas'." 

In a note on the Bagatas, Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao 
writes that the caste is divided into exogamous septs or 
intiperulu, some of which occur also among the Kapus, 
Telagas, and Vantaris. Girls are married either before 
or after puberty, and the custom, called menarikam, 
which renders it a man's duty to marry his maternal 
9 



BAHUSAGARA 130 

uncle's daughter, is the general rule. An Oriya or 
Telugu Brahman officiates at marriages, and the bride is 
presented with jewelry as a substitute for the bride-price 
(voli) in money. It is noted, in the Census Report, 
1 90 1, that, at a wedding, the bridegroom is struck by his 
brother-in-law, who is then presented with a pair of new 
cloths. The Bagatas are both Vaishnavites and Saivites, 
and the former get themselves branded on the arm by a 
Vaishnava guru, who lives in the Godavari district. The 
Vaishnavites burn their dead, and the Saivites bury them 
in the customary sitting attitude. Satanis officiate for 
the former, and Jangams for the latter. Both sections 
perform the chinna and pedda rozu (big and little day) 
death ceremonies. The hill Bagatas observe the Itiga 
Ponduga festival, which is celebrated by the hill classes 
in Vizagapatam. 

Bahusagara (many seas). — Recorded, in the Madras 
Census Report, 1901, as a synonym of Rangari. The 
Rangaris are tailors and dyers, and the signification of 
the name is not clear. 

Baidya. — See Vaidyan. 

Bainedu. — The Bainedu, or Bainedi, as they are 
called in the Census Report, 1901, are the musicians and 
barbers of the Malas and Madigas. At the peddadi- 
namu death ceremony of the Gamallas, a Mala Bainedu 
takes part in the recitation of the story of Ankamma, 
and in making the designs (muggu) on the ground. 

Bairagi.— The Bairagis are a class of religious men- 
dicants, who roam about all over India, and are for the 
most part recruited from North Indian castes. They 
are followers of Ramanand, who founded the order at 
the end of the fourteenth, or beginning of the fifteenth 
century. According to common tradition, the schism 
of Ramanand originated in resentment of an affront 



131 BAIRAGI 

offered him by his fellow disciples, and sanctioned by 
his teacher. It is said that he had spent some time in 
travelling through various parts of India, after which he 
returned to the math, or residence of his superior. His 
brethren objected to him that in the course of his pere- 
grinations it was impossible he could have observed that 
privacy in his meals, which is a vital observance of the 
Ramanuja sect ; and, as Raghavanand admitted the 
validity of the objection, Ramanand was condemned to 
feed in a place apart from the rest of the disciples. He 
was highly incensed at the order, and retired from the 
society altogether, establishing a schism of his own* 

The name Bairagi is derived from the Sanskrit vai- 
ragya (vi 4- rag), denoting without desire or passion, 
and indicates an ascetic, who has subdued his passions, 
and liberated himself from worldly desires. The Bairagis 
are sometimes called Bavaji or Sadhu. 

The Bairagis are Vaishnavites, and bear the Tengalai 
Vaishnava mark (namam), made with sandal-paste or 
gopi, on the forehead. Bairagis with a Vadagalai mark 
are very rare. The Bairagis wear necklaces of tulsi 
(Ocimum sanctum) beads or lotus {Nelumbium specio- 
sum) seeds. Every Bairagi cooks his food within a 
space cleansed with cow-dung water by himself or his 
disciple, and will not leave the space until he has 
finished his meal. The Bairagis are not particular 
about screening the space from the public gaze. They 
partake of one meal daily, in the afternoon, and are 
abstainers from flesh dietary. They live mainly on alms 
obtained in the bazars, or in choultries (rest-houses for 
travellers). They generally carry with them one or two 



* II. H. Wilson, Essays and Lectures, chiefly on the Religion of the Hindus, 
1862. 



BAIRAGI 132 

brass vessels for cooking purposes, a salagrama stone 
and a conch-shell for worship, and a chillum (pipe) 
for smoking ganja (Indian hemp) or opium. They are, 
as a rule, naked except for a small piece of cloth tied 
round the waist and passed between the thighs. Some 
wear more elaborate body-clothing, and a turban. They 
generally allow the beard to grow, and the hair of the 
head is long and matted, with sometimes a long tail 
of yak or human hair tied in a knot on the top of the 
head. Those who go about nearly naked smear ashes 
all over their bodies. When engaged in begging, some 
go through the streets, uttering aloud the name of 
some God. Others go from house to house, or remain 
at a particular spot, where people are expected to give 
them alms. 

Some Bairagis are celibates, and others married. 
They are supposed to be celibates, but, as Dr. T. N. 
Bhattacharjee observes,* the " monks of this order have 
generally a large number of nuns attached to their con- 
vents, with whom they openly live as man and wife." 
The Bairagis are very particular about the worship of 
the salagrama stone, and will not partake of food with- 
out worshipping it. When so doing, they cover their 
head with a piece of cloth (Ram nam ka safa), on which 
the name Rama is printed in Devanagiri characters. 
Their face and shoulders are stamped, by means of brass 
stamps, with the word Rama in similar characters. For 
the purpose of meditation, the Bairagi squats on the 
ground, sometimes with a deer or tiger skin beneath 
him, and rests his hands on the cross-piece of his y6ga- 
dandam, or bent stick. A pair of tongs is stuck in the 
ground on his right side, and sometimes fire is kept 



* Hindu Castes and Sects. 







pq 



133 balasantosha 

near it. It is noted by Mr. J. C. Oman* that "a most 
elaborate ritual has been laid down for the guidance of 
Bairagis in the daily routine of the indispensable busi- 
ness and duties of life, prescribing in minute detail how, 
for example, the ascetic should wash, bathe, sit down, 
perform pranayam (stoppage or regulation of respira- 
tion), purify his body, purge his mind, meditate on 
Vishnu, repeat the Gayatri (hymn) as composed for 
the special use of members of the sect, worship Rama, 
Sita, Lakshman, Bharata, and Satringah, together with 
Rama's bows and arrows, and, lastly, the monkey god 
Hanuman." 

The Bairagis have a guru or priest, whom they call 
Mahant. Some visit the celebrated temple near Tirupati 
and pay their respects to the Mahant thereof. 

Baisya.— A sub-division of Koronos of Ganjam. 

Baita Kammara. — The name, meaning outside 
blacksmiths, applied to Kamsala blacksmiths, who 
occupy a lowly position, and work in the open air or 
outside a village.! 

Bajantri.— A synonym of Mangala, indicating their 
occupation as professional musicians. 

Bakta.— *See Bagata. 

Bakuda.— A sub-division of Holeya. 

Balanollu.— Balanollu and Badranollu are names of 
gotras of Ganigas, the members of which may not cut 
Erythroxylon monogynum. 

Balasantosha. — The Balasantosha or Balasanta 
vandlu (those who please children) are described in the 
Kurnool Manual as " ballad reciters, whose chief stories 
are the Bobbili katha, or the story of the siege of the 
fort of Bobbili in Vizagapatam by Bussy ; the Kurnool 



• The Mystics, Ascetics, and Saints of India, 1903. 
t Madras Census Report, 1901. 



BALEGARA 1 34 

Nabob's katha or the story of the resumption of Kurnool 
by the English ; and the tale of the quarrels between 
Ganga and Parvati, the two wives of Siva." 

Balegara (bangle man). — An occupational sub- 
division of Banajiga. 

Balija.— The Balijas are described by Mr. Francis # 
as being " the chief Telugu trading caste, scattered 
throughout all parts of the Presidency. It is said to 
have two main sub-divisions, Desa (or Kota, a fort) and 
Peta (street). The first of these includes those, whose 
ancestors are supposed to have been the Balija (Nayak) 
kings of Madura, Tanjore and Vijayanagar, or provincial 
governors in those kingdoms ; and to the second belong 
those, like the Gazulu (bangle sellers) and Perike (salt- 
sellers), who live by trade. In the Tamil districts 
Balijas are known as Vadugans (Telugu people) and 
Kavarais. The descendants of the Nayak or Balija 
Kings of Madura and Tanjore claim to be Kshatriyas 
and of the Kasyapa (a rishi) gotra, while the Vijaya- 
nagar Rais say they are lineal descendants of the sage 
Bharadwaja. Others trace their ancestry to the Kaura- 
vas of the Mahabharata. This Kshatriya descent is, 
however, not admitted by other castes, who say that 
Balijas are an offshoot of the Kammas or Kapus, or that 
they are a mixed community recruited from these and 
other Telugu castes. The members of the caste none 
of them now wear the sacred thread, or follow the Vedic 
ritual. The name Kartakkal (governors) was returned 
by those who claim to be descendants of the Nayak 
Kings of Madura and Tanjore." 

In a letter submitted, from Coimbatore, to Mr. 
Francis in connection with the census, 1901, it was 



* Madras Census Report, 1901. 



135 BALIJA 

stated that " the Balija people are Kshatriyas of the 
Lunar Race, as can be proved by a reference to the 
Bahgavatham, Vishnupuranam, and Brahmmandapura- 

nam, etc In this connection, it will be 

interesting to note that one Sevappa Naidu married 
Murthiammal, sister-in-law to Achuta Deva Rayulu 
of Narapathi Samasthanam of Vijayanagar, and as a 
marriage portion or dowry received the territory of 
Tanjore, over which he ruled as king for a long period. 
It was at this time that the celebrated Tirumalay Naidu 
of Madura took as wife one of the daughters of Sevappa 
Naidu's family. Tirumalay's grandson, one Chockalinga 
Naidu, married Mangammal, daughter of Vijiaragavulu 
Naidu, a grandson of the said Tanjore Sevappa Naidu. 
It will thus be seen that the Naidu rulers of Tanjore, 
Trichinopoly, and Madura, were all relations of Narapathi 
Samasthanam of Vijianagar. That these Narapathies 
of Vijianagaram were Kshatriyas of the Lunar Race can 
be clearly seen by a reference to Manucharithra, Parija- 
thapaharanam, Prouda Prabanda Kavi Charitra, etc., 
and that they were direct descendants of the great 
Andra Kings can be proved with equal satisfaction by 
referring to Colonel Mackenzie's MSS., in the introduc- 
tion of A. D. Campbell's Telugu Grammar, and James 
Prinsep's Useful Tables of Andra Kings will show that 
the Andras were immediate descendants of the well- 
known Yayathi Raja of the Lunar Race." 

" The Balijas," Mr. H. A. Stuart writes,* " are the 
trading caste of the Telugu country, but they are now 
found in every part of the Presidency. Concerning the 
origin of this caste several traditions exist, but the 
most probable is that which represents them as a recent 



• Madras Census Report, 1891. 



BALIJA 136 

offshoot of the Kapu or Reddi caste. The caste is rather 
a mixed one, for they will admit, without much scruple, 
persons who have been expelled from their proper caste, 
or who are the result of irregular unions. The bulk 
of the Balijas are now engaged in cultivation, and this 
accounts for so many having returned Kapu as their main 
caste, for Kapu is also a common Telugu word used 
for a ryot (farmer). It is not improbable that there 
was once a closer connection than now between the 
Kapus and the Balijas, and the claim of the Balijas to 
belong to the Kapu caste may have a foundation in fact. 
In their customs there is very little difference between 
the Kapus and Balijas. Their girls are married both 
before and after puberty. The re-marriage of widows 
is forbidden. They eat flesh, and alcohol is said to be 
freely indulged in [There is a proverb • If a man be 
born a Balija, he must crack the arrack bottle ']. Like 
the Bogams and Sanis, the Balija females usually wear 
a petticoat instead of the long robe of ordinary Hindus. 
The general name of the caste is Naidu." " The Balija 
Naidu," it has been said,* " is to be met with in almost 
every walk of life — railway station-masters, head coolies, 
bakers, butlers, municipal inspectors, tappal (post) run- 
ners, hawkers, and hotel-keepers. The title Chetti is 
by some used in preference to Naidu." It is noted in 
the Bellary Manual that the Balijas " have by common 
consent obtained a high place in the social system of 
South India. Some are land-owners, residing on and 
working their own property with the help of members 
of inferior castes ; but the majority live by trade." At 
Tirupati, a number of Balija families are engaged in 
the red sanders wood {Pterocarpus santalinus), carving 



* A Native : Pen and Ink Sketches of South India. 



137 BALI J A 

industry. Figures of swamis (deities), mythological 
figures, elephants, and miniature temple cars with flying 
cherubs and winged horses, are most abundantly carved : 
but domestic utensils in the shape of chembus, kinnis, 
cups, plates, etc., are turned on the lathe. Large 
vessels are sometimes made of the wood of vepi or 
achamaram (Hardwickia binata), which resembles red 
sanders wood, but is more liable to crack. The carved 
figures are sold to pilgrims and others who visit Tiru- 
pati, and are also taken to Conjeeveram, Madura, and 
other places, at times when important temple festivals 
are celebrated. Vessels made of red sanders wood carry 
no pollution, and can be used by women during the 
menstrual period, and taken back to the house without 
any purification ceremony. For the same reason, 
Sanyasis (ascetics) use such vessels for doing puja. 

The name Balija is said to be derived from the 
Sanskrit bali (a sacrifice) and ja (born), signifying that 
the Balijas owe their origin to the performance of a 
yagam. The legend is current that on one occasion 
Siva wanted his consort Parvati to appear before him 
in all her glory. But, when she stood before him, fully 
decorated, he laughed, and said that she was not as 
charming as she might be. On this, she prayed that 
Siva would help her to become so. From his braid of 
hair Siva created a being who descended on the earth, 
bearing a number of bangles and turmeric paste, with 
which Parvati adorned herself. Siva, being greatly 
pleased with her appearance, told her to look at herself 
in a looking-glass. The being, who brought the 
bangles, is believed to have been the ancestor of the 
Gazula Balijas. According to another version of the 
legend, Parvati was not satisfied with her appearance 
when she saw herself in the looking-glass, and asked her 



BALIJA 138 

father to tell her how she was to make herself more 
attractive. He accordingly prayed to Brahma, who 
ordered him to perform a severe penance (thapas). 
From the sacrificial fire, kindled in connection therewith, 
arose a being leading a donkey laden with heaps of 
bangles, turmeric, palm leaf rolls for the ears, black 
beads, sandal powder, a comb, perfumes, etc. From this 
Maha Purusha who thus sprang from a sacrifice (bali), 
the Balijas derived their origin and name. To him, in 
token of respect, were given flags, torches, and certain 
musical instruments. 

The Desayis, or leaders of the right-hand faction, 
are said to be Balijas by caste. In former days they had 
very great influences, and all castes belonging to the 
right-hand faction would obey the Desayi Ciietti. Even 
at the present day, the Oddes and others refer their 
disputes to the Desayi, and not to their own caste head- 
man. In former times there were three principal 
Desayis, who had their head-quarters at Conjeeveram, 
Cuddalore, and Walajapet. The head Desayi possesses 
a biruthu (insigne of office) in the form of a large brass 
ladle with a bell attached to it. On the occasion of 
Balija marriages and funerals, this is sent through the 
Chalavathi (a pariah), who is the servant of the Desayi, 
and has the right of allu eduththal (taking a handful) 
when he goes to the bazaar, where he receives meat 
from the butcher, vegetables, etc., as his perquisite. 
The Desayi's ladle is kept in the custody of the 
Chalavathi (See Desayi). 

The Balijas, Mr. Stuart writes,* " employ Brahmans 
and Satanis as their priests. The chief object of their 
worship is Gauri, their caste deity. It is said that the 



* Madras Census Report, 1891. 




GAZULA BALIJA WITH BANGLES. 



139 BALI J A 

Malas are the hereditary custodians of the idol of Gauri 
and her jewels, which the Balijas get from them when- 
ever they want to worship her. The following story 
is told to account for this. The Kapus and Balijas, 
molested by the Muhammadan invaders on the north of 
the northern Pennar, migrated to the south when the 
Pennar was in full flood. Being unable to cross the 
river, they invoked their deity to make a passage for 
them, for which it demanded the sacrifice of a first-born 
child. While they stood at a loss what to do, the Malas 
who followed them boldly offered one of their children 
to the goddes-s. Immediately the river divided before 
them, and the Kapus and the Balijas crossed it, and 
were saved from the tyranny of the Muhammadans. 
Ever since that time, the Malas have been respected by 
the Kapus and Balijas, and the latter even deposited 
the images of Gauri, the bull and Ganesa, which they 
worshipped, in the house of a Mala. I am credibly 
informed that the practice of leaving these images in the 
custody of Malas is even now observed in some parts of 
the Cuddapah district and elsewhere." 

Of the numerous sub-divisions of the Balijas, the 
following may be noticed : — 

Gazula, glass bangles. Valaiyal or vala (bangle) Chetti is 
the Tamil equivalent. By some the sight of a Gazula Balija 
with his pile of bangles on his back is considered a good 
omen. In recent years, a scare has arisen in connection 
with an insect, which is said to take up its abode in imported 
German glass bangles, which compete with the indigenous 
industry of the Gazulas. The insect is believed to lie low in 
the bangle till it is purchased, when it comes out and nips 
the wearer, after warning her to get her affairs in order 
before succumbing. A specimen of a broken bangle, from 
which the insect is stated to have burst forth and stung a 
girl in the wrist, was sent to me. But the insect was not 
forthcoming. 



BALI J A HO 

Gandavallu, or Gundapodi vandlu. Go about the villages, 
hawking turmeric, kunkumam (colour powder), kamela 
(Mallotus philippinensis) dye powder, beads, combs, cos- 
metics and other articles. Supposed to have been originally 
Komatis. 

Kavarai, Tamil synonym for Balija. 

Linga. 

Panchama. 

Telugu or Telaga. A synonym for Balija in the Northern 
Circars. 

Rajamahendram or Musu Kamma. The former denotes 
the town of Rajahmundry, and the latter a special ear- 
ornament worn by women. 

Tota, garden. 

Ralla, precious stones. 

Pagadala, coral. 

Pusa, beads. 

Racha, royal. 

Vyasa. A sage (rishi) or hunter, whom the hunting classes 
claim as their ancestor. 

Other sub-divisions, classified as Balijas at the 
census, 1901, were: — 

Jakkulas, among whom it was, at Tenali in the Kistna district, 
formerly customary for each family to give up one girl for 
prostitution. Under the influence of social reform, a written 
agreement was a few years ago entered into to give up the 
practice. 

Adapapa. Female attendants on the ladies of the families of 
Zamindars, who, as they are not allowed to marry, lead a life 
of prostitution. Their sons call themselves Balijas. In 
some places, e.g,, the Kistna and Godavari districts, this 
class is known as Khasa or Khasavandlu. 

Santa Kavarai. Returned as Balijas in the Chingleput district. 

Ravut. Returned in the Salem district. Said to have been 
formerly soldiers under the Poligars. 

Like other Telugu castes, the Balijas have exoga- 
mous septs (intiperu) and gotras. Of the former, the 
following are examples : — 




BALIJA BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM. 



Tupakala, musket. 
Samudram, ocean. 
Pappu, split pulse. 
Gantla, bell. 
Puli, tiger. 
Balli, lizard. 
Avula, cow. 
Gandham, sandal paste 

or powder. 
Jilakara, cummin seeds. 



141 BALI J A 



Miriyala, pepper. 
Mutyala, pearls. 
Narikella, cocoanut. 
Nemili, peacock. 
Pagadala, coral. 
Pattindla, silk house. 
Ratnala, precious stones. 
Ungarala, rings. 
Yenumala, buffalo. 



There is a saying that a Balija who has no gotra 
must take the name of the Pasuleti, or Pasupuleti gotra. 
In like manner, a Brahman orphan, whose gotra cannot 
be traced, is made to adopt the Vathsa gotra. 

Among the Musu Kammas, the consent of both the 
maternal uncle and elder sister's husband must be 
obtained before a girl is given in marriage. At the 
betrothal ceremony, the future bridegroom's relations 
proceed to the house of the girl, carrying the following 
articles on an odd number of trays beneath a cloth canopy 
(ulladam) : mustard, fenugreek (Trigonella Fcenum- 
%rcecum), cummin seeds, curds, jaggery, dhal (Ca/anus 
indicus), balls of condiments, tamarinds, pepper, twenty- 
one cakes, eleven cocoanuts, salt, plantains, flowers, a 
new cloth, black beads, a palm-leaf roll for the ear lobe, 
turmeric, a comb, and kunkumam (colour powder). A 
few rupees, called kongu mudi, to be given to the future 
mother-in-law, are also placed on the tray. The 
contracting parties exchange betel and a cocoanut, of 
which the latter is taken away by a member of the 
bridegroom's party, tied up in his body-cloth. The 
girl is seated on a plank, goes through the ceremony 
(nalagu) of being anointed with oil and paste, and is 
presented with a new cloth. Wearing this, she sits on 
the plank, and betel, flowers, jewels, etc., are placed in 



BALI J A 142 

her lap. A near female relation then ties a string 
of black beads round her neck. Among the Musu 
Kammas, the milk-post, consisting of a green bamboo, 
with sometimes a branch of Odina Wodier, must be set 
up two days before the commencement of the marriage 
ceremonies. It is worshipped, and to it are tied an iron 
ring, and a string of cotton and wool twisted together 
(kankanam). A small framework, called dhornam, made 
of two sticks, across which cotton threads or pieces of 
cloth are stretched, is brought by a washerwoman, and 
given to the maternal uncle of the bridegroom, who 
ties it to the marriage booth. The marriage pots are 
brought from a potter's house beneath a cloth canopy 
(ulladam), and given to married couples, closely related 
to the bridegroom, who fetch water, and place the pots 
on the dais. Some married women pour rice on a clean 
white cloth spread on the floor, and rub off the bran with 
their hands, while they sing songs. The cloth to be 
worn by the bridegroom is dipped in turmeric water by 
these women and dried. The Balijas are very particular 
about the worship of their female ancestors (perantalu) 
and no auspicious ceremony can be commenced until 
perantalu puja has been performed. Among the Musu 
Kammas, five women, who are closely related to the 
bridal couple, take only one meal a day, and try to keep 
free from pollution of all sorts. They go through the 
nalagu ceremony, and are presented with new cloths. 
Among other sections, the wall is simply painted with 
turmeric dots to represent the ancestors. The ancestor 
worship concluded, the finger and toe-nails of the 
bridegroom are cut, and a Musu Kamma bridegroom is 
conducted to a temple of Vigneswara (Ganesa), if there 
is one near at hand. By other sections it is considered 
sufficient, if Vigneswara worship is performed at the 



143 BALIJA 

marriage booth. The Musu Kamma bridegroom is 
dressed up at the temple, and a bashingam (chaplet) tied 
on his forehead. An old-fashioned turban (paghai) is 
placed on his head, and a dagger (jimthadu) stuck into 
his waist-cloth. It is said that, in olden times, the 
Balijas used to worship the dagger, and sacrifice sheep 
or goats at marriages. The bridegroom is next brought 
to the house where the wedding is being celebrated, and 
his brother-in-law washes his feet, and, after throwing 
flowers and rice over them, puts toe-rings and shoes 
thereon. The Brahman purohit lights the sacred fire 
(homam), and pours ghl (clarified butter) therein, while 
he utters some verses, Vedic or other. He then ties 
the kankanam (thread) on the bridegroom's wrist. The 
parents of the bride next proceed with the dharadhattam 
(gift of the girl) by pouring water and grains of rice 
into the hands of the bridegroom. Vigneswara is then 
worshipped, and the bottu (marriage badge) is blessed by 
those assembled, and handed to the bridegroom. He, 
placing his right foot on that of the bride, who is 
separated from him by a screen, ties it round her neck. 
The couple then exchange seats, and rice is thrown in 
front of them. They next go thrice round the dais and 
milk-post, and, at the end of the first and second rounds, 
the foot of the bride is placed on a grinding stone. 
After the third round they gaze at the pole-star 
(Arundati). Into one of the marriage pots are put a 
pap-bowl, ring, and bracelet, which are picked out by 
the couple. If the pap-bowl is first got hold of by the 
bridegroom, the first-born child will be a boy ; if the ring, 
it will be a girl This rite concluded, the bridegroom 
makes a mark on the bride's forehead with collyrium. 
On the second day, the bridegroom makes a pretence of 
being angry, and stays in a garden or house near that 



BALI J A 144 

in which the marriage ceremonies are conducted. The 
bride, and some of her relations, go to him in procession, 
and, treating him with great respect, bring him back. 
The sacred fire is lighted, and the bride enters the room 
in which the marriage pots (araveni) are kept. The 
bridegroom is stopped at the entrance thereto by a 
number of married women, and has to call his wife by 
her name, and pay a small sum of money for the arathi 
(coloured water), which is waved by the women, to ward 
off the evil eye. In some places, the sister of the 
bridegroom extracts a promise that his coral (daughter) 
shall be given in marriage to her pearl (son). He is 
then permitted to enter the room. On the third day, 
after homam has been performed by the Brahman priest, 
the newly married couple go through a burlesque 
imitation of domestic life, after they have worshipped 
the posts of the booth, and perform a mimic ploughing 
ceremony, the bridegroom stirring up some earth in a 
basket with a stick or miniature plough. This, in some 
places, his sister tries to prevent him from doing by 
covering the basket with a cloth, and he has to say " I 
will give my coral to your pearl." His brother-in-law 
tries to squeeze his fingers between a pair of sticks 
called kitti, which was, in former times, a very popular 
form of torture as a means of extracting confession. 
The bride gives her husband some conji (rice-gruel) to 
refresh him after his pretended labour. 

At a marriage among the Perikes (q.v.), a gunny- 
bag is said to be worshipped before the bottu is tied. A 
quantity of rice is measured on the first day of the 
ceremonies and tied up in a cloth. On the third day, 
the cloth is opened, and it is considered an auspicious 
sign if the quantity of rice exceeds that which was 
originally put into it. Among the Rajamahendram 



145 BANA 

Balijas, just before the nalagu ceremony, the knees, 
shoulders, and cheeks of the bride and bridegroom are 
touched with a pestle, while the names of their septs 
are called out. On the third day, the same process is 
repeated, but in the reverse order. A Gazula Balija 
bride must, when the bottu is tied, be dressed in a white 
cloth with red stripes, called sanna pappuli. With other 
sections, a white cloth dyed with turmeric is de rigeur. 

Balija, it may be noted, is, in the North Arcot 
Manual, returned as a division of Dasaris and Idigas. 
The better classes of Medaras (cane-splitters and mat- 
makers) are also taking to calling themselves Balijas, 
and assume the title Chetti. Oddes and Upparas 
sometimes style themselves Odde Balija and Uppara 
Balija. They belong to the right-hand section, which is 
headed by the Desayi, who is a Balija, and so describe 
themselves as belonging to the Setti or Chetti samayam 
(section). Some members of the Mila and Vada fishing 
castes have adopted Oda or Vada (boat) Balija as their 
caste name. 

Ballala.— Ballala, or Bellala, was returned, at the 
census, 1901, as the caste name of a number of indivi- 
duals, indicating their claim to descent from the Hoysal 
Ballal kings of Mysore. Ballal is a title assumed by 
Bant families of position. There is a proverb that, 
when a Bant becomes powerful, he becomes a Ballal.* 

Ballem (spear). — An exogamous sept of Mala. 

Balli (lizard). — An exogamous sept of Balija. 

Balolika.— A synonym of Rajapuri. 

Balti (bear). — A sept of D6mb. 

Bana (big pot). — An exogamous sept of Togatas, 
and a name for Telugu washermen, who are sometimes 



* Manual of the S. Canara district. 
IO 



BANAJIGA 146 

called Bana Tsakala. Bana is the Telugu name for the 
pot which they use for boiling the clothes in. 

Banajiga (vanik, tradesman). — Canarese traders, 
many of whom are Lingayats. See Linga Balija. 

Banda.— -Banda, as applied to the Mondi mendicant 
class, seems to be used in the sense of an obstinate 
fellow. Some, however, maintain that it refers to a 
beggar who carries about a stone, and threatens to beat 
his brains out, if alms are not forthcoming. Banda, 
meaning a rock, also occurs as an exogamous sept of 
Odde. 

Bandari. — Bandari, denoting apparently the shrub 
Dodondcza viscosa, is an exogamous sept of Odde. It 
further occurs, in the sense of a temple treasurer, as an 
exogamous sept of Devangas and Padma Sales, for 
whom the Bandari acts as caste messenger. It is also 
the name of the assistant to the headman, or Pattakar, 
of the Okkiliyans, a title of Konkani Brahmans, and a 
synonym of Kelasis. 

Bandekara. — A synonym for Konkani Vanis 
(traders), who are said, in the Madras Census Report, 
1901, to ape the Brahmanical customs, and call them- 
selves by the curious hybrid name of Vasiya (or Vaisya) 
Brahman. 

Bandi (cart). — An exogamous sept of Kapu, Kavarai, 
Korava, Kumbara, Kurni, Kuruba, Mala, Odde, Stanika, 
and Yanadi. It further occurs as a name for Koravas, 
who drag the temple car at times of religious festival. 
Vandikkaran (cartmen) is an occupational name for 
Nayars, who work as cartmen for carrying fuel. 

Bangaru Mukkara (gold nose ornament). — A sub- 
division of Kamma. 

Baniya. — The Baniyas or Bunyas are immigrant 
traders and money-lenders (sowcars) from Northern 



147 BANT 

India, who have settled down in the southern bazars, 
where they carry on a lucrative business, and wax sleek 
and wealthy. Bania also occurs as a synonym for the 
South Indian trading caste, the Komatis. 

It may be noted, as a little matter of history, that, 
in 1677, the Court of Directors, in a letter to Fort St. 
George, offered " twenty pounds reward to any of our 
servants or soldiers as shall be able to speak, write, 
and translate the Banian language, and to learn their 
arithmetic."* 

Banjari.— A synonym of Lambadi. 

Banka (gum). — An exogamous sept of Motati Kapu. 

Bannagara (a painter). — A synonym of Chitrakara. 

Barman.— A synonym of Vannan or Mannan, re- 
corded at times of census. In like manner Bannata 
occurs as a Canarese form of the Malayalam Veluttedan 
or Vannattan. 

Banni or Vanni {Prosopis spicigera). — An exoga- 
mous sept of Kuruba and Kurni. The tree is worship- 
ped because on it " the five Pandava princes hung up 
their arms when they entered Virat Nagra in disguise. 
On the tree the arms turned to snakes, and remained 
untouched till the owners returned." (Lisboa.) 

Bant.— For the following account of the Bants I am 
mainly indebted to Mr. H. A. Stuart's description of 
them in the Manual of South Canara. The name Bant, 
pronounced Bunt, means in Tulu a powerful man or 
soldier, and indicates that the Bants were originally a 
military class corresponding to the Nayars of Malabar. 
The term Nadava instead of Bant in the northern portions 
of South Canara points, among other indications, to a 
territorial organisation by nads similar to that described 



* Yule and Burnell. Hobson-Jobson. 
10 * 



BANT 148 

by Mr. Logan as prevailing in Malabar. " The Nayars," 
he writes, " were, until the British occupied the country, 
the militia of the district. Originally they seem to have 
been organised into 'Six Hundreds,' and each six 
hundred seems to have had assigned to it the protection 
of all the people in a nad or country. The nad was in 
turn split up into taras, a Dravidian word signifying 
originally a foundation, the foundation of a house, hence 
applied collectively to a street, as in Tamil teru, in 
Telugu teruvu, and in Canarese and Tulu teravu. The 
tara was the Nayar territorial unit for civil purposes." 
It has been stated that " the Malabar Nair chieftain of 
old had his nad or barony, and his own military class ; 
and the relics of this powerful feudal system still survive 
in the names of some of the taluks (divisions) of modern 
Malabar, and in the official designations of certain Nair 
families, whose men still come out with quaint-looking 
swords and shields to guard the person of the Zamorin 
on the occasion of the rice-throwing ceremony, which 
formally constitutes him the ruler of the land. Corre- 
spondingly, the Bants of the northern parts of Canara 
still answer to the territorial name of Nad Bants, or war- 
riors of the nad or territory. It is necessary to explain 
that, in both ancient Keralam and Tulu, the functions 
of the great military and dominant classes were so dis- 
tributed that only certain classes were bound to render 
military service to the ruling prince. The rest were 
lairds or squires, or gentleman farmers, or the labourers 
and artisans of their particular community, though all 
of them cultivated a love of manly sports. " # 

Few traces of any such organisation as has been 
indicated now prevail, great changes having been made 



* Calcutta Review. 



149 BANT 

when the Vijayanagar Government introduced, more than 
five hundred years ago, a system of administration under 
which the local Jain chiefs, though owing allegiance to 
an overlord, became more independent in their relations 
with the people of the country. Under the Bednur kings, 
and still more under the Mysore rule, the power of the 
chiefs was also swept away, but the old organisation 
was not reverted to. 

The Bants are now the chief land-owning and culti- 
vating class in South Canara, and are, with the exception 
of the Billavas or toddy-drawers, the most numerous 
caste in the district. " At the present day, the Bants 
of Canara are largely the independent and influential 
landed gentry, some would say, perhaps, the substantial 
yeomanry. They still retain their manly independence 
of character, their strong and well developed physique, 
and they still cany their heads with the same haughty 
toss as their forefathers did in the stirring fighting days 
when, as an old proverb had it, ' The slain rested in the 
yard of the slayer,' and when every warrior constantly 
carried his sword and shield. Both men and women of 
the Bant community are among the comeliest of Asiatic 
races, the men having high foreheads and well-turned 
aquiline noses." 

In a note on the agricultural economy of South 
Canara, Rao Sahib T. Raghaviah writes* that "the 
ryot (cultivator) of South Canara loves to make his land 
look attractive, and every field is lined with the lovely 
areca, and the stately palm. The slopes adjoining the 
rich fields are studded with plantations of jack, mango, 
cashew, plantain and other fruit and shade trees, and the 
ryot would not even omit to daub his trees with the 



Indian Review, VII, 1906. 



BANT 150 

alternate white and red bands, with which the east coast 
women love to adorn a marriage house or temple wall. 
These, with the regularly laid out and carefully embanked 
water-courses and streams, lend an air of enchantment to 
the whole scene. The ignorance prevailing among the 
women of the richer section of the landed classes (on the 
east coast) is so great that it is not uncommon to ridicule a 
woman by saying that what she knows about paddy (rice) 
is that it grows on a tree. But, in a district like South 
Canara, the woman that does not know agriculture is the 
exception. I have often come across respectable women 
of the landed classes like the Bants, Shivallis, and Nairs, 
managing large landed estates as efficiently as men. 
The South Canara woman is born on the land, and lives 
on it. She knows when to sow, and when to reap ; how 
much seed to sow, and how much labour to employ to 
plough, to weed, or to reap. She knows how to prepare 
her seed, and to cure her tobacco, to garner her grain, 
and to preserve her cucumbers through the coming mon- 
soon. She knows further how to feed her cow, and to 
milk it, to treat it when sick, and to graze it when hale. 
She also knows how to make her manure, and how to use 
it without wasting a bit of it. She knows how to collect 
green leaves for her manure, and to help the fuel reserve 
on the hill slope above her house grow by a system of 
lopping the branches and leaving the standards. She 
knows also how to collect her areca nuts, and to prepare 
them for the market, and to collect her cocoanuts, and 
haggle for a high price for them with her customers. 
There is, in fact, not a single thing about agriculture 
which the South Canara man knows, and which the 
South Canara woman does not know. It is a common 
sight, as one passes through a paddy flat or along the 
adjoining slope, to see housewives bringing out handfuls 



151 BANT 

of ashes collected in the oven over night, and deposit- 
ing them at the root of the nearest fruit tree on their 
land." 

Most of the Bants are Hindus by religion, and rank 
as Sudras, but about ten thousand of them are Jains. 
Probably they originally assumed Jainism as a fashionable 
addition to the ancestral demon worship, to which they 
all still adhere, whether they profess to be Vaishnavites, 
Saivites, or Jains. It is probable that, during the political 
supremacy of the Jains, a much larger proportion of the 
Bants professed adherence to that religion than now-a- 
days. 

There are four principal sub-divisions of the caste, 
viz., Masadika, who are the ordinary Bants of Tuluva ; 
Nadava or Nad, who speak Canarese, and are found in 
the northern part of South Canara ; the Parivara, who 
do not follow the aliya santana system of inheritance ; 
and the Jains. Members of these sub-divisions may not 
intermarry, but instances have occurred of marriage 
between members of the Masadika and Nad sub- 
divisions. 

Nothing very definite is known of the origin of the 
Bants, but Tuluva seems, in the early centuries of the 
Christian era, to have had kings who apparently were 
sometimes independent and sometimes feudatories of 
overlords, such as the Pallavas, the early Kadambas, the 
early Chalukyans, the later Kadambas, the western 
Chalukyans, the Kalachurians, and the Hoysal Ballals. 
This indicates a constant state of fighting, which would 
account for an important class of the population being 
known as Bantaru or warriors ; and, as a matter of course, 
they succeeded in becoming the owners of all the land 
which did not fall to the share of the priestly class, the 
Brahmans. Ancient inscriptions speak of kings of 



BANT IS 2 

Tuluva, and the Bairasu Wodears of Karakal, whose 
inscriptions have been found at Kalasa as early as the 
twelfth century, may have exercised power throughout 
Tuluva or the greater part of it. But, when the Vijaya- 
nagar dynasty became the overlords of Canara in 1336, 
there were then existing a number of minor chiefs who had 
probably been in power long before, and the numerous 
titles still remaining among the Bants and Jains, and the 
local dignities known as Pattam and Gadi, point to the 
existence from very early times of a number of more or 
less powerful local chieftains. The system peculiar to 
the west coast under which all property vests in females, 
and is managed by the seniors of the family, was also 
favourable to the continuance of large landed properties, 
and it is probable that it is only within comparatively 
recent times that sub-division of landed property became 
anything like as common as it is now. All the Bants, 
except the Parivara and a few Jains follow this aliya 
santana system of inheritance,* a survival of a time 
when the military followers of conquering invaders or 
local chiefs married women of the local land-owning 
classes, and the most important male members of the 
family were usually absent in camp or at court, while the 
women remained at the family house on the estate, and 
managed the farms. The titles and the pattams or dig- 
nities have always been held by the male members, but, 
as they also go with the landed property, they necessarily 
devolve on the sister's son of a deceased holder, whence 
has arisen the name aliya santana, which means sister's 
son lineage. A story is embodied in local traditions, 
attributing the origin of the system to the fiat of a king 
named Bhutal Pandya, until whose time makkala santana, 



* See G. Krishna Kao. Treatise on Aliya Santana Law and Usage, Manga- 
lore, 1898. 



153 BANT 

or inheritance from father to son, generally obtained. 
" It is said that the maternal uncle of this prince, called 
Deva Pandya, wanted to launch his newly constructed 
ships with valuable cargo in them, when Kundodara, 
king of demons demanded a human sacrifice. Deva 
Pandya asked his wife's permission to offer one of his 
sons, but she refused, while his sister Satyavati offered 
her son Java Pandya for the purpose. Kundodara, dis- 
covering in the child signs of future greatness, waived 
the sacrifice, and permitted the ships to sail. He then 
took the child, restored to him his father's kingdom of 
Jayantika, and gave him the name of Bhutal Pandya. 
Subsequently, when some of the ships brought immense 
wealth, the demon again appeared, and demanded of Deva 
Pandya another human sacrifice. On the latter again 
consulting his wife, she refused to comply with the 
request, and publicly renounced her title and that of her 
children to the valuable property brought in the ships. 
Kundodara then demanded the Deva Pandya to disinherit 
his sons of the wealth which had been brought in the 
ships, as also of the kingdom, and to bestow all on his 
sister's son, Java or Bhutal Pandya. This was accord- 
ingly done. And, as this prince inherited his kingdom 
from his maternal uncle and not from his father, he ruled 
that his own example should be followed by his subjects, 
and it was thus that the aliya santana law was established 
about A.D. 77" * 

It is noted by Mr. L. Moore t that various judicial 
decisions relating to the aliya santana system are based 
to a great extent on a book termed Aliya Santanada 
Kattu Kattale, which was alleged to be the work of 
Bhutala Pandiya, who, according to Dr. Whitley Stokes, 



* Calcutta Review, t Malabar Law and Custom, 3rd ed., 1905. 



BANT 154 

the learned scholar who edited the first volume of the 
Madras High Court Reports, lived about A.D. 78, but 
which is in reality a very recent forgery compiled about 
1 840. As to this, Dr. A. C. Burnell observes as follows in 
a note in his law of partition and succession. " One patent 
imposture yet accepted by the Courts as evidence is 
the Aliya Santanada Kattu Kattale, a falsified account 
of the customs of South Canara. Silly as many Indian 
books are, a more childish or foolish tract it would be 
impossible to discover ; it is about as much worthy 
of notice in a law court as ' Jack the Giant Killer.' 
That it is a recent forgery is certain .... The 
origin of the book in its present state is well-known ; it 
is satisfactorily traced to two notorious forgers and 
scoundrels about thirty years ago, and all copies have 
been made from the one they produced. I have enquired 
in vain for an old manuscript, and am informed, on the 
best authority, that not one exists. A number of recent 
manuscripts are to be found, but they all differ essen- 
tially one from another. A more clumsy imposture it 
would be hard to find, but it has proved a mischievous one 
in South Canara, and threatens to render a large amount 
of property quite valueless. The forgers knew the 
people they had to deal with, the Bants, and, by insert- 
ing a course that families which did not follow the Aliya 
Santana shall become extinct, have effectually prevented 
an application for legislative interference, though the 
poor superstitious folk would willingly (it is said) have 
the custom abolished." * 

As a custom similar to aliya santana prevails in 
Malabar, it no doubt originated before Tuluva and Kerala 



* The Law of Partition and Succession, from the text of Varadaraja' s 
Vyavaharaniranya by A. C. Burnell (1872). 



155 BANT 

were separated. The small body of Parivara Bants, and 
the few Jain Bants that do not follow the aliya santana 
system, are probably the descendants of a few families 
who allowed their religious conversion to Hinduism or 
Jainism to have more effect on their social relations than 
was commonly the case. Now that the ideas regarding 
marriage among the Bants are in practice assimilated to a 
great extent to those of most other people, the national 
rule of inheritance is a cause of much heart-burning and 
quarrelling, fathers always endeavouring to benefit their 
own offspring at the cost of the estate. A change would 
be gladly welcomed by many, but vested interests in 
property constitute an almost insuperable obstacle. 

The Bants do not usually object to the use of animal 
food, except, of course, the flesh of the cow, and they do 
not as a rule wear the sacred thread. But there are some 
families of position called Ballals, amongst whom heads of 
families abstain from animal food, and wear the sacred 
thread. These neither eat nor intermarry with the 
ordinary Bants. The origin of the Ballals is explained by 
a proverb, which says that when a Bant becomes power- 
ful, he becomes a Ballal. Those who have the dignity 
called Pattam, and the heads of certain families, known 
as Shettivalas or Heggades, also wear the sacred thread, 
and are usually managers or mukhtesars of the temples 
and bhutasthans or demon shrines within the area over 
which, in former days, they are said to have exercised 
a more extended jurisdiction, dealing not only with caste 
disputes, but settling numerous civil and criminal matters. 
The Jain Bants are strict vegetarians, and they abstain 
from the use of alcoholic liquors, the consumption of 
which is permitted among other Bants, though the 
practice is not common. The Jain Bants avoid taking 
food after sunset. 



BANT 156 

The more well-to-do Bants usually occupy substantial 
houses on their estates, in many of which there is much 
fine wood-work, and, in some cases, the pillars of the 
porches and verandahs, and the doorways are artisti- 
cally and elaborately carved. These houses have been 
described as being well built, thatched with palm, and 
generally prettily situated with beautiful scenic prospects 
stretching away on all sides. 

The Bants have not as a rule largely availed them- 
selves of European education, and consequently there 
are but few of them in the Government service, but 
among these few some have attained to high office, and 
been much respected. As is often the case among high 
spirited people of primitive modes of thought, party and 
faction feeling run high, and jealousy and disputes about 
landed property often lead to hasty acts of violence. 
Now-a-days, however, the last class of disputes more 
frequently lead to protracted litigation in the Courts. 

The Bants are fond of out-door sports, football and 
buffalo-racing being amongst their favourite amusements. 
But the most popular of all is cock-fighting. Every 
Bant, who is not a Jain, takes an interest in this sport, 
and large assemblages of cocks are found at every fair 
and festival throughout South Canara. " The outsider," 
it has been said,* " cannot fail to be struck with the 
tremendous excitement that attends a village fair in 
South Canara. Large numbers of cocks are displayed 
for sale, and groups of excited people may be seen 
huddled together, bending down with intense eagerness 
to watch every detail in the progress of a combat between 
two celebrated village game-cocks." Cock fights on 
an elaborate scale take place on the day after the 



* Calcutta Review. 




< 

o 
< 



157 BANT 

Dipavali, Sankaranthi or Vinayakachathurthi, and Goka- 
lashtami festivals, outside the village boundary. At 
Hiriadaka, in October, 1907, more than a hundred birds 
were tethered by the leg to the scrub jungle composed 
of the evergreen shrub Ixora coccinea, or carried in the 
arms of their owners or youngsters. Only males, from 
the town and surrounding villages, were witnesses of the 
spectacle. The tethered birds, if within range of each 
other, excited by the constant crowing and turmoil, 
indulged in an impromptu fight. Grains of rice and 
water were poured into the mouths and over the heads 
of the birds before the fight, and after each round. The 
birds were armed with cunningly devised steel spurs, 
constituting a battery of variously curved and sinuous 
weapons. It is believed that the Bhuta (demon) is 
appeased, if the blood from the wounds drops on the 
ground. The men, whose duty it is to separate the 
birds at the end of a round, sometimes receive nasty 
wounds from the spurs. The tail feathers of a wounded 
bird are lifted up, and a palm leaf fan or towel is waved 
to and fro over the cloacal orifice to revive it. The 
owner of a victorious bird becomes the possessor of the 
vanquished bird, dead or alive. At an exhibition of the 
products of South Canara, during a recent visit of the 
Governor of Madras to Mangalore, a collection of spurs 
was exhibited in the class " household implements." 

For the following note on buffalo races, I am in- 
debted to Mr. H. O. D. Harding. "This is a sport 
that has grown up among a race of cultivators of wet 
land. It is, I believe, peculiar to South Canara, where 
all the cultivation worth mentioning is wet. The Bants 
and Jains, and other landowners of position, own and 
run buffaloes, and the Billava, or toddy drawer, has also 
entered the racing world. Every rich Bant keeps his 



BANT 158 

kambla field consecrated to buffalo-racing, and his pair 
of racing buffaloes, costing from Rs. 150 to Rs. 500, are 
splendid animals ; and, except for an occasional plough- 
drawing at the beginning of the cultivation season, are 
used for no purpose all the year, except racing. The 
racing is for no prize or stakes, and there is no betting, 
starter, judge, or winning post. Each pair of buffaloes 
runs the course alone, and is judged by the assembled 
crowd for pace and style, and, most important of all, the 
height and breadth of the splash which they make. 
Most people know the common levelling plank used by 
the ryots (cultivators) all over India to level the wet field 
after ploughing. It is a plank some 4 or 5 feet long by 
1 or 1 J feet broad, and on it the driver stands to give 
it weight, and the buffaloes pull it over the mud of a 
flooded rice-field. This is the prototype of the buffalo- 
racing car, and any day during the cultivating season in 
the Tulu country one may see two boys racing for the 
love of the sport, as they drive their levelling boards. 
From this the racing car has been specialised, and, if a 
work of art for its own purpose, is not a car on which 
any one could or would wish to travel far. The leveller 
of utility is cut down to a plank about ij by 1 foot, 
sometimes handsomely carved, on which is fixed a gaily 
decorated wooden stool about 6 inches high and 10 
inches across each way, hollowed out on the top, and 
just big enough to afford good standing for one foot. 
In the plank, on each side, are holes to let the mud and 
water through. The plank is fixed to a pole, which is 
tied to the buffalo's yoke. The buffaloes are decorated 
with coloured jhuls and marvellous head-pieces of brass 
and silver (sometimes bearing the emblems of the sun 
and moon), and ropes which make a sort of bridle. The 
driver, stripping himself to the necessary minimum of 




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159 BANT 

garments, mounts, while some of his friends cling, like 
ants struggling round a dead beetle, to the buffaloes. 
When he is fairly up, they let go, and the animals start. 
The course is a wet rice-field, about 1 50 yards long, full 
of mud and water. All round are hundreds, or perhaps 
thousands of people, including Pariahs who dance in 
groups in the mud, play stick-game, and beat drums. 
In front of the galloping buffaloes the water is clear and 
still, throwing a powerful reflection of them as they 
gallop down the course, raising a perfect tornado of mud 
and water. The driver stands with one foot on the 
stool, and one on the pole of the car. He holds a whip 
aloft in one hand, and one of the buffaloes' tails in the 
other. He drives without reins, with nothing but a 
waggling tail to hold on to and steer by. Opening his 
mouth wide, he shouts for all he is worth, while, to all 
appearances, a deluge of mud and water goes down his 
throat. So he comes down the course, the plank on 
which he stands throwing up a sort of Prince of Wales' 
feathers of mud and water round him. The stance on 
the plank is no easy matter, and not a few men come to 
grief, but it is soft falling in the slush. Marks are given 
for pace, style, sticking to the plank, and throwing 
up the biggest and widest splash. Sometimes a kind of 
gallows, perhaps twenty feet high, is erected on the 
course, and there is a round of applause if the splash 
reaches up to or above it. Sometimes the buffaloes 
bolt, scatter the crowd, and get away into the young 
rice. At the end of the course, the driver jumps off with 
a parting smack at his buffaloes, which run up the slope 
of the field, and stop of themselves in what may be 
called the paddock. At a big meeting perhaps a 
hundred pairs, brought from all over the Tulu country, 
will compete, and the big men always send their 



BANT 1 60 

buffaloes to the races headed by the local band. The 
roads are alive with horns and tom-toms for several 
days. The proceedings commence with a procession, 
which is not infrequently headed by a couple of painted 
dolls in an attitude suggestive of that reproductiveness, 
which the races really give thanks for. They are a sort 
of harvest festival, before the second or sugge crop 
is sown, and are usually held in October and Novem- 
ber. Devils must be propitiated, and the meeting 
opens with a devil dance. A painted, grass-crowned 
devil dancer, riding a hobby-horse, proceeds with music 
round the kambla field. Then comes the buffalo proces- 
sion, and the races commence. At a big meeting near 
Mangalore, the two leading devil dancers were dressed 
up in masks, and coat and trousers of blue mission cloth, 
and one had the genitalia represented by a long piece 
of blue cloth tipped with red, and enormous testes. 
Buffaloes, young and old, trained and untrained, compete, 
some without the plank attached to them, and others 
with planks but without drivers. Accidents sometimes 
happen, owing to the animals breaking away among the 
crowd. On one occasion, a man who was in front of a 
pair of buffaloes which were just about to start failed to 
jump clear of them. Catching hold of the yoke, he 
hung on to it by his hands, and was carried right down 
the course, and was landed safely at the other end. If 
he had dropped, he would have fallen among four pairs 
of hoofs, not to mention the planks, and would probably 
have been brained. It is often a case of owners up, and 
the sons and nephews of big Bants, worth perhaps 
Rs. 10,000 a year, drive the teams." 

To the above account, I may add a few notes made at 
a buffalo race-meeting near Udipi, at which I was present. 
Each group of buffaloes, as they went up the track to 



161 BANT 

the starting-point, was preceded by the Koraga band 
playing on drum, fife and cymbals, Holeyas armed 
with staves and dancing, and a man holding a flag 
(nishani). Sometimes, in addition to the flag, there is a 
pakke or spear on the end of a bamboo covered with 
strips of cloth, or a makara torana, i.e., festooned cloths 
between two bamboos. The two last are permitted 
only if the buffaloes belong to a Bant or Brahman, not 
if they are the property of a Billava. At the end of the 
races, the Ballala chief, in whose field they had taken 
place, retired in procession, headed by a man carrying 
his banner, which, during the races, had been floating 
on the top of a long bamboo pole at the far end of the 
track. He was followed by the Koraga band, and the 
Holeyas attached to him, armed with clubs, and dancing 
a step dance amid discordant noises. Two Nalkes 
(devil-dancers), dressed up in their professional garb, and 
a torch-bearer also joined in the procession, in the rear of 
which came the Ballala beneath a decorated umbrella. 
In every village there are rakshasas (demons), called 
Kambla-asura, who preside over the fields. The races 
are held to propitiate them, and, if they are omitted, 
it is believed that there will be a failure of the crop. 
According to some, Kambla-asura is the brother of 
Maheshasura, the buffalo -headed giant, from whom 
Mysore receives its name. The Koragas sit up through 
the night before the Kambla day, performing a ceremony 
called panikkuluni, or sitting under the dew. They 
sing songs to the accompaniment of the band, about 
their devil Nicha, and offer toddy and a rice-pudding 
boiled in a large earthen pot, which is broken so that 
the pudding remains as a solid mass. This pudding is 
called kandel adde, or pot pudding. On the morning of 
the races, the Holeyas scatter manure over the field, and 



BANT 162 

plough it. On the following day, the seedlings are 
planted, without, as in ordinary cases, any ploughing. To 
propitiate various devils, the days following the races are 
devoted to cock-fighting. The Kamblas, in different 
places, have various names derived from the village deity, 
the chief village devil, or the village itself, e.g., Janar- 
dhana Devara, Daivala, or Udiyavar. The young men, 
who have the management of the buffaloes, are called 
Bannangayi Gurikara (half-ripe cocoanut masters) as they 
have the right of taking tender cocoanuts, as well as 
beaten rice to give them physical strength, without the 
special permission of their landlord. At the village of 
Vandar, the races take place in a dry field, which has 
been ploughed, and beaten to break up the clods of earth. 
For this reason they are called podi (powder) Kambla. 

A pair of buffaloes, belonging to the field in which 
the races take place, should enter the field first, and a 
breach of this observance leads to discussion and 
quarrels. On one occasion, a dispute arose between two 
Bants in connection with the question of precedence. 
One of them brought his own pair of buffaloes, and the 
other a borrowed pair. If the latter had brought his 
own animals, he would have had precedence over the 
former. But, as his animals were borrowed, precedence 
was given to the man who brought his own buffaloes. 
This led to a dispute, and the races were not commenced 
until the delicate point at issue was decided. In some 
places, a long pole, called pukare, decorated with flags, 
flowers, and festoons of leaves, is set up in the Kambla 
field, sometimes on a platform. Billavas are in charge 
of this pole, which is worshipped, throughout the races, 
and others may not touch it. 

Fines inflicted by the Bant caste council are, I am 
informed, spent in the celebration of a temple festival. 




PUKARE POST AT KAMBLA BUFFALO RACES, 



1 63 BANT 

In former days, those found guilty by the council were 
beaten with tamarind switches, made to stand exposed 
to the sun, or big red ants were thrown over their 
bodies. Sometimes, to establish the innocence of an 
accused person, he had to take a piece of red-hot iron 
(axe, etc.) in his hand, and give it to his accuser. 

At a puberty ceremony among some Bants the girl 
sits in the courtyard of her house on five unhusked 
cocoanuts covered with the bamboo cylinder which is 
used for storing paddy. Women place four pots filled 
with water, and containing betel leaves and nuts, round 
the girl, and empty the contents over her head. She is 
then secluded in an outhouse. The women are enter- 
tained with a feast, which must include fowl and fish 
curry. The cocoanuts are given to a washerwoman. On 
the fourth day, the girl is bathed, and received back at the 
house. Beaten rice, and rice flour mixed with jaggery 
(crude sugar) are served out to those assembled. The 
girl is kept gosha (secluded) for a time, and fed up with 
generous diet. 

