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Encyclopedia of Indo-Aryan Research 

FOUNDED BY (;. BUllLER, CONTINUED BY F. KIEI.HORN, 

EDITED BY H. LUDERS AND J. VVACKERNAGEL. 

VOL. II, PART 5. 



ETHNOGRAPHY 

(CASTES AND TRIBES) 



SIR ATHELSTANE BAINES 



WITH A LIST OF THE MORE IMPORTANT WORKS ON INDIAN ETHNOGRAPHY 
BY W. SIEGLING. 



^lubcr tl]C |Jntronagc nf Jijis Majesty's |Irt:trifial ^ccrctarg of ^iate for ^nlita. 



STRASSBURG 

KARL J. TRUBNER 
1912. 



PS 




M. DiiMoiit Schmiberg, StraClmrg. 



Encyclopedia of Indo-Aryan Research 

FOUNDED BY U. BUHLER, CONTINUED BY F. KIELHORN, 
EDITED BY H. LUDERS AND J. WACKERNAGEL. 

VOL. II, PART 5. 



ETHNOGRAPHY 

(CASTES AND TRIBES) 

BY 

SIR ATHELSTANE BAINES. 



INTRODUCTION. 

§ I. The subject with which it is proposed to deal in the present 
work is that branch of Indian ethnography which is concerned with the 
social organisation of the population, or the dispersal of the latter into 
definite groups based upon considerations of race, tribe, blood or oc- 
cupation. In the main, it takes the form of a descriptive survey of the 
return of castes and tribes obtained through the Census of 1901. The 
scope of the review, however, is limited to the population of India properly 
so called, and does not, therefore, include Burma or the outlying tracts 
of Baluchistan, Aden and the Andamans, by the omission of which the 
population dealt with is reduced from 294 to 283 millions. 

§ 2. It should be borne in mind from the outset, that but for the 
fact that this vast aggregate is spread over a continuous area between 
Cape Comorin and the Himalaya, and is politically under one rule, the 
population does not contain, as a whole, any of the essential elements of 
Nationality. Irrespective of racial differences, which, for reasons which will 
appear below, are to a great extent outside the Census inquiry, the 
Language, falling under no less than 147 heads, varies from Province to 
Province, each of the principal tongues having its dialects whose Shibboleth 
infallibly denotes the stranger a hundred miles or so from his native village. 
Society, again, is split up into almost innumerable self-contained divisions, 
under sacerdotal prohibition from intermarriage and domestic intercourse 
with each other. Religion, moreover, constitutes a well-defined distinction 
only in the case of creeds introduced from abroad, and the Faith returned 
under a single title, itself of foreign origin, by nearly three fourths of the 
population covers a vast and incoherent collection of beliefs and forms of 
worship, from the tribal animism of the primitive denizens of the forest to 
those involving the most refined metaphysical conceptions. Neither religion 
nor language, then will be here discussed more than cursorily, and solely 
in their bearings upon the ethnography of the country. Full information 
upon the philology and the main currents of religious belief of India will 
be found in special treatises upon those subjects in other volumes of this 
Encyclopaedia. Moreover, neither creed nor mother-tongue affords an 
adequate, or even an approximate indication of the great fundamental 
variety of race, a subject which also escapes the Census inquiry since 

Indo-Aryan Research. II. 5. 1 



5. Ethnography. 



the latter takes cognisance, perforce, of existing facts only, whilst race 
has been for centuries obscured by the operation of the two most pre- 
valent forms of religious profession. The plastic and assimilative nature 
of Brahmanism absorbs, whilst the uncompromising tendencies of Islam 
obliterate, distinctions of race equally with those of doctrine and cere- 
monial, and both have their effect in diminishing the popularity of the 
more restricted vernaculars. The veil of superficial uniformity which has 
thus been drawn over the actual elements from which Indian society has 
been formed can only be removed, and then but iwrtially and on con- 
jecture perhajis, by recourse to such ethnological evidence as may be 
gleaned from tradition and literature, with the aid, in certain directions, 
of anthropometrical investigation, so far as it has yet been carried. Purity 
of descent is no more a general characteristic of the population of India 
than it is of any other old civilisation in the Eastern Hemisphere in which 
geographical conformation admits of access from the North. In the Upper, 
or Continental, portion of India that purity is probably found in the upper 
classes of the Panjab and Rajputana. It exists, too, at the ojiposite end 
of the social ladder, amongst the Hill tribes of the Belt dividing the above 
portion of India from the Peninsula. South of that barrier, again, the 
population, except along parts of the West Coast, is comparatively homo- 
geneous, and the main variations noticeable in it are not more marked 
than those which may reasonably be attributed to secular differences in 
habits and pursuits. The principal physical features of the country have 
to be taken into account in connection with its ethnography, as they have 
played a highly important part in determining the racial distribution of 
the population. To put it briefly, India can only be entered from the 
north by any considerable body of men by passes through the outlying 
ranges running southwards from the Himalaya in the western extension 
of that great system. In early times, no doubt, access was comparatively 
easy by routes debouching on the middle and lower Indus, over country 
which is now sandy desert, but which was once the abode of a consi- 
derable population. Similarly, on the eastern flank of the Himalaya, the 
trend of the lower ranges renders it possible for those accustomed to 
forest and mountain life to enter, though not in large bodies, the valley 
of the Brahmaputra or the eastern Gangetic Delta. Between the mountains 
and the next obstacle, the ranges of Central India, lie the vast alluvial 
plain of the Ganges and its tributaries and the open plains of the Five 
Rivers. The Central Belt, of considerable width in both hill and forest, 
though of insignificant height in comparison with the Himalaya, is yet 
sufficiently difficult to have proved an effective obstacle in the infancy 
of means of communication and of protective government. It also affords 
shelter to a considerable population of the wilder tribes, of old the 
guardians of the routes through their territory. As in the case of the 
Himalaya, however, the flank can be turned on both east and west, as 
the hills do not reach either coast, and the narrow strips intervening 
between the ranges and the sea consist of fertile and low-lying country-, 
presenting little or no difficulty of passage on the East, at all events, to 
the great southern plains and the Dekkan plateau. These prominent na- 
tural features have now to be coordinated with the ethnology of India, 
so far as our knowledge of the latter extends. 

§ 3. The basic population of practically the whole country- consists 
of a dark, short and broad-nosed race, with wavy, but not woolly, hair. 



Introduction. 3 



In the present day it is represented by the wild tribes of the Central Belt, 
and in a higher state of culture by the population of the southern portions 
of the Peninsula. On philological grounds, the people south of the Belt are 
distinguished from those further north. The former, known as Dravidian, 
seem always to have kept to their present localities, except in a few 
cases where tribes have migrated into the Belt within historic times. The 
other race, to which the title of Kol or Munda, is generally attached, 
is not known south of the forest Belt, in which it is at the present time 
concentrated under its distinctive tribal appellations. Formerly, however, 
it was spread over the whole of the great plains of Upper India, and, 
according to recent philological discoveries, it is akin, at least in language, 
to communities now settled on the borders of Assam, and far to the east 
of the Bay of Bengal. Some investigators, indeed, spread its former habitat 
over a still wider area. In the east and north-east of India, however, its 
identity has been obscured, if not obliterated, by the successive immigra- 
tions of people of IMongoloidic race from eastern Tibet and the head 
waters of the great Chinese rivers, whose main streams of migration have 
sought the sea by the valleys of the Irawadi, Salwin and Mekhong. In the 
Gangetic plain the type is traceable throughout the population, slightly, 
indeed, along the Jamna, but more distinctly as the east is approached, 
and almost everywhere more prevalent as the social position is lower. 
This graduation is due to miscegenation between the Kol, who, as far as 
ethnography is concerned, may be considered the autochthonous inhabitant 
of these tracts, and a taller and fairer race, which entered India by the 
passes of the North-west or the plains of Balijchistan. More than one such 
race are known to history, but in most cases their impact upon India was 
sharp but short; not, at any rate, of a character to leave a permanent 
impression upon the population. Such, for instance, was the connection 
of the iMacedonians with the Panjab. More durable though still in few 
cases amounting to settlement or colonisation, were the principalities set 
up from time to time in the North-west by scions of the race or races 
termed Scythian, of whom more will be said below. The only immigrating 
race of practical importance in connection with the present subject, is 
that of the Aryas, whose advent and progress are indirectly, and to a 
great extent conjecturally, revealed in the collection of their invocations 
handed down from perhaps as early as 3000 B C, in the Rgveda and the 
sacerdotal literature appended to it at later dates. 

§ 4. From these sources it appears that a number of cognate tribes 
of northern race and pastoral habits advanced across and along the Indus 
into the Panjab, where they settled after dispossessing the dark tribes 
in occupation, relegating them to the position of helots in the service of 
the new communities. The Vedic Aryas seem to have lost touch in time 
with their original country across the snows, and to have developed their 
civilisation on lines peculiarly their own. Their progress eastwards from 
the Indus was that of expansion rather than of conquest, as the Kol tribes 
seem after a time to have offered no serious resistance. The comparatively 
easy conditions of life in sub-tropical circumstances, and the immunity 
from attack in force from the west, which was secured by their mountain 
rampart, combined to soften the northern fibre of the race, and, in course 
of time, the supreme influence over the community was transferred from 
the chieftain to the priests, under whose auspices society was organised 
in a way that secured the absolute supremacy of their own order. The 



5. Ethnography. 



system thus established was so elastic in the matter of doctrine and 
worship, so simple in its demands upon traditional rites and customs, that 
without |)ropaganda or formal conversion, it absorbed and continues to 
absorb into the pale of orthodoxy the religious and domestic observances 
of all the non-Aryan tribes with which it came into contact. As a neces- 
sary result, ethnical distinctions are thus obliterated by religious termino- 
logy, and, along with the tribal nomenclature, tribal languages have long 
tended to disappear from usage. This has been the case throughout the 
Gangetic valley, in Central India, and along the northern districts of the 
Western coast, in none of which tracts is creed or language an indication 
of racial origin. In the first named region, too, the physical characteristics 
of the masses denote clearly the admixture of Kol with Aryan blood, a 
blend which, as above stated, grows more perceptible as the distance 
from the centres of Aryan settlement increases. The striking differences 
in this respect between the population of the Panjab and northern Raj- 
putana and that east of the Jamna appears to be due both to the stricter 
maintenance of the purity of the original northern stock, and also to the 
recruitment of that stock through the subsequent occupation of the first- 
mentioned tracts by communities from beyond the Himalaya. The most 
important of the latter are the various tribes known in ancient Indian 
literature by the probably generic title of S'aka, or Scythians, the greater 
portion of whom made their way south by way of Bactria. In mure than 
one instance the dynasty establishing itself in India lasted so long and 
penetrated so far into the interior, that it is almost certain to have left 
a physical, as well as a political, impress upon the population. The case 
of the Yetha Hunas, or White Huns, is c)ne in point. After the usual 
vicissitudes north of the great ranges, they ruled in Central India for a 
considerable period, and, long before their overthrow, they seem to have 
been absorbed into the local chieftainry of Rajputana and Malva. For 
several generations, too, a Pahlava, or Parthian, dynasty held sway on the 
lower Indus. The origin of most of these peoples was probably in the 
^longoloid regions of north-east Asia, but recent investigators appear to 
consider that it is not improbable that at least one, and that an important 
dynasty in Northern India, was of .-Vryan race, driven southwards by the 
pressure on west-central Asia from the north-east. Whatever the actual 
race, the point relevant to the present iiuestion is that they were all 
northerners, and thus alien in blood and physique to the prc-.\ryan in- 
habitants of India. 

§ 5. The Connection of the Aryas with Dravidian India seems to 
have been of a different character from that established in the Gangetic 
region and the Panjab. There does not appear to have been any coloni- 
sation, and little, if any, cross-breeding. It may be fairly conjectured that 
the open and fertile plains of the south-east afforded opportunities for 
civilisation upon local lines to an extent which, by the time the .\ryas had 
spread to the means of access from the north, had placed the Dravidian 
communities in a much stronger position than the Kol tribes of the 
Continental plains. From the Aryan additions to the vocabulary of the 
vernacular tongues and the s])ecial features of the Brahmanism and the 
social system of the South it may be inferred that the influence of .\ryan 
civilisation was there of a missionary, not political or military, character. 
The cloak of Brahmanic orthodoxy was thrown over the local deities and 
ceremonial, and social divisions adopted the Brahmanic organisation : but, 



Introduction. 



beyond the introduction of a certain contingent of Brahmans as teachers 
and advisers, no Aryan blood was infused into the population. Along the 
western coast, however, which is cut off from the Tamil country and the 
Dekkan by the Sahyadri range, tradition assigns a northern origin to 
several of the more important communities, and is confirmed by physical 
appearance and certain sjiccial customs. 

!; 6. It remains to mention the more modern accretions to the peoples 
of India received from foreign countries, but now permanently established 
in the land of their adoption. 

Of movements of this description which have had a racial signi- 
ficance, that which took place under the auspices of the followers of 
Muhammad first claims attention. It must be noted, however, that, on the 
whole, the extent to which it introduced fresh blood into the country is 
of far less importance than its religious and political influence. India con- 
tains, it is true, more Muslim than any other country in the world, and 
votaries of their faith are found in every part of it; but, except in the 
territories bordering upon the exclusively Muslim States of Afghanistan 
and Balijchistan, the community consists almost entirely of local converts 
from Rrahmanism, without any admixture of foreign blood. In Upper India, 
colonies of considerable importance were left by successive waves of 
invasion, especially in and round the cities founded or occupied by the 
conquering races. In the case of the Moghal dynasties, military and ad- 
ministrative centres were established far down the Ganges and on the 
western coast. The Arabs, too, have been in commercial intercourse with 
that coast from time immemorial, and have planted permanent settlements 
as far south as Malabar. The largest aggregates, however, of foreign 
Muslim are those recruited from the Indus frontier, and settled not far 
from that river. The conversion of Sindh and Kashmir has long been 
almost complete, and that of the eastern tracts of the great Delta of the 
Ganges and Brahmaputra is in active progress, and already extends to 
more than half the population. With this exception, the proportion of 
Muslim diminishes, like that of the Aryan stock, southwards and eastwards 
from the Panjab, and is very small amongst the Dravidians, and scarcely 
existent in the Central Belt of hills and forests. From the standpoint of 
ethnography it is not to be assumed that the results of conversion to 
Islam extend no further than the substitution of one dogma or ritual for 
another, as is the case, to a great extent, when a lower race is absorbed 
into Brahmanism. The acceptance of the monotheistic creed entails, as 
a rule, material expansion of the matrimonial field and of the social horizon 
generally, with a wider range of diet also, all of which tend to differentiate, 
after a generation or two, the converted community from that to which 
it originally belonged, the modification extending to physical as well as 
to other attributes. 

§ 7. Another community which, as regards the majority of its 
members, is the result of apostolic zeal rather than of immigration, is that 
of the Christians in India, of whom more than 91 per cent are native to 
the country and another 3 per cent of mixed European and native origin. 
The remainder are practically sojourners only, and comprise the European 
military and civil establishments, the mercantile communities of the larger 
cities, and the considerable staff of the railway systems. The conversion 
of certain localities, chiefly on the Malabar coast, is alleged to date from 
the first century of the Christian era; but until the arrival of the Portu- 



6 5- Ethnography. 

guesc, the propaganda was not extended far beyond the original settle- 
ments of the Nestorian Church. The Roman Catholic missionaries, under 
the political aegis of Goa, ranged over a large portion of Southern India, 
and, to this day, three fourths of the Christian population of India belongs 
to the Dravidian tracts, and more than half to the Church of Rome. The 
differentiation of the convert to this religion from his Brahmanic fellows 
varies, usually according to the numbers and homogeneity of the local 
congregation. The breach with old custom is more marked where con- 
version is comparatively sporadic, and slighter in the case where Christianity 
has been hereditary for generations, or, if of comparatively recent accep- 
tance, has been embraced by considerable numbers of more or less the 
same social position. This position, owing mainly to the restrictions of 
the caste system, is generally low, as the change is there not only less 
of a sacrifice to people who have no hope of rising, but may even bring 
with it some chances of ameliorating their lot. 

§ 8. At the very opposite pole to the Muslim and Christians in 
regard to recruitment by propaganda of their religion, stand the small but 
well defined body of Parsis. The original settlers of this race were driven 
out of Iran by the Muslim in the 7th century, and the bulk of their 
descendants are still to be found in and round the tract upon which they 
first landed, on the coast north of Bombay. The opening of the latter by 
the British as the commercial emporium of western India, induced many 
families of Parsis to migrate thither, and from this centre they have spread 
all over the country to such an extent that, though their aggregate nimibers 
is only just over 93000, there is scarcely a large town in India in which 
a few families of Parsi traders are not resident. From their arrival in the 
country the Parsis made a point of keeping their race and ritual unsullied 
by intercourse with their neighbours, and to this particularism is due to 
some extent, their very slow rate of increase. It is remarkable, however, 
that with this strict maintenance of their customs and ritual, and their 
abstinence from intermarriage with Indians, the Parsis have long lost all 
hold of their original language, Pahlavi, except in their liturgy, and uni- 
versally make use of Gujarati as their mother-tongue. 

§ 9. In addition to the Christians, Parsis and Arabs, the west coast 
of India has also afforded refuge to successive small bodies of Israelites, 
of which the more ancient, at all events, hold the tradition that like the 
Parsis, they were driven by persecution from their fatherland. Like the 
sons of Iran, again, they have kept up their religion and customs and 
lost their mother-tongue. The earliest colony is that of Cochin, on the 
Malabar coast, which dates from the Christian era, if not from an earlier 
period. It consists of two sections, the White, which has kept its breed 
pure, and gets its brides occasionally from Syria and Baghdad, and the 
Black, which is suspected of intermarriage with Indians or of the incor- 
poration of local converts in days of yore, and is therefore socially avoided 
by the others. The total number of both communities does not exceed 
1300, and is not increasing. Another Jewish settlement of apparently 
distinct origin from those further south, is that of the Beni-Israel, on the 
mainland near Bombay. The members thereof possess the i^hysical charac- 
teristics of their race, and keep up their religious observances, though 
they have adopted the dress and language of their Maratha neighbours. 
Unlike their compatriots in general, they are engaged chiefly in cultivation, 
and have taken to a considerable extent also to military service in the 



Introduction. 



British Indian army. They have the same tradition as those of Cochin as 
to their exile from their country under persecution, but seem to have a 
iaxer grip of their past than the latter, and no inclination for alliances 
with those of their race beyond the seas. In numbers they greatly surpass 
their fellow exiles. The largest community of Jews in India is the com- 
paratively recent commercial settlement in Bombay and to a less extent 
in Calcutta, of traders from Baghdad, who, whilst permanently settled in 
their place of business, keep in close touch with their old home. 

§ 10. The above sketch of the ethnological aspect of the subject 
will serve to indicate this fact of primary relevance, that, north of the 
Dravidian country, the demarcation of race is only ascertainable in the 
case of the communities under tribal constitution, such as the Kol of the 
Central Belt, the jMongoloid tribes of the North-cast, and the Muslim 
immigrants of the North-west. The undoubted racial difference between 
the fair people of Rajputana and the Panjab and the masses further east 
is obscured, for the purposes of ethnography, by the superstructure of 
Brahmanism under which it now lies buried. This survey would be in- 
complete, however, without some exposition of the distribution of creed 
and language, even though it be restricted to mere numbers. First, then, 
in regard to !Mothertongue, it will be seen from Table I given cm the ne.xt 
page, that no more than about one person in a thousand returns any language 
not peculiar to India or its immediate vicinity, and that one, is probably 
a European sojourner. Nine in a thousand speak a frontier dialect, mainly 
PashtU, Baluchi, Tibetan or one of the almost innumerable languages of 
the hill-tracts between India and Burma. The languages distinguishable as 
restricted respectively to special tribes are returned by some 6' \ millions ; 
and, on the whole, 96 per cent speak Indo-Aryan languages or Dravidian, 
other than those of the hill-tribes. Appended to this volume is a Table 
showing the territorial distribution of each of the principal tongues, from 
which a conception may be formed of the great linguistic diversity of the 
country. 

§ II. It will be inferred from what has been stated above, that the 
diversity of religion is by no means equal to that of language, so far as 
nomenclature is in question. In Table II on the next page, the numbers 
of those professing the main forms of belief are given, along with their 
relative proportion to the total population. 

It must be understood that the term „Tribal Animism" refers to the 
religion returned under the tribal name by those who adhere to none of 
the wider creeds. Again, the title „Hinduism" is only recognised by the 
community to whom it is applied as denoting a distinction between them 
and the foreigner. The word was first used by the ?iluslim invaders for 
all Indian creeds in which the uncompromising Unitarianism of the follower 
of the Prophet detected signs of the worship of idols. It is here taken in 
its conventional sense of „the collection of rites, worships, beliefs, traditions 
and mythologies that are sanctioned by the sacred books and ordinances 
of the Brahmans, and are propagated by Brahmanic teaching" (Lyall). In 
practice, this amounts to the application of the title to any Brahmanic 
community that has not returned t)ne of the more specific denominations 
which can legitimately be included under the general name. Consequently, 
the great mass of the people come under it. The prevalence of the different 
professions of faith in the principal territorial divisions of India is shown in 
a Table appended to this volume. 



5- Ethnography. 





J 


Population 


Population returniny 


Linguistic Class 


!-5i 


Languages native to 


Total 


Per 
100,000 


Indian 
Frontiers 


India 


Foreign 
Counviet 


I. Kol-Khervari 


lO 


3,179,273 


1,124 


— 


3,179,273 





II. Dravidian. . 


14 


56,315,740 


19,911 


47,943 


56,267,797 


— 


m. Arj-o-Dravidian 


* 


344,143 


122 




344,143 


— 


IV. Indo-Aryan . 


20 


219,352,079 


77,556 


54,425 


219,297,654 


— 


V. Iranian. . . 


6 


1,388,223 


491 


1,369,133 


— 


19,090 


VI. Tibeto-Burman 


62 


1,804,776 


638 


960,585 


844,191 


— 


VII. M6n . . . 


2 


177,854 


63 


27 


177,827 


— 


VIII. Tai . . . . 


6 


3,366 


I 


3,366 




— 


IX. Mongolian 


4 


3,566 


I 


— 


_ 


3,566 


X. Malay . . . 


I 


26 


— 


— 


— 


26 


XI. Semitic 


3 


19,726 


7 


— 


— 


19,726 


XII. Hamitic 


t 


185 


— 


— 


— 


185 


XIII. European. . 


23 
151 


243,109 


86 


— 


— 


243,109 


Total returned 


282,832,066 


100,000 


2,435,479 


280,110,885 


285,702 


Not returned . . 




158,997 


— 




— 




Population . . 


— 


282,991,063 


— 


— 


— 


— 



* Gipsy dialects, undistinguishable. 

t Returned in generic terms, as Abyssinian, Negro etc. 



II. 



Religion 


Population 


Proportion 
to 100,000 


I. Religions native to India . . . 

A. Tribal Animism 

B. Offshoots of Brahmanism. 

(i) Hinduism 

(2) Brahma and Arya Samaj . . 

(3) Sikhism 

(4) Jainism 

(5) Buddhism 

II. Religions of Foreign Origin . . 

C. Mazdaism 


218,797,808 

8,176,560 

206,715,341 

96,054 

2,185,330 

1,333,820 

290,703 

64,193.255 

93.449 

14,436 

61,315,475 

2,767,235 

2,660 


77,316 

2,890 

73,046 

34 

772 

471 

103 

22,684 
33 


D. Judaism 


5 
21 667 


E. Islam 


F. Christianity 

G. Others 


97S 
I 


Total . . 


282,991,063 


100,000 



§ 12. One of the most interesting ethnographical questions entering 
into the Census inquirj' is that of the rate at which Brahmanism is in 
name, at least, absorbing the Animistic tribal population. Unfortunately, 
this cannot be fully solved from the returns, owing to the different inter- 



Social Organisation. A. Historical. 



pretations given to the instructions for recording tribal creeds and languages. 
The enumerators, or those who instructed them, adopted somewhat ar- 
bitrary standards of orthodoxy and philology, and what was set down as 
tribal in one tract appeared under the more general title in another, just 
across a political frontier. Speaking generally, the tendency seems to have 
been to return the tribal terms wherever the community in question is 
in predominant occupation of a cuntinuous and well-defined region, and is 
thus in comparative isolation from the civilisation of the plains. Where, 
on the other hand, the tribe is interlaced with the Brahmanical peasantry, 
the distinction was less noticed, and probably the line is in reality less 
discernible. It may be interesting, in spite of the above drawbacks, to 
learn what the conditions are as set forth at the Census, so a further 
Table, in which the proportion in which each tribe returned the tribal 
religion and language is given in the Appendix. 

SOCIAL ORGANISATION. 

A. Historical. 

§ 13. Tribe. — In the outline given in the Introduction it was shown 
that throughout the greater part of continental India, the region most in- 
fluenced by foreign blood, distinctions of race have been practically effaced 
by centuries of cross-breeding. It is to be noted, however, that wherever 
a race can still be geographically demarcated from its hybrid neighbours 
the ethnic constitution tends to be tribal, consisting, that is, of groups 
with a common name, the tradition of kinship or descent from a common 
ancestor, human, demi-god or wild animal, as the case may be, and 
claiming or occupying a definite territory. The system on which the tribe 
is organised varies considerably according to the race and the conditions 
under which it lives. That most intimately connected with India proper 
is found amongst the Kol-Dravidians of the Central Belt. Here, the tribe 
is subdivided into numerous exogamous sections, each bearing the name 
of a plant or animal of the locality, and marrying almost invariably within 
the tribe itself, or, at most, not beyond an adjacent and probably kindred 
community of similar organisation and form of religious and domestic ce- 
remonial. The Mongoloid tribes of Assam and the eastern frontier are also 
divided into sections professing blood -relationship, and therefore not 
marrying within the section, but trusting to their fellow-tribesmen of other 
divisions to provide them with brides, either by arrangement or capture. 
On the opposite frontier, the tribal constitution of the Pathan and BalOch 
races is of a markedly different type. The Baluch tribe is bound together by 
political rather than ethnic ties, owning allegiance, that is, to a common 
Chieftain ; but amongst the clans which go to form this unit, there is found 
very often, if not usually, the tradition of blood-kinship, surrounded by a fringe 
of strangers who have affiliated themselves to the community for the purpose 
of mutual defence, and who, after a term of probation, are admitted to full 
tribesmanship. The subdivisions of these clans are exogamous, and there 
is a tendency, but nothing stronger, towards endogamy within the tribe. 
Amongst the Pathans the tribe is more closely knit, and the bond is 
kinship in the male line. As amongst the Baliich, however, strangers are 
admitted to qualified membership, tending, in time, to be treated, by fiction, 
as kinship. There is not the element of allegiance to a common Chief, 



10 5- Ethnography. 

though in many cases such dignitaries do exist and are regarded as war- 
lords and representatives of the tribe in dealing with the outer world. 
But the internal management uf tribal affairs is vested in a tribal Council, 
composed of the Heads of clans or other subdivisions of the main body. 
Marriage takes place, as a rule, within the race, and in practice is re- 
gulated by Muslim, not tribal, prescriptions regarding affinity. The in- 
fluence of these races, especially of the Pathan, upon the whole population 
of the western Panjab, has had the result of substantially modifying the 
social structure, elevating the tribal, or blood connection, enlarging the 
marriage field, and generally promoting the adoption of the freer life of 
the Highlands in preference to the stricter and more elaborate system 
which prevails throughout Brahmanic India. 

§ 14. Caste. It is with the latter, however, that this review is mainly 
concerned, and the only object of the above remarks is to differentiate 
the organisation of, so to speak, the pure races of India from that of the 
great mass of the population. Amid the bewildering variety of the com- 
plicated civilisation of this last the one and only characteristic which can 
be said to be universal is the sentiment which underlies the scheme of 
life upon which the whole of the social edifice is based and its component 
parts are respectively distinguished and coordinated. This sentiment, 
moreover, may be said to be the very spinal cord of the main religion 
of the country, supplying the vitality and support which neither doctrine 
nor ritual are sufficiently coherent to provide. By its means, Brahmanism 
has become, as has been said by a competent observer, "a way of life, 
"interwoven into the whole of existence and society; placing every na- 
"tural habit and duty upon a religious basis so entirely that it is impossible 
"for a Brahmanist to draw a distinction between sacred and profane. A 
"man's religion means his customary rule of every-day life. His whole 
"social identity belongs to his religion". (Lyall. Asiatic Studies.) This 
omnipresence of the religious sanction and the rigidity which it imparts 
to diversity elsewhere susceptible of diminution or effacement is not 
only the most prominent feature of the social organisation of India, 
but is also peculiar to the latter, marking it out as distinct from any 
other civilisation in the world. In other respects, there is little in the 
system which is not to be found, or which has not at some time or other 
existed, in other countries, even of the West, though it has there been 
long ago worn away by other influences. The crystallisation of certain 
bodies into definite orders or classes, for instance, is a common, almost 
a universal, trait, and amongst them the tendency to become hereditary 
and as exclusive or aspiring as circumstances allow may almost be called 
natural. A superior and conquering race, again, has been known elsewhere 
to settle for generations alongside of a population in every way inferior 
to it, compelling the latter into servile conditions and drawing upon it for 
wives and concubines without making any return in kind. Sacerdotalism, 
too, has had its day of supremacy elsewhere than in India. Restrictions 
in regard to the choice of a wife and upon participation in meals of a 
commemorative or other ritualistic significance, are, of course, common 
property. But in no other case has the position of a sacerdotal class been 
so firmly established nor has its influence so deeply permeated the whole of a 
vast community, as to enable it to prescribe, under the sanction of religion, 
a code of elaborate prescriptions on domestic and personal conduct which 
is accepted by all as the ideal, according to the relative conformity with 



Social Organisation. A. Historical. 



which the rank of every group of the society, from top to bottom, is 
unalterably settled. A system of this description, which, practically un- 
changed in its main principles, has for many centuries regulated the lives 
of millions; which is absorbing every generation more and more of the 
tribal population of a lower type brought into contact with it, and which 
has not only successfully resisted, but has even been to a great extent 
assimilated by so dogmatic and uncompromising a rival as Islam, must 
obviously have its roots very deep indeed in the proclivities and traditions 
of the multitudes living under it. 

Whether it be indigenous to India, or whether it existed in an em- 
bryonic form amongst the Aryas before their great dispersal, is a question 
which has been the subject of wide and erudite discussion. Probably it 
is insoluble, most theories of primitive society being apt, according to 
Sir Henry IMaine, to land the adventurer in a region of mud-banks and 
fog. This, remarks the author of the last Census report (1901, p. 546), 
"is more especially the case in India, where the palaeological data available 
"in Europe hardly exist at all, while the historical value of the literary 
"evidence is impaired by the uncertainty of its dates, by the sacerdotal 
"predilections of its authors, by their passion for wire-drawn distinctions 
"and symmetrical classifications, and by their manifest inability to draw 
"any clear line between fact and fancy, between things as they are and 
"things as they might be, or as a Brahman would desire them to be". 

§ 15. The social divisions which form the units of the system in 
question are known in the West by the name of Castes, which was given 
them by the early Portuguese travellers. It is said to be derived from 
the Latin word casta^ pure or unmixed, in itself connoting segregation, 
and was applied by Camoens, for instance, in the sense of tribe or even 
race, to the Pulayan or helots, in contradistinction to the Nayar, their 
conquerors. It needs but a very short time in the country to bring home 
to the most casual observer the ubiquity of the institution, and to make 
him acquainted with some of its principal exoteric features. He might 
possibly feel himself in a position to define it, an enterprise from which 
after longer experience he would shrink, as the more caste is studied, 
the more numerous are the qualifications found to be advisable in describing 
it. It is necessary, however, for the purposes of this review, to set forth 
in terms as definite as the case allows the leading features of the com- 
munity which forms the main subject of this work. Of the many definitions 
which have been given by various authors, the most satisfactory, on the 
whole, is that adopted by Mr Gait, the joint author of the last (1901) 
Census Report, in dealing with the castes of the Province of Bengal, 
"A caste", he says (p. 354), "is an endogamous group or a collection of 
"endogamous groups, bearing a common name, the members of which 
"by reason of similarity of traditional occupation and reputed origin are 

"generally regarded as forming a single homogeneous community, 

"the constituent parts of which are more nearly related to each other 
"than they are to any other section of the society". From this it appears, 
then, that the members of a caste may only marry within its limits; but 
nearly every caste is made up of sections upon whom the same restriction 
is imposed with reference to their limits, the title of the subdivision being 
added to that of the main aggregate. The occupation, again, which is 
common to the latter, is a traditional one, and is not by any means neces- 
sarily that by which all, or even most, of the group make their living 



12 5. Ethnography. 

in the present day. On the other hand, the common origin, which is now 
claimed by most, is largely a matter of fiction, accepted, however, without 
cavil. The factor of public opinion, too, is of some importance in the 
definition, since the view taken by an aspiring section of a caste of its 
relationship to the main body is apt to differ from that accorded to it by 
the other castes amongst whom its lot is thrown, whilst the acquaintance 
of the upper classes with the organisation of those below them, and their 
interest in it are of the slightest, until perhaps an encroachment comes within 
measurable reach of their own position. It sometimes happens, therefore, 
that a subdivision by retaining its own title but substituting a fresh one 
for that of its main caste, obtains a jumping-ground for a new start in 
society, which may impose upon the outer world but not upon the imme- 
diate surroundings. Reverting, for a moment to the definition, it may be 
noted that while endogamy is the chief characteristic of the organisation, 
an exception is found in the case of the Rajput, or military caste, which 
is based upon exogamous clans or tribes. These have in many cases fixed 
their own circle of intermarriage within the caste on considerations other 
than those current amongst the rest of the Brahmanic community. There 
are apparently ethnic reasons for this peculiarity, to which reference will 
be found below. 

§ i6. The caste system being an institution essentially and exclu- 
sively Indian, the question arises whether its origin is to be sought amongst 
the Aryan immigrants or to be ascribed to those whom they found in 
possession of the field. Or, again, assuming that it is the resultant of the 
contact of the two social systems, what is the influence respectively attri- 
butable to each? The view now very generally held is that it is the 
product of no single cause, but that to its establishment in the form in 
which it now prevails, several factors, Aryan, pre-Aryan and hybrid, have 
at different times contributed. Of these by far the most prominent is the 
hieratic influence by which the main principles of the system were fixed 
and the standard set by which social position is graduated. That influence 
derives its authority entirely from the Vedic tradition, so it becomes neces- 
sary to see what information is obtainable from that source regarding the 
social organisation of the community amongst whom it originated. As in 
regard to all else concerning the earlier life of that community, reference 
must here be restricted to the Suktas of the Rksarhhita. These composi- 
tions must of course be defective in some respects, and from their character 
and the occasions they were intended to serve they cannot be expected 
to furnish a complete and detailed picture of the organisation of the body 
to which they relate. Nevertheless, the general conditions of life among 
those peoples were simple, and the relations between those who offered 
the sacrifice and the divine power whose good offices were solicited 
through it were so intimate and practical, that from the large collection 
of effusions handed down to posterity a very fair general notion can be 
formed of the leading facts relevant to the subject under consideration. 
§ 17. It appears, then, that at the comparatively advanced stage of 
progress which the Vedic Aryas had attained by the time represented in 
even the earliest invocations of the collection, the community was or- 
ganised into clans, or groups of related families which, in turn, were 
collected into tribes, to which the clan was subordinate. Various other 
terms are met with imi)lying subdivision of either tribe or clan. They all 
refer to a pastoral life and indicate a by no means high degree of cohesion. 