Under the aliya santana system of inheritance, the 
High Court has ruled that there is no marriage within 
the meaning of the Penal Code. But, though divorce 
and remarriage are permitted to women, there are formal 
rules and ceremonies observed in connection with them, 
and amongst the well-to-do classes divorce is not looked 
upon as respectable, and is not frequent. The fictitious 
marriage prevailing amongst the Nayars is unknown 
among the Bants, and a wife also usually leaves the 
family house, and resides at her husband's, unless she 
occupies so senior a position in her own family as to 
make it desirable that she should live on the family estate. 

The Bants are divided into a number of balis 
(exogamous septs), which are traced in the female line, 
ii* 



BANT 164 

i.e., a boy belongs to his mother's, not to his father's 
bali. Children belonging to the same bali cannot marry, 
and the prohibition extends to certain allied (koodu) 
balis. Moreover, a man cannot marry his father's 
brother's daughter, though she belongs to a different 
bali. In a memorandum by Mr. M. Mundappa Bangera,* 
it is stated that " bali in aliya santana families corre- 
sponds to gotra of the Brahmins governed by Hindu 
law, but differs in that it is derived from the mother's 
side, whereas gotra is always derived from the father's 
side. A marriage between a boy and girl belonging to 
the same bali is considered incestuous, as falling within 
the prohibited degrees of consanguinity. It is not at 
all difficult to find out the bali to which a man or woman 
belongs, as one can scarcely be found who does not 
know one's own bali by rote. And the heads of caste, 
who preside at every wedding party, and who are also 
consulted by the elders of the boy or girl before an alli- 
ance is formed, are such experts in these matters that 
they decide at once without reference to any books or 
rules whether intermarriages between persons brought 
before them can be lawfully performed or not." As 
examples of balis among the Bants, the following may 
be cited : — 



Bellathannaya, jaggery. 
Bhuthiannaya, ashes. 
Chaliannaya, weaver. 
Edinnaya, hornet's nest. 
Karkadabennai, scorpion. 
Kayerthannaya {Strychnos 

Nux-vomica). 
Kochattabannayya, or Kajjar- 

annayya, jack tree {Arto- 

carpus integrifolia). 



Koriannaya, fowl. 
Pathanchithannaya, green peas. 
Perugadannaya, bandicoot rat. 
Poyilethannaya, one who removes 

the evil eye. 
Puliattannaya, tiger. 
Ragithannaya, ragi (Eleusine 

Coracana). 



* Report of the Malabar Marriage Commission, 1891. 



1 65 BANT 

Infant marriage is not prohibited, but is not common, 
and both men and girls are usually married after they 
have reached maturity. There are two forms of mar- 
riage, one called kai dhare for marriages between virgins 
and bachelors, the other called budu dhare for the 
marriage of widows. After a match has been arranged, 
the formal betrothal, called ponnapathera or nischaya 
tambula, takes place. The bridegroom's relatives and 
friends proceed in a body on the appointed day to the 
bride's house, and are there entertained at a grand 
dinner, to which the bride's relatives and friends are also 
bidden. Subsequently the karnavans (heads) of the two 
families formally engage to perform the marriage, and 
plates of betel leaves and areca nuts are exchanged, and 
the betel and nuts partaken of by the two parties. 
The actual marriage ceremony is performed at the house 
of the bride or bridegroom, as may be most convenient. 
The proceedings commence with the bridegroom seating 
himself in the marriage pandal, a booth or canopy 
specially erected for the occasion. He is there shaved 
by the village barber, and then retires and bathes. This 
done, both he and the bride are conducted to the pandal 
by their relations, or sometimes by the village headman. 
They walk thrice round the seat, and then sit down side 
by side. The essential and binding part of the cere- 
mony, called dhare, then takes place. The right hand 
of the bride being placed over the right hand of the 
bridegroom, a silver vessel (dhare gindi) filled with 
water, with a cocoanut over the mouth and the flower of 
the areca palm on the cocoanut, is placed on the joined 
hands. The parents, the managers of the two families, 
and the village headmen all touch the vessel, which, with 
the hands of the bridal pair, is moved up and down three 
times. In certain families the water is poured from the 



BANT 1 66 

vessel into the united hands of the couple, and this 
betokens the gift of the bride. This form of gift by pour- 
ing water was formerly common, and was not confined 
to the gift of a bride. It still survives in the marriage 
ceremonies of various castes, and the name of the Bant 
ceremony shows that it must once have been universal 
among them. The bride and bridegroom then receive 
the congratulations of the guests, who express a hope 
that the happy couple 'may become the parents of 
twelve sons and twelve daughters. An empty plate, and 
another containing rice, are next placed before the pair, 
and their friends sprinkle them with rice from the one, 
and place a small gift, generally four annas, in the other. 
The bridegroom then makes a gift to the bride. This is 
called sirdachi, and varies in amount according to the 
position of the parties. This must be returned to the 
husband, if his wife leaves him, or if she is divorced for 
misconduct. The bride is then taken back in proces- 
sion to her home. A few days later she is again taken 
to the bridegroom's house, and must serve her husband 
with food. He makes another money present to her, 
and after that the marriage is consummated. 

According to another account of the marriage 
ceremony among some Bants, the barber shaves the 
bridegroom's face, using cow's milk instead of water, 
and touches the bride's forehead with razor. The bride 
and bridegroom bathe, and dress up in new clothes. 
A plank covered with a newly-washed cloth supplied by 
a washerman, a tray containing raw rice, a lighted lamp, 
betel leaves and areca nuts, etc., are placed in the pandal. 
A girl carries a tray on which are placed a lighted lamp, 
a measure full of raw rice, and betel. She is followed 
by the bridegroom conducted by her brother, and the 
bride, led by the bridegroom's sister. They enter 



I 67 BANT 

the pandal and, after going round the articles contained 
therein five times, sit down on the plank. An elderly 
woman, belonging to the family of the caste headman, 
brings a tray containing rice, and places it in front of 
the couple, over whom she sprinkles a little of the rice. 
The assembled men and women then place presents of 
money on the tray, and sprinkle rice over the couple. 
The right hand of the bride is held by the headman, and 
her uncle, and laid in that of the bridegroom. A cocoanut 
is placed over the mouth of a vessel, which is decorated 
with mango leaves and flowers of the areca palm. The 
headman and male relations of the bride place this 
vessel thrice in the hands of the bridal couple. The 
vessel is subsequently emptied at the foot of a cocoanut 
tree. 

The foregoing account shows that the Bant marriage 
is a good deal more than concubinage. It is indeed as 
formal a marriage as is to be found among any people 
in the world, and the freedom of divorce which is allowed 
cannot deprive it of its essential character. Widows are 
married with much less formality. The ceremony con- 
sists simply of joining the hands of the couple, but, 
strange to say, a screen is placed between them. All 
widows are allowed to marry again, but it is, as a rule, 
only the young women who actually do so. If a widow 
becomes pregnant, she must marry or suffer loss of 
caste. 

The Bants all burn their dead, except in the case of 
children under seven, and those who have died of leprosy 
or of epidemic disease such as cholera or small-pox. 
The funeral pile must consist at least partly of mango 
wood. On the ninth, eleventh or thirteenth day, people 
are fed in large numbers, but the Jains now substitute 
for this a distribution of cocoanuts on the third, fifth, 



BANT 1 68 

seventh, or ninth day. Once a year — generally in Octo- 
ber — a ceremony called agelu is performed for the pro- 
pitiation of ancestors. 

From a detailed account of the Bant death ceremonies, 
I gather that the news of a death is conveyed to the caste 
people by a Holeya. A carpenter, accompanied by 
musicians, proceeds to cut down a mango tree for the 
funeral pyre. The body is bathed, and laid out on a 
plank. Clad in new clothes, it is conveyed with music 
to the burning-ground. A barber carries thither a pot 
containing fire. The corpse is set down near the pyre 
and divested of the new clothes, which are distributed 
between a barber, washerman, carpenter, a Billava and 
Holeya. The pyre is kindled by a Billava, and the 
mat on which the corpse has been lying is thrown 
thereon by a son or nephew of the deceased. On the 
third day the relations go to the burning-ground, and a 
barber and washerman sprinkle water over the ashes. 
Some days later, the caste people are invited to attend, 
and a barber, washerman, and carpenter build up on the 
spot where the corpse was burnt a lofty structure, made 
of bamboo and areca palm, in an odd number of tiers, 
and supported on an odd number of posts. It is deco- 
rated with cloths, fruits, tender cocoanuts, sugarcane, 
flowers, mango leaves, areca palm flowers, etc., and a 
fence is set up round it. The sons and other relations 
of the deceased carry to the burning-ground three balls 
of cooked rice (pinda) dyed with turmeric and tied up 
in a cloth, some raw rice dyed with turmeric, pieces of 
green plantain fruit, and pumpkin and a cocoanut. 
They go thrice round the structure, carrying the various 
articles in trays on their heads, and deposit them 
therein. The relations then throw a little of the 
coloured rice into the structure, and one of the caste 



1 69 



BANT 



men sprinkles water contained in a mango leaf over their 
hands. After bathing, they return home. The clothes, 
jewels, etc., of the deceased are laid on a cloth spread 
inside the house. A piece of turmeric is suspended from 
the ceiling by a string, and a tray containing water 
coloured yellow placed beneath it. Round this the 
females seat themselves. A cocoanut is broken, and a 
barber sprinkles the water thereof contained in a mango 
leaf over those assembled. On the following day, 
various kinds of food are prepared, and placed on leaves, 
with a piece of new cloth, within a room of the house. 
The cloth remains there for a year, when it is renewed. 
The renewal continues until another death occurs in the 
family. 

In the following table, the cephalic index of the 
Bants is compared with that of the Billavas and Shivalli 
Brahmans : — 



— 


Average. 


Maximum. 


Minimum. 


1 

Brahman 1 8o"4 

Billava 1 8o-i 

Bant 1 78 


96-4 

91-5 
91-2 


72 
71 
708 



The headman among the Bants is generally called 
Guttinayya, meaning person of the guttu or site. Every 
village, or group of villages, possesses a guttu, and the 
Bant who occupies, or holds in possession the house or 
site set apart as the guttu is the Guttinayya. When 
this passes to another by sale or inheritance, the office 
of headman passes with it. It is said that, in some 
instances, the headmanship has in this way passed to 
classes other than Bants, e.g., Brahmans and Jains. 
In some villages, the headman is, as among some other 
castes, called Gurikara, whose appointment is hereditary. 



BANT 170 

A few supplementary notes may be added on the 

Parivara, Nad, and Masadika Bants. The Parivaras are 

confined to the southern taluks of the South Canara 

district. They may interdine, but may not intermarry 

with the other section. The rule of inheritance is mak- 

kalakattu (in the male line). Brahman priests are 

engaged for the various ceremonials, so the Parivaras 

are more Brahmanised than the Nad or Masadika Bants. 

The Parivaras may resort to the wells used by Brah- 

mans, and they consequently claim superiority over the 

other sections. Among the Nad Bants, no marriage 

badge is tied on the neck of the bride. At a Parivara 

marriage, after the dhare ceremony, the bridegroom 

ties a gold bead, called dhare mani, on the neck of 

the bride. The remarriage of widows is not in vogue. 

In connection with the death ceremonies, a car is 

not, as among the Nad and Masadika sections, set up 

over the mound (dhupe). On the eleventh day, the 

spreading of a cloth on the mound for offerings of 

food must be done by Nekkaras, who wash clothes for 

Billavas. 

The Nad or Nadava and Masadika Bants follow the 
aliya santana law of succession, and intermarriage is 
permitted between the two sections. The names of 
the balis, which have already been given, are common 
among the Masadikas, and do not apply to the Nads, 
among whom different sept names occur, e.g., Honne, 
Shetti, Koudichi, etc. Elaborate death ceremonies are 
only performed if the deceased was old, or a respected 
member of the community. The corpse is generally 
cremated in one of the rice-fields belonging to the 
family. After the funeral, the male members of the 
family return home, and place a vessel containing 
water and light in a room. One or two women must 



1 71 BANT 

remain in this room, and the light must be kept burning 
until the bojja, or final death ceremonies, are over. 
The water in the vessel must be renewed twice 
daily. At the final ceremonies, a feast is given to the 
castemen, and in some places, the headman insists 
on the people of the house of mourning giving him 
a jewel as a pledge that the bojja will be performed 
on the ninth, eleventh, or thirteenth day. The head- 
man visits the house on the previous day, and, after 
examination of the provisions, helps in cutting up 
vegetables, etc. On the bojja day, copper and silver 
coins, and small pieces of gold, are buried or sown 
in the field in which the ceremony is performed. 
This is called hanabiththodu. The lofty structure, 
called gurigi or upparige, is set up over the dhupe or 
ashes heaped up into a mound, or in the field in 
which the body was cremated, only in the event of 
the deceased being a person of importance. In some 
places, two kinds of structure are used, one called 
gurigi, composed of several tiers, for males, and the 
other called delagudu, consisting of a single tier, for 
females. Devil-dancers are engaged, and the com- 
monest kola performed by them is the eru kola, or 
man and hobby-horse. In the room containing the 
vessel of water, four sticks are planted in the ground, 
and tied together. Over the sticks a cloth is placed, 
and the vessel of water placed beneath it. A bit of 
string is tied to the ceiling, and a piece of turmeric or 
a gold ring is attached to the end of it, and suspended 
so as to touch the water in the vessel. This is called 
nir neralu (shadow in water), and seems to be a custom 
among various Tulu castes. After the bojja ceremony, 
all those who are under death pollution stand in two 
rows. A Madavali (washerman) touches them with a 



BARANG JHODIA 1 72 

cloth, and a Kelasi (barber) sprinkles water over them. 
In this manner, they are freed from pollution. 

The most common title among the Bants is Chetti 
or Setti, but many others occur, e.g., Heggade, Nayaka, 
Bangera, Rai, Ballalaru, etc. 

Barang Jhodia. — A sub-division of Poroja. 

Bardeshkar (people of twelve countries). — Some 
families among Konkani Brahmans go by this name. 

Bariki.— Bariki is the name for village watchmen 
in Southern Ganjam, whose duty it further is to guide 
the traveller on the march from place to place. In the 
Bellary Manual, Barika is given as the name for 
Canarese Kabberas, who are village servants, who keep 
the village chavadi (caste meeting-house) clean, look 
after the wants of officials halting in the village, and 
perform various other duties. In the Census Report, 
1 901, the Barikas are said to be usually Boyas. The 
Barika of Mysore is defined by Mr. L. Rice as # "a 
menial among the village servants ; a deputy talari, 
who is employed to watch the crops from the growing 
crop to the granary." 

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Bellary 
district, that " in the middle of the threshold of nearly 
all the gateways of the ruined fortifications round the 
Bellary villages will be noticed a roughly cylindrical or 
conical stone, something like a lingam. This is the 
boddu-rayi, literally the navel stone, and so the middle 
stone. It was planted there when the fort was built, 
and is affectionately regarded as being the boundary of 
the village site. Once a year, in May, just before the 
sowing season begins, a ceremony takes place in con- 
nection with it. Reverence is first made to the bullocks 



* Mysore and Coorg Gazetteer. 



173 BASAVA GOLLA 

of the village, and in the evening they are driven through 
the gateway past the boddu-rayi with tom-toms, flutes, 
and all kinds of music. The Barike next does puja 
(worship) to the stone, and then a string of mango 
leaves is tied across the gateway above it. The vil- 
lagers now form sides, one party trying to drive the 
bullocks through the gate, and the other trying to keep 
them out. The greatest uproar and confusion naturally 
follow, and, in the midst of the turmoil, some bullock or 
other eventually breaks through the guardians of the 
gate, and gains the village. If that first bullock is a red 
one, the red grains on the red soils will flourish in the 
coming season. If he is white, white crops like cotton 
and white cholam will prosper. If he is red-and-white, 
both kinds will do well. When the rains fail, and, in any 
case, on the first full moon in September, rude human 
figures drawn on the ground with powdered charcoal 
may be seen at cross-roads and along big thoroughfares. 
They represent Jokumara the rain-god, and are made by 
the Barikes — a class of village servants, who are usually 
of the Gaurimakkalu sub-division of the Kabberas. 
The villagers give the artists some small remuneration, 
and believe that luck comes to those who pass over the 
figures." 

Barike.— A title of Gaudos and other Oriya castes. 

Barrellu (buffaloes). — An exogamous sept of Kapu. 

Basala.— Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 
1 90 1, as Telugu beggars and soothsayers in Vizagapatam. 
The word is apparently a corruption of Basa-valu, a sage. 
The Basa-valu pretend to be messengers of Indra, the 
chief of the Devatas, and prognosticate coming events. 

Basari (fig tree). — A gotra of Kurni. 

Basava Golla.— A. name for certain Ko) is of the 
Godavari district, whose grandfathers had a quarrel with 



BASAVI 174 

some of their neighbours, and separated from them. 
The name Basava is said to be derived from bhasha, a 
language, as these Koyis speak a different language 
from the true Gollas.* In like manner, Basa Kondhs 
are those who speak their proper language, in contra- 
distinction to those who speak Oriya, or Oriya mixed 
with Kui. 

Basavi. — See Deva-dasi. 

Basiya Korono. — A sub-division of Korono. 

Basruvogaru (basru, belly). — An exogamous sept 
of Gauda. 

Baththala (rice). — An exogamous sept of Kamma. 

Batlu (cup). — An exogamous sept of Kuruba. 

Bauri.— There are found in the Madras Presidency 
nomad gangs of Bauris or Bawariyas, who are described t 
as " one of the worst criminal tribes of India. The 
sphere of their operations extends throughout the length 
and breadth of the country. They not only commit 
robberies, burglaries and thefts, but also practice the art 
of manufacturing and passing counterfeit coin. They 
keep with them a small quantity of wheat and sandal 
seeds in a small tin or brass case, which they call 
Devakadana or God's grain, and a tuft of peacock's 
feathers, all in a bundle. They are very superstitious, 
and do not embark on any enterprise without first 
ascertaining by omens whether it will be attended 
with success or not. This they do by taking at random 
a small quantity of grains out of their Devakadana and 
counting the number of grains, the omen being con- 
sidered good or bad according as the number of seeds is 
odd or even. For a detailed record of the history of 



* Rev. J. Cain, Ind. Ant., V, 1876, 

f M. Paupa Rao Naidu. The Criminal Tribes of India. No. Ill, Madras, 
1907. 



175 BAVURI 

this criminal class, and the methods employed in the 
performance of criminal acts, I would refer the reader to 
the accounts given by Mr. Paupa Rao * and Mr. W. 
Crooke. f 

Bavaji.— The Bavajis are Bairagi or Gosayi beggars, 
who travel about the country. They are known by 
various names, e.g., Bairagi, Sadu, etc. 

Bavuri.— The Bavuris, or Bauris, are a low class of 
Oriya basket-makers, living in Ganjam, and are more 
familiarly known as Khodalo. They are a polluting 
class, living in separate quarters, and occupy a position 
lower than the Samantiyas, but higher than the Kondras, 
Dandasis, and Haddis. They claim that palanquin 
(dhooly or duli) bearing is their traditional occupation, 
and consequently call themselves Boyi. " According 
to one story, " Risley writes, % " they were degraded for 
attempting to steal food from the banquet of the gods ; 
another professes to trace them back to a mythical 
ancestor named Bahak Rishi (the bearer of burdens), and 
tells how, while returning from a marriage procession, 
they sold the palanquin they had been hired to carry, 
got drunk on the proceeds, and assaulted their guru 
(religious preceptor), who cursed them for the sacrilege, 
and condemned them to rank thenceforward among 
the lowest castes of the community." The Bavuris are 
apparently divided into two endogamous sections, viz., 
Dulia and Khandi. The former regard themselves as 
superior to the latter, and prefer to be called Khodalo. 
Some of these have given up eating beef, call them- 
selves Dasa Khodalos, and claim descent from one 



• Op. cit. 

f Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Bawariya, 
1906. 

% Tribes and Castes of Bengal, 1891. 



BAVURI 176 

Balliga Doss, a famous Bavuri devotee, who is said to 
have worked wonders, analogous to those of Nandan 
of the Paraiyan community. To this section the caste 
priests belong. At Russelkonda, a woman, when 
asked if she was a Bavuri, replied that the caste 
is so called by others, but that its real name is 
Khodalo. Others, in reply to a question whether they 
belonged to the Khandi section, became angry, and 
said that the Khandi s are inferior, because they eat 
frogs. 

The Bavuris gave the name of two gotras, saptha 
bhavunia and naga, which are said to be exogamous. 
The former offer food to the gods on seven leaves of 
the white gourd melon, Benincasa cerifera (kokkara), 
and the latter on jak {Artocarpus integrifolia : panasa) 
leaves. All over the Oriya country there is a general 
belief that house-names or bamsams are foreign to the 
Oriya castes, and only possessed by the Telugus. But 
some genuine Oriya castes, e.g., Haddis, Dandasis and 
Bhondaris, have exogamous bamsams. 

For every group of villages (muttah), the Bavuris 
apparently have a headman called Behara, who is 
assisted by Naikos or Dolo Beharas, or, in some places, 
Dondias or Porichas, who hold sway over a smaller 
number of villages. Each village has its own headman, 
called Bhollobhaya (good brother), to whose notice all 
irregularities are brought. These are either settled by 
himself, or referred to the Behara and Naiko. In some 
villages, in addition to the Bhollobhaya, there is a caste 
servant called Dangua or Dogara. For serious offences, 
a council-meeting is convened by the Behara, and at- 
tended by the Bhollobhayas, Naikos, and a few leading 
members of the community. The meeting is held 
in an open plain outside the village. Once in two or 



177 BAVURI 

three years, a council-meeting, called mondolo, is held, 
at which various matters are discussed, and decided. The 
expenses of meetings are defrayed by the inhabitants of 
the villages in which they take place. Among the most 
important matters to be decided by tribunals are adultery, 
eating with lower castes, the re-admission of convicts 
into the caste, etc. Punishment takes the form of a fine, 
and trial by ordeal is apparently not resorted to. A man, 
who is convicted of committing adultery, or eating with 
a member of a lower caste, is received back into the 
caste on payment of the fine. A woman, who has been 
proved guilty of such offences, is not so taken back. It 
is said that, when a member of a higher caste commits 
adultery with a Bavuri woman, he is sometimes received 
into the Bavuri caste. The Behara receives a small fee 
annually from each village or family, and also a small 
present of money for each marriage. 

Girls are married either before or after puberty. A 
man may marry his maternal uncle's, but not his paternal 
aunt's daughter. At an adult marriage, the festivities 
last for four days, whereas, at an infant marriage, they 
are extended over seven days. When a young man's 
parents have selected a girl for him, they consult a 
Brahman, and, if he decides that the marriage will be 
auspicious, they proceed to the girl's home, and ask that 
a day be fixed for the betrothal. On the appointed day 
the amount of money, which is to be paid by the bride- 
groom-elect for jewels, etc., is fixed. One or two new 
cloths must be given to the girl's grandmother, and the 
man's party must announce the number of feasts they 
intend to give to the castemen. If the family is poor, 
the feasts are mentioned, but do not actually take place. 
The marriage ceremony is always celebrated at night. 
On the evening of the day prior thereto, the bride and 

12 



BAVURI 1 78 

bridegroom's people proceed to the temple of the village 
goddess (Takurani), and, on their way home, go to seven 
houses of members of their own or some higher caste, 
and ask them to give them water, which is poured into a 
small vessel. This vessel is taken home, and hung over 
the bedi (marriage dais). The water is used by the bride 
and bridegroom on the following morning for bathing. 
On the marriage day, the bridegroom proceeds to the 
bride's village, and is met on the way by her party, and 
escorted by his brother-in-law to the dais. The Bhollo- 
bhaya enquires whether the bride's party have received 
everything as arranged, and, when he has been assured 
on this point, the bride is brought to the dais by her 
maternal uncle. She carries with her in her hands a 
little salt and rice ; and, after throwing these over the 
bridegroom, she sits by his side. The grandfathers of 
the contracting couple, or a priest called Dhiyani, offi- 
ciate. Their palms are placed together, and the hands 
united by a string dyed with turmeric. The union of 
the hands is called hasthagonti, and is the binding 
portion of the ceremony. Turmeric water is poured 
over the hands seven times from a chank or sankha shell. 
Seven married women then throw over the heads of 
the couple a mixture of Zizyphus Jujuba (borkolipath.ro) 
leaves, rice smeared with turmeric, and Cynodon Dac- 
tylon (dhuba) culms. This rite is called bhondaivaro, 
and is performed at all auspicious ceremonies. The 
fingers of the bride and bridegroom are then linked 
together, and they are led by the wife of the bride's 
brother seven times round the bedi. The priest then 
proclaims that the soot can soon be wiped off the cooking- 
pot, but the connection brought about by the marriage 
is enduring, and relationship is secured for seven 
generations. The pair are taken indoors, and fed. The 



1 79 BAVURI 

remaining days of the marriage ceremonies are given up 
to feasting. The remarriage of widows is permitted. 
A widow is expected to marry the younger brother of 
her deceased husband, or, with his permission, may 
marry whom she likes. 

When a girl attains maturity, she is seated on a new 
mat, and Zizyphus Jujuba leaves are thrown over her. 
This ceremony is sometimes repeated daily for six 
days, during which sweets, etc., are given to the girl, 
and women who bring presents are fed. On the 
seventh day, the girl is taken to a tank (pond), and 
bathed. 

The dead are either buried or burnt. The corpse is, 
at the funeral, borne in the hands, or on a bier, by four 
men. Soon after the village boundary has been crossed, 
the widow of the deceased throws rice over the eyes of 
the corpse, and also a little fire, after taking it three times 
round. She usually carries with her a pot and ladle, 
which she throws away. If an elderly woman dies, 
these rites are performed by her daughter-in-law. At 
the burial-ground, the corpse is taken seven times round 
the grave, and, as it is lowered into it, those present say 
11 Oh ! trees, Oh ! sky, Oh ! earth, we are laying him in. 
It is not our fault." When the grave has been rilled in, 
the figures of a man and woman are drawn on it, and 
all throw earth over it, saying " You were living with 
us ; now you have left us. Do not trouble the people." 
On their return home, the mourners sprinkle cowdung 
water about the house and over their feet, and toddy is 
partaken of. On the following day, all the old pots are 
thrown away, and the agnates eat rice cooked with 
margosa (Melia Azadirachtd) leaves. Food is offered 
to the dead person, either at the burial-ground or in the 
backyard of the house. On the tenth day, the Dhiyani, 

12 * 



BEDAR OR BOY A 180 

as the priest is called, is sent for, and arrives with his 
drum (dhiyani). A small hut is erected on a tank bund 
(embankment), and food cooked seven times, and offered 
seven times on seven fragments of pots. A new cloth 
is spread, and on it food, fruits, a chank shell, etc., 
are placed, and offered to the deceased. The various 
articles are put into a new pot, and the son, going into 
the water up to his neck, throws the pot into the air, 
and breaks it. The celebrants of the rite then return 
to the house, and stand in a row in front thereof. They 
are there purified by means of milk smeared over their 
hands by the Dhiyani. On the twelfth day, food is 
offered on twelve leaves. 

The Bavuris do not worship Jagannathaswami, or 
other of the higher deities, but reverence their ancestors 
and the village goddesses or Takuranis. Like other 
Oriya classes, the Bavuris name their children on the 
twenty-first day. Opprobrious names are common 
among them, e.g., Ogadu (dirty fellow), Kangali 
(wretched fellow), Haddia (Haddi, or sweeper caste). 

Bedar or Boya. — " Throughout the hills," Buchanan 
writes,* " northward from Capaladurga, are many culti- 
vated spots, in which, during Tippoo's government, 
were settled many Baydaru or hunters, who received 
twelve pagodas (£4. 5s.) a year, and served as irregular 
troops whenever required. Being accustomed to pursue 
tigers and deer in the woods, they were excellent marks- 
men with their match-locks, and indefatigable in follow- 
ing their prey ; which, in the time of war, was the life 
and property of every helpless creature that came in 
their way. During the wars of Hyder and his son, 
these men were chief instruments in the terrible depre- 



Journey through Mysore, Canara and Malabar, 1807. 



181 BEDAR OR BOYA 

dations committed in the lower Carnatic. They were 
also frequently employed with success against the Poli- 
gars (feudal chiefs), whose followers were of a similar 
description." In the Gazetteer of the Anantapur district 
it is noted that "the Boyas are the old fighting caste 
of this part of the country, whose exploits are so often 
recounted in the history books. The Poligars' forces, 
and Haidar Ali's famous troops were largely recruited 
from these people, and they still retain a keen interest 
in sport and manly exercises." 

In his notes on the Boyas, which Mr. N. E. Q. 
Mainwaring has-kindly placed at my disposal, he writes 
as follows. "Although, until quite recently, many a 
Boya served in the ranks of our Native army, being 
entered in the records thereof either under his caste 
title of Naidu, or under the heading of Gentu, # which 
was largely used in old day military records, yet this 
congenial method of earning a livelihood has now been 
swept away by a Government order, which directs that 
in future no Telegas shall be enlisted into the Indian 
army. That the Boyas were much prized as fighting 
men in the stirring times of the eighteenth century is 
spoken to in the contemporaneous history of Colonel 
Wilks.f He speaks of the brave armies of the Poligars 
of Chitteldroog, who belonged to the Beder or Boya 
race in the year 1755. Earlier, in 1750, Hyder Ali, 
who was then only a Naik in the service of the Mysore 
Raja, used with great effect his select corps of Beder 
peons at the battle of Ginjee. Five years after this 



* Gentu or Gentoo is "a corruption of the Portuguese Gentio, gentile or 
heathen, which they applied to the Hindus in contradistinction to the Moros or 
Moors, i.e., Mahommedans. It is applied to the Telugu-speaking Hindus 
specially, and to their language." Yule and Burnell, Hobson-Jobson. 

t Historical Sketches of the South of India : Mysore, 1810— 17. 



BEDAR OR BOYA 182 

battle, when Hyder was rising to great eminence, he 
augmented his Beder peons, and used them as scouts 
for the purpose of ascertaining the whereabouts of his 
enemies, and for poisoning with the juice of the milk- 
hedge {Euphorbia Tirucalli) all wells in use by them, 
or in their line of march. The historian characterises 
them as being ' brave and faithful thieves.' In 1 75 1, the 
most select army of Morari Row of Gooty consisted 
chiefly of Beder peons, and the accounts of their deeds 
in the field, as well as their defence of Gooty fort, which 
only fell after the meanness of device had been resorted 
to, prove their bravery in times gone by beyond doubt. 
There are still a number of old weapons to be found 
amongst the Boyas, consisting of swords, daggers, 
spears, and matchlocks. None appear to be purely 
Boya weapons, but they seem to have assumed the 
weapons of either Muhammadans or Hindus, according 
to which race held sway at the time. In some districts, 
there are still Boya Poligars, but, as a rule, they are 
poor, and unable to maintain any position. Generally, 
the Boyas live at peace with their neighbours, occasion- 
ally only committing a grave dacoity (robbery).* 

"In the Kurnool district, they have a bad name, and 
many are on the police records as habitual thieves and 
housebreakers. They seldom stoop to lesser offences. 
Some are carpenters, others blacksmiths who manufac- 
ture all sorts of agricultural implements. Some, again, 
are engaged as watchmen, and others make excellent 
snares for fish out of bamboo. But the majority of them 
are agriculturists, and most of them work on their own 
putta lands. They are now a hard-working, industrious 
people, who have become thrifty by dint of their industry, 



* By law, to constitute dacoity, there must be five or more in the gang 
committing the crime. Yule and Burnell, op. cit. 



1 83 BEDAR OR BOY A 

and whose former predatory habits are being forgotten. 
Each village, or group of villages, submits to the 
authority of a headman, who is generally termed the 
Naidu, less commonly Dora as chieftain. In some parts 
of Kurnool, the headmen are called Simhasana Boyas. 
The headman presides at all functions, and settles, with 
the assistance of the elders, any disputes that may arise 
in the community regarding division of property, 
adultery, and other matters. The headman has the 
power to inflict fines, the amount of which is regulated 
by the status and wealth of the defaulter. But it is 
always arranged that the penalty shall be sufficient 
to cover the expense of feeding the panchayatdars 
(members of council), and leave a little over to be 
divided between the injured party and the headman. 
In this way, the headman gets paid for his services, and 
practically fixes his own remuneration." 

It is stated in the Manual of the Bellary district that 
"of the various Hindu castes in Bellary, the Boyas 
(called in Canarese Bedars, Byedas, or Byadas) are far 
the strongest numerically. Many of the Poligars whom 
Sir Thomas Munro found in virtual possession of the 
country when it was added to the Company belonged 
to this caste, and their irregular levies, and also a large 
proportion of Haidar's formidable force, were of the same 
breed. Harpanahalli was the seat of one of the most 
powerful Poligars in the district in the eighteenth 
century. The founder of the family was a Boya taliari, 
who, on the subversion of the Vijayanagar dynasty, seized 
on two small districts near Harpanahalli. The Boyas 
are perhaps the only people in the district who still 
retain any aptitude for manly sports. They are now for 
the most part cultivators and herdsmen or are engaged 
under Government as constables, peons, village watchmen 



b£dar OR BOY A 184 

(taliaris), and so forth. Their community provides an 
instructive example of the growth of caste sub-divisions. 
Both the Telugu-speaking Boyas and the Canarese- 
speaking Bedars are split into the two main divisions of 
Uru or village men, and Myasa or grass-land men, and 
each of these divisions is again sub-divided into a number 
of exogamous Bedagas. Four of the best known of 
these sub-divisions are Yemmalavaru or buffalo-men ; 
Mandalavaru or men of the herd ; Pulavaru or flower- 
men, and Minalavaru or fish-men. They are in no way 
totemistic. Curiously enough, each Bedagu has its own 
particular god, to which its members pay special rever- 
ence. But these Bedagas bear the same names among 
both the Boyas and the Bedars, and also among both 
the Uru and Myasa divisions of both Boyas and Bedars. 
It thus seems clear that, at some distant period, all 
the Boyas and all the Bedars must have belonged to 
one homogeneous caste. At present, though Uru Boyas 
will marry with Uru Bedars and Myasa Boyas with 
Myasa Bedars, there is no intermarriage between Urus 
and Myasas, whether they be Boyas or Bedars. Even 
if Urus and Myasas dine together, they sit in different 
rows, each division by themselves. Again, the Urus 
(whether Boyas or Bedars) will eat chicken and drink 
alcohol, but the Myasas will not touch a fowl or any form 
of strong drink, and are so strict in this last matter that 
they will not even sit on mats made of the leaf of the 
date-palm, the tree which in Bellary provides all the 
toddy. The Urus, moreover, celebrate their marriages 
with the ordinary ceremonial of the halu-kamba or milk- 
post, and the surge, or bathing of the happy pair ; the 
bride sits on a flour-grinding stone, and the bridegroom 
stands on a basket full of cholam (millet), and they call 
in Brahmans to officiate. But the Myasas have a simpler 




BEDAR. 



185 BEDAR OR BOY A 

ritual, which omits most of these points, and dispenses 
with the Brahman. Other differences are that the Uru 
women wear ravikkais or tight-fitting bodices, while 
the Myasas tuck them under their waist-string. Both 
divisions eat beef, and both have a hereditary headman 
called the ejaman, and hereditary Dasaris who act as 
their priests." 

In the Madras Census Report, 1901, it is stated that 
the two main divisions of Boyas are called also Pedda 
(big) and Chinna (small) respectively, and, according to 
another account, the caste has four endogamous sections, 
Pedda, Chinna, Sadaru, and Myasa. Sadaru is the 
name of a sub-division of Lingayats, found mainly in the 
Bellary and Anantapur districts, where they are largely 
engaged in cultivation. Some Bedars who live amidst 
those Lingayats call themselves Sadaru. According to 
the Manual of the North Arcot district, the Boyas are a 
"Telugu hunting caste, chiefly found above the ghats. 
Many of the Poligars of that part of the country used to 
belong to the caste, and proved themselves so lawless 
that they were dispossessed. Now they are usually 
cultivators. They have several divisions, the chief of 
which are the Mulki Boyas and the Pala Boyas, who 
cannot intermarry." According to the Mysore Census 
Reports, 1891 and 1901, "the Bedas have two distinct 
divisions, the Kannada and Telugu, and own some 
twenty sub-divisions, of which the following are the 
chief: — Halu, Machi or Myasa, Nayaka, Pallegar, 
Barika, Kannaiyyanajati, and Kirataka. The Machi or 
Myasa Bedas comprise a distinct sub-division, also 
called the Chunchus. They live mostly in hills, and 
outside inhabited places in temporary huts. Portions 
of their community had, it is alleged, been coerced into 
living in villages, with whose descendants the others 



BEDAR OR BOY A 1 86 

have kept up social intercourse. They do not, however, 
eat fowl or pork, but partake of beef; and the Myasa 
Bedas are the only Hindu class among whom the rite 
of circumcision is performed,* on boys of ten or twelve 
years of age. These customs, so characteristic of the 
Mussalmans, seem to have been imbibed when the 
members of this sub-caste were included in the hordes 
of Haidar Ali. Simultaneously with the circumcision, 
other rites, such as the panchagavyam, the burning 
of the tongue with a nim (Melia Azadirachta) stick, 
etc. (customs pre-eminently Brahmanical), are likewise 
practised prior to the youth being received into com- 
munion. Among their other peculiar customs, the 
exclusion from their ordinary dwellings of women in 
child-bed and in periodical sickness, may be noted. 
The Myasa Bedas are said to scrupulously avoid liquor 
or every kind, and eat the- flesh of only two kinds of 
birds, viz., gauja (grey partridge), and lavga (rock-bush 
quail)." Of circumcision among the Myasa Bedars it is 
noted, in the Gazetteer of the Bellary district, that they 
practise this rite round about Rayadrug and Gudekota. 
" These Myasas seem quite proud of the custom, and 
scout with scorn the idea of marrying into any family in 
which it is not the rule. The rite is performed when a 
boy is seven or eight. A very small piece of the skin is 
cut off by a man of the caste, and the boy is then kept 
for eleven days in a separate hut, and touched by no 
one. His food is given him on a piece of stone. On 
the twelfth day he is bathed, given a new cloth, and 
brought back to the house, and his old cloth, and the 
stone on which his food was served, are thrown away. 
His relations in a body then take him to a tangedu 



Circumcision is practised by some Kalians of the Tamil country. 



1 87 BEDAR OR BOYA 

(Cassia auriculatd) bush, to which are offered cocoanuts, 
flowers, and so forth, and which is worshipped by them 
and him. Girls on first attaining puberty are similarly 
kept for eleven days in a separate hut, and afterwards 
made to do worship to a tangedu bush. This tree also 
receives reverence at funerals." 

The titles of the Boyas are said to be Naidu or 
Nayudu, Naik, Dora, Dorabidda (children of chieftains), 
and Valmiki. They claim direct lineal descent from 
Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana. At times of 
census in Mysore, some Bedars have set themselves 
up as Valmiki Brahmans. The origin of the Myasa 
Bedas is accounted for in the following story. A certain 
Bedar woman had two sons, of whom the elder, after 
taking his food, went to work in the fields. The 
younger son, coming home, asked his mother to give 
him food, and she gave him only cholam (millet) and 
vegetables. While he was partaking thereof, he recog- 
nised the smell of meat, and was angry because his 
mother had given him none, and beat her to death. He 
then searched the house, and, on opening a pot from which 
the smell of meat emanated, found that it only contained 
the rotting fibre-yielding bark of some plant. Then, 
cursing his luck, he fled to the forest, where he remained, 
and became the forefather of the Myasa Bedars. 

For the following note on the legendary origin of 
the Bedars, I am indebted to Mr. Mainwaring. " Many 
stories are told of how they came into existence, each 
story bringing out the name which the particular group 
may be known by, Some call themselves Nishadulu, 
and claim to be the legitimate descendants of Nishadu. 
When the great Venudu, who was directly descended 
from Brahma, ruled over the universe, he was unable to 
procure a son and heir to the throne. When he died, his 



BEDAR OR BOYA 1 88 

death was regarded as an irreparable misfortune. In 
grief and doubt as to what was to be done, his body was 
preserved. The seven ruling planets, then sat in solemn 
conclave, and consulted together as to what they should 
do. Finally they agreed to create a being from the 
right thigh of the deceased Venudu, and they accordingly 
fashioned and gave life to Nishudu. But their work was 
not successful, for Nishudu turned out to be not only 
deformed in body, but repulsively ugly. It was accord- 
ingly agreed, at another meeting of the planets, that he 
was not a fit person to be placed on the throne. So 
they set to work again, and created a being from the 
right shoulder of Venudu. Their second effort was 
crowned with success. They called their second creation 
Chakravati, and, as he gave general satisfaction, he was 
placed on the throne. This supersession naturally 
caused Nishudu, the first born, to be discontented, and 
he sought a lonely place. There he communed with the 
gods, begging of them the reason why they had created 
him, if he was not to rule. The gods explained to him 
that he could not now be put on the throne, since 
Chakravati had already been installed, but that he should 
be a ruler over the forests. In this capacity, Nishudu 
begot the Koravas, Chenchus, Yanadis, and Boyas. 
The Boyas were his legitimate children, while the others 
were all illegitimate. According to the legend narrated 
in the Valmiki Ramayana, when king Vishwamitra 
quarrelled with the Rishi Vashista, the cow Kamadenu 
belonging to the latter, grew angry, and shook herself. 
From her body an army, which included Nishadulu, 
Turka (Muhammadans), and Yevannudu (Yerukalas) at 
once appeared. 

" A myth related by the Boyas in explanation of 
their name Valmikudu runs as follows. In former days, 



1 89 BEDAR OR BOYA 

a Brahman, who lived as a highwayman, murdering and 
robbing all the travellers he came across, kept a Boya 
female, and begot children by her. One day, when he 
went out to carry on his usual avocation, he met the seven 
Rishis, who were the incarnations of the seven planets. 
He ordered them to deliver their property, or risk their 
lives. The Rishis consented to give him all their 
property, which was little enough, but warned him that 
one day he would be called to account for his sinful 
deeds. The Brahman, however, haughtily replied that 
he had a large family to maintain, and, as they lived on 
his plunder, they would have to share the punishment 
that was inflicted upon himself. The Rishis doubted 
this, and advised him to go and find out from his family 
if they were willing to suffer an equal punishment with 
him for his sins. The Brahman went to his house, and 
confessed his misdeeds to his wife, explaining that it 
was through them that he had been able to keep the 
family in luxury. He then told her of his meeting 
with the Rishis, and asked her if she would share his 
responsibility. His wife and children emphatically 
refused to be in any way responsible for his sins, which 
they declared were entirely his business. Being at his 
wit's end, he returned to the Rishis, told them how 
unfortunate he was in his family affairs, and begged 
advice of them as to what he should do to be absolved 
from his sins. They told him that he should call upon 
the god Rama for forgiveness. But, owing to his bad 
bringing up and his misspent youth, he was unable to 
utter the god's name. So the Rishis taught him to say 
it backwards by syllables, thus : — ma ra, ma ra, ma ra, 
which, by rapid repetition a number of times, gradually 
grew into Rama. When he was able to call on his god 
without difficulty, the Brahman sat at the scene of his 



BEDAR OR BOYA 190 

graver sins, and did penance. White-ants came out of 
the ground, and gradually enveloped him in a heap. 
After he had been thus buried alive, he became him- 
self a Rishi, and was known as Valmiki Rishi, valmiki 
meaning an ant-hill. As he had left children by the 
Boya woman who lived with him during his prodigal 
days, the Boyas claim to be descended from these 
children and call themselves Valmikudu." 

The Bedars, whom I examined at Hospet in the 
Bellary district, used to go out on hunting expeditions, 
equipped with guns, deer or hog spears, nets like lawn- 
tennis nets used in drives for young deer or hares. 
Several men had cicatrices, as the result of encounters 
with wild boars during hunting expeditions, or when 
working in the sugar plantations. It is noted in the 
Bellary Gazetteer that "the only caste which goes in 
for manly sports seems to be the Boyas, or Bedars, as 
they are called in Canarese. They organise drives for 
pig, hunt bears in some parts in a fearless manner, and 
are regular attendants at the village gymnasium (garidi 
mane), a building without any ventilation often con- 
structed partly underground, in which the ideal exercise 
consists in using dumbbells and clubs until a profuse 
perspiration follows. They get up wrestling matches, 
tie a band of straw round one leg, and challenge all and 
sundry to remove it, or back themselves to perform feats 
of strength, such as running up the steep Joladarasi hill 
near Hospet with a bag of grain on their back." At 
Hospet wrestling matches are held at a quiet spot 
outside the town, to witness which a crowd of many 
hundreds collect. The wrestlers, who performed before 
me, had the hair shaved clean behind so that the 
adversary could not seize them by the back hair, and 
the moustache was trimmed short for the same reason. 





cm. 


Height 


... 163*2 


Shoulders... 


41-8 


Chest 


... 84 


Upper arm, flexed 


28 


Thigh 


... 47 



191 BEDAR OR BOYA 

Two young wrestlers, whose measurements I place on 
record, were splendid specimens of youthful muscularity. 

cm. 
163 
42-8 
82 
29 
5i 

In the Gazetteer of Anantapur it is stated that the 
Telugu New Year's day is the great occasion for driving 
pig, and the Boyas are the chief organisers of the beats. 
All except children, the aged and infirm, join in them, 
and, since to have good sport is held to be the best of 
auguries for the coming year, the excitement aroused 
is almost ludicrous in its intensity. It runs so high that 
the parties from rival villages have been known to use 
their weapons upon one another, instead of upon the 
beasts of the chase. In an article entitled " Boyas and 
bears " * a European sportsman gives the following 
graphic description of a bear hunt. " We used to sleep 
out on the top of one of the hills on a moonlight night. 
On the top of every hill round, a Boya was watching for 
the bears to come home at dawn, and frantic signals 
showed when one had been spotted. We hurried off to 
the place, to try and cut the bear off from his residence 
among the boulders, but the country was terribly rough, 
and the hills were covered with a peculiarly persistent 
wait-a-bit-thorn. This, however, did not baulk the 
Boyas. Telling me to wait outside the jumble of rocks, 
each man took off his turban, wound it round his left 
forearm, to act as a shield against attacks from the bear, 
lit a rude torch, grasped his long iron-headed spear, and 



* Madras Mail, 1902. 



BEDAR OR BOYA 192 

coolly walked into the inky blackness of the enemy's 
stronghold, to turn him out for me to shoot at. I used 
to feel ashamed of the minor part assigned to me in the 
entertainment, and asked to be allowed to go inside with 
them. But this suggestion was always respectfully, but 
very firmly put aside. One could not see to shoot in 
such darkness, they explained, and, if one fired, smoke 
hung so long in the still air of the caves that the bear 
obtained an unpleasant advantage, and, finally, bullets 
fired at close quarters into naked rock were apt to splash 
or re-bound in an uncanny manner. So I had to wait 
outside until the bear appeared with a crowd of cheering 
and yelling Boyas after him." Of a certain cunning 
bear the same writer records that, unable to shake the 
Boyas off, " he had at last taken refuge at the bottom 
of a sort of dark pit, ' four men deep ' as the Boyas put 
it, under a ledge of rock, where neither spears nor 
torches could reach him. Not to be beaten, three of 
the Boyas at length clambered down after him, and 
unable otherwise to get him to budge from under the 
mass of rock beneath which he had squeezed himself, 
fired a cheap little nickel-plated revolver one of them 
had brought twice into his face. The bear then con- 
cluded that his refuge was after all an unhealthy spot, 
rushed out, knocking one of the three men against the 
rocks as he did so, with a force which badly barked one 
shoulder, clambered out of the pit, and was thereafter 
kept straight by the Boyas until he got to the entrance 
of his residence, where I was waiting for him." 

Mr. Mainwaring writes that " the Boyas are adepts 
at shikar (hunting). They use a bullock to stalk ante- 
lope, which they shoot with matchlocks. Some keep 
a tame buck, which they let loose in the vicinity of a 
herd of antelope, having previously fastened a net over 



193 BEDAR OR BOY A 

his horns. As soon as the tame animal approaches the 
herd, the leading buck will come forward to investigate 
the intruder. The tame buck does not run away, as he 
probably would if he had been brought up from infancy 
to respect the authority of the buck of the herd. A fight 
naturally ensues, and the exchange of a few butts finds 
them fastened together by the net. It is then only 
necessary for the shikaris to rush up, and finish the strife 
with a knife." 

Among other occupations, the Boyas and Bedars 
collect honey-combs, which, in some places, have to be 
gathered from crevices in overhanging rocks, which have 
to be skilfully manipulated from above or below. 

The Bedar men, whom I saw during the rainy 
season, wore a black woollen kambli (blanket) as a body- 
cloth, and it was also held over the head as a protection 
against the driving showers of the south-west monsoon. 
The same cloth further does duty as a basket for bring- 
ing back to the town heavy loads of grass. Some of 
the men wore a garment with the waist high up in the 
chest, something like an English rustic's smock frock. 
Those who worked in the fields carried steel tweezers 
on a string round the loins, with which to remove 
babul (Acacia arabica) thorns, twigs of which tree are 
used as a protective hedge for fields under cultivation. 
As examples of charms worn by men the following may 
be cited : — 

String tied round right upper arm with metal 
talisman box attached to it, to drive away devils. 
String round ankle for the same purpose. 

Quarter-anna rolled up in cotton cloth, and worn on 
upper arm in performance of a vow. 

A man, who had dislocated his shoulder when a lad, 
had been tattooed with a figure of Hanuman (the 
*3 



BfiDAR OR BOY A 194 

monkey god) over the deltoid muscle to remove 
the pain. 
Necklet of coral and ivory beads worn as a vow to the 
Goddess Huligamma, whose shrine is in Hyderabad. 
Necklets of ivory beads and a gold disc with the 
Vishnupad (feet of Vishnu) engraved on it. Pur- 
chased from a religious mendicant to bring 
good luck. 
Myasa Bedar women are said * to be debarred from 
wearing toe-rings. Both Uru and Myasa women are 
tattooed on the face, and on the upper extremities with 
elaborate designs of cars, scorpions, centipedes, Sita's 
jade (plaited hair), Hanuman, parrots, etc. Men are 
branded by the priest of a Hanuman shrine on the 
shoulders with the emblem of the chank shell [Turbinella 
rapa) and chakram (wheel of the law) in the belief that 
it enables them to go to Swarga (heaven). When a 
Myasa man is branded, he has to purchase a cylindrical 
basket called gopala made by a special Medara woman, 
a bamboo stick, fan, and winnow. Female Bedars who 
are branded become Basavis (dedicated prostitutes), 
and are dedicated to a male deity, and called Gandu 
Basavioru (male Basavis). They are thus dedicated 
when there happens to be no male child in a family ; or, 
if a girl falls ill, a vow is made to the effect that, if she 
recovers, she shall become a Basavi. If a son is born 
to such a woman, he is affiliated with her father's family. 
Some Bedar women, whose house deities are goddesses 
instead of gods, are not branded, but a string with white 
bone beads strung on it, and a gold disc with two feet 
(Vishnupad) impressed on it, is tied round their neck by 
a Kuruba woman called Pattantha Ellamma (priestess 



* Mysore Census Report, 190 1. 



195 b£dar or boya 

to Uligamma). Bedar girls, whose house deities are 
females, when they are dedicated as Basavis, have in 
like manner a necklace, but with black beads, tied round 
the neck, and are called Hennu Basavis (female Basavis). 
For the ceremony of dedication to a female deity, the 
presence of the Madiga goddess Matangi is necessary. 
The Madigas bring a bent iron rod with a cup at one 
end, and twigs of Vitex Negundo to represent the 
goddess, to whom goats are sacrificed. The iron rod is 
set up in front of the doorway, a wick and oil are placed 
in the cup, and the impromptu lamp is lighted. Various 
cooked articles of food are offered, and partaken of by 
the assembled Bedars. Bedar women sometimes live in 
concubinage with Muhammadans. And some Bedars, 
at the time of the Mohurram festival, wear a thread 
across the chest like Muhammadans, and may not enter 
their houses till they have washed themselves. 

According to the Mysore Census Report, 1901, the 
chief deity of the Bedars is " Tirupati Venkataramana- 
swami worshipped locally under the name of Tirumala- 
devaru, but offerings and sacrifices are also made to 
Mariamma. Their guru is known as Tirumalatatacharya, 
who is also a head of the Srivaishnava Brahmans. The 
Uru Boyas employ Brahmans and Jangams as priests." 
In addition to the deities mentioned, the Bedars worship 
a variety of minor gods, such as Kanimiraya, Kanakara- 
yan, Uligamma, Palaya, Poleramma, and others, to whom 
offerings of fruits and vegetables, and sacrifices of sheep 
and goats are made. The Dewan of Sandur informs me 
that, in recent times, some Myasa Bedars have changed 
their faith, and are now Saivas, showing special reverence 
to Mahadeva. They were apparently converted by Jang- 
ams, but not to the fullest extent. The guru is the 
head of the Ujjani Lingayat matt (religious institution) 
*3* 



bEdar or boya 196 

in the Kudligi taluk of Bellary. They do not wear 
the lingam. In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the 
patron deity of the Boyas is said to be Kanya Devudu. 

Concerning the religion of the Boyas, Mr. Main- 
waring writes as follows. " They worship both Siva 
and Vishnu, and also different gods in different localities. 
In the North Arcot district, they worship Tirupatiswami. 
In Kurnool, it is Kanya Devudu. In Cuddapah and 
Anantapur, it is Chendrugadu, and many, in Anantapur, 
worship Akkamma, who is believed to be the spirit of 
the seven virgins. At Uravakonda, in the Anantapur 
district, on the summit of an enormous rock, is a temple 
dedicated to Akkamma, in which the seven virgins are 
represented by seven small golden pots or vessels. 
Cocoanuts, rice, and dal (Ca/anus indicus) form the 
offerings of the Boyas. The women, on the occasion of 
the Nagalasauthi or snake festival, worship the Nagala 
swami by fasting, and pouring milk into the holes of 
' white-ant ' hills. By this, a double object is fulfilled. 
The ' ant ' heap is a favourite dwelling of the naga or 
cobra, and it was the burial-place of Valmiki, so homage 
is paid to the two at the same time. Once a year, 
a festival is celebrated in honour of the deceased 
ancestors. This generally takes place about the end of 
November. The Boyas make no use of Brahmans for 
religious purposes. They are only consulted as regards 
the auspicious hour at which to tie the tali at a wedding. 
Though the Boya finds little use for the Brahman, there 
are times when the latter needs the services of the Boya. 
The Boya cannot be dispensed with, if a Brahman 
wishes to perform Vontigadu, a ceremony by which he 
hopes to induce favourable auspices under which to 
celebrate a marriage. The story has it that Vontigadu 
was a destitute Boya, who died from starvation. It is 



197 BEDAR OR BOYA 

possible that Brahmans and Sudras hope in some way 
to ameliorate the sufferings of the race to which Vonti- 
gadu belonged, by feeding sumptuously his modern 
representative on the occasion of performing the 
Vontigadu ceremony. On the morning of the day on 
which the ceremony, for which favourable auspices are 
required, is performed, a Boya is invited to the house. 
He is given a present of gingelly (Sesamum) oil, where- 
with to anoint himself. This done, he returns, carrying 
in his hand a dagger, on the point of which a lime has 
been stuck. He is directed to the cowshed, and there 
given a good meal. After finishing the meal, he steals 
from the shed, and dashes out of the house, uttering 
a piercing yell, and waving his dagger. He on no 
account looks behind him. The inmates of the house 
follow for some distance, throwing water wherever he 
has trodden. By this means, all possible evil omens for 
the coming ceremony are done away with." 

I gather * that some Boyas in the Bellary district 
" enjoy inam (rent free) lands for propitiating the village 
goddesses by a certain rite called bhuta bali. This 
takes place on the last day of the feast of the village 
goddess, and is intended to secure the prosperity of the 
village. The Boya priest gets himself shaved at about 
midnight, sacrifices a sheep or a buffalo, mixes its blood 
with rice, and distributes the rice thus prepared in small 
balls throughout the limits of the village. When he 
starts out on this business, the whole village bolts its 
doors, as it is not considered auspicious to see him then. 
He returns early in the morning to the temple of the 
goddess from which he started, bathes, and receives new 
cloths from the villagers." 



* Madras Mail, 1905. 



BEDAR OR BOYA 



198 



At Hospet the Bedars have two buildings called 
chavadis, built by subscription among members of their 
community, which they use as a meeting place, and 
whereat caste councils are held. At Sandur the Uru 
Bedars submit their disputes to their guru, a Srlvaish- 
nava Brahman, for settlement. If a case ends in a 
verdict of guilty against an accused person, he is fined, 
and purified by the guru with thirtham (holy water). 
In the absence of the guru, a caste headman, called 
Kattaintivadu, sends a Dasari, who may or may not 
be a Bedar, who holds office under the guru, to invite 
the castemen and the Samaya, who represents the 
guru in his absence, to attend a caste meeting. 
The Samayas are the pujaris at Hanuman and other 
shrines, and perform the branding ceremony, called 
chakrankitam. The Myasa Bedars have no guru, but, 
instead of him, pujaris belonging to their own caste, 
who are in charge of the affairs of certain groups of 
families. Their caste messenger is called Dalavai. 

The following are examples of exogamous septs 
among the Boyas, recorded by Mr. Mainwaring : — 



Mukkara, nose or ear orna- 
ment. 

Majjiga, butter-milk. 

Kukkala, dog. 

Pula, flowers. 

Pandhi, pig. 

Chilakala, paroquet. 

Hastham, hand. 

Yelkameti, good rat. 

Misala, whiskers. 

Nemili, peacock. 

Pegula, intestines. 

Mljam, seed. 

Uttareni, Achyranthes 
aspera. 



Puchakayala, Citrullns Colo- 

cynthis. 
Gandhapodi, sandal powder. 
Pasula, cattle. 
Chinthakayala, Tatnarindus 

indica. 
Avula, cow. 

Udumala, lizard ( Varatats), 
Pulagam, cooked rice and dhal. 
Boggula, charcoal. 
Midathala, locust. 
Potta, abdomen. 
Utla, swing for holding pots. 
Rottala, bread. 
Chimpiri, rags. 



199 



BEDAR OR BOYA 



Panchalingala, five lingams. 

Gudisa, hut. 

Tota, garden. 

Lanka, island. 

Bilpathri, /Egle Marmelos. 

Kodi-kandla, fowl's eyes. 

Gadidhe-kandla, donkey's 

eyes. 
Joti, light. 
Namala, the Vaishnavite 

namam. 
Nagellu, plough. 
Ulligadda, onions. 
Jinkala, gazelle. 
Dandu, army. 
Kattelu, sticks or faggots. 
Mekala, goat. 
Nakka, jackal. 
Chevvula, ear. 



Kotala, fort. 

Chapa, mat. 

Guntala, pond. 

Thappata, drum. 

Bellapu, jaggery. 

Chlmala, ants. 

Genneru, Nerium odorum. 

Pichiga, sparrows. 

Uluvala, Dolichos biflorus. 

Geddam, beard. 

Eddula, bulls. 

Cheruku, sugar-cane. 

Pasupu, turmeric. 

Aggi, fire. 

Mirapakaya, Capsicum frutescens. 

Janjapu, sacred thread. 

Sankati, ragi or millet pudding. 

Jerripothu, centipede. 

Guvvala, pigeon. 



Many of these septs are common to the Boyas and 
other classes, as shown by the following list : — 
Avula, cow — Korava. 
Boggula, charcoal — Devanga. 
Cheruku, sugar-cane — Jogi, Odde. 
Chevvula, ear — Golla. 
Chilakala, paroquet — Kapu, Yanadi. 
Chlmala, ants — Tsakala. 
Chinthakayala, tamarind fruit — Devanga. 
Dandu, army — Kapu. 
Eddula, bulls — Kapu. 

Gandhapodi, sandal powder — a sub-division of Balija. 
Geddam, beard — Padma Sale. 
Gudisa, hut — Kapu. 
Guvvala, pigeon — Mutracha. 
Jinkala, gazelle — Padma Sale. 
Kukkala, dog — Orugunta Kapu. 
Lanka, island — Kamma, 

Mekala, goat — Chenchu, Golla, Kamma, Kapu, Togata, 
Yanadi. 



b£dar or boya 200 

Midathala, locust — Madiga. 

Nakkala, jackal — Dudala, Golla, Mutracha. 

Nemili, peacock — Balija. 

Pichiga, sparrow — Devanga. 

Pandhi, pig — Asili, Gamalla. 

Pasula, cattle — Madiga, Mala. 

Puchakaya, colocynth — Komati, Vlramushti. 

Pula, flowers — Padma Sale, Yerukala. 

Tota, garden — Chenchu, Mila, Mutracha, Bonthuk Savara. 

Udumala, lizard — Kapu, Tottiyan, Yanadi. 

Ulligadda, onions — Korava. 

Uluvala, horse-gram — Jogi. 

Utla, swing for holding pots — Padma Sale. 

At Hospet, the preliminaries of a marriage among 
the Myasa Bedars are arranged by the parents of the 
parties concerned and the chief men of the keri (street). 
On the wedding day, the bride and bridegroom sit on a 
raised platform, and five married men place rice stained 
with turmeric on the feet, knees, shoulders, and head 
of the bridegroom. This is done three times, and five 
married women then perform a similar ceremony on the 
bride. The bridegroom takes up the tali, and, with the 
sanction of the assembled Bedars, ties it on the bride's 
neck. In some places it is handed to a Brahman priest, 
who ties it instead of the bridegroom. The unanimous 
consent of those present is necessary before the tali- 
tying is proceeded with. The marriage ceremony 
among the Uru Bedars is generally performed at the 
bride's house, whither the bridegroom and his party 
proceed on the eve of the wedding. A feast, called 
thuppathuta or ghi (clarified butter) feast, is held, 
towards which the bridegroom's parents contribute rice, 
cocoanuts, betel leaves and nuts, and make a present 
of five bodices (ravike). At the conclusion of the feast, 
all assemble beneath the marriage pandal (booth), and 



201 b£dar or boya 

betel is distributed in a recognised order of prece- 
dence, commencing with the guru and the god. On the 
following morning four big pots, smeared with turmeric 
and chunam (lime) are placed in four corners, so as 
to have a square space (irani square) between them. 
Nine turns of cotton thread are wound round the pots. 
Within the square the bridegroom and two young girls 
seat themselves. Rice is thrown over them, and they 
are anointed. They and the bride are then washed by 
five women called bhumathoru. The bridegroom and 
one of the girls are carried in procession to the temple, 
followed by the five women, one of whom carries a brass 
vessel with five betel leaves and a ball of sacred ashes 
(vibuthi) over its mouth, and another a woman's cloth 
on a metal dish, while the remaining three women and 
the bridegroom's parents throw rice. Cocoanuts and 
betel are offered to Hanuman, and lines are drawn on 
the face of the bridegroom with the sacred ashes. The 
party then return to the house. The lower half of a 
grinding mill is placed beneath the pandal, and a Brah- 
man priest invites the contracting couple to stand 
thereon. He then takes the tali, and ties it on the 
bride's neck, after it has been touched by the bride- 
groom. Towards evening the newly married couple sit 
inside the house, and close to them is placed a big brass 
vessel containing a mixture of cooked rice, jaggery (crude 
sugar) and curds, which is brought by the women 
already referred to. They give a small quantity thereof 
to the couple, and go away. Five Bedar men come 
near the vessel after removing their head-dress, surround 
the vessel, and place their left hands thereon. With 
their right hands they shovel the food into their mouths, 
and bolt it with all possible despatch. This ceremony 
is called bhuma idothu, or special eating, and is in some 



BEDAR OR BOYA 202 

places performed by both men and women. All those 
present watch them eating, and, if any one chokes while 
devouring the food, or falls ill within a few months, it is 
believed to indicate that the bride has been guilty of 
irregular behaviour. On the following day the con- 
tracting couple go through the streets, accompanied by 
Bedars, the brass vessel and female cloth, and red powder 
is scattered broadcast. On the morning of the third and 
two following days, the newly married couple sit on a 
pestle, and are anointed after rice has been showered 
over them. The bride's father presents his son-in-law 
with a turban, a silver ring, and a cloth. It is said that 
a man may marry two sisters, provided that he marries 
the elder before the younger. 

The following variant of the marriage ceremonies 
among the Boyas is given by Mr. Mainwaring. " When 
a Boya has a son who should be settled in life, he nomi- 
nally goes in search of a bride for him, though it has 
probably been known for a long time who the boy is to 
marry. However, the formality is gone through. The 
father of the boy, on arrival at the home of the future 
bride, explains to her father the object of his visit. 
They discuss each other's families, and, if satisfied that 
a union would be beneficial to both families, the father 
of the girl asks his visitor to call again, on a day that is 
agreed to, with some of the village elders. On the 
appointed day, the father of the lad collects the elders 
of his village, and proceeds with them to the house of 
the bride-elect. He carries with him four moottus 
(sixteen seers) of rice, one seer of dhal (Cajanus indicus), 
two seers of ghi (clarified butter), some betel leaves 
and areca nuts, a seer of fried gram, two lumps of 
jaggery (molasses), five garlic bulbs, five dried dates, 
five pieces of turmeric, and a female jacket. In the 



203 BEDAR OR BOY A 

evening, the elders of both sides discuss the marriage, 
and, when it is agreed to, the purchase money has to be 
at once paid. The cost of a bride is always 101 madas, 
or Rs. 202. Towards this sum, sixteen rupees are 
counted out, and the total is arrived at by counting 
areca nuts. The remaining nuts, and articles which 
were brought by the party of the bridegroom, are then 
placed on a brass tray, and presented to the bride-elect, 
who is requested to take three handfuls of nuts and the 
same quantity of betel leaves. On some occasions, the 
betel leaves are omitted. Betel is then distributed to 
the assembled persons. The provisions which were 
brought are next handed over to the parents of the girl, 
in addition to two rupees. These are to enable her 
father to provide himself with a sheet, as well as to give 
a feast to all those who are present at the betrothal. This 
is done on the following morning, when both parties 
breakfast together, and separate. The wedding is 
usually fixed for a day a fortnight or a month after the 
betrothal ceremony. The ceremony differs but slightly 
from that performed by various other castes. A purohit 
is consulted as to the auspicious hour at which the tali 
or bottu should be tied. This having been settled, the 
bridegroom goes, on the day fixed, to the bride's village, 
or sometimes the bride goes to the village of the bride- 
groom. Supposing the bridegroom to be the visitor, 
the bride's party carries in procession the provisions 
which are to form the meal for the bridegroom's party, 
and this will be served on the first night. As the 
auspicious hour approaches, the bride's party leave her 
in the house, and go and fetch the bridegroom, who is 
brought in procession to the house of the bride. On 
arrival, he is made to stand under the pandal which has 
been erected. A curtain is tied therein from north to 



b£dar or boya 204 

south. The bridegroom then stands on the east of the 
curtain, and faces west. The bride is brought from the 
house, and placed on the west of the curtain, facing her 
future husband. The bridegroom then takes up the 
bottu, which is generally a black thread with a small 
gold bead upon it. He shows it to the assembled 
people, and asks permission to fasten it on the bride's 
neck. The permission is accorded with acclamations. 
He then fastens the bottu on the bride's neck, and she, 
in return, ties a thread from a black cumbly (blanket), 
on which a piece of turmeric has been threaded, round 
the right wrist of the bridegroom. After this, the bride- 
groom takes some seed, and places it in the bride's hand. 
He then puts some pepper-corns with the seed, and 
forms his hands into a cup over those of the bride. 
Her father then pours milk into his hand, and the bride- 
groom, holding it, swears to be faithful to his wife until 
death. After he has taken the oath, he allows the milk 
to trickle through into the hands of the bride. She 
receives it, and lets it drop into a vessel placed on the 
ground between them. This is done three times, and 
the oath is repeated with each performance. Then the 
bride goes through the same ceremony, swearing on each 
occasion to be true to her husband until death. This 
done, both wipe their hands on some rice, which is 
placed close at hand on brass trays. In each of these 
trays there must be five seers of rice, five pieces of 
turmeric, five bulbs of garlic, a lump of jaggery, five 
areca nuts, and five dried dates. When their hands are 
dry, the bridegroom takes as much of the rice as he can 
in his hands, and pours it over the bride's head. He 
does this three times, before submitting to a similar 
operation at the hands of the bride. Then each takes a 
tray, and upsets the contents over the other. At this 



205 BEDAR OR BOYA 

stage, the curtain is removed, and, the pair standing side 
by side, their cloths are knotted together. The knot is 
called the knot of Brahma, and signifies that it is Brahma 
who has tied them together. They now walk out of the 
pandal, and make obeisance to the sun by bowing, and 
placing their hands together before their breasts in the 
reverential position of prayer. Returning to the pandal, 
they go to one corner of it, where five new and gaudily 
painted earthenware pots filled with water have been 
previously arranged. Into one of these pots, one of the 
females present drops a gold nose ornament, or a man 
drops a ring. The bride and bridegroom put their right 
hands into the pot, and search for the article. Which- 
ever first finds it takes it out, and, showing it, declares 
that he or she has found it. This farce is repeated three 
times, and the couple then take their seats on a cumbly 
in the centre of the pandal, and await the preparation 
of the great feast which closes the ceremony. For this, 
two sheep are killed, and the friends and relations who 
have attended are given as much curry and rice as they 
can eat. Next morning, the couple go to the bride- 
groom's village, or, if the wedding took place at his 
village, to that of the bride, and stay there three days 
before returning to the marriage pandal. Near the five 
water-pots already mentioned, some white-ant earth 
has been spread at the time of the wedding, and on this 
some paddy (unhusked rice) and dhal seeds have been 
scattered on the evening of the day on which the wedding 
commenced. By the time the couple return, these seeds 
have sprouted. A procession is formed, and the seedlings, 
being gathered up by the newly married couple, are 
carried to the village well, into which they are thrown. 
This ends the marriage ceremony. At their weddings, 
the Boyas indulge in much music. Their dresses are 



BEDAR OR BOYA 206 

gaudy, and suitable to the occasion. The bridegroom, 
if he belongs to either of the superior gotras, carries 
a dagger or sword placed in his cummerbund (loin- 
band). A song which is frequently sung at weddings is 
known as the song of the seven virgins. The presence 
of a Basavi at a wedding is looked on as a good 
omen for the bride, since a Basavi can never become a 
widow." 

In some places, a branch of Fiats religiosa or Ficus 
bengalensis is planted in front of the house as the mar- 
riage milk-post. If it withers, it is thrown away, but, if 
it takes root, it is reared. By some Bedars a vessel is 
filled with milk, and into it a headman throws the nose 
ornament of a married woman, which is searched for by 
the bride and bridegroom three times. The milk is then 
poured into a pit, which is closed up. In the North 
Arcot Manual it is stated that the Boya bride, " besides 
having a golden tali tied to her neck, has an iron ring 
fastened to her wrist with black string, and the bride- 
groom has the same. Widows may not remarry or wear 
black bangles, but they wear silver ones." 

"Divorce," Mr. Mainwaring writes, "is permitted. 
Grounds for divorce would be adultery and ill-treatment. 
The case would be decided by a panchayat (council). A 
divorced woman is treated as a widow. The remarriage 
of widows is not permitted, but there is nothing to 
prevent a widow keeping house for a man, and begetting 
children by him. The couple would announce their 
intention of living together by giving a feast to the 
caste. If this formality was omitted, they would be 
regarded as outcastes till it was complied with. The 
offspring of such unions are considered illegitimate, and 
they are not taken or given in marriage to legitimate 
children. Here we come to further social distinctions. 



207 BEDAR OR BOYA 

Owing to promiscuous unions, the following classes 
spring into existence : — 

i. Swajathee Sumpradayam. Pure Boyas, the offspring of 
parents who have been properly married in the proper divisions and 
sub-divisions. 

2. Koodakonna Sumpradayam. The offspring of a Boya female, 
who is separated or divorced from her husband who is still alive, and 
who cohabits with another Boya. 

3. Vithunthu Sumpradayam. The offspring of a Boya widow 
by a Boya. 

4. Arsumpradayam. The offspring of a Boya man or woman, 
resulting from cohabitation with a member of some other caste. 

The Swajathee Sumpradayam should only marry 
among themselves. Koodakonna Sumpradayam and 
Vithunthu Sumpradayam may marry among themselves, 
or with each other. Both being considered illegitimate, 
they cannot marry Swajathee Sumpradayam, and would 
not marry Arsumpradayam, as these are not true Boyas, 
and are nominally outcastes, who must marry among 
themselves." 

On the occasion of a death among the Uru Bedars of 
Hospet, the corpse is carried on a bier by Uru Bedars 
to the burial-ground, with a new cloth thrown over, and 
flowers strewn thereon. The sons of the deceased each 
place a quarter-anna in the mouth of the corpse, and 
pour water near the grave. After it has been laid 
therein, all the agnates throw earth into it, and it is 
filled in and covered over with a mound, on to the head 
end of which five quarter-anna pieces are thrown. The 
eldest son, or a near relation, takes up a pot filled with 
water, and stands at the head of the grave, facing west. 
A hole is made in the pot, and, after going thrice round 
the grave, he throws away the pot behind him, and goes 
home without looking back. This ceremony is called 
thelagolu, and, if a person dies without any heir, the 



BEDAR OR BOYA 208 

individual who performs it succeeds to such property as 
there may be. On the third day the mound is smoothed 
down, and three stones are placed over the head, abdo- 
men, and legs of the corpse, and whitewashed. A 
woman brings some luxuries in the way of food, which 
are mixed up in a winnowing tray divided into three 
portions, and placed in the front of the stones for crows 
to partake of. Kites and other animals are driven away, 
if they attempt to steal the food. On the ninth day, the 
divasa (the day) ceremony is performed. At the spot 
where the deceased died is placed a decorated brass 
vessel representing the soul of the departed, with five 
betel leaves and a ball of sacred ashes over its mouth. 
Close to it a lamp is placed, and a sheep is killed. 
Two or three days afterwards, rice and vegetables are 
cooked. Those who have been branded carry their 
gods, represented by the cylindrical bamboo basket and 
stick already referred to, to a stream, wash them therein, 
and do worship. On their return home, the food is 
offered to their gods, and served first to the Dasari, 
and then to the others, who must not eat till they have 
received permission from the Dasari. When a Myasa 
Bedar, who has been branded, dies his basket and stick 
are thrown into the grave with the corpse. 

In the Mysore Census Report, 1891, the Mysore 
Bedars are said to cremate the dead, and on the follow- 
ing day to scatter the ashes on five tangedu {Cassia 
auriculata) trees. 

It is noted by Buchanan # that the spirits of Baydaru 
men who die without having married become Virika 
(heroes), and to their memory have small temples and 
images erected, where offerings of cloth, rice, and the 

* Op. tit. 



209 BELLARA 

like, are made to their names. If this be neglected, 
they appear in dreams, and threaten those who are 
forgetful of their duty. These temples consist of a heap 
or cairn of stones, in which the roof of a small cavity 
is supported by two or three flags ; and the image is a 
rude shapeless stone, which is occasionally oiled, as in 
this country all other images are." 

Bedar.— See Vedan. 

Begara. — Begara or Byagara is said to be a synonym 
applied by Canarese Lingayats to Holeyas. 

Behara.— Recorded, at times of census, as a title 
of various Oriya castes, e.g., Alia, Aruva, Dhobi, 
Gaudo, Jaggali, Kevuto, Kurumo, Ronguni, and Sondi. 
In some cases, e.g., among the Rongunis, the title is 
practically an exogamous sept. The headman of many 
Oriya castes is called Behara. 

Bejjo.— A sub-division of Bhondari, and title of 
Kevuto. 

Belata (Feronia elephantum : wood-apple). — An 
exogamous sept of Kuruba. 

Bellapu (jaggery : palm-sugar). — An exogamous 
sept of Boya. 

Bellara.— " The Bellaras, or Belleras," Mr. H. A. 
Stuart writes,* "are a somewhat higher caste of basket 
and mat-makers than the Parava umbrella-makers and 
devil-dancers. They speak a dialect of Canarese (see 
South Canara Manual, Vol. II). They follow the aliya 
santana law (inheritance in the female line), but divorce 
is not so easy as amongst most adherents of that rule 
of inheritance, and divorced women, it is said, may not 
marry again. Widows, however, may remarry. The 
dead are either burned or buried, and a feast called Yede 



* Manual of the South Canara district. 
14 



BELLATHANNAYA 2IO 

Besala is given annually in the name of deceased 
ancestors. The use of alcohol and flesh, except beef, is 
permitted. They make both grass and bamboo mats." 

Bellathannaya (jaggery : crude sugar). — An exo- 
gamous sept of Bant. 

Belle (white). — An exogamous sept of Kuruba. 
The equivalent bile occurs as a gotra of Kurni. 

Belli.— Belli or Velli, meaning silver, has been 
recorded as an exogamous sept of Badaga, Korava, 
Kuruba, Madiga, Okkiliyan, Toreya, and Vakkaliga. 
The Belli Toreyas may not wear silver toe-rings. 

Vellikkai, or silver-handed, has been returned as 
a sub-division of the Konga Vellalas. 

Belli {Feronia elephantum). — An exogamous sept 
of Kuruba. 

Benayito.— A sub-division of Odiya. 

Bende {Hibiscus esculentus). — An exogamous sept 
of Kuruba. The mucilaginous fruit (bendekai or bandi- 
coy) of this plant is a favourite vegetable of both Natives 
and Europeans. The nick-name Bendekai is sometimes 
given, in reference to the sticky nature of the fruit, to 
those who try to smooth matters over between contend- 
ing parties. 

Bengri (frog). — A sept of Domb. 

Benia.— A small caste of Oriya cultivators and 
palanquin-bearers in Ganjam. It is on record* that in 
Ganjam honey and wax are collected by the Konds and 
Benias, who are expert climbers of precipitous rocks 
and lofty trees. The name is said to be derived from 
bena, grass, as the occupation of the caste was formerly 
to remove grass, and clear land for cultivation. 

Benise (flint stone). — An exogamous sept of Kuruba. 



* Agricultural Ledger Series, Calcutta, No. 7, 1904. 



211 BERI CHETTI 

Benne (butter). — A gotra of Kurni. 

Bepari.— -Bepari is, in the Madras Census Report, 
described as " a caste allied to the Lambadis. Its 
members worship a female deity called Banjara, speak 
the Bepari or Lambadi language, and claim to be 
Kshatriyas." Bhonjo, the title of the Rajah of Gumsur, 
was returned as a sub-caste. The Rev. G. Gloyer * 
correctly makes the name Boipari synonymous with 
Brinjari, and his illustration of a Boipari family repre- 
sents typical Lambadis or Brinjaris. Bepari and Boipari 
are forms of Vyapari or Vepari, meaning a trader. The 
Beparis are traders and carriers between the hills 
and plains in the Vizagapatam Agency tracts. Mr. C. 
Hayavadana Rao informs me that " they regard them- 
selves as immune from the attacks of tigers, if they take 
certain precautions. Most of them have to pass through 
places infested with these beasts, and their favourite 
method of keeping them off is as follows. As soon as 
they encamp at a place, they level a square bit of ground, 
and light fires in the middle of it, round which they pass 
the night. It is their firm belief that the tiger will not 
enter the square, from fear lest it should become blind, 
and eventually be shot. I was once travelling towards 
Malkangiri from Jeypore, when I fell in with a party of 
these people encamped in the manner described. At 
that time, several villages about Malkangiri were being 
ravaged by a notorious man-eater (tiger)." 

Beralakoduva (finger-giving). — A section of the 
Vakkaligas, among whom the custom of sacrificing some 
of the fingers used to prevail. {See Morasu.) 

Beri Chetti.-— The Beri Chettis, or principal 
merchants, like other Chettis and Komatis, claim to be 



14 



* Jeypore. Breklum, 1901. 



beri CHETTI 212 

Vaisyas, " but they will not admit that the Komatis are 
on a par with them, and declare that they alone 
represent the true Vaisya stock."* With regard to their 
origin, the Kanyakapurana states that a certain king 
wanted to marry a beautiful maiden of the Komati caste. 
When the Komatis declined to agree to the match, the 
king began to persecute them, and those Komatis who 
left the country out of fear were called Beri or Bediri 
(fear) Chettis. The story is, in fact, similar to that told 
by the Nattukottai Chettis, and the legend, no doubt, 
refers to persecution of some king, whose extortion went 
beyond the limits of custom. Another derivation of the 
word Beri is from perumai, greatness or splendour. The 
name Beri, as applied to a sub-division of the Komatis, 
is said to be a corruption of bedari, and to denote those 
who fled through fear, and did not enter the fire-pits 
with the caste goddess Kanyakamma. 

The legend of the Beri Chettis, as given by Mr. H. A. 
Stuart,* states that " Kaveripuram near Kumbakonam 
was formerly the town in which the caste principally 
resided. The king of the country attempted to obtain 
a Beri Chetti maiden in marriage, but was refused, and 
he therefore persecuted them, and drove them out of his 
dominions, forbidding interchange of meals between 
them and any other caste whatever — a prohibition which 
is still in force." 

The Beri Chettis have a number of endogamous 
divisions, named after geographical areas, towns, etc., 
such as Tirutaniyar, Acharapakaththar, Telungu, Pak- 
kam, Musalpakam. Among these there is an order of 
social precedence, some of the divisions interdining, 
others not. 



* Manual of the North Arcot district. 



213 BERI CHETTI 

The Beri Chettis are, like the Kammalans (artisan 
class), a leading caste of the left-hand section, and the 
following story is narrated. While the Beris were living 
at Kaveripuram in a thousand houses, each house 
bearing a distinct gotra (house name,) a king, who took 
wives from among all castes, wanted the Beris to give 
him one of their maidens. Though unwilling, they 
promised to do so, but made up their minds to get over 
the difficulty by a ruse. On the day fixed for the 
marriage, all the Beri families left the place, after a male 
black dog had been tied to the milk-post of the marriage 
pandal (booth). When he learnt what had occurred, the 
king was very angry, and forbade all castes to take water 
from the Beris. And this led to their joining the left- 
hand section. 

The Beri Chettis resort to the panchayat system of 
administration of affairs affecting the caste, and the 
headman, called Peridanakkaran, is assisted by a barber 
of the left-hand section. They are in favour of infant 
marriages, though adult marriage is not prohibited. 
They are not allowed to tie plantain trees to the posts of 
the wedding pandal, with the trees touching the ground. 
If this is done, the Paraiyans, who belong to the right- 
hand section, cut them down. This custom is still 
observed in some out-of-the way villages. Upanayanam, 
or investiture with the sacred thread, is either performed 
long before marriage, or by some along with the 
marriage rite. A man or boy, after investiture, always 
wears the thread. 

Most of the Beri Chettis are meat-eaters, but some 
profess to be vegetarians. 

It is said that there is much dispute between the 
Beri Chettis and the Komatis regarding their relative 
positions, and each caste delights to tell stories to 



BERI CHETTI 214 

the detriment of the other. In general estimation, how- 
ever, the Beris are deemed a little inferior to the 
Komatis." # The claim of the Beri Chettis to be 
Vaisyas is based on the following legend, as given by- 
Mr. Stuart.t " In the time of the Cholas, they erected 
a water-pandal, and Komatis claimed the right to use 
it, which was at once denied. The king attempted to 
solve the question by reference to inscriptions in the 
Kamakshiamma temple at Conjeeveram, but without 
success. He then proposed that the rivals should 
submit to the ordeal of carrying water in an unbaked 
pot. This was agreed to, and the Beri Chettis were 
alone successful. The penalty for failure was a fine 
of Rs. 12,000, which the Komatis could not pay, and 
they were therefore obliged to enslave themselves to a 
Beri Chetti woman, who paid the fine. Their descend- 
ants are still marked men, who depend upon Beri 
Chettis for their subsistence. The great body of the 
Komatis in the country were not parties to the agreement, 
and they do not now admit that their inferiority has ever 
been proved." According to another version of the 
legend, during the reign of the Cholas, a water-pandal 
was erected by the Beris, and the Komatis claimed the 
right to use it. This was refused on the ground that 
they were not Vaisyas. The question at issue was 
referred to the king, who promised to enquire into it, 
but did not do so. A Viramushti (caste beggar of the 
Beri Chettis and Komatis) killed the king's horse and 
elephant. When questioned as to his reason for so 
doing, he explained that it was to call the king's attention 
to the dispute, and restored the animals to life. The 
king then referred both parties to Conjeeveram, where a 



* Madras Census Report, 1891. t Op. cit. 



215 BERI CHETTI 

sasanam (copper-plate grant) was believed to exist. To 
procure this document, the decapitation of twelve human 
beings was necessary, and the Vlramushti sacrificed his 
twelve children. According to the document, the Beris 
were Vaisyas, and the Komatis were ordered to be 
beheaded. But some Beris interceded on their behalf, 
and they were pardoned on condition that they would pay 
a sum of money. To secure the necessary money, they 
became slaves to a rich Beri woman. Ever since this 
incident, the Komatis have been the children of the Beris, 
and their descendants are called Pillaipuntha Komati, 
or Komati who became a son. For the services which he 
rendered, the Vlramushti is said to have been presented 
with a sasanam, and he is treated as a son by the caste 
men, among whom he has some influence. For example, 
the Beri Chettis may not plant in their back-yards 
Moringa pterygosperma, Dolichos Lablab, or a red variety 
of Amaranhis. If the Vlramushti found the first of 
these planted, he would destroy it, and demand a fine of 
three fanams. For Dolichos the fine is six fanams, and 
for Amarantus one fanam. The rearing of pigs, goats, 
and fowls by the Beri Chettis is forbidden under penalty 
of a fine. If a Beri Chetti woman carries a water-pot 
on her head, the Vlramushti will throw it down, and 
demand a fine of twelve fanams. The women are not 
allowed to carry on sales at a public fair, under penalty 
of excommunication. The Beri Chettis and Komatis 
should not do business together. 

The Kammalans and Chettis are regarded as friends, 
and there is a Tamil proverb " Settiyum Kammalanum 
onnu," i.e., the Chetti and Kammalan are one. In this 
connection the following legend is quoted. "In the 
town of Kanda, anciently the Camalas (artificers of five 
sorts) lived closely united together, and were employed 



BERI CHETTI 2l6 

by all ranks of men, as there were no artificers besides 
them. They feared and respected no king, which of- 
fended certain kings, who combined against them, taking 
with them all kinds of arms. But, as the fort (Kanda 
Kottai, or magnetic fort), in which the Camalar lived, 
was entirely constructed of loadstone, this attracted, and 
drew the weapons away from the hands of the assailants. 
The kings then promised a great reward to any one who 
should burn down the fort. No one dared to do this. 
At length the courtesans of a temple engaged to effect 
it, and took the pledge of betel and areca, engaging 
thereby to do so. The kings, greatly rejoicing, built a 
fort opposite, filled with such kind of courtesans, who, by 
their singing, attracted the people from the fort, and led 
to intercourse. One of these at length succeeded in 
extracting from a young man the secret, that, if the fort 
was surrounded with varacu straw, set on fire, it might 
be destroyed. The king accordingly had this done, and, 
in the burning down of the fort, many of the Camalar 
lost their lives. Some took to ships belonging to them, 
and escaped by sea. In consequence, there were no 
artificers in that country. Those taken in the act of 
endeavouring to escape were beheaded. One woman of 
the tribe, being pregnant, took refuge in the house of a 
Chetti, and escaped, passing for his daughter. From a 
want of artificers, who made implements for weavers, 
husbandmen, and the like, manufactures and agriculture 
ceased, and great discontent arose in the country. The 
king, being of clever wit, resorted to a device to discover 
if any of the tribe remained, to remedy the evil com- 
plained of. This was to send a piece of coral, having a 
fine tortuous aperture running through it, and a piece of 
thread, to all parts of the country, with promise of great 
reward to any one who should succeed in passing the 



217 BERI CHETTI 

thread through the coral. None could accomplish it. 
At length the child that had been born in the Chetty's 
house undertook to do it ; and, to effect it, he placed the 
coral over the mouth of an ant-hole, and having steeped 
the thread in sugar, placed it at some little distance. 
The ants took the thread, and drew it through the coral. 
The king, seeing the difficulty overcome, gave great 
presents, and sent much work to be done, which that 
child, under the council and guidance of its mother, 
performed. The king sent for the Chetty, and demanded 
an account of this young man, which the Chetty detailed. 
The king had him plentifully supplied with the means 
especially of making ploughshares, and, having married 
him to the daughter of a Chetty, gave him grants of land 
for his maintenance. He had five sons, who followed the 
five different branches of work of the Camalar tribe. 
The king gave them the title of Panchalar. Down to 
the present day there is an intimate relation between 
these five branches, and they intermarry with each other ; 
while, as descendants of the Chetty tribe, they wear the 
punul, or caste-thread of that tribe." # 

The Acharapakam Chettis are known as Malighe 
Chettis, and are connected with the Chettis of this 
legend. Even now, in the city of Madras, when the 
Beri Chettis assemble for the transaction of caste busi- 
ness, the notice summoning the meeting excludes the 
Malighe Chettis, who cannot, like other Beri Chettis, 
vote at elections, meetings, etc., of the Kandasami 
temple. 

Some Beri Chettis, Mr. Stuart writes, " worship 
Siva, and some Vishnu, and a few are Lingayats, who do 
not marry into families with a different worship. They 



* Taylor. Catalogue Raisonne of Oriental Manuscripts. 



BERIKE 2l8 

bury, while the others burn their dead. All the divisions 
wear the sacred thread, and do not tolerate widow 
remarriage. Unlike Komatis, their daughters are some- 
times married after puberty." 

Berike.— The children of a Boya widow by a man 
of her own caste, with whom she lives, are said * to drift 
into a distinct section called Berike. 

Bestha. — The Besthas are summed up, in the Madras 
Census Report, 1891, as "a Telugu caste, the hereditary 
occupation of which is hunting and fishing, but they 
have largely taken to agriculture, and the professions of 
bearers and cooks." In the Census Report, 1901, it is 
stated that " the fisherman caste in the Deccan districts 
are .called Besthas and Kabberas, while those in some 
parts of the Coimbatore and Salem districts style them- 
selves Toreyar, Siviyar, and Parivarattar. These three 
last speak Canarese like the Kabberas, and seem to be 
the same as Besthas or Kabberas. Kabbera and Toreya 
have, however, been treated as distinct castes. There 
are two endogamous sub-divisions in the Bestha caste, 
namely the Telaga and the Parigirti. Some say that 
the Kabbili or Kabberavandlu are a third. The Parigirti 
section trace their descent from Sutudu, the famous 
expounder of the Mahabharata. Besthas employ Brah- 
mans and Satanis (or Jangams, if Saivites) for their 
domestic ceremonies, and imitate the Brahman customs, 
prohibiting widow remarriage, and worshipping Siva 
and Vishnu as well as the village deities. The Maddi 
sub-caste is said to be called so, because they dye cotton 
with the bark of the maddi tree (Morinda citrifolia)" 
It is suggested, in the Gazetteer of the Bellary dis- 
trict, that the Besthas are really a sub-division of the 



* Madras Census Report, 1901. 



219 BESTHA 

Gangimakkalu Kabberas, who were originally palanquin- 
bearers, but, now that these vehicles have gone out 
of fashion, are employed in divers other ways. It may 
be noted that the Siviyars of Coimbatore say that they 
are Besthas who emigrated from Mysore in the troublous 
times of the Muhammadan usurpation. The name 
Siviyar, they say, was given to them by the Tamils, 
as, being strong and poor, they were palanquin-bearers 
to officers on circuit and others in the pre-railway days. 
Their main occupations at the present day are tank 
and river fishing. 

In the Manual of the North Arcot district, it is 
noted that many Besthas " trade, and are in a flourishing 
condition, being most numerous above the ghats. The 
name Bestha appears to have no meaning, but they call 
themselves Sutakulam, and say they are descendants of 
the rishi Suta Mahamuni. The term Suta also applies 
to the offspring of a Kshatriya by a Brahman, but it 
seems more probable that the Besthas gained the name 
from their superiority in the culinary art, suta also 
meaning cook. They are divided into Telugu Besthas 
and Parigirti Besthas, the difference between them being 
chiefly one of religious observance, the former being in 
the habit of getting themselves branded on the shoulders 
with the Vaishnavite emblems — chank and chakram — 
and the latter never undergoing this ceremony. It is 
a rule with them to employ Dasaris as the messengers 
of a death, and Tsakalas, as those of a birth, or of the 
fact that a girl has reached womanhood. Their chief 
object of worship is Hanuman, the monkey god, a picture 
or figure of whom they always have in their houses 
for domestic worship." 

In connection with the names Parigirti or Pakirithi 
which have been recorded as divisions of the Besthas, 



BESTHA 220 

it may be observed that, in some parts of the Telugu 
country, the term Pakirithi is used as a substitute 
for Vaishnava. This word has become converted into 
Parigirti or Parikithi, denoting that the Besthas are 
Vaishnavites, as opposed to Saivites. Some Besthas, 
when questioned as to the origin of their caste, said 
that they had no purandam to help them. The word 
used by them is a corruption of puranam. 

The Besthas are summed up, in the Mysore Census 
Report, 1901, as "fishermen, boatmen, and palanquin- 
bearers, who are known by different names according to 
the localities they live in. In the eastern districts they 
are called Bestha, in the southern Toraya, Ambiga and 
Parivara (boatmen), while in the western parts their 
names are Kabyara and Gangemakkalu. The Telugu- 
speaking population call themselves Boyis. Their chief 
occupations are fishing, palanquin-bearing, and lime- 
burning. Some of them are employed by Government 
as peons (orderlies), etc., while a large number are 
engaged in agricultural pursuits. The Boyis obey a 
headman called the Pedda (big) Boyi. The Toraya 
does not intermarry either with the Kabyara or the 
Boyi, whom he resembles in every way. The Kabyara 
or Karnatic Besthas proper never carry the palanquin, 
but live by either farming or lime-burning. They have 
a headman known as the Yajaman." 

I have often seen Besthas in Mysore fishing on 
tanks from rafts, with floats made of cane or cork-wood 
supporting their fish-baskets. The Besthas use small 
cast-nets, and it is thought by them that the employ- 
ment of drag-nets worked by several men would bring 
bad luck to them. When a new net is used for the first 
time, the first fish which is caught is cut, and the net 
smeared with its blood. One of the meshes of the net 



221 BESTHA 

is burnt, after incense has been thrown into the fire. If 
a snake becomes entangled in a net when it is first used, 
it is rejected, and burnt or otherwise disposed of. 

The tribal deity of the Telugu Besthas is Kamamma, 
and, when this goddess is Worshipped, Mala Pambalas 
are engaged to recite the legendary story relating to 
her. They never offer the flesh of animals or liquor to 
the goddess. 

Like other Telugu castes, the Besthas have inti- 
perulu or exogamous septs and gotras. In connection 
with some of the latter, certain prohibitions are 
observed. For example, the jasmine plant (malle) may 
not be touched by members of the malle gotra, and 
the ippa tree (Bassta latifolia) may not be touched or 
used by members of the Ippala gotra. Writing at the 
beginning of the last century, Buchanan * informs us 
that " everywhere in Karnata the palanquin-bearers are 
ofTelinga descent. In the language of Karnata they 
are called Teliga Besthas, but in their own dialect they 
are called Bai. Their proper occupations, beside that 
of carrying the palanquin, are fishing, and distillation 
of rum. Wealthy men among them become farmers, 
but none of the caste hire themselves out as farm 
servants. Their hereditary chiefs are called Pedde Bui, 
which, among the Europeans of Madras, is bestowed on 
the headman of every gentleman's set." In a note on 
the Bestha Boyis, or fishermen bearers of Masulipatam 
in the days of the East India Company, Mr. H. G. 
Prendergast writes t that they were " found to be pecu- 
liarly trustworthy servants. When their English masters 
went on promotion to Madras, they were accompanied 
by their trusty Boyis, and, from that day to this, Bestha 



* Journey from Madras through Mysore, Canara and Malabar, 
t Ind. Ant. XVIII, 1889. 



BESYA 222 

Boyis have been employed as attendants in public and 
mercantile offices in Madras, and have continued to 
maintain their good reputation." 

Of the use of the word Boy (a corruption of Boyi) 
for palanquin-bearer, numerous examples are quoted by 
Yule and Burnell.* Thus Carraccioli, in his life of 
Lord Clive, records that, in 1785, the Boys with Colonel 
Lawrence's palankeen, having struggled a little out of 
the time of march, were picked up by the Marattas. 
Writing in 1563, Barras states t that "there are men 
who carry the umbrella so dexterously to ward off the 
sun that, although their master trots on his horse, the 
sun does not touch any part of his body and such men 
are called Boi." 

The insigne of the Besthas, as recorded at Conjee- 
veram, is a net. J 

Besya (a prostitute). — Recorded, in the Madras 
Census Report, 1901, as a sub-caste of Oriya Gunis. It 
is a form of the word Vesya. 

Betta (hill). — A sub-division of Kurumba. 

Bevina. — Bevina or Beva (nim or margosa : Melia 
Azadirachta) has been recorded as an exogamous 
sept of Kuruba, and a sub-division of Kadu Kurumba. 
The nim tree is held sacred by Hindus, and takes an 
important part in many of the ceremonials connected 
with the small-pox goddess and other village deities. 

Bhag (tiger). — A sept of numerous classes in 
Vizagapatam, e.g., Bhumia, Bottada, Domb, Gadaba, 
Mattiya, Omanaito, Pentiya, and Rona. The equivalent 
Bhago occurs among some classes in Ganjam. 

Bhagavatulu.— Recorded as play-actors in the 
Telugu country. Their name is derived from the fact 



* Hobson-Jobson. f Decadas da Asia. 

J J. S. F. Mackenzie, Ind. Ant. IV, 1875. 



223 BHATRAZU 

that they perform stories and episodes from the Bhaga- 
vatam, one of the Puranas. 

Bhakta. — See Bagata. 

Bhandari. — See Kelasi. 

Bhande.— Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 
1 90 1, as "a class of potters in the Ganjam Maliahs, a 
sub-division of Kumbharo. The name is derived from 
the Sanskrit bhanda, a pot." 

Bharadwaja. — A Brahmanical gotra of Bhatrazus. 
Bharadwaja was a rishi, the son of Brihaspati, and 
preceptor of the Pandavas. 

Bhatia.-— Nearly four hundred members of this 
caste were returned at the Madras Census, 1901. It is 
recorded in the Bombay Gazetteer, that " the Bhatias 
claim to be Bhati Rajputs of the Yadav stock. As a 
class they are keen, vigorous, enterprising, thrifty, subtle 
and unscrupulous. Some of the richest men in Bombay 
started life without a penny. A large number of 
Bhatias are merchant traders and brokers, and within 
the last fifty years they have become a very wealthy 
and important class." Like the Nattukottai Chettis of 
Southern India, the Bhatias undertake sea voyages to 
distant countries, and they are to be found eastward as 
far as China. 

Bhatta.— A sub-division of Gaudo. 

Bhatkali.— -A class of Muhammadans on the west 
coast, who are said to have originally settled at Bhatkal 
in North Canara. 

Bhatrazu.— The Bhats, Bhatrazus, or Bhatrajusare 
described, in the Mysore Census Reports, 1891 and 
1 90 1, as musicians and ballad-reciters, who "speak 
Telugu, and are supposed to have come from the 
Northern Circars. They were originally attached to the 
courts of the Hindu princes as bards or professional 



BHATRAZU 224 

troubadours, reciting ballads in poetry in glorification of 
the wondrous deeds of local princes and heroes. Hyder 
Ali, although not a Hindu, delighted to be constantly 
preceded by them, and they are still an appendage to the 
state of Hindu and Mussalman Chiefs. They have a 
wonderful faculty in speaking improvisatore, on any 
subject proposed to them, a declamation in measures, 
which may be considered as a sort of medium between 
blank verse and modulated verse. But their profession 
is that of chanting the exploits of former days in front 
of the troops while marshalling them for battle, and 
inciting them to emulate the glory of their ancestors. 
Now many of them are mendicants." 

In the Madras Census Report, 1871, the Bhat 
Rajahs are said to " wear the pavitra or sacred thread. 
They are the bards and minstrels, who sing the praises 
of the Kshatriya race, or indeed of great men in general, 
and especially of those who liberally reward the singers. 
They are a wandering class, gaining a living by attach- 
ing themselves to the establishments of great men, or in 
chanting the folklore of the people. They are mostly 
Vishnu worshippers, and in only one district is it re- 
ported that they worship village deities." In the Madras 
Census Report, 1891, the Bhatrazus are summed up as 
being " a class of professional bards, spread all over the 
Telugu districts. They are the representatives of the 
Bhat caste of other parts of India. They are called 
Razus, because they are supposed to be the offspring of 
a Kshatriya female by a Vaisya male. They are well 
versed in folklore, and in the family histories and legends 
of the ancient Rajahs. Under the old Hindu Rajahs 
the Bhatrazus were employed as bards, eulogists, and 
reciters of family genealogy and tradition. Most of them 
are now cultivators, and only a few are ballad-reciters. 



225 BHATRAZU 

They will eat with the Kapus and Velamas. Their 
ceremonies of birth, death and marriage are more or less 
the same as those of the Kapus. Razu is the general 
name of the caste." 

The Bhatrazus, Mr. W. Francis writes, 5 * " are also 
called Bhats or Magadas. They have two endogamous 
sub-divisions, called Vandi, Raja or Telaganya, and 
Magada, Kani or Agraharekala. [Some Bhatrazus 
maintain that Vandi and Magada were individuals who 
officiated as heralds at the marriage of Siva.] Each of 
these is again split up into several exogamous septs or 
gotras, among which are Atreya, Bharadwaja, Gautama, 
Kasyapa and Kaundinya. All of these are Brahmanical 
gotras, which goes to confirm the story in Manu that 
the caste is the offspring of a Vaisya father and a 
Kshatriya mother. Bhatrazus nevertheless do not all 
wear the sacred thread now-a-days, or recite the gayatri.f 
They employ Brahman priests for their marriages, but 
Jangams and Satanis for funerals, and in all these 
ceremonies they follow the lower or Puranic instead of 
the higher Vedic ritual. Widow marriage is strictly for- 
bidden, but yet they eat fish, mutton and pork, though 
not beef. These contradictions are, however, common 
among Oriya castes, and the tradition is that the Bhat- 
razus were a northern caste which was first invited south 
by King Pratapa Rudra of the Kshatriya dynasty of 
Warangal ( 1295-1323 A.D. ). After the downfall of 
that kingdom they seem to have become court bards 
and panegyrists under the Reddi and Velama feudal 
chiefs, who had by that time carved out for themselves 
small independent principalities in the Telugu country. 
As a class they were fairly educated in the Telugu 



* Madras Census Report, 190 1. 

f Sanskrit hymn repeated a number of times during daily ablutions. 

*5 



BHATRAZU 2 26 

literature, and even produced poets such as Ramaraja 
Bhushana, the author of the well-known Vasu-Charitram. 
Their usuaL title is Bhat, sometimes with the affix Razu 
or Murti." 

Of the Bhatrazus in the North Arcot district, Mr. H. A. 
Stuart states* that "they now live by cultivation, and 
by singing the fabulous traditions current regarding the 
different Sudra castes at their marriages and other cere- 
monies, having probably invented most of them. They 
profess to be Kshatriyas. But it is known that several 
are Musalmans or members of other castes, who, possess- 
ing an aptitude for extempore versification, were taken 
by Rajahs to sing their praises, and so called themselves 
Bhatturazus. They resemble the Razus in their customs, 
but are said to bury their dead." In the Gazetteer of 
Anantapur, the Bhatrazus are described as touring round 
the villages, making extempore verses in praise of the 
principal householders, and being rewarded by gifts of 
old clothes, grain, and money. It is stated in the Kurnool 
Manual that "the high-caste people (Kammas) are bound 
to pay the Batrajulu certain fees on marriage occasions. 
Some of the Batrajas have shotriems and inams." 
Shotriem is land given as a gift for proficiency in the 
Vedas or learning, and inam is land given free of 
rent. 

In connection with the special attachment of the 
Bhatrazus to the Velama, Kamma, and Kapu castes, the 
following story is narrated. Once upon a time there was 
a man named Pillala Marri Bethala Reddi, who had three 
sons, of whom two took to cultivation. The third son 
adopted a military life, and had seventy-four sons, all of 
whom became commanders. On one occasion, during 



* Manual of the North Arcot district. 



227 BHATRAZU 

the reign of Pratapa Rudra, when they were staying at 
the fort of Warangal, they quarrelled among themselves, 
and became very rebellious. On learning this, the king 
summoned them to his court. He issued orders that a 
sword should be tied across the gate. The commanders 
were reluctant to go under a sword, as it would be a 
sign of humiliation. Some of them ran against the 
sword, and killed themselves. A Bhatrazu, who wit- 
nessed this, promised to help the remaining commanders 
to gain entrance without passing under the sword. He 
went to the king, and said that a Brahman wished to 
pay him a visit. An order was accordingly issued that 
the sword should be removed. The services of the 
Bhatrazu greatly pleased the commanders, and they 
came to regard the Bhatrazus as their dependants, and 
treated them with consideration. Even at the present 
day, at a marriage among the Kapus, Kammas, and 
Velamas, a Bhatrazu is engaged. His duties are to 
assist the bridegroom in his wedding toilette, to paint 
sectarian marks on his forehead, and to remain as his 
personal attendant throughout the marriage ceremonies. 
He further sings stanzas from the Ramayana or Maha- 
bharata, and songs in praise of Brahmans and the caste 
to which the bridal couple belong. The following was 
sung at a Kapu wedding. "Anna Vema Reddi piled 
up money like a mountain, and, with his brother Pinna 
Brahma Reddi, constructed agraharams. Gone Buddha 
Reddi spent large sums of money for the reading of the 
Ramayana, and heard it with much interest. Panta 
Malla Reddi caused several tanks to be dug. You, their 
descendants, are all prosperous, and very charitable." 
In the houses of Kammas, the following is recited. 
" Of the seventy-seven sons, Bobbali Narasanna was a 
very brave man, and was told to go in search of the 
15* 



BHATRAZU 228 

kamma (an ornament) without using abusive language. 
Those who ran away are Velamas, and those who 
secured it Kammas." 

In their ceremonial observances, the Bhatrazus 
closely follow the standard Telugu type. At marriages, 
the bridal couple sit on the dais on a plank of juvvi 
{Ficus Tsiela) wood. They have the Telugu Janappans 
as their disciples, and are the only non- Brahman caste, 
except Jangams and Pandarams, which performs the 
duties of guru or religious instructor. The badge of 
the Bhatrazus at Conjeeveram is a silver stick.* 

In the Madras Census Report, 1901, Bhato, Kani 
Razu, Kannaji Bhat and Padiga Raju appear as syno- 
nyms, and Annaji Bhat as a sub-caste of Bhatrazus. 

The following account of a criminal class, calling 
themselves Batturajas or Battu Turakas, was published 
in the Police Weekly Circular, Madras, in i88i.t "They 
are known to the Cuddapah and North Arcot Police as 
criminals, and a note is made whenever an adult leaves 
his village; but, as they commit their depredations far 
from home, and convert their spoil into hard cash before 
they return, it is difficult to get evidence against them. 
Ten or twelve of these leave home at once ; they usually 
work in parties of three or four, and they are frequently 
absent for months together. They have methods of 
communicating intelligence to their associates when 
separated from them, but the only one of these methods 
that is known is by means of their leaf plates, which 
they sew in a peculiar manner, and leave after use in 
certain places previously agreed upon. These leaf plates 
can be recognised by experts, but all that these experts 
can learn from them is that Battu Turakas have been in 



* J. S. F. Mackenzie, Ind. Ant. IV, 1875. 

t See F. S. Mullaly. Notes on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency. 



229 BHATRAZU 

the neighbourhood recently. On their return to their 
village, an account of their proceedings is rendered, and 
their spoil is divided equally among the whole com- 
munity, a double share being, however, given to the 
actual thief or thieves. They usually disguise them- 
selves as Brahmans, and, in the search of some of their 
houses lately, silk cloths worn only by Brahmans were 
found together with other articles necessary for the 
purpose (rudraksha necklaces, salagrama stones, etc.). 
They are also instructed in Sanskrit, and in all the 
outward requisites of Brahmanism. A Telugu Brahman 
would soon find out that they are not Brahmans, and it 
is on this account that they confine their depredations to 
the Tamil country, where allowance is made for them 
as rude uncivilized Telugus. They frequent choultries 
(travellers' resting-places), where their very respectable 
appearance disarms suspicion, and watch for opportuni- 
ties of committing thefts, substituting their own bags or 
bundles (filled with rubbish) for those they carry off." 
To this account Mr. M. Paupa Rao Naidu adds* that 
"it is during festivals and feasts that they very often 
commit thefts of the jewels and cloths of persons 
bathing in the tanks. They are thus known as Kolam- 
chuthi Papar, meaning that they are Brahmins that live 
by stealing around the tanks. Before the introduction 
of railways, their depredations were mostly confined to 
the choultries and tanks." 

Concerning the Bhattu Turakas of the North Arcot 
district, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes t that "a few of this 
very intelligent and educated criminal class are found 
in the north-west of the Chendragiri taluk, and in the 
north of Punganur. They are really Muhammadans, but 



* History of Railway Thieves, Madras, 1904. 
t Manual of the North Arcot district. 



BHAYIPUO 230 

never worship according to the rules of that religion, 
and know little about its tenets. They have no employ- 
ment save cheating, and in this they are incomparably 
clever. They speak several languages with perfect 
fluency, have often studied Sanskrit, and are able to 
personate any caste. Having marked down a well-to-do 
householder, they take an opportunity of entering his 
service, and succeed at last in gaining his confidence. 
They then abuse it by absconding with what they can 
lay hands upon. They often take to false coining and 
forgery, pretend to know medicine, to have the power of 
making gold or precious stones, or of turning currency 
notes into others of higher value." 

Bhayipuo.— Bhayipuo is returned, in the Census 
Report, 1 90 1, as an Oriya caste, the members of which 
claim to be Kshatriyas. The word means brother's 
son, in which sense it is applied to the issue of the 
brothers of Rajahs by concubines. The illegitimate 
children of Rajahs are also classed as Bhayipuo. 

Bhima.— A section of Savaras, named after Bhima, 
one of the Pandava brothers. 

Bholia (wild dog). — An exogamous sept of Kondra. 