Social Organisation. A. Historical. 13 

Alongside of these sections were two classes or orders, evidently of later 
development: the nobles, headed by a Chieftain, and the ministers of 
religion, who conducted the public sacrifices. The mass of the community 
below these orders is collectively referred to as the "clans", or "peoples", 
always in the plural. The Family, as a unit, was strongly developed. Its 
worship was purely individual, strictly secluded from that of its neighbour, 
and conducted in private by the Paterfamilias conjointly with his wife. 
The tribal sacrifices were open to the "clans", and were conducted, at 
least in the stage to which the Suktas relate, in the presence of the 
Chief of the tribe, by a priest acting on his behalf. It seems probable that 
the ritual had by then reached a pitch of complication which necessitated 
the employment of trained professionals, but the performance of this act 
of faith was not otherwise the exclusive privilege of the sacerdotal class, 
for occasionally scions of ruling families officiated, and there are cases 
in which the right of the priest was disputed by others. It is obvious, 
however, that the duties fell more and more into the hands of trained 
experts, irrespective of the personal separatism which tends to attach itself 
to a sacrificial priesthood, as the ceremonial became more elaborate, and 
still more, after the invocations which accompanied it had ceased to be 
improvised and the compositions of the older Psalmists were recited in 
a regular liturgy. The experts closed their ranks against the layman, and 
became a class by themselves, whether they maintained their numbers by 
heredity or recruitment. It may reasonably be assumed, too, that the order of 
nobles, especially in the case of tribal chieftains, would gradually tend 
towards a hereditary character, though the frequency of intertribal strife 
and the migratory life of the communities militated against the con- 
solidation of political authority in such hands. 

§ 18. So far, it may be observed, there is nothing in the above more 
or less hypothetical social organisation of this branch of the people con- 
ventionally called Aryan which materially differs from what is known to 
have prevailed amongst the others branches of whom the early history 
is on record. It was after the Vedic tribes had debouched upon the plains 
of north-western India that their social system assumed its unique and 
special features. Here, two new factors awaited them, each being insufficient 
by itself to determine the future course of their civilisation, though the 
combination of the two led to that result. The immigrants came into 
contact, in the first place, with a race far below them in physical and 
social characteristics; and they found themselves, in the second, in the 
presence of a vast and fertile expanse of country over which the inferiority 
of their opponents allowed them to spread freely. Whatever may have 
been the difficulties in dealing with the Dasyus which were at first ex- 
perienced by the Aryas, the superiority of the latter ultimately asserted 
itself in an incontestable manner, and those who resisted them were either 
reduced to subjection on their native soil, or rolled back before the ad- 
vance of the new-comers. That the Aryas failed to take advantage of 
their opportunities to establish themselves upon a national basis appears 
to be ascribable to the fact that, except in race, they were any thing but 
a homogeneous body. Tribe was constantly at war with tribe, and in their 
slow onward progress there had been no signs of combined general effort. 
It is true that after they had been some time in the plains larger aggre- 
gates were occasionally formed by military Chiefs, but they were unstable 
and perpetually being dispersed and re-formed in the vicissitudes of tribal 



14 5- Ethnography. 

contests. The stable element, then, in the colonisation, was not supplied 
by the Court and its army, but by the village. This community seems to 
have been an institution of very early date amongst the Vedic tribes, and 
was established upon a clan, or even a family, basis, cemented by the 
possession of a definite tract of pasture or arable lapd. The opportunity 
for forming detached and independent settlements of this kind was fa- 
vourable. Land was plentiful, and whilst the supply of menial labour was 
provided by the Dasyus retained in subjection upon the soil of which they 
had been dispossessed, the danger of reprisal by the rest was removed as 
the more adventurous bodies of the Arj-as extended their frontier further 
and further into the interior. The necessity of combination for mutual 
defence against the alien waned therefore into insignificance. The tie of 
tribe, never very strong or well defined, would naturally be subordinated 
to that of territorial ownership, especially if the smaller unit were founded 
on blood-relationship and settled communal interests, and there was no 
common end which made an urgent appeal for collective action. In these 
circumstances, the dispersal of the original Vedic communities far and 
wide under new and more prosperous economic conditions tended towards 
the development of a parochial separatism, which possibly the presence 
of large bodies of alien helots may have helped to divert from wider 
political conceptions. The village community being left, on this hypothesis, 
to itself, organised its members on lines suggested by its requirements, 
which multiplied, of course, in proportion to the increased resources af- 
forded by a settled life. At the head of the social scale stood, as now, 
the possessor of land and beeves; at the foot, the stunted and swarthy 
alien. Between these extremes room had to be found for the increasing 
number of handicraftsmen, as well as for the hybrid progeny of the Arj-a 
by Dasyu women. What with the absorbing interests of this bucolic 
microcosm, and the absence of any specially powerful motive for political 
combination into larger units, the gap between the masses and the military 
dominant class tended to widen, and the fortunes of the ruling houses 
became a matter of comparatively little importance to the village. There 
remained, however, the tie of race. Whatever may have been the strength 
of this in pre-Vedic times, it became very prominent, as has been stated 
in the Introduction, when the Aryas came into collision with the Dasyus. 
The one term used collectively of the whole of the former community is 
the "colour" of the Arya as contrasted with that of their foes. In the in- 
vocations, until, that is, a period is reached when bodies of other and 
non-Vcdic Aryas appeared upon the scene, this characteristic is made 
practically equivalent to worship. The worship, in turn, was that of the 
Family, originally expanded on special occasions to the sacrifice offered 
under the auspices of the Chieftain for his tribe. The latter ceremony may 
easily have waned without affecting the essential daily rites of the house- 
hold, to which, indeed, the dispersal of the tribe and the constant presence 
of the Dasyu helots at the gate might be assumed to lend additional value. 
Nor, again, would the expansion and re-formations of the Ar^-an community 
tend to diminish the influence of the professional, or Brahmanic, ministry. 
This had probably grown into a closed body before the dispersal, but it 
was attached in the first instance to the person of the Chieftain, and 
obviously could not be otherwise than dependent upon those on whose 
behalf the priestly offices were undertaken. The Brahman, then, was bound 
to follow the fortunes of the rest of the community, and scatter as they 



Social Organisation. A. Historical. 



did. They, in turn, could not well dispense with the services he alone 
was competent to render. The language of the invocations had become 
obsolete, but texts from them were an essential part of everj- ceremony, 
and had passed, it would seem, into the stage of spells, potent only in 
the mouths of those who had professionally learnt them, a class which 
had taken care to prevent others from particijiating in that advantage. 
The value of this qualification increased, naturally, as the various bodies 
of those who placed their faith in it receded further from their traditional 
race-unity. There were other conditions, too, favourable to the growth of 
sacerdotal influence, and to the transfer of the attention of the hieratic 
order from the fluctuating fortunes of the military aristocracy, (by whom, 
moreover, its exclusive and privileged character was by no means uncon- 
tested,') to the more amenable medium of the incoherent democracy of 
the village, where the circumstances were evidently open to organisation. 
A good foothold was provided in the high value placed upon the 
purity of the family blood, the maintenance of which was the predominant 
object of the Vedic social system, as it seems to have been that of other 
Arj^an communities in their early days. The ideals and practice of the 
upper classes in regard to such a question constitute the hall-mark, as it 
were, of gentility — in the older sense of that term. Their natural ten- 
dency, accordingly, is to filter downwards through the society, each section 
adopting, as it attains a secured position, some measure of precaution 
against degradation through admixture with bodies which it considers its 
inferiors. Whether this sentiment of exclusiveness hardens into separatism 
or is merged in wider conceptions depends upon the circumstances in 
which the community happens to find itself during the early period of its 
settled existence. Pressure from outside may necessitate a political orga- 
nisation which reacts upon the domestic structure, or the struggle for life 
within the community itself may tend towards a more comprehensive 
grouping. In the advance of the Aryas into India neither of these motives 
seems to have been predominant. The way was open, therefore, for the 
confluence of the two peaceful currents which had throughout all vicis- 
situdes preserved their continuity — the sentiment of family purity and the 
hieratic administration of the ancestral worship. In regard to the former, 
the foundations of a closed order based on heredity had been laid, as 
mentioned above, amongst the priests and the nobles, at a verj' early 
period, and the bias in favour of such distinctions amongst the "clans" was 
necessarily accentuated by the contiguity of the dark races, on the one 
side, and the evolution within their own community of occupations un- 
recognised, because unknown, in Vedic tradition. Manual industries, it 
should be borne in mind, were invariably depreciated by the Arya of the 
west, where they were relegated to the servile population ; and in India, 
whether they were carried on by the Dasyu, the half-breeds, or the poorer 
members of the Clan, they could not fail to bring into prominence the 
possibility of contamination or abasement of position, either on racial 
grounds or by reason of the inherent or conventional impurity of the 
calling. In these circumstances, the idea which seems to have been adopted 
to prevent the flowing tide of impurity from submerging the cherished 
landmarks of pride of family and of race, was to establish an alliance 
between conventional purity of race or calling with the ancestral religion 
of which the Brahman was the sole exponent. The situation could be 
stereotyped by the establishment of the distribution of society upon divine 



i6 5. Ethnography. 

ordinance. It is true that as is now generally admitted, Caste, still less the 
Caste-system — which is the subject now in hand — did not exist amongst 
the Aryas of the Sukta period. The materials for it, however, had been 
provided by their descendants, and it only remained for the Brahmans, 
who were now in a position of power in the interior, to set their seal 
upon what they found ready to hand. The Purusa-Siikta of the Rgveda, 
decreed by modern scholars to be the product of the latest Vedic period, 
verging upon that of the early Brahmanic supremacy, is the Magna Charta 
of the caste system. In this composition, a divine origin is ascribed to 
four classes, the social position of each of which is thus irrevocably fi.xed. 
The two first are the Vedic orders above mentioned. Then comes a third, 
the title of which is derived from the Vedic term for the "clans" in the 
aggregate, whilst a place of degradation is made for the lower orders 
generally, in which, apparently, though the point is not certain, is merged 
the Dasyu community. Into this strictly demarcated classification were 
compressed all the numerous sections of the population existing at the 
time when the Brahman Procrustes undertook its application to the facts 
of everyday life. In such an arrangement it is obvious that the leading 
place in the social hierarchy would be assigned to the Brahman, and that 
any encroachment upon that supremacy would be amply provided against 
by the establishment of the principle of heredity in determining rank. 
Endogamy is here implied, as it is essential to the preservation of the 
family or caste purity that the mother of the heir should not be the medium 
by which any taint can be introduced into the blood. The principle under- 
lying the scheme of organisation seems to have received universal recog- 
nition, possibly because the standard of purity in regard to function had 
already been fixed by public opinion, whilst that applied to social inter- 
course, being bound up to a great extent with religious ceremonial, would 
be graduated in accordance with the example set by the class which 
prescribed or regulated that branch of caste duty. It seems doubtful, indeed, 
whether the two lower classes of the Brahmanic scheme ever had more 
than a literary existence, and were not a convenient expedient for severing 
the masses from the privileged classes. As a further security against a 
rivalry which in after times, perhaps through Buddhism, became trouble- 
some, the Brahmans, in due course, proclaimed the Ksatriya order also 
to be extinct. 

§ 19. Assuming the above hypothesis to be well founded, it is clear 
that whilst the system upon which Indian society is organised is due to 
the influence of a hereditary priesthood, which acquired thereby a position 
of unparalleled supremacy, there is no need to "smell Jesuitry" in the 
history of its genesis, and to brand it as nothing more than the full-blown 
device of subtle and self-regarding Brahmanism. It appears, in fact, that 
the sacerdotal element in its elaboration was met at least half-way by 
the inclinations of the lay public, as evinced by the form their civilisation 
had begun to assume. The sacrosanct position of the Brahman being 
once established as the pivot of the system, the development of the latter 
precceded on the lines indicated by the code of purity adopted by the 
priestly order. Recognition of the inherent sacredness and spiritual autho- 
rity of the Brahman became essential, and even the great sectarian move- 
ments in derogation of the exclusive privileges of the sacerdotal class 
left caste untouched, and ended, accordingly, in the actual, if not nominal, 
acceptance of that condition as the inevitable apex of the system they 



Social Organisation. A. Historical. 17 

retained. Doctrinal orthodoxy, indeed, could not have had much weight 
in the social balance after the pantheon had been enlarged to admit the 
claims of popular local deities, and the non-Aryan beliefs and ritual had 
been adapted to the flexible requirements of the Brahmans. Schism on 
religious grounds occurred, no doubt, in the earlier times, as it has con- 
tinued to do, and fresh subdivisions were formed in consequence, but 
these involved no change in caste or social position unless they happened 
to entail the violation of prescriptions relating to the purity of the family 
or the individual. These prescriptions are the operative part of the system, 
regulating as they do, marriage, food, occupation, and intercourse with 
the rest of the community. They are thus of a quasi-public character and 
the breach of any of them brings the stigma of pollution not only upon the 
individual but upon the family and the castefellows who come into contact 
with the offender. They are, moreover, comparatively easy of detection, 
and are thus well within reach of the discipline of the caste tribunal, a 
consideration of some moment amongst the masses, with whom detail 
looms higher than in classes where tradition is stronger and position 
more assured. 

Other factors contributed, of course, to the consolidation of the 
system; and amongst them have been included the devout belief in the 
omnipresence of supernatural agency, permeating all classes from top to 
bottom, and predisposing them to submission to priestly authority. There 
is, again, the doctrine of metempsychosis, which, regarding the present 
as the direct heir of the past, lends valuable support to the notion of 
predestined lot in the successive births into this world to which all are 
subject. The apathetic character of the people, also, is taken into account, 
and the marked absence amongst them of the "noble discontent" with 
their circumstances which spurs men on to efforts to improve them. It is 
open to question however, whether the two last preceded the institution 
of the caste system, or not. Be this as it may, the most potent factor is 
the Brahmanic standard of purity, and the desire to emulate it. This is 
the thread upon which is strung the astounding collection of otherwise 
independent communities into which the population of India is now divi- 
ded and which multiplies almost every year the number of its units. It 
underlies the demarcation by race, in the form in which it chiefly prevails, 
whether amongst the village menials or the Hill tribes which have become 
or are becoming, castes, as they abandon customs which are incompatible 
with it. In function, again, which in its lower grades is closely connected 
with race, the social gradations are based upon the relative cleanliness 
of the pursuit, though not without a glance at the ancestry of those 
who have taken to it. Religious differences only lead to the formation 
of a separate caste, when as above indicated, they are accompanied by 
a departure from the social observances of the original body, upwards, 
it may be, or in the opposite direction. The constant multiplication of 
castes, indeed, is attributable for the most part either to the assumption 
by a section of an existing caste of a higher standard of purity than the 
rest in occupation, marriage regulations, or food; or, on the other hand, 
to the excommunication of a section from fire and water for a violation 
of the caste rules regarding such matters. This fissiparity of castes is a 
subject of great intricacy to which space does not allow more than cur- 
sory reference here. It is necessary to make some mention of it, however, 
in order to show that, rigid and compressive as may be the framework 

Indo-Aryan Research. H. 5. 2 



iS 5- Ethnography. 

of society imposed by the caste system, it does not preclude mobility 
within the multitudinous cells of which it is composed, and provides, too, 
for the increase of their number by accretion from outside. It is perhaps 
still more important to note that the converse process does not take place. 
A section once split off does not rejoin, nor do different castes coalesce 
with each other to form larger communities of the same character. With 
the object of illustrating these features of the system in actual operation, 
a brief description of the more representative castes has been included 
in the latter portion of this review. Through this more information may 
be gained, it is hoped, than can be conveyed by a series of general 
statements, each of which, like most general statements concerning India, 
requires abundant qualification to meet local exceptions. It must never 
be forgotten that India is not a country but a collection of countries, and 
though caste as an institution is universal, and the basis of the system 
which has been the subject of the foregoing review is the same throughout, 
the form assumed by the superstructure raised upon that foundation differs 
materially in different regions. If any generalisation be sustainable, it 
would be, perhaps, that caste tends to be strong where the population 
is generally prosperous, and also where the system was adopted after it 
had reached maturity among those who were the means of introducing 
it. It tends to be weak, on the other hand, where the means of sub- 
sistence are less abundant, and occupations, therefore, cannot be so 
strictly demarcated as they are under more favourable conditions. The 
stage of civilisation, too, attained by the time Brahmanisation set in, seems 
to have been a factor of some weight in determining the extent to which 
recognition should be accorded to local customs and beliefs. 

t; 20. Thus, in the south-Dravidian part of the peninsula, the caste 
system flourishes in full vigour; but it has simply been engrafted upon 
Tamil institutions, and, as far as the masses of the people are concerned, 
little change has been effected by it in their food or their special regu- 
lations regarding marriage ; still less in their worship, in which the Brah- 
man takes no part except where one of the more powerful of the local 
maleficent goddesses has been adopted as a manifestation of some Puranic 
divinity. The lower orders there occupy a position of degradation differing 
from that of the corresponding castes further north in that a good many of 
them do not accept it; and having a working tradition of former power, if 
not supremacy, they are continually making efforts to get their claim to a 
higher rank recognised by their actual superiors. The subdivisions among 
them increase accordingly. On the other hand, the artisan castes are here 
found united to an extent unknown in the present day elsewhere. This 
combination is of long standing, and is probably the origin of the Right 
and Left-handed distribution of castes which is only found amongst the 
Tamil people. The South, again, having always been fertile in sectarian 
disputes, doctrinal schism amongst the local Brahmans has resulted in 
some instances in separation in social intercourse, another development 
not found elsewhere. The Rrahmanism of Tclingana has considerably less 
of the pre-Aryan clement, left in it, probably because there was partial 
colonisation of the Andhra region through Orissa or otherwise, by immi- 
grants from the Ganges valley, before the Dravida region was reached. 
The inhabitants, accordingly, though lax in their observances compared 
to the Brahmanists of the North, consider themselves higher in position 
than the Tamil castes, and when settled amongst the latter, avoid inter- 



Social Organisation. A. Historical. ig 

mixture as far as possible. The greater prosperity of the South, however, 
has given to its caste system a strength and complexity not found in the 
present day in the less favourable conditions of the upland tracts. Along 
the East coast the Tamil features prevail almost till they join the Orissa 
system, which, probably from the isolation and the timid character of the 
population, has the reputation of being the most bigotted and priest-ridden 
of its kind. In Lower Bengal, the system is an exotic, as in Madras, and 
was introduced long after it had reached maturity in upper India. It took 
root however, under different auspices. The country was occupied by the 
Aryas or their hybrid descendants in the course of their general expansion 
down the valley, and the population encountered consisted of the wild 
tribes of the forest or amphibious dwellers in the Delta, Kol or Mongoloid, 
easily subjected, like the Dasyu of the north, and not, like the Tamil 
communities, long settled on an agricultural basis, to be approached by 
missionary enterprise only, not by armed force. The subject classes seem 
to have been left to assimilate their organisation to that of their superiors 
without tradition or authority to guide them. When, at length, the official 
graduation of society was taken in hand by one of the more powerful 
local rulers, the flood of Islam overran the country before the new re- 
gulations had time to gain foothold amongst the people. It appears, there- 
fore, from physical features and the titles of caste subdivisions that bodies 
were formed either by race, afterwards split up by function, or by com- 
munity of function overriding race differences and often determined by 
locality. The relations between these bodies, therefore, are more than 
usually indefinite, and owing to the absence of a landholding aristocracy 
of the military order and the comparative weakness of the Brahman immi- 
grants, changes or claims to change of rank are more frequent here 
than in any other part of India. Amongst the lower classes these pre- 
tensions are usually based, as in the Tamil country, upon tradition, often 
not without foundation, of a former position far above that now assigned 
to them. For generations they have been deposed, but the prosperity they 
enjoy in modern times induces them to revive their dormant claim. Still 
more immature in its development is the caste system, if so it may be 
called, which prevails in the Assam valley. Setting on one side modern 
immigrants from Bengal and the Brahman, there is but one community of 
even nominal Aryan origin. It is now held to represent the early Aryan 
immigrants, who reached the seclusion of the Brahmaputra valley before 
the caste system had been developed in Bengal or wherever these co- 
lonists originated. In their case the development was apparently retarded, 
first, by pressure of Mongoloid tribes around them, conducing to a united 
front; and, later, to the hold which Buddhism obtained for some time 
over this tract. The above caste, or racial community, included all the 
ordinary professions but they were not formed into castes, and even 
now that process is by no means complete. Even the higher classes are 
lax, too, as to intermarriage, and visit the mesalliance of a girl upon her 
individually, not upon her relations, as would be done in other parts of 
India. The Brahman, too, falls into line with the rest, and disregards the 
stricter rules of his order as to marriage. Special arrangements exist for 
the incorporation into castes of the indigenous population; and the fa- 
cilities they afford for a subsequent rise in rank on increased observance 
of conventional purity are unwontedly liberal. The same spirit is manifested 
in the relations between orthodox Brahmanism and the Kol and Dravidian 



20 5 Ethnography. 

tribes of the Central Belt. The tribes of Chutia Nagpur tend to get merged 
into the Bengal system, and those of the Satpura and Vindhya, where 
conversion seems to lead to more comi)letc breach with the older regime, 
gradually mix with the lower castes of cultivators in the ])lains. Between 
the Jamna and the Ghogra or even the Kosl, the caste system seems to 
have developed upon what may be termed more normal lines than in any 
other part of India, as is, perhaps to be expected from the proximity to 
its birth-place. The process of evolution was seriously interrupted, however, 
by the Muslim occupation, which scattered the leaders of society and 
swept away many old landmarks. In course of time, the old order was 
reestablished in full force, though the traces of the cataclysm have never 
been (juite effaced, esjjccially amongst the functional castes. It is worth 
noting that in the u])per Jamna tract and well into the eastern Panjab 
caste remains entirely unaffected by conversion to Islam. It is held by 
some, indeed, that by the elimination of the Rajput, or fighting man, the 
Muslim left the way more open to the Brahman, whom they disdainfully 
ignored. At all events, the present social conditions of the region longest 
and most absolutely held by the IMoghal regime appear to confirm con- 
clusively the evidence afforded by the relations between Brahmanism and 
the pre -Aryan worship of the south and centre, to the effect that the 
hold of caste upon the popular mind is altogether detachable from reli- 
gious doctrine, and rests, as indicated above, upon its social restrictions. 
In the western Panjab caste is weaker than in any other tract, and this 
seems to be attributable to the combination of two influences. First, there 
is the tribal sentiment, derived from the vicinity of the Pathan and Baluch, 
referred to earlier in this work. It found a ready acceptance amongst 
the Rajput and Jat races of the plains, who were themselves organised 
upon a tribal basis, with a lightly worn veil of caste thrown over the 
arrangement. Then, again, the struggle for life in a comparatively infertile 
country conduced to the mobility of occupation to an extent seldom ne- 
cessary in the richer tracts to the eastwards. The adoption of a lower 
class of calling under pressure of need leads, of course, to the loss of 
social position, but not, as it would on the Jamna, to excommunication. 
Caste is also weak in the lower Himalaya, but for a totally different reason. 
These valleys are the only tracts to which the Muslim never penetrated, 
and, under the auspices of refugee Rajputs, society is there constituted 
upon a system untouched by foreign influence. The Chief is emphatically 
the fountain of honour, and can uplift or degrade a caste or even a family 
as he pleases. In the Panjab Hills, therefore, caste is remarkably fluid. 
Every community above the menial aspires to rise by some means or 
other to the rank of that above it, whilst it takes wives from and eats 
with, that immediately below it. 

The various tracts which have been mentioned present the most 
strongly marked peculiarities in their caste systems, but in each of the 
rest there will be found certain characteristics in which it differs from 
others. Into these it is not proposed to enter except cursorily. In Sindh, 
for instance, the whole population embraced Islam, and the only large 
indigenous Brahmanic caste left is that of the traders. The rest, however, 
have maintained both racial and functional divisions regulated generally 
on caste lines. The adjacent peninsulas of Gujarat have been frequently 
occupied by aliens, and this fact, together with the fertility of the main- 
land, tends first, to great subdivision of castes, the titles of the sec- 



Social Organisation. B. Descriptive. 



tions indicating intermi.xturc of races as in Lower Bengal, and then to 
strict observance of caste discipline, as in the Gangetic region. The Konkan, 
too, has had from time to time a strong influx of foreign Brahmans, and 
this, along with its isolation, have helped to rivet firmly the priestly yoke 
upon the people. In Rajputana, too, as is natural considering the history 
and character of the ruling classes, Brahmanism is in high honour, though 
the difficulty of making a living in the desert portion of the tract allows 
a latitude of occupation among the poorer castes similar to that which, 
for the same reason, prevails amongst the probably kindred tribes of the 
middle Indus. 

Distinctions such as these are illustrated as far as space allows in 
the following pages of this work, where, in the description of its main 
constituent parts, is shown in actual operation the system of which the 
development and conjectural origin have been outlined above. 

B. Descriptive. 

§ 21. Regarding the subject in its ethnographic aspect, it is obvious 
that it must be a task of extraordinary, almost insuperable, difficulty to 
reduce to anything like accurate numerical terms the component parts of 
so vast and complex an organisation as that sketched above. It should be 
borne in mind that the object of the Census is to obtain a record not 
only of scientific value in the service of ethnography, but of practical 
importance in the every -day administration of the country. The social 
position and the numerical strength of different sections of the community 
are essential facts in connection, for instance, with public instruction or 
with measures for the promotion of the comfort or convenience of the 
locality. The Courts of Justice, again, are frequently called upon to decide 
questions of rank or privilege in which the relative numbers of the litigant 
parties are points relevant to the inquir>-, and which cannot be safely left 
to the evidence of the disputants, in view of the "megalomania" which is 
probably at the bottom of the whole controversy. Even the identification 
of an individual cannot be satisfactorily established in the case of many 
of the more important social divisions by less than two or even three, 
successive questions, and often the credibility of a witness is decided by 
a casual detail of caste convention. On these considerations, and with an 
eye to the known probability of error in the direction of either excessive 
generality or excessive minuteness of description, provision was made at 
the Census for the return of social divisions under two headings, first, the 
main body, such as caste or tribe, and, secondly, the subdivision to which 
the individual may belong. In the larger communities, indeed the latter 
is the more distinctive designation, and was adopted, accordingly, as the 
unit of compilation in the returns prepared for local use. Lower than this 
it is unnecessary', for administrative purposes, that the inquiry should go; 
but it must be recognised that from the ethnological standpoint, the more 
minute subdivisions of the community are often more pregnant of suggestion 
or information than those of which they form a part, and must be adequately 
dealt with in any special investigation, such as that now engaging the 
attention of those employed upon the Indian Ethnographical Survey. 

It must also be understood that neither the Provincial nor the Imperial 
returns claim to present anything beyond a partial and very imperfect 
picture of the astounding fissiparity of the Brahmanic social system in the 



22 5 Ethnograph\-. 

full vigour of its present existence. The Imperial Table, even after a 
somewhat drastic process of compilation, contains nearly 2,400 separate 
items, and the project of expanding it to the full limits of the subject 
inevitably calls to the memory of the expert the concluding verse of the 
Gospel according to St John. Take, for instance, the feature of endogamy 
alone. Every subdivision recorded in a Provincial Table, covers, if the 
main body be widely spread, many others, none of which intermarries 
with the rest. Not only so, but the main body itself does not recognise 
any social tie with the body bearing the same name located in a distant 
part of the country, even though, as sometimes, happens, the same verna- 
cular language may be spoken by both. Each of these local subdivisions, 
moreover, is divided into its respective endogamous sections; some of 
them professing a different religion, and occupying, perhaps, quite a 
different position in the social hierarchy of the neighbourhood from that 
of the synonymous section elsewhere. Even the Provincial groups, therefore, 
subjoined to the general aggregate in the Table, convey an impression of 
homogeneity not in correspondence with the actual fact. 

§ 22. With the above qualifications and reserve, then, the figures to 
be found in the Imperial returns must be taken as providing as trustworthy 
information as is now available upon this branch of the subject. In the 
Tables, the items are arranged in alphabetical order, a form of record which 
has its advantages from an official point of view, in that it raises no 
awkward questions as to position or precedence; and, if accompanied, as 
in the Madras list, by a brief practical account of the principal divisions, it 
is useful for reference on individual cases. There, however, its function ends, 
and some form of coordination becomes necessary before all these isolated 
nuggets of information can be got to collectively yield their tribute towards 
the common object of illustrating the main characteristics of the social 
organisation of the different regions of India. It is as well to admit at the 
outset that in view of the varied origin and history of the social divisions 
in question and of the various forms the social system has assumed, no 
classification upon a single a definite principle is possible. It is equally 
judicious to assume that, taking into consideration the diverse and often 
mutually inconsistent theories held as to the basis and general principles 
upon which the system rests, no such classification, even were it possible, 
would be universally accepted. Race, consanguinity, function, creed and 
policy cover respectively a considerable portion of the ground, but no one 
of them covers the whole or can be made the standard by which the 
divisions as they now exist can be graduated on the social scale. It might 
be thought that in view of the extreme value attached to conventional 
purity, and the minute rules in regard to it by which the intercourse between 
the different sections of the community is, by unanimous public opinion in 
each locality, undeviatingly regulated, a touchstone might be found in it 
by which social rank might be assayed. This, however, is not the case. 
Irrespective of the difficulty of obtaining a formal decision on individual 
cases, owing to prejudice and the general ignorance of the position of 
classes below them which prevails amongst those who would ordinarily 
be consulted, there is a marked difference in practice in regard to inter- 
communion between the greater part of Continental India and the Peninsula, 
and even between province and province. The criterion which would be 
adopted would be whether or not certain higher classes would take from 
the community in question water or certain kinds of food, and these lines 



Social Organisation. B. Descriptive. 23 

of demarcation are in most cases so far apart, including that is, so many 
communities in each class, that they afford little or no graduation of the 
masses respectively enclosed within them, and without further internal 
subdivisions the groups are of little practical significance. Now, for the 
purpose of this review, which is mainly to render the facts assimilable by 
those who have not been brought into personal contact with the civili- 
sation of India, the basis of that subdivision will be found in function, 
overlying in some cases a distant but traceable background of race. It 
will be found that, as a rule, graduation upon this basis is in general 
harmony with the current conceptions regarding hereditary- puritj' which 
prevail in India. The term function, it should be explained, is not limited 
to the occupation actually followed in the present day, but extends to that 
traditionally ascribed to the body in question, and is more frequently than 
not implied in the title of the caste. This expansion of meaning is neces- 
sitated by the mobility of occupation in modern times, on the one hand, 
and, on the other, by the consideration that whilst function usually takes 
rank in relation to purity according to the character of the service per- 
formed or of the material handled, there are numerous cases where the 
public estimate is formed upon the origin of the community by whom the 
occupation is pursued, and thus takes its stand upim racial considerations 
rather than upon the intrinsic nature of the pursuit. Elsewhere, again, race 
alone is the determining factor; but here the community, as a rule, stands, 
as explained above outside the Brahmanic system. The influence of the 
latter, however, extends far beyond the limits of the Brahmanical religion. 
The definition of caste quoted above is therefore applicable without serious 
modification of its essentials to communities of not only Jains and Sikhs, 
but, except in the North-west, even of the Muslim persuasion, as they rise 
in wealth and in the power which wealth, even under Brahmanism, is able 
to exercise. These instances have been included, accordingly, in the review 
which follows, important differences of religion being duly noted against 
them. As regards the review itself, it is not intended to serve as a Glossary-, 
or to give an account of all the castes and tribes which find place in the 
Imperial returns, but merely to bring to notice the principal bodies under 
each of the heads into which Indian society has, for the purpose of exposition, 
been here marshalled on the lines laid down above. 

§ 23. At the head of the list are placed certain groups of an exceptional 
character, whose position differs somewhat from that of the rest. The Brahman 
naturally stands first, as the keystone of the whole social scheme. The 
Rajput, again, is an order of nobility rather than a caste in the ordinary 
acceptation of the term. With, but after, them may be taken the trading 
and writing classes, both of which in Upper India, though not in the South, 
claim distant connection with the Rajput, and who, with the Brahman, con- 
stitute what are known as the Educated classes of India. Here, too, may 
be placed the religious devotee, or mendicant orders, who, by virtue of 
their profession have abjured caste, though in more than one instance only 
to re-form themselves into something very like a caste of their own. 

In dealing with the masses of the population, the first fact of which 
cognisance should be taken in regard to the general arrangement of the 
castes is the remarkable preponderance of the agricultural clement. Culti- 
vation is the premier employment of the country, and to occupy a holding 
is the main object of the bulk of the rural population. In the little oligarchy, 
therefore, known as the village community-, the landed classes stand at the 



24 5- Ethnography. 



top, and where, as in all but the east of India and the tracts still under 
the forest tribes, that community exists in an organised form, the classes 
included therein are all subservient to the needs of the peasantr)'. Each 
of these economic units contains a recognised body of artisans, minor pro- 
fessionals and menials, to whom is assigned respectively a small share of 
the village land or of its annual produce. Mixed in with these, are found 
the various large bodies of fishers, cattle-breeders and others, some of 
whom hover between the fields and their eponymous means of subsistence. 
To the village, then, as it is understood in India, is dedicated the second 
of the main divisions of the list, followed by a small group of minor, or subsi- 
diary professional castes between village and town. In the third are placed 
the castes exercising functions specially <jr exclusively the product of city 
life. In placing them after the rural bodies it is not implied that they rank 
below the latter from whom in most cases they originally sprang, for they 
stand, as a rule, a little higher; but they are, as it were, bye-products of 
the hive, outside the normal output, and on lines parallel to the main 
organisation. Then, detached from either town or village, except in a few 
cases where a permanent pied a terre is kept for shelter during the 
rainy season, are various tribes of travellers and nomads, some of whom 
are real castes, others a nondescript collection of waifs often consisting of 
"broken men" or people discarded by other communities. The greater 
number of the latter are numerically small; but there are a few which include 
large and respectable communities. Finally, some reference must be made 
to the bodies not coming within the caste system, such as the more or 
less primitive tribes of the Hill-tracts, and also the Muslim races foreign 
to India in their titles, though to a great extent native in blood. 

As regards the arrangement of the items coming under each head, 
functional or other, it seems best to deal with the return territorially, or 
by linguistic divisions, as the case may be, in order that prominence may 
be given to the marked differences in the caste system which are found 
to prevail. 

CASTES AND CASTE-GROUPS. 