Bhondari.— The Bhondaris are the barbers of the 
Oriya country, living in Ganjam. " The name Bhondari," 
Mr. S. P. Rice writes,* is " derived from bhondaram, 
treasure. The zamindars delivered over the guarding of 
the treasure to the professional barbers, who became 
a more important person in this capacity than in his 
original office of shaver in ordinary to His Highness." 
The Bhondaris occupy a higher position than the Tamil 
and Telugu barbers. Though various Oriya castes 
bathe after being shaved, the touch of a Bhondari at 



* Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life. 



231 BHONDARI 

other times is not regarded as polluting. All over the 
Ganjam district, the Bhondaris are employed as domestic 
servants, and some are engaged as coolies, cart-drivers, 
etc. Others officiate as pujaris (priests) at Takurani 
(village deity) temples, grind sandalwood, or make flower 
garlands. On the occasion of ceremonial processions, 
the washing of the feet of the guests, carrying articles 
required for worship, and the jewels and cloths to be 
worn by the bridal couple on the wedding day, are per- 
formed by the Bhondari. I am informed that a woman 
of this caste is employed by Karnams on the occasion of 
marriage and other ceremonials, at which her services 
are indispensable. It is said that in some places, where 
the Bhondaris do not shave castes lower than the Gudi- 
yas, Oriya Brahmans allow them to remove the leaf 
plates off which they have taken their food, though this 
should not be done by a non- Brahman. 

There are apparently three endogamous sub-divisions, 
named Godomalia, Odisi, and Bejjo. The word Godo- 
malia means a group of forts, and it is said to be the 
duty of members of this section to serve Rajahs who 
live in forts. The Godomalias are most numerous in 
Ganjam, where they claim to be superior to the Odisi 
and Bejjo sections. Among exogamous septs, Mohiro 
(peacock), Dhippo (light), Oppomarango {Achyranthes 
aspera), and Nagasira (cobra) may be noted. Members 
of the Oppomarango sept do not touch, or use the root 
of the plant as a tooth brush. Lights may not be blown 
out with the breath, or otherwise extinguished by mem- 
bers of the Dhippo sept ; and they do not light their 
lamps unless they are madi, i.e., wearing silk cloths, or 
cloths washed and dried after bathing. Nagasira is a 
sept common to many Oriya castes, and is said to owe 
its origin to the influence of Oriya Brahmans. 



BHONDARI 232 

The hereditary headman of the caste is called Be- 
hara, and he is assisted by a Bhollobaya. Most of the 
Bhondaris follow the form of Vaishnavism inculcated 
by Chaithyana, and known as Paramartho matham. 
They wear as a necklace a string of tulsi (Ocimum 
sanctum) beads, without which they will not worship or 
take their food. Many Hindu deities, especially Jagan- 
natha, and various local Takuranis are also worshipped 
by them. 

A man should not marry his maternal uncle's or 
paternal aunt's daughter. Infant marriage is the rule, 
and, if a girl has not secured a husband before she 
attains maturity, she has to go through a mock marriage 
ceremony called dharma bibha. She is taken to a 
Streblus asper (sahada or shadi) tree, and married to it. 
She may not, during the rest of her life, touch the Streb- 
lus tree, or use its twigs as a tooth brush. Sometimes 
she goes through the ceremony of marriage with some 
elderly man, preferably her grandfather, or, failing him, 
her elder sister's husband as bridegroom. A divorce 
agreement (tsado patro) is drawn up, and the pseudo- 
marriage thereby dissolved. Sometimes the bridegroom 
is represented by a bow and arrow, and the ceremony is 
called khando bibha. 

The real marriage ceremonies last over seven days. 
On the day before the bibha (wedding), a number of 
earthen pots are placed on a spot which has been 
cleaned for their reception, and some married women 
throw Zizyphus Jujuba leaves and rice, apparently as an 
evil-eye removing and purificatory ceremony. While 
doing so, they cry " Ulu, ulu " in a manner which recalls 
to mind the kulavi idal of the Maravans and Kalians. 
A ceremony, called sokko bhondo, or wheel worship, is 
performed to a potter's wheel. The bridegroom, who 



233 BHONDARI 

has to fast until the night, is shaved, after which he 
stands on a grindstone and bathes. While he is so 
doing, some women bring a grinding-mill stone, and 
grind to powder Vigna Catiang, Cajanus indicus and 
Cicer arietinum seeds, crying " Olu, ulu," as they do so. 
The bridegroom then dresses himself, and sits on the 
marriage dais, while a number of married women crowd 
round him, each of whom touches an areca nut placed 
on his head seven times with a grinding stone. They 
also perform the ceremony called bhondaivaro, which 
consists in throwing Zizyphus Jujuba leaves, and rice 
dyed with turmeric, over the bridegroom, again calling 
out " Olu, ulu." Towards evening, the bridegroom's 
party proceed in procession to a temple, taking with them 
the various articles required on the morrow, such as the 
sacred thread, jewels, cloths, and mokkuto (forehead 
ornament). After worshipping the god, they return 
home, and on the way thither collect water in a vessel 
from seven houses, to be used by the bridegroom when 
he bathes next day. A ceremonial very similar to that 
performed by the bridegroom on the eve of the wedding 
is also performed by the bride and her party. On the 
wedding day, the bridegroom, after worshipping Vignes- 
wara (Ganesa) at the marriage dais with the assistance 
of a Brahman purohit, proceeds, dressed up in his marri- 
age finery, mokkuto, sacred thread and wrist thread, to 
a temple in a palanquin, and worships there. Later on, 
he goes to the bride's house in a palanquin. Just as he 
is about to start, his brother's wife catches hold of the 
palanquin, and will not let him go till she has received 
a present of a new cloth. He is met en route by the 
bride's father, and his feet are washed by her brother. 
His future father-in-law, after waving seven balls of 
coloured rice before him, escorts him to his house. At 



BHONDARI 234 

the entrance thereto, a number of women, including the 
bride's mother, await his arrival, and, on his approach, 
throw Zizyphus Jujuba leaves, and cry " Ulu, ulu." 
His future mother-in-law, taking him by the hand, leads 
him into the house. As soon as he has reached the 
marriage dais, the bride is conducted thither by her 
maternal uncle, and throws some salt over a screen on 
to the bridegroom. Later on, she takes her seat by his 
side, and the Brahman purohit, after doing homam 
(making sacred fire), ties the hands of the contracting 
couple together with dharbha grass. This is called 
hastagonthi, and is the binding portion of the marriage 
ceremony. The bride and bridegroom then exchange 
ten areca nuts and ten myrabolams (Terminalia fruits). 
Two new cloths are thrown over them, and the ends 
thereof are tied together in a knot containing twenty- 
one cowry (Cyprcea Arabica) shells, a coin, and a few 
Zizyphus leaves. This ceremonial is called gontiyalo. 
The bride's brother strikes the bridegroom with his fist, 
and receives a present of a cloth. At this stage, the 
couple receive presents from relations and friends. 
They then play seven times with cowry shells, and the 
ceremonial closes with the throwing of Zizyphus leaves, 
and the eating by the bride and bridegroom of rice 
mixed with jaggery (crude sugar) and curds. On the 
two following days, they sit on the dais, play with 
cowries, and have leaves and rice thrown over them. 
They wear the cloths given to them on the wedding day, 
and may not bathe in a tank (pond) or river. On the 
fourth day (chauti), the bride is received into the gotra 
of the bridegroom. In token thereof, she cooks some 
food given to her by the bridegroom, and the pair make 
a show of partaking thereof. Towards the evening the 
bride is conducted by her maternal uncle to near the 



?35 BHONDARI 

dais, and she stands on a grinding stone. Seven turns 
of thread dyed with turmeric are wound round the posts 
of the dais. Leading his wife thither, the bridegroom 
cuts the thread, and the couple stand on the dais, while 
four persons support a cloth canopy over their heads, and 
rice is scattered over them. On the fifth day, the newly- 
married couple and their relations indulge in throwing 
turmeric water over each other. Early on the morning 
of the sixth day, the bridegroom breaks a pot placed on 
the dais, and goes away in feigned anger to the house 
of a relation. Towards evening, he is brought back by 
his brother-in-law, and plays at cowries with the bride. 
The Bhondaivaro ceremony is once more repeated. On 
the seventh day, the sacred thread, wrist-threads and 
mo kkuto are removed. Widows and divorcees are per- 
mitted to remarry. As among various other castes, a 
widow should marry her deceased husband's younger 
brother. 

The dead are cremated. When a person is on the 
point of death, a little Jagannatha prasadam, i.e., rice 
from the temple at Puri, is placed in his mouth. Members 
of many Oriya castes keep by them partially cooked rice, 
called nirmalyam, brought from this temple, and a little 
of this is eaten by the orthodox before meals and after 
bathing. The corpse is washed, anointed, and wrapped 
in a new cloth. After it has been secured on the bier, a 
new red cloth is thrown over it. At the head, a sheaf 
of straw, from the roof of the house, if it is thatched, is 
placed. The funeral pyre is generally prepared by an 
Oriya washerman. At the burning-ground, the corpse 
is placed close to the pyre, and the son puts into the 
mouth some parched rice, and throws rice over the eyes. 
Then, lighting the straw, he waves it thrice round the 
corpse, and throws it on the face. The corpse is then 



BHONDARI 236 

carried thrice round the pyre, and laid thereon. In the 
course of cremation, each mourner throws a log on the 
pyre. The son goes home, wet and dripping, after 
bathing. On the following day, the fire is extinguished, 
and two fragments of bone are placed in a small pot, and 
carefully preserved. The ashes are heaped up, and an 
image is drawn on the ground with a stick, to which food 
is offered. A meal, called pithapona (bitter food), con- 
sisting of rice and margosa {Melia Azadirachta) leaves, 
is partaken of by agnates only. On the tenth day, the 
relatives and intimate friends of the deceased are shaved, 
the son last of all. The son and the agnates go to a 
tank bund (pond embankment), and cook food in a new 
pot within a shed which has been specially constructed 
for the occasion. The pot is then broken into ten frag- 
ments, on which food is placed, and offered to the dead 
person. The son takes the fragments, one by one, to 
the tank, bathing each time. The pot containing the 
two pieces of bone is generally buried beneath a pipal 
(Ficus religiosa) tree growing near a tank. On the tenth 
day, after the offering of food, the son proceeds to this 
spot, and, after pouring water ten times over the ground 
beneath which the pot is buried, takes the pot home, and 
buries it near the house. As he approaches his home, 
he goes ahead of those who accompany him, and, carrying 
a vessel filled with water, pours some of this three times 
on the ground, waving his hand in a circular manner. 
He then makes three marks with a piece of iron on the 
ground. A piece of hollow bamboo open at both ends, 
or other grain measure, is given to him, with which he 
measures rice or other grain seven times. He then 
throws the measure behind him between his legs, and, 
entering the house, puts a sect mark on his forehead 
with the aid of a broken looking-glass, which must be 



237 BHU RAZU 

thrown away. Ghi (clarified butter) and meat may not 
be eaten by those under death pollution till the eleventh 
day, when a feast is held. 

If an important elder of the community dies, a cere- 
mony called jola-jola handi (pot drilled with holes) is 
performed on the night of the tenth day. Fine sand is 
spread over the floor of a room having two doors, and 
the surface is smoothed with a tray or plank. On the 
sand a lighted lamp is placed, with an areca nut by its 
side. The lamp is covered with an earthen cooking-pot. 
Two men carry on their shoulders a pot riddled with 
holes, suspended from a pole made of Diospyros Embry- 
opteris wood, from inside the room into the street, as 
soon as the lamp is covered by the cooking-pot. Both 
doors of the room are then closed, and not opened till 
the return of the men. The pot which they carry is 
believed to increase in weight as they bear it to a tank, 
into which it is thrown. On their return to the house, 
they tap three times at the door, which then opens. 
All present then crowd into the room, and examine the 
sand for the marks of the foot-prints of a bull, cat or 
man, the trail of a centipede, cart-track, ladder, etc., 
which are believed to be left by the dead person when 
he goes to the other world. 

Opprobrious names are very common among the 
Bhondaris, especially if a child is born after a succession 
of deaths among the offspring of a family. Very common 
among such names are those of low castes, e.g., Haddi, 
Bavuria, Dandasi, etc. 

Bhonjo.— The title of the Raja of Gumsur in Ganjam. 

Bhumanchi (good earth). — A sub-division of Kapu. 

Bhu (earth) Razu.— A name for Razus who live in 
the plains, in contradistinction to the Konda Razus who 
live in the hills. 



BHU VAISYA 238 

Bhu Vaisya (earth Vaisya). — A name returned by 
some Nattukottai Chettis and Vellalas. 

Bhu mi Dhompthi.—- The name, meaning earth 
marriage offering, of a sub-division of Madigas, at whose 
marriages the offering of food is placed on the ground. 

Bhumi Razulu (kings of the earth). — A name 
assumed by some Koyis. 

Bhumia.— The Bhumias are an Oriya caste of hill 
cultivators, found in the Jeypore Zamindari. According 
to a tradition, they were the first to cultivate the land 
on the hills. In the Central Provinces they are said to 
be known as Baigas, concerning whom Captain Ward 
writes * that " the decision of the Baiga in a boundary 
dispute is almost always accepted as final, and, from this 
right as children of the soil and arbiters of the land 
belonging to each village, they are said to have derived 
their title of BhQmia, the Sanskrit bhumi meaning the 
earth." 

For the following note I am indebted to Mr. C. Haya- 
vadana Rao. The Bhumias have septs, e.g., bhag 
(tiger) and naga (cobra). A man can claim his paternal 
aunt's daughter in marriage. The marriage ceremonial 
is much the same as among the Bottadas. The jholla 
tonk (presents) consist of liquor, rice, a sheep or fowl, 
and cloths for the parents of the bride. A pandal (booth), 
made of poles of the sorghi tree, is erected in front of 
the bridegroom's house, and a Desari officiates. The 
remarriage of widows is permitted and a younger brother 
usually marries his elder brother's widow. If a man 
divorces his wife, it is customary for him to give her a 
rupee and a new cloth in compensation. The dead are 
burned, and pollution lasts for nine days. On the tenth 



* Gazetteer of the Central Provinces, 1870. 



239 BILIMAGGA 

day a ceremonial bath is taken, and a feast, with copious 
supplies of liquor, is held. In parts of the Central 
Provinces the dead are buried, and two or three flat 
stones are set up over the grave.* 

Bhuri. — A sub-division of Gond. 

Bijam (seed). — An exogamous sept of Boya. 

Bilpathri (bael : ALgle Marmelos). — An exogamous 
sept of Boya. 

Bindhani (workman). — A title of Oriya Badhoyis, 
and sometimes used as the name of the caste. 

Bingi.— The Bingivandlu are described, in the 
Kurnool Manual, as a class of mendicants, who play 
dramas. Some of them have shrotiyam villages, as 
Lingineni Doddi in Pattikonda. " Shrotiyam " has 
been defined t as " lands, or a village, held at a favour- 
able rate, properly an assignment of land or revenue 
to a Brahman learned in the Vedas, but latterly applied 
generally to similar assignments to native servants of 
the government, civil or military, and both Hindus and 
Muhammadans, as a reward for past services." 

Bhutiannaya (ashes). — An exogamous sept of Bant. 

Bidaru (wanderers). — A sub-division of Odde. 

Bilimagga.— The Bilimagga weavers of South 
Canara, who speak a very corrupt form of Tamil, must 
not be confused with the Bilimaggas of Mysore, whose 
mother-tongue is Canarese. In some places the Bili- 
maggas of South Canara call themselves Padma Sales, 
but they have no connection with the Padma Sale caste. 
There is a tradition that they emigrated from Pandiya 
Maduradesa in the Tamil country. The caste name 
Bilimagga (white loom) is derived from the fact that 
they weave only white cloths. In some places, for the 



* Report of the Ethnological Committee of the Central Provinces, 
t Wilson. Glossary of Judicial and Revenue Terms. 



BILIMAGGA 240 

same reason, Devangas call themselves Bilimaggas, but 
the Devangas also make coloured cloths. White cloths 
are required for certain gods and bhuthas (devils) on 
occasions of festivals, and these are usually obtained 
from Bilimaggas. 

The Bilimaggas follow the makkala santana law of 
inheritance (from father to son). They are said to have 
seven gotras, and those of the Mangalore, Kundapur, 
and Udipi taluks, are stated to belong respectively to 
the 800, 700, and 500 nagaras. The caste deities are 
Virabhadra, Brahmalinga, and Ammanoru. 

For the whole community, there is a chief headman 
called Paththukku Solra Settigar, or the Setti who 
advises the ten, and for every village there is an 
ordinary headman styled Gurikara. The chief headman 
is usually the manager of some temple of the caste, and 
the Gurikara has to collect the dues from the members 
of the community. Every married couple has to pay 
an annual tax of twelve annas, and every unmarried 
male over twelve years of age of six annas towards 
the temple fund. 

Marriage of girls before puberty is the rule, and any 
girl who attains maturity without being married runs the 
risk of losing her caste. The remarriage of widows is 
permitted. The betrothal ceremony is important as 
being binding as a contract. It consists in the father of 
the girl giving betel leaves and areca nuts in a tray to 
the father of her future husband, before a number of 
people. If the contract is dissolved before the marriage 
is celebrated, betel and nuts must be presented to the 
father of the girl, in the presence of an assembly, as a 
sign that the engagement is broken off. On the day 
previous to the marriage ceremonial, the fathers of the 
contracting couple exchange betel leaves and areca nuts 



241 BILIMAGGA 

three times. On the following morning, they proceed 
to the house of the bridegroom, the bride's father carry- 
ing a brass vessel containing water. From this vessel, 
water is poured into smaller vessels by an odd number 
of women (five or more). These women are usually 
selected by the wife of the headman. The pouring of 
the water must be carried out according to a recognised 
code of precedence, which varies with the locality. At 
Udipi, for example, the order is Mangalore, Barkur, 
Udipi. The women all pour water over the head of the 
bridegroom. 

The rite is called mariyathe nlru (water for respect). 
The bridegroom is then decorated, and a bashingam 
(chaplet) is placed on his forehead. He sits in front 
of a brass vessel, called Ganapathi (the elephant god), 
which is placed on a small quantity of rice spread on the 
floor, and worships it. He is then conducted to the 
marriage pandal (booth) by his sister's husband, followed 
by his sister carrying the brass vessel and a gindi (vessel 
with a spout), to which the bride's bashingam and the 
tali (marriage badge) are tied. A red cloth, intended 
for the bride, must also be carried by her. Within the 
pandal, the bridegroom stands in front of a cot. The 
bride's party, and the men in attendance on the bride- 
groom, stand opposite each other with the bridegroom 
between them, and throw rice over each other. All are 
then seated, except the bridegroom, his sister, and the 
bride's brother. The bridegroom's father waves incense 
in front of the cot and brass vessel, and hands over 
the gindi, and other articles, to the bridegroom's sister, 
to be taken to the bride. Lights and arathi water are 
waved before the bridegroom, and, while the bride's 
father holds his hands, her brother washes his feet. 
He then goes seven times round the cot, after he has 
i6 



BILIMAGGA 242 

worshipped it, and broken cocoanuts, varying in number 
according to the nagara to which he belongs — seven if 
he is a member of the seven hundred nagara, and so on. 
He next takes his seat on the cot, and is joined by the 
bride, who has had the bashingam put on her forehead, 
and the tali tied on her neck, by the bridegroom's sister. 
Those assembled then call the maternal uncles of the 
bridal couple, and they approach the cot. The bride- 
groom's uncle gives the red cloth already referred to 
to the uncle of the bride. The bride retires within the 
house, followed by her maternal uncle, and sits cross- 
legged, holding her big toes with her hands. Her uncle 
throws the red cloth over her head, and she covers her 
face with it. This is called devagiri udugare. The 
uncle then carries her to the pandal, and she sits on the 
left of the bridegroom. The Gurikara asks the maternal 
uncle of the bridegroom to hand over the bride's money, 
amounting to twelve rupees or more. He then requests 
permission of the three nagara people, seven gotra 
people, and the relatives of the bride and bridegroom to 
proceed with the dhare ceremony. This being accorded, 
the maternal uncles unite the hands of the pair, and, 
after the cloth has been removed from the bride's face, 
the dhare water is poured over their hands, first by the 
bride's father, and then by the Gurikara, who, while 
doing so, declares the union of the couple according to 
the observances of the three nagaras. Those assembled 
throw rice on, and give presents to the bride and bride- 
groom. The presents are called moi, and the act of 
giving them moi baikradhu (Tamil). Some women wave 
arathi, and the pair go inside the house, and sit on a 
mat. Some milk is given to the bridegroom by the 
bride's sister, and, after sipping a little of it, he gives it 
to the bride. They then return to the pandal, and sit on 



243 BILLAVA 

the cot. Rice is thrown over their heads, and arathi 
waved in front of them. The bridegroom drops a ring 
into a tray, and turmeric-water is poured over it. The 
couple search for the ring. The wedding ceremonies are 
brought to a close by bathing in turmeric-water (vokli 
bath), after which the couple sit on the cot, and those 
assembled permit the handing over of the bride to the 
bridegroom's family (pennu oppuchchu kodukradhu). 

Any number of marriages, except three or seven, 
may be carried on simultaneously beneath a single 
pandal. If there are more than a single bridal couple, 
the bashingam is worn only by the pair who are the 
elder, or held in most respect. Sometimes, one couple is 
allowed to wear the bashingam, and another to have the 
dhare water first poured over them. 

The dead are cremated. The corpse is carried to 
the burning-ground on a bier, with a tender plantain 
leaf placed beneath it. Fire is carried not by the son, 
but by some other near relative. The ashes are collected 
on the third day, and a mound (dhupe) is made there- 
with. Daily until the final death ceremony, a tender 
cocoanut, and water in a vessel, are placed near it. In 
the final death ceremony (bojja), the Bilimaggas closely 
follow the Bants, except as regards the funeral car. To 
get rid of death pollution, a Tulu Madivali (washerman 
caste) gives cloths to, and sprinkles water over those 
under pollution. 

The caste title is Setti or Chetti. 

Billai-kavu (cat-eaters).— Said to be Mala Paidis, 
who eat cats. 

Billava.— The Billavas are the Tulu-speaking toddy- 
drawers of the South Canara district. It is noted, in the 
Manual, that they are " the numerically largest caste 
in the district, and form close upon one-fifth of the total 
16* 



BILLAVA 244 

population. The derivation of the word Billava, as 
commonly accepted in the district, is that it is a contrac- 
tion of Billinavaru, bowmen, and that the name was 
given as the men of that caste were formerly largely 
employed as bowmen by the ancient native rulers of the 
district. There is, however, no evidence whatever, 
direct or indirect, to show that the men of the toddy- 
drawing caste were in fact so employed. It is well 
known that, both before and after the Christian era, 
there were invasions and occupations of the northern 
part of Ceylon by the races then inhabiting Southern 
India, and Malabar tradition tells that some of these 
Dravidians migrated from I ram or Ceylon northwards to 
Travancore and other parts of the West Coast of India, 
bringing with them the cocoanut or southern tree 
(tenginaniara), and being known as Tivars (islanders) 
or Iravars, which names have since been altered to 
Tlyars and Ilavars. This derivation would also explain 
the name Divaru or Halepaik Divaru borne by the same 
class of people in the northern part of the district, and 
in North Canara. In Manjarabad above the ghauts, 
which, with Tuluva, was in olden days under the rule of 
the Humcha family, known later as the Bairasu Wodears 
of Karakal, they are called Devaru Makkalu, literally 
God's children, but more likely a corruption of Tivaru 
Makkalu, children of the islanders. In support of this 
tradition, Mr. Logan has pointed out # that, in the list 
of exports from Malabar given in the Periplus, in the 
first century A.D., no mention is made of the cocoanut. 
It was, however, mentioned by Cosmos Indico Pleustes 
(522 to 547 A.D.), and from the Syrian Christians' 
copper-plate grants, early in the ninth century, it 



* Manual of Malabar. 



245 



BILLAVA 



appears that the Tiyans were at that time an organised 
guild of professional planters. Although the cocoanut 
tree may have been introduced by descendants of immi- 
grants from Ceylon moving up the coast, the practice 
of planting and drawing toddy was no doubt taken up 
by the ordinary Tulu cultivators, and, whatever the origin 
of the name Billava may be, they are an essentially Tulu 
class of people, following the prevailing rule that prop- 
erty vests in females, and devolves in the female line." 

It is worthy of note that the Billavas differ from the 
Tiyans in one very important physical character — the 
cranial type. For, as shown by the following table, 
whereas the Tiyans are dolichocephalic the Billavas are, 
like other Tulu classes, sub-brachycephalic : — 

Cephalic Index. 



— 


Average. 


Maximum. 


Minimum. 


Number of times 
exceeding 80. 


40 Tiyans 

50 Billavas 


73 
80 


787 
91-5 


68-5 
7i 


I 

28 



Some Billavas about Udipi call themselves either 
Billavaru or Halepaikaru. But the Halepaiks proper 
are toddy-drawers, who are found in the Kundapur taluk, 
and speak Kanarese. There are said to be certain differ- 
ences between the two classes in the method of carrying 
out the process of drawing toddy. For example, 
the Halepaiks generally grasp the knife with the 
fingers directed upwards and the thumb to the right, 
while the Billavas hold the knife with the finders directed 
downwards and the thumb to the left. A Billava at Udipi 
had a broad iron knife with a round hole at the base, 
by which it was attached to an iron hook fixed on to a 
rope worn round the loins. For crushing the flower-buds 



BILLAVA 246 

within the spathe of the palm, Billavas generally use 
a stone, and the Halepaiks a bone. There is a belief 
that, if the spathe is beaten with the bone of a buffalo 
which has been killed by a tiger, the yield of toddy 
will, if the bone has not touched the ground, be greater 
than if an ordinary bone is used. The Billavas gener- 
ally carry a long gourd, and the Halepaiks a pot, for 
collecting the toddy in. 

Baidya and Piijari occur as caste names of the 
Billavas, and also as a suffix to the name, e.g., Saiyina 
Baidya, Bomma Pujari. Baidya is said to be a form of 
Vaidya, meaning a physician. Some Billavas officiate 
as priests (pujaris) at bhutasthanas (devil shrines) and 
garidis. Many of these pujaris are credited with the 
power of invoking the aid of bhutas, and curing disease. 
The following legend is narrated, to account for the use 
of the name Baidya. A poor woman once lived at Ullal 
with two sons. A Sanyasi (religious ascetic), pitying 
their condition, took the sons as his sishyas, with a view 
to training them as magicians and doctors. After some 
time, the Sanyasi went away from Ullal for a short time, 
leaving the lads there with instructions that they should 
not be married until his return. In spite of his instruc- 
tions, however, they married, and, on his return, he was 
very angry, and went away again, followed by his two 
disciples. On his journey, the Sanyasi crossed the ferry 
near Ullal on foot. This the disciples attempted to do, 
and were on the point of drowning when the Sanyasi 
threw three handfuls of books on medicine and magic. 
Taking these, the two disciples returned, and became 
learned in medicine and magic. They are supposed to 
be the ancestors of the Billavas. 

The Billavas, like the Bants, have a number of 
exogamous septs (balis) running in the female line. 




BILLAVA TODDY-TAPPER. 



247 BILLAVA 

There is a popular belief that these are sub-divisions 
of the twenty balis which ought to exist according to the 
Aliya Santana system (inheritance in the female line). 

The caste has a headman called Gurikara, whose 
office is hereditary, and passes to the aliya (sister's son). 
Affairs which affect the community as a whole are 
discussed at a meeting held at the bhutasthana or 
garidi. 

At the betrothal ceremony, the bride-price (sirdach- 
chi), varying from ten to twenty rupees, is fixed. A few 
days before the wedding, the maternal uncle of the bride, 
or the Gurikara, ties a jewel on her neck, and a pandal 
(booth) is erected, and decorated by the caste barber 
(parel maddiyali) with cloths of different colours. If the 
bridegroom is an adult, the bride has to undergo a 
purificatory ceremony a day or two before the marriage 
(dhare) day. A few women, usually near relations of the 
girl, go to a tank (pond) or well near a Bhutasthana or 
garidi, and bring water thence in earthenware pots. 
The water is poured over the head of the girl, and she 
bathes. On the wedding day, the bride and bridegroom 
are seated on two planks placed on the dais. The 
barber arranges the various articles, such as lights, rice, 
flowers, betel leaves and areca nuts, and a vessel filled 
with water, which are required for the ceremonial. He 
joins the hands of the contracting couple, and their 
parents, or the headman, place the nose-screw of the 
bridesmaid on their hands, and pour the dhare water 
over them. This is the binding part of the ceremony, 
which is called kai (hand) dhare. Widow remarriage is 
called bidu dhare, and the pouring of water is omitted. 
The bride and bridegroom stand facing each other, and 
a cloth is stretched between them. The headman 
unites their hands beneath the screen. 



BILLAVA 248 

If a man has intercourse with a woman, and she 
becomes pregnant, he has to marry her according to the 
bidu dhare rite. Before the marriage ceremony is per- 
formed, he has to grasp a plantain tree with his right 
hand, and the tree is then cut down. 

At the first menstrual period, a girl is under pollution 
for ten or twelve days. On the first day, she is seated 
within a square (muggu), and five or seven cocoanuts 
are tied together so as to form a seat. A new earthen- 
ware pot is placed at each corner of the square. Four 
girls from the Gurikara's house sit at the corners close to 
the pots. Betel leaves, areca nuts, and turmeric paste 
are distributed among the assembled females, and the 
girls pour water from the pots over the head of the girl. 
Again, on the eleventh or the thirteenth day, the girl 
sits within the square, and water is poured over her as 
before. She then bathes. 

The dead are usually cremated, though, in some 
cases, burial is resorted to. The corpse is washed and 
laid on a plantain leaf, and a new cloth is thrown over it. 
Some paddy (unhusked rice) is heaped up near the head 
and feet, and cocoanut cups containing lighted wicks 
are placed thereon. All the relations and friends 
assembled at the house dip leafy twigs of the tulsi 
(Odmum sanctum) in water, and allow it to drop into 
the mouth of the corpse. The body is carried on a 
plank to the burning-ground. The collection of wood 
for the pyre, or the digging of the grave, is the duty of 
Holeyas. The wood of Strychnos Niix-vomica should 
never be used for the pyre. This is lighted by placing 
fire at the two ends thereof. When the flames meet in 
the middle, the plantain leaf, paddy, etc., which have 
been brought from the house, are thrown into them. 
On the fifth day, the ashes are collected, and buried on 



249 BILLAVA 

the spot. If the body has been buried, a straw figure is 
made, and burnt over the grave, and the ashes are 
buried there. A small conical mound, called dhupe, is 
made there, and a tulsi plant stuck in it. By the side 
of the plant a tender cocoanut with its eyes opened, 
tobacco leaf, betel leaves and areca nuts are placed. 
On the thirteenth day, the final death ceremonies, or 
bojja, are performed. On the evening of the previous 
day, four poles, for the construction of the upparige or 
gudikattu (car), are planted round the dhupe. At the 
house, on or near the spot where the deceased breathed 
his last, a small bamboo car, in three tiers, is con- 
structed, and decorated with coloured cloths. This car 
is called Nirneralu. A lamp is suspended from the car, 
and a cot placed on the ground beneath it, and the 
jewels and clothes of the dead person are laid thereon. 
On the following morning, the upparige is constructed, 
with the assistance of the caste barber. A small vessel, 
filled with water, is placed within the Nirneralu. The 
sons-in-law of the deceased receive a present of new 
cloths, and, after bathing, they approach the Nirneralu. 
The chief mourner takes the vessel from within it, and 
pours the water at the foot of a cocoanut tree. The 
chief Gurikara pours some water into the empty vesse^ 
and the chief mourner places it within the Nirneralu. 
Then seven women measure out some rice three times, 
and pour the rice into a tray held by three women. 
The rice is taken to a well, and washed, and then 
brought back to the car. Jaggery (crude sugar) and 
cocoanut scrapings are mixed with the rice, which is 
placed in a cup by seven women. The cup is deposited 
within the car on the cot. The wife or husband of the 
deceased throws a small quantity of rice into the cup. 
She turns the cup, and a ladle placed by its side, upside 



BILLAVA 250 

down, and covers them with a plantain leaf. The various 
articles are collected, and tied up in a bundle, which is 
placed in a palanquin, and carried in procession, by two 
men to the upparige, which has been constructed over 
the dhupe. Nalkes and Paravas (devil-dancers), dressed 
up as bhutas, may follow the procession. Those present 
go thrice round the upparige, and the chief mourner 
unties the bundle, and place its contents on the car. 
The near relations put rice, and sometimes vegetables, 
pumpkins, and plantains, on the plantain leaf. All 
present then leave the spot, and the barber removes 
the cloths from the car, and pulls it down. Sometimes, if 
the dead person has been an important member of the 
community, a small car is constructed, and taken in 
procession round the upparige. On the fourteenth day, 
food is offered to crows, and the death ceremonies are 
at an end. 

If a death occurs on an inauspicious day, a ceremony 
called Kale deppuni (driving away the ghost) is per- 
formed. Ashes are spread on the floor of the house, 
and the door is closed. After some time, or on the 
following day, the roof of the house is sprinkled with 
turmeric water, and beaten with twigs of Zizyphus 
CEnoplia. The door is then opened, and the ashes are 
examined, to see if the marks of the cloven feet of the 
ghost are left thereon. If the marks are clear, it is a 
sign that the ghost has departed ; otherwise a magician 
is called in to drive it out. A correspondent naively 
remarks that, when he has examined the marks, they 
were those of the family cat. 

In some cases, girls who have died unmarried are 
supposed to haunt the house, and bring trouble thereto, 
and they must be propitiated by marriage. The girl's 
relations go in search of a dead boy, and take from the 



251 BILLAVA 

house where he is a quarter of an anna, which is tied up 
between two spoons. The spoons are tied to the roof 
of the girl's house. This represents the betrothal 
ceremony. A day is fixed for the marriage, and, on the 
appointed day, two figures, representing the bride and 
bridegroom, are drawn on the floor, with the hands lying 
one on the other. A quarter-anna, black beads, bangles, 
and a nose-screw, are placed on the hands, and water 
is poured on them. This is symbolical of the dhare 
ceremony, and completes the marriage. 

The pujaris of all the bhuthasthanas and garidis are 
Billavas. The bhutha temples called garidis belong to 
the Billavas, and the bhuthas are the Baiderukulu (Koti 
and Chennayya), Brimmeru (or Brahmeru) Gunda, Okka 
Ballala, Kujumba Ganja, and Devanajiri. The Baider- 
kulu are believed to be fellow castemen of the Billavas, 
and Koti and Chennayya to be descended from an 
excommunicated Brahman girl and a Billava. The 
legend of Koti and Chennayya is recorded at length 
by Mr. A. C. Burnell in the Indian Antiquary.* The 
bhuthas are represented by idols. Brimmeru is the most 
important, and the others are subordinate to him. He 
is represented by a plate of silver or other metal, bearing 
the figure of a human being, which is kept within a 
car-like stone structure within the shrine. On its left 
are two human figures made of clay or stone, which 
represent the Baiderukulu. On the right are a man on 
horseback, and another figure, representing Okka Ballala 
and Kujumba Ganja. Other idols are also set up at the 
garidi, but outside the main room. They seem to vary 
in different localities, and represent bhuthas such as 
Jumadi, Pancha Jumadi, Hosabhutha, Kallurti, etc. 



Devil worship of the Tuluvas, Ind, Ant. XXIII, XXIV, and XXV, 1894-96. 



BILVA 252 

Brimmeru has been transformed, by Brahman ingenuity, 
into Brahma, and all the bhuthas are converted into 
Gonas, or attendants on Siva. In the pardhanas (devil 
songs) Brimmeru is represented as the principal bhutha, 
and the other bhuthas are supposed to visit his sthana. 
A bhuthasthana never contains idols, but cots are 
usually found therein. A sthana may be dedicated to a 
single bhutha, or to several bhuthas, and the number 
may be ascertained by counting the number of cots, of 
which each is set apart for a single bhutha. If the 
sthana is dedicated to more than one bhutha, the bhuthas 
are generally Kodamanithaya, Kukkinathaya, and Daiva. 
All the arrangements for the periodical kola, or festival 
of the bhuthasthana, are made by the pujari. During 
the festival, he frequently becomes possessed. Only 
such Billavas as are liable to be possessed are recognised 
as pujaris. As a sign of their office, they wear a gold 
bangle on the right wrist. Further details in connec- 
tion with bhutha worship will be found in the articles 
on Bants, Nalkes, and Paravas. 

Bilva (jackal). — An exogamous sept of Kondra. 

Bindhollu (brass water-pot). — An exogamous sept 
of Jogi. 

Binu (roll of woollen thread). — An exogamous sept 
of Kuruba. 

Bissoyi.— The Parlakimedi Maliahs are, I am 
informed, divided up into muttahs, and each muttah 
contains many villages, all ruled over by a Bissoyi, a 
sort of feudal chief, who is responsible for keeping them 
in order. Concerning the Bissoyis, Mr. S. P. Rice 
writes * that in the Maliahs " are a number of forts, in 
which the Bissoyis, or hill chieftains, reside. Each of 



* Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life. 



253 BODA 

them holds a small court of his own ; each has his 
armed retainers, and his executive staff. They were set 
to rule over the hill tracts, to curb the lawlessness of the 
aboriginal tribes of the mountains, the Khonds and the 
Savaras. They were, in fact, lords of the marches, and 
were in a measure independent, but they appear to have 
been under the suzerainty of the Raja of Kimedi, and 
they were also generally responsible to Government. 
Such men were valuable friends and dangerous enemies. 
Their influence among their own men was complete ; 
their knowledge of their own country was perfect. It 
was they, and they only, who could thread their way 
through the tangled and well-nigh impenetrable jungle 
by foot-paths known only to themselves. Hence, when 
they became enemies, they could entrench themselves 
in positions which were almost impenetrable. Now a 
road leads to every fort ; the jungles have disappeared ; 
the Bissoyis still have armed retainers, and still keep 
a measure of respect ; but their sting is gone, and the 
officer of Government goes round every year on the 
peaceful, if prosaic occupation of examining schools and 
inspecting vaccination." The story of the Parlakimedi 
rebellion, "a forgotten rebellion" as he calls it, in the 
last century, and the share which the Bissoyis took in it, 
is graphically told by Mr. Rice. 

At times of census, Bissoyi has been returned as a 
title of Doluva, Kalingi, Kurumo, and Sondi. 

Biswalo.— A title of various Oriya castes. 

Bochchu (hairs). — An exogamous sept of Odde. 

Boda.— Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 
1 90 1, as a small cultivating class in Ganjam. Boda is 
the name of a sub-division of the Gadabas, who use the 
fibre of boda luvada {Ficus glomerata) in the manufac- 
ture of their female garments. 



BODA DASARI 254 

Boda Dasari (bald-headed mendicant). — An exo- 
gamous sept of Jogi. 

Boddu (navel). — An exogamous sept, or sub-division 
of Idigas and Asilis. It is recorded in the Gazetteer 
of the Bellary district, that " in the middle of the 
threshold of nearly all the gateways of the ruined 
fortifications round the Bellary villages will be noticed 
a roughly cylindrical or conical stone, something like a 
lingam. This is the Boddu-rayi, literally the navel 
stone, and so the middle stone. Once a year, in May, 
just before the sowing season begins, a ceremony takes 
place in connection with it." {See Bariki.) 

Bodo (big). — A sub-division of Bottada, Mali, 
Omanaito, Pentia, and other castes. Bodo Nayak is a 
title among the Gadabas, and Bodo Odiya occurs as a 
sub-division of Sondi. 

Bogam.— See Deva-dasi and Sani. 

Bogara.— Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 
1901, as " Canarese brass and copper-smiths: a sub- 
division of Panchala." From a note on the Jains of the 
Bellary district # I gather that " there is a class of 
people called Bogaras in the Harpanahalli taluk, and in 
the town of Harpanahalli itself, side by side with the 
Jains. They are a thriving class, and trade in brass and 
copper wares. The Bogaras practice the Jaina religion, 
have the same gotras, freely worship in Jain temples, 
and are accepted into Jaina society. Evidently they 
are a sub-division of the Jains, though now excluded 
from inter-marriage." It is said that "arrangements are 
now being made (through the Jaina Bhattacharya at 
Kolhapur) to enable Bogaras to intermarry with the 

J; n 

ains. 



Madras Mail, 1905. 



255 BOKSHA 

BOgarlu.— -Occurs as the name of a class of agri- 
cultural labourers in the Vizagapatam Agency, who 
are probably workers in metal who have taken to 
agriculture. 

Boggula (charcoal). — An exogamous sept of Boya 
and Devanga. 

Bohora.— The Bohoras or Boras are " Musalman 
converts from the Bombay side. They are traders. In 
Madras they have their own high priest and their own 
mosque (in Georgetown). It is said that, when one of 
them dies, the high priest writes a note to the archangels 
Michael, Israel and Gabriel, asking them to take care 
of him in Paradise, and that the note is placed in the 
coffin." * They consider themselves as a superior class, 
and, if a member of another section enters their mosque, 
they clean the spot occupied by him during his prayers. 
They take part in certain Hindu festivals, e.g., Dipavali, 
or feast of lights, at which crackers are let off. 

Boidyo.— -Recorded under the name Boyidyo, in the 
Madras Census Report, iqoi, as "literally a physi- 
cian : a sub-caste of Pandito." There is said to be no 
difference between Panditos and Boidyos. In Ganjam 
they are known by the former, elsewhere by the latter 
name. 

Boipari. — A synonym of Lambadi. (See Bepari.) 

Boishnobo.— The Boishnobos have been defined 
as a class of Oriya religious mendicants and priests to 
Sudras. The name means worshippers of Bishnu or 
Vishnu. Most of them are followers of Chaitanya, the 
great Bengali reformer. 

Boksha.— Boksha or Boksham (treasury) is the 
name of a sub-division of Gollas, indicating their 



• Madras Census Report, 1901, 



BOLASI 



256 



employment as treasury servants in guarding and carrying 
treasure. In some places, those who are employed in 
packing and lifting bags of money in district treasuries 
are still called Gollas, though they may belong to some 
other caste. In the Census Report, 1901, Bokkisha 
Vadugar (treasury northerner) was returned as a Tamil 
synonym for Golla. 

Bolasi.—- The Bolasis are a caste of Oriya culti- 
vators, who are largely found in the Gumsur taluk of 
Ganjam. Many of them serve as paiks or peons. The 
original name of the caste is said to have been Thadia, 
which has been changed in favour of Bolasi (Bayalisi, 
forty-two) in reference to the caste being one of the 
recognized forty-two Oriya Sudra castes. It is also 
suggested that the name is derived from bola (anklets), 
as the women wear heavy brass anklets. 

Their ceremonial rites connected with marriage, 
death, etc., are similar to those of the Doluvas, Gaudos, 
Badhoyis, and other castes. Marriage is infant, and, if 
a girl does not secure a husband before she reaches 
maturity, she goes through a form of marriage with an 
arrow or a grinding stone. The Bolasis are Vaishna- 
vites, and observe the Paramartho or Chaitanya form 
thereof. The caste titles are Podhano, Nayako, Daso, 
Mahanti, Patro, Sahu, Jenna, and Konhoro. 

Gudiyas who are engaged in agriculture are some- 
times known as Bolasi Gudiyas. 

Bolodia.— The name of a section of Tellis, who use 
pack-bullocks (bolodo, an ox) for carrying grain about 
the country. Some Gaudos, at times of census, have 
also returned Bolodia as their sub-division. 

Bombadai (a fish). — A gotra of Medara. The equi- 
valent Bomidi occurs as an exogamous sept of Mala. 
Members of the Vamma gotra of the Janappans abstain 



257 BONDILI 

from eating this fish, because, when some of their ances- 
tors went to fetch water in a marriage pot, they found 
a number of this fish in the water collected in the pot. 

Bomma (a doll). — An exogamous sept of Padma 
Sale. The equivalent Bommala occurs as an exoga- 
mous sept of Mala. The Bommalatavallu are said * to 
exhibit shows in the Vizagapatam district. 

Bommali.— A sub-division of the Koronos of 
Ganjam. 

Bonda.— A sub-division of Poroja. 

Bondia.— A small class, inhabiting Ganjam. The 
name is said to be derived from bondono, meaning praise, 
as the Bondias are those who praise and flatter Rajas. 

Bondili.— In the Madras Census Report, 1891, the 
Bondilis are " said to derive their name from Bundel- 
kund. They claim to be Rajputs, but appear to have 
degenerated. The Sivaites of this sect are said to bury 
their dead, while the Vishnavaites burn. In the Kadri 
taluk of Cuddapah all are said to bury. The custom 
in this respect appears to differ in different localities. 
Besides Siva and Vishnu worship, three of the eight 
authorities who give particulars of this section agree 
that they worship village deities as well. All state that 
remarriage of widows is not permitted. They are 
generally cultivators, peons, or the body-guards of 
Zemindars." The Bondilis of the North Arcot district 
are described by Mr. H. A. Stuart f as being " foreign- 
ers from Bundelkund, from which fact their name 
originates, and of various Vaisya and Sudra castes ; the 
former having the termination Lala to their names, and 
the latter that of Ram. Many of the Sudra Bondilis, 



* Manual of the Vizagapatam district. 
f Manual of the North Arcot district. 

17 



BONIYA 258 

however, improperly take the title Singh, and say they 
are Kshatriyas, that is, Rajputs. The Vaisya Bondilis 
are few i n number, and only found in Vellore, Chittoor 
and Ami, where they are usually money-lenders. The 
Siidras are mostly sepoys, constables, or revenue peons. 
Some say that they are not even Sudras, but the 
descendants of Rajputs by women of the country, and 
probably many of them are such. All are very particular 
with respect to eating with an other professed Bondili, 
and refuse to do so unless they are quite certain that 
he is of their class. In their marriage customs they 
resemble the Rajputs." 

I am informed that one section of the Bondilis is 
named Toli, in reference to their being workers in 
leather. There is, at Venkatagiri, a street called Toli 
mitta, or Toli quarters, and, in former days, the inha- 
bitants thereof were not allowed to enter the temples. 

In the Census Report, 1901, Guvalo, or traders from 
Sambalpur, is returned as a sub-caste of Bondili. 

Boniya.— The Oriya name for Baniya (trader). 
Boniya Korono appears # as the name for traders and 
shopkeepers in Ganjam. 

Bonka.— Recorded, in the Vizagapatam Manual, 
as cultivators in the Jeypore hills, and, in the Madras 
Census Report, 1901, as a small Oriya caste of hill 
cultivators, which has three sub-divisions, Bonka, Pata 
Bonka, and Goru Bonka. 

Bonthuk.— -The Bonthuks or Bonthuk Savaras are 
scattered about the Kistna and Guntur districts, and 
lead a nomad life, carrying their small dwelling-huts with 
them as they shift from place to place. They are called 
Bonthuk Savaras to distinguish them from the Pothra 



* Manual of the Ganjam district. 



259 BONTHUK 

(stone) Savaras, who dwell further north. By Telugu 
people they are called Chenchu or Bontha Chenchu, 
though they have no connection with the Chenchus who 
inhabit the hills in Kurnool, and other parts of the 
Telugu country. The Bonthuks, however, like the 
Chenchus, claim Ahobila Narasimha as their tribal 
deity. The Bonthuks speak the Oriya language, and 
they have a Mongoloid type of features, such as are 
possessed by the Savaras of Ganjam and Vizagapatam. 
Their house-names, or intiperalu, however are Telugu. 
These constitute exogamous septs, and seem to be as 
follows : — Pasupuretti, Simhadri (the god at Simha- 
chalam near Vizagapatam), Koneti, Dasapatri, Gedala 
(buffaloes), Kudumala (cakes), Akula (leaves), Sunkara, 
and Tota (garden). At marriages, individuals of the 
Pasupuretti sept officiate as priests, and members of 
the Koneti sept as drummers and musicians. Men 
belonging to the Gedalu sept are considered as 
equivalent to shepherds. 

The Bonthuks have a very interesting way of naming 
their children. If a child is born when an official or 
person of some distinction happens to be near their 
encampment, it is named after him. Thus such names 
as Collector, Tahsildar, Kolnol (Colonel), Governor, 
Innes, Superintendent, and Acharlu (after one Sukra- 
charlu) are met with. Sometimes children are named 
after a town or village, either because they were born 
there, or in the performance of a vow to some place of 
pilgrimage. In this way, such names as Hyderabad, 
Channapatam (Madras), Bandar (Masulipatam), Nellore, 
and Tirupati arise. A boy was named Tuyya (parrot), 
because a parrot was brought into the settlement at 
the time of his birth. Another child was called Beni 
because, at its birth, a bamboo flute (beni) was played. 
17 * 



BONTHUK 260 

Every settlement is said to have a headman, called 
Bichadi, who, in consultation with several elders of the 
tribe, settles disputes and various affairs affecting the 
community. If an individual has been fined, and does 
not accept the punishment, he may appeal to another 
Bichadi, who may enhance the fine. Sometimes those 
who do not agree to abide by the decision of the 
Bichadi have to undergo a trial by ordeal, by taking out 
an areca nut from a pot of boiling cowdung water. The 
dimensions of the pot, in height and breadth, should not 
exceed the span of the hand, and the height of the cow- 
dung water in the pot should be that of the middle 
finger from the base to the tip. If, in removing the 
nut from the pot, the hand is injured, the guilt of the 
individual is proved. Before the trial by ordeal, a sum 
of ten rupees is deposited by both complainant and 
accused with the Bichadi, and the person under trial 
may not live in his dwelling-hut. He lives in a grove 
or in the forest, watched by two members of the 
Pasupuretti sept. 

The Bonthuks are engaged in collecting bamboos, 
and selling them after straightening them by heating 
them in the fire. Before the bamboos are placed in 
carts, for conveyance to the settlement, a goat and fowls 
are sacrificed to Satyamma, Dodlamma, Muthyalamma, 
and Pothuraju, who are represented by stones. 

Girls are married before puberty, and, if a girl 
happens to be mated only after she has reached maturity, 
there is no marriage ceremonial. The marriage rites 
last over five days, on the first of which a brass vessel, 
with a thread tied round its neck, and containing turmeric 
water and the oyila tokka or tonko (bride's money), is 
carried in procession to the bride's hut on the head of a 
married girl belonging to a sept other than those of the 



261 BONTHUtC 

contracting couple. She has on her head a hood deco- 
rated with little bells, and the vessel is supported on a 
cloth pad. When the hut is reached, the bride's money 
is handed over to the Bichadi, and the turmeric water is 
poured on the ground. The bride's money is divided 
between her parents and maternal uncle, the Bichadi, 
and the caste men. A pig is purchased, and carried by 
two men on a pole to the scene of the marriage. The 
caste people, and the married girl carrying a brass vessel, 
go round the animal, to the accompaniment of music. 
The girl, as she goes round, pours water from the vessel 
on the ground. A thread is tied round the neck of the 
pig, which is taken to the bridegroom's hut, and cut up 
into two portions, for the parties of the bridegroom and 
bride, of which the former is cooked and eaten on the 
same day. At the homes of the bride and bridegroom, 
a pandal (booth) and dais are erected. The materials 
for the former are brought by seven women, and for the 
latter by nine men. The pandal is usually decorated 
with mango and Etigenia Arnottiana leaves. After 
supper, some relations of the contracting couple go to 
an open space, where the Bichadi, who has by him two 
pots and two bashingams (chaplets) of arka (Calotropis 
gigantea) flowers, is seated with a few men. The fathers 
of the bride and bridegroom ask the Bichadi to give 
them the bashingams, and this he does after receiving 
an assurance that the wedding will not be attended by 
quarrelling. The bride and bridegroom take their seats 
on the dais at the home of the latter, and the officiating 
priest ties the bashingams on their foreheads. Nine 
men and seven women stand near the dais, and a 
thread is passed round them seven times. This thread 
is cut up by the priest, and used for the kankanams 
(wrist threads) of the bride and bridegroom. These are 



BOORI 262 

removed, at the close of the marriage festivities, on the 
fifth day. 

When a girl attains maturity, she is under pollution 
for nine days, at the conclusion of which the Bichadi 
receives a small present of money from her parents. 
Her husband, and his agnates (people of his sept) also 
have to observe pollution, and, on the ninth day, the 
cooking pots which they have used are thrown away, 
and they proceed to the Bichadi, to whom they make a 
present of money, as they have probably broken the 
tribal rule that smoking is forbidden when under pollu- 
tion. On the ninth day, the girl and her husband throw 
water over each other, and the marriage is consummated. 

The dead are usually buried, lying on the left side. 
On the second day, food is offered to crows and 
Brahmani kites. On the eleventh day, a mat is spread 
on the floor of the hut, and covered with a clean sheet, 
on which balls of food are placed. The dead person 
is invoked by name, as the various people deposit the 
food offering. The food is finally put into a winnowing 
basket, and taken to the bank of a tank (pond). A 
small hut is made there, and the food is placed therein 
on two leaves, one of which represents the Yama Dutas 
(servants of the god of death), the other the deceased. 

Boori (cake). — An exogamous sept of Mala. 

Bosantiya.— The Bosantiyas are summed up, in the 
Madras Census Report, 1901, as " Oriya cultivators 
found in the northern taluks of Ganjam. They are said 
by some to have been originally dyers." I am informed 
that the caste name has reference to the fact that the 
occupation thereof was the collection of the fruits of 
Mallotus philippinensis, and trade in the dye (bosonto 
gundi) obtained therefrom. The dye, commonly known 
as kamela, or kamala, is the powdery substance obtained 



263 BOSANTIYA 

as a glandular pubescence from the exterior of the fruits. 
The following note on the dye was published in the 
Indian Forester, 1892. "Among the many rich natural 
products of Ganjam, probably the most esteemed in 
commerce is the red kamela dye, the valuable product 
of the Mallotus philippinensis. This tree, with its lovely 
scarlet berries and vivid emerald green foliage, is a 
marked feature of forest scenery in Ganjam. The 
berries are coated with a beautiful red powder, which 
constitutes the dye. This powder is collected by being 
brushed off into baskets made for the purpose, but the 
method of collection is reckless and wasteful in the 
extreme, the trees being often felled in order to reach 
the berries more easily. The industry is a monopoly of 
the Hill K bonds, who, however, turn it to little advan- 
tage. They are ignorant of the great commercial value 
of the dye, and part with the powder to the low-country 
dealers settled among them for a few measures of rice 
or a yard or two of cloth. The industry is capable of 
great development, and a large fortune awaits the firm 
or individual with sufficient enterprise to enter into 
rivalry with the low-country native dealers settled among 
the Khonds, who at present enjoy a monopoly of the 
trade. It is notorious that these men are accumulating 
vast profits in respect of this dye. The tree is cultivated 
largely by the Khonds in their forest villages." 

The Bosantiyas seem to have no sub-divisions, but 
exogamous gotras, e.g., nagasira (cobra) and kochimo 
(tortoise) exist among them. Socially they are on a par 
with the Bhondaris, and above Pachchilia Gaudos and 
Samantiyas. They have a headman called Bissoyi, 
who is assisted by a Bhollobaya, and they have further 
a caste messenger called Jati Naiko. The caste titles 
are Bissoyi and Nahako. 



BOTTADA 264 

Most of the Bosantiyas are Saivites, but a few follow 
the Paramartho form of Vaishnavism. They also 
worship various Takuranis (village deities), such as 
Kotaru and Chondi. 

In the Vizagapatam Manual (1869), Bosuntea is 
described as a caste of Paiks or fighting men in the 
Vizagapatam district (Jeypore). 