A. Special groups. 

§ 24. Brahmans (14,893,300). Considering that the participation of 
a Brahman is essential to the validity of all ceremonies of a social cha- 
racter amongst the great majority of the community which takes its religious 
title from this order, it is not surprising that the latter should occupy the 
first place in the returns both as to numbers and dispersion. In every 
part of India, except the eastern and western frontiers and the hills of 
the Central belt, the Brahman is found in very considerable numbers, and 
tradition, which in this case, at all events, is corroborated by the evidence 
of physiognomy, nomenclature and custom, is almost unanimous in pointing 
to the upper Gangetic region as the place of origin. From this nucleus 
Brahmans found their way in very early days across Rajputana and Malva 
to the west coast of Gujarat. In the south of the Peninsula, the earliest 
appearance of this class was probably not much earlier than the Christian 
era, and for the next eight or nine centuries the supply seems to have 
been plentiful and constant. The Brahmans of lower Bengal trace their 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 25 

origin back to the loth century, when a considerable colony was imported 
by the reigning sovereign from upper India and acclimatised in the north 
and west of the present Province. Orissa received, or produced, its stock 
a little later, but there seems some reason to think that there was an 
earlier strain which had become extinct, or had degenerated below the 
standard exacted by the dynasty which had established itself on the coast. 
The frequent invasions of upper India from the north-west during the 
ten first centuries of the Christian era are credited with the dispersal of 
large bodies of Brahmans from Rajputana and the JMadhyades'a, some of 
whom took refuge in the seclusion of the Nepal valley, others in the 
west Dekkan ; others, again, fled by sea through Sindh or Kathiavad to 
various settlements along the west coast. Amongst the latter were at least 
three Brahman communities who have preserved a credible tradition of 
their northern origin. The Brahman was never organised into a tribe upon 
a territorial basis, but was, from the beginning, parasitic upon other classes 
of the community. In Vedic times he was part and parcel of the fortunes 
of the Chief, his patron. In later times, as the tribes settled, multiplied 
and expanded, he attached himself to the landed classes, his principal 
clients, for "unde vivent oratores si defecerint aratoresr" Still later, again, 
he was liable, according to numerous traditions current amongst the 
Brahmans of to day, to be imported in large bodies to a distant Court 
on the invitation, not always declinable, of the pious ruler. When, moreover, 
there is taken into consideration the incorporation into the Brahmanic 
order of local communities and of priests and exorcists of the wild tribes 
accepting Brahmanism, the capricious exercise of the powers of Brahma- 
nification arrogated to themselves by sundry of the Chieftains, and the 
results of left-handed unions with the daughters of the land, the extent 
to which the Brahman is scattered far and wide is no matter for surprise. 
The land, however, where they first became a consolidated body and 
established the hierarchy they have since dominated, is still that in which 
their numbers are both absolutely and relatively the greatest. Between 
the Jamna and the Ghogra, roughly speaking, there are about 4S00000 
Brahmans. Of the vast population of Bengal, 2900000 are of that order; 
these two Provinces, therefore, account for more than half the total number. 
Brahmans abound, too, relatively to the population, in Rajputana, and 
Madras, Bombay and the Panjab each contain between a million and a 
quarter. The distribution over these large areas is not, of course, even. 
Orissa and Bihar stand out above the rest of Bengal, except for a few 
places in the centre of the Province. Further up the Ganges, Oudh sur- 
passes the sister Province of Agra in the relative number of its Brahmans, 
and it is worth noting that Gonda, the traditional seat of the Gaur section 
of Brahmans still maintains its preeminence. The prevalence of Brahmans 
along the eastern bank of the Jamna extends also for some distance to 
the west in both Rajputana and the Panjab. In the former tract there is 
a large settlement in the so-called desert States of the north and west, 
but in Sindh and towards the domain of the Baluch and Pathan, scarcely 
any are to be found. In the Panjab, the greatest relative prevalence of 
the sacerdotal element is found in the outer-Himalaya, where Brahmanism 
reigns in unwonted vigour. In the west of India, the Brahman is well re- 
presented on the wealthy plains of Gujarat, and holds a strong position 
throughout the Dekkan. In the Dravidian tracts, his numbers are fairly 
evenly distributed over the main linguistic divisions. 



26 5 Ethnograpfts'. 

§ 25. In spite of the unique and universally recognised position the 
Brahmans hold in the estimation of the multitude, they have never formed 
themselves into a single and homogenous body. Their very dispersal over 
the length and breadth of the continent, in communities different in origin, 
speaking different languages and eating different food, makes such co- 
hesion impracticable. It has, indeed, had the effect of making them perhaps 
the most heterogeneous collection of minute and independent subdivisions 
that ever bore a common designation. Possibly, too, the absence of terri- 
torial settlement to which reference was made above, lends greater weight 
and permanence to a subdivision based on considerations other than those 
connected with landed property, and has promoted, accordingly, the stricter 
observance of caste separatism. However this may be, the main lines of 
distribution are geographical, beginning with the ancient partiti<m of the 
Brahmanic order into the five Gauda, or Northern sections, and the five 
Dravida, of the South. To the former belong the Gaur, frt)m Gonda in 
Oudh, the Kanaujia, of the Central Doab, the Sarasvata of the upper 
Jamna, the INIaithila, of Tirhut, and the Utkala of Orissa. South of the 
Vindhya come the Maharastra, of the Dekkan, the Karnata, of Mysore 
and the neighbourhood, the Andhra of Telingana and the Dravida of the 
Tamil country. Added to these are the Gurjara of the west, who, curiously 
enough, though grouped amongst the southerners, are all northern in their 
origin. Except in the case of the three first mentioned, these divisions 
are of little practical significance in the everyday life of the present time, 
since they are severally partitioned into numerous main subdivisions, each 
of which is in turn, again, minutely split up into a still greater number 
of separate endogamous communities. The majority of the larger castes 
thus constituted have a territorial origin, generally well to the north of 
where they are now settled, except, of course, amongst those still occu- 
pying the traditional centres of Brahmanism, such as the Gaur, Kanaujia 
and Sarasvata. Subordinate to these are the local offshoots, which are verj- 
generally attributable to schism on points of ceremonial or food, and, in 
the Dravida country, to sectarian or doctrinal disagreement. From time 
to time, too, the scheme has to be expanded to admit some new recruits 
from outside the fold, who are usually placed low down on the scale, 
though not irrevocably doomed to remain there, if circumstances turn 
out favourable to- their advancement. Throughout the local community, 
the rank of each subdivision relatively to the rest is fixed by a convention 
effectively backed by the public verdict; but this graduation is not neces- 
sarily recognised at a distance or where a different language is spoken. 
In every linguistic grouji, moreover, there are certain classes which, though 
called Brahmans by the public, and enlisted to perform st>me of the ce- 
remonial functions of the Brahman, are either not recognised by other 
Brahmans, or are relegated by them to a degraded position, inferior, in 
reality, to that to which many of the non-Brahman castes are admitted. 
The acme of subdivision in combination with ceremonial exclusiveness, 
is probably reached among the Kanaujia, of whom it is said in their native 
Province, "Three Kanaujia, thirteen cooking-fires". The Gurjara Brahmans, 
again, are popularly credited with S4 divisions, but this being a popular 
expression of multitude in general, the number actually found, viz. 79, may 
be taken as fairly correct, especially as all the larger items in that lengthy 
list have their respective sub-castes. The Brahmans of the Dekkan are 
perhaps as little split up into sections as any, but on the coast-strip of 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 27 

the Konkan the subdivision is more minute, owing, probably, to the foreign 
strain introduced from time to time. The Brahmans of Bengal and Madras, 
where the system is of later introduction, hide a complicated interior under 
a comparatively small number of main divisions, especially in the latter, 
where caste has been affected by the doctrinal schisms of which the clouth 
since the days of S'aiikaracarya and Ramanuja, has been prolific. 

§ 26. It was stated above that the subdivision of Brahman communi- 
ties is often traceable to differences in regard to food and ceremonial. 
These, in turn, depend to a great extent upon function and the means 
of livelihood accessible. Strictly speaking, the Brahman, as pointed out 
earlier in this work, is by origin a functional order, but with the ex- 
pansion of the Arya population in post-Vedic times and the growth of the 
Brahmanic ct)mmunity beyond the need of the layman for its specific 
ministrations, great latitude had to be allowed, no doubt, from a very early 
period. In the present day, within the fairly wide limits which he himself 
has set, the Brahman is represented in a large proportiim of what may 
be called the upper and middle class occupations of India. But whichever 
of these he may take up, his inherent qualities are unabated, and he is 
still entitled to the homage of the rest of the community, and remains 
the accredited intermediary between man and the supernatural. In the 
latter capacity his bare living is assured to him without need to work for 
it, because in all formal rites such as those connected with birth, marriage, 
death, expiation or thanksgiving, the provision of a meal for a certain 
number of Brahmans is an essential and costly feature. In the more pros- 
perous parts of the country', accordingly, there is usually a plentiful supply 
of Brahmans of whom it has been said that "they exist only to be fed". 
On every side are to be found subdivisions which, in the eyes of their 
compeers, have fallen from grace by participating in the feasts of wealthy 
but impure clients. In another direction there are instances on record 
where the number of local Brahmans available for a ceremony of this 
sort not being equivalent to the aspirations of the Chieftain interested in 
it, the quorum has been made up by him by a special creation out of 
such lower material as was at hand. Service at a temple, it should be 
noted, is not undertaken by the better class of Brahman, as it is held to 
be degrading, and left, accordingly, to those low in station. In several 
cases the claim to be accounted a Brahman rests entirely upon the per- 
formance of those duties. The inference drawn from this estimation of 
temple service is that the divinities in question are those of the non-Arya, 
incorporated from time to time into the Brahmanic pantheon, as the com- 
munity which reverenced them was brought to adopt the social system 
of the higher race. It is probable that the distinction drawn between the 
acceptance of offerings by a Brahman in requital for specific services and 
those made to him on general grounds has its root in the same tradition; 
for whilst to the donor offerings of any kind to a Brahman are held to 
be productive of spiritual merit, only one of the lower class of the order 
will accept gifts for exorcising evil spirits, averting the baleful influences 
of an eclipse or certain combinations of stars, reciting the appropriate 
texts for pilgrims at a bathing place, or helping at a funeral, and the 
like offices. 

The secular pursuits affected by the Brahman vary considerably ac- 
cording to whether the caste is settled in the locality in large numbers, 
whether the tract is prospering, or whether the Brahman first came into 



28 5- Ethnography. 



it as a pioneer and colonist or as a propagandist or an exile from another 
centre. Political employment has been congenial to the Brahman from the 
time when the Purohita, or family sacrificer, was treated by the Rajan 
as his confidential adviser in the Sukta period, and the caste has con- 
tinued to throw up from time to time men who have been distinguished 
for their administration of Native States. The great chance of the Brahman 
came, of course, under the Pcsva rule, when the whole of the military 
organisation built up by the Marathas fell to the disposal of the Citpavan 
Brahman of the Konkan; and for seventy years or more, the Dekkan was 
dominated from Poona, and the whole of the administration was conducted 
by the local and the coast Brahman. Even in the present day, the Maratha 
Brahman has almost a monopoly of clerical employment throughout the 
Dekkan, Konkan and Karnatic, and with the traditions of former supre- 
macy to encourage him, he stands quite in the van of his order in in- 
telligence and general ability. In some other parts of the country the 
Brahman is the only class besides the trader who can read and write to 
any practical purpose, and he thus becomes, of course, the scribe, if not 
the official accountant, of the village community. Even in the tracts where 
a serious rival is found in a professional writing class, the Brahman usually 
has a share in the State appointments to which the "literary proletariat" 
of India look mainly for their subsistence. Of the learned professions. Law 
and Instruction arc the more attractive to this caste. A few take up the 
lower branches of Engineering, and still fewer the practice of Medicine, 
a following which is to a great extent barred to them by reason of caste- 
scruples in regard to the surgical training involved. In commerce they 
have not made their way beyond the universal venture in lending money 
to their neighbours, to which every Indian capitalist, according to his 
resources, is inclined. The Brahman shares, also, the general aspiration 
to own land, either as an investment or as a possession honorific in the 
eyes of the lay world. Wherever they have settled in large masses, as in 
the Gangetic Doab and Oudh, or in compact local colonies, which pro- 
bably preceded their advance as a sacerdotal body, they have taken to 
cultivation on the same lines as the ordinary peasantry, except that they 
but very rarely put their hand to the plough, though they go as far as 
standing upon the crossbar of the harrow to lend their weight to that 
operation. Owing to this caste-imposed restriction, probably, it may be 
noted that wherever the Brahman has settled otherwise than as a part of 
a large general community, he is the centre of a well-defined system of 
predial servitude, his land being cultivated for him by hereditary serfs of 
undoubtedly Dasyu descent. This is the case with the Masthan of Orissa 
and Gujarat, and with the Haiga or Havika of Kanara, and the Nambutiri 
of the Malabar coast, all of whom have settled in fertile country. Where 
the pressure of circumstances is very severe, as in the desert States of 
Rajputfina, ihe Brahman cultivator not only does the whole of his own 
work, including ploughing, but even sells his labour to other more fortunate 
occupants. A military career may appear to be somewhat alien to the tra- 
ditions and inclinations of a sacerdotal class, nevertheless in the vicinity 
of the Ganges it has proved by no means unattractive to the Brahman 
peasantry. The Bhuinhar, or Babhan, of the south eastern parts of the 
upper valley, are credited by some with Brahman ancestry, which endo- 
wed them with enough of the Ksatriya qualities to enable them to push 
forward in advance of the main body of their race, and to hold against the 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 29 

Kol, or other previous possessor, the land they still occupy. The nickname 
of Pandy, again, bestowed upon the rebel troops collectively by the 
British soldier, is no other than Pandc or Pahre, the title of the sub- 
division of the Kanaujia Brahmans from which a high proportion of the 
recruits of this caste were then enlisted. Since 1S57 it has been found 
that minute caste-scruples as to diet and contact arc incompatible with 
the exigencies of modern field service, whilst the personal sanctity of the 
Brahman private is apt to turn out inimical to the due observance of re- 
gimental discipline. Amongst the Muhial Brahmans of the Panjab, therefore, 
the pride of caste has given way before the taste for the profession of 
arms, and the would-be recruit of this community drops his Brahmanhood 
when enlisting, and is enrolled under some other designation. In former 
days, when, as under the Pcsvas, Brahmans were themselves at the head 
of the forces, and not in subordination to the foreigner, and when war 
was carried out on very different lines from those of to-day, commanders 
of this caste acquitted themselves worthily, and showed both resource and 
courage in the field. 

!< 27. Rajputs (10,040,800). In this case, the community is unmis- 
takcably military in its origin, with the old baronial attributes of landed- 
estate and leadership of an armed force. People are returned at the Census 
under this designation in considerable numbers from all parts of India 
except the South, but nine-tenths of them hail from north of the Vindhya 
and west of the Kosi. The Provinces of Agra and Oudh alone account 
for 3,950,000. In the Panjab there are 1,820,000, and in Bihar, about 
1,200,000. The cradle of the Rajput is the tract named after him, not, 
however, as it is limited in the present day, but extending from the Jamna 
to the Narbada and Satlaj , including, therefore, the whole of Malva, 
Bundelkhand, and parts of Agra and the Panjab. From the northern parts 
of this tract there seems to have been an early movement of conquest 
up the western rivers of the Panjab, as far as the Himalaya and Kashmir, 
whereby was laid the foundation of the predominance of the tribes still 
in possession. With this exception, the presence of Rajputs in other parts 
of India seems due to their expulsion from their ancient seats. The le- 
gendary occupation of Kathiavad from Mathura is ascribed to an attack 
delivered from the south and east. Successive inroads of Scythians and 
Hunas caused a movement to the south-west, into Gujarat; but the prin- 
cipal and most definite migration followed upon the Muslim conquests 
of the nth and 12th centuries, which drove large bodies of Rajputs to- 
wards the Himalaya and eastwards across the Ganges into the Doab and 
Oudh. From thence, as well as from Bundelkhand, they spread into the 
adjacent parts of Bihar, especially those north of the Ganges. A certain 
number, too, are found in the north of the Central Provinces, where the 
boundaries between British territory and Central India are very ciimpli- 
cated. Beyond the above limits the original stock is Udt found, and even 
within them, it has in some cases been materially watered with local blood, 
when the distance from the race-centre makes the operation fairly safe, 
and the community is sufficiently well established to maintain its marriage 
connection at its conventional level. The presence of so many Rajputs 
in other parts of India is accounted for by the fact that the title, originally, 
in all probability, derived from function, denotes, as has been stated, an 
order of hereditary nobility, access to which is still obtainable, and whose 
circle, accordingly, is being constantly enlarged upon much the same con- 



30 5- Ethnography. 



sideratiuns as of yore. The essentials of the position are the chieftainship 
of a tribe or clan and the command of an armed force, with the possession 
of a substantial landed estate and a scrupulous regard for the strict letter 
of Brahmanical regulatiijns as to marriage, domestic customs and inter- 
course with other classes. It was on this basis that in the Panjab the Jat 
was differentiated from the Rajput, and certain castes in Oudh and its 
neighbourhood rose above their fellows. In other cases, the above re- 
quisites being established, the elaboration of the claim u> affiliation to one 
of the recognised Rajput clans is left to the ingenuity of a competent 
Brahman with the aid of an experienced bard or genealogist. For example, 
on the adoption of Brahmanism by a large portion of the Mongoloid po- 
pulation of Manipur, the chief and his military retainers passed into the 
rank of Ksatriya, and to the number of about iSoooo, appear under that 
title in the last Census returns. The leading families of various K61 tribes 
of Chutia Nagpur, again, are constantly, in Col. Dalton's phrase, "being 
refined into Rajputs" and sometimes do not wait for 'times' effacing 
fingers" to conceal the change, and too often ignore the essentially 
Rajput system of clan-exogamy in favour of their pristine tribal arrange- 
ments. There is, in fact, no section of the Brahmanic hierarchy into which 
recruitment from the outside has been more extensive or to which the 
claims to membership have been so numerous. The latter is especially 
tHfe case in the tracts where the caste system has been imposed as an 
exotic in comjiaratively modern times. In Lower Bengal, for instance, such 
claims are remarkably frequent, and this is attributed to the adoption of 
the ready-made caste-system by a number of different racial stocks without 
its graduation being authoritatively regulated by a powerful Chief under 
the guidance of a council of influential Brahmans. In Madras, again, caste 
was engrafted upon an already well-established civilisation to which it had 
to accommodate itself according to circumstances. In the former, therefore, 
the Rajput, except as before stated in Bihar, is redolent of the local soil, 
and takes rank therefore below certain other castes which have come to 
the front under the peaceful conditions of a Province where arms have 
long succumbed to the tongue and pen. These classes, therefore, do not 
lay claim to the title of Rajput, but to that of Ksatriya, implying a po- 
sition less definite and less likely to be disputed by existing ct)mmunities. 
Similarly in the South, whither the Rajput never penetrated, unless it might 
be in the form of representatives of more or less evanescent dynasties, 
the rank of Ksatriya is claimed almost exclusively by members of the 
labouring and toddy-drawing castes, who justify their pretensions by the 
undisputed fact that their ancestry furnished the rank and file of the 
archers and other infantry of the local potentate. Instances will be found 
in latter parts of this Chapter in which the status of Ksatriya is claimed 
by many castes of far higher position in the present day than those just 
quoted. Various legends are current proving that whilst the Puranic as- 
sertion of the total extirpation of the Ksatriya is true, the ancestry of 
the claimants in question had somehow or other escaped the general 
destruction, and are the lineal inheritors of the hypothetical Vedic rank, 
although the majority of them obtrusively avoid any occupation savouring 
of war. This much appears to be true, that there was a long breach 
between the heyday of the post-Vedic ruling classes and the genesis of 
the Rajput. The former were apparently staunch supporters of Buddhism, 
in its inception a movement in their favour, whilst the latter arose with 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 



the forces which deposed that religion in India, and established their po- 
sition upon the ruins of the States which had professed it. The ground 
for the evolution of a new military nobility seems to have been prepared 
by the establishment in Upper India of successive sovereignties of S'aka 
race. These professed Huddhism, and were thus antagonistic to the 
orthodo.x Brahmanism. But after they had carried their arms far into the 
country, and the Panjab and its neighbourhood became their principal 
seat of government, they seem to have become affected by the prevailing 
social atmosphere, with which, as has been stated, the tenets of Buddhism 
were by no means out of harmony. One of their monarchs, indeed, is 
claimed as their founder by more than one of the chief clans of the 
present-day Rajputs. In the continual disturbances which occurred between 
the first century before Christ and the downfall of the principal Scythian 
dynasties in the 7th century A D, the Brahmanic powers were wont to 
invoke the aid of any arm, Indian or foreign, which might promote the 
defeat of their rivals. The incorporation of such leaders into their ranks 
could be effected without much difficulty, firstly, through the prestige of 
a victory in the good cause, and, again, through the fiction, dating from 
a far earlier period in Indian history, that the foreign tribes which pressed 
upon the frontiers of Brahmanism were themselves Brahmanical back- 
sliders of the warrior order, who had lost their position by reason of their 
neglect of the orthodox rites. Upon the hypothesis that the suppression 
of Buddhism was an act of faith entitling the protagonists to be received 
back into the fold, it became possible to combine gratitude with policy, 
and, by the substitution of a new designation, Rajput, for the old one of 
Ksatriya, to effectively demarcate from the former state of things, the 
new order established under the uncontested supremacy of sacerdotalism. 
None of the Rajputs prove their pedigree further back than the 5th century 
of the Christian era, and four of the leading tribes of the present day, 
known as the Agnikula, or Fire-clans, derive their origin from a specific 
act of creation under Brahmanic auspices, whereby the sun and fire- 
worshipping Hijna or Gurjara was converted into the blue blood of Raj- 
putana, and became the forefathers of the Sisodia, Cauhan, Parmar, Parihar, 
and Solariki or Calukya, and perhaps of the Kachvaha lines. Other cases 
of similar elevation are to be found, and, considering the dominant position 
held by Scythian communities in the north and west of India for many 
centuries, together with the affinity between their worship and that of a 
popular branch of that of the Brahmans, and the common northern origin 
of the two races, it is not improbable that the upper classes, at all events, 
of the new comers should have identified themselves with the correspon- 
ding classes of those amongst whom their lot had been permanently cast. 
There are, moreover, special features of the structure and customs of 
Rajput and Jat and other northern communities in India which distinguish 
them from the Brahmanic masses of the interior, and may be attributed 
to difference of race, perpetuated by many generations of resistance to 
attacks from the outside. The least that can be said is that a race-con- 
nection of the above description could not possibly have existed so long 
and then faded out without leaving substantial traces of its passage upon 
the people subject to it. It may be added that Rajput dynasties did not 
rise to power until sometime after the Hiina supremacy had been broken 
in the 6th century, and that the genealogies of the tribes now ruling 
States start from about the 7th century. The contests with the Muslim 



32 5- Ethnography. 



invader of a few centuries later had the effect of consolidating the Rajput 
devotion to the scrupulous observance of Brahmanic injunctions as to 
marriage and intercourse with other castes which specially distinguished 
them from their foreign oppressors ; and to the present day, they stand 
out from the rest of the community in the high value they attach to these 
matters. Like the Brahmans, they are greatly subdivided, but with this 
important difference, that whereas the Brahmans may only marry within 
the subdivision, the Raj])ut may only marry without it, though within the 
Rajput pale. The larger subdivision is, in fact, taking the place of the 
smaller as the circle of prohibited affinity. Conjecturally, this difference 
in practice may be due to the fact that the Rajput clan is definitely tra- 
ceable in its origin to a historic leader or family, involving, therefore, a 
tradition of blood-kinship the more vivid from its being associated with 
territorial ownershi]). The tribe or order, again, being spread continuously 
and in considerable numbers over a large area, with uniform conceptions 
as to rank and function, the marriage field is a wide one, and the gra- 
duation of each unit in its social position has been arranged on conside- 
rations which override the normal limitations of caste. The regulations as 
to intermarriage, therefore, though exceedingly strict, have a wider scope 
than among most of the other Brahmanical bodies and are in some cases 
arbitrarily imposed upon itself by the clan on considerations of rank alone. 
So strict indeed, arc they in regard to what has been called hypergamy, 
that amongst the ujiper grades of Rajput society, the girl is held to be 
a burden upon the resources of the family to an extent that leads to 
reprehensible means of preventing her from reaching a nubile age. The 
scarcity of brides thus produced, combined with the expenses of the 
marriage, tend to the formation of left-handed unions with lower castes, 
the offspring whereof ranks with the mother, or, where numerous and 
recognised, constitutes a new caste by itself. The latter is the case in the 
west of India, where the bastards become court dependants. In Orissa, 
they all rank as Rajputs. In Nejial there is the curious instance of the 
children of a Hill woman by a Brahman becoming Rajput, and forming 
the kernel of the large military population of the State. In the Kangra 
Himalaya, where the continuity of tradition and lineage has been less 
interrupted than anywhere else, the Chief is a law not only unto himself 
but unto his subjects in regard to social position and caste, so that the 
rank of Rajput depends very much upon the royal favour. Considering 
the part played by Islam in the dispersal of the Rajput ruling families, 
it is worth noting that in the Panjab, not only have three fourths of this 
caste embraced that religion, in both the west and east of the Province, 
but that conversion has had no effect upon the social position of the 
Rajput. In the east, where Brahmanic influence is supreme, change of 
religion is said to have no result upon caste regulations. In the west, 
where the Pathan atmosphere predominates, the scheme of social restric- 
tions and prescriptions is Brahmanic, but, as in the east, the sanction by 
which it is maintained is that of the tribe, not of the caste, and inter- 
marriage and so on is governed by the position of the body in the present 
day, rather than by considerations of origin, such as are involved in caste. 
From what has been said above it may be inferred that the func- 
tional scope of the Rajput is but narrow. Traditionally, he rules, fights, 
owns land and indulges in field-sjiorts. In practice, he carries out this 
scheme of life as far as circumstances allow, but the rank and file of his 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 33 

order are cultivators, and not among the most efficient of their class. The 
Rajput has the same objection as the Brahman to handling the plough, 
and the strict seclusion in which the women of the caste are kept deprives 
him of an aid in the minor agricultural operati(ms which in the lower 
castes is often most valuable. In the Gangetic regions the Rajjiut still 
enlists in considerable numbers in the "Hindustani" regiments of the British 
army. He often, too, dons the official belt as a constable or messenger, 
in upper India and Gujarat. On the whole, however, the general disincli- 
nation of the caste to avail itself of the facilities for instruction now within 
its reach is placing it at a disadvantage as compared with the middle 
classes, in the modern conditions of Indian life. Only the subordinate grades 
of official and professional employment are open to them, and in the army, 
also, promotion beyond a certain rank depends now-a days upon educa- 
tion, and the Rajput is losing by the competition of Sikh, Palhan and 
Gurkha in the profession of his choice, and is far outdistanced in civil 
avocations by those whom his caste prevents him from acknowledging 
to be even rivals. 

ij 28. Trading Castes (io,6So,8oo): This is the first of the distinctively 
functional groups to lie brought under review. It is not, however, merely 
a collection of communities each with its separate designation, like those 
which have preceded it, but contains some general titles denoting the 
occupation of trading, but which do not include all the castes following 
that calling in the locality where it prevails. The leading example of these 
is the Banya or Vania, of upper and western India, under which name 
are included nearly all the trading classes, but not important castes like 
the Khatri and Arora in the Panjab, or the Bhatia and Lohana of Sindh. 
There are grounds for thinking that the exclusion is due to differences 
of race. The Khatri and Arora, like the Banya, derive their origin from 
Rajputana, in the larger sense in which that term was used in the preceding 
paragraph, but the latter affiliate themselves directly to certain clans of 
Rajputs, whilst the former refer themselves back to the Ksatriya, and 
give the western region of Multan and upper Sindh as the cradle of their 
caste. It has been conjectured from the customs and internal structure of 
the Khatri and Arora, which differ in some respects from those of the 
ordinary Brahmanic castes, that these communities are descended from 
one of the S'aka colonies which long held the tracts above mentit>ned. 
The Banya, with the exception of the Agarval, who come from Agar near 
Ujjain, give the now ruined city of Bhinmal, or S'rimal, in Marvad as 
their original home, and claim descent from the Solanki clan of the 
Agnikula or Huna Rajputs, so that, like the Khatri, they are of foreign 
race. Whether owing to this origin or to the refining influence of gene- 
rations of sedentary pursuits in prosperous circumstances, the personal 
appearance of the Banya is decidedly above the average. The western 
subdivisions, such as the S'rimall, Porval and Osval, which are all closely 
connected with each other, are largely, and in many tracts, mostly, of the 
Jain religion, a creed which seems to have commended itself to the mer- 
cantile community at a comparatively early period ; and they allege the 
acceptance of the peaceful tenets of this faith to have been one of the 
main reasons for their separation from the bellicose Rajput. In the present 
day, except in Delhi, where a special casus belli arose some years ago, 
the Mahesrl, or Brahmanic section of the caste intermarries with the S'ravak, 
or Jain, and the latter, in turn, employ for their caste and domestic mi- 

InJo-Aryan Research. 11. 5. 3 



34 5- Ethnography. 

nistratiuns, the Bhojak, or Scvak, a subdivision of Brahmans not in high 
repute among the priestly orders, representing, as they are said to do, 
the Maga sun-priests introduced from Iran l)y the Huna and other invaders. 
In addition to the main divisions of the Banya, almost every body is sub- 
divided into "full-scores" (visa) and "half-scores" (dasa), denoting the 
relative admixture of lower blood. In many castes the partition has to be 
carried still further, and the "quarter-score" (pafica) represents the 
minimum of pure descent. None of the subdivisions intermarry, though 
in the west there is occasional connubium found between the "visa", 
or highest sections of the respective castes. The Banya engage in most 
mercantile pursuits, from high finance and extensive fureign trade down 
to the retail of the most common articles of everyday use, so long as 
these are not conventionally polluting. They are not as wedded to their 
native place as most of the Indian communities, and settle, sometimes 
permanently, in villages where they are strangers both in caste and 
language. Others, jirincipally from the desert States, habitually leave home 
for the more favoured parts of t,hc country, and return only after their 
fortune is made there. The upper classes of the Banya are well educated 
and often keen sectarians in regard to religion. In some tracts they are 
entering the law and the State offices, though not in large numbers. The 
Khatrl of the Panjab, on the other hand, in addition to the trade of all 
but the south-west of his province, has almost the monopoly of official 
and professional employment, and has passed even beyond the Panjab 
into parts of the neighbouring jjrovince in similar callings. This caste has 
what the Banya lacks, the tradition of administrative and political success, 
in which it resembles the Maratha Brahman mentioned al)ove. Todar Mai, 
the celebrated financier under Akbar, was a Khatri, and has had more 
than one successor, though not of the same calibre. Then, too, though 
the bulk of the Khatri are not of the Sikh faith, they have always been 
connected with it, and both Nanak and Govind belonged to their ranks. 
In the present day, such priests as are required by the Sikhs are usually 
Khatri. In trade, though sharp and industrious, the Khatri does not take 
so high a position as the Banya, but confines his operations generally to 
small local transactions, and does not, as a rule, set up branch establish- 
ments outside his native province. There are, however, a few colonies 
in Bengal, but they are detached, and their position is considerably below 
that occupied by the caste in its northern home. In some other parts of 
India there are Khatri returned who trace their origin back to the Panjab 
or north Rajputana, and were probably driven southwards by one of the 
Scythic cataclysms, and like others similarly circumstanced, found them- 
selves obliged to take to new means of livelihood, generally silk-weaving. 
Closely allied to the Khatri, but occupying a decidedly inferior social 
position, are the Arora of the south-western Panjab, who, starting from 
nearly the same region as the others, do not appear to have pushed their 
way into the fertile tracts of the north, but to have remained on the less 
remunerative plains along the Indus. In the same direction are the Bhatid 
and Lohana of Sindh. The former have preserved in their title the me- 
mory of their origin in the Bhatti districts of north Rajputana, and claim 
descent from the predominant Rajput stock of that locality, just as the 
Banya of Bhmmal does in the west. There is this further similarity, that the 
Yadava race of the Bhatti looks back to a S'aka founder, in the grandson 
of Kaniska. There are still a good many Bhatia in the Panjab, where their 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 35 

Rajput blood seems unquestioned, but, unlike the Khatri, their position 
seems to improve the further they get from their native country, and it 
is along the coast that they are most flourishing, and in upper Sindh most 
depressed. They have so arranged their caste-rules that they are able to 
cross the ocean without subsequent trouble, and are among the most 
travelled and enterprising merchants of Kach, Bombay, Zanzibar and 
even China. The Lohana, again, are of Marvad origin, but moved into 
Sindh very early in their history, and have there remained. From a centre 
at Shikarpur, they travel far into Central Asia and even to the banks of 
the Volga. One of their subdivisions (the Amil) has followed the example 
of the Khatri, and taken to clerical professions. Like its prototype, also, 
it has succeeded in monopolising the pick of official employment in its 
native province. 

The figures given against the several subdivisions of the general 
heading of Banya are much below the reality, owing to the omission in 
many, if not most, cases to enter the subcaste, and to the substitution of 
some such indefinite designation as Marvadi, S'ravak, Vais, and so on. 
This is markedly the case in Bengal, where, with the exception of the 
subdivisions dealing with specific products, which find place in a later 
paragraph, nearly the whole trading community appears as a single item. 
The Subarn abanik, it is true, has distinguished itself from its neighbours, 
probably because it claims a rank above that accorded it by public opinion. 
It is an immigrant body from upper India, and as a considerable number 
of its members are still engaged as assayers and money changers and it 
employs Brahmans recruited from its own ranks, it seems possible that 
it is an offshoot of the Sonar caste which elsewhere in India makes similar 
claims and is not unfrequently returned as a Daivajna or VLsvakarman 
Brahman, an assumption not yet accepted beyond its own members. Other 
artisan castes in the South make the same claim, but as the Subarnabanik 
is prosperous and fairly well educated, it will not improbably end, if not 
where it desires, at all events considerably above its present rank. In the 
Dravidian country, the trading castes differ from those above described 
in being almost entirely indigenous to the locality they serve. The move- 
ments which are reported to have taken place have been to comparatively 
short distances, such as those from the uplands of the Telugu country to 
the rich and thickly-peopled tracts of the south-east. There is this further 
difference between these castes and the traders of the north, that in most 
cases the former are intimately connected with, and probably sprang from, 
one or other of the great agricultural communities amongst whom they 
live, and from whom they are still distinguished by little else than function. 
One result of this relationship, and not an unhealthy one, has been observed 
viz, that where the business of lending money is carried on by |)eople 
of the same class as the borrower, the dealings arc on a less formal and 
more elastic footing than where, as in other parts of the country, the 
usurer has simply come to the village from a strange country to make 
his fortune out of the necessities of the natives. Considering that what 
with weddings and other ceremonies, every peasant is at some time or 
other a borrower, the above feature is not unimportant from a political 
as well as from an economical point of view. There is the usual tendency 
among those who prosper to adopt the ceremonial and customs of the 
local Brahmans or to grow more scrupulous in their observance, and, 
amongst the Telugu traders, to assert in due course a Vaisya origin, a 



36 5- Ethnography. 



pretension which their form of caste-subdivision and their more intimate 
domestic practices flagrantly contradict. The Komati, for instance, wear 
the sacred thread and arc divided into three territorial endogamous sub- 
divisions, lullowing the modern Brahmanic, not the Vedic, ritual. Their 
exogamous groups, however, of which there are a great number, are 
not Brahmanic but totemistic, derived from trees, plants or articles of 
food, the use of which is prohibited respectively to the group to which 
it belongs. Their marriage rules are those peculiar to the South and 
the ceremony is incomplete without the formal presentation of the 
friendly and symbolic betel -nut and leaf to a member of the impure 
leather-working caste, with whom the traders share "a commim tutelary 
deity. It is a good example of the growing refinement of modern times, 
that in order to mitigate the crudity of the above-mentioned act of social 
intimacy without breaking away from a possibly prophylactic tradition, it 
is now the habit for the bride's father to send a pair of shoes to be 
mended a few days before the wedding, and on the day of the ceremony 
to pay the cobbler with a betel-nut thrown in to the amount of the bill. 
The largest trading community of the Telugu country is the Balija, which 
is widely sjiread over the Tamil di.stricts also, and there called Vadugan, 
or Northerners, or Kavarai, from the caste goddess. They have a great 
number of subdivisions, which are not, however, endogamous, as a rule, 
possibly owing to the practice of receiving into the caste refugees from 
outside who are in disgrace with their own kinsfolk. One division of the 
Balija, however, keeps itself apart, being descended from the Nayak Chiefs 
of Madura. Though it wears no sacred thread, it claims to be Ksatriya. 
As a whole, the Balija arc probably an outgrowth of the great agricultural 
body of the Kajiu or Reddi. Like the Komati, they are in curiously close 
relations with the impure leather-workers and village menials of the lo- 
cality. It might be inferred from this fact that the latter belong to a race 
preceding the present occupants of the soil, and like the Dasyu of the 
north, dispossessed of their heritage, but acknowledged to be influential 
with the gods of the village. The Banjiga is the Karnatic trader, and has 
no connection with his namesake the Banya. Generally speaking, the 
Banjiga, though much subdivided, is of the same stock as the Kanarese 
peasantry, whose ])roclivities towards the Lingayat faith it largely shares. 
In the Tamil country the trader is usually a Cetti a title which is nearly 
as comprehensive as that of Banya. It covers several large and a vast 
number of small subdivisions. In most cases the marriage rules resemble 
in imi)ortant particulars those of the surrounding peasantry of the better 
class. They worship the local goddesses and call in a carpenter by caste 
to bestow his blessing upon the bride and bridegroom, thus generally 
testifying to their local origin. Their main subdivision, the Nattukottai, 
shares the reputation of the Bhatia for unwonted enterprise and success 
in foreign trade and travel. 