Bottada. — The Bottadas are, Mr. H. A. Stuart 
writes,* " a Class of Uriya cultivators and labourers, 
speaking Muria or Lucia, otherwise known as Basturia, 
a dialect of Uriya. Mr. Taylor says the caste is the 
same as Muria, which is shown separately in the tables, 
and in Mr. H. G. Turner's notes in the Census Report 
of 1 87 1. But, whether identical or distinct, it seems 
clear that both are sub-divisions of the great Gond 
tribe." 

For the following note, I am indebted to Mr. 
C. Hayavadana Rao. There is a current tradition that 
the caste originally dwelt at Barthagada, and emigrated 
to Vizagapatam long ago. It is vaguely mentioned that 
Barthagada was situated towards and beyond Bastar, 
near which place there are still to be found people ot 
this caste, with whom those living in the Vizagapatam 
Agency intermarry. The caste is divided into three 
endogamous divisions, viz. : — 

(1) Bodo, or genuine Bottadas ; 

(2) Madhya, descendants of Bottada men and 
non- Bottada women ; 

(3) Sanno, descendants of Madhya men and non- 
Madhya women. The Bodos will not interdine with 
the other two sections, but males of these will eat with 
Bodos. 



* Madras Census Report, 1891. 



265 BOTTADA 

The following notes refer to the Bodo section, in 
which various exogamous septs, or bamsa, exist, of 
which the following are examples : — 



Kochchimo, tortoise. 
Bhag, tiger. 
Goyi, lizard ( Varanus). 
Nag, cobra. 



Kukkuro, dog. 
Makado, monkey. 
Cheli, goat. 



Girls are married either before or after puberty. A man 
can claim his paternal aunt's daughter in marriage. 
When a marriage is under contemplation, the prospective 
bridegroom's parents take maddho (liquor) and chada 
(beaten rice) to the girl's house, where they are accepted 
or refused, according as her parents agree to, or dis- 
approve of the match. After a stated period, further 
presents of liquor, rice, black gram, dhal, salt, chillies, 
and jaggery (crude sugar) are brought, and betel leaves 
and areca nuts given in exchange. Two days later the 
girl's parents pay a return visit to those of the young 
man. After another interval, the marriage takes place. 
Nine days before its celebration, paddy (unhusked 
rice) and Rs. 2 are taken to the bride's house as jholla 
tonka, and a feast is held. At the bridegroom's house, a 
pandal, made of nine sorghi or sal (Shorea robusta) posts, 
is erected, with a pot of turmeric water tied to the central 
post. The bride is conducted thither. At the marriage 
rites the Desari officiates. The ends of the cloths of 
the contracting couple are tied together, and their little 
fingers are linked together, while they go, with pieces of 
turmeric and rice in their hands, seven times round the 
pandal. The sacred fire, or homam, is raised, and into 
it seven or nine different kinds of wood, ghl (clarified 
butter), milk, rice and jaggery are thrown. Turmeric- 
rice dots are put on the foreheads of the bride and 
bridegroom by the Desari, parents, and relations. They 



BOTTU KATTORU 266 

are anointed with castor-oil, and bathed with the water 
contained in the pot tied to the post. New cloths are 
presented to them, and a caste feast is held. 

Widow remarriage is permitted, and a younger brother 
often marries the widow of his elder brother. If, how- 
ever, she marries any one else, her new husband has to 
pay rand tonka, consisting of liquor, a sheep or goat, and 
rice, as a fine to the caste, or he may compound for 
payment of five rupees. Divorce is permitted, and, if a 
man divorces his wife, he usually gives her some paddy, 
a new cloth, and a rupee. If the woman divorces herself 
from her husband, and contracts an alliance with another 
man, the latter has to pay a fine of twenty rupees to the 
first husband, a portion of which is spent on a feast, at 
which the two husbands and the woman are present. 

The dead are burned, and death pollution is observed 
for ten days, during which no agricultural work is done, 
and no food is cooked in the bamsa of the deceased, 
which is fed by some related bamsa. On the day follow- 
ing cremation, a new pot with water, and some sand are 
carried to the spot where the corpse was burnt. A bed 
of sand is made, in which a banyan (Ficus bengalensis) 
or plpal {Ficus religiosd) is planted. A hole is made in 
the pot, and the plant watered. On the tenth day, on 
which a bath is taken, some fried rice and a new pot are 
carried to the burning-ground, and left there. 

The Bottadas have the reputation of being the best 
cultivators in the Jeypore Agency, and they take a high 
position in social rank. Many of them wear the sacred 
thread, at the time of marriage and subsequently, and it 
is said that the right to wear it was acquired by purchase 
from former Rajas of Jeypore. 

Bottu Kattoru (those who tie the bottu). — A sub- 
division of Kappiliyans, who are Canarese cultivators 



267 BRAHMAN 

settled in the Tamil district of Madura. The bottu 
(marriage badge) is the equivalent of the Tamil tali. 

Bovi.— The name of the palanquin-bearing section 
of the Mogers of South Canara. Some Besthas from 
Mysore, who have settled in this district, are also called 
Bovi, which is a form of Boyi (bearer). 

Boya (see Bedar). — Boya has also been recorded* 
as a sub-division of Mala, a name for Ekari. 

Boyan. — A title of Odde. 

Boyi (see Bestha). — It is also the title of one of 
the chief men among the Savaras. 

Brahman.— The B rahmans of Southern I ndia are 
divided into a number of sections, differing in language, 
manners and customs. As regards their origin, the 
current belief is that they sprang from the mouth of 
Brahma. In support thereof, the following verse from 
the Purusha Suktha (hymn of the primaeval male) of the 
Rig Veda is quoted : — From the face of Prajapathi 
(Viratpurusha) came the Brahmans ; from the arms arose 
the Kshatriyas ; from the thighs sprang the Vaisyas ; 
and from the feet the Sudras. Mention of the fourfold 
division of the Hindu castes is also made in other Vedas, 
and in Ithihasas and Puranas. 

The Brahmans fall into three groups, following the 
three Vedas or Sakas, Rig, Yajus, and Samam. This 
threefold division is, however, recognised only for 
ceremonial purposes. For marriage and social purposes, 
the divisions based on language and locality are prac- 
tically more operative. In the matter of the more 
important religious rites, the Brahmans of Southern India, 
as elsewhere, closely follow their own Vedas. Every 
Brahman belongs to one or other of the numerous gotras 



• Manual of the North Arcot district. 



BRAHMAN 268 

mentioned in Pravara and Gotra Kandams. All the 
religious rites are performed according to the Grihya 
Sutras (ritual books) pertaining to their Saka or Veda. 
Of these, there are eight kinds now in vogue, viz. : — 

1. Asvalayana Sutra of the Rig Veda. 

2. Apasthamba 

3. Bharadwaja 

4. Bhodayana Y Sutras of the black Yajus. 

5. Sathyashada 

6. Vaikkanasa J 

7. Kathyayana Sutra of the white Yajus. 

8. Drahyayana Sutra of Sama Veda. 

All Brahmans claim descent from one or more of the 
following seven Rishis : — Atri, Bhrigu, Kutsa, Vashista, 
Gautama, Kasyapa, Angiras. According to some, the 
Rishis are Agasthya, Angiras, Atri, Bhrigu, Kasyapa, 
Vashista, and Gautama. Under these Rishis are included 
eighteen ganams, and under each ganam there are a 
number of gotras, amounting in all to about 230. Every 
Brahman is expected to salute his superiors by repeating 
the Abhivadhanam (salutation) which contains his lineage. 
As an example, the following may be given : — " I, 
Krishna by name, of Srivathsa gotra, with the pravara 
(lineage) of the five Rishis, Bhargava, Chyavana, 
Apnuvana, Aruva, and Jamadagni, following the Apas- 
thamba sutra of the Yajus Saka, am now saluting you." 
Daily, at the close of the Sandhya prayers, this Abhiva- 
dhanam formula should be repeated by every Brahman. 

Taking the Brahmans as a whole, it is customary to 
group them in two main divisions, the Pancha Dravidas 
and Pancha Gaudas. The Pancha Dravidas are pure 
vegetarians, whereas the Pancha Gaudas need not abstain 
from meat and fish, though some, who live amidst the 
Pancha Dravidas, do so. Other differences will be noted 
in connection with Oriya Brahmans, who belong to the 



269 BRAHMAN 

Pancha Gauda section. In South India, all Brahmans, 
except those who speak the Oriya and Konkani lan- 
guages, are Pancha Dravidas, who are divided into five 
sections, viz. : — 

1. Tamil, or Dravida proper. 

2. Telugu or Andhra. 

3. Canarese, or Carnataka. 

4. Marathi or Desastha. 

5. Guzarati. 

The Tulu-speaking Shivalli Brahmans are included 
among the Carnatakas ; the Pattar and Nambutiri Brah- 
mans (see Nambutiri) among the Dravidas proper. 

From a religious point of view, the Brahmans are 
either Saivites or Vaishnavites. The Saivites are either 
Saivites proper, or Smarthas. The Smarthas believe 
that the soul of man is only a portion of the infinite 
spirit (atman), and that it is capable of becoming absorbed 
into the atman. They recognise the Trimurtis, Brahma, 
Vishnu, and Siva as separate gods, but only as equal 
manifestations of the supreme spirit, and that, in the end, 
these are to be absorbed into the infinite spirit, and so 
disappear. Saivas, on the other hand, do not recognise 
the Trimurtis, and believe only in one god, Siva, who 
is self-existent, and not liable to lose his personality. 
Of Vaishnavites there are three kinds, viz., those who 
are the followers of Chaitanya, Ramanuja, and Madhva- 
charya. Like the Smarthas, the Vaishnavites recognise 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, but Vishnu is supposed to be 
the chief god, to whom the others are subordinate. 

" Vaishnavas," Monier Williams writes,* "are be- 
lievers in the one personal god Vishnu, not only as the 
preserver, but as above every other god, including Siva. 



• Religious Thought and Life in India. 



BRAHMAN 270 

It should be noted, too, that both Saivites and Vaishnavas 
agree in attributing an essential form of qualities to the 
Supreme Being. Their one god, in fact, exists in an 
eternal body, which is antecedent to his earthly incarna- 
tions, and survives all such incarnations." He adds that 
14 it cannot be doubted that one great conservative element 
of Hinduism is the many sidedness of Vaishnavism. 
For Vaishnavism is, like Buddhism, the most tolerant 
of systems. It is always ready to accommodate itself 
to other creeds, and delights in appropriating to itself 
the religious idea of all the nations of the world. It 
admits of every form of internal development. It has 
no organised hierarchy under one supreme head, but it 
may have any number of separate associations under 
separate leaders, who are ever banding themselves 
together for the extension of spiritual supremacy over 
ever increasing masses of population." 

The Oriya Brahmans, who follow the creed of 
Chaitanya, are called Paramarthos, and are confined to 
the Ganjam district. There is no objection to inter- 
marriage between Smartha and Paramartho Oriya 
Brahmans. 

Sri Vaishnavas (who put on the namam as a sectarian 
mark) and Madhvas are exclusive as regards inter- 
marriage, but the Madhvas have no objection to taking 
meals with, and at the houses of Smarthas, whereas Sri 
Vaishnavas object to doing so. 

According to the Sutras, a Brahman has to go through 
the following samskaras (rites) : — 



I- 


Garbhadana. 


6. 


Annaprasanam. 


2. 


Pumsavanam. 


7- 


Chaulam. 


3. 


Simantam. 


8. 


Upanayanam. 


4- 


Jatakarmam. 


9- 


Vivaham. 


5- 


Namakaranam. 







271 BRAHMAN 

These rites are supposed to purify the body and spirit 
from the taint transmitted through the womb of the 
mother, but all of them are not at the present day per 
formed at the proper time, and in regular order. 

The Garbhadhana, or impregnation ceremony, should, 
according to the Grihya Sutras, be performed on the 
fourth day of the marriage ceremonies. But, as the 
bride is a young girl, it is omitted, or Vedic texts are 
repeated. The Garbhadhana ceremony is performed, 
after the girl has attained puberty. At the time of 
consummation or Ritu Santhi, the following verse, 
is rerjeated : — " Let all pervading Vishnu prepare her 
womb ; let the Creator shape its forms ; let Praja- 
pathi be the impregnator ; let the Creator give the 
embryo." 

Pumsavanam and Simantam are two ceremonies, 
which are performed together during the seventh or 
ninth month of the first pregnancy, though, according to 
the Grihya Sutras,the former should be performed in the 
third month. At the Pumsavanam, or male producing 
^eremony , the pregnant woman fasts, and her husband 
squeezes into her right nostril a little juice from the fruit 
and twig of the alam tree {Ficus bengalensis), saying 
" X nou art a male child." The twig selected should be 
one pointing, east or north ; with two fruits looking like 
testicles. The twig is placed on a grinding-stone, and 
a girl, who has not attained puberty, is asked to pound 
it. The pulp is wrapped in a new silk cloth, and squeezed 
to express the juice. On the conclusion of the Pumsa- 
vanam, the Simantam, or parting the pregnant woman's 
hair, is gone through. After oblations in the sacred fire 
(homam), the woman's husband takes a porcupine quill, 
to which three blades of dharbha grass, and a twig with 
fruits of the aththi tree {Ficus glomerata) are attached, 



BRAHMAN 272 

and passes it over the woman's head from before back- 
wards, parting the hair. 

The Jatakarmam, Namakaranam, Annaprasanam, and 
Chaulam rites are ordinarily celebrated, one after the 
other, on the Upanayanam day. Jatakarmam consists 
in smearing some ghi (clarified butter) and honey on 
the tongue of the baby, and repeating the following 
verses from the Rig Veda : — " Oh ! long lived one, mayst 
thou live a hundred years in this world, protected by 
the gods. Become firm as a rock, firm as an axe, pure 
as gold. Thou art the Veda called a son ; live thou a 
hundred years. May Indra bestow on thee his best 
treasures. May Savitri, may Sarasvati, may the Asvins 
grant thee wisdom." 

At the Namakaranam, or naming ceremony, the 
parents of the child pronounce its name close to its ear, 
and repeat the Vedic prayer to Indra and Agni " May 
Indra give you lustre, and Indra semen, wisdom, and 
children." 

The Annaprasanam, or food-giving ceremony, should 
be performed during the sixth month after birth. A little 
solid food is put into the child's mouth, and the following 
Vedic verses are repeated : — " Agni who lives on plants, 
Soma who lives on soma juice, Brahmans who live on the 
Vedas, and Devatas who live on amartam (ambrosia), 
may they bless you. As the earth gives food to plants 
and water, so I give you this food. May these waters 
and plants give you prosperity and health." 

At the Chaulam, or tonsure ceremony, the child is 
seated in his mother's lap. The father, taking a few 
blades of dharbha grass in his hand, sprinkles water 
over the child's head. Seven times he inserts blades 
of dharbha in the hair of the head (three blades each 
time), saying " Oh ! divine grass, protect him." He 



273 BRAHMAN 

then cuts off the tips of the blades, and throws them 
away. The father is expected, according to the Grihya 
Sutras, to shave or cut the child's hair. At the 
present day, however, the barber is called in, and shaves 
the head, leaving one lock or more according to local 
custom. 

The Upanayana, or leading a boy to his guru or 
spiritual teacher, is essentially a ceremony of initiation. 
From an orthodox point of view, this ceremony should 
be performed before the age of eight years, but in practice 
it is deferred even up to the age of seventeen. It usually 
commences with the arrangement of seed-pans containing 
nine kinds of grain, and tying a thread or pratisaram on 
the boy's wrist. After this, the Abyudayam, or invocation 
of ancestors, is gone through. The boy sits in front of 
the sacred fire, and his father, or some other person, sits 
by his side, to help him in the ceremonial and act the 
part of guru. He places over the boy's head blades of 
dharbha grass so that the tips are towards the east, south, 
west, and north. The tips are cut off, and the following 
Vedic verses are repeated : — " Please permit me to shave 
the head of this boy with the knife used by the sun for 
shaving Soma. He is to be shaved, because it will 
bring him long life and old age. May the boy become 
great, and not die a premature death. May he outshine 
all in glory." The boy is then shaved by a barber, and 
more Vedic verses are repeated, which run as follows : — 
" You are shaving with a sharp razor, so that this 
shaving may enable him to live long. Brihaspathi, 
Surya, and Agni shaved the hair of the head of Varuna, 
and placed the hairs in the middle regions of the sky, 
earth, and in swarga. I shall place the hairs removed 
by me at the foot of the audambara tree (Ficus glome- 
rata), or in the clumps of dharbha grass." The boy then 
x8 



BRAHMAN 274 

bathes, and comes near the sacred fire. After ghi has 
been poured thereon, a bundle of palasa (Butea frondosa) 
sticks is given to him, and he puts it on the fire after 
repeating certain Vedic riks. A grinding-stone is placed 
on one side of the fire, and the boy treads on it, while 
the following verse is repeated: — "Tread on this stone, 
and may you be as firm as it is. May you subdue thy 
enemies." A new cloth is given to him, which he puts on. 
The following verses are then repeated : — " Oh ! cloth, 
Revathi and others have spun, woven, spread out, and 
put skirts on both sides of you. May these goddesses 
clothe the boy with long life. Blessed with life, put on 
this cloth. Dress the boy with this cloth. By wearing 
it, let him attain a hundred years of age. May his life 
be extended. Such a garment as this was given to 
Soma by Brihaspathi to wear. Mayst thou reach old 
age. Put on this cloth. Be a protector to all people. 
May you live a hundred years with full vigour. May 
you have plenty of wealth." After the boy has put on 
the cloth, the following is repeated: — "You have put 
on this cloth for the sake of blessing. You have become 
the protector of your friends. Live a hundred years. 
A noble man, blessed with life, mayst thou obtain 
wealth." A girdle (minji) spun from grass is wound 
thrice round the boy's body, and tied with a knot oppo- 
site the navel, or to the left of it. The following verses 
are repeated: — "This blessed girdle, the friend of the 
gods, has come to us to remove our sins, to purify and 
protect us, bring strength to us by the power of exha- 
lation and inhalation. Protect, Oh ! girdle, our wealth 
and meditation. Destroy our enemies, and guard us on 
all the four sides." A small piece of deer-skin is next 
tied on to the sacred thread, which has been put on the 
boy soon after the shaving rite. The following verses 



2 75 BRAHMAN 

are repeated : — " Oh ! skin which is full of lustre because 
Mitra sees you, full of glory and one that is not fit for 
wicked people, I am now putting you on. May Aditi 
tuck up thy garment. Thou mayst read Vedas, and 
grow wise. Thou mayst not forget what you have read. 
Mayst thou become holy and glorious." The boy seats 
himself next to the guru, and close to the sacred fire, 
and repeats the following : — " I have come near the 
spiritual teacher, my Acharya. May the teacher and 
myself become prosperous. May I also complete my 
Vedic studies properly, and let me be blessed with a 
married life after the study." The guru sprinkles water 
over the boy three times, and, taking hold of his hand, 
says: — "Agni, Soman, Savitha, Sarasvati, Pusha, Arya- 
man, Amsuhu, Bagadevata, and Mitra have seized thy 
hand. They have taken you over to them, and you 
have become friends." Then he hands over the boy to 
the gods by repeating : — " We give you to Agni, Soman, 
Savitha, Sarasvati, Mrityu, Yaman, Gadhan, Andhakan, 
Abhaya, Oshadhi, Prithvi, and Vaisvanara. With the 
permission of Surya, I am allowing you to approach me. 
Oh ! boy, may you have children full of lustre, and capa- 
ble of becoming heroes." The boy then repeats the 
following : — " I am come to be a student. You that 
have obtained permission from the Surya, please take me." 
The teacher asks, " Who are you ? What is your name ? 
The boy gives out his name, and the teacher enquires of 
him what kind of Brahmachari he is. The boy replies 
that he is a Brahmachari for Atman, and repeats the 
following : — " Oh ! sun, the lord of all ways, through 
your grace I am about to begin my studies, which will do 
good to me." The teacher and the boy take their seats 
on dharbha grass, and say : — " Oh ! dharbha, a giver 
of royal power, a teacher's seat, may I not withdraw 
18* 



BRAHMAN 276 

from thee." The boy then pours some ghl on to the 
sacred fire. A cloth is thrown over both the teacher 
and the boy, and the latter asks the former to recite the 
Savitri. The following Gayatri is repeated into his 
ear : — " Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the 
divine vivifier. May he illumine our understandings." 
The boy touches his own upper lip with his right hand, 
and says : — " Oh ! Prana, I have become illumined, 
having heard the Savitri. Protect and guard this 
wealth that has entered me, the Gayatri or Savitri." 
He then takes the palasa staff, and the teacher says : — 
" Up with life. Oh ! sun, this is thy son. I give him 
in charge to thee." The boy then worships the sun 
thus : — " That bright eye created by the gods, which 
rises in the east, may we see it a hundred autumns ; 
may we live a hundred autumns ; may we rejoice a 
hundred autumns ; may we live a hundred autumns ; 
may we rejoice a hundred autumns ; may we be 
glad a hundred autumns ; may we prosper a hundred 
autumns ; may we speak a hundred autumns ; may 
we live undecaying a hundred autumns ; and may we 
long see the sun." The ceremonial is brought to a 
close on the first day by the boy begging rice from his 
mother and other female relations. A basket, filled with 
rice, is placed in a pandal (booth), and the boy stands 
near it, repeating " Please give me alms." Each woman 
pours some rice into a tray which he carries, and 
presents him with some money and betel leaves. The 
rice is placed in the basket. On the second and third 
days, the boy puts palasa sticks into the sacred fire, and 
pours ghl thereon. On the fourth day, the new cloth is 
given to the teacher. 

The wearing of the sacred thread is a sign that the 
boy has gone through the upanayanam ceremony. It is 



277 BRAHMAN 

noted # by the Rev. A. Margoschis that " the son ir of 
Brahman parents is not reckoned to be a Brahman {i.e., 
he may not take part in religious ceremonies) until he 
has gone through the ceremony of assuming the sacred 
thread ; and I have heard Brahman boys wearing the 
thread taunting a boy of Brahman birth, and calling him 
a Sudra, because he had not yet assumed the holy thread." 
The thread is composed of three threads of cotton 
secured together in one spot by a sacred knot of pecu- 
liar construction, called Brahma Grandhi. The knot in 
the sacred thread worn by Vaishnava Brahmans is called 
Vishnu Grandhi, and that in the thread of Smarthas 
Rudra Grandhi. In the preparation of the thread, cotton 
sold in the bazaar may not be used ; the bolls ought to 
be secured direct from the plant. Here and there 
Brahmans may be seen in villages, removing the cotton 
from the bolls, and preparing it into pads for spinning 
into thread. Those who teach students the Vedas 
may be seen spinning the thread from these pads. 
The spinning rod is a thin piece of bamboo stick 
weighted with a lead or soapstone disc about half an 
inch in diameter. The thin thread is kept in stock, and 
twisted into the sacred thread whenever it is required. 
Three or more people usually take part in the twisting 
process, during which they chant Vedic verses. In the 
Srutis and Sutras, it is enjoined that the Yagnopavita 
(sacred thread) is to be put on only on occasions of 
sacrifice. It ought really to be a vestment, and is a 
symbolical representation thereof. Ordinarily the 
thread is worn over the left shoulder in the position 
called Upavitham. In ceremonies connected with the 
dead, however, it is worn over the right shoulder in the 



* Christianity and Caste, 1893. 



BRAHMAN 278 

position called prachinavlthi. At the time of worship- 
ping Rishis and Ganas, the thread should be over both 
shoulders and round the neck in the position called 
nivithi. 

The grass girdle and deer-skin worn by a youth at 
the Upanayanam ceremony are removed on the fifth day, 
or, among the orthodox, kept on until the first Upakar- 
mam day. They, and the palasa stick, should be 
retained by the Brahmachari till the close of his student- 
ship. Nambutiri Brahman lads of eight or nine years 
old, who have gone through the Upanayanam ceremony, 
always carry with them the palasa stick, and wear the 
grass girdle, and, in addition to the sacred thread, a thin 
strip of deer-skin in length equal to the thread. Round 
the waist he wears a narrow strip of cloth (kaupinam) 
passed between the legs. He may cover his breast and 
abdomen with a cloth thrown over his body. He is 
thus clad until his marriage, or at least until he has 
concluded the study of the Vedas. 

The marriage rites in vogue at the present day 
resemble those of Vedic times in all essential particulars. 
All sections of Brahmans closely follow the Grihya 
Sutras relating to their sakha. The marriage ceremo- 
nies commence with the Nischyathartham or betrothal 
ceremony. The bridegroom being seated on a plank 
amidst a number of Brahmans, Vedic verses are repeated, 
and, after the bestowal of blessings, the bride's father 
proclaims that he intends giving his daughter in marriage 
to the bridegroom, and that he may come for the purpose 
after the completion of the Vratam ceremony. For this 
ceremony, the bridegroom, after being shaved, dresses 
up. Meanwhile, the Brahmans who have been invited 
assemble. The bridegroom sits on the marriage dais, 
and, after repeating certain Vedic verses, says : — " With 



279 BRAHMAN 

the permission of all assembled, let me begin the 
Vratams Prajapathyam, Soumyam, Agneyam, and Vais- 
wadevam, and let me also close them." All the Vratams 
should be performed long before the marriage. In 
practice, however, this is not done, so the bridegroom 
performs an expiatory ceremony, to make up for the 
omission. This consists in offering oblations of ghi, and 
giving presents of money to a few Brahmans. The 
bridegroom is helped throughout the Vratam ceremonies 
by a spiritual teacher or guru, who is usually his father 
or a near relation. The guru sprinkles water over the 
bridegroom's body, and tells him to go on with kandarishi 
tharpanam (offerings of water, gingelly, and rice, as an 
oblation to Rishis). A small copper or silver vessel is 
placed on a leaf to the north-east of the sacred fire, and 
is made to represent Varuna. A new cloth is placed 
round the vessel. The various Vratams mentioned are 
gone through rapidly, and consist of offerings of ghi 
through fire to the various Devatas and Pitris. The 
Nandhi Sradh, or memorial service to ancestors, is then 
performed. The bridegroom next dresses up as a 
married man, and proceeds on a mock pilgrimage to a 
distant place. This is called Paradesa Pravesam (going 
to a foreign place), or Kasiyatra (pilgrimage to Benares). 
It is a remnant of the Snathakarma rite, whereat a 
Brahmachari, or student, leaves his spiritual teacher's 
house at the close of his studies, performs a ceremony of 
ablution, and becomes an initiated householder or Sna- 
thaka. The bridegroom carries with him an umbrella, a 
fan, and a bundle containing some rice, cocoanut, and 
areca-nut. He usually goes eastward. His future father- 
in-law meets him, and brings him to the house at which 
the marriage is to be celebrated. As soon as he has 
arrived there, the bride is brought, dressed up and 



BRAHMAN 280 

decorated in finery. The bridal pair are taken up on 
the shoulders of their maternal uncles, who dance about 
for a short time. Whenever they meet, the bride and 
bridegroom exchange garlands (malaimaththal). The 
couple then sit on a swing within the pandal (booth), and 
songs are sung. A few married women go round them 
three times, carrying water, a light, fruits, and betel, 
in a tray. The pair are conducted into the house, 
and are seated on the marriage dais. The marriage, or 
Vivaham, is then commenced. A purohit (priest) re- 
peats certain Vedic texts as a blessing, and says : — 
" Bless this couple of ... . gotras, the son and 
daughter of .... , grandchildren of .... , 
now about to be married." At this stage, the gotras of 
the contracting couple must be pronounced distinctly, so 
as to ensure that they are not among the prohibited 
degrees. The bridal couple must belong to different 
gotras. The bridegroom next says that he is about to 
commence the worship of Visvaksena if he is a Vaishna- 
vite, or Ganapathi if he is a Saivite, for the successful 
termination of the marriage ceremonies. The Ankurar- 
pana (seed-pan) ceremony is then proceeded with. Five 
earthenware pans are procured, and, after being purified 
by the sprinkling of punyaham water over them, are 
arranged in the form of a square. Four of the pans are 
placed at the four cardinal points, east, west, north, and 
south, and the remaining pot is set down in the centre of 
the square. The pan to the east represents Indra, the one 
to the west Varuna, the one to the south Yama, and the 
one to the north Soman. While water is being sprinkled 
over the pans, the following synonyms for each of these 
gods are repeated : — 

Indra — Sathakruthu, Vajranam, Sachipathi. 

Yama — Vaivaswata, Pithrupathi, Dharmaraja. 




BRAHMAN HOUSE WITH MARKS OF HAND TO_ WARD. 
OFF THE EVIL EYE. 



28 1 BRAHMAN 

Varuna — Prachethas, Apampathi, Swarupinam. 
Soman — Indum, Nisakaram, Oshadisam. 

Nine kinds of grains soaked in water are placed in 
the seed-pans. These grains are Dolickos Lablab (two 
varieties), Phaseolus Mungo (two varieties), Oryza saliva, 
Cicer Arietinum, Cajanus indicus, Eleusine Coracana, 
and Vigna Catiang. The tying of the wrist-thread 
(pratisaram) is next proceeded with. Two cotton threads 
are laid on a vessel representing Varuna. After the 
recitation of Vedic verses, the bridegroom takes one of 
the threads, and, dipping it in turmeric paste, holds 
it with his left thumb, smears some of the paste on it 
with his right thumb and forefinger, and ties it on the 
left wrist of the bride. The purohit ties the other thread 
on the right wrist of the bridegroom, who, facing the 
assembly, says " I am going to take the bride." He 
then recites the following Vedic verse : — " Go to my 
future father-in-law with due precautions, and mingle 
with the members of his family. This marriage is sure 
to be pleasing to Indra, because he gets oblations of 
food, etc., after the marriage. May your path be smooth 
and free from thorns. May Surya and Bhaga promote 
our dhampathyam (companionship)." 

The purohit again proclaims the marriage, and the 
gotras and names of three generations are repeated. 
Those assembled then bless the couple. The bride's 
father says that he is prepared to give his daughter 
in marriage to the bridegroom, who states that he 
accepts her. The father of the bride washes the feet of 
the bridegroom placed on a tray with milk and water. 
The bridegroom then washes the feet of the bride's 
father. The bride sits in her father's lap, and her mother 
stands at her side. The father, repeating the names of 
the bridegroom's ancestors for three generations, says 



BRAHMAN 282 

that he is giving his daughter to him. He places the 
hand of the bride on that of the bridegroom, and both 
he and the bride's mother pour water over the united 
hands of the contracting couple. The following sloka 
is repeated : — " I am giving you a virgin decorated with 
jewels, to enable me to obtain religious merit." The 
bridegroom takes the bride by the hand, and both 
take their seats in front of the sacred fire. This part of 
the ceremonial is called dhare (pouring of water). Much 
importance is attached to it by Tulu Brahmans. Among 
Non- Brahman castes in South Canara, it forms the 
binding portion of the marriage ceremony. After the 
pouring of ghi as an oblation, the bridegroom throws 
down a few twigs of dharbha grass, and repeats the 
formula : — " Oh ! dharbha, thou art capable of giving 
royal powers, and the teacher's seat. May I not be 
separated from thee." Then the bride's father, giving a 
vessel of water, says " Here is Arghya water." The 
bridegroom receives it with the formula : — " May this 
water destroy my enemies. May brilliancy, energy, 
strength, life, renown, glory, splendour, and power dwell 
in me." Once again the bride's father washes the feet of 
the bridegroom, who salutes his father-in-law, saying 
" Oh ! water, unite me with fame, splendour, and milk. 
Make me beloved by all creatures, the lord of cattle. 
May fame, heroism, and energy dwell in me." The 
bride's father pours some water from a vessel over 
the hand of the bridegroom, who says "To the ocean I 
send you, the imperishable waters ; go back to your 
source. May I not suffer loss in my offspring. May 
my sap not be shed." A mixture of honey, plantain 
fruit, and ghi, is given to the bridegroom by the bride's 
father with the words " Ayam Madhuparko " (honey 
mixture). Receiving it, the bridegroom mutters the 



283 BRAHMAN 

following : — " What is the honeyed, highest form of 
honey which consists in the enjoyment of food ; by 
that honeyed highest form of honey, may I become 
highest, honeyed, an enjoyer of food." He partakes 
three times of the mixture, and says : — " I eat thee 
for the sake of brilliancy, luck, glory, power, and the 
enjoyment of food." Then the bride's father gives a 
cocoanut to the bridegroom, saying " Gauhu " (cow). 
The bridegroom receives it with the words " Oh ! cow, 
destroy my sin, and that of my father-in-law." Accord- 
ing to the Grihya Sutras, a cow should be presented to 
the bridegroom, to be cooked or preserved. Next a 
plantain fruit is given to the bridegroom, who, after 
eating a small portion of it, hands it to the bride. The 
bride sits on a heap or bundle of paddy (unhusked rice), 
and the bridegroom says " Oh ! Varuna, bless her with 
wealth. May there be no ill-feeling between herself, 
her brothers and sisters. Oh ! Brihaspathi, bless her 
that she may not lose her husband. Oh! Indra, bless 
her to be fertile. Oh ! Savitha, bless her that she may 
be happy in all respects. Oh ! girl, be gentle-eyed and 
friendly to me. Let your look be of such a nature as 
not to kill your husband. Be kind to me, and to my 
brothers.* May you shine with lustre, and be of good 
repute. Live long, and bear living children." The pair 
are then seated, and the bridegroom, taking a blade 
of dharbha grass, passes it between the eyebrows of the 
bride, and throws it behind her, saying " With this dharbha 
grass I remove the evil influence of any bad mark thou 
mayst possess, which is likely to cause widowhood." 
[Certain marks or curls (suli) forebode prosperity, 
and others misery to a family into which a girl enters 
\ 

* In the Vedic verse the word used for my brothers literally means your 
husbands. 



BRAHMAN 284 

by marriage. And, when a wealthy Hindu meditates 
purchasing a horse, he looks to the presence or absence 
of certain marks on particular parts of the body, and 
thereby forms a judgment of the temper and qualities 
of the animal.] The bridegroom then repeats the 
following : — " Now they ought to rejoice, and not cry. 
They have arranged our union to bring happiness to 
both of us. In view of the happiness we are to enjoy 
hereafter, they should be glad. This is a fitting occasion 
for rejoicing." Four Brahmans next bring water, and 
the bridegroom receives it, saying : — " May the evil 
qualities of this water disappear ; may it increase. Let 
the Brahmans bring water for the bath, and may it bring 
long life and children to her." A bundle of paddy, or a 
basket filled therewith, is brought to the pandal. The 
bride sits on the paddy, and a ring of dharbha grass 
is placed on her head. The bridegroom repeats the 
formula " Blessed by the Surya, sit round the sacred 
fire, and look at the dharbha ring, my mother-in-law and 
brother-in-law." A yoke is then brought, one end of 
which is placed on the head of the bride above the ring, 
and the following formula is repeated: — "Oh! Indra, 
cleanse and purify this girl, just as you did in the case of 
Abhala, by pouring water through three holes before 
marrying her." Abhala was an ugly woman, who wished 
to marry Indra. To attain this end, she did penance 
for a long time, and, meeting Indra, requested him to 
fulfil her desire. Indra made her his wife, after trans- 
forming her into a beautiful woman by sprinkling water 
over her through the holes in the wheels of the car 
which was his vehicle. Into the hole of the yoke a 
gold coin, or the tali (marriage badge), is dropped, with 
the words " May this gold prove a blessing to you. 
May the yoke, the hole of the yoke, bring happiness 



285 BRAHMAN 

to you. May we be blessed to unite your body with 
mine." Then the bridegroom, sprinkling water over 
the yoke and coin, says : — " May you become purified 
by the sun through this purificatory water. May 
this water, which is the cause of thunder and lightning, 
bring happiness to you. Oh ! girl, may this water 
give you health and long life. A new and costly silk 
cloth (kurai), purchased by the bridegroom, is given to 
the bride, and the bridegroom says : — " Oh ! Indra, 
listen to my prayers ; accept them, and fulfil my desires." 
The bride puts on the cloth, with the assistance of the 
bridegroom's sister, and sits on her father's lap. The 
bridegroom, taking up the tali, ties it by the string on 
the bride's neck, saying : — " Oh ! girl, I am tying the 
tali to secure religious merit." This is not a Vedic 
verse, and this part of the ceremony is not included in 
the Grihya Sutras. All the Brahmans assembled bless 
the couple by throwing rice over their heads. A. 
dharbha waist-cord is passed round the waist of the 
bride, and the following is repeated : — " This girl is 
gazing at Agni, wishing for health, wealth, strength and 
children. I am binding her for her good." The bride- 
groom then holds the hand of the bride, and both go to 
the sacred fire, where the former says : — " Let Surya 
lead to Agni, and may you obtain permission from the 
Aswins to do so. Go with me to my house. Be my 
wife, and the mistress of my house. Instruct and help 
me in the performance of sacrifices." After offerings of 
ghi in the sacred fire, the bridegroom says : — " Soma 
was yc ur husband ; Gandharva knew thee next ; Agni 
was yjur third husband. I, son of man, am your fourth 
husband. Soma gave you to Gandharva, and Gandharva 
gave you to Agni, who gave to me with progeny and 
wealth." The bridegroom takes hold of the bride's 



BRAHMAN 286 

right wrist, and, pressing on the fingers, passes his 
hand over the united fingers three times. This is called 
Panigrahanam. To the Nambutiri Brahman this is a 
very important item, being the binding part of the 
marriage ceremonial. Some years ago, at a village near 
Chalakkudi in the Cochin State, a Nambutiri refused 
to accept a girl as his bride, because the purohit inad- 
vertently grasped her fingers, to show how it ought to 
be done at the time of the marriage ceremony. The 
purohit had to marry the girl himself. The next item 
in the ceremonial is Sapthapathi, or the taking of the 
seven steps. This is considered as the most binding 
portion thereof. The bridegroom lifts the left foot of 
the bride seven times, repeating the following : — " One 
step for sap, may Vishnu go after thee. Two steps for 
juice, may Vishnu go after thee. Three steps for vows, 
may Vishnu go after thee. Four steps for comfort, may 
Vishnu go after thee. Five steps for cattle, may Vishnu 
go after thee. Six steps for the prospering of wealth, 
may Vishnu go after thee. Seven steps for the seven- 
fold hotriship,* may Vishnu go after thee. With seven 
steps we have become companions. May I attain to 
friendship with thee. May I not be separated from thy 
friendship. Mayst thou not be separated from my 
friendship. Let us be united ; let us always take 
counsel together with good hearts and mutual love. 
May we grow in strength and prosperity together. Now 
we are one in minds, deeds, and desires. Thou art Rik, 
I am Samam ; I am the sky, thou art the eanh ; I am 
the semen, thou art the bearer ; I am the mind, thou 
art the tongue. Follow me faithfully, that we may have 
wealth and children together. Come thou of sweet 



* A hutri is one who presides at the time of sacrifices. 



287 BRAHMAN 

speech." The bridegroom then does homam, repeating 
the following : — " We are offering oblations to Soma, 
Gandharva, and Agni. This girl has just passed her 
virginity. Make her leave her father's house. Bless 
her to remain fixed in her husband's house. May she 
have a good son by your blessing. Cause her to beget 
ten children, and I shall be the eleventh child. Oh ! 
Agni, bless her with children, and make them long-lived. 
Oh ! Varuna, I pray to you for the same thing. May 
this woman be freed from the sorrow arising out of 
sterility, and be blessed by Garhapathyagni. May she 
have a number of children in her, and become the mother 
of many living children. Oh ! girl, may your house 
never know lamentations during nights caused by 
deaths. May you live long and happy with your 
husband and children. May the sky protect thy back ; 
may Vayu strengthen your thighs ; and the Aswins your 
breast. May Savitri look after thy suckling sons. 
Until the garment is put on, may Brihaspathi guard 
them, and the Viswedevas afterwards. Oh ! Varuna, 
make me strong and healthy. Do not steal away years 
from our ages. All those who offer oblations pray for 
the same. Oh ! you all-pervading Agni, pacify Varuna ; 
you who blaze forth into flames to receive oblations, 
be friendly towards us. Be near us, and protect us. 
Receive, and be satisfied with our oblations. Make us 
prosperous. We are always thinking of you. Take our 
oblations to the several devatas, and give us medicine." 
The bride next treads on a stone, and the bridegroom 
says : — " Oh ! girl, tread on this stone. Be firm like it. 
Destroy those who seek to do thee harm. Overcome 
thy enemies." Some fried paddy is put in the sacred fire, 
and the bridegroom repeats the following : — " Oh ! Agni, 
I am offering the fried grains, so that this girl may be 



BRAHMAN 288 

blessed with long life. Oh ! Agni, give me my wife 
with children, just as in olden days you were given 
Suryayi with wealth. Oh ! Agni, bless my wife with 
lustre and longevity. Also bless her husband with long 
life, that she may live happily. Oh ! Agni, help us to 
overcome our enemies." Again the bride treads on the 
stone, and the bridegroom says : — " Oh ! girl, tread on 
this stone, and be firm like it. Destroy those who seek 
to do thee harm. Overcome thy enemies." This is 
followed by the offering of fried grain with the following 
formula : — " The virgins prayed to Surya and Agni to 
secure husbands, and they were at once granted their 
boons. Such an Agni is now being propitiated by 
offerings of fried paddy. Let him make the bride leave 
her father's house." For the third time, the bride treads 
on the stone, and fried paddy is offered with the 
formula : — " Oh ! Agni, thou art the giver of life, and 
receiver of oblations. Oblations of ghi are now offered 
to you. Bless the pair to be of one mind." The 
dharbha girdle is removed from the bride's waist, with 
the verse : " I am loosening you from the bondage of 
Varuna. I am now removing the thread with which 
Surya bound you." Those assembled then disperse. 
Towards evening, Brahmans again assemble, and the 
bride and bridegroom sit before the sacred fire, while 
the former repeat several Vedic riks. They are 
supposed to start for their home, driving in a carriage, 
and the verses repeated have reference to the chariot, 
horses, boats, etc. After ghi has been poured into the 
fire, a child, who should be a male who has not lost 
brothers or sisters, is seated in the lap of the bride, and 
the bridegroom says : — " May cows, horses, men, and 
wealth, increase in this house. Let this child occupy 
your lap, just as the Soma creeper which gives strength 



289 BRAHMAN 

to the Devatas occupies the regions of the stars." 
Giving some plantain fruit to the child, the bridegroom 
says : — " Oh ! fruits, ye bear seeds. May my wife bear 
seeds likewise by your blessing." Then the pair are 
shown Druva and Arundathi (the pole star and Ursa 
major), which are worshipped with the words : — " The 
seven Rishis who have led to firmness, she, Arundathi, 
who stands first among the six Krithikas (Pleiads), may 
she the eighth one, who leads the conjunction of the 
(moon with the) six Krithikas, the first (among conjunc- 
tions) shine upon us. Firm dwelling, firm origin ; the 
firm one art thou, standing on the side of firmness. 
Thou art the pillar of the stars. Thus protect me 
against my adversaries." They then proceed to per- 
form the Sthalipaka ceremony, in which the bride 
should cook some rice, which the bridegroom offers 
as an oblation in the sacred fire. In practice, how- 
ever, a little food is brought, and placed in the fire 
without being cooked. The purohit decorates a Ficus 
stick with dharbha grass, and gives it to the bride- 
groom. It is placed in the roof, or somewhere 
within the house, near the seed-pans. [According to the 
Grihya Sutras, the couple ought to occupy the same mat, 
with the stick between them. This is not in vogue 
amongst several sections of Brahmans. The Mysore 
Carnatakas, Mandya Aiyangars, and Shivallis, observe a 
kindred ceremony. Amongst the Mandyas, for example, 
on the fourth night of the marriage rites, the bridal 
couple occupy the same mat for a short time, and a stick 
is placed between them. The Pajamadme, or mat 
marriage, amongst the Shivalli Brahmans, evidently 
refers to this custom.] On the second and third days 
of the marriage ceremonies, homams are performed in 
the morning and evening, and the nalagu ceremony is 
l 9 



BRAHMAN 290 

performed. In this, the couple are seated on two planks 
covered with mats and cloth, amidst a large number of 
women assembled within the pandal. In front of them, 
betel leaves, areca nuts, fruits, flowers, and turmeric 
paste are placed in a tray. The women sing songs which 
they have learnt from childhood, and the bride also sings 
the praises of the bridegroom. Taking a little of the 
turmeric paste rendered red by the addition of chunam 
(lime), she makes marks by drawing lines over the feet 
(nalangu idal). The ceremony closes with the waving 
of arathi (water coloured red with turmeric and chunam), 
and the distribution of pan-supari (betel leaves and areca 
nuts). The waving is done by two women, who sing 
appropriate songs. On the fourth day, Brahmans 
assemble, and the pair are seated in their midst. After 
the recitation of Vedic verses, the contracting couple are 
blessed. A small quantity of turmeric paste, reddened 
by the addition of chunam, is mixed with ghi, and 
smeared over the shoulders of the pair, and a mark is 
made on their foreheads. This is called Pachchai 
Kalyanam, and is peculiar to Tamil Brahmans, both 
Smarthas and Vaishnavas. Amongst Tamil Brahmans, 
prominence is given to the maternal uncles on the fourth 
day. The bride and bridegroom are carried astride on 
the shoulders of their uncles, who dance to the strains 
of a band. When they meet, the couple exchange 
garlands (malaimaththal). Towards evening, a pro- 
cession is got up at the expense of the maternal uncle of 
the bride, and is hence called Amman Kolam. The 
bride is dressed up as a boy, and another girl is dressed 
up to represent the bride. They are taken in procession 
through the streets, and, on their return, the pseudo- 
bridegroom is made to speak to the real bridegroom 
in somewhat insolent tones, and some mock play is 



291 BRAHMAN 

indulged in. The real bridegroom is addressed as if he 
was the syce (groom) or gumastha (clerk) of the pseudo- 
bridegroom, and is sometimes treated as a thief, and 
judgment passed on him by the latter. Among Sri 
Vaishnavas, after the Pachchai smearing ceremony, the 
bridal couple roll a cocoanut to and fro across the dais, 
and the assembled Brahmans chant stanzas in Tamil 
composed by a Vaishnava lady named Andal, an avatar 
of Lakshmi, who dedicated herself to Vishnu. In these 
stanzas, she narrates to her attendants the dream, in 
which she went through the marriage ceremony after 
her dedication to the god. Pan-supari, of which a little, 
together with some money, is set apart for Andal, is 
then distributed to all present. A large crowd generally 
assembles, as it is believed that the chanting of Andal's 
srisukthi (praise of Lakshmi) brings a general blessing. 
The family priest calls out the names and gotras of those 
who have become related to the bride and bridegroom 
through their marriage. As each person's name is called 
out, he or she is supposed to make a present of cloths, 
money, etc., to the bridegroom or bride. [The Telugu 
and Carnataka Brahmans, instead of the Pachchai 
Kalyanam, perform a ceremony called Nagavali on the 
fourth or fifth day. Thirty-two lights and two vessels, 
representing Siva and Parvathi, are arranged in the 
form of a square. Unbleached thread, soaked in turmeric 
paste, is passed round the square, and tied to the pandal. 
The bridal couple sit in front of the square, and, after 
doing puja (worship), cut the thread, and take their 
seats within the square. The bridegroom ties a tali 
of black glass beads on the bride's neck, in the presence 
of 33 crores (330 millions) of gods, represented by 
a number of small pots arranged round the square. 
Close to the pots are the figures of two elephants, 
19 * 



BRAHMAN 292 

designed in rice grains and salt respectively. After 
going round the pots, the couple separate, and the 
bridegroom stands by the salt elephant, and the bride 
by the other. They then talk about the money value of 
the two animals, and an altercation takes place, during 
which they again go round the pots, and stand, the 
bridegroom near the rice elephant, and the bride near 
the salt one. The bargaining as to the price of the 
animals is renewed, and the couple go round the pots 
once more. This ceremony is followed by a burlesque 
of domestic life. The bride is presented with two 
wooden dolls from Tirupati, and told to make a cradle 
out of the bridegroom's turmeric -coloured cloth, which 
he wore on the tali-tying day. The couple converse on 
domestic matters, and the bridegroom asks the bride to 
attend to her household affairs, so that he may go to 
his duties. She pleads her inability to do so because of 
the children, and asks him to take charge of them. She 
then shows the babies (dolls) to all present, and a good 
deal of fun is made out of the incident. The bride, with 
her mother standing by her side near two empty chairs, 
is then introduced to her new relations by marriage, 
who sit in pairs on the chairs, and make presents of 
pan-supari and turmeric] On the fifth day of the 
marriage ceremonies, before dawn, the bridal couple are 
seated on the dais, and the Gandharva stick is removed, 
with the words: — " Oh! Visvawasu Gandharva, I pray 
to you to make this girl my wife. Unite her with me. 
Leave her, and seek another." The bridegroom then 
performs homams. A coin is placed on the bride's 
head, and a little ghl put thereon. Gazing at the bride- 
groom, she says : — " With a loving heart I regard thee 
who knowest my heart. Thou art radiant with tapas 
(penance). Fill me with a child, and this house of ours 



293 BRAHMAN 

with wealth. Thou art desirous of a son. Thus shalt 
thou reproduce thyself." Looking at the bride, the 
bridegroom then says : — " I see thee radiant and eager 
to be filled with child by me. Thou art in thy youth 
now. Enjoy me, therefore, while I am over you, and so 
reproduce thyself, being desirous of a son." Touching 
the bride's breasts with his ring-finger, and then touching 
his heart, he repeats the following : — " May the Viswe 
gods unite our hearts ; may the water unite our hearts ; 
may Vayu and Brahma unite our hearts ; and may 
Sarasvati teach us both conversation appropriate to 
this occasion of our intercourse." More Vedic riks 
are then recited, as follows : — " Thou Prajapathi, enter 
my body that I may have vigour during this act ; so 
thou Thvastri, who fashionest forms with Vishnu and 
other gods ; so thou Indra, who grantest boons with thy 
friends the Viswedevas, by thy blessing may we have 
many sons. May Vishnu make thy womb ready ; may 
Thvashtri frame the shape (of the child) ; may Prajapathi 
pour forth (the sperm) ; may Dhatri give thee con- 
ception. Give conception, Sinivali ; give conception, 
Sarasvati. May the two Asvins, wreathed with lotus, 
give conception to thee. The embryo which the two 
Asvins produce with their golden kindling sticks, that 
embryo we call into thy womb, that thou mayst give 
birth to it after ten months. As the earth is preg- 
nant with Agni, as the heaven is pregnant with Indra, 
as Vayu dwells in the womb of the regions (of the 
earth), thus I place an embryo in thy womb. Open thy 
womb ; take in the sperm. May a male child, an embryo, 
be begotten in the womb. The mother bears him ten 
months, may he be born, the most valiant of his kin. 
May a male embryo enter the womb, as an arrow the 
quiver ; may a man be born here, thy son, after ten 



BRAHMAN 294 

months. I do with thee (the work) that is sacred to 
Prajapathi ; may an embryo enter the womb. May a 
child be born without deficiency, with all its limbs, not 
blind, not lame, not sucked out by Pisachas" (devils). 
The marriage is brought to a close, after this recitation, 
with the presentation of fruits, etc., to all the Brahmans 
assembled, and to all relations, children included. The 
bridegroom chews betel for the first time on this day. 
The wrist-threads are removed, and the seed-pans 
containing the seedlings, which have been worshipped 
daily, are taken in procession to a tank (pond), into 
which the seedlings are thrown. 

It will be noticed that prayers for male issue are 
of frequent occurrence during the marriage ceremonial. 
In Sanskrit works, Putra (son) is defined as one who 
delivers a parent from a hell called put. It is generally 
believed that the welfare of a parent's soul depends 
on the performance of sradh (memorial services) by his 
son. It was laid down by Manu that a man is perfect, 
when he consists of three — himself, his wife, and his son. 
In the Rig Veda it is stated that " when a father sees 
the face of a living son, he pays a debt in him, and gains 
immortality. The pleasure which a father has in his 
son exceeds all other enjoyments. His wife is a friend, 
his daughter an object of companion, his son shines 
as his light in the highest world." The following story 
of a certain pious man of ascetical temperament, who 
determined to shirk the religious duty of taking a wife, 
is narrated by Monier Williams : — " Quietly skipping 
over the second prescribed period of life, during which 
he ought to have been a householder (grihastha), he 
entered at once upon the third period — that is to 
say, he became an ascetic, abjured all female society, 
and retired to the woods. Wandering about one day, 



295 BRAHMAN 

absorbed in meditation, he was startled by an extra- 
ordinary spectacle. He saw before him a deep and 
apparently bottomless pit. Around its edge some 
unhappy men were hanging suspended by ropes of grass, 
at which here and there a rat was nibbling. On asking 
their history, he discovered to his horror that they were 
his own ancestors compelled to hang in this unpleasant 
manner, and doomed eventually to fall into the abyss, 
unless he went back into the world, did his duty like 
a man, married a suitable wife, and had a son, who would 
be able to release them from their critical predicament." 
This legend is recorded in detail in the Mahabharata. 

A curious mock marriage ceremony is celebrated 
amongst Brahmans when an individual marries a third 
wife. It is believed that a third marriage is very 
inauspicious, and that the bride will become a widow. 
To prevent this mishap, the man is made to marry the 
arka plant (Calotropis giganted), and the real marriage 
thus becomes the fourth. If this ceremony is carried on 
in orthodox fashion, it is generally celebrated on some 
Sunday or Monday, when the constellation Astham 
is visible. The bridegroom and a Brahman priest, 
accompanied by a third Brahman, repair to a spot where 
the arka plant (a very common weed) is growing. The 
plant is decorated with a cloth and a piece of string, and 
symbolised into the sun. The bridegroom then invokes 
it thus : — " Oh ! master of three loks, Oh ! the seven- 
horsed, Oh ! Ravi, avert the evils of the third marriage." 
Next the plant is addressed with the words : — " You are 
the oldest of the plants of this world. Brahma created 
you to save such of us as have to marry a third time, so 
please become my wife." The Brahman who accom- 
panies the bridegroom becomes his father-in-law for the 
moment, and says to him : — " I give you in marriage 



BRAHMAN 296 

Aditya's great grand-daughter, Savi's grand-daughter, 
and my daughter Arkakanya." All the ceremonies, such 
as making homam, tali-tying, etc., are performed as at 
a regular marriage, and, after the recitation of a few 
sentences from the Vedas, the plant is cut down. " The 
plant," Mr. A. Srinivasan writes,* " is named arka after 
the sun. When the car of the sun turns towards the 
north, every Hindu applies the leaves of this plant to 
his head before he bathes, in honour of the event. The 
plant is, besides, believed to be a willing scapegoat to 
others' ills. Oil and ghi applied to the head of the 
victim of persistent illness has only to be transferred 
to this plant, when it withers and saves the man, even as 
Baber is said to have saved his son. The poet Kalidasa 
describes sweet Sakuntala, born of a shaggy dweller 
of the forest, as a garland of jasmine thrown on an arka 
plant. ' May the arka grow luxuriant in your house ' 
is the commonest form of curse. ' Be thou belaboured 
with arka leaves ' is familiar in the mouths of reprimand- 
ing mothers. Adulterers were, half a century ago, seated 
on an ass, face to the tail, and marched through the 
village. The public disgrace was enhanced by placing 
a garland of the despised arka leaves on their head. 
[Uppiliyan women convicted of immorality are said to be 
garlanded with arka flowers, and made to carry a basket 
of mud round the village.] A Telugu proverb asks 
' Does the bee ever seek the arka flower ? ' The reasons 
for the ill-repute that this plant suffers from are not 
at all clear. The fact that it has a partiality for wastes 
has evidently brought on its devoted head the dismal 
associations of desolation, but there would seem to be 
more deep-seated hatred to the plant than has been 



* Madras Christian College Magazine, March, 1903. 