§ 29. The last group to be mentioned under this head is that ol 
the Muslim traders. These belong to the west coast, with the exception 
of the Labbai, who, though settled along the south-east, are nevertheless 
connected with those of Malabar by origin. The rest consist mainly of 
converts of long-standing from the Lohana and other traders of Sindh 
and Kach. I'nfortunatcly, the full strength of these bodies is not ascer- 
tainable from the Census returns owing to the appropriation of the same 
title by different communities. The Khojah, for instance, of the coast, are 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 37 

a wealthy body of enterprising traders converted to the Shiah form of 
Islam about the 13 th century. They moved southwards from Sindh into 
Gujarat and Bombay, and there, starting from petty shopkceping, they 
have attained a very high position in foreign trade, and arc noted for the 
number of the branches they have set up abroad. The Khojah of the 
Panjab are quite distinct from these, though they too are converts from 
the Brahmanic mercantile classes and mostly profess the Shiah tenets. 
They also, like the others, recognise as their religious head H. H. Agha 
Khan, whose family migrated to Bombay from Persia about sixty years 
ago. The IMcman, again, arc of Sindh origin, descended from a body 
of Lohana who were converted in the 15 th century, and, like the rest, 
moved into Kach and Kathiavad. In common with the western Khojah, 
they have preserved a good deal of their Brahmanic custom and tradition. 
In commerce they have risen to a good position, though not, perhaps, to 
the rank of the Khojah. Their counterpart is found in the Momin or 
Momna, a body of Gujarat peasants converted about the same time as 
the Meman, and who are now chiefly weavers and cotton-goods dealers, 
with a few still on the land. About half of those returned as Mc-man at 
the Census probably belong to the latter community, and about two thirds 
of the Khojah are of the Panjab section. The last of the Muslim trading 
classes of the Bombay coast to be here mentioned is the Bohra, in its 
various subdivisions. These, like the rest, are converts to the Shiah faith 
from the commercial classes of the chief towns in Gujarat, about the 
1 1 th century, and combine the strict observance of Muslim worship with 
a due regard for the Brahmanic or pre-Brahmanic methods of dealing 
with the personal or domestic supernatural. The ujiper classes engage 
in foreign trade, but the rank and file are content with a successful career 
in the retail shop, and are somewhat remarkable for their neglect of 
English in an otherwise efficient and well-diffused scheme of instruction. 
The Census shows under the same title the cultivating Vohora of Gujarat, 
Sunni by sect, and retaining in most cases a fairly clear recollection of 
the Brahmanic caste from which they were converted, and adjusting their 
marriage arrangements in accordance therewith. About half the number 
of Bohras given in the return belong to this class. On the Malabar coast 
are the Majjpila and Jonakkan, and on the south Coromandel coast, the 
Labbai. The last named are descended from an Arab colony, driven from 
its native country in the 8th century; or, according to another account, 
from Arab traders who married Tamil wives at a later date. Their con- 
nection with Arabia is indicated, in either case, by the name of S'onagan 
(Arabia) which they used to bear, and their present name of Labbai is 
said to be no more than a local rendering of labbaik, the Arabic for 
the familiar phrase "here I am". In practice they are orthodo.x Muslim, 
though like the Muslim of the eastern Panjab, they marry by Brahmanic 
rites with a text or two of the Kuran recited to complete the ceremony. 
There is a small community living side by side with them, known as the 
Marakkayar, who claim similar origin, but do not intermarry, and are 
apparently of more recent arrival. Both speak Tamil with a few Arabic 
words interspersed. Those who are not traders are engaged in betel cul- 
tivation and pearl-diving. The Mappila have been referred to in other 
parts of this survey as the chief Arabian colony on the western coast. 
They are placed in this group because it was as traders that they first 
visited Malabar, but in the present day this pursuit is practised only along 



38 5- Ethnography. 



the coast, and the bulk of the Mapi)ila inland arc landholders and culti- 
vators. In both capacities they have shown themselves thrifty and energetic. 
Their name is cither an honorific soubriquet, shared by some other classes 
in the neighbourhood, or, as some think, the Tamil word for bridegroom, 
applied to the Arabs who married native women. In language and in many 
of the local customs of marriage and inheritance, they have identified 
themselves with the native population. The Jonakkan are no other than 
Mnppila returned under a title given along the coast, especially in Tra- 
vancorc, to converts to Islam, and is possibly the Malayalam rendering 
of Yavana, the old Rrahmanic designation for all foreigners hailing from 
the west. The community is recruited from some of the castes along the 
coast, especially the fishermen, of whom the Mukkuvan have in some 
families the curious rule that one of their children should embrace Islam. 
In remarkable contrast to the experience in the Panjab in regard to such 
conversion, it is alleged that the Malayalam is improved by the change 
in faith. Probably the original status of the convert was lower than in 
the north. 

ij 30. Writer castes (2,750,300): The profession of scribe or clerk 
was in all probability unusually late in establishing itself in India owing 
to the jealousy with which all instruction was monopolised by the Brahmans, 
as well as to the extraordinary development of memory and oral tradi- 
tion fostered by them. Setting aside the art of inscribing rock and copper, 
writing as a profession appears in inscriptions of the Sth century A. D., 
and a few generations later, the caste of the Writer is referred to under 
the same name as it bears in the present day. It may be gathered from the 
data available that the calling was in anything but good odour amongst 
the Brahmans and that the castes exercising it occupied but a low position. 
Their chance came when the Muslim conquerors, having established them- 
selves permanently in the country, felt the need of clerical ability to 
help them through the labours of administration, and were unwilling, on 
sectarian grounds, to have recourse to the Brahman. In the writing castes 
the very material they wanted was at hand. The Khatri, as mentioned in 
a former paragraph, furnished several most efficient ministers to the 
Moghal regime ; the principal supply, however, was, as it still is, from the 
Kayasth caste, which, from the upper Ganges, was introduced into Gujarat 
by the Muslim Viceroys and naturalised there. A similar colonisation was 
begun by the same agency in the Dekkan, but the local Brahman was 
there too numerous and too well-established throughout the country to 
leave room for a rival, and the offshoot from the main Kayasth branch, 
under the name of Prabhu, forsook the tableland for the coast, and settled 
in Bombay and its vicinity. Here they were found so useful by the early 
British merchants and officials that until a generation or so ago, Prabhu 
and clerk were synonymous terms in those parts. In the present day the 
main stron^j^hold of the Kayasth is in Lower Bengal, into which they were 
introduced from U])per India. Distance, however, as usual in India, has 
entirely divided the two communities, and there is no intermarriage between 
the Kayasth of Bengal and his caste-fellows of Bihar and the north any 
more than with those of the west coast. Even the local bodies of this 
caste are much subdivided into smaller endogamous sections, generally 
territorial. The position of the Kayasth and other writer castes in the 
social hierarchy has long been a matter of heated controversy. In what 
may be called the primary distribution of rank according to function no 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 39 

place could be assigned to a body which was not then recognised as 
distinct from others. Literary qualifications which may well set off a 
Brahman, are, by themselves, of little value as a passport to the esteem 
of a public deliberately illiterate. Distinguished members of the writing 
class, such as those mentioned above, were duly honoured as individuals, 
but did not ennoble the community in which they were born. The dis- 
proi)ortion between the ability of the writer castes and the value of their 
work on the one side, and the company they were classed with in private 
life on the other, grew more apparent as, under the British system of 
administration, their prosperity and influence increased. It is no wonder, 
therefore, that efforts have been strenuous and freciuent on their part to 
establish themselves upon a social footing higher than that now recognised 
by the arbiters in such matters. The line taken as that of least resistance 
is the usual claim to Ksatriya lineage. There is not, however, in their 
case, the probability of racial difference between them and the Indian 
masses of the north and east which is lent, in the case of the Khatri and 
their offshoots, by tradition, physique and locality of origin. In the parts of 
the country, therefore, where Rajputs arc found in strength and Brahmanic 
influence is strong, the Kayasth is a respected caste high up in the middle 
classes, but nothing more. In Lower Bengal, however, where the Rajput 
is a casual exotic and the weight of Brahman opinion is insufficient to 
appease the jealous ferment of an inchoate social system, the Kayasth 
ranks within a place or two of the Brahman, and practically, though not 
avowedly, above the warrior. In Gujarat, where the clerical i)rofessions 
are by no means the monopoly of the writing castes, there is, in addition 
to the small colony of Kayasth, a still less numerous community called 
the Brahmaksatriya, whose appearance and customs confirm their assertion 
of relationship to the Khatri of the Panjab. Their immigration, indeed, 
occurred as late as the 14th century. They are not only writers, but also 
holders of considerable landed estates in the most prosperous parts of 
the province, and their position is in many respects higher than that of 
their compeers in the north. Another nominal offshoot of the writers of 
the north is the Karan or Mahant of Orissa. This community is considerably 
subdivided into endogamous bodies, the more southern of which retain 
traces of non-Brahmanic marriage rules. It is very probable, therefore, that 
tht)se nearer Bengal affiliate themselves to the Kayasth of that province, 
whilst the rest remain in closer communion with the corresponding groups 
of the Telugu country. 

These last, with their Tamil congeners, stand on a different footing 
from the writer castes of the north. The upper grades amongst them, it 
is true, are strict in their observance of Brahmanic ceremonial, and wear, 
occasionally at least, the sacred thread. But, like the Dravidian traders, 
they appear to have arisen out of the cultivating castes, and began with 
being, what most are still, the accountants of the village, a branch of 
clerical work which, when not kept in the hands of Brahmans, is relegated 
to the lower grade of writers or even, as in Bihar, to another caste, 
and connotes an inferior social rank to that of the rest of the order. 
Intermediate between the Brahman and the Karnam comes the Vidhur, of 
the Maratha country, a small caste which supplements the clerical staff 
of the Central Provinces and Berar. By origin the Vidhur is Brahman on 
the father's side, but maternally of a lower caste. Similarly constituted 
communities are found in the Konkan and other parts of the Maratha 



40 5- ETHNOGRAPm'. 

country. Finally, a place is found under this head for a caste difficult to 
grade elsewhere, though, according to its title of Vaidya, it ought to be 
dedicated to the practice of medicine. Nowadays, however, it includes 
both members of other learned professions and landholders. It is only 
found in Lower Bengal, where it occuiiies, thanks to the Icjcal obnubilation 
of the Rajput, a position inferior only to that of the Brahman. This high 
rank is due to the fact that one of the most powerful dynasties in this 
part of India between the nth and 13th centuries, belonged to this caste; 
and the most renowned occupant of the throne, Ballal Sen, api)ears to 
have e.xercised with drastic results the regal function of making and 
graduating castes, a function which in the present time is retained in 
working order by the Chieftains of the Panjab Himalaya alone. 

§ 31. Religious Devotees and Mendicants (-,755,900): The abdica- 
tion of worldly position and the relinquishment of all possessions and 
family ties, in order to jjursuc an undisturbed course of contemplation 
preparatory to quitting the present existence, is a iiroceeding which has 
been strongly attractive to the higher ranks of the Brahmanic community 
almost from the ])ost-Vedic organisation of society upon sacerdotal lines. 
Indeed, according to the strict theory of duty set forth in the treatises 
dealing with the Perfect Life, it is incumbent upon every Brahman thus 
to break with his former ties as he feels old age creeping over him. 
Although this injunction is substantially inoperative, there are other con- 
siderations which tend to swell the ranks of religious devotees in modern 
India. Looking only at the lower side of the case, the vast number of 
popular saints and deities, some universal, others w^ith only local renown, 
is in itself an inducement to many to earn their living by invoking a 
Blessing in the name of one or other of these objects of veneration upon 
the households within the area of adoration, receiving in return a handful 
of meal and a pinch or two of condiments. Life is easily sustained in the 
tropics upon this frugal diet, whilst the climate affords opportunities for 
a pleasant nomadic existence, which, if extended as it often is, to the 
visitation of the chief centres of pilgrimage, brings these classes into con- 
tact with their co-religionists from all parts of the country. It is no matter 
for surprise, therefore, that about one in a hundred of the population has 
thus taken to the road, leaving little room, accordingly, for the lay mendi- 
cant, outside the ranks of the maimed, the halt, the blind and the leper. 
But whilst the lower grades of the profession are laxly recruited and 
the members thereof take their calling very lightly, there is in all the 
principal orders a body formally initiated and put through a course of 
instruction in certain tenets of doctrine and morality which they are 
in turn sent forth to inculcate upon the community at large. Most of the 
great orders originated in the South of India. Some are said to have been 
instituted by the celebrated S'aiva reformer, S'ankaracarya. but most at- 
tribute their creation to his successor, Ramanuja. On reaching upper India, 
however, their constitution and practice were altered by Ramananda and 
Caitanya, who mitigated to a considerable extent the exclusiveness of 
their recruitment and the austerity of their regulations. The object which 
these bodies were originally formed to promote was the extirpation of 
Buddhism, a task begun by the great leaders of the Brahmanical revival. 
Confined at first to the Brahman and Ksatriya, or Raji)ut, the orders 
began, in due course, to open their ranks to members of other castes, 
and then split up into two sectious, the celibate, or ascetic, and the do- 



Castes and Caste-Groups. A. Special Groups. 41 

mestic. The orders which admitted the lower castes too, were soon sub- 
divided into the exclusive and the catholic branches, as in the case of 
the Vaisnava of Bengal, jiart of whom came under the levelling influence 
of Caitanya. The branch which takes to family life forms sei)arate endo- 
gamous communities, and judging from the number of women returned 
under the various titles, excluding certain castes which bear a name also 
borne by non-ascetic bodies, such subdivisions appear to be in the ma- 
jority, for there are in the aggregate 90 women to every lOO men. In 
Bengal, indeed, the former are in excess, as they are in the population 
at large in that province. In upper India, however, there are many large 
establishments of the nature of monasteries which supply the bulk of the 
higher grades of itinerant teachers. Even in these, however, the functions 
of the fraternity are not restricted to religion, for some of the Wahantas, 
or Abbots, as they have been called, have been noted money-lenders on 
the strength of the funds and endowments of their charge. In former days, 
too, bodies of these devotees used to be formed into irregular forces, 
which exhibited in action the same fanatical ferocity as is now associated 
with the Muslim Ghazi and in the middle of last century with the Sikh 
Akali. A remnant of one of these bands still survives, it is said, in the 
Dadupanthi Naga of the State of Jaipur in Rajputana, a country associated 
to some extent with the expansion of the ascetic movement. It is not pro- 
posed to enter here into the doctrinal differences between the various 
fraternities further than to mention that there is the usual main division 
of the principal bodies into S'aiva and Vaisnava, with many subdivisions, 
the latter school being the more modern. Nor, again, is it necessary' to 
set forth in detail the sections of the orders, since being recruited from 
all classes of the population, regardless of caste or race, they are of no 
ethnographic importance, and under each head are included members of 
the Sikh, Jain and Muslim creeds along with those of orthodox Brahmanism. 
It is impossible, indeed, to state accurately the numbers falling under 
each head, owing to the loose way in which the principal designations 
are applied. Under the title of Fakir, for instance, which is specially ap- 
plicable to Muslim devotees, nearly 450,000 Brahmanists and Sikhs are 
returned. The Atit, again, a general title, are given as identical with 
Gosavl or Sannyasi as well as under their own heading. Vairagi or BairagI 
covers not only the Vaisnava and some of the Dandasi, but also most of 
those returning themselves as Bhava or Sadhu, terms used of Brahmanic 
devotees in general. Still more misleading is the return under Jogi, an 
order differing from the rest in its origin, and conjecturally not called 
into existence to combat schism, but itself a heretical order, proscribed by 
the orthodox, probably on account of its then Jain or Buddhist proclivities. 
It is shown in combination with the Jugi, a class of coarse-cotton weavers 
in eastern Bengal and Assam, reputed to have come from the south-west, 
but undoubtedly taking its rise from some religious organisation of the 
lower classes, and now said to be "assuming the sacred thread en masse", 
and contesting its right to wear it against the local Brahmanity. In upper 
India, the Jogi or Yogi community is divided into those who have a right 
to the title by profession and initiation and others who have assumed it 
for the convenience of their calling. The former, of whom there are two 
main subdivisions, have their monasteries and settled organisation, the 
latter who are returned in the Panjab, Rajputana and Gujarat under the 
name also of Raval, trade upon the reputation the other Jogi have acquired 



42 5- Ethnography. 



for obtaining supernatural powers of divination by dint of contemplation 
and mental abstraction; consequently, "any rascally beggar who pretends 
to be able to tell fortunes or to practice astrological or necromantic arts 
in however small a degree, buys a drum and calls himself a Jogi". The 
43,000 Muslim returned as Jogi in the Panjab and its neighbourhood arc 
thus accounted for. C(jnsidering the Dravidian origin of most f>f the ascetic 
orders and the traces of the South still preserved in their customs and 
nomenclature, it is remarkable that hardly any are now found in that part 
of India, and those chiefly of the lower class. Even the mendicants who 
there ply their trade in the name of religion hold no reputable position 
in the community. This is perhaps attributable to the fact that though the 
genesis of the great orders took place in the south, it was in the north 
that the need of their propagandist efforts was most pressing. 

B. The village community. 

§ 32. In the greater part of India, the village as a unit not only 
of population but of land, has assumed a form not to be found in other 
countries. In European Russia, it is true, the system of rural aggregation 
bears a considerable resemblance to that of India, but has far less weight 
in the social organisation, and is far less bound up with the ethnic evo- 
lution of the country. The village, then, as it falls within the scope of this 
review, is an agricultural community on a self-sufficing basis, congregated, 
for the original purpose of protection, on to a single site, surrounded by 
a definite area of land the prescriptive right to which is invested in it. 
Originally, no doubt, the occupants of the soil formed a close corporation 
based upon kinship or common descent, but in the course of time that 
exclusiveness crumbled away, and new comers were admitted to the land, 
though on an inferior footing, in most cases, to the rest. The village exists 
for the agriculturist, and the exercise of other callings therein depends 
upon their necessity or utility to him, and this, in turn, depends upon the 
relative isolation of the village from other sources of supply. The staple 
staff of artisans and menials is remunerated directly from the soil in re- 
cognised proportions of the harvest, so much threshed grain from each 
landholder. The completeness of the organisation varies considerably in 
different parts of the country, but where it exists, its main features are 
much the same. The village, in the above sense, is not found in the 
comparatively recent settlements east of Bihar, or on the Malabar coast; 
nor has it taken root amongst the more or less migratory tribes of forest 
tracts, where the insufficiency of arable land and the frequent flittings of 
the population from spirit-haunted or unlucky locations are adverse to so 
stationary an institution. Although, then, these tribes live mostly by rough 
methods of tillage, they cannot be counted amongst the landed classes, 
and arc therefore dealt with apart from those to whom that designation 
is conventionally more appropriate. The latter can best be considered 
under two heads, first, the castes which hold their land as a military or 
formerly dominant body, and, then, the peasantry dwelling alongside of 
them without traditions of a status or calling other than that which they 
now enjoy. 

§ 33. Landholders, Military or Dominant (23,702,400): Castes of 
this type may be e.^cpected to be more powerful and more prominently 
demarcated from the rest in the track of the great racial inroads from 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 43 

the north-west. Eastwards of the settlements of the Pathan and Baluch 
tribes, which will be treated of in a later paragraph, a line drawn from 
the Gujarat peninsulas, through Malva, to the Ganges, marks off the domain 
of the Rajput, Jat and kindred tribes, whilst the Salt range of the Panjab, 
and the sub-Himalayan tracts from the Jehlam to Nepal form their general 
limit on the north. East of Bihar, the Koch, or Rajbansi, and the .AhOm 
may be said to occupy a somewhat similar position amongst the Mongo- 
loidic population. In the Dekkan, the Maratha may be included on histo- 
rical grounds in this category, though his origin is doubtful and the limits 
of his caste wanting in definition. In Southern India the title of dominant 
is applicable to several Dravidian communities which rose into prominence 
with the dynasties of which they constituted the chief military forces, and 
on disbandment, either reverted to or assumed, the position of cultivators. 
There is no question here, therefore, of foreign origin. On the Malabar 
coast, on the other hand, the Nayar, though now thoroughly Dravidianised, 
is said to have come from the north. In Orissa, again, the Khandait makes 
the same claim, but is probably of much the same origin as the other 
Dravidian communities of this class. 

Reverting to the castes of ujiper India, the Rajput has been dealt 
with in a former paragraph sufficiently for the purposes of this review. 
An important point in connection with the subject immediately in hand 
is the close connection between the Rajput and the Jat, who ranks next 
to him both in numbers and position throughout the Panjab jilains, Raj- 
putana, and the upper Ganges and Jamna valleys. It has been conjectured 
by some that the difference between the two communities is social, not 
racial, the Rajput being a Jat leader who, after being successful in the 
field or on his estate, bound himself and his family to the strict obser- 
vance of Brahmanic rules and thus attained the pinnacle of orthodo.x 
repute, whilst the rest of his tribe remained Jat in name and in their 
traditions and practice. In the circumstances of the two castes in the 
Panjab in the present day there is much to support this view. Others hold 
that the Jat belongs to a later wave of immigration than the Rajput, and 
entered the Panjab from the west, by way of Sindh and the Indus, whilst 
the Rajputs were still in Rajputana and its eastern neighbourhood. However 
this may be, the northern stock has now been fused, and though the Jat 
no longer becomes a Rajput, the same tribe is found Rajput in one village 
and Jat in the next. In the Jamna tracts this is not the case. Whether 
because the Jat arrived there direct from Sindh and remained at a distance 
from the seat of the predominant body of his tribe, or whether by reason 
of admixture with inferior Rajput blood, his physique and social position 
are lower. The Jat par excellence is the peasantry of the Sikh tracts, 
where the tradition of political supremacy is still green, and the Jat has 
nothing to gain in public estimation from either Brahman, Rajput or Pathan. 
Along the Jamna, he has succumbed to the prevailing influences, and looks 
up to the Rajput, whilst in the west, he does the same to the leaders of 
Muslim society, and his name has been there bestowed upon any cultivator 
of that religion, whatever his caste. Like the Rajput and other great com- 
munities in the north-west, the Jat places religious considerations beneath 
tribal in his domestic arrangements, so it appears from the Census that 
one third of the population bearing this name are Muslim, one fifth Sikh, 
and just under half, Brahmanist. As stated above, the Jat is in the first 
place a cultivator, and the women of his family share to the full his 



44 5- Ethnography. 

enthusiasm in the pursuit of the family calling. The Sikh Jat is also a 
born soldier, not merely a combatant, but a disciplinarian, and equally 
efficient on the snow-clad ridges of Afghanistan and the steamy plains of 
Tientsin. Next to the Jat in rank, and probably akin in origin, comes the 
Gujar, a caste as to whose descent there has been much controversy 
between the pro-Aryan and the [iro-Scythian. The caste is now generally 
affiliated to the Gurjara, a tribe which was settled in the neighbourhood 
of the Caspian, and entered India either in company with or at the same 
time as, the Yetha or White Huna, of whom they arc said to have been 
a branch. They spread very widely over the west and north-west, and one 
body of Gurjara obtained a dominant footing in the'western province which 
is now called after them. Their connection with it, however, after the 
downfall of their dynasties, was dissipated into innumerable channels of 
castes, where it is recognisable only in customs and in the titles of some 
of the sub-castes. The greater jiortion of the Gujar settled in the Panjab 
and along the Jamna, with a considerable colony in Oudh. In the first 
named tract, again, they have left their name behind them in several 
places, but it is only in the submontane portion that they can now be 
called a dominant tribe. In the plains they follow their traditional occu- 
pation of cattle-breeding, combined, it may be, with cultivation, in which 
they are not so expert. Their unrestrained devotion to the horned beast 
is such that in some parts of India their title is derived from the Sans- 
kritic term for Cowthief. Even though philology may not support this deri- 
vation, it has the authority of their almost universal reputation. They are 
not now found south of the Vindhya, where those returned as Gujar are 
traders from Gujarat, who, as stated above, retain traditions of a cognate 
origin. It is held, indeed, that a Gurjara element underlies all the chief 
cultivating classes of Gujarat above those traceable to a distinctly K61 
origin. Returning to the Panjab, the south of the Salt range tract is the 
present home of the Avan, who have been there for at least 6oo years. 
They are said to have come up from Marvad or upper Sindh, and to have 
belonged to one of the numerous Scythic bands which gave the Jat and 
other castes to the country further east. Though the Avan are nearly all 
Muslim, they retain Brahmanic names in their genealogies, and use Brahmans 
as their family priests. They have not spread beyond the north-west corner 
of the Panjab, where they share with the Janjhua Rajput and the Khokhar 
the predominant position among the peasantry. The Khokhar, however, 
though equally of the faith of Islam, have maintained more fully the 
tradition of Rajput origin, and return themselves in considerable numbers 
as a clan of that great caste. Others, again, claim to be Jat. The Gakkhar 
in the north of the Salt Range plateau are similarly situated to the Avan 
in the south. There seems to be little doubt but that the three tribes are 
all of allied Scythic origin, and became Rajput during the Brahmanic 
revival, Jat when the Sikhs rose to power, and claimants to Mughal blood 
now that the influence of Islam reigns supreme in this region. Among the 
tribes behmging traditionally to this part of India may be counted the 
Kathi, though in the present day they are found under this title only in 
the western peninsula to which they have given their name, and even 
there in but small numbers. In the Panjab they consider themselves a 
subclan of the Panvar Rajput, and are thus merged in the general mass 
of that order. In Kathiawad they preserve the tradition of migration from 
BFkaner and Multan, the latter being the very tract in which they were 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 45 

found by Alexander as a foreign nomadic body, successfully resisting the 
expeditions sent against them by neighbouring Aryan potentates. It is 
conjectured, therefore, that these, too, are Scythic tribes connected with 
the rulers of Taxila at that period, and were driven into exile through 
Sindh into Kach by the Muslim invasions. They are now principally 
cultivators, but keep green the remembrance of their original occupation 
of cowherds by breeding horses and cattle. They also retain their ancestral 
sun-worship, and a rude representation of that luminary is affixed to all 
their formal documents. It is not improbable that they are of the same 
stock as the Ahir or Abhlra, the great cattle-breeders of upper India, 
though their position is now higher than that of the latter. In Sindh, two 
Rajput tribes of agriculturists, the Sumro and the Sammo, successively 
occupied the dominant position on the lower Indus from about 750 A. D. to 
the middle of the i6th century, and now belong to Islam. Their respective 
numbers are by no means accurately represented in the Census return 
owing to the wide-spread practice in this province of giving the general 
title of Sindhi as the name 01 the tribe or caste, thus placing nearly a 
quarter of a million of the inhabitants beyond the possibility of identification. 
East of the Panjab, the only caste, beside those already mentioned, 
which can be described as dominant, is the Taga, a community of the 
upper Jamna. Its origin is doubtful; though it seems to be generally agreed 
that it has Brahman blood; but the prominence of snake-worship amongst 
Taga, together with the division of the caste into the "Score" and Half- 
Score" sections, indicates considerable admixture of local races. Their 
degradation from Brahmanical rank is attributed to their addiction to 
agriculture, as in the case of the Babhan of the south-east. More than a 
third of them are now Muslim. In Bihar, the only dominant caste beyond 
the Rajput is the Babhan or Bhumhar, already mentioned in connection with 
Brahmans, which forms but a small proportion of the population. Lower 
Bengal as above stated, was never colonised by military occupation, and 
the only caste which may be called dominant is the Koch of the northern 
territory bordering upon the Brahmaputra. Their claim to this position 
rests upon the long existence of the Koch kingdom of Kamarupa, in the 
Assam valley, and its extension, for a time, into Bengal. The latter portion 
was separated from the rest towards the end of the i6th century, and 
succumbed to the Muslim, as did the other shortly afterwards to the Ahom. 
There are two distinct sections of the population owning to the name of 
Koch. West and south of the Brahmaputra it is said to be of Kol-Kher- 
vari origin, and has long been Brahmanised under the designation of 
Rajbansi, which satisfies the aspiration of the local peasantry, as that of 
Rajput crowns the ambition of the Chieftain or large landowner in other 
parts of India. In Assam, on the contrary, where the lineage of the local 
leading families is known, the Koch is IMongoloidic, or Bodo in origin, 
and its rank and file are recruited from all the Bodo and iSIikir tribes of 
the valley, who drop their own title on adopting Brahmanism. Some go 
further, and pass at once into Rajbansi, or embrace Islam if their claim 
be not allowed. The respective numbers of the two are, 2,115,700 Rajbansi, 
chiefly in Bengal, and 292,100 Koch, of the Assam branch. The Ahom of 
the more eastern portion of the Assam valley, are also a once dominant 
tribe of agriculturists of Indo-Chinese descent, who will be referred to 
under the head of Assam Hill tribes. There is one more caste belonging 
to Bengal which may be here mentioned, to wit the Khandait of Orissa. 



46 5- Ethnography. 

They seem to have been originally a body of local militia enlisted from 
the Bhuiya, a Kol tribe, and commanded, probably, by officers imported 
from upper India. Some of the customs of the latter commended themselves 
to their subordinates, on the strength of which form of flattery, a claim 
to the caste of Rajput was subsequently advanced. The Khandait is divided 
into two sub-castes, one comprising the landholders, probably endowed 
with estates for military services ; the other the peasantry and village 
watchmen. The former hold a good position and rank next to and but 
little below the Rajputs, who, as elsewhere in Bengal, have not taken firm 
root in the soil. A community which once carried its arms not only into 
Orissa but up to the very walls of Calcutta, without leaving any enduring 
trace of its passage, is the Maratha, the principal landed class in the 
Dckkan, and the dominant power in Baroda, Gwalior, and practically in 
Indore and several other states. The origin of the Maratha is obscure. 
Elsewhere in this work it has been stated that recent anthropometrical 
observations have given rise to the conjecture that there is a Scythic 
element in the population of the Dekkan beyond that which can be attri- 
buted to the dynastic influence of the various Ksatrapa Chieftains who 
maintained their power there long after the dissolution of the Huna 
sovereignty in Central India. The Brahmans of upper India, too, have the 
belief that the Maratha arc of Persian descent, and that the Citpavan 
Brahmans of the Konkan were their sun-priests, introduced in the 7th 
century and formally adopted into the local hierarchy. However this may 
be, there was not imjirobably some distinction between the masses and the 
dominant classes based upon race, as in Rajputana; but it did not obtain 
prominence until the leading families were welded into a military body by 
the Bhonsla. S'ivaji donned the sacred cord and took the title of Ksatriya 
upon his enthronement, and within a generation, his successors made a 
claim to definite Rajput descent, and were apparently not rebuffed even 
by the highest of the Rajput Chieftains. The kinship, however, has not 
been practically acknowledged, possibly because the political atmosphere 
has changed since the beginning of the iSth century. In the present day 
there is no definite line drawn between the Maratha and the Kunbl, or 
cultivating peasantry-, though the leading clans of the former still enjoy 
special consideration. Recruitment admittedly takes place from below, and 
any KunbT who prospers above his neighbours, renounces widow- 
marriage, secludes the women of his family, marries his daughters at an 
early age and within a narrow circle, and puts on the sacred thread for 
special occasions, becomes in due course a Maratha in title, with hyper- 
gamous tendencies not always ignored by the older families. Both Maratha 
and Kunbl are distinguished by the totemistic, not Brahmanic, character 
of their exogamous subdivisions, and by their worship of the same local 
deities, so that, like the Jat, the upper classes may have assumed a 
distinct po.sition without imposing the impassable barrier which exists 
in the north between the Rajput and the rest. Amongst the Marathas as 
a whole the only barrier of that nature is geographical, a Dekkani not 
intermarrying with a family in the Konkan, in spite of the identity of 
language. The climate, which entails a difterence of cultivation and con- 
sequently of diet, has affected the physique, and the broad-acred grower 
of millet disowns the tiller of the petty rice-patch. 

§ 34. The Dravidian country remains to be considered. In the greater 
part of this tract the military and dominant element in the landed classes 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 47 

is insignificant. In the Karnatic, indeed, it is scarcely to be found, and 
in Telingana, too, the position of a special subdivision is often found to 
rest upon the military recruitment of a former dynasty. The Razu, who 
were settled in the extreme south of the Tclugu country by the Vijaya- 
nagar C'hiefs, for whom they fought, seem to have the best claim to the 
distinction in question. They are undoubtedly superior to their neighbours 
in physique, and are more scrupulous as to ceremonial. They wear the 
sacred thread, seclude their women and employ Brahmans as their family 
priests. It is not improbable, therefore, that they are the remnants of a 
body of mercenaries from further north, and really differ in race from 
the Dravidians with whom they are now permanently associated. The 
Velama of the north Coromandel coast are an offshoot of the great Kapu 
or Reddi caste and closely connected with other agricultural bodies of 
the neighbourhood. They have amongst them, however, several wealthy 
and influential Zamlndars, or landed proprietors, and having adopted Brah- 
manical regulations more strictly than the rest, are generally considered 
to hold a somewhat higher position. In the Tamil country, especially in 
the south, the line of demarcation between the military castes and the 
others is more easily traced than amongst the Telugu masses, but there 
seems to be this noteworthy difference between the two regions, that the 
immigrant peasantry of the south rank higher in the present day than 
the castes once dominant, so that, setting aside the Chieftains and Zamin- 
dars, there is the tendency for a landowner of the latter, as he advances 
in prosperity, to get merged in the ranks of the former. The popular 
version of this inclination runs: "The Kalian became a Maravan ; the 
Maravan became an Agamudaiyan, and the Agamudaiyan is now a Vellalan". 
The explanation seems to be that the formerly dominant classes obtained 
their position by predatory, rather than military, prowess under the weak 
governments of the past, and retained with their independence their 
original religion and customs. In the piping times of the j^ax Britannica, 
however, Brahmanic influence is permeating the masses, and as its cere- 
monial is the touchstone of respectability, the more aspiring remnants of 
the earlier civilisation affiliate themselves to a body already in full touch 
with the refinement aimed at, in preference to taking up the invidious 
position of innovator in the community of their birth. The principal tribe 
coming under this head is the Kalian, which happens to be the Tamil for 
thief It is probable that the original meaning was different, but no alter- 
native has been found, and the interpretation is unfortunately justified by 
the history and habits of the caste. It is conjectured that the Kalian are 
an offshoot of the great Kurumban, or cowherd race of the south, which 
spread downwards from the uplands of Mysore, and were ousted from the 
plains successively by the Cera and the Cola dynasties. Some of the tribe 
expelled in their turn, the peasantry introduced by the latter, and settled 
on their lands. The reputation thus acquired helped to keep the Kalian 
in independence, and enabled them to maintain to this day their old customs 
untainted by Brahmanism in their essential features. The acknowledged 
head of their tribe is the Raja of Pudukottai, called by them the Tondaman, 
in memory of their former colonisation of Tondamandalam or the Pallava 
country. The bulk of them are cultivators and labourers; but they still 
furnish a strong contingent of watchmen, a duty which serves them as 
the pretext for the levy of a prophylactic subsidy from the householders 
thus subjected to their protection. Their neighbours to the south, the 



48 5- Ethnography. 

Maravan, arc amongst the earliest inhabitants of this tract, and at one 
time got possession of the whole of the Pandya or Madura domain. They 
furnished a strong body of militia, and for many generations lorded it 
over the rest of the population. There is some connection, at present un- 
ascertained, between them and the Kaljan. Like the latter they worship 
their own gods and demons, and employ for the purpose priests drawn 
from the lower castes, but for ceremonial other than that of the temple, 
they call in Brahmans. Their head is the Zamlndar of Ramnad, to whom 
the Tondaman and other local magnates do obeisance when they meet. 
The Agamudaiyan again, are closely connected with the Maravan, with 
whom they intermarry under rules which in the Brahmanic system would 
imply hypergamy in favour of the latter. Nevertheless, the Agamudaiyan 
is the only caste of the three which has been substantially Brahmanised, 
and in many ways it comes near the Vellalan in practices and beliefs. 

Crossing the Peninsula, a distinctly dominant class is found in the 
Nayar of the Malabar coast, a community of northern race, with uncertain 
traditions as to its original home or the route by which it reached its 
present secluded domicile. It has its own peculiar customs and institutions, 
which, as in the case of the Rajputs, have been assimilated by indigenous 
castes of lower rank, who thereby justify the arrogation to themselves of 
the title of their superiors. The community, therefore, no longer consists 
of military landowners, as formerly, but includes, under subdivisional names, 
not only artisans and traders, but even menial castes such as the barber 
and washerman, who have found it worth while to devote their services 
exclusively to the Nayar. It is probable, then, that not more than three 
fourths of those returned under the latter title are true Nayar, and that 
these belong to at most three subdivisions of the tribe. The customs of 
the Nayar are, as observed above, peculiar, and of high ethnological in- 
terest, but it is not within the scope of this review to enter into them. 
It may be remarked in passing, however, that in many of them may be 
found traces of polyandry. Inheritance is through the female. The exogamous 
unit is based on descent from a common female ancestor in that line. 
The endogamous limit is hypergamous for the female, and either within 
or below the subcaste for the male. The Nayar of the north and those 
of the south form separate communities, the division being evidently based 
upon the notion that pollution lies in the south, perhaps because that 
region is further from the caste-cradle. The distinction between the tAVO 
is so strictly enforced that though Nayar males may circulate freely over 
the whole country, no female of the northern section may cross the river 
which divides Kanara from Malabar, nor, again, that which intersects the 
latter district. This group is completed by the addition of the Kodagu, 
or dominant tribe of the little district of Coorg, not by reason of its 
numbers, but, like the Kathi, because it has had a history, and has managed 
to maintair. its ])osition and language in its native uplands against all 
comers. Since the tract has been opened up by European enterprise, for 
the growth of special products, there has been a considerable influx of 
labour from Mysore and the coast, and the Kodagu now constitutes but 
a fourth of the population; but that fraction is at the top. 

§ 35. Peasants (36,251,100): In nearly every part of India this group 
is the largest, and, together with those of the landless labourer and the 
village menials, includes the bulk of the rural population. The exceptional 
tracts are Rajputana and the Panjab, in which, as pointed out in the 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 49 

preceding paragraph, the military tribes have retained their grip on the 
land. In accordance with the general scheme of exposition, it is proposed 
to subdivide this group here into the cultivating castes, in the wider 
sense of the term, and those who devote their efforts to the growth of 
special products, such as the bitcl-vine, or to roots and vegetables and 
other market-garden produce. Of the latter some are conventionally im- 
pure, such as onions, turmeric and turnips, or necessitate the destruction 
of life or extensive and intimate dealings with manure, both rejiugnant 
to Brahmanical tradition, in consideration of which the castes thus engaged 
have been relegated to a lower social position than the field operator. 
In the Panjab castes of this class are numerous, and in the plains 
of that Province there are but two others, outside the ranks of the do- 
minant, which call for mention here. The Kambo, one of the most 
skilful cultivators of the province, is found along the .Satlaj and in the 
east, where he has crossed over the Jamna into Rohilkhand. The caste is 
of local or Kashmiri origin, though the INIuslim minority in it claim to be 
Mughal. It is probably connected with the great gardening caste of the 
Arain, but its position is higher. One of its sections has taken to trade 
and the clerical professions, in which, however, they are said to be more 
skilful than honest. The Meo, or Mcvati, is the dominant caste of a jjortion 
of eastern Rajputana and a small tract in the south Panjab. It is no doubt 
a branch of the forest tribe of the Mina, but having become Muslim and 
acquired land, it has set up for itself. Formerly it gave much trouble from 
its unruly habits, but since its larger settlements were broken up into 
detached villages it has sobered down. Islam sits very lightly upon the 
IMeo, and he observes the Brahmanic festivals impartially with those of 
his own creed, ignoring the fasts of both. He continues to worship his 
old village gods and to employ Brahmans as his priests, but in these 
respects he does not differ from the bulk of his fellow converts in the 
neighbourhood. In the sub-Himalayan parts of the Panjab and the outer 
ranges there are a few interesting agricultural tribes on the borderland 
never occupied by the Jat and the hill country of the Rajputs, never oc- 
cupied by the Muslim. Some of these, the Thakar, Rathi and Raut, 
are undoubtedly related to some of the Rajput clans on the one side, but 
are merged into the lower Hill tribes, on the other. It is open to question, 
for instance, whether the Thakar is a low Rajput or a high Rathi, and 
whether the latter is not a somewhat elevated Kanait. The Raut, who is 
located nearer the plains that the rest, occupies a lower rank, and though 
recognised as a connection of the Candel Rajput, is more often associated 
with the Kanait. The latter and the Ghirath are the chief cultivating 
classes of these hills. The Ghirath is found principally in the Kangra 
valley, and is noted for growing rice wherever the land is sufficiently 
depressed to allow of the collection of sufficient water for the purpose. 
The caste is so subdivided that the saying goes that there are 360 sorts 
of rice and the same number of Ghirath clans. They are inferior in physique 
and mode of life to the cultivators of the higher valleys, and though they 
may have a tinge of Rajput blood, imparted by refugees from the plains, 
they are mainly of the specific hill type which prevails from the Indus 
to Sikkim. The Kanait are a more distinctive community of this race, and 
whilst one of their two main subdivisions has become more Brahmanised 
than the other, and pretends to be the progeny of Rajputs by Hill women, 
there seems reason to think that they belong to a very early wave of 

IndoAryan Research. II. o. 4 



50 5- Ethnography. 



northern immigration, possibly Aryan, but not of the Vedic branch, which 
has received an infusion of other northern blood since its settlement 
in the Himalaya. They are now the tenants and labourers of the Rajput 
landowners. Further to the east, however, their relatives, the Khasiya of 
Kumaun and Garhval, escaped Rajput overlordship, and themselves sub- 
dued a lower and more primitive tribe, probably the pom. Owing to the 
fact that their territory contains the two celebrated shrines of Kcdarnath 
and Badarinath, at the reputed sources of the Ganges, the Khasiya have 
long been thoroughly Brahmanised, though the transition from a lower 
to a higher grade is more easily achieved than in the plains, and is 
here the result of the acquisition of wealth, not| as in the Panjab Hills, 
of royal favour. The Khasiya do not figure separately in the returns, as 
they are all included under the general head of Rajput, but their number is 
not far short of half a million. The community which goes by a somewhat 
similar name in Nepal is distinct, and of admittedly mixed origin, Brahmanic 
and Mongiiloidic Himalayan. 

In the Gangetic Doab, Oudh and Bihar, the great peasant castes are 
more or less connected with each other by origin, but in so fertile a tract, 
well provided with large towns, the occupation of market gardening has 
diverted an unusually large number of subdivisions from field work. Of 
those who have clung to the elder branch of the profession, the Kurmi 
is the most widely sjjrcad, especially along the Ganges and to the south 
thereof. The title corresponds to that of Kunbi, used in the Dekkan and 
western India. The derivation is uncertain, and though the word is found 
in the form of Kutumbika in some early inscriptions, this is probably only 
the Sanskritiscd version of some older name, such as that of Kul, a 
Dravidian name for a cultivating landholder, in which sense it is still used, 
and not only in the Dravidian country. The Kurmi is by no means a 
homogeneous body, and is not only much subdivided in the tracts where 
it is ajiparently of one race, but is used on the borders of the Central 
Belt as a sort of occupational title for those of the Kol tribes who have 
been long settled as cultivators and have thereby thriven beyond their 
ancestors. Closely allied with the Kurmi by origin, though now entirely 
distinct, are the Koeri. They rank below the former, who will drink, but 
not eat or intermarry with them, possibly because the Kocri have succumbed 
to the lucrative attractions of special cultivation, such as that of tobacco, 
the poppy and even vegetables. The Kisan, again, belong to the same 
slock, but like the Koorl, have long been formed into a separate caste, 
and are even more exclusive in their intercourse with outsiders. There 
is another community of the same name, though sometimes called Nagcsia, 
who have been combined with these in the Census return. They inhabit 
parts of Chutia Nagpur and the Central Provinces, and are of the Kol race. 
The Lodha is a caste of inferior position and probably of earlier settle- 
ment than the KurmT, from whom it differs in both physique and habits. 
The Lodha are specially addicted to the cultivation of rice, and are found 
nearly all over the Upper Provinces and a little way into Bihar. But the 
section which inhabits BundOlkhand and its neighbourhood is probably 
nearer the original stock, assuming the latter to belong to the Central 
Belt, and takes a lower place in society accordingly. The cultivating 
classes of the Central Provinces are those of the Dekkan in the west, and 
of the south Ganges-valley in the north, with a large substratum of the 
more civilised forest tribes in most parts. In the Chatiisgarh districts, the 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 51 

Kavar is probably an offshoot of the last named group, though the 
fertility of the country has enabled it materially to improve its position. 
This caste, as well as the Kirar, claims Rajput origin, and there is some 
ground for believing that the tribal ancestors belonged to some military clan 
which settled in the hills, and thus lagged behind the rest in Hrahmani- 
sation. Tiie Kirar are admitted to be Rajputs of a low class in the Jamna 
valley, but are repudiated by the Rajputs of Central India and the Narbada 
valley. On the Orissa border, the Kolta are in occupation of the best 
lands and prosper accordingly. As they found it necessary to spread, their 
keen scent ft>r the best settlements brought them into conflict with the 
wilder tribes, but they held on to what they had got. In the Assam Valley, 
as in the Central Provinces, the f<iundatitm of the jiopulation is a more 
or less Brahmanised community of the local stock, Kol-Dravidian in the 
one case, Mongoloidic in the other. In the preceding paragraph the Koch 
has been mentioned as the prevailing caste in the western jiortion of the 
old Kamarupa territory. Less numerous but of higher positiim in the 
present day are the Kalita, an immigrant caste, or more correctly, tribe, 
for they jirobably entered the valley before the caste system had been 
fully developed in Bengal. Though the Kalita are mainly husbandmen, 
they do not constitute a caste in the strict sense of the term, (or they 
exercise all the crafts and occupations which are elsewhere relegated to 
endogamous functional bodies. The usual tendency to specialise, however, 
is not absent, and subdivisions are being formed upon the normal lines. 
Kalita, too, is becoming, like Koch, a designation of social rank, and 
lower communities are assuming it, either by absorption or as distinct 
units. Outside the ranks of the forest tribes, the only other agricultural 
community which need be mentioned here, is the Halvai-Das, of the 
southern or Bengal valleys. This, in Bengal, is accounted a subcaste of 
the great Kaibartta community, but in Sylhct, and in such parts of the 
Brahmaputra valley as it has reached, it has succeeded where in Bengal 
it failed, in establishing itself as a separate caste of higher position 
than the body from which it rose. Its prosperity has brought it, as is not 
uncommon, a superior marriage field, and girls of the Kayasth and 
Vaidya castes are given, albeit under protest from outside, to well-to-do 
Halvai-Das. Ne.xt generation will possibly see a still further advance 
sanctioned by the somewhat fluid public opinion of the two Provinces 
concerned. 

The enormous population of Bengal furnishes, as is to be expected, 
a good number of large cultivating bodies, many of them, as was above 
pointed out, nourishing claims and aspirations which would be futile in 
an older Brahmanic society. The most populous of all, the Kaibartta, 
accounts its agricultural sections far above those which fish, and has framed 
its subdivisions accordingly. It is doubtful which occupation is the earlier 
amongst them, but from their appearance, it is surmised that they are 
immigrants who spread over the Delta, from the country round Midnapur 
and took to fishing for a livelihood as their numbers increased. St>me of 
the larger landed proprietors are said to have become Rajputs. In Orissa, 
some became Khandaits, whilst the Casa, one of the i)rincipal sections, 
has invented the name Mahisya for itself, to which its claim has been 
acrimoniously disputed. The Sadgop is most numerously represented in 
and about the same tract as that which the Kaibartta regard as their 
early home. It is supposed to have abandoned cowherding, as the Kaibartta 



52 5 Ethnography. 



abandoned fishing, in favour of agriculture. The more prosperous Sadgop 
are said to be dropping the plough and employing labour on their land, 
thus paving the way for a higher endogamous subdivision. The caste 
stands higher in rank than the Kaibartta, owing probably to the superior 
purity of their traditional occupation. Like other Bengal agriculturists, 
they are sometimes called Casa, a general term, like that of Kurmi or 
Kunbi. There is, however, a caste in Orissa to which the name of Casa 
is specially applied. It is of K61 or Dravidian origin, and whilst admitting 
members of other castes to its lower ranks, passes in the u])per into that 
of Karan or Mahant, mentioned above as the lopal writer caste, on the 
way to establishing touch with the Kayasth. The Gahgautais a small but 
respectable caste of north Bihar, much the same in position as the Kurmi, 
but ranking below them, and more lax in their diet. Round Calcutta is 
found the fishing and cultivating caste of the Pod, lower than those above 
mentioned. Like the rest, however, it has its lower and ujjper endogamous 
subdivisions, the latter of which pul in their claim to Ksatriya lineage. Most 
of the caste are cultivators, but some have acquired considerable estates, 
whilst others have taken to trade and handicrafts. It appears to be con- 
sidered to be of Deltaic origin, like the Candal, as the Brahmans who 
minister to it are avoided by their fellows, but those who only act as 
teachers remain unpolluted. The Candal or Namasudra, is the largest caste 
in eastern Bengal, and, as its name suggests, stands very low in the social 
scale. It is much subdivided, and eight of its main subdivisions are func- 
tional, and never eat and seldom intermarry with each other. The agri- 
cultural section stands out from the rest in rank, and next to it comes 
the boating division. Fishing, however, except for the domestic larder, is 
strictly prohibited. The Namasudra employ a special class of degraded 
Brahman of its own, and its barbers and washermen are also members of 
the caste. The Census was made the occasion of an attempted severance 
of the caste into S'udra, the superior body, and Nama, the Bengali for 
"low", to include the rest. It failed. 

§ 36. In the Dekkan and adjoining tracts, the one great cultivating 
caste is the Kunbi, which has been already treated of in connection with 
the Maratha. Like every caste spread over a wide area it is much sub- 
divided, but its position and general constitution are fairly uniform. The 
corresponding caste in Gujarat, which has been included under the general 
title, calls itself Kanbi, and is distinct from the Dekkani in origin, and 
custom as in language. Along with the tradition of early immigration 
from the north, it has many points of resemblance with the Gujar of the 
Panjab. The Kanbi is almost entirely agricultural, and is in occupation 
of the most fertile tracts of Gujarat, with the reputation of making the 
most of them. The only alternative occupation generally recognised is 
silk-weaving, to which one of the subdivisions is devoted. A branch of 
the Kanb'i is settled in the north Dekkan, an ancient domain of the Ahir, 
or cattie-brceders. Here the caste is known by its old name of Gujar, 
but its subdivisions are those of the modern caste of the coast. The 
Khadva Kanbi, one of the main subdivisions, has the custom locally pecu- 
liar to itself and the Bharvad shepherd, of celebrating its marriages only 
once every ten or eleven years, according to the vaticinations of their 
chief sacerdotal advisers. Naturally, so rare an opportunity has to be seized 
irrespective of the ages of the children, so that not only are infants in 
arms duly betrothed, but women in the family way join in perambulating 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 53 

the nuptial altar, on the understanding that their future offspring, if sex 
permit, arc thereby made man and wife. As to the relative number of the 
I\Iarathi and the Gujarati sections of this caste, there are probably at^out 
2,700,000 of the former, and 1,350,000 of the latter. The Koll in its 
various subdivisions is probably an early dark race extruded from the 
plains by the Kanbi, so far as it is found in the west. Under the same 
name, it is found from the Panjab Himalaya to the Sahyadri Ghats, not 
to mention the Kol of the Central Belt. In the first named tract Koli is 
a general term for the menial classes, amongst whom most of the artisans 
are included, in Gujarat there is a coast Koli, generally a boatman or 
fisher, and a large landed class, chiefly in the north of the province, called 
either Talabda, the Locals, or Dharala, the arm-bearers. Some of its clans 
intermarry with the lower Rajputs, whose rules of exogamy they have 
adopted. In or near the hill country the Koli approximates to the Bhll, 
though perhaps more settled in habit. On the Sahyadri, however, their 
reputation is lower, and the Malhari branch are apparently the descendants 
of a wild tribe of the south western Belt, driven westwards by the ad- 
vancing Muslim or by colonists from Telingana. 

In the Dravidian country, the castes are remarkably well demarcated 
by the linguistic divisions, and whilst there are considerable colonies of 
the northerners in the Tamil country, the reverse movement appears to 
have been ver)- trifling. In the Karnatic tableland, the cultivating castes are 
found under a few general headings, such as Vakkaliga and Lirigayat, 
the former in Mysore, the others further north and east. Under the Lingayat 
or Lingvant, system, caste is supposed to be merged in the general title, 
and though this rule was followed to a great extent at the Census, in 
practice, caste is recognised almost as fully as amongst the orthodox 
Brahmanists. The community, as a whole, falls under three heads; the 
original converts of Basava, with a few later additions ; the functional 
group, and, lastly, the impure castes of village menials. Each section has 
an amazing number of subdivisions, since nearly every one of the local 
Brahmanic castes has its Lifigvant subdivision, endogamous and distinct. 
The general tendency in the present day is to assimilate the Brahmanic 
organisation under the Jangam, though occasionally the upper classes in- 
troduce Brahmans as priests. There has been a movement, indeed, to get 
the whole community recorded as VIrs'aiv, subdivided into the mythical 
four Varna of the Purusa-Sukta. Irrespective of the latter refinement, 
the first suggestion refers to a time anterior to the founder of the 
sect, and in supersession of the usage of centuries. There are a few 
Lingayats in the Telugu districts, but the movement on the whole is 
almost exclusively Kanarese in its extent. The Vakkaliga of Mysore 
correspond to the Kanbi of Gujarat in being subdivided under a general 
name meaning simply cultivators. Each of the subdivisions is really a 
separate endogamous caste. The principal ones are the Gangadikara, the 
Nonaba and the Sada, the second of which is mostly Lingayat, and the 
third, Jain. There are other sections either functional, like Halu, the 
cowherds, or geographical, denoting immigration. Most of them have 
totemistic exogamous subsections. The Pancama and Caturtha Jains and 
the Lingayats mostly employ their own priests, but the rest are orthodo.x 
in their relations with the Brahman. On the coast of Kanara the land 
is held to a great extent by HavTka or Haiga Brahmans, who cultivate 
the bitel-palm largely through predial low castes. There are also many 



54 5- Ethnography. 

cultivators belonging to the fishing and toddy-drawing classes. The chief 
caste that can be termed specially agricultural, is the Banta, or warrior, 
formerly the rank and file of the militia of the Tulu Chiefs. They have 
a Jain subdivision which keeps to itself. The rest observe some of the 
Nayar or Malabar customs as to inheritance, and have marriage rules of 
their t)wn, which have the effect, it is said, of making the tie "as loose 
as it can be". Their neighbours, the Gauda, are probably settlers from 
above the Ghiits, where that term is hf>n()rifically used of the headmen of 
a village. Further east, in south Orissa, the caste bearing the same name 
derives it, apparently correctly, from the Sanskrjt for cow, as they are 
of a pastoral character, with traditions of immigration from the north. 

The jjrincipal agricultural castes of Telingana are the Kapu. the 
Kamma and the Telaga, all of which much resemble each other and come 
|)robably from the same stock. The Kapu or Rec.ldi, are widely spread, 
though less so than formerly. They are reputed to have more than 800 
subdivions, which eat together but do not intermarry. Each subdivision 
is in turn split into endogamous sections. Some of the caste own large 
estates, earned by military service under the Muslim conquerors of the 
14th century, and all are connected in some way or other with the land. 
The Kamma, like the Kapu, arc often found in colonies in the south far 
beyond the Tclugu country. The Telaga were once a military caste, 
and were till recently recruited for the native regiments of the British 
army, but now they are cultivators of a moderately high position, and only 
differ from their neighbours in being somewhat more fully Brahmanised. 
The actual numbers are less than the figure returned owing to the 
use of their title by other and probably lower castes out of their native 
district. TheKalingi are both cultivators and temple-ministrants on the 
Telugu seaboard, with the tradition that they were imported from the 
north for the latter purpose before Brahmans had reached Andhra territory. 
They wear, consequently, the sacred thread, but are not recognised by 
Brahmans as of that order. The rest of the Kalirigi employ their own 
priests. They are divided, like the Nayar, into two geographical sections 
with quite different customs. A third has had to be formed for the re- 
ception of the people expelled from the two others. Their practice is 
Brahmanic but their exogamous divisions totcmistic. The Tottiyan are 
the descendants of a military body like the Telaga. They were introduced 
into the Tamil country, where they are now settled, by the Vijayanagara 
Chiefs. As their second title is Kambalattan, probably referring to woollen 
blankets, and their subdivisional titles being also those of a pastoral 
character, it may be inferred that their original occupation was that of 
shepherds. Locally they are much dreaded for their magical powers, but 
in compensation, their cures and charms for snake-bite bear a high re- 
l)utation. The name VellaUn, in the Tamil country, corresponds in its 
generality with that Kunbi or Casa in other parts of India, and merely 
implies a cultivator. The wide diffusion of the community so called prevents 
it from being a caste, in the sense of a homogeneous body, as irrespective 
of the four great geograi)hical sections, over 900 subdivisions were re- 
corded at the census. By careful filtration, the number was substantially 
diminished; nevertheless, the residue is very large, and owing to the 
accretions from lower castes as they rise in the world, it is constantly in- 
creasing. It is unnecessary to point out that in such circumstances the 
endogamous sections are many and minute. Of the main divisions, that 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B, The Village community. 55 

called the Tondamandalam, of the old Pallava kingdom, round Arcot, 
stands highest. It settled in its present location in the 8th century A. D., 
and is strictly Rrahmanistic in customs and religion. The Kongu, on the 
other hand, who are found in and about Coimbatore, arc so far below 
the rest that none of the other subdivisions will eat with them, and they 
are sometimes considered a separate caste, under the name of KavaiK.lan. 
Apparently, ti)0, their marriage regulations have not passed away from 
the old Dravidian type, and Brahmans are not employed, as they are 
amongst all the other Vellalan bodies. In the jMalayalam tract, below the 
Nayar, ]\Iappila and Nambutiri Brahman, the cultivating castes belong to 
bodies having other traditional callings, or are field labourers who have 
occasionally got hold of a small estate. They will be found, therefore, 
under their respective headings in later paragraphs. 

ij 37. Specialised cultivators (5,968,700). The majority of the castes 
coming into this category are branches of the great agricultural bodies, 
separated from them, as stated above, in view of the inferiority in rural 
esteem of the produce they cultivate as compared with cereals and 
other crops grown on a large scale. Thus, the AraTn are of the same 
stock as the Kambo ; the Mali, Kachf and Murao, are all derived from 
the Kurml, and the Saini belongs to the Mali. In contradistinction to the 
growth of roots and vegetables, the care of the bitel-vine has no disgrace 
attached to it. This may be partly due to the use of vegetable manure 
only, and partly, no doubt, to the consideration that the presentation of 
a little packet of the leaf with areca nut is an important formality in 
social intercourse. In the greater part of India the bitel-vine is grown by 
a special caste called Baraf, Barui or Bari. The last title, however, is 
only used south of the Vindhya, and in the north is applied to a lower 
caste of different occupation. Apart from linguistic distinctions, the Barai 
is much subdivided into endogamous sections, and most of them hold a 
good position in society. In the Dekkan and Karnatic there is a small 
caste of Brahmans, the Tirgiij, who have taken to growing the bitel-vine, and 
the Bari are said to be immigrant from Central India. In the Tamil country, 
the Scnai kkiidaiyan do what most of the Barai avoid, that is, sell the 
leaves themselves, instead of making them over to another caste for the 
market. This caste has the further peculiarity of belonging to the Left- 
hand in the local distribution, thereby grouping itself with the artisans, 
a position which does not, however, militate against its respectability, or 
prevent the Brahman from sharing with Vellalan the priestly ministrations 
required in the caste. The Kodikkal, another bitel-vine growing caste 
is only a subdivision of the VeOajan, based, apparently, upon its occupation. 
As the areca-palm only flourishes in certain localities, its cultivation is 
undertaken by the ordinary agricultural classes. Reverting to the market 
gardener, the Arain of the Panjab is a true caste in the north and 
east of the Province, but in the west the title is purely occupational, 
like Jat in the same tract. The community seems to have come up the 
Indus from Multan or north-west Rajputana, and settled along the Ghaggar 
river, then probably of an irrigational capacity it has long since lost. 
Thence they spread across the Jamna into Rohilkhand, and northwards 
into Jalandhar, which is still one of their principal seats. Here they are 
not only garderncrs but general cultivators of considerable reputation for 
skill and industry. They are, as stated above, akin to the higher caste 
of the Kambo, but with a far greater inclination to accept Islam. The 



56 5- Ethnography. 



Miliar of the north-west, who arc entirely Muslim, are lower in position 
than the Arain, though they appear from the names of their subdivisions 
to be a branch of that caste. The Mali get their name from the garlands 
it was their mission to prepare for the decoration of the temple deities 
and ti) throw round the necks of honoured guests at social ceremonies. 
They have long branched out into all kinds of garden cultivation, and 
their numerous subdivisions are frequently based upon the produce to 
which they are respectively devoted. Those who grow flowers, for instance, 
do not intermarry with the vegetable -growers, and the latter draw a 
distinction between themselves and the branch wliich grows onions, turnips 
or turmeric. The KachI has taken in upper India to the poppy and le- 
guminous edibles, leaving roots to his poorer relative the Murao, who 
is said to take his name from the radishes he grows. Some sections of 
the Kachf, again, abstain from cultivating the sugarcane or chillies. The 
Sainj, another branch of the Mali, are found in the east Panjab and in 
Rohilkhand, where they are as much general cultivators as gardeners. In 
the former tract a good many of them are Sikhs, but the more prosperous 
claim Rajput blood. They stand high in their calling and seem to be living 
down the taint of the garden. In the Peninsula, south of the sphere of the 
Mali, the only specialised cultivator in addition to those already mentioned, 
is the Ti gal a, now located in Mysore and the south Dekkan. This seems 
to be one of the few castes which have moved northwards from the Tamil 
country, but they have retained neither the customs nor language of 
their origin. 

t; 38. Cattle-breeders (11,965,500). These are taken next to the agri- 
culturists because they occupy a very similar social position, and also 
because, with the expansion of tillage, the grazing area is getting restricted 
and a good many of the formerly roving castes have settled down to 
cultivation. The prominent place assigned to cattle in the Suktas and the 
universal veneration of the Brahmanic community for the cow bear testi- 
mony to the antiquity as to the honourable character of the calling, and 
in upper India the cattle-breeder ranks almost as high as the cultivator. 
This is not invariably the case, however. The wandering life arouses 
suspicions of unorthodox feeding and intercourse generally. Then, too, 
the use of the ox in agriculture now vies in importance with that of the 
cow in domestic life ; but the supply of the indispensable bullock cannot 
be kept up without surgical operations repugnant to the conventional 
notions of jnirity and respect for animal life. Furthermore, the supply of 
milk for the home is, by all Vedic tradition, commendable, but the sale 
of dairy produce as a trade entails relegation to a lower position. In old 
times, however, the Abhira, or cowherding tribes, were powerful in the 
Satpura, the south Ganges valley and even the lower portions of Nepal, 
and founded dynasties which were overthrown by the Gond in the first- 
named traC; and by the Kirata in the last. The leading tribes seem to 
have been of western origin, and are supposed to have entered India long 
after the Vedic Arya. In upper India they go by the name of Ahir, derived 
from the Abhira just mentioned, a term which was applied by some 
Sanskrit authors to all tribes of the lower classes throughout the north- 
west. Under this name they are spread in considerable numbers all over 
Rajputana, Malva, the south-eastern Panjab, the upper Gangetic valley 
and Bihar. To the east, the lack of wide stretches of open pasture has 
prevented the formation and maintenance of a strong and well-organised 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 57 

pastoral community, so a number of distinct and generally not very large 
subdivisions are grouped under the general title of Goala, recruited from 
many local castes of lower origin than the pastoral bodies of the north. 
Many of them, too, are as much agriculturists as cattle-breeders. The 
same may be said, also, of the Ahir themselves, in the Panjab, where 
they are amongst the most successful and enterprising cultivators of the 
Province. They have never, it is true, achieved a dominant position any- 
where in modern times, but the Jat and Gujar treat them as equals, ex- 
cept, of course, in regard to intermarriage. According to the Census, 
about half the total number of Ahir are found in Agra, Oudh and Bihar. 
They are said to have migrated to these regions from the plains of Kach, 
west Rajputana and Kathidvad. Assuming their connection with these 
parts, especially the last named, a basis will be found for their invariable 
assertion in the Gangetic region that the cradle of the Ahir is Mathura. 
Few legends are more wide spread in India than that of the dalliance 
of the most popular of Puranic deities, Krsna, with the Gopi, or milk- 
maids, of the Vraj district: and the Jaduvansi line, headed by Kr.sna himself, 
found its second home, after its expulsion from Mathura, at Dvarka and 
in the north of Marvad, the very tracts inhabited by the Ahir before they 
entered Hindustan. Traditional descent from the IMathura Jaduvansi is not, 
however, confined to the Ahir of the north, but is claimed by the Gaura 
and other cowherds of Orissa, and even by some far to the south of the 
Arja pale. Except in the Panjab, the Ahir enjoys but a poor reputation 
as a husbandman, though everj'where he is admitted to be company for 
the higher peasantry. This, however, may be, as in the case of the Gujar 
in those parts, a question of policy, with a side-glance towards the village 
cattle, which are too apt to stray into the Ahir's herd without their rightful 
owners' knowledge or consent. The Gaul i of the west Central Provinces 
and north Dekkan, is the descendant of the tribes which, as just mentioned, 
once ruled the Satpura from Khandesh and the Sahyadri, to near Saugor, 
and were only expelled by the Gond in the i6th century. As they are 
mentioned in the Nasik cave inscriptions, they must have been long 
established in their dominion. Alongside of them is the Govari caste, 
which has no trace of immigration either in nomenclature or tradition. 
In the Chattisgarh country, to the east, comes the Ravat, another cattle- 
breeding caste of long standing in that region. The two last mentioned 
castes which in 1 891 numbered about 350,000 persons, do not appear at 
all in the returns for 1901, so they have probably been compiled under 
Ahir or some other general title. Two other cattle-breeding castes of 
upper India may be mentioned, the GhosT, an offshoot of the Ahir, or 
as some think, of the Gujar, which has been converted to Islam. They 
occupy a comparatively low position, and near the large towns confine 
their attention to the dairy side of their occupation. The other caste is 
the Rabari of Rajputana and the Gujarat peninsulas. They are of Marvad 
origin, but wandered to the coast, and now breed both cattle and camels, 
and some of them even become shepherds. In the north they confine their 
trade to camels. In the Dekkan, the Gauli, and further south, the Go 11 a, 
represent this industry. In the Tamil country, the cultivator generally 
breeds his own cattle, and only one caste devoted to this occupation 
appears in the return. This is the Kannadiyan, a small body, of apparently 
upland origin. The Golla of the Telugu and Kanarese tracts, are thoroughly 
local castes, but, having become Brahmanised, cast back to Mathura and 



58 5- Ethnography. 



the Gupi. Most of them are settled in villages, but f)nc section, in Mysore, 
is still nomadic during the open season, and does not intermarry with the 
others. In Mysore it used to be the duty or privilege of the Golla to guard 
State treasure in transit, and the official now responsible for sending off 
the remittances is still occasionally called by that name, albeit he may 
be a Brahman or Muslim. 