297 BRAHMAN 

explained." A Tamil proverb has it that he who 
crushes the bud of the arka earns merit. Some Telugu 
and Canarese Brahmans, who follow the Yajur Veda or 
Rig Veda, consider the arka plant as sacred, and use the 
leaves thereof during the nandhi (ancestor invoking) 
ceremony, which is performed as one of the marriage 
rites. Two or three arka leaves, with betel leaves and 
areca nuts, are tied to the cloth, which is attached to 
a stick as representing the ancestors (pithrus). With 
some the arka leaves are replaced by leaves of Pongcmiia 
glabra. On rathasapthami day (the seventh day after 
the new moon in the month Avani), an orthodox Hindu 
should bathe his head and shoulders with arka leaves in 
propitiation of Surya (the sun). Brahmans who follow 
the Sama Veda, during the annual upakarmam ceremony, 
make use of arka leaves and flowers in worshipping the 
Rishis and Pithrus. On the upakarmam day, the Sama 
Vedis invoke their sixty-two Rishis and the last three 
ancestors, who are represented by sixty-five clay balls 
placed on arka leaves. To them are offered arka flowers, 
fruits of karai-chedi {Canthium parviflorum), and naval 
(Eugenia Jamb oland). In addition to this worship, they 
perform the Rishi and Pithru tharpanam by offering 
water, gingelly (Sesamum indicuni) seeds, and rice. The 
celebrant, prior to dipping his hand into the water, 
places in his hands two arka leaves, gingelly, and rice. 
The juice of the arka plant is a favourite agent in 
the hands of suicides. Among the Tangalan Paraiyans, 
if a young man dies before he is married, a ceremony 
called kannikazhithal (removing bachelorhood) is per- 
formed. Before the corpse is laid on the bier, a garland 
of arka flowers is placed round its neck, and balls of mud 
from a gutter are laid on the head, knees, and other 
parts of the body. In some places a variant of the 



BRAHMAN 298 

ceremony consists in the erection of a mimic marriage 
booth, which is covered with leaves of the arka plant, 
flowers of which are also placed round the neck as a 
garland. At a form of marriage called rambha or kathali 
(plantain) marriage, the arka plant is replaced by a 
plantain tree (Musa). It is performed by those who 
happen to be eldest brothers, and who are incapable of 
getting married, so as to give a chance to younger 
brothers, who are not allowed to marry unless the elder 
brother or brothers are already married. 

At the present day, many Hindus disregard certain 
ceremonies, in the celebration of which their forefathers 
were most scrupulous. Even the daily ceremonial ablu- 
tions, which are all important to a Brahman from a 
shastraic point of view, are now neglected by a large 
majority, and the prayers (mantrams), which should 
be chanted during their performance, are forgotten. 
But no Brahman, orthodox or unorthodox, dares to 
abandon the death ceremonial, and annual sradh (memo- 
rial rites). A Brahman beggar, when soliciting alms, 
invariably pleads that he has to perform his father or 
mother's sradh, or upanayanam (thread ceremony) of 
his children, and he rarely goes away empty-handed. 
" The constant periodical performance," Monier Williams 
writes,* " of commemorative obsequies is regarded in the 
light of a positive and peremptory obligation. It is the 
simple discharge of a solemn debt to one's forefathers, a 
debt consisting not only in reverential homage, but in the 
performance of acts necessary to their support, happiness, 
and progress onwards in the spiritual world. A man's 
deceased relatives, for at least three generations, are 
among his cherished divinities, and must be honoured 



• Religious Thought and Life in India. 



4 



299 BRAHMAN 

by daily offerings and adoration, or a nemesis of some 
kind is certain to overtake his living family. The object 
of a Hindu funeral is nothing less than the investiture of 
the departed spirit with an intermediate gross body — 
a peculiar frame interposed, as it were parenthetically, 
between the terrestrial gross body, which has just been 
destroyed by fire, and the new terrestrial body, which it 
is compelled to ultimately assume. The creation of such 
an intervenient frame, composed of gross elements, 
though less gross than those of earth, becomes necessary, 
because the individualised spirit of man, after the crema- 
tion of the terrestrial body, has nothing left to withhold 
it from re-absorption into the universal soul, except its 
incombustible subtle body, which, as composed of the 
subtle elements, is not only proof against the fire of the 
funeral pile, but is incapable of any sensations in the 
temporary heaven, or temporary hell, through one or 
other of which every separate human spirit is forced to 
pass before returning to earth, and becoming re-invested 
with a terrestrial gross body." 

YYhen a Brahman is on the point of death, he is 
removed from his bed, and laid on the floor. If there is 
any fear of the day being a danishtapanchami (inauspi- 
cious), the dying man is taken out of the house, and 
placed in the court-yard or pial (raised verandah). Some 
prayers are uttered, and a cow is presented (godhanam). 
These are intended to render the passage of life through 
the various parts of the body as easy as possible. The 
spirit is supposed to escape through one of the nine 
orifices of the body, according to the character of the 
individual concerned. That of a good man leaves the 
body through the brahmarandhra (top of the skull), and 
that of a bad man through the anus. Immediately after 
death, the body is washed, religious marks are made on 



BRAHMAN 300 

the forehead, and parched paddy and betel are scattered 
over and around it by the son. As a Brahman is sup- 
posed always to have his fire with him, the sacred fire is 
lighted. At this stage, certain purificatory ceremonies 
are performed, if death has taken place on a day or hour 
of evil omen, or at midnight. Next, a little cooked rice 
is cooked in a new earthen pot, and a new cloth is 
thrown over the corpse, which is roused by the recitation 
of mantrams. Four bearers, to each of whom dharbha 
grass is given in token of his office, are selected to carry 
the corpse to the burning-ground. The eldest son, who 
is the funeral celebrant, and his brothers are shaved. 
On ordinary occasions, brothers should not be shaved on 
the same day, as this would be inauspicious. They are 
only shaved on the same day on the occasion of the death 
of their father or mother. The widow of the deceased, 
and female relations, go three times round the corpse, 
before it is placed on the bier. Very often, at this stage, 
all the women present set up a loud lamentation, and 
repeat the death songs.* If the dead person was a 
respected elder, special professional women, trained as 
, mourners, are engaged. I am informed that, in the 
Coimbatore district, and amongst the Sathyamangalam 
Brahacharanams, there are certain widows who are pro- 
fessional mourners. As soon as they hear of the death 
of an elder, they repair to the house, and worry the 
bereaved family into engaging them for a small fee. The 
space, which intervenes between the dead man's house 
and the burning-ground, is divided into four parts. 
When the end of the first of these is reached, the corpse 
is placed on the ground, and the sons and nephews go 
round it, repeating mantrams. They untie their kudumis 



* See Thurston, Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, 1906, pp. 229 — 37. 



301 BRAHMAN 

(hair knot), leaving part thereof loose, tie up the rest 
into a small bunch, and keep on slapping their thighs. 
[When children at play have their kudumi partially tied, 
and slap their thighs, they are invariably scolded, owing 
to the association with funerals.] A little cooked rice is 
offered to the path as a pathi bali (wayside offering), to 
propitiate evil spirits, or bhuthas. The same ceremonial 
should, strictly speaking, be performed at two other 
spots, but now-a-days it is the custom to place the corpse 
on the ground near the funeral pyre, moving its position 
three times, while the circumambulation and pathi bali 
are gone through only once. As soon as the corpse has 
reached the spot where the pyre is, the celebrant of the 
rites sprinkles water thereon, and throws a quarter of an 
anna on it as the equivalent of purchase of the ground 
for cremation. The sacred fire is lighted, and the right 
palm of the corpse is touched with a gold coin. The 
nine orifices of the body are then smeared with ghi, and 
rice is thrown over the corpse, and placed in its mouth. 
The son takes a burning brand from the sacred fire, lights 
the pyre, and looks at the sun. He then carries a pot 
filled with water, having a hole at the bottom through 
which the water trickles out, on his shoulders three times 
round the corpse, and, at the end of the third round, 
throws it down. Then he, and all the relations of the 
deceased, squat on the ground, facing east, take up some 
dharbha grass, and, cutting it into small fragments with 
their nails, scatter them in the air, while repeating some 
Vedic verses, which are chanted very loudly and slowly, 
especially at the funeral of a respected elder. The cele- 
brant then pours a little water on a stone, and sprinkles 
himself with it. This is also done by the other relations, 
and they pass beneath a bundle of dharbha grass and 
twigs of Ficus glomerata held by the purohit (officiating 



BRAHMAN 302 

priest), and gaze for a moment at the sun. Once more 
they sprinkle themselves with water, and proceed to a 
tank, where they bathe. When they return home, two 
rites, called nagna (naked) sradh, and pashana sthapanam 
(stone-fixing), are celebrated. The disembodied spirit 
is supposed to be naked after the body has been cremated. 
To clothe it, offerings of water, with balls of cooked rice, 
are made, and a cloth, lamp, and money are given to a 
Brahman. Then two stones are set up, one in the house 
and the other on the bank of a tank, to represent the 
spirit of the deceased. For ten days, libations of water 
mixed with gingelly seeds, called tilothakam, and a ball 
of cooked rice, must be offered to the stones. The ball 
of rice is left for crows to eat. The number of libations 
must be seventy-five, commencing with three on the 
first day, and increasing the number daily by one. In 
addition, three further libations are made daily by dipping 
a piece of cloth from the winding-sheet, and rinsing it 
over the stone (vasothakam). On the day after crema- 
tion, the relations assemble at the burning-ground, and 
the son, after extinguishing the burning embers, removes 
the fragments of bones from the ashes. The ceremony 
is called sanchyanam (gathering). Cooked food is 
offered. The bones are thrown into some sacred river, 
or buried in the ground. On the tenth day after death, 
a large quantity of cooked rice (prabhuthabali) is offered 
to the spirit of the dead person, which is believed to grow 
very hungry on that day. The food is heaped up on 
plantain leaves, and all the near relations go round 
them, crying and beating their breasts. It is mostly 
females who perform this rite, males standing aloof. 
The food is taken to a tank, and the widow, decorated 
and dressed up, is conducted thither. The food is 
thrown into the water, and, if the widow is an elderly 



303 BRAHMAN 

orthodox woman, her tali is removed. On the same day, 
her head is clean shaved. A widow is not allowed to 
adorn herself with jewels and finery except on this day, 
•'. when all her close relations come and see her. IF"this 
is not done, pregnant women may not see her for a year. 
All the agnates should be present on the tenth day, 
and perform tharpana (oblations of water). Until this 
day they are under pollution, and, after prabhuthabali, 
they bathe, and homam is performed. Some ashes from 
the sacred fire are mixed with ghl, and a mark is made 
on the foreheads of those who are under pollution, to 
remove it. During the period of pollution, a Sri Vaish- 
nava will have only a white mark without the red streak 
on his forehead ; a Madhva will not have the black dot ; 
and Smarthas avoid having marks altogether. The 
tenth day ceremony is called Dasaham. On the 
eleventh day, a ceremony called Ekodishtam (eleventh 
day ceremony) is performed. A Brahman is seated to 
represent the pretha or dead person, and fed after going 
through sradh rites. As a rule, the man is a close 
relation of the deceased. But, amongst certain classes 
of Brahmans, an outsider is engaged, and well remuner- 
ated. On the twelfth day, the Sapindikaranam (sapinda, 
kinsman) ceremony, which is just like the ordinary 
sradh, is performed. At the close thereof, six balls of 
cooked rice are offered to three ancestors, male and 
female (three balls for males, and three for females). 
These balls are arranged in two rows, with a space 
between them. An elongated mass of food is placed 
between the rows, and divided with blades of dharbha 
grass into three portions, which are arranged close to 
the balls of rice. This is regarded as uniting the dead 
man with the pitris (ancestors). A cow is usually 
presented just before the union takes place, and the gift 



BRAHMAN 304 

is believed to render the crossing of the river Vaitarani 
(river of death) easy for the departed soul. The 
Sapindikaranam is a very important ceremony. When 
there is a dispute concerning division of property on the 
death of an individual, the ceremony is not performed 
until the parties come to an agreement. For instance, 
if a married man dies without issue, and his widow's 
brothers-in-law cannot come to terms as regards the 
partition of the property, the widow may refuse to allow 
the performance of the ceremony. The Sapindikaranam 
should, according to the shastras, be performed a year 
after death, i.e., on the completion of all the Masikas 
(monthly sradhs). But, at the present day, a ceremony 
called Shodasam (the sixteen) is performed just before 
the Sapindikaranam on the twelfth day. In the course 
of the year, twelve monthly and four quarterly sradhs 
should be performed, The Shodasam ceremony, which 
is carried out in lieu thereof, consists in giving presents 
of money and vessels to sixteen Brahmans. On the 
twelfth day, a feast is held, and domestic worship is 
carried out on a large scale. At the close thereof, a 
sloka called Charma sloka, in praise of the deceased, is 
composed and repeated by some one versed in Sanskrit. 
Every month, for a year after a death in a family, sradh 
should, as indicated, be performed. This corresponds 
in detail with the annual sradh, which is regularly per- 
formed, unless a visit is paid to Gaya, which renders 
further performance of the rite not obligatory. For the 
performance of this ceremony by the nearest agnate of 
the deceased (eldest son or other), three Brahmans 
should be called in, to represent respectively Vishnu, 
the Devatas, and the ancestors. Sometimes two Brah- 
mans are made to suffice, and Vishnu is represented by 
a salagrama stone. In extreme cases, only one Brahman 



305 BRAHMAN 

assists at the ceremony, the two others being repre- 
sented by dharbha grass. The sacred fire is lighted, 
and ghi, a small quantity of raw and cooked rice, and 
vegetables are offered up in the fire. The Brahmans 
then wash their feet, and are fed. Before they enter the 
space set apart for the meal, water, gingelly, and rice are 
sprinkled about it, to keep off evil spirits. As soon as 
the meal is finished, a ball of rice, called vayasa pindam 
(crow's food), is offered to the pithru devatas (ancestors 
of three generations), and thrown to the crows. If they 
do not eat the rice, the omens are considered to be 
unfavourable. The Brahmans receive betel and money 
in payment for their services. On one occasion my 
assistant was in camp at Kodaikanal on the Palni hills, 
the higher altitudes of which are uninhabited by crows, 
and he had perforce to march down to the plains, in 
order to perform the annual ceremony for his deceased 
father. The recurring annual sradh (Pratyabdhika) 
need not of necessity be performed. It is, however, 
regarded as an important ceremony, and, should an 
individual neglect it, he would run the risk of beino" 
excommunicated. 

The rites connected with the dead are based on the 
Garuda Purana, according to which the libations of the 
ten days are said to help the growth of the body of the 
soul. In this connection, Monier Williams writes as 
follows: — *"On the first day, the ball (pinda) of rice 
offered by the eldest son or other near relative nourishes 
the spirit of the deceased in such a way as to furnish it 
with a head ; on the second day, the offered pinda gives 
a neck and shoulders ; on the third day a heart ; on the 
fourth a back ; on the fifth a navel ; on the sixth a groin 

* Op. cit. 

20 



BRAHMAN 306 

and the parts usually concealed ; on the seventh thighs ; 
on the eighth and ninth knees and feet. On the tenth 
day, the intermediate body is sufficiently formed to 
produce the sensation of hunger and thirst. Other 
pindas are therefore put before it, and, on the eleventh 
and twelfth days, the embodied spirit feeds voraciously 
on the offerings thus supplied, and so gains strength for 
its journey to its future abode. Then, on the thirteenth 
day after death, it is conducted either to heaven or hell. 
If to the latter, it has need of the most nourishing food, 
to enable it to bear up against the terrible ordeal which 
awaits it." 

To the Hindu mind, Yama (the god of death) is a 

hideous god, whose servants are represented as being 

capable of tormenting the soul of the dead. " No 

sooner," writes Monier Williams, " has death occurred, 

and cremation of the terrestrial body taken place, than 

Yama's two messengers (Yama Dutan), who are waiting 

near at hand, make themselves visible to the released 

spirit, which retains its subtle body composed of the 

subtle elements, and is said to be of the size of a 

thumb (angustha-matra). Their aspect is terrific, for 

they have glaring eyes, hair standing erect, gnashing 

teeth, crow-black skin, and claw-like nails, and they 

hold in their hands the awful rod and noose of Yama. 

Then, as if their appearance in this form were not 

sufficiently alarming, they proceed to terrify their victim 

by terrible visions of the torments (yatana) in store 

for him. They then convey the bound spirit along 

the road to Yama's abode. Being led before Yama's 

judgment seat, it is confronted with his Registrar or 

Recorder named Chitra Gupta. This officer stands by 

Yama's side, with an open book before him. It is his 

business to note down all the good and evil deeds of 



307 BRAHMAN 

every human being born into the world, with the result- 
ing merit (punya) and demerit (papa), and to produce a 
debtor and creditor account properly made up and 
balanced on the day when that being is brought before 
Yama. According to the balance on the side of merit 
or demerit is judgment pronounced. The road by 
which Yama's two officers force a wicked man to descend 
to the regions of torment is described in the first two 
chapters of the Garuda Purana. The length of the way 
is said to be 86,000 leagues (yojanas). The condemned 
soul, invested with its sensitive body, and made to travel 
at the rate of 200 leagues a day, finds no shady trees, 
no resting place, no food, no water. At one time it 
is scorched by a burning heat equal to that of twelve 
meridian suns, at another it is pierced by icy cold winds ; 
now its tender frame is rent by thorns ; now it is attacked 
by lions, tigers, savage dogs, venomous serpents, and 
scorpions. In one place it has to traverse a dense forest, 
whose leaves are swords ; in another it falls into deep 
pits ; in another it is precipitated from precipices ; in 
another it has to walk on the edge of razors ; in another 
on iron spikes. Here it stumbles about helplessly in 
profound darkness ; there it struggles through loathsome 
mud swarming with leeches ; here it toils through burn- 
ing sand ; there its progress is arrested by heaps of 
red-hot charcoal and stifling smoke. Compelled to pass 
through every obstacle, however formidable, it next 
encounters a succession of terrific showers, not of rain, 
but of live coals, stones, blood, boiling water and filth. 
Then it has to descend into appalling fissures, or ascend 
to sickening heights, or lose itself in vast caves, or 
wade through lakes seething with fcetid ordures. Then 
midway it has to pass the awful river Vaitarani, one 
hundred leagues in breadth, of unfathomable depth ; 
20 * 



BRAHMAN 3©8 

flowing with irresistible impetuosity ; filled with blood, 
matter, hair, and bones ; infested with huge sharks, 
crocodiles, and sea monsters ; darkened by clouds of 
hideous vultures and obscene birds of prey. Thousands 
of condemned spirits stand trembling on the banks, 
horrified by the prospect before them. Consumed by a 
raging thirst, they drink the blood which flows at their 
feet ; then, tumbling headlong into the torrent, they are 
overwhelmed by the rushing waves. Finally, they are 
hurried down to the lowest depths of hell, and yet not 
destroyed. Pursued by Yama's officers, they are dragged 
away, and made to undergo inconceivable tortures, the 
detail of which is given with the utmost minuteness in 
the succeeding chapters of the Garuda Purana." 

The Ahannikams, or daily observances, of a religious 
JBrahman are very many. Nowadays, Brahmans who 
lead a purely religious life are comparatively few, and 
are mostly found in villages. The daily observances 
of such are the bath, the performance of the Sandhya 
service, Brahma yagna, Deva puja or Devatarchana, 
Tarpana (oblations of water), Vaisvadeva ceremony, and 
the reading of Puranas or Ithihasas. Every orthodox 
Brahman is expected to rise at the time called Brahma 
Muhurtam in the hour and a half before sunrise. He 
should then clean his teeth, using as a brush mango leaf, 
or twigs of Acacia arabica or nim (Melia Azadirachta). 
He next bathes in a river or tank (pond), standing knee- 
deep in the water, and repeating the following : — " I am 
about to perform the morning ablution in this sacred 
stream (Ganges, Sarasvati, Yamuna, Godavari, etc.), in 
the presence of the gods and Brahmans, with a view to 
the removal of guilt resulting from act, speech, and 
thought, from what has been touched and untouched, 
known and unknown, eaten and not eaten, drunk and 



r 



309 BRAHMAN 

not drunk." After the bath, he wipes his body with a 
damp cloth, and puts on his cotton madi cloth, which 
has been washed and dried. The cloth, washed, wrung, 
and hung up to dry, should not be touched by anybody. 
If this should happen prior to the bath, the cloth is 
polluted, and ceases to be madi. A silk cloth, which 
cannot be polluted, is substituted for it. The madi or 
silk cloth should be worn until the close of the morning 
ceremonies and meal. The man next puts the marks 
which are characteristic of his sect on the forehead and 
body, and performs the Sandhya service. This is very 
important, and is binding on all Brahmans after the 
Upanayanam ceremony, though a large number are not 
particular in observing it. According to the shastras, the 
Sandhya should be done in the morning and evening ; 
but in practice there is an additional service at midday. 
Sandhyavandhanam means the thanksgiving to God when 
day and night meet in the morning and evening. The 
rite commences with the sipping of water (achamanam) 
from the hollow of the right palm. This is done three 
times, while the words Achyuthayanamaha, Anantaya- 
namaha, and Govindayana are repeated. Immediately 
after sipping, twelve parts of the body are touched with 
the fingers of the right hand in the following order : — 

The two cheeks with the thumb, repeating the 
names Kesava and Narayana ; 

The two eyes with the ring-finger, repeating 
Madhava and Govinda ; 

The two sides of the nose with the forefinger, 
repeating Vishnu and Madhusudhana ; 

The two ears with the little finger, repeating Triv- 
krama and Vamana ; 

The shoulders with the middle finger, repeating 
Sridhara and Rishikesa ; 



BRAHMAN 3 10 

The navel and head with all the fingers, repeating 
Padmanabha and Damodar. 

This Achamana is the usual preliminary to all 
Brahman religious rites. The water sipped is believed 
to cleanse the internal parts of the body, as bathing 
cleanses the external parts. 

After Achamana comes Pranayama, or holding in of 
vital breath, which consists in repeating the Gayatri 
(hymn) and holding the breath by three distinct opera- 
tions, viz. : — 

Puraka, or pressing the right nostril with the 
fingers, and drawing in the breath through the left 
nostril, and vice versa. 

Kumbhaka, or pressing both nostrils with finger 
and thumb or with all the fingers, and holding the breath 
as long as possible. 

Rechaka, or pressing the right nostril with the 
thumb, and expelling the breath through the left nostril, 
and vice versa. 

The suppression of the breath is said to be a 
preliminary yoga practice, enabling a person to fix his 
mind on the Supreme Being who is meditated on. 

The celebrant next repeats the Sankalpa (determi- 
nation), with the hands brought together, the right palm 
over the left, and placed on the right thigh. Every kind 
of ceremony commences with the Sankalpa, which, for 
the Sandhya service, is as follows : — " I am worshipping 
for the removal of all my sins that have adhered to me, 
and for the purpose of acquiring the favour of Narayana 
or the Supreme Being." The performer of the rite then 
sprinkles himself with water, repeating : — " Oh ! ye 
waters, the sources of all comforts, grant us food, so 
that our senses may grow strong and give us joy. 
Make us the recipients of your essence, which is the 



311 BRAHMAN 

most blissful, just as affectionate mothers (feed their 
children with milk from their breasts). May we obtain 
enough of that essence of yours, the existence of which 
within you makes you feel glad. Oh ! waters, grant us 
offspring." He then takes up the water in his palm, and 
drinks it, repeating the following : — " May the sun and 
anger, may the lords of anger, preserve me from my 
sins of pride and passion. Whate'er the nightly sins of 
thought, word, deed, wrought by my mind, my speech, 
my hands, my feet ; wrought through my appetite and 
sensual organs ; may the departing night remove them 
all. In thy immortal light, Oh ! radiant sun, I offer up 
myself and this my guilt." At the evening service, the 
same is repeated, with the word Agni instead of Surya 
(sun). At the midday service the following is recited : — 
" May the waters purify the earth by pouring down rain. 
May the earth thus purified make us pure. May the 
waters purify my spiritual preceptor, and may the Veda 
(as 'taught by the purified preceptor) purify me. What- 
ever leavings of another's food, and whatever impure 
things I may have eaten, whatever I may have received as 
gift from the unworthy, may the waters destroy all that 
sin and purify me. For this purpose, I pour this sancti- 
fied water as a libation down my mouth." Once more the 
celebrant sprinkles himself with water, and says : — " I 
sing the praise of the god Dadikravan, who is victorious, 
all-pervading, and who moves with great speed. May he 
make our mouths (and the senses) fragrant, and may he 
prolong our lives. Oh ! ye waters, the sources of all 
comforts, grant us food," etc. 

The ceremonies performed so far are intended for 
both external and internal purification. By their means, 
the individual is supposed to have made himself worthy 
to salute the Lord who resides in the orb of the rising 



BRAHMAN 312 

luminary, and render him homage in true Brahman style 
by what is called Arghya. This is an offering of water 
to any respected guest. Repeating the Gayatri, the 
worshipper throws water in the air from the palms of the 
hands joined together with the sacred thread round the 
thumbs. The Gayatri is the hymn par excellence, and 
is said to contain the sum and substance of all Vedic 
teaching. 

After these items, the worshipper sits down, and 
does Japam (recitation of prayers in an undertone). The 
Gayatri, as repeated, consists of the Gayatri proper 
Vyahritis, and Gayatri Siromantra. It runs as fol- 
lows : — 

Om, Bhuh ; Cm, Bhuvah ; 

Om, Suvah ; Om, Mahaha ; 

Om, Janaha ; Om, Thapaha ; 

Om, Sathyam. 

Om, Thatsaviturvarenyam ; 

Bhargodevasya dhimahi dhiyo-yonah prachodayat ; 

Om, Jyotiraso amrutam 

Brahma, Bhur, Bhuvasvarum. 

The Vyahritis are generally taken to refer to the 
seven worlds, and the prefixing of the Pranava (Om) 
means that all these worlds have sprung from the Supreme 
Being. The Pranava given above means " All the 
seven worlds are (the visible manifestations of) Om, 
the all-pervading Brahman. We think of the adorable 
light of the Lord, who shines in our hearts, and guides 
us. May he guide our intellects aright. Water, light, 
all things that have savour (such as trees, herbs, and 
plants), the nectar of the gods, the three worlds, in fact 
everything that is Brahman, the universal soul." 

The mystic syllable Om is the most sacred of all 
Hindu utterances. Concerning it, Monier Williams 
writes that it is " made up of the three letters A,U,M, 



313 BRAHMAN 

and symbolical of the threefold manifestation of the one 
Supreme Being in the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, 
and is constantly repeated during the Sandhya service. 
This prayer is, as we have seen, the most sacred of all 
Vedic utterances, and, like the Lord's Prayer among 
Christians, or like the Fatihah or opening chapter of 
the Kuran among Muhammadans, must always, among 
Hindus, take precedence of all other forms of suppli- 
cation." 

The celebrant next proceeds to invoke the Gayatri 
Devata thus : — " May the goddess Gayatri Devata, who 
grants all our desires, come to us to make known to us 
the eternal Lord, who is revealed to us only through 
the scriptures. May the Gayatri, the mother of all the 
Vedas, reveal to us the eternal truth. Oh ! Gayatri, 
thou art the source of all spiritual strength. Thou art 
the power that drivest away the evil inclinations which 
are mine enemies. Thou, by conducing to a sound 
mind, conducest to a sound body. Thou art the light of 
the gods, that dispellest my intellectual darkness, and 
illuminest my heart with divine wisdom. Thou art all. 
In the whole universe there is naught but thee that is. 
Thou art the eternal truth that destroys all sins. Thou 
art the Pranava that reveals to me the unknown. Come 
to my succour, Oh ! thou Gayatri, and make me wise." 
This invocation is followed by the repetition of the Gayatri 
108 or only 28 times. The celebrant then says : — "The 
goddess Gayatri resides on a lofty peak on the summit 
of mount Meru (whose base is deeply fixed) in the earth. 
Oh ! thou goddess, take leave from the Brahmans (who 
have worshipped thee, and been blessed with thy grace), 
and go back to thy abode as comfortably as possible." 
The Sandhya service is closed with the following prayer 
to the rising sun : — " We sing the adorable glory of 



BRAHMAN 3 14 

the sun god, who sustains all men (by causing rain) ; 
which glory is eternal, and most worthy of being adored 
with wonder. The sun, well knowing the inclinations 
of men, directs them to their several pursuits. The 
sun upholds both heaven and earth ; the sun observes 
all creatures (and their actions) without ever winking. 
To this eternal being we offer the oblation mixed with 
ghi. Oh ! sun, may that man who through such sacrifice 
offers oblations to thee become endowed with wealth and 
plenty. He who is under thy protection is not cut 
off by untimely death ; he is not vanquished by any- 
body, and sin has no hold on this man either from 
near or from afar." In the evening, the following prayer 
to Varuna is substituted : — " Hear, Oh ! Varuna, this 
prayer of mine. Be gracious unto me this day. Long- 
ing for thy protection, I cry to thee. Adoring thee 
with prayer, I beg long life of thee. The sacrificer 
does the same with the oblations he offers thee. There- 
fore, Oh ! Varuna, without indifference in this matter, 
take my prayer into your kind consideration, and do not 
cut off our life. Oh ! Lord Varuna, whatever law of 
thine we, as men, violate day after day, forgive us these 
trespasses. Oh ! Lord Varuna, whatever offence we, as 
men, have committed against divine beings, whatever 
work of thine we have neglected through ignorance, do 
not destroy us, Oh ! Lord, for such sin. Whatever sin 
is attributed to us by our enemies, as by gamblers at 
dice, whatever sins we may have really committed, and 
what we may have done without knowing, do thou 
scatter and destroy all these sins. Then, Oh ! Lord, we 
shall become beloved of thee." The Sandhya prayer 
closes with the Abhivadhana or salutation, which has 
been given in the account of marriage. After the 
Sandhya service in the morning, the Brahma yagna, or 



315 BRAHMAN 

worship of the Supreme Being as represented in the 
sacred books is gone through. The first hymn of the 
Rig Veda is recited in detail, and then follow the first 
words of the Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharvana Veda, 
the Nirukta, etc. 

The next item is the Tarpana ceremony, or offering 
of water to the Devatas, Rishis, and Pitris. The sacred 
thread is placed over the left shoulder and under the 
right arm (upavita), and water is taken in the right hand, 
and poured as an offering to the Devatas. Then, 
with the sacred thread round the neck like a necklace 
(niviti), the worshipper pours water for the Rishis. 
Lastly, the sacred thread is placed over the right shoulder 
(prachina vithi) and water is poured for the Pitris 
(ancestors). 

The various ceremonies described so far should be 
performed by all the male members of a family, whereas 
the daily Devatarchana or Devata puja is generally done 
by any one member of a family. The gods worshipped 
by pious Brahmans are Siva and Vishnu, and their 
consorts Parvati and Lakshmi. Homage is paid thereto 
through images, salagrama stones, or stone lingams. In 
the house of a Brahman, a corner or special room is set 
apart for the worship of the god. Some families keep 
their gods in a small almirah (chest). 

Smarthas use in their domestic worship five stones, 
viz. : — 

i. Salagrama, representing Vishnu. 

2. Bana linga, a white stone representing the essence of Siva. 

3. A red stone (jasper), representing Ganesha. 

4. A bit of metallic ore, representing Farvathi, or a lingam 

representing Siva and Parvathi. 

5. A piece of pebble or crystal, to represent the sun. 

Smarthas commence their worship by invoking the 
aid of Vigneswara (Ganesha). Then, placing a vessel 




BRAHMAN 316 

(kalasa) filled with water, they utter the following prayer. 
"In the mouth of the water-vessel abideth Vishnu, in 
its lower part is Brahma, while the whole company of 
the mothers (matris) are congregated in its middle part. 
Oh ! Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, 
Sindhu, and Kaveri, be present in this water." The 
conch or chank shell (Turbine lia rapa) is then wor- 
shipped as follows : — " Oh ! conch shell, thou wast pro- 
duced in the sea, and art held by Vishnu in his hand. 
Thou art worshipped by all the gods. Receive my 
homage." The bell is then worshipped with the 
prayer : — " Oh ! bell, make a sound for the approach of 
the gods, and for the departure of the demons. Homage 
to the goddess Ghanta (bell). I offer perfumes, grains 
of rice, and flowers, in token of rendering all due homage 
to the bell." The worshipper claps his hands, and rings 
the bell. All the tulsi (sacred basil, Ocimum sancttim) 
leaves, flowers, sandal paste, etc., used for worship on 
the previous day, are removed. " The tulsi is the most 
sacred plant in the Hindu religion; it is consequently 
found in or near almost every Hindu house throughout 
India. Hindu poets say that it protects from misfortune, 
and sanctifies and guides to heaven all who cultivate 
it. The Brahmins hold it sacred to the gods Krishna 
and Vishnu. The story goes that this plant is the trans- 
formed nymph Tulasi, beloved of Krishna, and for this 
reason near every Hindu house it is cultivated in pots, 
or in brick or earthen pillars with hollows at the top 
(brindavanam or brinda forest), in which earth is de- 
posited. It is daily watered, and worshipped by all the 
members of the family. Under favourable circumstances, 
it grows to a considerable size, and furnishes a woody 
stem large enough to make beads for the rosaries used by 
Hindus, on which they count the number of recitations 



317 BRAHMAN 

of their deity's name." * Writing in the seventeenth 
century, Vincenzo Maria t observes that " almost all 
the Hindus . . . adore a plant like our Basilico 
gentile, but of a more pungent odour . . . Every 
one before his house has a little altar, girt with a wall 
half an ell high, in the middle of which they erect certain 
pedestals like little towers, and in these the shrub is 
grown. They recite their prayers daily before it, with 
repeated prostrations, sprinklings of water, etc. There 
are also many of these maintained at the bathing-places, 
and in the courts of the pagodas." The legend, 
accounting for the sanctity of the tulsi, is told in the 
Padma Purana.J From the union of the lightning that 
flashed from the third eye of Siva with the ocean, a boy 
was born, whom Brahmadev caught up, and to whom he 
gave the name of Jalandhar. And to him Brahmadev 
gave the boon that by no hand but Siva's could he perish. 
Jalandhar grew up strong and tall, and conquered the 
kings of the earth, and, in due time, married Vrinda (or 
Brinda), the daughter of the demon Kalnemi. Narad- 
muni, the son of Brahmadev, stirred up hatred against 
Siva in Jalandhar, and they fought each other on the 
slopes of Kailas. But even Siva could not prevail 
against Jalandhar, so long as his wife Vrinda remained 
chaste. So Vishnu, who had lived with her and Jalan- 
dhar, and had learnt their secret, plotted her downfall. 
One day, when she, sad at Jalandhar's absence, had 
left her garden to walk in the waste beyond, two demons 
met her and pursued her. She ran, with the demons 
following, until she saw a Rishi, at whose feet she fell, 



* Watt, Diet. Economic Products of India, 

t Viaggio all' Indie orientali, 1672. 

X See Note on the Tulsi Plant. Journ. Anthrop. Soc, Bombay, VIII, I, 
1907. 



BRAHMAN 318 

and asked for shelter. The Rishi, with his magic, burnt 
up the demons into thin ash. Vrinda 1 then asked for 
news of her husband. At once, two apes laid before her 
Jalandhar's head, feet, and hands. Vrinda, thinking that 
he was dead, begged the Rishi to restore him to her. 
The Rishi said that he would try, and in a moment he 
and the corpse had disappeared, and Jalandhar stood 
by her. She threw herself into his arms, and they 
embraced each other. But, some days later, she learnt 
that he with whom she was living was not her husband, 
but Vishnu, who had taken his shape. She cursed 
Vishnu, and foretold that, in a later Avatar, the two 
demons who had frightened her would rob him of his 
wife ; and that, to recover her, he would have to ask the 
aid of the apes who had brought Jalandhar's head, feet, 
and hands. Vrinda then threw herself into a burning 
pit, and Jalandhar, once Vrinda's chastity had gone, fell a 
prey to Siva's thunderbolts. Then the gods came forth 
from their hiding place, and garlanded Siva. The 
demons were driven back to hell, and men once more 
passed under the tyranny of the gods. But Vishnu came 
not back from Vrinda's palace, and those who sought him 
found him mad from grief, rolling in her ashes. Then 
Parvati, to break the charm of Vrinda's beauty, planted 
in her ashes three seeds. And they grew into three 
plants, the tulsi, the avali, and the malti. By the growth 
of these seeds, Vishnu was released from Vrinda's 
charm. Therefore he loved them all, but chiefly the 
tulsi plant, which, as he said, was Vrinda's very self. 
In the seventh incarnation, the two demons, who had 
frightened Vrindan, became Ravan and his brother 
Kumbhakarna, and they bore away Slta to Lanka. To 
recover her, Ramchandra had to implore the help of 
the two apes who had brought her Jalandhar's head and 




TELUGU BRAHMAN WITH RUDRAKSHA COAT. 



319 BRAHMAN 

hands, and in this incarnation they became Hanuman 
and his warriors. But, in the eighth incarnation, which 
was that of Krishna, the tulsi plant took the form of a 
woman Radha, and wedded the gay and warlike lord of 
Dwarka. 

The Shodasopachara, or sixteen acts of homage, are 
next performed in due order, viz. — 

i. Avahana, or invocation of the gods. 

2. Asanam, or seat. 

3. Padhya, or water for washing the feet. 

4. Arghya, or oblation of rice or water. 

5. Achamanam, or water for sipping. 

6. Snanam, or the bath. 

7. Vastra, or clothing of tulsi leaves. 

8. Upavastra, or upper clothing of tulsi leaves. 

9. Gandha, or sandal paste. 

10. Pushpa, or flowers. 

11. 12. Dhupa and Dhipa, or incense and light. 

13. Naivedya, or offering of food. 

14. Pradakshina, or circumambulation. 

15. Mantrapushpa, or throwing flowers. 

16. Namaskara, or salutation by prostration. 

While the five stones already referred to are bathed 
by pouring water from a conch shell, the Purusha 
Suktha, or hymn of the Rig Veda, is repeated. This 
runs as follows : — " Purusha has thousands of heads, 
thousands of arms, thousands of eyes, and thousands 
of feet. On every side enveloping the earth, he 
transcended this mere space of ten fingers. Purusha 
himself is this whole (universe) ; whatever has been, and 
whatever shall be. He is also the lord of immortality, 
since through food he expands. Such is his greatness, 
and Purusha is superior to this. All existing things are 
a quarter of him, and that which is immortal in the sky 
is three quarters of him. With three quarters Purusha 
mounted upwards. A quarter of him was again 



BRAHMAN 320 

produced below. He then became diffused everywhere 
among things, animate and inanimate. From him Viraj 
was born, and from Viraj Purusha. As soon as born, he 
extended beyond the earth, both behind and before. 
When the gods offered up Purusha as a sacrifice, the 
spring was its clarified butter (ghi), summer its fuel, and 
the autumn the oblation. This victim, Purusha born in 
the beginning, they consecrated on the sacrificial grass. 
With him as their offering, the Gods, Sadhyas, and 
Rishis sacrificed. From that universal oblations were 
produced curds and clarified butter. He, Purusha, 
formed the animals which are subject to the power of 
the air (Vayavya), both wild and tame. From that 
universal sacrifice sprang the hymns called Rik and 
Saman, the Metres, and the Yajus. From it were 
produced horses, and all animals with two rows of teeth, 
cows, goats, and sheep. When they divided Purusha, 
into how many parts did they distribute him ? What 
was his mouth ? What were his arms ? What were 
called his thighs and feet ? The Brahman was his 
mouth ; the Rajanya became his arms ; the Vaisya was 
his thighs ; the Siidra sprang from his feet. The moon 
was produced from his soul ; the sun from his eye ; Indra 
and Agni from his mouth ; Vayu from his breath. From 
his navel came the atmosphere ; from his head arose 
the sky ; from his feet came the earth ; from his ears the 
four quarters ; so they formed the worlds. When the 
gods, in performing their sacrifice, bound Purusha as a 
victim, there were seven pieces of wood laid for him 
round the fire, and thrice seven pieces of fuel employed. 
With sacrifice the gods worshipped the sacrifice. These 
were the primaeval rites. These great beings attained 
to the heaven, where the Gods, the ancient Sadhyas, 
reside." 



321 BRAHMAN 

Some Smarthas, e.g., the Brahacharnams, are more 
Saivite than other sections of Tamil-speaking Brahmans. 
During worship, they wear round the neck rudraksha 
{Elceocarpus Ganitrus) beads, and place on their head a 
lingam made thereof. In connection with the rudraksha, 
the legend runs that Siva or Kalagni Rudra, while 
engaged in Tripura Samhara, opened his third eye, which 
led to the destruction of the three cities, of which 
Rakshasas or Asuras had taken the form. From this eye 
liquid is said to have trickled on the ground, and from this 
arose the rudraksha tree. The mere mention of the word 
rudraksha is believed to secure religious merit, which 
may be said to be equivalent to the merit obtained by 
the gift of ten cows to Brahmans. Rudraksha beads are 
valued according to the number of lobes (or faces, as they 
are called), which are ordinarily five in number. A bead 
with six lobes is said to be very good, and one with 
two lobes, called Gauri Sankara rudraksha, is specially 
valued. Dikshitar Brahmans, and Pandaram priests of 
the higher order, wear a two-lobed bead mounted in 
gold. In a manuscript entitled Rudrakshopanishad, it is 
stated that a good rudraksha bead, when rubbed with 
water, should colour the water yellow. The Madhvas 
worship in the same way as Smarthas, but the objects of 
worship are the salagrama stone, and images of Hanu- 
man and Adi Sesha. Food offered to Adi Sesha, 
Lakshmi, and Hanuman, is not eaten, but thrown away. 
The Madhvas attach great importance to their spiritual 
guru, who is first worshipped by a worshipper. Some 
keep a brindavanam, representing the grave of their 
guru, along with a salagrama stone, which is worshipped 
at the close of the Devata puja. Sri Vaishnavas keep 
for domestic worship only salagrama stones. Like the 
Madhvas, they are scrupulous as to the worship of their 

21 



f 



I 



BRAHMAN 322 

gurus (acharyas), without whose intervention they believe 
that they cannot obtain beatitude. Hence Sri Vaishna- 
vites insist upon the Samasrayanam ceremony. After 
the Sandhya service and Brahma yagna, the guru is 
worshipped. All orthodox Vaishnavas keep with them 
a silk cloth bearing the impressions of the feet of their 
Acharya, an abhayastha or impression of the hand of 
Vishnu in sandal paste, a few necklaces of silk thread 
(pavitram), and a bit of the bark of the tamarind tree 
growing at the temple at Alvartirunagiri in the Tinne- 
velly district. The worshipper puts on his head the 
silk cloth, and round his neck the silk necklaces, and, 
if available, a necklace of Nelumbhtm (sacred lotus) 
seeds. After saluting the abhayastha by pressing it 
to his eyes, he repeats the prayer of his Acharya, and 
proceeds to the Devatarchana, which consists in the 
performance of the sixteen upacharas already described. 
The salagrama stone is bathed, and the Purusha Suktha 
repeated. 

The daily observances are brought to a close by the 
performance of the Vaisvadeva ceremony, or offering to 
Vaisvadevas (all the gods). This consists in offering- 
cooked rice, etc., to all the gods. , Some regard this as 
a sort of expiatory ceremony, to wipe out the sin which 
may have accidentally been committed by killing small 
animals in the process of cooking food. 

The male members of a family take their meals . 
apart from the females. The food is served on platters 
made of the leaves of the banyan (Fiats bengalensis), 
Buteafrondosa, Bauhinia, or plantain. Amongst Smar- 
thas and Madhvas, various vegetable preparations are 
served first, and rice last, whereas, amongst the Sri 
Vaishnavas, especially Vadagalais, rice is served first. 
Before commencing to eat, a little water (tirtham), in 



323 BRAHMAN 

which a salagrama stone has been bathed, is poured 
into the palms of those who are about to partake of 
the meal. They drink the water simultaneously, saying 
" Amartopastaranamasi." They then put a few hand- 
fuls of rice into their mouths, repeating some mantras — 
" Pranayasvaha, Udanayasvaha, Somanayasvaha," etc. 
At the end of the meal, all are served with a little water, 
which they sip, saying " Amartapithanamasi." They 
then rise together. 

In connection with the salagrama stone, which has 
been referred to several times, the following interesting 
account thereof* may be quoted : — " Salagrams are fossil 
cephalopods (ammonites), and are found chiefly in the 
bed of the Gandak river, a mountain torrent which, 
rising in the lofty mountains of Nepal, flows into the 
Ganges at Salagrami, a village from which they take 
their name, and which is not far from the sacred city of 
Benares. In appearance they are small black shiny 
pebbles of various shapes, usually round or oval, with 
a peculiar natural hole in them. They have certain 
marks to be described later, and are often flecked and 
inlaid with gold [or pyrites]. The name salagram is 
of Sanskrit derivation, from sara chakra, the weapon of 
Vishnu, and grava, a stone ; the chakra or chakram 
being represented on the stone by queer spiral lines, 
popularly believed to be engraved thereon at the request 
of Vishnu by the creator Brahma, who, in the form of a 
worm, bores the holes known as vadanas, and traces the 
spiral coil that gives the stone its name. There is a 
curious legend connected with their origin. In ancient 
times there lived a certain dancing-girl, the most beauti- 
ful that had ever been created, so beautiful indeed that 



* Madras Mail, 1906. 
21* 



BRAHMAN 324 

it was impossible to find a suitable consort for her. 
The girl, in despair at her loveliness, hid herself in 
the mountains, in the far away Himalayas, and there 
spent several years in prayer, till at last Vishnu appeared 
before her, and asked what she wanted. She begged 
him to tell her how it was that the great creator Brahma, 
who had made her so beautiful, bad not created a 
male consort for her of similar perfect form. Then 
she looked on Vishnu, and asked the god to kiss her. 
Vishnu could not comply with her request as she was a 
dancing-girl, and of low caste, but promised by his virtue 
that she should be reincarnated in the Himalayas in the 
form of a river, which should bear the name Gandaki, 
and that he would be in the river as her eternal con- 
sort in the shape of a salagram. Thereupon the river 
Gandaki rose from the Himalayas, and salagrams were 
found in it. How the true virtue of the salagram was 
discovered is another strange little fable. A poor boy 
of the Kshatriya or warrior class once found one when 
playing by the river side. He soon discovered that 
when he had it in his hand, or secreted in his mouth, 
or about his person, his luck was so extraordinary 
at marbles or whatever game he played, that he always 
won. At last he so excelled in all he undertook that he 
rose to be a great king. Finally Vishnu himself came to 
fetch him, and bore him away in a cloud. The mystic 
river Gandaki is within the jurisdiction of the Maharaja 
of Nepal, and is zealously guarded on both banks, while 
the four special places where the sacred stones are 
mostly picked up are leased out under certain conditions, 
the most important being that all true salagrams found 
are to be submitted to the Maharaja. These are then 
tested, the selected ones retained, and the others returned 
to the lessee. The first test of the salagrams to prove 



325 BRAHMAN 

if they are genuine is very simple, but later they are put 
through other ordeals to try their supernatural powers. 
Each stone, as it is discovered, is struck on all sides 
with a small hammer, or, in some cases, is merely 
knocked with the finger. This causes the soft powdery 
part, produced by the boring of the worm, to fall in and 
disclose the vadana or hole, which may, in the more 
valuable salagrams, contain gold or a precious gem. 
In addition to the real stone with chakram and vadana 
formed by natural causes, there are found in many 
mountain streams round black pebbles resembling the 
true salagram in colour, shape, and size, but lacking the 
chakram and vadana. These are collected by Bairagis, 
or holy mendicants, who bore imitation vadanas in them, 
and, tracing false chakrams in balapa or slate stone, 
paste them on the pebbles. So skilfully is this fraud 
perpetrated that it is only after years of use and per- 
petual washing at the daily puja that in time the tracery 
wears away, and detection becomes possible. There 
are over eighteen known and different kinds of true 
salagrams, the initial value of which varies according 
to the shape and markings of the stone. The price 
of any one salagram may be so enhanced after the 
further tests have been applied, that even a lakh of 
rupees (Rs. 1,00,000) will fail to purchase it ; and, should 
experience prove the stone a lucky one, nothing will, as 
a rule, induce the fortunate owner to part with it. The 
three shapes of salagrams most highly prized are known 
as the Vishnu salagram, the Lakshmi Narasimha sala- 
gram, and the Mutchya Murti salagram. The first has 
a chakram on it the shape of a garland, and bears marks 
known as the shenka (conch) gada padma, or the 
weapons of Vishnu, and is peculiar to that god. The 
second has two chakrams on the left of the vadana, and 



Brahman 326 

has dots or specks all over it. This stone, if properly 
worshipped, is believed to ensure to its owner prosperity 
and eternal life. The third, the Mutchya Murti, is a 
long-shaped flat stone with a vadana that gives it a 
resemblance to the face of a fish. It bears two chakrams, 
one inside and one outside the vadana, and also has 
specks and dots on it in the shape of a shoe. There 
are four or five varieties of this species, and it also, 
if duly worshipped, will infallibly enrich its possessor. 
One salagram there is which has no vadana, and is 
known as the ugra chakra salagram. It is quite round 
with two chakrams, but it is not a particularly safe 
one to possess, and is described as a ' furious salagrama,' 
for, if not worshipped with sufficient ardour, it will 
resent the neglect, and ruin the owner. The first thing 
to do on obtaining a salagram is to find out whether or 
not it is a lucky stone, for a stone that will bring luck to 
one owner may mean ruin for another. The tests are 
various ; a favourite one is to place the salagram with 
its exact weight of rice together in one place for the 
night. If the rice has increased in the morning (and, in 
some cases, my informant assures me, it will be found to 
have doubled in quantity), then the stone is one to 
be regarded by its lucky holder as priceless, and on no 
account to be parted with. If, on the other hand, the 
rice measures the same, or — dreadful omen — has even 
become less, then let the house be rid of it as early as 
possible. If no purchaser can be found, make a virtue 
of necessity, and send it as a present to the nearest 
temple or mutt (religious institution), where the Gurus 
know how to appease the wrath of the Deity with daily 
offerings of fruits and flowers. A salagram will never 
bring any luck if its possession is acquired by fraud or 
force. The story runs that once a Brahman, finding 



327 BRAHMAN 

one with a Mahomedan butcher, obtained it by theft. 
The luckless man speedily rued the day of his time, for, 
from that time onwards, nothing prospered, and he 
ended his days a destitute pauper. Again, possession of 
them without worship is believed by all Hindus to be 
most unlucky, and, as none but Brahmans can perform 
the worship, none but Brahmans will retain the stones 
in their keeping. For an orthodox Brahman household, 
the ownership of three or more stones is an absolute 
necessity. These must be duly worshipped and washed 
with water, and the water drunk as tirtha, and sacrifice 
of boiled rice and other food must be daily performed. 
When this is done, speedy success in all the business of 
life will fall to the lot of the inmates of the house, but 
otherwise ruin and disgrace await them." 

In some temples, the Mula Vigraha, or idol fixed 
in the inner sanctuary, is decorated with a necklace of 
salagrama stones. For example, at Tirupati the god is 
thus decorated. 

The following incident in connection with a salagrama 
stone is narrated by Yule and Burnell * : — " In May, 
1883, a salagrama was the ostensible cause of great 
popular excitement among the Hindus of Calcutta. 
During the proceedings in a family suit before the High 
Court, a question arose regarding the identity of a 
salagrama, regarded as a household god. Counsel on 
both sides suggested that the thing should be brought 
into court. Mr. Justice Morris hesitated to give this 
order till he had taken advice. The attorneys on both 
sides, Hindus, said there could be no objection ; the 
Court interpreter, a high-caste Brahman, said it could 
not be brought into Court because of the coir matting, 



* Ilubson-Jubsun. 



BRAHMAN 328 

but it might with perfect propriety be brought into 
the corridor for inspection ; which was done. This took 
place during the excitement about the ' Ilbert Bill,' 
giving natives magisterial authority in the provinces 
over Europeans ; and there followed most violent and 
offensive articles in several native newspapers reviling 
Mr. Justice Morris, who was believed to be hostile to 
the Bill. The Editor of the Bengallee newspaper, an 
educated man, and formerly a member of the Covenanted 
Civil Service, the author of one of the most unscrupu- 
lous and violent articles, was summoned for contempt 
of court. He made an apology and complete retracta- 
tion, but was sentenced to two months' imprisonment." 

The sacred chank, conch, or sankhu, which has been 
referred to in connection with ceremonial observance, 
is the shell of the gastropod mollusc Turbinella rapa. 
This is secured, in Southern India, by divers from 
Tuticorin in the vicinity of the pearl banks. The chank 
shell, which one sees suspended on the forehead and 
round the neck of bullocks, is not only used by Hindus 
for offering libations, and as a musical instrument in 
temples, but is also cut into armlets, bracelets, and 
other ornaments. Writing in the sixteenth century, 
Garcia says: — "This chanco is a ware for the Bengal 
trade, and formerly produced more profit than now . . 
. . and there was formerly a custom in Bengal that 
no virgin in honour and esteem could be corrupted unless 
it were by placing bracelets of chanco on her arms ; 
but, since the Patans came in, this usage has more or 
less ceased." " The conch shell," Captain C. R. Day 
writes,* " is not in secular use as a musical instrument, 
but is found in every temple, and is sounded during 



* Music and Musical Instruments of Southern India and the Deccan, 1891. 



329 BRAHMAN 

religious ceremonials, in processions, and before the 
shrines of Hindu deities. In Southern India, the sankhu 
is employed in the ministration of a class of temple 
servers called Dasari. No tune, so to speak, can of 
course be played upon it, but still the tone is capable of 
much modulation by the lips, and its clear mellow notes 
are not without a certain charm. A rather striking 
effect is produced when it is used in the temple ritual as a 
sort of rhythmical accompaniment, when it plays the part 
of kannagolu or talavinyasa." In a petition from two 
natives of the city of Madras in 1734, in connection with 
the expenses for erecting a town called Chintadrepettah, 
the following occurs * : — " Expended towards digging a 
foundation, where chanks was buried with accustomary 
ceremonies." A right-handed chank {i.e., one which has 
its spiral opening to the right), which was found off the 
coast of Ceylon at Jaffna in 1887, was sold for Rs. 700. 
Such a chank is said to have been sometimes priced at a 
lakh of rupees ; and, writing in 1813, Milburn says* that 
a chank opening to the right hand is greatly valued, and 
always sells for its weight in gold. Further, Baldseus 
narrates the legend that Garroude flew in all haste to 
Brahma, and brought to Kistna the chianko or kinkhorn 
twisted to the right. The chank appears as a symbol 
on coins of the Chalukyan and Pandyan dynasties of 
Southern India, and on the modern coins of the Maha- 
rajas of Travancore. 

Temple worship is entirely based on Agamas. As 
Brahmans take part only in the worship of Siva and. 
Vishnu, temples dedicated to these gods are largely 
frequented by them. The duties connected with the 
actual worship of the idol are carried out by Gurukkals 



* Oriental Commerce. 