Sj 39. Village artisans and servants. Handicrafts and mechanical 
arts have always held a low place in jiublic esteem in India, and to this 
day, in societies moulded on archaic lines such as those of the lower 
Himalaya, the division between them and agricultural occupations is very 
marked. An exception is found, as a rule, in the worker in the precious 
metals, a trade tolerated, if ncjt honoured, even in Vedic times. Throughout 
the greater part of India the castes of the artisans are graduated according 
to the material used in the calling. 

a I Combined crafts (1,263,900). From at least the date of the Ma- 
habharata, five trades, called the Pafickalsi", stand out from the rest, 
and arc usually grouped together. The goldsmith comes first, except in 
Bengal. Then comes the brass and coppersmith and next the carpenter 
or other worker in wood. The blacksmith follows in a lower place, partly, 
no doubt, because his is a dirty calling, partly because he has to use 
bellows made of oxhide, and partly, again, because the metal in which 
he works is black, the unlucky colour. In the Gangetic valley, too, there 
may be some association between the village and the nomad blacksmith, 
who is probably of K61 origin and shares the reputation of the gipsy tinker 
and farrier of Europe. The fifth place in this hierarchy belongs to the 
stone-worker, which, exept in the south, is a more modern and probably 
a purely functional body. The above castes are not always strictly separated 
in occupation: sometimes the carpenter becomes a blacksmith, and the 
masonry, like bricklaying is done by an outsider; the latter being held to 
verge upon the task of the potter, which is impure. In the Dravidian country 
the five are found merged in a single group, called the Kammajan in Tamil, 
Karhsala in Telugu, andPancala in the Karnatic. The occupations then 
fall into subdivisions. This cohesion seems to have been promoted, if not 
initiated, by sectarian influence. It appears that in this part of India the 
artisans used formerly to be excluded from the main village site, and forced, 
like the leather-workers and scavengers, to live in hamlets of their own, 
detached from the rest of the community. As their work grew in impor- 
tance, their origin, which was probably amongst the servile classes, tended 
to be forgotten or ignored, and they were admitted within the walls, and 
allowed certain privileges in the way of social display which had before 
been reserved for the higher classes. Then followed the great Southern 
schism of the Right and the Left-handed castes, in which the artisans 
arrayed themselves en masse against the Brahmans and few others. It is 
now gencr.'illy held that this movement arose out of the levelling doctrines 
of the Buddhists or Jains of the south, which had been largely adopted 
by the lower classes; but whether the artisans, thus encouraged, led a revolt 
against Brahmanical authority, or whether, on the decline of Buddhism, 
the Brahmans took this means of setting the schismatics back into their 
place, is not certain. In the present day, the differences between the two 
factions, which are acrimonious and often turbulent, arise, not out of doc- 
trinal questions, but on points of what may be termed processional privi- 
leges, such as the right to have the marriage-escort preceded by drums 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 59 

and trumpets, to have a mounted convoy in attendance, to carry certain 

emblems of a quasi-religious signification ; above all, to exceed a con- 
ventional maximum number of pillars to the marriage-booth. Castes whose 
technical skill and circumstances have raised them far above the class 
from which they sprang have often shown the tendency, as stated in 
an earlier section, to embrace a new scheme of reform which combines 
religious doctrine with the weakening of the barriers which prevent their 
equivalent rise in social position, and in this case the democratic teachings 
of Jainism and Buddhism had the further backing of the propaganda of 
Basava in the north Karnatic, with the result that most of the Paiicala 
became Liiigayat and, therefore, anti-Brahmanist. None of the Five grouped- 
sections employs Brahmans or acknowledges the authority of that order, 
and all ceremonies are performed by priests of their own body. For some 
time past the Panckalsi have claimed descent from Visvakarman, the He- 
phaestos of the Brahmanic pantheon, and call themselves Visva Brahmans, 
assuming all the attributes of the sacerdotal order. In this respect the 
Southerners do not stand alone, since a similar claim is put forward by 
various artisan castes in other parts of India, especially by the goldsmiths. 
It is needless to say that whatever title or practice may obtain currency 
within the community, its sanction by the outside world has to be secured 
through the Brahman, who naturally will have none of it. Authorities differ 
as to the homogeneity of the Panckalsi. By some it is said that the occu- 
pations are interchangeable, and that families or individuals pass from one 
to another without any alteration of social status or loss of right of inter- 
marriage. Others say that in the Tamil country- the divisions do not ge- 
nerally intermarry, but that this is not the case in the Telugu country-, 
where all five certainly eat together, and are said to intermarry. The 
Kanarese branches follow the rules of the Liiigayat community. In the 
Malabar tract the five stand on a different footing, and take a far lower 
position. They are amongst the impure castes and do not employ their 
own people as Brahmans. The As'ari, or carpenter, who is the house- 
builder of the coast, stands above the rest, and at the ceremonies con- 
nected with the erection of a building he is allowed to wear the sacred 
thread. The Tattan (goldsmiths 1, Kollan (blacksmiths), and Mus'ari 
(coppersmiths), intermarry. The stonemason is not an important coast artisan, 
but above the Sahyadri and in the south, the number of stone temples 
and images is so large and their use so ancient, that the functions of the 
stone-worker have always been in great request ; so much so, that in 
some of the inscriptions this craftsman is invested with the title of Acarya, 
or teacher, which though the Panckalsi nowadays use it of each other, is 
not ordinarily conferred on any but religious or literary instructors. In 
consequence of the use of the general title Kammalan instead of the sub- 
division, it is impossible to give the numbers of the Panckalsi exercising 
the respective trades included under it, except for the comparatively limited 
population of the Malabar coast, and this, irrespective of the peculiar 
constitution of the community, is a reason for dealing with the latter 
apart from the corresponding castes of the rest of India. There is, how- 
ever, in Bengal, a somewhat similar grouping in the case of the Kamar 
or metal-working castes. This body apparently started with a variety of 
functional groups of different origins, and is now welded into a sort of 
caste, subdivided according to the metal used, and bearing the general 
title usuallv given elsewhere to the worker in iron. The legend in which 



6o 5. Ethnography. 

the Kamar trace their descent from Visvakarman, indeed, is very much 
the same as that by which the iron-smelting Asura of the Kol race justify 
their origin from the same ancestor, thus confirming the general view 
as to the non-Aryan foundation of the caste. The social graduation of the 
subdivisions is curious, in that the worker in iron stands first, and inter- 
marries only with the worker in brass, and the bell-metal craftsman stands 
above the goldsmith. The latter, indeed, under the name of Sckara, or 
Svarnakiir, though he holds himself higher than the wealthy Subarnabanik, 
mentioned along with the Traders, must have something against him from 
days of old, as the Brahmans which serve his subdivision are not in com- 
munion with the rest of their order, whilst those who perform similar 
functions for the rest of the Kamar are under no such interdiction. The 
Niyariya, or Dhuldhoya, is a parasitic caste upon the Sonar, and lives 
by extracting the gold out of the refuse of the latter's shop. He is usually 
allowd to be Sonar in blood as in occupation, but in the north is often a 
Muslim, even when the goldsmith is Brahmanist. 

b) Gold and silver workers (1,290,500). The goldsmith is very often 
a pawnbroker and money-lender as well as a manufacturer of the orna- 
ments which constitute the main capital of the peasantry and indeed of 
most Indian middle classes, and in both capacities has acquired a very 
indifferent reputation for straight-dealing. According to one popular saying, 
he so regretted having made a nose-ring for his own mother without 
sufTiciently adulterating the metal that he cut her nose off to recover it. 
In the Gangetic region the caste, which is subdivided to an astounding 
extent, is said to be a composite one, but still holds a position superior 
to that of the other artisans. It is said to be clo.sing up its ranks, too, 
and forming large endogamous sub-castes out of its numerous minute 
exogamous sections. In this tract the Sonar does not seem to be putting 
forward the same pretensions to be Brahman that he does further south. 

c) Carpenters (2,688,100) and d) Blacksmiths (2,362,300). It is the 
Lohar and Rarhaf, who refer themselves back to Visvakarman, and who 
have a joint sub-caste called Ojha claiming to be Brahmans, not apparently 
without a certain degree of recognition, though not to the full extent of 
their desire. In the west, the Sutar, or carpenter, throws back to the Gujar 
or Vania, and in the Dekkan, to the inevitable Visvakarman. The Lohar 
seems everywhere constant to the latter. There seems to be a general 
tendency to make these two functions interchangeable even though the 
castes remain distinct. In the Maratha districts, both above and below 
the Sahyadri, the Sutar does the village ironwork, consisting mainly of 
simple repairs such as retyring cart-wheels or reshoeing the plough and 
so on. In the western Panjab it is the same. In the east of that Province, 
the Tar khan and the Lohar arc the same caste by origin, but the car- 
penter stands higher, and when both occupations are followed, sub-sections 
are formed which do not eat together or intermarry. There is also a body 
of Lohar in the south, along the Rajputana border, consisting of Rajputs 
who, from stress of circumstances, probably famine, were driven to adopt 
this means of getting their living, and though called Lohar, are ai)art from 
and above the rest. The Khati, again, is both carpenter and blacksmith 
in some parts of the north, ranking with the former, but along the Jamna 
the caste is wheelwright, and considered a subdivision of the Barhai. 

e) Masons (51,400). The Thavi of the sub-Himalayan region, is an 
offshoot of the carpenter, but, as the dwellings in those parts are chiefly 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 6i 

of stone, the caste has developed into masons as well as workers in wood, 
and in the plains, too, the Raj, when the title is not merely functional, is a 
carpenter turned mason. The large caste of the SutradhSr in Bengal, is of 
local origin, probably akin to the Kaibartta, but is now much subdivided 
into functional groups taking rank a good deal according to the nature 
of their work, such as boat-building (one of the lowest), wheelwright, 
builder, turner and painter, all independent of each other. Some have 
established a body of priests of their own. The barber, whose function 
is one of the touchstones of rank, considers them high enough to be 
shaved by him, but will not undertake their pedicure. This discrimination 
between the different branches of the craft is found elsewhere. The car- 
penter who undertakes the repair of municipal conservancy carts, for 
example, has, for an obvious reason, to sacrifice his position ; and the 
making of oil-presses and, as just mentioned, boat-building, is considered 
degrading, owing, probably, to the indirect connection of these articles 
with the destruction of life. Both carpenter and blacksmith belong to the 
class of village artisans remunerated by customary shares in the year's 
harvest. During the cultivating season, therefore, they are bound to de- 
vote their time to the needs of their clients, but during the rest of the 
year they make carts, bedsteads, irrigation-wheels, and other articles which 
are charged for in the ordinary way, at a price either cash or kind, more 
usually the latter. The workers in brass and copper appear among the 
Panckalsi, and can claim considerable antiquity, but they are urban rather 
than village castes, and are rarely found, except casually, in any place 
smaller than the local market town. At the same time, their occupation 
enters largely into village life, since there is no more distinctive mark 
of the prosperity of a tract than the substitution of metal vessels, especially 
of the larger sorts, for the porous earthenware which was formerly in 
universal use. Once established, the demand for the former is extensive, 
as each family requires its own complete set, to obviate the risk of con- 
tamination by contact with other castes. 

f) Brass and copper workers (206,800). The manufacture and provision 
of these articles are in the hands of the Kasera and Thathcra castes 
in upper India, and in those of the cognate bodies called Kasar, Kansara 
and Tambat, in the west, and Bo gar <:ir Kannan in the south. In the 
Karnatic the Caturtha and Pancama Jains have a good deal of this trade 
in their hands. In the north they hold a better position than in the south, 
having traditions of Banya origin. In the sub-Himalayan tract, however., 
they belong to the earlier and darker tribes. They seem to be, on the whole, 
more homogeneous than most castes, possibly because their trade has 
fewer ramifications, and they do not deal, as a rule, in the articles they 
make, but dispose of them to special traders for sale to the public. At 
the periodical gatherings at the great centres of pilgrimage, the booths 
of the brass and copper vendors are well to the fore in the fair which 
is always held as a subsidiary attraction on such occasions, and as the 
wares are conveniently portable, the business is brisk. The mason, which 
is the last craftsman to be dealt with under this group, does not, in most 
parts of upper India constitute a real caste, but belongs to a functional 
group recruited either from the carpenter and lower menial castes, or 
occasionally from others, whose members have been driven to manual 
labour, and selected the branch which is least associated with impure ma- 
terials. There are, however, true castes of this trade, such as the Gaundi 



62 5- Ethnography. 

and Ka(,li6 of the Dekkan and Gujarat, who have lived down their pro- 
bably pre-Aryan descent. The stoneworkers of the south and some of the 
masons, largely consist of members of the salt-working castes whose oc- 
cupation, since the manufacture of salt was undertaken by the State, has 
been seriously restricted. In Gujarat, the caste has been formed by se- 
paration from the agricultural labourer, and in parts of the Gangetic valley, 
from the lime-burners and manufacturers of saltpetre. The making of bricks, 
owing to the impurity t)f the material used for the kiln, rests with the 
Kumbhar, or Potter caste, which comes into a later group. 

§40. Weavers (9,541,000). The people of India were wearing cotton 
garments in the days of Megasthenes, and do so still. No wonder, there- 
fore, that the occupation of hand-loom weaving is one of the most widely 
distributed in the country, and forms the traditional calling of castes 
containing nearly ten millions of people. In its palmy days the craft 
reached a wonderful pitch of skill and refinement, especially under the 
patronage of the Delhi Court, which monopolised the whole of the Dacca 
output of "flowing-water", "gossamer" and other choice muslins, the art 
of weaving which has long been lost. Even the staple everyday fabrics 
made far beyond the imperial ken, at the seaports of the gulf of Cambay, 
the Malabar and the Coromandel coasts, always found a ready market in 
Europe and the Levant. The weaving community seems, nevertheless, to 
have been anything but prosperous. Before the end of the i8th century 
they were reported by British officials to be "a timid and helpless" folk, 
and even then, were, as recent experience has proved them to be still, 
among the first to feel the pinch of famine, when a wide-spread failure 
of crops reduced or stopped the purchasing power of the peasantry. Since 
then their market has been seriously curtailed by the competition of 
European machine-made goods, and it is only in the coarser lines of 
material that they hold their own. The weaver is not one of the menials 
who is, so to speak, on the village staff: that is, he is not entitled to a 
customary share of the harvest, but is paid for what he makes and sells. 
With one or two exceptions, the weaver castes occupy a low position, 
considering the character and utility of their function. This is doubtless 
due to the fact that the latter originated amongst the pre-.Aryan races, 
who subsequently became the helots of those to whom cotton was unknown 
before they exchanged the steppes of the north for the more genial tem- 
perature of sub-tropical India. The weaver, though below the peasantry, 
is far above the village menials who do field-labour and work in leather 
and other impure materials. He represents, in fact, the highest rank to 
which castes of that origin can attain. Perhaps the best instance of this 
position is found in the Tanti of Lower Bengal, who enjoy a rank much 
above that of any other weaving-caste, and even, intermarry, when suf- 
ficiently wealthy, with castes like the Kayasths. In their case, however, 
there is no question of evolution from any lower Deltaic tribe. It is not 
known whence they came, but the country in which they are now found 
is not a cotton-growing tract, and the weaving industry, accordingly, was 
probably introduced from the north-west, the origin of the craftsmen being 
obscured by promiscuous recruitment, and condoned in consideration of 
their skill and utility. There are other cases of weaver castes of superior 
position, such as the Khatrl or Patve of Gujarat and Central India, w^ho, 
from the beginning dealt with no fabric but silk, and the probably kindred 
caste of Pattunurkaran, in the Tamil country, which found its way by devious 



Castes and Caste-groups. B. The Village coMjruNiTY. 63 

routes and with many halts, from Malva to the south. But the mere re- 
striction of their operations to the more valuable products is nut, of itself, 
enough to raise the caste above its fellows in the eyes of the world, for 
the Tantva of Bihar, who are silk-workers, but also breed the worm, rank 
far below the Tanti, who use cotton. On the other hand, the handling of 
jute or hemp seems of itself to keep a caste to the bottom of the craft, 
as in the case of the Perike and Janappan of the Dravidian country, 
the Kapali of Bengal, and the Dhor of the Dckkan. In regard to the 
evolution of the weaver from the servile castes, a good instance is found 
in the east of the Central Provinces and the adjoining Orissa hills, where 
the process is still going on. The Panka, a tribe of Kol or Dravidian 
origin, with its cxogamous totemistic structure, does the coarse weaving 
of the tract, and also cultivates, either as an occu])ant or a field labourer; 
but in many villages it is not admitted within the site, and has to dwell, like 
other impure menials, in a detached hamlet. In the Central Provinces the 
Panka has joined the Kabirpanthi sect in considerable numbers, like the 
leatherworking castes of the neighbourhood, with the further inducement 
that the founder of the sect was himself a weaver. The Ganda, another 
weaving caste of the same region, but mostly inhabiting the ])lains, is 
closely related to the Panka, and, indeed, is often held to be a subdivision 
of the latter; but its members are now not weavers so much as cultivators, 
village watchmen and drummers, nor do they share the Kabirpanthi views 
of the Others. To the south of these castes, acros^ the hills, are the Domba, 
a tribe of hill weavers, low in their habits and trade-skill. They mostly 
belong to the ISIadras territory, but, from their name, it is possible that 
they may appertain to the great Dom tribe of the north of the Ganges, 
members of which are found detached in the Dekkan and Karnatic. Like 
the Panka, they are classed with the lower menials of the village, and 
perform the same unhonoured functions. In nearly all the other parts of 
India the differentiation of the artisan from the menial has been more 
definitely carried out. The Kori, the chief Brahmanic weaving caste of 
Upper India, together with the Julaha, the corresponding division of the 
IMuslim, are now (juite detached from the leather-working caste from which, 
according to the nomenclature of their subdivisions, they sprang. In the 
case of the Julaha, the sectional affix is falling into disuse, and with it 
the customs with which it is associated. The Kori adhere more closely 
to their ancestral practices, possibly because the chances of rising in 
position in the Brahmanic world are not to be compared with those 
offered by Islam, as embodied in the popular saying — "Last year I was 
a Julaha (or Nadaf); this year, a Saikh, and next year, if the harvest be 
good, I shall be a Saiad". Both castes work chiefly in the coarser fabrics, 
as they have been hard hit by foreign competition in the finer class of 
weaving. Some of the KOri sections are of the Kabirpanthi sect, but others 
pay their respects to both the orthodox Brahmanic deities and to the 
popular Muslim saints of the locality, a practice reciprocated by the Ju- 
laha, who worship Mata Bhavanf, where she holds the popular favour. 
The Julaha of the cities have the reputation of being a specially factious 
and quarrelsome body — "Eight Julaha fighting over nine hukkahs" — 
say their neighbours. The place of the K(>ri is taken by the Balahi in 
Rajputana and Central India, a caste allied, like the rest, to the Camar, 
or leather-worker. In southern India the weaver castes, though varying 
in rank, seem to have long acquired a higher position than in the north. 



64 5- Ethnography. 



The Kaikkulan, or Tamil weavers, share, it is true, an ancestor with the 
Paraiyan or menial caste, and used to be relegated with the rest of the 
Kammala with whom they were classed, to a detached hamlet. By dint 
of clean living, however, and the employment of Brahmans, they now 
occupy a respectable position. Most of the other weavers of this part of 
India are of Kanarese origin. A good many are returned simply under the 
general title of Neyige, the Mysorean term for weaver, and are probably, 
like the Sale of various subdivisions, very largely Liiigayats. The Sale 
have long been settlers to some extent in the Tamil country where they 
wove silk with much profit, but lost ground under the competition of the 
still more skilful Pattunurkaran. In the Dekkan and Central Provinces they 
are found in different grades, according to whether they work only in white 
or add a border or fringe of coloured silk. The Devaiiga and the Togata 
are other sections of the Kanarese weaving community, lower in position 
than the above. The Togata, indeed, are not found in their native country 
at all, but have permanently settled in the south. A caste of Bengal 
weavers, the Jilgl, has been mentioned in connection with the ascetic 
body of a similar name. Its origin is unascertained, but it is not affiliated 
to the leather-workers. Its low position may be partly attributed to the 
pretensions it has made to higher rank, thereby entailing an unusual con- 
centration of Brahmanic displeasure. Though suffering like its fellows from 
European competition, the caste till recently had stuck fairly closely to 
its traditional calling. The Ko.sti of the Maratha country h'olds, like the 
Kaikkolan, a middle jjlace between the silk-weaver and those of servile 
origin. Brahmans are em[)loyed in the caste ceremonies and the Ko.sti 
lives, as a rule, very like the poorer Kunbi. The famines of recent years 
caused much distress amongst this caste, and, from their sedentary- life, 
it was difficult to adopt means for giving them fitting relief work. They 
are endeavouring to evade the results of foreign competition by weaving 
British yarn, whereby they produce a fabric which combines fineness with 
the strength and durability of hand-loom work. 

§ 41. Oil-pressers (4,517,600). Wherever oil-yielding seed or nut is 
grown there is an oil-press in every village of average size. The material 
most extensively used in the interior is sesame, with linseed and the 
castor-bean for burning. Along the coast the coco-nut is the chief oil- 
producing material. The castes engaged in oil-pressing do not everywhere 
take the same social position. Generally, their rank is low, because the 
occupation is undeniably a dirty one ; but there arc degrees even in im- 
purity. In most parts those who only press sesame, or oil used in cookery, 
are higher than those who prepare the oils used for burning or lubri- 
cation. But sometimes a distinction is drawn between those who get out 
the oil by boiling the seed and the majority, who use the press. Amongst 
the latter, in turn, those who yoke two bullocks to the press take prece- 
dence ovei those who use only one, and the subdivisions are named ac- 
cordingly. In the present day, however, the single bullock is the rule, and 
this blindfolded and unfortunate agent is everywhere the proverbial type 
of dull and endless toil. Finally, the oil may be allowed to drip through 
a hole in the press or may be baled out of the receiver with a little rag- 
mop. In parts of Bengal the latter process alone is honourable, the reason 
being that when oil i)rocured by the former was presented to the goddess 
Bhagvatf, she drew a trenchant and celestially outspoken analogy between 
the form of press and the human body, in token of her disapproval of 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 65 

the method adopted. Hence, the Tcli who mops out his oil will have 
no intercourse with the Kalu, though both are subdivisions of the same 
caste. In the Panjab the Tcli is Muslim, and one of the divisions has 
separated into a distinct body, the Oasab or butcher, both ranking with 
the Julaha. In other parts of upper India, the Brahmanist Tcli is resiicc- 
tablc, but on a low plane, and some, including those of Bihar, are served 
only by Brahmans who are out of communion with their fellows. In 
Bengal, Gujarat and the Dekkan, the oil-prcsser is often a grain-dealer 
or shop-keeper, and in the first named province attains to considerable 
wealth and importance. In the Dravidian country the caste is known by 
the name of the oil-press, Sekkan or Vaniyan, in the Tamil districts, 
and Gandla, Ganiga, or Jotipan, in Tclugu and Kanarcse. The Telugu 
and Tamil castes employ Brahmans, wear the thread and generally follow 
the customs of the upper castes of cultivators. The Kanarese castes are 
more subdivided, but employ Havika Brahmans when available. Some are 
Lingayats. The oil-presser in Malabar stands on a different footing to the 
rest. In the northern region he is ranked with the impure, and kept 
down. In the south of the tract, however, he is one of the castes 
which has crejjt under the comprehensive title of Nayar. In neither case 
do the oil-pressing castes wear the sacred thread as they do above 
the Sahyadri, nor do they employ Brahmans. The trade is one which 
has suffered considerably of late from the competition of mineral oil for 
burning purposes, and numbers of the Teli are taking to cultivation for 
a living. 

§ 42. Potters (3,521,8001. The Potter is one of the recognised village 
staff, and in return for his customary share in the harvest is bound to 
furnish the earthenware vessels required for domestic use. His occupation 
goes back to the time of the Vedic Suktas, and varies in its demands 
upon the worker according to the customs of the province or tract, the 
consumption of earthen platters being in some parts enormous, whilst 
elsewhere metal is substituted, except for water and storage. The po- 
sition of the Kumhar, Kumbhar, or Kus'avan, is above that of the helots, 
but is undoubtedly low. This is made manifest by the association of the 
caste with the donkey, the saddle-animal of S'itala, the goddess of small- 
pox. The Dhobi, or washerman, is the only other of the settled or 
village castes which makes use of that useful, but in India foulfeeding, 
animal. Where the caste is much subdivided those who use the bullock 
for carriage are superior to the patron of the humbler animal. Those who 
work on the wheel, again, do not intermarry with those who use a mould 
or make images. Elsewhere there is a distinction drawn between the 
artificer who only makes large vessels, and accordingly stands to his work, 
and him who squats on the ground. As in the case of the weavers and 
oil-pressers, the Bengal potter seems to enjoy a better position than his 
comrade of upper India. In Madras, too, both Telugu and Tamil Kusavan 
wear the sacred thread, and some sub-divisions employ Brahmans, as in 
Bengal, whilst others have priests of their own community. Where bricks 
are in use the potter undertakes the kiln, and though, as above stated, 
he has to use fuel collected from sweepings and other refuse, he is not 
called upon to touch the lowest kinds of filth, and escapes therefore the 
condemnation inflicted upon the scavenger. His donkey, too, where it is 
in general use, is employed when the kiln is not in operation in carrying 
grain and other produce. In most parts of the country, the potters some- 

Indo-Aryan Research. II. b. 5 



66 5- Ethnography. 



times hold land, and in others take service in large households. In the 
Telugu country they are even in request as cooks, one of their traditional 
occupations in that region. 

5; 43. Barbers (3,698,300). Shaving and the paring of nails are 
important parts of many Brahmanic ceremonies. The arrangement of mar- 
riages is the work of an expert and trustworthy go-between; the formal 
communication of domestic occurrences (except deaths), the provision 
of music before processions, the accompanying, with a torch if necessary, 
of distinguished strangers on their arrival in the village, together with 
the essential function of gossip, all these qualifications and duties go to 
make the barber a much esteemed member of the village hierarchy, on 
a regular annual stipend either from the individual householder or out 
of the land or its produce. The Nai, Napit, Ambattan, Mangala, or 
Hajam, moreover, is usually the only person in an average village with 
any knowledge of surgery, though other castes can come to the rescue 
of a person afflicted by such ailments as are known to yield to charms 
or spells. It is this practice of surgery, it is to be feared, which relegates 
the Barber to a social position much below the esteem he enjoys as an 
individual. The caste, however, as a whole, is exclusive and particular. 
In some tracts of the west, each caste has its own barber who will attend 
to no other. Everywhere, too, there is a social limit below which a barber 
will not shave. Nor, though his mediation is essential to the announcement 
of good tidings in a formal manner, will he ever consent to carry round 
the news of a death, a duty which is imposed upon a caste which is 
presumed to be below the bad luck likely to accrue from so doleful a 
task. In most parts of India except the Panjab, where the Jhinvar's wife 
takes the office, or where a Camari is employed, the barber's wife is the 
midwife or monthly nurse, and occasionally she acts as hair-dresser and 
manicurist to women. In Bengal, the latter occupation is alone the custom, 
and that but rarely. Indeed, the position of the caste, as well as that of 
the Bhani.lari, the barber caste of Orissa, is much better in the east 
than in other parts. An exception must be made in favour of the ^larayan 
of the IMalabar coast, who in the north of the tract is the barber of the 
Nayar, but as the south is approached, sheds his occupation to some 
extent, and acts as drummer generally, and as Nayar priest at funerals. 
Still further down the coast, the work of shaving is left to a caste called 
Velakkattalavan, but which calls itself Nayar. Meanwhile, the Marayan 
have passed into temple-service, drumming and the conduct of funerals, 
and give themselves the name of Attikuricci or Ambalavasi. Under this 
transformation, the caste ranks next to the Brahman, and will not eat 
with Nayar: but no more will the Nayar eat with the Ambalavasi. The 
Mangala are the barbers of the Telugu districts, but as their connection 
with preparing the mourners for a funeral renders that name unlucky, 
they arc usually addressed as Bajantri, or musicians, in reference to the 
other branch of their profession. The barber is everywhere credited with 
vast experience of the outside world, together with a quite exceptional 
accjuaintance with the esoteric affairs of all the families in his village. 
The Brahman, therefore, ministers to him without reluctance, and what 
with fees, presents, feast offerings and other emoluments, he often acquires 
quite a well-to-do position and is respected accordingly. There are as 
many proverbs about him as about his confrere in the West, and both he 
and his razors are mentioned in the Suktas of the Rgvcda. 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 67 

!< 44. Washermen (2,887,600). In the south and west of India, the 
washerman is generally jjlaced next below the Barber castes, but in Agra, 
Oudh, Bihar and Bengal, his position is far lower. This difference arises 
from convention and custom. In the one region, all but the wealthy do 
their own washing, either in person, at the tank in the mornings, or 
through the women of the family. In the north and east, however, the 
handling of soiled clothes is a polluting task, and the Dhobi ranks no 
higher than the leather-worker. He is moreover associated in these parts 
with the donkey, like the Kumhar, and pays the penalty of the convenience. 
In most parts of upper India, in Bengal and in the Panjab and parts of 
the Karnatic, the washerman is one of the hereditary village staff, and 
gets his share of the crops like the artisans. In Bengal he has even to 
take a jiart in the marriage-rite of the superior castes, a function which 
he is not called upon to perform elsewhere. At the same time, it is 
usually a lucky omen if on leaving home one catches sight of a Dhobi 
in clean clothes. The last qualification is of uncertain signification. It 
may be due to its rarity, or, again, it may be connected with a popular 
saying that the Dhobi's outer garments belong to his patrons. Except, 
however, in the localities just named, the Dhobi belongs to the town rather 
than to the village. In the south, the Vannan, like the Dhobi of Hindustan, 
have a subdivision which will wash the clothes of the lowest classes. 
In Malabar only the women of the caste do washing and the men work 
as tailors. The Nayar have a caste of washermen to themselves, under 
the title of Veluttedan, or Vannattan, who often describes himself, at 
the Census and otherwise, as belonging to the tribe of his emi^loyers. The 
Kanarese washerman is the Agasa. In the Telugu country, the Cakala 
have a subdivision which occupies itself exclusively with dyeing, and holds 
itself superior to the rest. It seems, indeed, to be connected with the 
Velama caste of agriculturists. In the Panjab there is a similar connection 
between the Dhobi and the dyer, and in some of the north-central districts 
of the Province the two castes are returned impartially by either trade. 

§ 45- Fishing, Boating and Porter castes (6,825,400). Of the large 
and numerous castes which look back to fishing as their traditional oc- 
cupation comparatively few now exercise that calling as their principal 
means of subsistence, and these are localised, of course, on the coast and 
along the larger rivers. Those communities which have abandoned fishing 
have become, generally speaking, separate subcastes, which regard them- 
selves as superior in position to those who remain faithful to the net. In this 
process of refinement, the first stage is usually the restriction of the ancestral 
connection with the water to boating and sea-faring. In the many tracts 
where fish is not a staple food among the masses and where there is an in- 
sufficient opening in the boat and ferry line, the fisher castes took to the 
porterage of such burdens as can be conveyed by poles across the shoulder, 
such as packages and large jars, or travellers by palki. It is probable that 
in the days when the latter mode of communication was the only alter- 
native to walking or riding it fell to the bearers to provide the means 
of quenching the thirst of their fare in mid journey. At all events, now- 
adays, except in South India and the Dekkan, water brought by those 
castes or subdivisions which no longer catch fish is accepted without 
cavil by the highest classes. As water is the element above all through 
which personal contamination can be conveyed, the privileged position 
thus conferred upon the castes in question became assured, and the next 



68 5- Ethnography. 

step forward was the admission of the caste into domestic service in the 
house. This was followed by the recognition of the fisher caste as public 
cook, to the extent of parching grain and preparing sweetmeats for the 
community at large, and selling them in shops. Thus, in the north and 
east of India to which the above remarks mainly apply, the fisherman 
basis is found in the Bhadbhunja, the Kandu and the Bhatiara, or cook 
of the Panjab, all of which, with a few others of similar trade, are now, 
for all practical purposes, entirely distinct castes. Elsewhere, the separation 
has been ecjually exclusive, though manifested only by subdivision of the 
main caste. The Jaliya or IMecho Kaibartta of Bengal, for instance, the 
chief fishing community of the coasts of that province, stands lower than 
the Haliya, or ploughing division. The Koli, too, of the west coast, is distinct 
from the Talabdii, or agricultural section of this caste, and is called Machi, 
or fisher, along-side of a separate caste of that name, one of whose main 
subdivisions is called Kujf. The Bhoi, again, has two separate sections, the 
freshwater fisherman and the porter or servant. The Boya, of Telingana, 
which appears to be the nucleus of the caste, is divided into a village 
or settled section, which fishes and engages in service and porterage, 
and a nomad, or hunting section, living by fowling and the sale of 
jungle-produce. The same distinctions are found in some form or other 
among the great fishing castes of the Ganges valley, above the Delta. It 
seems probable that these all s|)ring from some K61 tribe of the north 
Vindhya, which spread from the hills down the rivers. A great number 
of the fisherman are returned at the Census under the general title of 
Mallah, which, being Arabic, must have been conferred upon them at a 
comparatively recent date. Its subdivisions include many who are else- 
where returned under what are usually considered to be distinctive caste 
titles, such as Tiyar, Malo, KCvat and the like, with their endless 
subsections. One of the castes thus split up, the Patni, appears to be 
of a north-Gangetic origin, possibly descended from some sub-Himalayan 
tribe like the DOm. The Malo, also found principally in north Bihar, 
holds an almost equally low position. The Tiyar comes between the Malo 
and the Jaliya Kaibartta. The Kevat in Oudh and Bihar, though probably 
of the same Vindhyan origin as the Malo and Tiyar, is largely engaged 
in cultivation, and takes his stand, accordingly, above the sections of 
the caste which carry loads or engage in domestic service, as well as 
above those who still live on the river. In the Central Provinces, the 
Kcvat has not abandoned the traditional occupation, and is found mainly 
along the Mahanadi and its affluents. There is a colony of this caste in 
east Bengal, where, however, they do not catch fish but buy up and re- 
tail the haul of the Kaibartta, whom they therefore consider their inferiors. 
Above the tract occupied by these castes, the Kahar, or Dhimar, is by 
far the most important of the group, and with it comes the Jhinvar of 
the Panjab, still higher in position. All these are closely connected both by 
rank and functions. The latter are numerous and varied. The Kahar or 
Jhinvar is a valuable member of the permanent village staff, and receives 
his share of the crops. Though low in relative rank he is pure, to the 
extent that he can bear water to all, and enter all but the inner pene- 
tralia of their houses. Indeed, in parts of Hindustan, one of the subdivi- 
sions is called Mahra, because he is allowed inside even the women's 
apartments in the execution of his domestic duties. The Kahar is often 
a cultivator in the east, but to the west, he fishes, sinks wells, makes 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 69 

baskets, carries burdens and above all, provides the water for the re- 
freshment of the peasant in the field. He has a special branch of culti- 
vation under him, to wit, the growth of water-nuts (trapa bispinosa), in 
the village tanks. His wife, too, as has been mentioned above, is, the 
midwife of the Jat and Rajput. The l^Iachi is the counterpart of the 
Jhinvar in the west of the Panjab and performs the same duties, with 
the e.xception of carrj-ing burdens, the shoulder-pole and palki not being 
customary in those parts. There is also a keen demand for his services 
as village cook, because in the hot weather the village usually gets its 
meals from a common kitchen or oven. Down the Indus, however, and 
on the west coast, the IMachi is a fisherman only, and the same may be 
said of the Mo ha no, a lower caste of the Sindh waters, which is probably 
an occupational body. 

In the Telugu country, the Boya, mentioned above, is probably akin 
to the Irulan, a wild, roving tribe of hunters and haunters of the scrub- 
jungle of the lower hills. The more prevalent fishing caste is the Palle, 
which is said to be a branch of the great labouring caste of PaUi, further 
south and included in it. The latter was once subdivided into the Mina, 
or fishing, and the Vana, or settled, clans, but apart from the barrier of 
a different language, the dividing line of occupation now leads the field- 
worker to repudiate the fisher, and not to eat or intermarry with him. 
Another Telugu caste, the Besta, is, like the rest, both fisher and cook, 
and some of its members hold land. They are supposed to be connected 
with the Karnatic Kabbera, or Ambiga, who, in turn, form a link with 
the coast castes of the Mogcr and INIukkuvan, which go to sea, and 
the IMugayan, which fish only in the river. There is a similar distinction 
between the Tamil caste of the S'embailavan and their subdivision the 
S'avajaikkaran, the seafarers being reputed to rank higher than 
the freshwater people. The S'embadavan call in the local Brahman, and 
the I\Ioger make use of the Havika, but the rest do not trouble the priest 
of any community other than their own. 

ij 46. Stone, Salt and Lime-workers (2,043,600). These may be taken 
as subsidiary to the fishing castes, since in many parts of the country 
the latter have been compelled to take to such means of livelihood, whilst 
some of the castes specially devoted to these trades are also connected 
by descent with the fishers. The Kevat, for instance, in its lower sections, 
is merged into the Bind, and the Bind, in turn, touches the Cain and 
the Goiirhi, some of whom are returned as sections of the Mallah. The 
majority of all these castes, however, are field-labourers, stone-workers 
and lime or salpetre makers, in addition to the fishing or boating sections. 
Some of the trades have become the attribute of a caste, as the Luniya, 
Rehgar, Soregar, originally functional bodies. The Luniya, or Nijniya, 
is the nearest to a real caste, but it is not yet organised on the normal 
lines. It repudiates, however the Cain, though probably, their origin is 
identical. The latter, in the southern parts of the upper Ganges valley, 
has but a poor reputation, not entirely undeserved, for frequenting places 
of pilgrimage, with the object of cutting the knots in waistcloths which in 
India serve the purpose of a pocket. North of this tract, however, the Cain 
ranks low, though with untainted reputation. The Bind, too, stands higher 
in rank in the west than in Bihar, whether he fishes or labours in the 
fields. On the west coast there are two bodies of salt-workers now driven 
to other trades. The Kharvi of Gujarat are sailors and tile-turners, ori- 



70 5- Ethnography. 

ginally belonging apparently to the Kharol or Rchgar of Rajputana, 
who still, like the Agria, are in a position to keep up their eponymous 
trade, both on the coast and by the Sambhar lake. Further south, the 
Patharvat, now a separate caste, is an offshoot, it is thought, from the 
Uppara of Kanara, and are stonc-workcrs, the rest of the community 
being earth-workers and carriers by bullock; whilst the Uppiliyan and 
Kaduppattan, originally of the same trade, have added the profession of 
hedge-schoolkceping to their means of subsistence. The Agria, a Rajpu- 
tana caste, still finds room for its traditional making of salt along the 
Bombay coast, and to a minor extent in south east Panjab and in the 
Agra Province, which, according to some, derives its name from the saline 
character of the soil. Where this caste is in force it ranks with the lower 
grade of cultivators. In some parts the Agria is held to be a subdivision 
of the Luniya, but there seems reason to think that it is a distinct 
caste. The Cunari, or lime-burner and the SOri-gar saltpetre-maker, on the 
other hand, where they are not separate castes, belong to a branch of 
the salt-workers. In Bengal, however, the Haiti, which burns shells into 
lime, ranks among the impure, though the product of their labours does 
not pollute those who make use of it. 