BRAHMAN 330 

in Siva temples, and by Pancharatra or Vaikhanasa 
Archakas in Vishnu temples. The cooking of the food 
for the daily offering is done by Brahmans called Par- 
charakas. At the time of worship, some Brahmans, 
called Adhyapakas, recite the Vedas. Some stanzas 
from Thiruvaimozhi or Thevaram are also repeated, the 
former by Brahmans at Vishnu temples, and the latter 
by Pandarams (Oduvar) at Siva temples. In a typical 
temple there are usually two idols, one of stone (mula 
vigraha) and the other of metal (utsava vigraha). The 
mula vigraha is permanently fixed within the inner 
shrine or garbagraha, and the utsava vigraha is intended 
to be carried in procession. The mula vigrahas of 
Vishnu temples are generally in human form, either in a 
standing posture, or, as in the case of Ranganatha, 
Padmanabha, and Govindarajaswami, in a reclining pos- 
ture, on Adisesha. Ordinarily, three idols constitute the 
mula vigraha. These are Vishnu, Sridevi (Lakshmi), 
and Bhudevi (earth goddess). In temples dedicated to 
Sri Rama, Lakshmana is found instead of Bhudevi. 
Sridevi and Bhudevi are also associated with Vishnu 
in the utsava vigraha. In all the larger temples, there 
is a separate building in the temple precincts dedicated 
to Lakshmi, and within the garbagraha thereof, called 
thayar or nachiyar sannadhi, is a mula vigraha of 
Lakshmi. There may also be one or more shrines dedi- 
cated to the Alvars (Vaishnava saints) and the Acharyas 
— Desikar and Manavala Mahamunigal. The sect mark 
is put on the faces of the mula and utsava vigrahas. 
The mula vigraha in Siva temples is a lingam (phallic 
emblem). In Siva temples, there is within the garba- 
graha only one lamp burning, which emits a very feeble 
light. Hence arise the common sayings " As dim as 
the light burning in Siva's temple," or " Like the lamp 



33 1 BRAHMAtf 

in Siva's temple." The utsava vigraha is in the human 
forms of Siva and Parvathi. In all important Saivite 
temples, Parvathi is housed in a separate building, as 
Lakshmi is in Vishnu temples. Vigneswara, Subra- 
manya, and the important Nayanmars also have separate 
shrines in the temple precincts. 

So far as ordinary daily worship is concerned, there 
is not much difference in the mode of worship between 
temple and domestic worship. Every item is done on a 
large scale, and certain special Agamic or Tantric rites 
are added to the sixteen Upacharas already mentioned. 
At the present time, there are, especially in the case of 
Vishnu temples, two forms of temple worship, called 
Pancharatra and Vaikhanasa. In the former, which 
is like domestic worship in all essential points, any 
Brahman may officiate as temple priest. In the latter, 
only Vaikhanasa Archakas may officiate. 

All big temples are generally well endowed, and 
some temples receive from Government annual grants of 
money, called tasdik. The management of the temple 
affairs rests with the Dharmakarthas (trustees), who 
practically have absolute control over the temple funds. 
All the temple servants, such as Archakas, Parchara- 
kas, and Adhyapakas, and the non- Brahman servants 
(sweepers, flower-gatherers, musicians and dancing-girls) 
are subject to the authority of the Dharmakartha. For 
their services in the temple, these people are paid partly 
in money, and partly in kind. The cooked food, which 
is offered daily to the god, is distributed among the 
temple servants. On ordinary days, the offerings of 
cooked food made by the Archakas, and the fruits 
brought by those who come to worship, are offered only 
to the mula vigraha, whereas, on festival days, they are 
offered to the utsava vigrahas. 



BRAHMAN S3 2 

For worship in Vishnu temples, flowers and tulsi 
(Ocimum sanctum) are used. In Siva temples, bilva 
(bael : SEgle Marmelos) leaves are substituted for tulsi. 
At the close of the worship, the Archaka gives to those 
present thirtham (holy water), tulsi or bilva leaves, and 
vibhuthi (sacred ashes) according to the nature of the 
temple. At Vishnu temples, immediately after the 
giving of thirtham, an inverted bowl, bearing on it the 
feet of Vishnu (satari or sadagopam), is placed by the 
Archaka first on the head, and then on the right 
shoulder, and again on the head, in the case of grown 
up and married males, and only on the head in the case 
of females and young people. The bowl is always 
kept near the mula vigraha, and, on festival days, when 
the god is taken in procession through the streets, 
it is carried along with the utsava vigraha. On festival 
days, such as Dhipavali, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Dwadasi, 
etc., the god of the temple is taken in procession 
through the main streets of the town or village. The 
idol, thus borne in procession, is not the stone figure, 
but the portable one made of metal (utsava vigraha), 
which is usually kept in the temple in front of the 
Mula idol. At almost every important temple, an 
annual festival called Brahmotsavam, which usually lasts 
ten days, is celebrated. Every night during this festival, 
the god is seated on the clay, wooden or metal figure of 
some animal as a vehicle, e.g., Garuda, horse, elephant, 
bull, Hanuman, peacock, yali, etc., and taken in proces- 
sion, accompanied by a crowd of Brahmans chanting the 
Vedas and Tamil Nalayara Prapandhams, if the temple 
is an important one. Of the vehicles or vahanams, 
Hanuman and Garuda are special to Vishnu, and the 
bull (Nandi) and tiger to Siva. The others are common 
to both deities. During the month of May, the festival 



333 BRAHMAN 

of the god Varadaraja takes place annually. On one of 
the ten days of this festival, the idol, which has gone 
through a regular marriage ceremony, is placed on an 
elaborately decorated car (ratha), and dragged through 
the main streets. The car frequently bears a number of 
carved images of a very obscene nature, the object of 
which, it is said, is to avert the evil eye. Various castes, 
besides Brahmans, take part in temple worship, at which 
the saints of both Siva and Vishnu — Nayanmar and 
Alvars — are worshipped. The Brahmans do not entirely 
ignore the worship of the lower deities, such as Mariamma, 
Muneswara, Kodamanitaya, etc. At Udipi in South 
Canara, the centre of the Madhva cult, where Madhva 
preached his Dvaitic philosophy, and where there are 
several mutts presided over by celibate priests, the 
Brahmans often make a vow to the Bhuthas (devils) 
of the Paravas and Nalkes. Quite recently, we saw an 
orthodox Shivalli Brahman, employed under the priest 
of one of the Udipi mutts, celebrating the nema (festival) 
of a bhutha named Panjurli, in fulfilment of a vow made 
when his son was ill. The Nalke devil-dancers were 
sent for, and the dance took place in the courtyard of the 
Brahman's house. During the leaf festival at Periya- 
palayam near Madras, Brahman males and females 
may be seen wearing leafy twigs of margosa (Melia 
Azadirachta), and going round the Mariamma shrine. 

I pass on to a detailed consideration of the various 
classes of Brahmans met with in Southern India. Of 
these, the Tamil Brahmans, or Dravidas proper, are most 
numerous in the southern districts. They are divided 
into the following sections : — 

/. Smart ha. 



(a) Vadama. 
{b) Kesigal. 



(c) Brahacharnam. 

(d) Vathima or Madhema. 



BRAHMAN 



334 



/. Smartha — cont. 

(e) Ashtasahasram. 

(/) Dlkshitar. 

(g) Sholiar. 

(h) Mukkani. 

II. Vaishnava 

A. Vadagalai (northerners). 

(a) Sri Vaishnava. 

(b) Vaikhanasa. 

(c) Pancharatra. 

(d) Hebbar. 



(/) Kaniyalai. 
(/) Sankethi. 
(k) Prathamasaki. 

(/) Gurukkal. 



B. Thengalai (southerners). 
(a) Sri Vaishnava. 
(/}) Vaikhanasa. 

(c) Pancharatra. 

(d) Hebbar. 

(e) Mandya. 



/. Smartha — (a) Vadama. — The Vadamas claim to 
be superior to the other classes, but will dine with all 
the sections, except Gurukkals and Prathamasakis, and, 
in some places, will even eat with Prathamasakis. The 
sub-divisions among the Vadamas are : — 
i. Choladesa (Chola country). 

2. Vadadesa (north country). 

3. Savayar or Sabhayar. 

4. Inji. 

5. Thummagunta Dravida. 

All these are Smarthas, who use as their sect mark 
either the urdhvapundram (straight mark made with 
sandal paste) or the circular mark, and rarely the cross 
lines. They worship both Siva and Vishnu, and 
generally read Puranas about Vishnu. Some Vadamas 
use the Vaishnava namam as their sect mark, and are 
called Kiththunamakkarar. They follow the Smartha 
customs in every way. There is a common saying 
" Vadamam muththi Vaishnavam," i.e., a Vadama ripens 
into a Vaishnava. This is literally true. Some Vadama 
families, who put on the urdhvapundram mark, and follow 
the Smartha customs, observe pollution whenever a 
death occurs in certain Sri Vaishnava families. This 



335 BRAHMAN 

is because the Sri Vaishnavas are Vadamas recently 
converted into Vaishnava families. 

(6) Kesigal. — The Kesigals, or Hiranyakesikal 
(men of the silvery hair), as they are sometimes called, 
closely resemble the Vadamas, but are an exclusive 
endogamous unit, and highly conservative and orthodox. 
They are called Hiranyakesikal or Hiranyakesis because 
they follow the Grihya Sutras of Hiranyakesi. It is 
noted, in the Gazetteer of the Tanjore district, that they 
" are peculiar in all having one common Sutram called 
the Sathvashada after a common ancestor." 

(c) Brahacharnam (the great sect). — The Braha- 
charnams are more Saivite, and more orthodox than the 
Vadamas. They put on vibhuti (sacred ashes) and 
sandal paste horizontal lines as their sect mark. The 
sub-division Sathyamangalam Brahacharnam seems, 
however, to be an exception, as some members thereof 
put on the Vaishnavite sect mark at all times, or at least 
during the month of Purattasi, which is considered 
sacred to the god Venkataramana of Tirupati. The 
more orthodox Brahacharnams wear a single rudraksha 
bead, or a necklace of beads, and some make lingams 
out of these beads, which they put on the head during 
worship. They generally worship five gods, viz., Siva 
in the form of a lingam, spatika (crystal) lingam, Vishnu, 
Gancsa, and Iswara. It is said that Brahacharnam 
women can be distinguished by the mode of tying the 
cloth, which is not worn so as to reach to the feet, but 
reaches only to just below the knees. The Brahachar- 
nams are sub-divided into the following sections : — 

i. Kandramanicka. 5. Musanadu. 

2. Milaganur. 6. Kolaththur. 

3. Mangudi. 7. Maruthancheri. 

4. Palavaneri or Pazhama- 8. Sathyamangalam. 

neri. 9. Puthur Dravida, 



BRAHMAN 336 

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Tanjore district, 
that " one ceremony peculiar to the MiJaganur Braha- 
charnams is that, before the principal marriage ceremonies 
of the first day, a feast is given to four married women, 
a widow, and a bachelor. This is called the adrisya 
pendugal (invisible women) ceremony. It is intended to 
propitiate four wives belonging to this sub-division, who 
are said to have been cruelly treated by their mother-in- 
law, and cursed the class. They are represented to have 
feasted a widow, and to have then disappeared." 

(d) Vathima. — The Vathimas, or Madhimas, are 
most numerous in the Tanjore district, and are thus 
described in the Gazetteer : — " The Vattimas are grouped 
into three smaller sub-sections, of which one is called 
'the eighteen village Vattimas,' from the fact that they 
profess (apparently with truth) to have lived till recently 
in only eighteen villages, all of them in this district. 
They have a marked character of their own, which may 
be briefly described. They are generally money-lenders, 
and consequently are unpopular with their neighbours, 
who are often blind to their virtues and unkind to their 
failings. [There is a proverb that the Vadamas are 
•always economical, and the Vathimas always unite 
together.] It is a common reproach against them that 
they are severe to those who are in their debt, and parsi- 
monious in their household expenditure. To this latter 
characteristic is attributed their general abstinence from 
dholl (the usual accompaniment of a Brahman meal), and 
their preference for a cold supper instead of a hot meal. 
The women work as hard as the men, making mats, 
selling buttermilk, and lending money on their own 
account, and are declared to be as keen in money-making 
and usury as their brothers. They, however, possess 
many amiable traits. They are well known for a 



337 BRAHMAN 

generous hospitality on all great occasions, and no poor 
guest or Brahman mendicant has ever had reason to 
complain in their houses that he is being served worse 
than his richer or more influential fellows. Indeed, if 
anything, he fares the better for his poverty. Again, 
they are unusually lavish in their entertainments at 
marriages ; but their marriage feasts have the peculiarity 
that, whatever the total amount expended, a fixed pro- 
portion is always paid for the various items — so much per 
cent, for the pandal, so much per cent, for food, and so on. 
Indeed it is asserted that a beggar who sees the size of 
the marriage pandal will be able to guess to a nicety the 
size of the present he will get. Nor, again, at their 
marriages, do they haggle about the marriage settlement, 
since they have a scale, more or less fixed and generally 
recognised, which determines these matters. There is 
less keen competition for husbands among them, since 
their young men marry at an earlier age more invariably 
than among the other sub-divisions. The Vattimas are 
clannish. If a man fails to pay his dues to one of them, 
the word is passed round, and no other man of the sub- 
division will ever lend his money. They sometimes 
unite to light their villages by private subscription, and 
to see to its sanitation, and, in a number of ways, they 
exhibit a corporate unity. Till quite recently they were 
little touched by English education ; but a notable 
exception to this general statement existed in the late 
Sir A. Seshayya Sastri, who was of Vattima extraction." 
The sub-divisions of the Vattimas are : — 
i. Pathinettu Gramaththu (eighteen villages). 

2. Udayalur. 

3. Nannilam. 

4. Rathamangalam. According to some, this is not a separate 

section, but comes under the eighteen village section. 

22 



BRAHMAN 33$ 

(e) Ashtasahasram (eight thousand). — This class 
is considered to be inferior to the Brahacharnams and 
Vadamas. The members thereof are, like the Braha- 
charnams, more Saivite than the Vadamas. The females 
are said to wear their cloth very elegantly, and with the 
lower border reaching so low as to cover the ankles. 
The sub-divisions of the Ashtasahasrams are : — 

i. Aththiyur. 

2. Arivarpade. 

3. Nandivadi. 

4. Shatkulam (six families). 

As their numbers are few, though the sub-divisions 
are endogamous, intermarriage is not entirely prohibited. 

(/) Dlkshitar. — Another name for this section is 
Thillai Muvayiravar, i.e., the three thousand of Thillai 
(now Chidambaram). There is a tradition that three 
thousand people started from Benares, and, when they 
reached Chidambaram, they were one short. This 
confused them, but they were pacified when Siva 
explained that he was the missing individual. The 
Dlkshitars form a limited community of only several 
hundred families. The men, like Nayars and Nambutiri 
Brahmans of the west coast, wear the hair tuft on the 
front of the head. They do not give their girls in 
marriage to other sections of Brahmans, and they do not 
allow their women to leave Chidambaram. Hence arises 
the proverb "A Thillai girl never crosses the boundary 
line." The Dlkshitars are priests of the temple of 
Nataraja at Chidambaram, whereat they serve by turns. 
Males marry very early in life, and it is very difficult to 
secure a girl for marriage above the age of five. The 
tendency to marry when very young is due to the fact that 
only married persons have a voice in the management of 



339 BRAHMAN 

the affairs of the temple, and an individual must be 
married before he can get a share of the temple income. 
The chief sources of income are the pavadam and kattalai 
(heaps of cooked rice piled up or spread on a board), 
which are offered to the god. Every Dlkshitar will do 
his best to secure clients, of whom the best are Nattu- 
kottai Chettis. The clients are housed and looked 
after by the Dlkshitar s. Concerning the Dlkshitars, 
Mr. W. Francis writes as follows* : — "An interesting 
feature about the Chidambaram temple is its system of 
management. It has no landed or other endowments, 
nor any tasdik allowance, and is the property of a class 
of Brahmans peculiar to the town, who are held in far 
more respect than the generality of the temple-priest 
Brahmans, are called Dlkshitars (those who make 
oblations), marry only among themselves, and in ap- 
pearance somewhat resemble the Nayars or Tiyans of 
Malabar, bringing their topknot round to the front of 
their foreheads. Their ritual in the temple more 
resembles that of a domestic worship than the forms 
commonly followed in other large shrines. Theoretically, 
all the married males of the Dlkshitars have a voice in 
the management of the temple, and a share in its 
perquisites ; and at present there are some 250 of such 
shares. They go round the southern districts soliciting 
alms and offerings for themselves. Each one has his 
own particular clientele, and, in return for the. alms 
received, he makes, on his return, offerings at the shrine 
in the name of his benefactors, and sends them now and 
again some holy ashes, or an invitation to a festival. 
Twenty of the Dlkshitars are always on duty in the 



* Gazetteer of the South Arcot district. 
22 * 



BRAHMAN 34° 

temple, all the males of the community (except boys and 
widowers) doing the work by turns lasting twenty days 
each, until each one has been the round of all the different 
shrines. The twenty divide themselves into five parties 
of four each, each of which is on duty for four days at 
one of the five shrines at which daily puja is made, sleeps 
there at night, and becomes the owner of the routine 
offerings of food made at it. Large presents of food 
made to the temple as a whole are divided among all 
the Dikshitars. The right to the other oblations is sold 
by auction every twenty days to one of the Dikshitars at 
a meeting of the community. These periodical meetings 
take place in the Deva Sabha. A lamp from Nataraja's 
shrine is brought, and placed there by a Pandaram, and 
(to avoid even the appearance of any deviation from the 
principle of the absolute equality of all Dikshitars in the 
management of the temple) this man acts as president 
of the meeting, and proposals are made impersonally 
through him." As a class the Dikshitars are haughty, 
and refuse to acknowledge any of the Sankarachariars 
as their priests, because they are almost equal to the god 
Siva, who is one of them. If a Sankarachariar comes to 
the temple, he is not allowed to take sacred ashes 
direct from the cup, as is done at other temples to 
show respect to the Sanyasi. The Dikshitars are 
mostly Yejur Vedis, though a few are followers of the 
Rig Veda. When a girl attains puberty, she goes in 
procession, after the purificatory bath, to every Dlkshitar's 
house, and receives presents. 

(jf) Sholiar. — The Sholiars are divided into the 
following sections : — 



(i) Thirukattiur. 

(2) Madalur. 

(3) Visalur. 



(4) Puthalur. 

(5) Senganur. 

(6) Avadayar Kovil. 




DIKSHITAR BRAHMAN. 



341 BRAHMAN 

Concerning the Sholiars, Mr. C. Ramachendrier 
writes as follows*: — "The Sholiars of Thiruvanakaval 
(in the Tanjore district) belong to the first sub-division, 
and they form a separate community, devoting their 
time to service in the temple. Those who make puja to 
the idol are Pradhamasakis, and are called Archakas. 
Those who serve as cooks, and attend to other inferior 
services, are .called Arya Nambi, and those who decorate 
the idols taken in procession on festive occasions are 
termed Therunabuttan. Archakas alone are entitled to 
decorate stone images in the chief shrines of the temple, 
and they are also called Pandits. According to custom, 
Sholia Brahmans should wear front locks, but some of 
them have adopted the custom of other Brahmans, while 
the orthodox section of the community, and the Archakas 
of Thiruvanakaval, speak a very low Tamil with a peculiar 
intonation, and they do not send their children to English 
schools. Young boys are trained by their parents in the 
temple service, which entitles them, even when young, 
to some emoluments. There are amongst them none 
who have received either Sanskrit or Tamil education. 
The Archakas perform pujas by turn, and, as the Archaka- 
ship is to be conferred at a certain age by anointment 
by a guru, infant marriage does not obtain among 
them to such an extent as among the Dikshitars of 
Chidambaram. They eat with the other Smartha 
Brahmans, but do not intermarry. They count about 
300 in number, including women and children. There 
is no intermarriage between them and the other Sholia 
Brahmans. Those of Avadayarcovil are also engaged 
in the service of the temple of that name. Sholiars of 



* Collection of the Decisions of High Courts and the Privy Council on the 
Hind« Law of Marriage and the Effect of Apostacy after marriage. Madras, 
1891. 



BRAHMAN 342 

other classes are to be found in Vasishtakudy in the 
taluk of Vriddachallam, Vemmaniathur in the taluk of 
Villupuram, and Visalur in the taluk of Kumbaconam." 
In an article on the Sholiars, * it is recorded that " they 
are a very intelligent people, and at the same time very 
vindictive if disturbed. Chanakya, the Indian Machia- 
velli and the Minister of Chandragupta, is supposed to 
have belonged to this caste. His hatred of the Nanda 
family, and the way in which he uprooted each and 
every member of that race, has been depicted in the 
famous Sanskrit drama Mudrarakshasa, which belongs 
to the 7th century A.D. Whether on account of his 
character, and under the belief that he originated from 
this caste, or for some reason which is unaccountable, 
the Soliyas of modern days are held as very vindictive 
people, as the following proverb will show : — ' We do 
not want to meet with a Soliya even in a picture.' " 
Another proverb is to the effect that "the kudumi (hair 
tuft) on the head of a Sholiar does not shake without 
sufficient reason," i.e., it is a sign that he is bent upon 
doing some mischief. 

(h) Mukkani. — The Mukkanis are Smarthas con- 
fined to the Cochin and Travancore States. 

(i) Kdniyalar. — Concerning the Kaniyalars, Mr. 
Ramachendrier writes as follows : — " Kanialars form a 
separate class of Smartha Brahmins, and they live in the 
district of Tinnevelly and some parts of Trichinopoly. 
They do not intermarry with any other class of Smartha 
Brahmins, but eat with them. A large number of them, 
though Smarthas by birth, wear a mark on their forehead 
like Vyshnava Brahmins, and serve as cooks and 
menial servants in the big temple at Srirangam. Their 



* Madras Mail, 1904. 



343 BRAHMAN 

women adopt the Vyshnava women's style of wearing 
cloths, and to all appearance they would pass for 
Vyshnava women. The Vyshnava Brahmins would not 
allow them to mess in their houses, though they treat 
rice and cakes prepared by them in temples and offered 
to god as pure and holy, and partake of them." 

(/) Sankethi. — The Sankethis are confined to the 
Mysore Province. They speak a very corrupt form 
of Tamil, mixed with Canarese. The following account 
of them is given in the Mysore Census Report, 1891. 
" They are found chiefly in the Mysore and Hassan 
districts. Their colonies are also found in Kadur and 
Shimoga. Their number seems to have been somewhat 
understated ; many of them have probably returned 
themselves as Dravidas. So far as language is an 
indication of race, the Sanketis are Tamilians, although 
their dialect is more diluted with Kanarese than that of 
any other Kannada ridden Tamil body. Theirs seems to 
have been among the earliest immigrations into Mysore 
from the neighbouring Tamil country. It is said that 
some 700 years ago, about 1,000 families of Smartha 
Brahmans emigrated from the vicinity of Kanchi (Con- 
jeeveram), induced doubtless by contemporary politics. 
They set out in two batches towards Mysore. They 
were attacked by robbers on the road, but the larger 
party of about 700 families persevered in the march 
notwithstanding, and settled near the village of Kausika 
near Hassan, whence they are distinguished as Kausika 
Sanketis. Some twelve years afterwards, the other party 
of 300 families found a resting place at Bettadapura in 
the Hunsur taluk. This branch has been called Bettada- 
pura Sanketi. Their religious and social customs are 
the same. The Kausika Sanketis occasionally take 
wives from the Bettadapura section, but, when the married 



BRAHMAN 344 

girl joins her husband, her connection with her parents 
and relatives ceases altogether even in regard to meals. 
During the Coorg disturbances about the end of the last 
(eighteenth) century, many young women of the Sanketis 
were captured by the Kodagas (Coorgs), and some of the 
captives were subsequently recovered. Their descend- 
ants are to this day known as Sanketis of the West, or 
Hiriangalas. But they, and another sub-class called 
Patnagere Sanketis, do not in all exceed twenty families. 
The Sanketis are proverbially a hardy, intensely con- 
servative and industrious Brahman community. They 
are referred to as models for simultaneously securing 
the twofold object of preserving the study of the 
Vedas, while securing a worldly competence by cultivat- 
ing their gardens ; and, short of actually ploughing the 
land, they are pre-eminently the only fraction of the 
Brahman brotherhood who turn their hands to the best 
advantage." 

(k) Prathamasaki. — These follow the white Yajur 
Veda, and are hence called Sukla Yejur Vedis. The 
white Yajus forms the first fifteen sakas of the Yejur 
Veda, and this is in consequence sometimes called 
Prathamasaka. The Prathamasakis are sometimes 
called Katyayana (followers of Katyayana Sutram), 
Vajusaneya, and Madyandanas. The two last names 
occur among their Pravara and Gotra Rishis. The 
Prathamasakis are found among all the linguistic sec- 
tions. Among Smarthas, Andhras, and Vaishnavas, they 
are regarded as inferior. Carnataka Prathamasakis are, 
on the other hand, not considered inferior by the other 
sections of Carnatakas. In the Tanjore district, the 
Prathamasakis are said to be known as Madyana Parai- 
yans. The following quaint legend is recorded in the 
Gazetteer of that district : — " The god of the Tiruvalur 



345 BRAHMAN 

temple was entreated by a pujari of this place (Koil- 
tirumulam) to be present in the village at a sacrifice in 
his (the god's) honour. The deity consented at length, 
but gave warning that he would come in a very unwel- 
come shape. He appeared as a Paraiyan (Pariah) with 
beef on his back, and followed by the four Vedas in the 
form of dogs, and took his part in the sacrifice thus 
accoutred and attended. All the Brahmans who were 
present ran away, and the god was so incensed that he 
condemned them to be Paraiyans for one hour in the day, 
from noon till i p.m., ever afterwards. There is a class 
of Brahmans called mid-day Paraiyans, who are found in 
several districts, and a colony of whom reside at Sedani- 
puram five miles from Nannilam. It is believed 
throughout the Tanjore district that the mid-day Parai- 
yans are the descendants of the Brahmans thus cursed 
by the god. They are supposed to expiate their defile- 
ment by staying outside their houses for an hour and 
a half every day at mid-day, and to bathe afterwards ; 
and, if they do this, they are much respected. Few of 
them, however, observe this rule, and orthodox persons 
will not eat with them, because of their omission to 
remove the defilement. They call themselves the 
Prathamasaka." Several versions of stories accounting 
for their pollution are extant, and the following is a 
version given by Mr. Ramachendrier. " Yagnavalkiar, 
who was the chief disciple of Vysampayanar, having 
returned with his students from pilgrimage, represented 
to his priest that Yajur Veda was unrivalled, and that he 
and his students alone were qualified for its propagation. 
Vysampayanar, feeling provoked by this assertion, which, 
he remarked, implied insult to Brahmans, proposed 
certain penance for the offence. Yagnavalkiar replied 
that he and his students had done many good deeds and 



BRAHMAN 34^ 

performed many religious rites, and that they were still 
to do such, and that the insult imputed to them was 
worthy of little notice. Vysampayanar required Yagna- 
valkiar to give back the Vedas which he had taught him, 
which he threw out at once. The matter thrown out 
having been like cinders, Vysampayanar's disciples then 
present, assuming the shape of thithiri birds (fire-eating 
birds), swallowed them, and hence the Veda is called 
Thithiriya Saka and Ktishna Yajus. Soon after, Yagna- 
valkiar, without his priest's knowledge, went to the Sun, 
and, offering prayers, entreated him to teach him Vedas. 
The Sun, thereupon taking the shape of a horse, taught 
him the Yajur Veda, which now forms the first fifteen 
sakas, and he in turn taught it to his disciples Kanvar, 
Madhyandanar, Katyayanar, and Vajasaneyar. It is to 
be gathered from Varaha Puranam that Vysampayanar 
pronounced a curse that the Rig Veda taught by the 
Sun should be considered degraded, and that the Brah- 
mans reading it should become Chandalas (outcastes)." 
Another version of the legend runs as follows. Vaisam- 
payanar used to visit the king almost every day, and 
bless him by giving akshatha or sacred rice. One day, 
as Vaisampayanar could not go, he gave the rice grains to 
his disciple Yagnavalkiar, and told him to take them to 
the king. Accordingly, Yagnavalkiar went to the king's 
palace, and found the throne empty. Being impatient 
by nature, he left the rice grains on the throne, and 
returned to his priest. The king, when he returned 
home, found his throne changed into gold, and certain 
plants were growing round his seat. On enquiry, he 
discovered that this marvellous effect was due to the 
sacred akshatha. He sent word to Vaisampayanar to 
send the rice grains by his disciple who had brought 
them. Yagnavalkiar refused, and was told to vomit 



347 BRAHMAN 

the Vedas. Readily he vomited, and, going to the Sun, 
learnt the Veda from him. As the Sun is always in 
motion sitting in his car, the Vedas could not be learnt 
without mistakes and peculiar sounds. When he came 
to his Guru Vaisampayanar, Yagnavalkiar was cursed to 
become a Chandala. The curse was subsequently modi- 
fied, as the Sun interceded on behalf of Yagnavalkiar. 

(/) Gurukkal. — The Gurukkals are all followers 
of the Bodhayana Sutras. They are temple priests, 
and other Brahmans regard them as inferior, and will 
not eat with them. Even in temples, the Gurukkals 
sprinkle water over the food when it is offered to the 
god, but do not touch the food. They may not live 
in the same quarters with other Brahmans. No agra- 
haram (Brahman quarter) will ever contain a Gurukkal's 
house. There should, strictly speaking, be at least a 
lane separating the houses of the Gurukkals from those 
of other Brahmans. This is, however, not rigidly 
observed at the present day. For example, at Shiyali, 
Gurukkals and other Brahmans live in the same street. 
There are among the Gurukkals the following sub- 
divisions : — 

i. Tiruvalangad. 

2. Conjeeveram. 

3. Tirukkazhukunram. 

The Tiruvalangad Gurukkals mark their bodies with 
vibhuti (sacred ashes) in sixteen places, viz., head, face, 
neck, chest, navel, knees, two sides of the abdomen, back 
and hands (three places on each hand). The other two 
sub-divisions mark themselves in eight places, viz., 
head, face, neck, chest, knees and hands. Gurukkals 
who wish to become priests have to go through several 
stages of initiation called Dikshai (sec Pandaram). 
Gurukkals are Saivites to a greater extent than the 



BRAHMAN 348 

Smarthas, and do not regard themselves as disciples 
of Sankaracharya. Those who are orthodox, and are 
temple priests, should not see the corpses of Pandarams 
and other non- Brahman castes. The sight of such a 
corpse is supposed to heap sin on them, and pollute them, 
so that they are unfit for temple worship. 

//. Vaishnava. — The Vaishnavas, or Sri Vaishnavas, 
as they are sometimes called to distinguish them from the 
Madhvas, who are also called Vaishnavas, are all converts 
from Smarthas, though they profess to constitute a 
distinct section. Some are converts from Telugu 
Smarthas, and are called Andhra Vaishnavas. These do 
not mix with other Tamil-speaking Vaishnavas, and retain 
some of the Telugu customs. There are two distinct 
groups of Sri Vaishnavas — the Vadagalais (northerners) 
and Thengalais (southerners), who are easily distin- 
guished by the marks on their foreheads. The Vadagalais 
put on a U-shaped mark, and the Thengalais a Y-shaped 
mark. The white mark is made with a kind of kaolin 
called tiruman, and turmeric rendered red by means of 
alkali is used for the central streak. The turmeric, as 
applied by the more orthodox, is of a yellow instead of 
red colour. Orthodox Sri Vaishnavas are very exclusive, 
and hold that they co-existed as a separate caste of 
Brahmans with the Smarthas. But it was only after 
Ramanuja's teaching that the Vaishnavas seceded from 
the Smarthas, and the ranks were swollen by frequent 
additions from amongst the Vadamas. There are some 
families of Vaishnavas which observe pollution when 
there is a death in certain Smartha families, which belong 
to the same gotra. Vaishnavas of some places, e.g., 
Valavanur, Savalai, and Perangiyur, in the South Arcot 
district, are considered low by the orthodox sections 
of Vaishnavas, because they are recent converts to 



349 BRAHMAN 

Vaishnavism. A good example of Smarthas becoming 
Vaishnavas is afforded by the Thummagunta Dravidas, 
some of whom have become Vaishnavas, but still take 
girls in marriage from Smartha families, but do not 
give their daughters in marriage to Smarthas. All 
Vaishnavas are expected to undergo a ceremony of 
initiation into Vaishnavism after the Upanayanam cere- 
mony. At the time of initiation, they are branded with 
the marks of the chakram and sankha (chank) on the 
right and left shoulders respectively. The Vaikha- 
nasas and Pancharatras regard the branding as unneces- 
sary. The ceremony of initiation (samasrayanam) is 
usually performed by the head of a mutt. Sometimes, 
however, it is carried out by an elderly member of the 
family of the candidate. Such families go by the name 
of Swayam Acharya Purushas (those who have their 
own men as Acharyas). 

For Vadagalais there are two mutts. Of these, 
the Ahobila mutt was formerly at Tiruvallur, but its 
head-quarters has been transferred to Narasimhapuram 
near Kumbakonam. The Parakalaswami mutt is in 
the Mysore Province. For Thengalais there are three 
mutts, at Vanamamalai and Sriperumbudur in Chingle- 
put, and Tirukoilur in South Arcot. These are called 
respectively theTothadri, Ethirajajhir, and Emberumanar 
mutts. There are various points of difference between 
Vadagalais and Thengalais, which sometimes lead to bitter 
quarrels in connection with temple worship. During 
the procession of the god at temple festivals, both 
Vadagalais and Thengalais go before and after the god, 
repeating Sanskrit Vedas and Tamil Prapandhams 
respectively. Before commencing these, certain slokas 
are recited, in one of which the Vadagalais use the 
expression Ramanuja daya patram, and the Thengalais 



BRAHMAN 350 

the expression Srisailesa daya patram, and a quarrel 
ensues in consequence. The main differences between 
the two sections are summarised as follows in the 
Mysore Census Report, 1891: — "The tenets which form 
the bone of contention between the Tengales and 
Vadagales are stated to number 18, and seem to cluster 
round a few cardinal items of controversy : — 

1. Whether Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, is 
(Vibhu) co-omnipresent and co-illimitable with Vishnu ; 

2. Whether Lakshmi is only the mediatrix for, or 
the co-bestower of moksham or final beatitude ; 

3. Whether there is any graduated moksham attain- 
able by the good and blessed, according to their multi- 
farious merits ; 

4. Whether prapatti, or unconditional surrender of 
the soul to god, should be performed once for all, or 
after every act of spiritual rebellion ; 

5. Whether it (prapatti) is open to all, or is pre- 
scribed only for those specially prepared and apprenticed ; 

6. Whether the indivisibly atomic human soul is 
entered into, and permeated or not by the omnipresent 
creator ; 

7. Whether god's mercy is exerted with or without 
cause ; 

8. Whether the same (the divine mercy) means the 
overlooking (dhosha darsanam) or enjoyment (dhosha 
bogyatvam) of the soul's delinquencies ; 

9. Whether works (karma) and knowledge (jnana) 
are in themselves salvation giving, or only lead to 
faith (bhakthi) by which final emancipation is attained ; 

10. Whether the good of other (unregenerate) 
castes should be tolerated according to their graduated 
social statuses, or should be venerated without reference 
to caste inequalities^; 



35 1 BRAHMAN 

ii. Whether karma (works, rituals, etc.) should or 
not be bodily and wholly abandoned by those who have 
adopted prapatti." 

The points of difference between Vadagalais and 
Thengalais are thus described by Mr. V. N. Nara- 
simmiyengar * : — " The Tengale schismatists deny to 
Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, any participation in 
creation, and reduce her to the position of a creature ; 
omit to ring the bell when worshipping their idols ; 
salute each other and their gods only once ; make use 
of highly abstruse Tamil verses in room of Sanskrit 
mantras and prayers ; modify the sraddha ceremony mate- 
rially, and do not shave their widows. The principal 
texts cited by the Tengale Sri Vaishnavas in support 
of the immunity of their widows from the rite of tonsure 
are the following : — 

Widows should avoid, even when in affliction and 
danger, shaving, eating of sweets, betel nut, flowers, 
sexual intercourse, conversation with men, and jewels 
(Sandilyah). 

A woman, whether unmarried or widowed, who 
shaves her hair, will go to the hell called Rauravam. 
When the husband dies, the widow should perform his due 
obsequies without shaving. She should never shave on 
any occasion, or for any purpose whatever (Sambhuh). 

If any woman, whether unmarried or widowed, shave 
(her head), she will dwell in the hell called Rauravam for 
one thousand karor s of kalpas. I f a widow shave (her head) 
by ignorance, she will cause hair to grow in the mouths of 
her ancestors' ghosts on both sides. If she perform any 
ceremonies inculcated by the Srutis and Smritis with her 
head shaved, she will be born a Chandall (Manuh). 



* Ind. Ant. Ill, 1874. 




BRAHMAN 352 

There is no sin in a devout widow, whose object is 
eternal salvation, wearing her hair. If she should shave, 
she will assuredly go to hell. A Vaishnava widow 
should never shave her head. If she do so through 
ignorance, her face should not be looked at (Vridd'ha 
Manuh in Khagesvara Samhita). . v 

If any one observe a Brahmachari beggar with his 
kachche (cloth passed between the legs, and tucked 
in behind), a householder without it, and a widow 
without hair on her head, he should at once plunge into 
water with his clothes (Ananta Samhita). 

It is considered highly meritorious for Vaishnava 
widows to wear their hair, as long as they remain in 
this world (Hayagriva Samhita)." 

In a note on the two sects of the Vaishnavas in the 
Madras Presidency, the Rev. C. E. Kennet writes as 
follows * : — " While both the sects acknowledge the 
Sanskrit books to be authoritative, the Vadagalai uses 
them to a greater extent than the Thengalai. The former 
also recognises and acknowledges the female energy 
as well as the male, though not in the gross and sensual 
form in which it is worshipped among the Saivas, but as 
being the feminine aspect of deity, and representing 
the grace and merciful care of Providence ; while the 
Tenkalai excludes its agency in general, and, incon- 
sistently enough, allows it co-operation in the final 
salvation of a human soul. But the most curious differ- 
ence between the two schools is that relating to human 
salvation itself, and is a reproduction in Indian minds 
of the European controversy between Calvinists and 
Arminians. For the adherents of the Vadakalais 
strongly insist on the concomitancy of the human will 



Ind. Ant. Ill, 1874. 



353 BRAHMAN 

for securing salvation, whereas those of the Tenkalai 
maintain the irresistability of divine grace in human 
salvation. The arguments from analogy used by the 
two parties respectively are, however, peculiarly Indian 
in character. The former adopt what is called the 
monkey argument, the Markata Nyaya, for the young 
monkey holds on to or grasps its mother to be conveyed 
to safety, and represents the hold of the soul on God. 
The latter use the cat argument, the Marjala Nyaya, 
which is expressive of the hold of God on the soul ; 
for the kitten is helpless until the mother-cat seizes 
it nolens volens, and secures it from danger. The late 
Major M. W. Carr inserts in his large collection of 
Telugu and Sanskrit proverbs the following : — 

" The monkey and its cub. As the cub clings to 
its mother, so man seeks divine aid, and clings to his 
God. The doctrine of the Vadakalais. 

" Like the cat and her kitten. The stronger carry- 
ing and protecting the weaker ; used to illustrate the 
free grace of God. The doctrine of the Tenkalais. 

11 Leaving the speculative differences between these 
two sects, I have now to mention the practical one which 
divides them, and which has been, and continues to 
be, the principal cause of the fierce contentions and 
long-drawn law suits between them. And this relates 
to the exact mode of making the sectarian mark on the 
forehead. While both sects wear a representation of 
Vishnu's trident, composed of red or yellow for the 
middle line or prong of the trident, and of white earth 
for those on each side, the followers of the Vadakalai 
draw the middle line only down to the bridge of the 
nose, but those of the Tenkalai draw it over the bridge 
a little way down the nose itself. Each party maintain 
that their mode of making the mark is the right one, 
23 



BRAHMAN 354 

and the only means of effecting a settlement of the 
dispute is to ascertain how the idol itself is marked, 
whether as favouring the Vadakalai or Tenkalai. But 
this has been found hitherto impossible, I am told, for 
instance at Conjeveram itself, the head-quarters of these 
disputes, owing to the unreliable and contradictory- 
character of the evidence produced in the Courts." 

The Hebbar and Mandya sections belong to the 
Mysore Province, in which the former are very numer- 
ous. The latter are few in number, and confined to 
Mandya and Melkote. Some families have settled 
in the city of Madras, where they are employed as 
merchants, bank clerks, attorneys, etc. 

The Mandyas say that they migrated to Mysore 
from some place near Tirupati. Though both the 
Hebbar and Mandya Brahmans speak Tamil, some 
details peculiar to Carnatakas are included in the 
marriage ceremonial. 

The Vaishnava Sholiars are considered somewhat 
low in the social scale. Intermarriage takes place 
between Smartha and Vaishnavite Sholiars. The 
Vaikhanasas and Pancharatras are temple priests 
(archakas). Both use as their title Dikshitar. Some- 
times they are called Nambi, but this term is more 
used to denote Satani temple servants. 

Reference may here be made to the Pattar Brahmans, 
who are Tamil Brahmans, who have settled in Malabar. 
The name is said to be derived from the Sanskrit 
bhatta. It is noted, in the Gazetteer of Malabar, that 
" the Pattars present no peculiarities distinguishing them 
from the ordinary East Coast Brahmans. Like the latter, 
they engage in trade and business, and form a large 
proportion of the official, legal, and scholastic classes. 
With the exception of one class known as Chozhiya 



355 BRAHMAN 

or Arya Pattars, they wear their kudumi (top-knot) on 
the back of the head in the east coast fashion, and not on 
the top and hanging over the forehead, as is done by the 
genuine Malayali castes. They also live as a general 
rule in regular streets or gramams on the east coast 
plan. Few Pattars, except in the Palghat taluk, are 
large land-owners. As a class, they have embraced 
modern educational facilities eagerly, so far as they 
subserve their material prospects. Both Pattars and 
Embrandiris, but especially the latter, have adopted 
the custom of contracting sambandham (alliance) with 
Nayar women, but sambandham with the foreign Brah- 
mans is not considered to be so respectable as with 
Nambudiris, and, except in the Palghat taluk (where 
the Nambudiri is rare), they are not allowed to consort 
with the women of aristocratic families." 

In connection with the Arya Pattars, it is recorded, 
in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, that "the term 
Aryapattar means superior Brahmins. But the actual 
position in society is not quite that. At Ramesvaram, 
which may be considered the seat of Aryapattars, their 
present status seems to be actually inferior, due proba- 
bly, it is believed, to their unhesitating acceptance of 
gifts from Sudras, and to their open assumption of 
their priestly charge. Though at present a small body 
in Malabar, they seem to have once flourished in con- 
siderable numbers. In the case of large exogamous but 
high-caste communities like the Kshatriyas of Malabar, 
Brahmin husbands were naturally in great requisition, 
and when, owing to their high spiritual ideals, the 
Brahmins of Malabar were either Grihasthas or Snatakas 
(bachelor Sanyasins dedicating their life to study, and 
to the performance of orthodox rites), the supply was 

probably unequal to the demand. The scarcity was 
23* 



BRAHMAN 356 

presumably added to when the differences between the 
Kolattunat Royal Family and the Brahmins of the 
Perinchellur gramam became so pronounced as to neces- 
sitate the importing of Canarese and Tulu Brahmins 
for priestly services at their homes and temples. 
The first immigration of Brahmins from the east 
coast, called Aryapattars, into Malabar appears to 
have been under the circumstances above detailed, and 
at the instance of the Rajas of Cranganore. With the 
gradual lowering of the Brahminical ideal throughout 
the Indian Peninsula, and with the increasing struggle 
for physical existence, the Nambutiris entered or re- 
entered the field, and ousted the Aryapattars first from 
consortship, and latterly even from the ceremony of 
tali-tying in families that could pay a Nambutiri. The 
Aryapattar has, in his turn, trespassed into the ranks 
of the Nayars, and has begun to undertake the religious 
rite of marriage, i.e., tali-tying, in aristocratic families 
among them. There are only two families now in all 
Travancore, and they live in the Karunagapalli taluk. 
Malayalam is their household tongue ; in dress and 
personal habits, they are indistinguishable from Mala- 
ysia Brahmins. The males marry into as high a class 
of Brahmins as they could get in Malabar, which is 
not generally higher than that of the Potti. The Potti 
woman thus married gets rather low in rank on account 
of this alliance. The daughter of an Aryapattar cannot 
be disposed of to a Brahminical caste in Malabar. She 
is taken to the Tinnevelly or Madura district, and 
married into the regular Aryapattar family according to 
the rites of the latter. The girl's dress is changed into 
the Tamil form on the eve of her marriage." 

III. Andhra. — The Telugu-speaking Brahmans are 
all Andhras, who differ from Tamil Brahmans in some 



357 BRAHMAN 

of their marriage and death ceremonies, female attire, 
and sectarian marks. Telugu Brahman women wear 
their cloth without passing it between the legs, and the 
free end of the skirt is brought over the left shoulder. 
The sect mark consists of three horizontal streaks of 
sacred ashes on the forehead, or a single streak of 
sandal paste (gandham). In the middle of the streak 
is a circular black spot (akshintalu or akshintalu bottu). 
The marriage badge is a circular plate of gold, called 
bottu, attached to a thread, on which black glass beads 
are frequently strung. A second bottu, called nagavali 
bottu, is tied on the bride's neck on the nagavali day. 
During the time when the bridegroom is performing the 
vrata ceremony, the bride is engaged in the worship 
of Gauri. She sits in a new basket filled with paddy 
(unhusked rice) or cholam (Andropogon Sorghum). On 
the return from the mock pilgrimage (kasiyatra), the 
bride and bridegroom sit facing each other on the dais, 
with a screen interposed between them. Just before 
the bottu is tied on the bride's neck by the bridegroom, 
the screen is lowered. During the marriage ceremony, 
both the bride and bridegroom wear clothes dyed with 
turmeric, until the nagavali day. Among Tamil Brah- 
mans, the bridegroom wears a turmeric-dyed cloth, and 
the bride may wear a silk cloth. Immediately after the 
tying of the bottu, the contracting couple throw rice 
over each other, and those assembled pour rice over their 
heads. This is called Talambralu. 

Taken as a class, the Telugu Brahmans are very 
superstitious, and the females perform a very large 
number of vratams. Of the vratams performed by 
Telugu and Canarese females, both Brahman and 
non-Brahman, the following account is given in the 
Manual of the Nellore district. A very favourite deity 



BRAHMAN 35$ 

is Gauri, in honour of whom many of the rites hereafter 
noticed are performed. These ceremonies give a vivid 
idea of the hopes and fears, the aspirations, and the 
forebodings of Hindu womanhood. The following 
ceremonies are practised by girls after betrothal, and 
before union with their husbands : — 

Atlataddi. — On the third day after the full moon, 
an early meal before sunrise, the worship of Gauri in 
the afternoon, and the presentation of ten cakes to ten 
matrons upon the dismissal of the deity invoked. The 
object is to secure a young agreeable husband. 

Uppu (salt). — This consists in making a present 
to any matron of a pot of salt, full to the brim, at the 
end of the year, with the view to secure a long enjoy- 
ment of the married state. 

Akshayabandar. — This consists in making a 
present of a pot full of turmeric to any matron at the 
end of the year, with a view to avert the calamity of 
widowhood. 

Udayakunkuma. — Putting the red kunkuma mark 
on the foreheads of five matrons before sunrise, with 
the object of being always able to wear the same mark 
on her own forehead, i.e., never to become a widow. 

Padiharukudumulu. — The presentation of sixteen 
cakes once a year for sixteen years to a matron. This 
is for the attaining of wealth. 

Kartika Gauri Devi. — Exhibiting to a matron the 
antimony box, with a preparation of which the eyes are 
trimmed to give the brilliancy, and wearing on the head 
turmeric rice (akshatalu). The object of this is said to 
be to give sight to blind relatives. 

Kandanomi. — Abstaining for a year from the use 
of arum (Amorphophallus Campanulatus), of which the 
corms are an article of food), and presenting a matron 



359 BRAHMAN 

with a silver and gold representation of a kanda to be 
worn on the neck. The object to be attained is that she 
who performs the rite may never have to shed tears. 

Gummadi Gauri Devi. — The presentation at the 
end of the year to a matron of a pumpkin in the morn- 
ing, and another in the afternoon, with a silver one at 
food time, and a gold one to be worn round the neck. 
This is for the prolongation of married life. 

Gandala Gauri Devi. — The distribution of twenty- 
five different sorts of things, twenty-five to be distributed 
to matrons at the rate of five of each sort to each. The 
object of this is to avert evil accidents of all kinds, 
which may threaten the husband. 

Chittibottu. — Making the kunkuma marks on the 
foreheads of five matrons in the morning, for the attain- 
ment of wealth. 

Isalla Chukka. — Rubbing butter-milk, turmeric, 
kunkuma, and sandalwood paste on the threshold of the 
door. The object is the same as in the last. 

Tavita Navomi. — To avoid touching bran for any 
purpose, for the prolongation of married life. 

Nitya Srungaram. — Offering betel nut, and putting 
the kunkuma mark on the face of a matron, for the pur- 
pose of securing perpetual beauty. 

Nallapusala Gauri Devi. — The presentation to a 
matron of a hundred black beads with one gold one, the 
object being again to avert widowhood. 

Mocheti Padmam. — The worship of some deity, 
and the making of the forehead mark (bottlu) for four 
matrons in the first year, eight in the second, and so on, 
increasing the number by four each year for twenty- 
seven years, being the number of certain stars. This 
presentation has to be made in silence. The object is 
the attainment of enduring wealth. 



BRAHMAN 360 

Mogamudo sellu. — The performer washes her face 
thirteen times daily in a brass vessel, and offers to some 
matron some rice, a pearl, and a coral. 

Undrallatadde. — On the thirteenth day after the 
full moon, taking food before sunrise, the girl worships 
the goddess Gauri in the afternoon, and, at the time of 
dismissing the deity invoked (udyapana), she presents 
five round cakes to as many matrons. The object of 
this is to secure her future husband's affections. 

Vara Lakshmi. — The worship of the goddess 
Lakshmi for the attainment of wealth and salvation, or 
to make the best of both worlds. 

Vavila Gauri Devi. — In order to avert the risk of 
all accidents for her future lord, the devotee, on each of 
the four Tuesdays of the month Sravana, worships the 
goddess Gauri Devi, and distributes Bengal gram to 
married women. 

Savitri Gauri Devi. — The offering of nine different 
articles on nine different days after the sun has entered 
the solstice, the sign of Capricorn. This is also 
practised to secure a husband's affection. 

Tsaddikutimangalavaram. — This is a piece of self- 
mortification, and consists in eating on every Tuesday for 
one year nothing but cold rice boiled the previous day, 
and feeding a matron with the same. 

The following are some of the ceremonies prac- 
tised by young women after attaining a marriageable 
age :— 

Prabatcha Adivaram. — Offering worship to a 
married couple, and limiting the taking of food to a 
single meal on Sunday. This is done with the object 
of having children. 

Apadaleni Adivaram. — Taking but one meal every 
Sunday, and making a presentation to five matrons of 



361 BRAHMAN 

five cakes with a flat basket of rice, body jackets, and 
other things. This is for the procuring of wealth. 

Adivaram [Sunday). — Total abstinence from some 
one article of food for one year, another article the next 
year, and so on for five years ; also limitation to a single 
meal every Sunday, and the presentation of cloths to 
Brahmans upon the dismissal of the deity invoked for 
worship. The object of this seems to be to secure 
re-union with the husband after death. 

Chappitti Adivaram. — Abstinence from salt on 
every Sunday for a year, with a view to secure the 
longevity of children. 

Udayapadmam. — To take for one year a daily 
bath, and to draw the representation of a lotus with 
rice-flour every morning near the sacred tulasi plant 
(Oeimum sanctum), which is kept in many Hindu house- 
holds, growing on an altar of masonry. The object of 
this is to restore a dead husband to life again, i.e., to 
secure re-union in another life. 

Krishna Tulasi. — To avert widowhood, those who 
perform this rite present thirteen pairs of cakes in a gold 
cup to a Brahman. 

Kartika Chalimidi. — The distribution of chalimidi, 
which is flour mixed with sugar water, for three years ; 
in the first year one and a half seer of rice, in the second 
year two and a half seers, and in the third year twenty- 
six seers, the object sought being to restore life to 
children that may die, i.e., restoration in another world. 

Kailasa Gauri Devi. — To grind one and a half viss 
(a measure) of turmeric without assistance in perfect 
silence, and then distribute it among 101 matrons, the 
object being to avert widowhood. 

Dhairya Lakshmi. — As a charm against tears, 
matrons light a magic light, which must have a cotton 



BRAHMAN 362 

wick of the weight of one pagoda (a gold coin), and, 
instead of a quarter of a viss of ghee, clarified butter. 

Dhanapalalu. — Giving four different sorts of grain 
for five years to a Brahman, to atone for the sin of the 
catamenial discharge. 

Nadikesudu. — The distribution of five seers each 
of nine different sorts of grain, which must be dressed 
and eaten in the house. This is done for the procuring 
of wealth. 

Nityadhanyamu. — Daily giving a handful of grain 
to any Brahmin with the object of averting widowhood. 

Phalala Gauri Devi. — This is performed by the 
presentation of sixteen fruits of sixteen different species 
to any married woman, with the view of securing healthy 
offspring. 

Pamidipuvulu. — With the view to avert widow- 
hood and secure influence with their husbands, young 
wives practise the daily worship of thirteen flowers for 
a time, and afterwards present to a Brahmin the repre- 
sentations of thirteen flowers in gold, together with a 
lingam and panavattam (the seat of the lingam). 

Mwppadimudupmnamulu. — To avert widowhood, 
cakes are offered on the occasion of thirty-three full- 
moons ; on the first one cake is eaten, on the second two, 
and so on up to thirty-three. 

Mudukartelu. — For the attainment of wealth, 
women light seven hundred cotton wicks steeped in oil 
at the three festivals of full moon, Sankuratri (the time 
when the sun enters the zodiacal sign of Capricorn), 
and Sivaratri. 

Magha Gauri Devi. — The worship of the goddess 
Gauri in the month of Magham, with a view to avert 
widowhood. 



363 BRAHMAN 

Vishnukanta. — For the same purpose, thirteen 
pairs of cakes are offered in a new pot to some 
married woman. 

Vishnuvidia. — To atone for the sin of the cata- 
menial discharge, food is eaten without salt on the 
second day after every new moon. 

Sokamuleni Somavaram. — The taking of food with- 
out salt every Monday, for the restoration of children 
removed by death. 

Chitraguptulu. — Burning twelve wicks daily in oil, 
for the attainment of happiness in a future state. 

Sukravaram. — For the acquisition of wealth, 
women sometimes limit themselves to one meal on Fri- 
days, and feed five married women on each occasion 
of dismissing the deity invoked for worship. 

Saubhagyatadde. — To avert widowhood, another 
practice is on the third day after every new moon to 
distribute, unassisted and in silence, one and a quarter 
viss of turmeric among thirteen matrons. 

Kshirabdhi Dvadasi. — Keeping a fast day 
specially devoted to the worship of Vishnu, with a. /iew 
to secure happiness in a future state. 

Chinuku. — A woman takes a stalk of Indian corn 
fresh pulled up, and with it pounds rice-flour mixed with 
milk in a mortar. This is to avert widowhood in this 
world, and to secure happiness in the next. 