§ 47. Toddy-drawers (4,765,400). Between the lower artisans and 
the field-labourers may be taken the castes which live by tapping the 
palm for its juice, in some parts of India a body of numerical importance. 
They occupy but a low position, partly by reason of their origin^ 
partly again because the toddy they provide is often kept till fermented, 
and being thus an intoxicant, is relegated to the impure articles of con- 
sumption. This is the case still more markedly with the distilling castes, 
which are classed among the urban and dealt with separately. Along the 
coasts the coco and palmyra abound, and the date flourishes in Telingana 
and the Gangetic valley. It is here, therefore, that these castes are in 
greatest strength. In lower Bengal and on the Gujarat coast, though the 
material in question is abundant, it is the custom of the cultivators to 
tap their own trees or to employ the ordinary field-labourer or lower 
village menial to do the work for them. The tree-tapping castes, too, even 
where there is the greatest field for their labour, are largely engaged in 
cultivation, either as landholders or labourers. The chief caste of this 
description in the Ganges valley is the Pasi, a name derived from a noose, 
probably in reference to the belt by means of which the palm is climbed, 
or, where the caste is addicted to wandering in the jungle for hunting 
purposes, from the snare then used. In Oudh, where the Pasi has a bad 
reputation, the noose in question used to be identified with that used by 
the Thag in strangling their victims. The Pasi is probably of very early 
pre-Aryan origin emanating from the Vindhya, and akin to the Arakh and 
Khatik castes, now differentiated by occupation. In Bihar it ranks with 
the Bind or Cain, already mentioned as low fishing or boating castes, 
but in the west, it takes a lower place. The Bhanijari, of the west 
coast, which is not to be confused with the Barber caste of Orissa, ad- 
heres more closely to its traditional calling, probably because its oppor- 
tunities are greater, and the "toddy-habit" is more extensively established 
in the tract where it resides. Its members cultivate also to some extent, 
since restrictions upon the extraction of toddy were imposed by the govern- 
ment. They also distill spirit from forest produce and sugar in the State 
distilleries. Further down the coast, the Bhandari is replaced by two similarly 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 71 

localised castes following the same trade, the Paik and the Billava. 
Both names are derived from the military services rendered to the Tulu 
chiefs by the ancestry of the communities in question. The Paik were the 
infantry, and on the strength of the tradition, some of them now claim 
to be Ksatriya, substituting the sub-title of Namdhar, for that of Haje, 
or old, Paik. By some, however, their name is derived from Pal, the spirit 
worshipped by tree-tapping castes. There are probably as many cultivators 
among them in the present day as tree-tappers. They speak Kanarese, 
whereas the Billava, further to the south, are a Tulu caste, and, share, 
moreover, the customs of Malabar in religion and ceremonial, employing 
their own priests, where the Paik call in the Satani, an upland caste. The 
name Billava means archer, corresponding to the Dhanuk a labouring 
caste of upper India, the Kandra of Orissa, and the Cavada, a Gurjara 
Rajput clan. The south of the Peninsula is occupied by three large tree- 
tapping bodies, probably connected with each other in origin. The name 
II a van, which is now used to designate one only of the three, was once 
applied to all. It means a native of Ceylon, and the Tiyan, who are 
sometimes called by it in south IMalabar, also derive their name from 
dvipa, an island, and claim to have come from the south. Furthermore, 
they address each other by the name of S'enan, which apparently corres- 
ponds with S'anan, the tree-tapping caste of the south-east. They are 
divided, like the Nayar, into two distinct bodies, the northerners and the 
south-lMalabar Tiyan. The northerners are wealthier, better educated and 
more enterprising than the others, and have managed to get some of 
their community into good posts under the Government. The southerners 
are poor, illiterate, and more closely connected with their traditional 
employment, with field labour as the alternative. Still further south there 
is a smaller body, the Tandan, probably a sub-caste of the Tiyan, but 
not intermarrying with them. This caste has the curious custom mentioned 
in connection with the Nayar, of prohibiting its women from crossing a 
certain river. As those on the south are far better off than their kinsfolk 
on the other side, this restriction may have a solid mundane basis. The 
third of these castes, the S'anan, is found principally in Tinnevelli and 
Madura, though it is spread to some extent over most of the Tamil district. 
The title is not found in the early Tamil dictionaries, and in the inscrip- 
tions of the loth century the caste is called Iluvan. The name S'anan is 
said to be derived from san and nar, signifying a span-long noose, thereby 
corresponding to the name of the Pasi of upper India. The caste came 
into great prominence in 1899, when it asserted by force its right to enter 
the temples of the Maravan caste, on the score of its K.satriya origin, a 
title rejected by the rest of the community. The occupation of the caste 
is undoubtedly of great antiquity in southern India, and the Kadamba 
dynasty of Mysore sprang from one of its subdivisions. Numbers of the 
caste, therefore, were employed in its army and afterwards settled as a 
semi military peasantry or labouring class upon the land occupied. The 
tradition of such an origin, however, has not survived amongst the S'anan, 
whose claims are of comparatively recent date. Curiously enough, the only 
sympathisers with the claim, outside those who put it forward, are the 
Christian converts from the caste. The general position of the S'anan in 
society is that of the lower field labourer, just above that of the menial 
class. In former years, indeed, it appears that the S'anan, like the weavers, 
were prohibited from living within the village site. In the Telugu country 



72 5- Ethnography. 



and the Coromandel coast the tree-tapping castes are fairly strong. The 
1(1 ig a, which is the principal body amongst them, is an offshoot of the 
great Balija class, with whom it still sits down to meals. The sejiaration 
seems to have taken place on functional considerations, though the I'.liga 
eschew si)irituous lifjuor and employ Brahmans of good position. They pay 
special homage, however, to the goddess of toddy and intoxicants generally. 
It is sometimes returned as Indra, but the derivation of Ii.liga, from the 
verb to extract or draw, like that from the climbing-loop in other cases, 
seems to indicate the more ai)])ropriate title. The GamaUa, or Gaunclla 
caste is also one of the same locality, and has<a subdivision of the name 
of idiga. Its position, however, is a little lower, and it ranks with the 
petty cultivators or more respectable field labourers. Brahmans are called 
in for its ceremonies, except for funerals, which are under the Satani. On 
the coast just below Orissa, are two small castes, the Segidi and the 
Yata, which arc toddy-drawers by tradition and mainly in practice. The 
latter also weaves mats and baskets from the palmyra-leaf, in spite of its 
title, which refers to the date-palm. In the other parts of India there is 
either not enough occupation for a special caste of this description, or 
the work is done, as in the Central Provinces and Rajputana, by the PasT 
or similar castes, already mentioned. 

§ 48. Field-labourers. (16,158,400). The castes which come under 
this heading are but a fraction of these whose members make their living 
to a great extent by field-labour. The rapidity with which crops come 
to maturity in the tropics and the shortness of the time available for each 
harvest produce an urgent pressure upon the labour supply, which is met 
by the temporary diversion to the fields of numbers who during the 
rest of the year follow quite different occupations. Even the normal demand 
is very great. There is to be taken into account the universal prevalence 
of agriculture, and the vast numbers of holdings which require more hands 
upon them than can be furnished by the occupant's own family. Then, 
again, there are some important operations which are not lawful for the 
cultivator of high caste, entailing, therefore, the permanent employment 
of menial hands for the purpose. These are procured from the village 
servile classes, the rest of whom have their own special caste functions. 
Thus almost all the lower grades of the rural population contribute a 
certain quota of agricultural labour. In former days the system of predial 
servitude was widely spread, and whole castes were assigned to certain 
families or estates in a district, as on the Malabar coast and amongst Brahman 
agriculturists wherever they are found; and though the status of the la- 
bourer has been changed under British rule, the practice, on a voluntary 
basis, still persists. In some other parts of the country the labourers are 
distributed by families, each ascribed to a certain employer, or patron, 
from whom they receive special gifts or privileges beyond the mere re- 
muneration of their labour. Finally, there is the constant transition of the 
landless labourer, by thrift and industry, to the position of petty landholder, 
not unfrec|uently accompanied, after an interval, by the severance of this 
class from the less fortunate of the body in which it was born. Thus, 
whilst the upper edge of the group overlaps that of the humbler landed 
classes, the lower is merged in the general body of the impure or servile 
castes at the bottom of the village community. In the group now under 
consideration an attempt is made to include only the upper stratum ot 
the castes traditionally dedicated to field labour, and to deal with the rest 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 73 

separately. It must be admitted, however, that it is almost impossible, in 
view of the different standards in force, to draw the line accurately. 

Amongst the Dhanuk, for instance, a caste spread over the Jamna 
valley as well as north Bihar, the position is apparently higher in the 
latter tract, and might fairly entitle the caste to be ranked with the minor 
landed classes. This is not the case, however, elsewhere, and the fact 
that the most esteemed subdivision in Bihar is that in domestic service, 
and to a great extent born on the premises of the employer, seems to 
indicate that the peasant section also is one of "new men". From the name 
of the caste, which means Archer, like that of some of the corresponding 
castes in the Dravidian country, it may be conjectured that the Dhanuk 
were once a local militia, reduced in circumstances, for in the Agra pro- 
vince, they are the village trumpeters, and their wives share with those 
of the Barber the office of midwife. In Gujarat there is a similar case, 
that of the Dhodia or Dhundia, a tribe of KiJl origin left on the plains, 
which is rapidly passing from the labourer into the occupant, whilst the 
Dubla, its congener, who fell at an early stage into the hands of the 
cultivating Brahman, is still in a state of practical servitude on the farms 
of the latter. It is true that in the great "cotton years" of 1S63— 66, 
the Dubla took to free labour, but, for the most part, they found it more 
advantageous to revert to what is now called hereditary service. Re- 
verting to upper India, the Arakh, a small offshoot of the Pasi, is 
undoubtedly a fallen caste, for it held a tract of the valley against the 
Rajputs, and was only subdued by the Muslim in the I4'i' century. It still 
ranks above the other Pasi, but labours for its bread or acts as village 
watchman. In the west of Bengal are found two castes of Kul origin, 
but long settled in the plains as landless labourers, a few holding land. 
The Bagdi probably rank a little above the Baurf, as being more par- 
ticular in their diet. They are carriers of burdens, hewers of wood, and 
workers in the indigo fields. Both castes admit into their community 
members of higher castes who are in need of such a refuge, but no 
recruits are accepted from below. They are described as being just "on 
the outskirts of Brahmanism". In Bihar and the east of Oudh are the 
Rajvar and Musahar, low castes of labourers of Kdl descent, or, at 
least, belonging to the dark races of the Central Belt. The Rajvar stand 
the higher of the two, and employ degraded Brahmans for their cere- 
monies. They have retained a good deal of their tribal organisation but 
have settled down to cultivation and labour. Some of them have acquired 
holdings, as tenants, but have not yet risen above this grade. According 
to their own account, they belong to the same stock as the Musahar, but 
stand higher. There has been a good deal of controversy as to the latter 
caste. The name is said to mean rat-eater, a habit the caste still retains, 
and this is one of the reasons why the Rajvar, who does not indulge in 
this diet, will have no communion with his kinsman. That the two are 
both pre-Aryan is certain, but whether the descent is from the K6I through 
the Bhuiya, or Dravidian through the Ceru, is undecided by the authorities 
on the subject. The JNIusahar has not yet been organised on ordinary 
Brahmanic lines, and retains much of its primitive form of worship along 
with its tribal subdivisions. Brahmans are occasionally called in, but most 
of the ceremonial is carried (m without sacerdotal aid. The JMusahar are 
divided, like the Boya and other tribes of their calling, into two sections, 
one settled in villages, carrj-ing loads and doing fieldwork, the other 



74 5- Ethnography. 

haunting the jungles and collecting wild produce, which they bring for 
sale into the villages. One of the reasons given in Bihar for employing 
men of this caste to watch crops in the fields is worth noting, viz that 
the Musahar is alone able to keep off the older gods, who have been driven 
away by the plough and resent the intrusion of the alien peasantry. West 
of the Musahar is found the Bhar, now holding a higher rank than his 
neighbour, but bearing in his physical appearance manifest signs of his 
descent from a similar dark race. The Bhar is said to have once held 
the land on which he now labours, but was ousted by the Rajputs when 
they in turn fled before the Muslim. As the tribe has no tradition of 
migration, it is probable that it was formerly in a better position than 
now, but it must always have been of unsettled habits, as even now its 
favourite occupation is breaking up fresh land; and when a village area 
has once been brought fully into cultivation, the Bhar is inclined to leave 
it for the nearest virgin soil. The Bhar of western Bengal seems to be of 
higher position, and employs Brahmans where his northern namesake uses 
no priest at all. The latter, too, retains the rites customary among the 
Kori and Camar, and owns no connection with the others down the river. 
In Rajputana there is a small caste, the Dhakar, which seems to be of 
fairly good position, and is employed upon the estates of Rajputs; but the 
field labour generally, both here and in the Panjab, has fallen into the 
hands of the leather-working and impure castes. It is the same, for the 
most part, south of the Vindhya, as far as the Dravidian country, and 
some sections of the Koli are the only castes which can be said to be 
specially field labourers of a superior grade. The contamination which 
follows upon the use of the same implement, drinking out of the same 
vessel or of the same water, or smoking the same hukkah, is avoided, 
of course, by a strict demarcation of the various operations in the field, 
by the use of differently shaped lotahs, and by denoting the pipe of each 
caste by a differently-coloured rag tied round it. 

§ 49. Dravidian Labouring castes. In the south of India the landless 
labouring classes are particularly strong in number and assertiveness, and 
their relative positions are hard to define and must be treated as doubtful 
pending the results of the investigations of the Ethnographic Survey. It 
is advisable, therefore, to deal with them apart from the rest. There is 
apparently some reason for believing them all to be of one origin, but 
superimposed at different times one upon the other by various waves of 
conquest or migration. Their position has thus varied more than that of 
the corresponding helot tribes of the region absorbed by foreigners from 
beyond the north-west of India. The title Paraiyan, for instance, is not 
found in the standard Tamil dictionary of the ii''> century, but the caste 
now so called is referred to in contemporary records under the name of 
Pulayan, still used of the corresponding community on the Malabar coast. 
Some weight may also be attached to the similarity of these two names 
with those of the PaHi and PaUan, labouring castes of the south Tamil 
country. The Holar or Holeya of the Karnatic, too, appears to belong to 
the same group, as in Kanarese the Tamil P becomes H. The PalU, to 
whom the name of Vanniyan w-as given by the Brahmans. were once a 
dominant tribe under the Pallava dynasty, but were reduced to predial 
servitude when the Vellalan entered their country. They are now mainly 
agricultural labourers, though some have acquired land of their own and 
others engage in trade. They occasionally call in Brahmans for their rites. 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 75 

but their customs and rules are for the most part purely Dravidian. On 
the score of their former position, they have of late put forward the claim 
to be considered K.satriya, and don the sacred thread, conduct which 
brings them into collision with both priest and peasant. It is said that in 
the Right and Left-hand distribution of castes in the Tamil country, the 
men of the Palji go to one side and the women to the other, conjugal 
relations being suspended whilst the facti(ms are in active opposition and 
resumed when peace is temporarily restored. The PaUan, in spite of the 
similarity of the name, own to no connection with the PaMi in the present 
day, and occupy a tract to the south of the latter. They arc lower in 
rank and rarely engage in pursuits other than field labour. The names 
of their subdivisions, however, indicate that they may have belonged to 
the great Kurumban tribe and thus have an ancestral connection with the 
Pallava and therefore with the Palli. They follow the regular demonolatrous 
worship of the older Dravidians, and if they use priests from outside, they 
call in the Yelluva, a low caste ministrant. The Pulayan, mentioned above, 
is a labouring caste of north Malabar, called Ccruman in the southern 
portion of that tract. They have a traditiim of better, even dominant, days, 
before the Nayar enslaved them on their estates. One of the relics of their 
servile condition is the practice of still bringing their children to be 
named by their employer. They use their own priests in the propitiation 
of the evilly-disposed goddesses they worship. In a good many respects 
they follow the customs of the Nayar, such as inheritance through the 
female line in the north and through the male in the south. The title of 
Ceruman denotes, according to their tradition, an origin in the Cera country. 
There remains the great community of village menials of a type more 
pronouncedly impure than the castes mentioned above. These rank above 
the tanners and leather workers generally, and above the scavenger, 
whether a separate caste or, as in the greater part of the south, a sub- 
division of the main body. The best known section of this group is the 
Paraiyan or Pariah, of the Tamil country. In treating of it it is advisable 
at the outset to get rid of the notion set on foot by the Abbe Raynal, 
that the Pariah is an "outcaste", or that there exists such a thing as an 
outcaste anywhere in India. Every community has its place, disputed though 
it may be, in the social hierarchy of Brahmanism, and there is no caste 
but will unhesitatingly designate some other as ranking below it. Ethno- 
graphic inquiry, therefore, past and present, has never yet succeeded in 
touching the bottom, or in finding a waif for whom no recognised place 
exists within the fold, albeit without the village. Possibly, in the course 
of time, public opinion may crystallise round one of the nomad castes, 
who know nothing of their past, and recruit and eat as circumstances 
dictate. Meanwhile, the scavenger fills this situation in the village life with 
which this review is at present concerned. Now, the Paraiyan is a caste 
the position of which is at all events clearly defined, and it has a past 
which it cherishes. Low as he is, excluded from everyday communion 
with those above him, "le morne Chandal" will no more admit the pol- 
luting presence of a Brahman into his hamlet than the latter will allow 
the Paraiyan's shadow to fall upon his water-pot. Some of the most 
celebrated and exclusive temples are thrown open to the Paraiyan on 
certain days of the year, and for the time he lords it over the Brahman. 
At certain festivals again, especially those connected with S'iva or a local 
goddess, it is one of this caste who takes his seat alongside of the image 



76 5- Ethnocraphv. 

in the procession, or ties the symbolic marriage-thread round its neck. 
Until recently, when the custom began to wane, even the Brahman, in a 
few tracts, had to obtain the formal consent of the Paraiyan to a marriage 
in his household, and similar acts have been mentioned in connection with 
the rites of castes dealt with in a preceding paragraph. In another direction, 
certain low but responsible offices on the village staff must be filled by 
Paraiyan, and when there is a dispute about a boundary, it is a Paraiyan, 
or," in other parts of India, a member of the corresponding caste, who has 
to walk the line with a pot of water, his own son, or a clod of his native 
earth, on his head. All this tends, of course,- to show that the caste was 
once a most important element in the population, older on the soil, in 
closer communion with the genius loci, and influential beyond the con- 
ception of those who only know it in its condition today. As before pointed 
out, its present name is comparatively modern, and in the earliest records 
available, before even the I'ulayan are mentioned, the caste which, like 
the Paraiyan of to day, was excluded from the villages, was called Eyinan, 
and credited with the possession of hillforts and considerable power, on 
the lines of the Dasyu of the Sukta period. The sub-castes of the Paraiyan, 
which are very numerous, indicate the practice of most of the more re- 
putable handicrafts, but the general tradition among the modern Paraiyan 
is that the caste was formerly a weaving one by calling, and in an in- 
scription of the nth century, probably the earliest in which the name 
Paraiyan is used, it is subdivided into the weaving and the ploughing 
sections. Some have derived the name from parai, a drum, and a section 
does, indeed, act as the drummers of the Right-hand. On the other hand, 
their great rivals, the leather-workers, blow the trumpet for the Left, 
without being named after their performance on that blatant instrument. 
In the Karnatic, the Holeya occupy almost the same position, except 
that they are not, of course, affiliated to any factional distribution of other 
castes, nor do they weave to any great extent. A good many of them have, 
however, joined the Lihgayats, in which community weavers abound, some 
of them holding but a low position, attributable probably to their origin 
amongst such classes as the Holeya, and entailing, at all events, the 
establishment of a special section for their reception. In the Telugu country, 
the place of the Paraiyan is taken by the Mala class, the name of which 
resembles that of the Mahar of the Dekkan, which performs the same 
offices. In the case of the latter, however, the weaving branch has split 
off into an entirely separate body, whereas in the east it seems to remain 
as a subdivision. All these Dravidian labouring castes employ barbers, 
washermen and generally priests, of their own community. Ethnologically, 
the group presents features of very great interest and importance in re- 
spect to its origin and history, and much remains to be done in sifting 
the different strata of a people of whom so little is known in comparison 
with what has been ascertained concerning the servile classes in upper 
India. Not that there is any lack of theory, conjecture and analogy. 

Two castes of western India may be here mentioned, which arc de- 
dicated generally to the same functions as most of the castes just reviewed. 
One of them, indeed, the Mahar of the Dekkan, is probably allied, as 
stated above, to the INIala of Telingana. The distinction, however, in these 
tracts between the depressed castes and the rest of the village com- 
munity is more definite than in the south, partly, no doubt, because racial 
differences are greater or have been less obscured by time. The Mahar, 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 77 

for instance, belongs to a far earlier race than the Maratha peasantry, 
and enjoys a notable prestige amongst them for knowledge of the boun- 
daries, and for influence with the goddesses of cholera and small-pox. The 
caste, too, has its own priests, but near the larger towns as often or not 
a Dcs'asth or local Brahman is called in. This is, however, a modern 
practice, introduced since the labour market on railways and large public 
works brought grist to the INIahar mill. Formerly, and perhaps even now 
in some tracts, the Mahar had to wait for a ceremony amongst the higher 
castes, and then bring his own party up to just beyond the prohibited 
range, so that the sacred texts could be heard, with the fiction of the 
impure listener being out of earshot. The Mahar is as a rule, a labourer, 
and those who take to trades separate themselves from their fellows. The 
caste, like the Paraiyan, holds a low but important and useful place in the 
village staff, and receives shares of all the main crops, and, in some places, 
a considerable piece of the land. The Dhci.l caste of Gujarat, on the 
other hand, is not one of the recognised community of the village, except 
in the south, and even there he is not regarded as one of the old stock, 
and has no special knowledge of the boundaries or of the idiosyncracies 
of the local gods. In fact, he is apparently what he claims to be, an 
immigrant against his will from Rajputana, though the tradition of the 
movement is no longer definitely retained. In the north of the province, 
the menial work of the village is done chiefly by the Bharigi, a lower 
caste, and the Dhed was until recently, a weaver of coarse cotton goods. 
When factories were established in Bombay and the chief towns of Gujarat 
the Dhed lost much of his custom, and took to working under the new 
regime at the machine-made article, whilst others took to day labour. 
North of the Narbada, the families of this caste are often found attached 
to the estates of the larger Kanbi or Rajput landholders, by whom they 
are supported. In the south a special sub-caste has been formed of those 
who have taken to domestic service with Europeans, here again following 
the same lines as the Paraiyan. Either on account of this adaptability or 
because of the thrift displayed by the caste in its various callings, the Dhed 
is credited in a local proverb with having profited above others by British 
rule, and to have waxed fat and kicked accordingly against his Brahmanic 
betters. Though the caste employs only low caste priests it is credited with 
great orthodoxy and assiduity in its religious duties, as well as with strict- 
ness in the observance of the rules of the caste, enforced by local councils. 
§ 50. Leather-workers (15,028,300). This group, as was stated above, 
cannot be well distinguished from that which precedes it. It is the function 
of all the impure castes to deal with dead cattle, even if it be only to 
skin and to drag the carcasses away for burial. But there are grades and 
privileges involved. Some touch no bodies but those of the cloven-footed 
animal ; others draw the line at cattle, and leave sheep and goats to 
their inferiors. Usually the hide is the perquisite of the menial, who, 
moreover, is not forbidden to indulge in the flesh after flaying. Indeed, 
when the market for leather is brisk, or when dissension is rife between 
the peasantry and the village menials, mortality amongst the cattle is apt 
to increase materially, and sometimes with a suddenness which attracts 
the judicial attention of the local authorities, and leads to the discovery 
in the thatch of the servile hamlet of the materials for an extensive study 
of rural toxicology. But though the castes in question remove the hides, 
it is only special sections of them which tan or curry them, and these, 



jg 5. Ethnography. 

except in the north, arc generally split off into a separate caste. Further- 
more, the families which take exclusively to leather-work as their pro- 
fession beyond the simple requirements of the cart, plough or water-lift, 
usually rise to a position superior to that of the tanner or currier, and 
ultimately, especially in towns, hold themselves aloof from the rest. On 
the other hand, where the caste furnishes virtually the whole labour supply 
of the village, the tanning branch sinks below those which only labour 
in the fields. In the latter capacity, the caste has to do whatever they are 
bid by the peasantry — within, of course, the strict bounds of tradition. 
They may never, however, take up their residence in the village or pass 
anything directly from their own hand to that of one of higher caste. It 
is a noteworthy fact that with centuries of such degradation piled upon 
them, the women of this class should be renowned for their good looks; 
so much so, that special arrangements seem to have been thought neces- 
sary by the Brahmanic organisers of society to meet the results of intrigues 
and illicit connections between them and men of the upper classes. To 
this day men turned out of their caste on this account find refuge in 
some recognised mixed body, whilst the offspring of such mesalliances 
go to form the "fair-skinned Camar", the subject of more than one pro- 
verbial admonition on the country side. There is the possibility, of course, 
that in the very north of India some of the helot classes may be 
descended from early foreign races who were overwhelmed by subsequent 
invaders and reduced to servitude, but throughout the rest of the country 
these classes are now generally held to represent the Dasyu or darker 
tribes, displaced by the Arya and Scythian invader north of the Vindhya, 
and by similar movements amongst Dravidian races and others, in the 
south and the great delta of the east. 

The great Camar caste is found all over the country except in the 
south, but in the tract where it is most numerous, between the east Panjab 
and Bihar, it is not exclusively a leather-working caste as its name de- 
notes. It supplies, as just pointed out, the main body of field labour, and 
receives its share of the harvest like the other village menials on the 
establishment. In this capacity, the Camar community is generally organised 
into distinct sections, irrespective of social subdivisions. Some work for 
individual patrons, but more often each is assigned to a certain association 
of landholders. The development of the leather industries upon European 
lines in some of the large towns of the north, such as Cawnpore and 
Agra, has attracted a large number of Camar away from their native 
haunts. Indeed, the demand for labourers along the railways and in the 
chief commercial centres of upper India is said to have had the effect 
of depleting to a considerable extent the supply available for the village 
field operations, and the Camar, like the Dhcd of Gujarat, leaves home 
when he pleases, and returns with a full pocket and something of a 
"swelled head". In parts of Rajputana and the southern Panjab, the Camar 
docs the coarse weaving undertaken further cast by the Kori. The caste 
is subdivided minutely by function, locality and traditions as to origin, 
into endless endogamous sections, in a recognised order of precedence, 
and all under the regulation of a caste-Council which is said to be strict in 
its enforcement of ceremonial rules. In the central and eastern Panjab a good 
many of the Camar are Sikhs by religion, though of course they occupy a 
position different from that of the Jat. Comparatively few seem, from the 
Census, to have embraced Islam, but this is due to the use of the title of 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 79 

MOci by converts, especially in the west of the Panjab, where they are nearly 
ail Muslim. In other parts of India, the MOcf is the subdivision, generally en- 
tirely distinct, which is engaged in shoemaking, usually in the larger towns. 
Even in the west Panjab the Camar or Moci do not perform the same duties 
in the village as the Camar of the east, but only do the leather-work and 
tanning, thereby taking a higher position than their agricultural fellow. The 
Camar of other Provinces is a Brahmanist in his faith, of much the same 
order as the lower masses of the population of the locality. In some parts he 
gets Brahmans of a low grade to serve him, but, as a rule, they are only 
called in to nominate the most auspicious day for important domestic cere- 
monies. By reason of the connection of the caste with the exuviae of dead 
cattle, the Camar is held to be lower in rank than even the Brahmanised 
section of a converted forest tribe which has abandoned the cruder elements 
of its daily diet. It does not appear, however, that this was always the case, 
as leather entered into the clothing of the early Vedic communities long be- 
fore they could have reduced the Dasyu to servitude, so that the task of 
tanning and preparation must have been performed by members of their 
own race. The degrading character of the occupation, therefore, may have 
been imputed to it by the Brahmanic censors of the new regime when it 
was established upon priestly initiative at a later date. 

In the lower Himalayan valleys of the Panjab there is the Mcgh caste, 
who perform much the same duties as the Camar of the plains, but are 
rather higher in social esteem because they are largely weavers, and leave 
the dirtier offices of the village to lower castes, such as the Koli and 
Dagi. The latter do the leather work in some parts, but elsewhere they 
put it on to the Koli or Canal. All are of about the same class as the 
Camar, some even being subdivided under that title, and represent the 
earlier tribes of the locality, reduced to servitude by the later comers 
from the south or west. They resemble the lowest castes of the plains, 
too, in acting as pipers and drummers at village processions. South and 
west of the Vindhya, the caste is still known by the names of Cambhar, 
or Khalpo, but is quite unconnected with the northern communities of the 
former name. The leather work, too, is detached, more or less, from the 
menial offices, and is not intimately bound up with the village staff. 

In the Dekkan and Telugu country, the Camar gives place to the 
Maiig or Madiga, both of which names are apparently derived from Matafigf, 
the caste goddess, a synonym of Kali. The JMadiga takes a prominent 
part in the festivals of the S'akti worshippers, probably of Dravidian origin 
incorporated into the Brahmanic pantheon as circumstances demanded. 
From this as well as from the part it plays in the marriage ceremonies 
of some of the higher castes, it may be inferred that the caste is one of 
the earliest of the uplands, and thus more likely to propitiate the local 
gods than the more reputable but more recent arrivals now in occupation. 
Both Maiig and Madiga employ their own priests, Garuda or Dasari. Where 
the Maiig is found alongside of the Mahar in the Dekkan there is always 
rivalry and occasionally strife, but the Mahar takes precedence of the 
other in the village. In the Tamil country the principal leather-working 
caste is the S'akkiliyan, vulgarised by Europeans into Chuckler. It is 
an immigrant body, as several of its subdivisions bear Telugu or Kanarese 
titles, and many of its members still use those vernaculars. It may be 
added, too, that its name does not occur in any of the older inscriptions 
in Tamil. It is probably, therefore, an offshoot of the Madiga, moved south. 



So 5. Ethnography. 



importing with it its traditional rivalry with the village serf, for there is 
constant bickering between the S'akkiliyan and the Paraiyan, public opinion 
being in favour of the labourer, as in the Dekkan. It may also be noted 
that the leather-workers are here, as in the north, remarkable for the 
beauty of their women, and in those stages of Sakti worship at which 
the presence of a living representative of the Female Energy is necessary, 
a S'akkiliyan girl is always selected for the part. 

It is only the simpler leather work, as was mentioned above, that is 
done by the village Camar, and though he can cobble shoes, he does not 
generally make any but the roughest kinds. The MOci takes up the higher 
branches of the craft, but in Bengal, as in the west Panjab, this caste 
does a good deal of the village labour, and in the former tract his shoes 
are said to be inferior to those of the Camar of Bihar. In Rajputana the 
Bambhi seems to be the shocmaking branch of the latter, and in 1S91 some 
207,000 of them were returned, but as in 1901 they were reduced to lioo, 
it is probable that the rest are included in the main Camar caste. In several 
parts of India, the Moci of the towns are divided into functional sub-castes, 
such as that of saddlers, embroiderers of saddle-cloths, makers of leather 
buckets for ghl (clarified butter), of spangles, shields and scabbards, rising 
in rank as their calling entails greater skill or more costly materials, 
always tending towards endogamy within the craft. 

§ 51. Watchmen (3.639,900). There are few countries, possibly none, 
in which the old counsel to set a thief to catch a thief has been more 
widely and conscientiously put into practice than in India. In the case 
of more than one of the castes already passed under review it has been 
pointed out that a portion of the community in question was avowedly 
detached for night work of one sort in order to counteract the enterprise 
of its comrades in simultaneous operations of another. In several of the 
older lists of the castes of a locality, too, there may be found opposite 
a title, the terse description, "Thieves and watchmen". The combination 
is obviously appropriate in tracts interspersed with hills and forests, or 
containing the broken ground, frequent in India, in which the facilities 
of both functionaries for evading observation are united: or, again, where 
tribes of hunting and fowling propensities have settled down to village 
life. But even in the open and well-cultivated plains the need of a night- 
watch over cattle, grain and other movable property is generally recognised, 
although the underlying notion of blackmail may be absent. In the latter 
case, however, the duty is performed by a local caste in which it is not 
the traditional or even the principal mode of getting a living. It tends, 
however, like all else in India, to become hereditary in the families which 
take to it, and, if associated with a recognised dole out of the harvest, 
to be ultimately crystallised into a sub-caste. This seems to have been 
the case with the Dhanuk of the Ganges valley, though the branch of 
the caste which has found its way into the eastern Panjab is treated as 
criminal without the saving grace of occasional watchmanship. The Mahar 
of the Dekkan, again, has recognised subdivisions of watchmen and the 
guardians of the village gate. There are also castes which are traditionally 
watchmen without any association with the predatory classes. Among these 
are the Barvala and Batval, of the lower Himalayan valleys of the Panjab, 
who, though chiefly watchmen and messengers, also perform many of the 
menial offices which in the plains are left to the Camar, but draw the 
line at dealing with skins and leather. They are not allowed however. 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 8i 

to reside within the village site, and in this respect are on the level of 
the Mahar. The Ghatval of Bihar, again, has become a separate caste 
in consequence of its having appropriated to itself the guardianship of 
the low passes through the hills, and has a share in the general name 
of JNIallah. But it is most probably an offshoot of that wide-spread and 
incoherent tribe known as the Bhuiya. The Kandra of Orissa derive 
their name, like the Dhanuk, from their prowess in archery, and in former 
days constituted a local militia in conjunction with the Panka. They 
are now watchmen and labourers, keeping up much of their old religion 
and customs, but cmjjloying Brahmans on occasions. In the Dravidian 
country, the Ambalakkaran of the south-ca.stern Tamil districts, have risen 
by the adoption of Brahmanic rules from a hunting caste to an cstalilished 
village position as watchmen and cultivators. Their kinsfolk, the Mut- 
tiriyan, are said to have passed through a militia stage before settling 
down to the guardianship of the village. They are affiliated by some to 
the ;\Iutraca, a larger caste once no doubt the guards of the frontier 
of the Vijayanagara dominions, and it is possible that the military traditions 
of the Muttiriyan are due to this relationship. The Wutraca, however, are 
from the Telugu country, and the connection therefore may be no more 
than is suggested by similarity of name. 