Women who have lost children frequently perform 
the following two ceremonies for restoration to life 
or restoration in a future state : — 

Kundella Amavasya {hares new moon). — To give 
thirteen different things to some married woman every 
new moon for thirteen months. 

Kadupukadalani Gauri Devi. — The presentation 
of thirteen pairs of cakes to thirteen matrons. 



BRAHMAN 364 

The following ceremonies are often performed after 
the cessation of the catamenial discharge, to atone for 
the sin contracted by their occurrence : — 

Annamumuttani Adivaram. — The eating of yams 
and other roots every Sunday for three years, or, under 
certain conditions, a longer period. 

Rushipanchami. — On the fifth day of Bhadrapada 
month to eat five balusu (Canthium parviflorurn) leaves, 
and to drink a handful of ghee. 

Gomayani. — To eat three balls of cow-dung every 
morning for a year. 

Lakshvattulu. — To burn one lac (100,000) of wick 
lights. 

Lakshmivarapu Ekadasi. — From the time when the 
eleventh day after new moon falls on a Thursday, to 
observe a fast, and to worship the tulasi plant for eleven 
days. 

Margasira Lakshmivaram. — The mistress of a 
family will often devote herself to the worship of 
Lakshmi on every Thursday of the month of Margasira, 
in order to propitiate the goddess of wealth. 

Somisomavaram. — A special worship performed on 
every new moon that falls on Monday, with the giving 
away of 36o articles, two or three on each occasion. 
This is performed with the view of attaining atonement 
for sins, and happiness in a future state. 

There are many ceremonies performed by women 
to whom nature has denied the much-coveted joys of 
maternity. Among these may be noted : — 

Asvadhapradakshinam. — In villages is often to be 
seen a margosa {Melia Azadirachtd) tree, round which a 
pipul tree {Ficus religiosd) has twined itself. The cere- 
mony consists in a woman walking round and round 
this tree several times daily for a long period." 



365 



BRAHMAN 



The sub-divisions of the Telugu Brahmans are as 
follows : — 



A. — Vaidiki. 



i. Murikinadu. 

2. Telaganyam. 

3. Velnadu. 

4. Kasalnadu. 

5. Karnakammalu. 



1. Aruvela. 

2. Nandavarikulu. 

3. Kammalu. 



6. Veginadu. 

7. Konesime. 

8. Arama Dravida. 

9. Aradhya. 

10. Prathamasaki. 



B. — Niyogi. 



1. Pudur Dravida. 



4. Pesalavayalu. 

5. Pranganadu. 



C. — Tambala. 

D. — Immigrants. 

2. Thummagunta Dravida. 



All these sections are endogamous, and will eat 
together, except the Tambalas, who correspond to the 
Gurukkals among the Tamil Brahmans. Vaidikis are 
supposed to be superior to Niyogis. The former do 
not generally grow moustaches, while the latter do. 
For sradh ceremonies, Niyogis do not generally sit 
as Brahmans representing the ancestors, Vaidikis being 
en g a g e d for this purpose. In some places, e.g., the 
Nandigama taluk of the Kistna district, the Niyogis 
are not referred to by the name Brahman, Vaidikis 
being so called. Even Niyogis themselves point to 
Vaidikis when asked about Brahmans. 

Velnadu, Murikinadu, and Veginadu seem to be 
territorial names, and they occur also among some of 
the non-Brahman castes. The Aradhyas are dealt with 
in a special article (see Aradhya). Among the Karna- 
kammas are certain sub-sections, such as Ogoti and 



BRAHMAN 366 

Koljedu. They all belong to Rig Saka. Of the Tela- 
ganyams, some follow the Rig Veda, and others the 
Yejur Veda (both black and white Yajus). The Nanda- 
varikulu are all Rig Vedis, and regard Chaudeswari, the 
goddess of the Devangas, as their tutelary deity. When 
a Nandavariki Brahman goes to a Devanga temple, he 
is treated with much respect, and the Devanga priest 
gives up his place to the Nandavariki for the time 
being. The Nandavariki Brahmans are, in fact, gurus 
or priests to the Devangas. 

A special feature of the Telugu Brahmans is that, 
like the Telugu non- Brahman classes, they have house 
names or intiperulu, of which the following are exam- 
ples : — Kota (fort), Lanka (island), Puchcha [Citrullus 
Colocynthis), Chintha (tamarind), Kaki (crow). Niyogi 
house-names sometimes terminate with the word razu. 

IV. Carndtaka. — The sub -divisions of the Carna- 
takas or Canarese-speaking Brahmans are as follows : — 





A. — Smart ha. 




I. 

2. 

3- 
4- 


Aruvaththuvokkalu. 

Badaganadu. 

Hosalnadu. 

Hoisanige or Vaishanige. 


5- 

6. 
7- 


Kamme (Bobburu, Kama, 

and Ulcha). 
Sirnadu. 
Maraka. 




B. — Madhva. 




1. 

2. 

3- 


Aruvela. 

Aruvaththuvokkalu. 

Badaganadu. 


4- 

5- 
6. 


Pennaththurar. 

Prathamasaki. 

Hyderabadi. 



The Carnatakas very closely resemble the Andhras 
in their ceremonial observances, and, like them, attach 
much importance to vratams. The Madhva Carnatakas 
are recent converts from Carnataka or Andhra Smar- 
thas. The Pennaththurars are supposed to be Tamil 
Brahmans converted into Madhvas. They retain some 
of the customs peculiar to the Tamil Brahmans. The 



367 BRAHMAN 

marriage badge, for example, is the Tamil tali and 
not the bottu. Intermarriages between Smarthas and 
Madhvas of the same section are common. Madhvas, 
excepting the very orthodox, will take food with both 
Carnataka and Andhra Smarthas. 

The Marakas are thus described by Mr. Lewis 
Rice.* " A caste claiming to be Brahmans, but not 
recognised as such. They worship the Hindu triad, 
but are chiefly Vishnuvites, and wear the trident mark 
on their foreheads. They call themselves Hale Kanna- 
diga or Hale Karnataka, the name Marka t being 
considered as one of reproach, on which account also 
many have doubtless returned themselves as Brahmans 
of one or other sect. They are said to be descendants 
of some disciples of Sankaracharya, the original guru of 
Sringeri, and the following legend is related of the 
cause of their expulsion from the Brahman caste to 
which their ancestors belonged. One day Sankara- 
charya, wishing to test his disciples, drank some toddy 
in their presence, and the latter, thinking it could be 
no sin to follow their master's example, indulged freely 
in the same beverage. Soon after, when passing a 
butcher's shop, Sankaracharya asked for alms ; the 
butcher had nothing but meat to give, which the guru 
and his disciples ate. According to the Hindu shastras, 
red-hot iron alone can purify a person who has eaten 
flesh and drunk toddy. Sankaracharya went to a black- 
smith's furnace, and begged from him some red-hot iron, 
which he swallowed and was purified. The disciples 
were unable to imitate their master in the matter of 



* Mysore and Coorg Gazetteer, 1877. 

f Said to be derived from ma, a negation, and arka, sun, in allusion to their 
not performing the adoration of that luminary which is customary among Brah- 
mans. 



BRAHMAN 368 

the red-hot iron, and besought him to forgive their 
presumption in having dared to imitate him in par- 
taking of forbidden food. Sankaracharya refused to 
give absolution, and cursed them as unfit to associate 
with the six sects of Brahmans. The caste is makino- 
a strong effort to be readmitted among Brahmans, and 
some have recently become disciples of Parakalaswami. 
Their chief occupations are agriculture, and Govern- 
ment service as shanbogs or village accountants." 
It is recorded, in the Mysore Census Report, 1891, 
that " some of the more intelligent and leading men in 
the clan give another explanation (of the legend). It 
is said that either in Dewan Purnaiya's time, or some 
time before, a member of this micro-caste rose to power, 
and persecuted the people so mercilessly that, with 
characteristic inaptitude, they gave him the nickname 
Maraka or the slaughterer or destroyer, likening him to 
the planet Mars, which, in certain constellations, is 
astrologically dreaded as wielding a fatal influence on 
the fortunes of mortals. There is, however, no doubt 
that, in their habits, customs, religion and ceremonials, 
these people are wholly Brahmanical, but still they 
remain entirely detached from the main body of the Brah- 
mans. Since the census of 1871, the Hale Kannadigas 
have been strenuously struggling to get themselves 
classified among the Brahmans. About 25 years ago, 
the Sringeri Math issued on behalf of the Smarta portion 
of the people a Srimukh (papal bull) acknowledging 
them to be Brahmans. A similar pronouncement was 
also obtained from the Parakal Math at Mysore about 
three years later on behalf of the Srivaishnavas among 
them. And the Local Government directed, a little 
after the census of r 881, that they should be entered as 
Brahmans in the Government accounts." 



3^9 BRAHMAN 

The Madhva Brahmans commence the marriage 
ceremony by asking the ancestors of the bridal couple 
to bless them, and be present throughout the perform- 
ance of the rites. To represent the ancestors, a ravike 
(bodice) and dhotra (man's cloth) are tied to a stick, 
which is placed near the box containing the salagrama 
stone and household gods. In consequence of these 
ancestors being represented, orthodox Vaidiki Brah- 
mans refuse to take food in the marriage house. When 
the bridegroom is conducted to the marriage booth by 
his future father-in-law, all those who have taken part in 
the Kasiyatra ceremony, throw rice over him. A quaint 
ceremony, called rangavriksha (drawing), is performed 
on the morning of the second day. After the usual 
playing with balls of flowers (nalagu or nalangu), the 
bridegroom takes hold of the right hand of the bride, 
and, after dipping her right forefinger in turmeric and 
chunam (lime) paste, traces on a white wall the outline of 
a plantain tree, of which a sketch has previously been 
made by a married woman. The tracing goes on for 
three days. First the base of the plant is drawn, and, 
on the evening of the third day, it is completed by 
putting in the flower spikes. On the third night the 
bridegroom is served with sweets and other refresh- 
ments by his mother-in-law, from whose hands he 
snatches the vessels containing them. He picks out 
what he likes best, and scatters the remainder about the 
room. The pollution caused thereby is removed by 
sprinkling water and cow-dung, which is done by the 
cook engaged for the marriage by the bridegroom's 
family. After washing his hands, the bridegroom goes 
home, taking with him a silver vessel, which he surrepti- 
tiously removes from near the gods. Along with this 
vessel he is supposed to steal a rope for drawing water, 
24 



BRAHMAN 37° 

and a rice-pounding stone. But in practice he only 
steals the vessel, and the other articles are claimed by 
his people on their return home. 

Branding for religious purposes is confined to Sri 
Vaishnavas and Madhvas. Sri Vaishnava Brahmans are 
expected to undergo this ordeal at least once during their 
life-time, whereas Madhva Brahmans have to submit 
to it as often as they visit their guru (head of a mutt). 
Of men of other castes, those who become followers of 
a Vaishnava or Madhva Acharya (guru) or mutt, are 
expected to present themselves before the guru for the 
purpose of being branded. But the ceremony is optional, 
and not compulsory as in the case of the Brahmans. 
Among Sri Vaishnavites, the privilege of branding is con- 
fined to the elder members of a family, Sanyasis (ascetics), 
and the heads of the various mutts. All individuals, male 
and female, must be branded, after the Upanayanam cere- 
mony in the case of males, and after marriage in the case 
of females. The disciples, after a purificatory bath and 
worship of their gods, proceed to the residence of the 
Acharya or to the mutt^where they are initiated into 
their religion, and branded with the chakra on the right 
shoulder and chank on the left. The initiation consists 
in imparting to the disciple, in a very low tone, the 
Mula Mantram, the word Namonarayanaya, the sacred 
syllable Om, and a few mantrams from the Brahma 
Rahasyam (secrets about god). A person who has not 
been initiated thus is regarded as unfit to take part in 
the ceremonies which have to be performed by Brahmans. 
Even close relations, if orthodox, will refuse to take food 
prepared or touched by the uninitiated. Concerning 
Madhvas, Monier Williams writes as follows*: "They 



* Brajimanism and Hinduism, 




MADHVA BRAHMAN. 



37* BRAHMAN 

firmly believe that it is a duty of Vaishnavas to carry 
throughout life a memorial of their god on their persons, 
and that such a lasting outward and visible sign of his 
presence helps them to obtain salvation through him. 
1 On his right armlet the Brahman wears the discus, on 
his left the conch shell.' When I was at Tanjore, I 
found that one of the successors of Madhva had recently 
arrived on his branding visitation. He was engaged 
throughout the entire day in stamping his disciples, 
and receiving fees from all according to their means." 
Madhvas have four mutts to which they repair for the 
branding ceremony, viz., Vayasaraya, Sumathendra and 
Mulabagal in Mysore, and Uttaraja in South Canara. 
The followers of the Uttaraja mutt are branded in five 
places in the case of adult males, and boys after the thread 
investiture. The situations and emblems selected are 
the chakra on the right upper arm, right side of the 
chest, and above the navel ; the chank on the left 
shoulder and left side of the chest. Women, and girls 
after marriage, are branded with the chakra on the right 
forearm, and the chank on the left. In the case of 
widows, the marks are impressed on the shoulders as 
in the case of males. The disciples of the three other 
mutts are generally branded with the chakra on the 
right upper arm, and chank on the left. As the brand- 
ing is supposed to remove sins committed during the 
interval, they get it done every time they see their guru. 
There is with Madhvas no restriction as to the age at 
which the ceremony should be performed. Even a new- 
born babe, after the pollution period of ten days, must 
receive the mark of the chakra, if the guru should turn 
up. Boys before the upanayanam, and girls before 
marriage, are branded with the chakra on the abdomen 
just above the navel. The copper or brass branding 
24* 



BRAHMAN 372 

instruments (mudras) are not heated to a very high 
temperature, but sufficient to singe the skin, and leave 
a deep black mark in the case of adults, and a light 
mark in that of young people and babies. In some 
cases, disciples, who are afraid of being hurt, bribe 
the person who heats the instruments ; but, as a rule, 
the guru regulates the temperature so as to suit the 
individual. If, for example, the disciple is a strong, 
well-built man, the instruments are well heated, and, if 
he is a weakling, they are allowed to cool somewhat 
before their application. If the operator has to deal 
with babies, he presses the instrument against a wet rag 
before applying it to the infant's skin. Some Matathi- 
pathis (head priests of the mutt) are, it is said, inclined 
to be vindictive, and to make a very hot application 
of the instruments, if the disciple has not paid the fee 
(gurukanika) to his satisfaction. The fee is not fixed 
in the case of Sri Vaishnavas, whereas Madhvas are 
expected to pay from one to three months' income 
for being branded. Failure to pay is punished with 
excommunication on some pretext or other. The area 
of skin branded generally peels off within a week, leaving 
a pale mark of the mudra, which either disappears in 
a few months, or persists throughout life. Madhvas 
should stamp mudras with gopi paste (white kaolin) 
daily on various parts of the body. The names of these 
mudras are chakra, chank or sankha, gatha (the weapon 
of war used by Bhima, one of the Pandavas), padma 
(lotus), and Narayana. The chakra is stamped thrice 
on the abdomen above the navel, twice on the right flank, 
twice on the right side of the chest above the nipple, 
twice on the right arm, once on the right temple, once 
on the left side of the chest, and once on the left arm. 
The chank is stamped twice on the right side of the 



373 BRAHMAN 

chest, in two places on the left arm, and once on the left 
temple. The gatha is stamped in two places on the 
right arm, twice on the chest, and in one spot on the 
forehead. The padma is stamped twice on the left arm, 
and twice on the left side of the chest. Narayana is 
stamped on all places where other mudra marks have 
been made. Sometimes it is difficult to put on all the 
marks after the daily morning bath. In such cases, a 
single mudra mark, containing all the five mudras, is 
made to suffice. Some regard the chakra mudra as 
sufficient on occasions of emergency. 

The god Hanuman (the monkey god) is specially 
reverenced by Madhvas, who call him Mukyapranadevaru 
(the chief god). 

V. Tulu. — The Tulu-speaking Brahmans are, in 
their manners and customs, closely allied to the 
Carnatakas. Their sub-divisions are — 

i. Shivalli. 4. Havik or Haiga. 

2. Kota. 5. Panchagrami. 

3. Kandavara. 6. Koteswar. 

The following interesting account of the Tulu 
Brahmans is given by Mr. H. A. Stuart # : — 

" All Tulu Brahmin chronicles agree in ascribing the 
creation of Malabar and Canara, or Kerala, Tuluva, and 
Haiga, to Parasu Rama, who reclaimed from the sea as 
much land as he could cover by hurling his battle-axe 
from the top of the Western Ghauts. According to 
Tulu traditions, after a quarrel with Brahmins who used 
to come to him periodically from Ahi-Kshetra, Parasu 
Rama procured new Brahmins for the reclaimed tract 
by taking the nets of some fishermen, and making a 
number of Brahminical threads, with which he invested 



* Manual of the South Canara district. 



Brahman 374 

the fishermen, and thus turnedj ; them into Brahmins, 
and retired to the mountains to meditate, after informing 
them that, if they were in distress and called on him, he 
would come to their aid. After the lapse of some time, 
during which they suffered no distress, they were curious 
to know if Parasu Rama would remember them, and 
called upon him in order to find out. He promptly 
appeared, but punished their thus mocking him by 
cursing them, and causing them to revert to their old 
status of Sudras. After this, there were no Brahmins in 
the land till Tulu Brahmins were brought from Ahi- 
Kshetra by Mayur Varma of the Kadamba dynasty. A 
modified form of the tradition states that Parasu Rama 
gave the newly reclaimed land to Naga and Machi 
Brahmins, who were not true' Brahmins, and were turned 
out or destroyed by fishermen and Holeyas (Pariahs), who 
held the country till the Tulu Brahmins were introduced 
by Mayur Varma. All traditions unite in attributing the 
introduction of the Tulu Brahmins of the present day to 
Mayur Varma, but they vary in details connected with 
the manner in which they obtained a firm footing in the 
land. One account says that Habashika, chief of the 
Koragas (Pariahs), drove out Mayur Varma, but was in 
turn expelled by Mayur Varma's son, or son-in-law, 
Lokaditya of Gokarnam, who brought Brahmins from 
Ahi-Kshetra and settled them in thirty-two villages. 
Another makes Mayur Varma himse!f the invader of the 
country, which till then had remained in the possession 
of the Holeyas (Pariahs) and fishermen who had turned 
out Parasu Rama's Brahmins. Mayur Varma and the 
Brahmins whom he had brought from Ahi-Kshetra were 
again driven out by Nanda, a Holeya chief, whose son 
Chandra Sayana had, however, learned respect for 
Brahmins fr^m his mother, who had been a dancing-girl 



375 BRAHMAN 

in a temple. His admiration for them became so great 
that he not only brought back the Brahmins, but actually 
made over all his authority to them, and reduced his 
people to the position of slaves. A third account makes 
Chandra Sayana, not a son of a Holeya king, but a 
descendant of Mayur Varma and a conqueror of the 
Holeya king. Nothing is known from other sources of 
Lokaditya, Habashika, or Chandra Sayana, but inscrip- 
tions speak to Mayur Varma being the founder of the 
dynasty of the Kadambas of Banavasi in North Canara. 
His date is usually put down at about 750 A.D. The 
correctness of the traditions, which prevail in Malabar 
as well as in Canara, assigning the introduction of 
Brahmins to the West Coast to Mayur Varma who was 
in power about 750 A.D., is to some extent corroborated 
by the fact that Brahmins attested the Malabar Perumal's 
grant to the Christians in 774 A.D., but not that to the 
Jews about 700 A.D. • The Brahmins are said to have 
been brought from Ahi-Kshetra, on the banks of the 
Godavari, but it is not clear what connection a Kadamba 
of Banavasi could have with the banks of the Godavari, 
and there may be something in the suggestion made in 
the North Kanara Gazetteer that Ahi-Kshetra is merely 
a sanskritised form of Haiga or the land of snakes. 
The tradition speaks of the Brahmins having been 
brought by Lokaditya from Gokarnam, which is in the 
extreme north of Haiga, and in the local history of the 
Honalli Matha in Sunda in North Canara, Gokarnam is 
spoken of as being Ahi-Kshetra. Gokarnam is believed 
to have been a Brahmin settlement in very early times, 
and there was probably a further influx of Brahmins 
there as Muhammadan conquest advanced in the north. 
" The class usually styled Tulu Brahmins at the 
present day are the Shivalli Brahmins, whose 



BRAHMAN 37 6 

head-quarters are at Udipi, and who are most numerous 
in the southern part of the district, but the Kota, Kotesh- 
war, and Haiga or Havika Brahmins are all branches 
of the same, the differences between them having arisen 
since their settlement in Canara ; and, though they now 
talk Canarese in common with the people of other parts 
to the north of the Sitanadi river, their religious works 
are still written in the old Tulu-Malayalam character. 
Tulu Brahmins, who have settled in Malabar in com- 
paratively late years, are known as Embrantris, and 
treated as closely allied to the Nambutiris, whose 
traditions go back to Mayur Varma. Some families of 
Shivalli and Havika Brahmins in the southern or 
Malayalam portion of the district talk Malayalam, and 
follow many of the customs of the Malabar or Nambutiri 
Brahmins. Many of the thirty-two villages in which the 
Brahmins are said to have been settled by Mayur Varma 
are still the most important centres of Brahminism. 
Notably may be mentioned Shivalli or Udipi, Kota and 
Koteshwar, which have given names to the divisions of 
Tulu Brahmins of which these villages are respectively 
the head-quarters. When the Brahmins were introduced 
by Mayur Varma they are said to have been followers of 
Bhattacharya, but they soon adopted the tenets of the 
great Malayalam Vedantic teacher Sankaracharya, who 
is ordinarily believed to have been born at Cranganore 
in Malabar in the last quarter of the eighth century, that 
is, soon after the arrival of the Brahmins on the west 
coast. Sankaracharya is known as the preacher of the 
Advaita (non-dual) philosophy, which, stated briefly, is 
that all living beings are one with the supreme spirit, and 
absorption may finally be obtained by the constant 
renunciation of material in favour of spiritual pleasure. 
This philosophy, however, was not sufficient for the 



377 BRAHMAN 

common multitude, and his system included, for weaker 
minds, the contemplation of the first cause through a 
multitude of inferior deities, and, as various manifesta- 
tions of Siva and his consort Parvati, he found a place 
for all the most important of the demons worshipped by 
the early Dravidians whom the Brahmins found on the 
West Coast, thus facilitating the spread of Hinduism 
throughout all classes. That the conversion of the 
Bants and Billavas, and other classes, took place at a 
very early date may be inferred from the fact that, though 
the great bulk of the Tulu Brahmins of South Canara 
adopted the teaching of the Vaishnavite reformer 
Madhavacharya, who lived in the thirteenth century, 
most of the non- Brahmin Hindus in the district class 
themselves as Shaivites to this day. Sankaracharya 
founded the Sringeri Matha in Mysore near the borders 
of the Udipi taluk, the guru of which is the spiritual head 
of such of the Tulu Brahmins of South Canara as have 
remained Smarthas or adherents of the teaching of 
Sankaracharya. Madhavacharya is believed to have 
been born about 1199 A.D. at Kalianpur, a few miles 
from Udipi. He propounded the Dvaita or dual philo- 
sophy, repudiating the doctrine of oneness and final 
absorption held by ordinary Vaishnavites as well as by 
the followers of Sankaracharya. The attainment of a 
place in the highest heaven is to be secured, according to 
Madhavacharya' s teaching, not only by the renunciation 
of material pleasure, but by the practice of virtue in 
thought, word and deed. The moral code of Madhava- 
charya is a high one, and his teaching is held by some — 
not ordinary Hindus of course — to have been affected 
by the existence of the community of Christians at 
Kalianpur mentioned by Cosmos Indico Pleustes in 
the seventh century. Madhavacharya placed the worship 



BRAHMAN 378 

of Vishnu above that of Siva, but there is little bitterness 
between Vaishnavites and Shaivites in South Canara, 
and there are temples in which both are worshipped 
under the name of Shankara Narayana. He denied that 
the spirits worshipped by the early Dravidians were 
manifestations of Siva's consort, but he accorded sanction 
to their worship as supernatural beings of a lower order. 
" Shivalli Brahmins. The Tulu-speaking Brahmins 
of the present day are almost all followers of Madhava- 
charya, though a few remain Smarthas, and a certain 
number follow what is known as the Bhagavat Sampra- 
dayam, and hold that equal honour is due to both Vishnu 
and Siva. They are now generally called Shivalli 
Brahmins, their head-quarters being at Udipi or Shivalli, 
a few miles from Madhavacharya's birth-place. Here 
Madhavacharya is said to have resided for some time, 
and composed thirty-seven controversial works, after 
which he set out on a tour. The temple of Krishna at 
Udipi is said to have been founded by Madhavacharya 
himself, who set up in it the image of Krishna originally 
made by Arjuna, and miraculously obtained by him 
from a vessel wrecked on the coast of Tuluva. In it he 
also placed one of the three salagrams presented to him 
by the sage Veda Vyasa. Besides the temple at Udipi, 
he established eight Mathas or sacred houses, each 
presided over by a sanyasi or swami. [Their names are 
Sodhe, Krishnapur, Sirur, Kanur, Pejavar, Adamar, 
Palamar, and Puththige.] These exist to this day, and 
each swami in turn presides over the temple of 
Krishna for a period of two years, and spends the 
intervening fourteen years touring through Canara and 
the adjacent parts of Mysore, levying contributions 
from the faithful for his next two years of office, which 
are very heavy, as he has to defray not only the expenses 




FUEL STACK AT UDIIT MATT 



379 BRAHMAN 

of public worship and of the temple and Matha establish- 
ments, but must also feed every Brahmin who comes to 
the place. The following description of a Matha visited 
by Mr. Walhouse * gives a very good idea of what one 
of these buildings is like : ' The building was two- 
storeyed, enclosing a spacious quadrangle round which 
ran a covered verandah or cloister ; the wide porched 
entrance opened into a fine hall supported by massive 
pillars with expanding capitals handsomely carved ; the 
ceiling was also wooden, panelled and ornamented with 
rosettes and pendants as in baronial halls, and so were 
the solid doors. Within these was an infinity of rooms, 
long corridors lined with windowless cells, apartments 
for meditation and study, store-rooms overflowing with 
all manner of necessaries, granaries, upper rooms with 
wide projecting windows latticed instead of glass with 
pierced wood-work in countless tasteful patterns, and in 
the quadrangle there was a draw-well and small temple, 
while a large yard behind contained cattle of all kinds 
from a goat to an elephant. All things needful were 
here gathered together. Outside sat pilgrims, poor 
devotees, and beggars waiting for the daily dole, and 
villagers were continually arriving with grain, vegetables, 
etc. ' The periodical change of the swami presiding 
over the temple of Krishna is the occasion of a great 
festival known as the Pariyaya, when Udipi is filled to 
overflowing by a large concourse of Madhvas, not only 
from the district but from more distant parts, especially 
from the Mysore territory. [A very imposing object in 
the temple grounds, at the time of my visit in 1907, was 
an enormous stack of fire-wood for temple purposes.] 
The following is a description t of a festival at the Udipi 



* Fraser's Magazine, May 1875. t Lot- «*. 



BRAHMAN 380 

Krishna temple witnessed by Mr. Walhouse : ' Near 
midnight, when the moon rode high in a cloudless 
heaven, his (Krishna's) image — not the very sacred one, 
.which may not be handled, but a smaller duplicate — was 
brought forth by four Brahmins and placed under a 
splendid canopy on a platform laid across two large 
canoes. The whole square of the tank (pond) was lit up 
by a triple line of lights. Small oil cressets at close 
intervals, rockets and fireworks ascended incessantly, 
and the barge, also brilliantly lit up, and carrying a band 
of discordant music, and Brahmins fanning the image with 
silver fans, was punted round and round the tank amid 
loud acclamations. After this, the image was placed 
in a gorgeous silver-plated beaked palanquin, and borne 
solemnly outside the temple to the great idol car that 
stood dressed up and adorned with an infinity of tinsel, 
flags, streamers and flower wreaths. On this it was 
lifted, and placed in a jewel shrine amidst a storm of 
applause and clapping of hands — these seem the only 
occasions when Hindus do clap hands — and then, with 
all the company of Brahmins headed by the swamis 
marching in front, followed by flambeaus and wild 
music, the car was slowly hauled by thousands of 
votaries round the square which was illuminated by three 
lines of lights, ascending at intervals into pyramids. A 
pause was made half-way, when there was a grand 
display of rockets, fire fountains and wheels, and two 
lines of camphor and oiled cotton laid along the middle 
of the road were kindled and flamed up brilliantly. 
Then the car moved on to the entrance of the temple, 
and the god's outing was accomplished.' Another famous 
temple of the Shivallis is Subramanya at the foot of the 
ghauts on the Coorg border, and here also Madhava- 
charya deposited one of Veda Vyasa's salagrams. It 



381 BRAHMAN 

existed before his time, however, and, as the name 
indicates, it is dedicated to the worship of Siva. In 
addition to this, it is the principal centre of serpent 
worship in the district. 

" Many of the Shivalli Brahmins are fair com- 
plexioned with well-cut intelligent features. A number 
of them own land which they cultivate by tenants or by 
hired labourers, and there are several wealthy families 
with large landed properties, but the great bulk of them 
are either astronomers, astrologers, tantris, purohitas, 
worshippers in temples, or professional beggars. They 
have been backward in availing themselves of English 
education, and consequently not many of them are to be 
found holding important posts under Government or in 
the professions, but a few have come to the front in late 
years. A good many of them are village accountants 
and teachers in village schools. The women, as is 
usually the case among all classes, are fairer than the 
men. Their education is even more limited, but they 
are said to be well trained for the discharge of house- 
hold and religious duties. They wear the cloth falling 
as low as the feet in front, but not usually so low behind, 
especially on festive occasions, the end being passed 
between the legs and tucked into the fold of the cloth 
round the waist. Like all Brahmin women in Canara, 
they are fond of wearing sweet-scented flowers in their 
hair. The language of the Shivalli Brahmins is Tulu, 
except to the north of the Sltanadi river, where close 
intercourse with the ruling Canarese classes above the 
ghauts for several centuries has led to the adoption of 
that language by all classes. Their religious books are 
in Sanskrit, and, even north of the Sltanadi river, they 
are written in the old Tulu-Malayalam character. Their 
houses are all neat, clean, and provided with verandahs, 



BRAHMAN 3^2 

and a yard in front, in which stands, in a raised pot, a 
plant of the tulasi or sacred basil. Some of the houses 
of the old families are really large and substantial build- 
ings, with an open courtyard in the centre. Men and 
widows bathe the whole body every day before break- 
fast, but married women bathe only up to the neck, it 
being considered inauspicious for them to bathe the 
head also. In temples and religious houses, males bathe 
in the evening also. An oil bath is taken once a week. 
They are, of course, abstainers from animal food and 
spirituous liquors, and a prohibition extends to some 
other articles, such as onions, garlic, mushrooms, etc. 
At times of marriages, deaths or initiations, it is usual 
to give feasts, which may be attended by all Dravida 
Brahmins. The Shivallis have 252 gotras, and the 
names of the following seem to be of totemistic origin : — 

Kudrettaya, from kudre, a horse, taya, belonging to. 

Talitaya, palmyra palm. 

Manolitaya, name of a vegetable. 

Shunnataya, chunam, lime. 

Kalambitaya, a kind of box. 

Nellitaya, the Indian gooseberry. 

Goli, banyan tree. 

Ane, elephant. 

" These names were obtained from one of the eight 
swamis or gurus of the Udipi math, and according to 
him they have no totemistic force at the present day. 
Girls must be married before maturity, and the ordinary 
age now-a-days is between five and eleven. The age 
of the bridegroom is usually between fifteen and five and 
twenty. A maternal uncle's daughter can be married 
without consulting any horoscope, and during the 
marriage ceremonies it is customary for a bridegroom's 
sister to obtain from him a formal promise that, if he 
has a daughter, he will give her in marriage to her son. 



383 BRAHMAN 

Widows take off all their ornaments, and wear a red or 
white cloth. They ought not to attend any auspicious 
ceremonies or festivals, but of late years there has been 
a tendency to relax the severity of the restrictions on 
a widow's freedom, and a young widow is allowed to 
keep her head unshaven, and to wear a few ornaments. 
A few Shivallis in the Malayalam-speaking portion of 
the Kasaragod taluk follow the customs and manners 
of the Malayalam Brahmins, and amongst these a girl 
does not lose caste by remaining unmarried until she 
comes of age. 

" Koteshwar Brahmins are a small body, who take 
their name from Koteshwar in the Coondapoor taluk. 
They are practically the same as the Shivalli Brahmins, 
except that, like all classes in that taluk, they talk 
Canarese. 

" Havlka, Haviga, or Haiga Brahmins are the 
descendants of the section of the Brahmins brought in 
by Mayur Varma, who settled within the tract known 
as Haiga, which comprised the southern part of North 
Canara and the extreme northern part of South Canara. 
They did not, like the Shivallis, adopt the teaching of 
Madhavacharya, but remained followers of Sankara- 
charya, and they now speak Canarese, though their 
religious and family records are written in old Tulu- 
Malayalam character. Though originally of the same 
stock, a distinction has arisen between them and the 
Shivalli Brahmins, and they do not intermarry, though 
they may eat together. A number of Havlka Brahmins 
are to be found scattered throughout South Canara, 
engaged for the most part in the cultivation of areca 
palm gardens, in which they are very expert. A very 
well-to-do colony of them is to be found in the neighbour- 
hood of Vittal in the Kasaragod taluk, where they grow 



BRAHMAN 384 

areca nuts which are valued only second to those 
grown in the magane of the Coondapoor taluk above 
the ghauts. The Havlka Brahmins, perhaps owing to 
their residing for many generations in the comparatively 
cool shade of the areca nut gardens, are specially fair 
even for west coast Brahmins. This fairness of com- 
plexion is particularly noticeable in the women, who 
do not differ much in their manners and customs from 
the Shivalli Brahmin women, except that they take a 
prominent part in the work of the gardens, and never 
on any occasion wear the end of their cloth passed 
through the legs and tucked up behind. The Havlk 
widows are allowed more freedom than in most other 
classes. Some Havik Brahmins in the Malayalam 
portion of the Kasaragod taluk have, like the Shivallis 
in the same locality, adopted the language and customs 
of the Malayali Brahmins. 

" Kota Brahmins, so called from a village in the 
northern part of the Udipi taluk, are, like the Havlks, 
Smarthas or followers of Sankaracharya, and now 
speak Canarese, but the breach between them and the 
Shivallis is not so wide, as intermarriages occasionally 
take place. In the Coondapoor taluk and the northern 
part of the Udipi taluk, the Kotas occupy a place in the 
community corresponding to that taken by the Shivallis 
throughout the rest of the district. 

" Saklapuris, of whom there are a few in the district, 
are what may be called a dissenting sect of Havlkas 
who, a few years ago, renounced their allegiance to the 
Ramchandrapura matha in favour of one at Saklapuri 
near the boundary between North and South Canara. 
Like the Havlkas, they speak Canarese. 

" Kandavaras obtain their name from the village of 
Kandavar in the Coondapoor taluk. They are commonly 



3^5 BRAHMAN 

known as Udapas, and they all belong to one gotram, 
that of Visvamitra. They are, therefore, precluded 
from marrying within the caste, and take their wives 
and husbands from the ranks of the Shivalli Brahmins. 
They are, indeed, said to be the descendants of a Shivalli 
Brahmin who settled in Kandavar about seven or eight 
centuries ago. The head of the Annu Udapa family, 
which is called after this ancestor, is the hereditary head 
of the caste, and presides over all panchayats or caste 
councils. They speak Canarese. Their title is Udapa 
or Udpa." 

In a note on the Brahmans of South Canara, Mr. 
T. Raghaviah writes as follows * : — "The sentimental 
objection to manual labour, which is so predominant in 
the East Coast Brahmin, and the odium attached to it in 
this country, which has crystallised into the religious 
belief that, if a Brahmin cultivates with his own hand, 
the fire of his hand would burn down all that he touches, 
have entirely disappeared in South Canara. In the 
rural parts of the district, and especially at the foot of 
the Western Ghauts, it is an exceedingly common 
sight to see Brahmins engaging themselves in digging, 
ploughing or levelling their lands, trimming their water- 
courses or ledges, raising anicuts across streams, and 
doinof a hundred other items of manual work connected 
with agriculture. Brahmin women busy themselves with 
cutting green leaves for manure, making and storing 
manure and carrying it to their lands or trees, and 
Brahmin boys are employed in tending and grazing 
their own cattle. This is so much the case with a class 
of Brahmins called Haviks that there is a proverb that 
none but a Havik can raise an areca garden. You find, 



* Indian Review, VII, 1906. 
2 5 



BRAHMAN 386 

as a matter of fact, that nearly all the extensive areca 
plantations in the district are in the hands of either the 
Havik Brahmins or the Chitpavans allied much to the 
Mahratta Brahmins of Bombay. These plantations are 
managed by these Brahmins, and new ones are raised 
with the aid of a handful of Holeyas, or often without 
even such aid." 

VI. Oriya. — The Oriya Brahmans of the Ganjam 
district belong to the Utkala section of the Pancha 
Gaudas. Between them and the Pancha Dravidas there 
is very considerable difference. None of the sections of 
the Pancha Dravidas adopt the gosha system as regards 
their females, whereas Oriya Brahman women are kept 
gosha (in seclusion). Occasionally they go out to bring 
water, and, if on their way they come across any males, 
they go to the side of the road, and turn their backs 
to the passers-by. It is noted, in the Manual of the 
Vizagapatam district, that Oriya Brahmans " eat many 
kinds of meat, as pea fowl, sambur (deer), barking deer, 
pigeons, wild pig, and fish." Fish must be one of the 
dishes prepared on festive occasions. As a rule, Oriya 
Brahmans will accept water from a Gaudo (especially a 
Sullokondia Gaudo), and sometimes from Gudiyas and 
Odiyas. Water touched by Dravida Brahmans is con- 
sidered by them to be polluted. They call the Dravidas 
Komma (a corruption of Karma) Brahmans. The Oriya 
Brahmans are more particular than the Dravidas as 
regards the madi cloth, which has already been referred 
to. A cloth intended for use as a madi cloth is never 
given to a washerman to be washed, and it is not 
worn by the Oriya Brahmans when they answer the calls 
of nature, but removed, and replaced after bathing. 
Marriage with a maternal uncle's daughter, which is 
common among the Dravida Brahmans, would be con- 







ORIYA BRAHMAN. 



3^7 BRAHMAN 

sidered an act of sacrilege by Oriyas. When an Oriya 
Brahman is charged with being a meat eater, he retorts 
that it is not nearly so bad as marrying a mathulakanya 
(maternal uncle's daughter). The marriage tali or bottu 
is dispensed with by Oriya Brahmans, who, at marriages, 
attach great importance to the panigrahanam (grasping 
the bride's hand) and saptapadi (seven steps). The 
Oriya Brahmans are both Smarthas and Vaishnavas 
who are generally Paramarthos or followers of Chaitanya. 
The god Jagannatha of Puri is reverenced by them, and 
they usually carry about with them some of the prasa- 
dham (food offered to the god) from Puri. They are 
divided into the following twelve sections : — 

(1) Santo (samanta, a chief). 

(2) Danua (gift-taking). 

(3) Padhiya (one who learns the Vedas). 

(4) Sarua (saru, tubers of the arum Colocasia antiquorum). 

(5) Holua (holo, yoke of a plough). 

(6) Bhodri (Bhadriya, an agraharam on the Ganges). 

(7) Barua (a small sea-port town). 

(8) Deuliya (one who serves in temples). 

(9) Kotokiya (kotaka, palace. Those who live in palaces as 

servants to zamindars). 
(10) Sahu (creditor), 
(n) Jhadua (jungle). 
(12) Sodeibalya (those who follow an ungodly life). 

It is recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, 
that " the Santos regard themselves as superior to the 
others, and will not do purohit's work for them, though 
they will for zamindars. They are also very scrupulous 
about the behaviour of their womenkind. The Danuas 
live much by begging, especially at the funerals of 
wealthy persons, but both they and the Padhiyas know 
the Vedas, and are priests to the zamindars and the 
higher classes of Sudras. The Saruas cultivate the 
26 



BRAHMAN 3^8 

1 yam ' (Co/ocasia), and the Holuas go a step further, and 
engage in ordinary cultivation — actual participation in 
which is forbidden to Brahmans by Manu, as it involves 
taking the lives of worms and insects. A few of the 
Saruas are qualified to act as purohits, but the Holuas 
hardly ever are, and they were shown in the 1 89 1 census 
to be the most illiterate of all the Brahmans of the 
Presidency. Few of them even perform the Sandhya 
and Tarpana, which every Brahman should scrupulously 
observe. Yet they are regarded as ceremonially pure, 
and are often cooks to the zamindars. Regarding the 
sixth class, the Bhodris, a curious legend is related. 
Bhodri means a barber, and the ancestor of the sub- 
division is said to have been the son of a barber who 
was brought up at Puri with some Santo boys, and so 
learned much of the Vedas and Shastras. He left Puri 
and went into Jeypore, wearing the thread and passing 
himself off as a Brahman, and eventually married a 
Brahman girl, by whom he got children who also 
married Brahmans. At last, however, he was found 
out, and taken back to Puri, where he committed 
suicide. The Brahmans said they would treat his 
children as Brahmans if a plant of the sacred tulsi 
grew on his grave, but, instead of tulsi, a plant of 
tobacco appeared there, and so his descendants are 
Bhodris or barber Brahmans, and even Karnams, 
Gaudos, and Mahantis decline to accept water at their 
hands. They cultivate tobacco and ' yams,' but never- 
theless officiate in temples, and are purohits to the 
lower non-polluting castes. Of the remaining six divi- 
sions, the Baruas are the only ones who do purohit's 
work for other castes, and they only officiate for the 
lower classes of Sudras. Except the Sodeibalyas, the 
others all perform the Sandhya and Tarpana. Their 



3^9 BRAHMAN 

occupations, however, differ considerably. The Baruas 
are pujaris in the temples, and physicians. The Deuliyas 
are pujaris and menials in zamindars' houses, growers 
of ' yams,' and even day labourers. The Kotokiyas are 
household servants to zamindars. The Sahus trade in 
silk cloths, grain, etc., and are money-lenders. The 
Jhaduas are hill cultivators, and traders with pack- 
bullocks. The last of the divisions, the Sodeibalyas, 
are menial servants to the zamindars, and work for 
daily hire." 

VII. Sdrasvat and Konkani. — Both these classes 
belong to the Gauda branch, and speak the Konkani 
language. The original habitation of the Konkanis is 
said to have been the bank of the Sarasvati, a river well 
known in early Sanskrit works, but said to have subse- 
quently lost itself in the sands of the desert, north of 
Rajputana. As they do not abstain from fish, the other 
Brahmans among whom they have settled regard them as 
low. The full name as given by the Konkanis is Gauda 
Sarasvata Konkanastha. All the Konkani Brahmans 
found in South Canara are Rig Vedis. Like the Shivalli 
Brahmans, they have numerous exogamous septs, which 
are used as titles after their names. For example, Prabhu 
is a sept, and Krishna Prabhu the name of an individual. 
A large majority of the Konkani Brahmans are Madhvas, 
and their god is Venkataramana of Tirupati, to whom 
their temples in South Canara are dedicated. Other 
Brahmans do not go to the Konkani temples, though 
non- Brahmans do so. A very striking feature of the 
Konkani temples is that the god Venkataramana is 
not represented by an idol, but by a silver plate with the 
image of the god embossed on it. There are three 
important temples, at Manjeshwar, Mulki, and Karkal. 
To these are attached Konkani Brahmans called 



BRAHMAN 390 

Darsanas, or men who get inspired. The Darsana 
attached to the Mulki temple comes there daily about 
1 1 a.m. After worship, he is given thirtham (holy water), 
which he drinks. Taking in his hands the prasadam 
(offering made to the god), he comes out, and commences 
to shiver all over his body for about ten minutes. The 
shivering then abates, and a cane and long strip of deer 
skin are placed in his hands, with which he lashes 
himself on the back, sides, and head. Holy water is 
given to him, and the shivering ceases. Those who 
have come to the temple put questions to the Darsana, 
which are answered in Konkani, and translated. He 
understands his business thoroughly, and usually recom- 
mends the people to make presents of money or jewels 
to Venkataramana, according to their means. In 1907, 
a rich Guzerati merchant, who was doing business at 
Mangalore, visited the temple, and consulted the Darsana 
concerning the condition of his wife, who was pregnant. 
The Darsana assured him that she would be safely 
delivered of a male child, and made him promise to 
present to the temple silver equal in weight to that of his 
wife, should the prophecy be realised. The prediction 
proving true, the merchant gave silver, sugar -candy, 
and date fruits, to the required weight at a cost, it 
is said, of five thousand rupees. At the Manjeshwar 
temple, the Darsana is called the dumb Darsana, as 
he gives signs instead of speaking. At a marriage 
among the Konkanis, for the Nagavali ceremony eight 
snakes are made out of rice or wheat flour by women 
and the bridal couple. By the side of the pot repre- 
senting Siva and Parvati, a mirror is placed. Close to 
the Nagavali square, it is customary to draw on the 
ground the figures of eight elephants and eight Bairavas 
in flour. 




KONKANI BRAHMAN. 



391 BRAHMAN 

The following account of the Konkanis is given in 
the Cochin Census Report, 1901 : — "The Konkanis are 
a branch of the Sarasvat sub-division of the Pancha 
Gaudas. Judged from their well-built physique, hand- 
some features and fair complexion, they appear to belong 
ethnically to the Aryan stock. The community take 
their name from their Guru Sarasvata. Trihotrapura, 
the modern Tirhut in Behar, is claimed as the original 
home of the community. According to their tradition, 
Parasu Rama brought ten families, and settled them in 
villages in and around Gomantaka, the modern Goa, 
Panchrakosi, and Kusasthali. When Goa was conquered 
by Vijayanagar, they placed themselves under the 
protection of the kings of that country. For nearly 
a quarter of a century after the conquest of Goa by 
the Portuguese, they continued unmolested under the 
Portuguese Governors. During this period, they took 
to a lucrative trade in European goods. With the 
establishment of the Inquisition at Goa, and the religious 
persecution set on foot by the Portuguese, the community 
left Goa in voluntary exile. While some submitted to 
conversion, others fled to the north and south. Those 
that fled to the south settled themselves in Canara and 
at Calicut. Receiving a cold reception at the hands of 
the Zamorin, they proceeded further south, and placed 
themselves under the protection of the Rulers of Cochin 
and Travancore, where they flourish at the present day. 
The Christian converts, who followed in the wake of the 
first batch of exiles, have now settled themselves at the 
important centres of trade in the State as copper-smiths, 
and they are driving a very profitable trade in copper- 
wares. The Brahman emigrants are called Konkanis 
from the fact of their having emigrated from Konkan. 
In the earliest times, they are supposed to have been 
27 



BRAHMAN 392 

Saivites, but at present they are staunch Vaishnavites, 
being followers of Madhavacharya. They are never 
regarded as on a par with the other Brahmans of 
Southern India. There is no intermarriage or inter- 
dining between them and other Brahmans. In Cochin 
they are mostly traders. Their occupation seems to 
have been at the bottom of their being regarded as 
degraded. They have their own temples, called Tirumala 
Devaswams. They are not allowed access to the inner 
structure surrounding the chief shrine of the Malayali 
Hindu temples; nor do they in turn allow the Hindus 
of this coast to enter corresponding portions of their 
religious edifices. The Nambudris are, however, allowed 
access even to the interior of the sacred shrine. All 
caste disputes are referred to their high priest, the 
Swamiyar of Kasi Mutt, who resides at Mancheswaram 
or Basroor. He is held in great veneration by the 
community, and his decisions in matters religious and 
social are final. Some of their temples possess extensive 
landed estates. Their temple at Cochin is one of the 
richest in the whole State. The affairs of the temple 
are managed by Konkani Yogakkars, or an elected 
committee. Nayars and castes above them do not touch 
them. Though their women use coloured cloths for 
their dress like the women of the East Coast, their 
mode of dress and ornaments at once distinguish them 
from other Brahman women. Amongst them there are 
rich merchants and landholders. Prabhu, Pai, Shenai, 
Kini, Mallan, and Vadhyar, are some of the more 
common titles borne by them." 

In conclusion, brief mention may be made of several 
other immigrant classes. Of these, the Desasthas are 
Marathi-speaking Brahmans, who have adopted some 
of the customs of the Smartha and Madhva Carnatacas, 



393 BUDUBUDIKE 

with whom intermarriage is permitted. A special feature 
of the marriage ceremonies of the Desasthas is the 
worship of Ambabhavani or Tuljabhavani, with the 
assistance of Gondala musicians, who sing songs in 
praise of the deity. The Chitpavan Brahmans speak 
Marathi and Konkani. In South Canara they are, like 
the Haviks, owners of areca palm plantations. Karadi 
Brahmans, who are also found in South Canara, are said 
to have come southward from Karhad in the Bombay 
Presidency. There is a tradition that Parasu Rama 
created them from camel bones. 

Brahmani.— A class of Ambalavasis. (See Unni.) 
Brihaspati Varada. — The name, indicating those 
who worship their god on Thursday, of a sub-division of 
Kurubas. 

Brinjari.— A synonym of Lambadi. 

Budubudike.— The Budubudike or Budubudukala 
are described in the Mysore Census Report as being 
"gipsy beggars and fortune-tellers from the Marata 
country, who pretend to consult birds and reptiles to 
predict future events. They are found in every district 
of Mysore, but only in small numbers. They use a smr.a 
kind of double-headed drum, which is sounded by means 
of the knotted ends of strings attached to each side 
of it. The operator turns it deftly and quickly from 
side to side, when a sharp and weird sound is emitted, 
having a rude resemblance to the warbling of birds. 
This is done in the mornings, when the charlatan 
soothsayer pretends to have divined the future fate 
of the householder by means of the chirping of 
birds, etc., in the early dawn. They are generally 
worshippers of Hanumantha." The name Budubudike 
is derived from the hour-glass shaped drum, or 
budbudki. 



BUDUBUDIKE 394 

For the following account of the Budubudukalas, I am 
indebted to a recent article* : — " A huge parti-coloured 
turban, surmounted by a bunch of feathers, a pair of 
ragged trousers, a loose long coat, which is very often 
out at elbows, and a capacious wallet underneath his 
arm, ordinarily constitute the Budubudukala's dress. 
Occasionally, if he can afford it, he indulges in the 
luxury of wearing a tiger or cheetah (leopard) skin, which 
hangs down his back, and contributes to the dignity of 
his calling. Add to this an odd assortment of clothes 
suspended on his left forearm, and the picture is as 
grotesque as it can be. He is regarded as able to predict 
the future of human beings by the flight and notes of 
birds. His predictions are couched in the chant which 
he recites. The burden of the chant is invariably 
stereotyped, and purports to have been gleaned from the 
warble of the feathered songsters of the forest. It 
prognosticates peace, plenty and prosperity to the house, 
the birth of a son to the fair, lotus-eyed house-wife, and 
worldly advancement to the master, whose virtues are as 
countless as the stars, and have the power to annihilate 
his enemies. It also holds out a tempting prospect of 
coming joy in an unknown shape from an unknown 
quarter, and concludes with an appeal for a cloth. If 
the appeal is successful, well and good. If not, the 
Budubudukala has the patience and perseverance to 
repeat his visit the next day, the day after that, and so 
on until, in sheer disgust, the householder parts with a 
cloth. The drum, which has been referred to above as 
having given the Budubudukala his name, is not devoid of 
interest. In appearance it is an instrument of diminutive 
size, and is shaped like an hour-glass, to the middle of 
which is attached a string with a knot at the end, which 



* Madras Mail, 1907. 



395 fcUDUBUDIKfi 

serves as the percutient. Its origin is enveloped in a myth 
of which the Budubudukala is naturally very proud, for it 
tells him of his divine descent, and invests his vocation 
with the halo of sanctity. According to the legend, the 
primitive Budubudukala who first adorned the face of 
the earth was a belated product of the world's creation. 
When he was born or rather evolved, the rest of human- 
kind was already in the field, struggling for existence. 
Practically the whole scheme was complete, and, in the 
economy of the universe, the Budubudukala found himself 
one too many. In this quandary, he appealed to his 
goddess mother Amba Bhavani, who took pity upon 
him, and presented him with her husband the god 
Parameswara's drum with the blessing ' My son, there is 
nothing else for you but this. Take it and beg, and you 
will prosper.' Among beggars, the Budubudukala has 
constituted himself a superior beggar, to whom the 
handful of rice usually doled out is not acceptable. His 
demand, in which more often than not he succeeds, is 
for clothes of any description, good, bad or indifferent, 
new or old, torn or hole. For, in the plenitude of his 
wisdom, he has realised that a cloth is a marketable 
commodity, which, when exchanged for money, fetches 
more than the handful of rice. The Budubudukala is 
continually on the tramp, and regulates his movements 
according to the seasons of the year. As a rule, he 
pays his visit to the rural parts after the harvest is 
gathered, for it is then that the villagers are at their 
best, and in a position to handsomely remunerate him for 
his pains. But, in whatever corner of the province he 
may be, as the Dusserah approaches, he turns his face 
towards Vellore in the North Arcot district, where the 
annual festival in honour of the tribal deity Amba 
Bhavani is celebrated." 



fcUJJINIGIYORU 396 

The insigne of the Budubudike, as recorded at 
Conjeeveram, is said* to be a pearl-oyster. The 
Oriya equivalent of Budubudike is stated f to be 
Dubaduba. 

Bujjinigiyoru (jewel-box). — A sub-division of 
Gangadikara Vakkaliga. 

Bukka.— Described, in the Madras Census Report, 
1 90 1, as a " sub-caste of Balija. They are sellers of 
saffron (turmeric), red powder, combs, etc., and are 
supposed to have been originally Komatis." They are 
described by the Rev. J. Cain as travelling about selling 
turmeric, opium, and other goods. According to the 
legend, when Kanyakamma threw herself into the 
fire-pit (see Komati), they, instead of following her 
example, presented to her bukka powder, turmeric, and 
kunkuma. She directed that they should live apart from 
the faithful Komatis, and live by the sale of the articles 
which they offered to her. 

Buragam.— A sub-division of Kalingi. 

Burgher.— A name commonly applied to the Badagas 
of the Nilgiri hills. In Ceylon, Burgher is used in the 
same sense as Eurasian in India. 

Burmese.— A few Burmese are trained as medical 
students at Madras for subsequent employment in the 
Burmese Medical service. At the Mysore census, 1901, 
a single Burman was recorded as being engaged at the 
Kolar gold fields. Since Burma became part of the 
British dominions in 1886, there has been emigration to 
that developing country from the Madras Presidency on 
a large scale. The following figures show the numbers 



* J. S. F. Mackenzie, Ind. Ant., IV, 1875. 
t Madras Census Report, 1901. 



397 



BVAGARA 



of passengers conveyed thence to Burma during the five 
years, 1901 — 05 : — 

19 01 84,329 



1902 
1903 
1904 

1905 



80,916 
100,645 
127,622 
124,365 



Busam (grain). — An exogamous sept of Devanga. 
Busi (dirt). — An exogamous sept of Mutracha. 
Byagara. — Byagara and Begara are synonyms of 
Holeya. 



Printed by The Superintendent, 

Government Press, 

Madras. 



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