There remain the castes which are constituted watchmen more from 
apprehension than from an a priori confidence in their efficiency. Amongst 
these maybe counted the Khangar of Bundclkhand, now numerically insigni- 
ficant, and subdivided into a cultivating and respectable section, and one 
which furnishes watchmen and labourers to the villages. It is no doubt one of 
the early Vindhyan tribes a portion of which has been Brahmanised by enlist- 
ment into local forces and contact with the Rajputs by whom the tribe was 
dispossessed of its hill-strongholds. The upper section has no social inter- 
course with the watchmen. The latter retains its old customs and religion, 
does not employ Brahmans, and, although not one of the regular criminal 
tribes, is sufficiently prone to petty theft and burglary to make its enlist- 
ment as Kotval or watchman, advisable. In some cases it is returned at the 
Census under this name, but it is totally unconnected with the watchman 
caste of Bardvan, in Bengal, or that of the west, which is Bhil, or of the 
Central Provinces, which is Gond. A more important community of this 
class is the i\Iina of Rajputana, to which reference was made in connection 
with the Meo, the Muslim and more settled branch of the same tribe. 
The Mina are spread all over the east and north of Rajputana, and were 
formerly the rulers of a considerable portion of the present state of Jaipur, 
if not of Alvar and Bhartpur also. Even now, they occupy a dominant 
position amongst the agriculturists of the east, and in Jaipur, a section 
is employed as the special guardians of the palace and State treasure. 
It used to be the custom, moreover, for a Mina to complete the enthrone- 
ment ceremonial of the Chief of Jaipur by affixing upon his forehead the 
mark of his caste, just as in Mevad, the Chief has to undergo the same 
operation at the hands of a Bhil, in token of the acquiescence of the 
former owners of the soil in the new order of things. There is no doubt 
that the Mina are of early and pre-.Aryan origin, though a section of 
them has been impregnated by Rajput blood to an extent w'hich encourages 
them to claim to belong to that order. Of the two sections into which the 
tribe is divided, the Caukidari, or watchmen, used to be the terror of 
Central India, and carried its raids far south of the Vindhya. As it still 

IndoAryan Restarch. IL j. 6 



82 5- Ethnography. 

exercises its traditional functions of guarding the villages, it considers 
itself higher in rank than the other sub-division, the Zamindari, which has 
settled down to cultivation, and it used to take its brides from the latter 
without returning them. Now, however, the cultivator has advanced in 
prosperity and refuses to recognise the older section either as its superior 
or even as its equal. In this it was supported by a former Chief of Alvar, 
who did his best to sever the more reputable of his subjects from the 
contaminating influence of their turbulent fellow-tribesmen. In the south 
of Rajputana the Mina hold a lower position than up north, and in 
Marvad some rank as village menials of. the impure grade. In the 
neighbourhood of the hill tracts they are also hunters and fowlers, and 
everywhere their reputation is the basis of their employment on the vil- 
lage staff. Almost the same can be said of the Bhil, who, in Gujarat, 
serves as watchman, under the sub-title of Vasavo, a name applied to 
his tribe in the western Satpura. In Bihar and along the Ganges as far 
up as Mirzapur, the large caste of the Dosadh undertakes the duties of 
watchman. This community is very mixed. It has undoubtedly a strong 
strain of Mongoloidic blood, but it is peculiar in the extent of its formal 
recognition of members of higher castes who seek admission to its 
ranks. It employs degraded Brahmans for ordinary purposes, but at the 
chief festival of the caste, that in honour of Rahu, the demon of eclipse, 
one of its own number officiates. The Dosadh used to furnish many re- 
cruits to the Muslim armies of Bengal, and it is said that a considerable 
proportion of Clive's army at Plassey was composed of this caste. Now, 
however, the Dosadh has but a poor reputation for industry-, whilst it is much 
addicted to crimes against property, entailing its employment as watchmen. 
The rest of the caste get their living by porterage and day labour. The Mai 
of western Bengal is largely engaged to watch crops and villages, as many 
of its sections are thieves and wandering pilferers. It belongs to a large and 
widely-spread Dravidian tribe now divided into numerous separate castes. 
A similar caste to the Dosadh is found in the Bcrad, or Bcdar, 
'fearless ones", of the south Dekkan. These were originally hunters and 
fowlers of the Karnatic, and were formed into militia by the Muslim Chiefs 
of Mysore and Haidarabad, in which capacity they served till a compara- 
tively recent period. They are now watchmen and petty cultivators. Their 
faith is Brahmanic, of the semi-Dravidian type, and they employ the Sa- 
tani caste as their priests. Possibly they come of the same stock as the 
Buya, one section of which pursues the same calling, or the Vctjan of the 
Tamil country, who are still hunters and in the jungle phase of existence. 
In the Maratha country, especially near the Sahyadri range, the place of the 
Berad is taken by a kindred tribe, also from the south, known as the 
Ramosi, a title which is said to represent the Marathi Ranvasi, or 
forestdweller. They address each other, however, as Boyali, indicating 
Telingana parentage. They stand higher than the Bedar, and employ by 
preference, the Jangam priests of the Liiigayat, with a Gosai for their re- 
ligious and moral instructor. According to the caste reputation, the func- 
tions of this individual are more necessary than effective. By the age of 
seven, the Ramosi boy must have stolen something or he is disgraced. 
If caught and convicted, the halo thereby acquired renders him a prize 
in the marriage market for which an unusually high dowry has to be of- 
fered. Another peculiar tenet of this caste is that meat is not to be eaten 
unless it has been killed by a Muslim. 



Castes and Caste-Groups. B. The Village community. 83 

§ 52. Scavenging castes (3,647,700). This group includes the lowest 
of at all events the village castes of India, whatever may be their position 
relatively to the immoral and foul-feeding nomad. Yet even here there 
are gradations of rank duly recognised within the community though not 
affecting its intercourse with the outside public. For this reason, perhaps, 
the Bhangi or Mihtar caste of the upper Gangetic region is subdivided 
to an unusual extent, and the main endogamous sub-castes are strict in 
regard to the limitation of their respective functions. Judging from the 
nomenclature of the subdivisions it may be inferred that the caste was 
originally formed out of a number of local tribes, reduced or compelled 
to have recourse to occupations repudiated by the community to whom 
they were subject. Some of these sub-castes draw the line at carrying 
loads and playing pipes and drums; others have become watchmen, cane- 
workers, domestic servants, sweepers of roads, and plasterers of walls 
with cowdung. A section which keeps pigs, again, ranks below all but 
those who remove night-soil, and amongst these last, those who serve 
private houses hold no intercourse with those employed on public latrines. 
It may be borne in mind that these latter functions are confined to towns, 
except where the women of the household are strictly secluded. Else- 
where, the custom of the country renders their offices unnecessary. The 
great differences in the physical appearance of sections of the caste do 
not indicate a different origin of the respective communities, but a varied 
recruitment from higher castes of "broken men"; and, also, the impregnation 
of the sections undertaking domestic service with the blood of their em- 
ployers through illegitimate connections, the Mihtaranf sharing the repu- 
tation of the Camari for good looks. She is also called in, like the wives 
of several of the low castes, to perform duties connected with childbirth 
which no higher class will undertake. In the west, where there is no 
question of a lower caste, the Bhangi will handle a corpse, kill a stray 
dog, and act as hangman. Further east, he finds that these functions can 
be thrust upon the Dom, a tribe of probably quite as early origin, but 
later enslavement to Brahmanic supremacy. In the Central Panjab the 
Cuhra does much the same work that the Camar does where the latter 
is in full strength, and resents the title of Bhangi. In the west of the 
province the ^Muslim sweeper known as Kutanan or Musalli, digs graves 
but will not touch night-soil. Further to the south, the Ciihra is called 
Jat like many other menial castes. In the east, the caste is a recognised 
member of the village staff and belongs to the Bhangi community of the 
Gangetic region. Amongst other duties may be mentioned one of great 
importance in a land where fuel is scarce, that is, the collection, drying 
and storing of cowdung for burning. The sweeper, too, is the only caste 
which will convey the tidings of a death to those whom it may concern. 
In the Sikh tracts many Ciihra have joined that faith and after conversion 
continue to perform only the less offensive parts of their traditional du- 
ties. One of their subdivisions, the Rangreta, has risen in position by 
taking to leather work exclusively. The Mazhabi, or Mazbi, as the Sikh 
Cuhra is called, makes a capital soldier, but has to be brigaded in se- 
parate regiments, as the other Sikhs, with their eye on the traditional 
calling, refuse to associate with the convert, even in religious ceremonies. 
Occasionally the Sikh intermarries with the Lai Begi, or Brahmanic Bhangi. 
In north Gujarat, the Hhahgio is one of the principal village menials, and 
does most of the unskilled labour. In spite of the Rajput titles of the sub- 



84 5- Ethnography. 



castes, this community is one of long settlement on the land there. It is 
the Bhangiu, for instance who points out the boundaries; the sight of 
one of this caste carrying his basket brings luck for the day, and before 
crossing the Mahl river in a flood, the blessing of a Bhangio tends to a 
safe passage. In this part of the country, as on the Ganges, the Bhangi 
is strict in his religious observances, but is only allowed, of course, to 
worship from the outside court of the temples. As in the north, too, this 
caste has the provision and control of the village music at times of festival. 
In Bengal and Assam the chief castes of sweepers are the Bhuinmali 
and the Harl, or Haddl. Probably both are of the same stock, a Kol 
or Deltaic tribe of early settlement. The Bhuinmali is found in the north 
and east of the province, the Hari in the west and centre, and the Haddi 
in south Orissa. Both arc subdivided into functional sub-castes which do 
not intermarry. Musicians and porters stand highest, and often take to 
cultivation. The ^lihtar, borrowing its name from upper India, is the 
lowest section, and the only one which touches night-soil. Between these 
come sections working in cane, tapping palms and carrying torches at 
weddings. One section has taken to private service. The smearing of 
wet cowdung upon walls is a frequent occupation of the Bhuinmali, but 
they can only touch the outer walls, and except this caste none will 
touch the wall of another owner, though each householder does the steps 
and inner walls of his own dwelling. The Hari has preserved much of 
the non-.\ryan customs of his original tribe in regard to marriage, and 
is singular amongst the widow-marrying classes of India in prohibiting 
instead of encouraging, the marriage of the widow to the younger brother 
of her late husband. The caste does not, as a rule, call in Brahmans, 
but the practice of making use of them is spreading round Calcutta, though 
the Brahmans in (|uestion are put out of communion by their fellows. 

As the Dravidian country is approached the village scavenging is 
more and more done by some of the menial castes mentioned in a preceding 
paragraph, such as the Paraiyan or Mala. It will probably be found that 
as elsewhere endogamous sub-castes are being formed, separating the 
sweeping and labouring families from those employed in municipal or 
private conservancy. 

§ 53. The Dom and Ghasiya. It was remarked above that in the 
Gangetic region there were functions which even the scavenger caste would 
not undertake, there being the Dom at hand to perform them. Here, then, 
is found a caste which, if not at the bottom of the social scale, is, at 
least, not far from it. It is not, however, a scavenging caste by tradition, 
nor is it homogeneous. There are Doms and Doms. In the Kumaon and 
Garhval Himalaya, the Dom lives by agriculture and village handicrafts. 
Further west, the Panjab Dijmna is often, it is true, the village sweeper, 
but his ordinary trade is that of cane -work. This last is, in fact, the 
occupation most widely spread, on the whole, throughout the caste. The 
Dom is at his lowest in the Bengal Delta, whither the caste is said to 
have been imjiorted from upper India, to do what no local caste would do. 
In Bihar and its neighbourhood to the west, the Dom seem to fall into 
two sections. One settled down to village life, mat-weaving, basket-making, 
and labour, with a little scavenging thrown in, the other more or less 
nomad, and containing gangs said to be expert and artistic burglars and 
thieves. Some stray tribes seem to have penetrated across the Central 
Belt into the north Telugu country and the Karnatic. In the former they 



Castes and Caste-Groups. C. Subsidiary Professional Castes. 85 

are coarse weavers, and in the Dekkan, acrobats, dancers and bad cha- 
racters generally. Both these bodies have the appearance of belonging 
to the Kol-Dravidian race, possibly through the admixture of local blood. 
In the same way, the Dom of Dacca, long separated from their native 
country up the Ganges, have acquired characteristics different from those 
■of the Dum of Bihar. It is now generally believed that the Dom were 
settled in force along the southern Himalaya at a very early period, and 
judging by the forts and strongholds called after them, they were in a 
dominant position, like the Dasyu encountered by the first Vedic immi- 
grants. The Dum still on the hills were enslaved by later comers, such as 
the Khasya and refugee Rajputs and Brahmans. The community is divided 
into four groujis, field-labourers, weavers, and m.etal-workers; cane-workers 
and the lower artisans; exorcists, porters and leather-workers, and, finally, 
musicians, mendicants, and — tailors. The pom of the plains, when settled, 
tend to establish separate castes of cane-workers (BansphOra, Basor), and 
labourers. In spite of efforts to get them to work themselves into a better 
position they seem to have no aspirations beyond their traditional occu- 
pations or a little petty cultivation. But in social intercourse they disown 
the nomads. It must be noted that the Diam of the Panjab, whatever their 
nominal connection with the Dom, are now an entirely separate community, 
both in occupation and social position. 

There is a small community called the Ghasiya, which, though pro- 
bably not connected with the Dom by origin, may be taken with it in 
view of its kindred position and occupation. It has been held, in Bengal, 
to be a sub-caste of the Hari, but it appears to be an independent offshoot 
of some Kol tribe of the Central Belt, and to have been severed from 
its parent stock at a comparatively recent date. The Ghasiya is still divided 
into its totemistic exogamous sections, and keeps up the worship of the 
field goddesses and other genii of its native haunts. In the neighbourhood 
of the larger Kol tribes the Ghasiya occupy but a low position, and 
perform on drums and trumpets at festivals with other menial functions. 
In the plains, however, the Ghasiya have entered private service as grooms 
and elephant-drivers. The caste keeps much to itself, and, low as it is, 
it eschews the menial offices imposed upon it in the hills, and especially 
avoids the leather-worker and contact with dogs. 

C. Subsidiary Professional Castes. 

§ 54. This comparatively small group comprises a number of bodies 
which, though not so directly concerned with the every-day life of the 
masses as those dealt with in the preceding paragraphs, exercise functions 
which are intimately connected with certain phases of the domestic or reli- 
gious observances of at least the upper and middle classes of the Brahmanic 
community in most parts of the country, and stand intermediately, as it 
were, between the village and the specially urban castes. 

Bards and Genealogists (782,500). These ancient professions are 
usually found more or less linked together, and in India the connection 
is peculiarly intimate. From the earliest times chants in praise of the 
founders and heroes of the clan have been recited to tickle the ear of 
the ruling Chief when sitting in formal assembly or heading a procession 
through his streets. Still more essential were they in battle, to encourage 
the fighting members of the community to emulate or excel the deeds of 



86 5 Ethnography. 



their ancestors. The annals of such enterprise with the personality' of the 
principal performers became, naturally, the special study of those whose 
duty it was to set them to verse and directly connect them with the patrons 
before whom they have to be recited. The Bard, therefore, developed 
into a sort of Herald, and as his office, like all others in India, tended 
to become hereditary, the pedigree of those he served was transmitted 
in all its ramifications from father to son, with that marvellous accuracy 
of memory which is marked feature of the Brahmanic intellect. The im- 
portance of such knowledge can hardly be overrated in a country where 
the licit and the prohibited degrees of affinity which form the basis of 
all arrangements of marriage or adoption, are the subject of most minute 
and complicated regulation throughout the community from top to bottom. 
In the course of time, therefore, the genealogist more or less split off 
from the bard, and took the higher rank at Court. His functions are chiefly 
exercised among the Rajjiuts, but in the Panjab some of the Jat clans, 
and in Gujarat some of the leading Kanbi families, utilise his services. 
As a rule, each of the ruling and leading families keeps its own genea- 
logist. The rest of the community is divided into circuits, assigned re- 
spectively to a certain member of the fraternity, who annually visits each 
family in order to learn what domestic occurrences have taken place since 
his previous visit. In modern times every one of these incidents is entered 
by him in his register. Such is the reputation of the genealogist for ac- 
curacy and knowledge that this register is accepted as final in any question 
of affinity or relationship, and even before such "vahi" were customarv, 
no Rajput ever thought of disputing the decision of the genealogist upon 
these points. The principal caste coming under this head is the Bhat, 
sometimes called Bharot in Gujarat and Rajbhat in Bengal. A question has 
been raised whether the caste takes its origin from Brahmans who in old 
days secularised themselves in order to act as Court poets and panegyrists, 
or whether the function devolved upon a member of the Rajput clan to 
which the Bhat was attached. There is evidence on both sides. In every 
tract in which the Bhat is found, the community contains two sections, 
of which the Brahma Bhat is the higher. In Rajputana, the Brahma, or 
Birm Bhats are treated as Gaur Brahmans, and in the east ofOudh, that 
sub-caste of Brahman which is native to the locality, actually performs 
the duties of bard, and sometimes of genealogist. Again, the person of a 
Bhat has always been considered inviolable, like that of Brahman. On the other 
hand, a Brahman is never known to drop his exogamous subdivision by 
Gotra, whilst the Bhat are subdivided according to Rajput custom. The 
inviolability of the Bhat, too, may be attributed not only to the character 
of herald or privileged messenger or forerunner of Chiefs, but to the 
inexpiable guilt of destroying the only recognised authority upon pedigree, 
and the apprehension of the vengeance or reprisals that would infallibly 
follow such an outrage. It is true that the Bhatrazu of the Telugu country 
are subdivided into the Brahmanical gotra, but this branch of the caste 
is an exotic, introduced, under the name of Magadha, through Orissa and 
probably from Bihar, in the course of invasions of the .\ndhra region from 
the north, and has not kept up cither its traditions or its occupation 
amongst the once military Dravidian castes to which it was attached. On 
the other side, there is the fact that the Bhat is a distinctively Rajput 
institution, and, except for the colonies in Telingana and eastern Bengal, 
is only found where Rajput influence is supreme. Even in Gujarat, where 



Castes and Caste-Groups. C. Subsidiary Professional Castes. 87 

the Bhats are numerous, all their sections trace their origin to some part 
of Rajputana, and, as a rule, the Bhats in regular employ dress as Rajputs 
and have Rajput names. In regard to the distribution of the work of the 
caste, the Brahma-Bhat usually takes upon himself the duties of poet and 
reciter whilst the others look after the pedigree. In upper India, too, the 
former do not take up permanent posts, but are engaged for the occasion. 
In Rajputana itself, the male Bhat, it is said, undertakes the care of the 
pedigree of the male line, and his wife that of the female. In these days, 
the Bhat docs not enjoy by any means the same position as of yore, though 
a good reciter has still a high value, and in Gujarat, a popular genealogist 
has considerable influence as counsellor in the households of his clients. 
Even in the west, however, the Bhat has been obliged to leave his traditional 
profession to a great extent for trade and cultivation, like the Bhatrazu 
of the south. In eastern Bengal, where the caste is exotic, it ranks much 
lower than in upper or western India, though it wears, as elsewhere, the 
sacred thread. The Bhat there still practises the profession of genealogist, 
and each member of the fraternity has his circuit which he visits annually. 
At other times he is in request only in connection with marriage ceremonies, 
in which he takes the part of herald between the two houses concerned, and 
acts also as go-between in the preliminary stages of the family arrangement. 
But in the eastern districts, the Bhat has been reduced even to the trade of 
making leaf-umbrellas. Some of the Rajputana Bhat accjuire herds of cattle 
and carry salt, grain and piece-goods to localities remote from the railways. 

In this respect they fall into line with the Car an, a bard and genea- 
logist of a lower type, whose range lies between Kach and Rajputana. 
The name seems to connect the caste with grazing, and it is by cattle- 
breeding and transport by pack-bullock that the Caran mainly now gets 
his living. There is an old and long obsolete connection between the 
Caran and the Kumbhar, or potter caste, the link being said to have been 
the joint trade of ass-breeding, but the relations have now passed into 
the stage of violent but unexplained hostility. It is possible, of course, that 
this misty tradition may account to some extent for the inferior position 
which the Caran, even when he is exclusively a bard or genealogist, oc- 
cupies with reference to the Bhat. The Caran caste is subdivided into 
geographical sections with numerous exogamous sub-sections. The families 
in permanent employ as genealogists intermarry with each other only, not 
as a matter of caste, but, as amongst the Jats of the Panjab, on purely 
social considerations. They have thus acquired a physical appearance far 
superior to that of the cultivating and cattle-breeding sections of their 
community. The profession, however, as among the Bhat, has gone down, 
and only a minority now live by it. Most of the western, or Kach, Caran 
live by transport on pack-bullocks. Here again their trade has suffered 
by the extension of railways acrfiss the desert tracts, but many of them 
have adapted their operations to the new order and ply along the main 
feeder roads to the chief stations. The Caran who are thus engaged 
bear a striking resemblance to the Banjara of upper India and the Dekkan 
in appearance, dress and customs. The Banjara of the north have, in 
fact, a large subdivision called Caran, and it is possible that there was 
of old some tribal connection between them and the Caran of the west, 
lost through the migration of the latter. 

The Caran shares with the Bhat the reputation of personal inviolability, 
and numerous cases are on record, extending even down to 1861, of their 



88 5- Ethnography. 

killing one of their girls or old women, or inflicting serious, even fatal, 
wounds upon their own persons, in order to fix the guilt of certain acts 
upon those opposed to them. In earlier times, from at least the is'*" cen- 
tury downwards, both castes were the professional securities for the per- 
formance of a contract or the repayment of a debt, and no important 
document of this sort would be accepted as valid without the "dagger" 
and signature of a Bhat or Caran at the foot of it. This practice arose, 
ai>i)arently, out of that of obtaining the guarantee or escort of one of 
these castes for every caravan or transport train from the coast across 
Central India. But the origin of the notiort of the inviolability of the 
Caran is as obscure as in the case of the Bhat. The Caran, it is true, 
has the reputation of being a violent and turbulent character, whose 
ghost is particularly vindictive and malevolent. The curse of a Caran, 
therefore, was powerful against one's enemies, and a member of the caste 
used to be engaged, like Balaam, to accompany the army of the Chief 
to battle, and curse the foe. The women of the caste, too, are reprehen- 
sibly familiar with si)ells and charms, and in north Gujarat, the tombs of 
some of them are worshipped like those of the local goddesses. On the 
whole, however, the sacredness of the office of an authoritative repository 
of the family pedigree and achievements seems to be the more probable 
source of the conception. 

The only other caste which it is necessary to mention under this 
head is that of the Dum or Mirasi of the Panjab. The members of this 
community are both minstrels and genealogists. Their Brahmanic name 
of Dum may have some relation to the former accomplishment, as the 
Dom are, as stated in the preceding paragraph, to some extent, musicians. 
But the Dum as they exist in the present day are far above the Dom 
alike in appearance, position and attainments, though still amongst the 
lower classes out of communion with the peasantry and artisans. They 
are almost all Muslim, and the name of Mirasi is derived from the .Arabic 
for inheritance and may thus be taken to refer to their work as genealogists. 
In this capacity they are much below the Bhat, and officiate chiefly in 
the families of the lower agricultural population and for the impure castes. 
Some Jat families employ them, but the accredited genealogist for that 
race, strange to say, is the Sahsi, a criminal vagrant tribe of the province, 
whilst the families ambitious of a rise in society engage, as above remarked, 
the Jaga Bhat. The musical attainments of the Mirasi" are considerable. 
Some only sing, others play the flute, pipe, lute, cymbals and different 
sorts of drum. Their women also dance and sing occasionally, but only 
for the delectation, it is said, of patrons of their own sex. Those who are 
genealogists in permanent employ of a definite circle of clients hold their 
office hereditarily, and do not associate or intermarry- with those similarly 
engaged among the impure castes. The profession is by no means un- 
remunerati\e, especially where agricultural prosperity connotes the neces- 
sity of an improved family tree. Even in the open market, the Mirasi is 
a popular and well-paid feature of every fair and large wedding. Unfor- 
tunately, the Mirasi, like the Bhat in the eastern parts of India, is a 
shameless blackmailer, and the refusal or inadequate requital of his demand 
is followed by often witty and invariably outspoken burlesques of the 
genealogy of the ill-advised recusant. In eastern Bengal, the Bhat, who 
there resembles the Mirasi rather than his own namesake of Rajputana, 
is said to varv his stock ridicule of the manners and customs of Europeans 



Castes and Caste-Groups. C. Subsidiary Professional Castes. 89 

with depreciatory references to the ancestry of any local magnate 
whose purse-strings may have been drawn tt)0 tightly on the Bard's 
last visitation. 

§ 55. Astrologers and Exorcists (205,300). The impnrtance of the 
horoscc>i)e, or birth-letter, and of a lucky day and hour for each domestic 
ceremony is so great in the eyes of the Brahmanic community that the 
duty of casting the one and of ascertaining the others is usually entrusted 
to none but a Brahman. In many cases he is maintained by the village 
for the purpose and remunerated out of the crops, and in most Native 
States the JyotisI is an honoured official, endowed with salary and estate 
by the Chief His function does not entail any separation from his sub- 
caste, so that this class of astrologer does not figure in the census returns. 
There is, hcnvever, a much lower grade in the profession, called by the 
same name, or rather, by its popular abbreviation, Josi, who is so returned, 
chiefly in the upper Gangetic plain and in Central India. He lives by 
palmistry, exorcism and omen-reading, and accepts remuneration for aver- 
ting the evil influences of eclipses and of the phases of certain maleficent 
planets, especially Saturn, and generally pandering to pre-.\ryan credulity. 
The subdivisions of the caste indicate, too that the Josi is a community 
of very mixed descent, and if connected at all with the Brahman, is only 
one of the degraded sections. This seems to be admitted in the case 
of the Dakaut, the astrologer of the Jamna valley and Rajputana, who 
is of the Agroha stock, unclassed for taking to an unorthodox course 
of life. The Ganak, again, of the Brahmaputra valley, are said to have 
been cast out by their Bengal fellows for undertaking the duties of family- 
priest to the carpenter caste. The Ganak moved int<j Assam, where, 
through the influence they acquired as court astrologers to the Koch and 
Ahom Chiefs, they settled down into a rank inferior to that of the Brahman 
alone. A distinction must be drawn between the Josi of the plains of 
upper India and the same caste as found in the Kumaon hills. In the 
latter tract the Josi, whatever his position before his migration, has acquired 
the status of Brahman in his present home, and intermarries with the 
Kanaujiya and other sub-castes. This may be due in part to his worldly 
success, as for many generations the Josi has almost monopolised the 
sweets of State appointments in Kumaon, and flourished on them. In the 
Dravidian country, the profession of exorcist is widely spread, owing to 
the prevailing demonolatry, which requires variety of treatment. The 
determination of a lucky day, too, probably falls to the priests of the 
different communities of the lower classes, and to the Brahman in the 
upper. On the Malabar coast, however, there are a few small castes which 
appear to be somewhat specialised in these arts. The Kanisan, Panan 
and Velan combine exorcism not only with devil-dancing, which is the 
usual twin calling, but with herbalism also. Probably all three castes are 
descended from the hill tribes of the neighbourhood, but have long been 
settled in the lowlands under the protection of the Nayar. In most parts 
of India there are specialists in exorcism and protective spells, though 
they may not have been yet fofmed into castes. The averter of hail, for 
instance, is an institution in parts of Bengal, in the lower Himalaya and 
in the north Dekkan. In the Kumaon tracts the duties fall to a special 
section of the Dom. In Bengal, there seems to be a caste for the purpose, 
called the S'ilari, but it is not returned at the Census. Possibly it has 
died out, since it is frankly admitted there that people did not think it 



90 5- Ethnography. 

worth while to maintain a wizard who could only keep hail off the crops 
of his patron without having the power to call it down upon those of 
his neighbours. The Garpagari of the Maratha tracts is a distinct caste, 
though, like the S'ilari, it is on the wane; not, however, for the same 
reason, as the want of confidence now felt in the exorcist is here due 
to his inefficiency even as a protector of the crop, without any after-thought 
regarding his powers of maleficence. It is worth noting, perhaps, that 
these exorcists of the forces of Nature must be remunerated in kind, 
never in cash. 

§ 56. Temple services, a) Priests (695,400). In treating of the 
Brahman, it was mentioned that whilst the post of priest in a family of 
a pure caste was one which could be occupied with credit by a member 
of the sacerdotal order, ministration in a temple was held to be a duty 
only to be undertaken by a degraded, or at least, one of the lower, sub- 
divisions of Brahmans. The distinction, it was pointed out, lies probably 
in the divergence of the worship of the non-Aryan deities of the existing 
pantheon from the old Vedic sacrifices, still held in reverence, at least in 
theory, by all orthodox Brahmans. There is also the risk, or perhaps the 
certainty, of contamination to be incurred in disposing of the offerings 
made in the course of these services. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, 
Brahmans are found to perform the necessary offices before the god in 
the great majority of the temples of their creed. Equally low in the esti- 
mation of the order is the Brahman who subsists upon the fees and of- 
ferings of pilgrims at the great centres of religious resort, and still lower, 
the Mahabrahman, who takes part in funeral rites. All these, however, are 
included under the general title of Brahman. Outside this designation are 
some small classes who claim to be Brahmans because they perform temple 
service, but who are recruited from the lay castes of the vicinity. The 
Pujari and Bhojki, of the Panjab Himalaya are cases of this kind, and, 
though repudiated by the Sarasvat Brahmans to whom they have attached 
themselves, they seem to have all the position of the order among the 
people to whom they minister. The Bhojak and Scvak of west Rajputana, 
again, who have been mentioned in connection with the Banya, are held 
to be Brahmans, albeit degraded by their connection with the Jain wor- 
ship. The real reason for the lowness of their position is surmised to be 
their foreign origin, of which mention was made above. The impure 
castes, and, in the Dravidian country, a good many of the lower agri- 
cultural castes, employ their own caste-fellows for priestly duties outside 
the temple, whilst a few castes, in the south, officiate for not only their 
own body but for other castes of similar or slightly superior rank. Ge- 
nerally, however, these semi-priestly castes are themselves of low rank. 
The Panclaram, for instance, is generally considered to be a branch of 
the Amli, a fraternity of Tamil religious mendicants; but there is one 
subdivision considerably above the average of the latter class, which is 
educated to a certain extent, wears the sacred thread, presides over 
monastic and temple establishments, and officiates as priests to the great 
VeUalan peasantry and the castes immediately below and above it. Some 
of the Dasari, too, in the Telugu country, rise far above the rest, and do 
service in temples and with respectable families of any caste below the 
Brahman. The Valluvan, once the priests of the Pallava dynasties, now 
officiate for the PaHan and Paraiyan and have lost much of their former 
position by so doing. Like several low castes in various parts of India, 



Castes and Caste-Groups. C. Subsidiary Professional Castes. 91 

the Valluvan have produced a widely popular poet, Tiruvaljuvan, who is 
said to have married into a VeUalan family. It is conjectured that the sa- 
cerdotal functions of this caste were superseded by those of the Brahman, 
when the latter found his way into the Dravidian region. Now, besides 
their cm|)loyment by the castes above mentioned, the VaMuvan have to 
look to astrology and herbalistic medicine for their living, and here they 
enjoy the custom and confidence of far higher castes. In some villages, 
indeed, the Valluvan is on the staff, and receives his annual (juota of 
threshed grain from each household. It may be remarked that they do 
not ever intermarry with the castes to which they act as priests, unless 
they belong to the pure section. The Tambaja, a small caste of temple- 
priests in Telingana, hold almost the rank of Brahmans, and where they 
have taken to cultivation are still quite in the upper line. It is said that 
their name, the local rendering of Tamil, is due to their having been sent 
uji from the south by the great reformer, S'ankaracarya, to labour on the 
Coromandel coast. As they are mostly worshippers of S'iva, many have 
joined, it is said, the Lihgayat community in the inland districts. The true 
priests of the latter, however, are the Jarigam, a caste of considerable 
influence in the Karnatic. It seems to have been called into being to 
satisfy the desire of the converts of Basava to retain priests for their 
Dravidian forms of worship after they had split from the Brahmans. In 
the tracts where Lingvantism is most powerful the Jaiigam are subdivided 
into the usual monastic and secular sections. The former, in turn, are 
either stationary in monasteries, or put in charge of a circle of villages, 
each of which they visit in turn, imparting doctrine and counsel. In the 
outlying parts of the Karnatic, the Jaiigam is not unfrequently a wandering 
mendicant of a religious type, living upon doles from every class of the 
population. The secular Jarigam, again, is often a trader or money-lender. 
The Census returns of this caste, though possibly fairly accurate in the 
aggregate, are defective in detail. In the south Dravidian districts, that 
is, the term Jarigam is used of any Liiigayat, whilst in the north on the 
contrary, many Jarigam are returned as Lirigayat or as Virsaiv Brahman. 
A small caste corresponding somewhat to the Valluvan, is found in Gujarat 
and the north Dekkan, called the Garuda, which serves the leather- 
working castes as priest. In some parts they eat with their clients, but 
in Gujarat they are generally superior to the latter in education and 
physical appearance. From one of their subdivisions it might be surmised 
that they are the descendants of a superior class driven out of Rajputana, 
like so many others in the west. The Garudi of the Maratha country is 
of a lower type altogether, and belongs to the Maiig caste. 

In the Panjab, there is one caste requiring notice, the Bharai, which, 
however, is often returned simply as Sekh. The Bharai is the special 
guardian and ministrant of the shrine of the popular Saint Sakhi Sarvar, 
of the Indus. Whether he is, since his canonisation, Muslim or Brahmanist, 
it is difficult to judge from the crowds that throng to his tomb; but the 
Bharai are of the former creed. They haunt the centre and submontane 
parts of the Province, and live by conducting pilgrims down to the shrine 
at Nigaha, in the Derajat. It is said that some of the Bharai have taken 
to music and call themselves Mirasi. The only other occupation with 
which they are associated is circumcision, which rite they perform in 
supersession of the barber on the lower Indus. Along the I'athan frontier, 
there is a body, incoherent and multifarious, which locally arrogates to 



92 5- Ethnography. 

itself the title of Ulama, or the learned. The entrance-qualification, 
however, appears to be only the knowledge by rote of a sufficient number 
of texts of the Kuran to serve as spells or curses for the practical pur- 
poses of life. On the other hand, the term may include the highly educated 
Maulvl of the city mosque, and the Kazi, who may or may not be erudite 
in the law he administers. It is not, however, a caste, and as a functional 
body, enjoys as low a reputation for piety as for erudition, and is the 
subject of many biting proverbs along the frontier. 

§ 51. b) Temple-servants (300,500). There are certain castes in 
almost every part of India, but especially in"the south, which are dedicated 
to offices within the temple other than those of actual worship. They 
wash the images of the god, deck it with flowers, and keep the precincts 
clean. Most of them have other and more secular avocations, generally 
connected with leaves or flowers, such as umbrella-making, the preparation 
of leaf-i)latters for Rrahmanic festivals and garlands for ceremonial use. 
The caste most widely spread of all thus engaged is the Mali, or garland- 
maker; but as nearly the whole of the caste is in the present day occupied 
in gardening or agriculture, it has been reviewed already under the head 
of special cultivation. In Bengal there is still enough of the traditional 
work left to justify a separate subdivision to perform it. In other provinces, 
too, the growth of flowers and the making of garlands, particularly those 
for the temple, are the work of special bodies, but they are generally 
distinct from the Mali. Such arc the Phul-Mali, Phularl, Hugar, and the 
like. It is still necessary to be specially brought up to the trade, lest 
mistakes be made which would be ruinous. One god has to be decked 
with flowers which are abhorrent to another; certain flowers, too, are 
required by convention for certain occasions, and the marriage-coronet 
must contain the prescribed flowers and no others. The small castes 
above mentioned are generally found south of the Vindhya, in connection 
with the caste of Gurao, which is accredited to certain temples, usually 
those of S'iva, where the post is permanent and hereditary. The Gurao 
also make the leaf platters required for caste-feasts and other banquets 
on a large scale, a task which in upper India is performed by the Bari, 
who, however, does not serve temples. In the Telugu country, the Satani 
does the work of the Gurao and a good deal more, for it appears that this 
caste was brought into being to aid the propaganda of Ramanuja, its patron. 
It is associated, therefore, more closely with religion than a mere temple 
servant, and acts as priest to several other castes in a good position, 
as well as the lower classes. In contradistinction to the Gurao, the Satani 
is Vaisnava, and those of the caste who are brought up as priests are 
fairly conversant with the Puranic authorities of their sect. Formerly, the 
Satani called in Brahmans for their ceremonies, but of late their own 
priests have come into favour. The Balija community generally employ 
the Satani, but those who are redundant in this capacity, take to umbrella 
and garland making. The Tulu caste of Dcvadiga is not found outside 
Kanara, and where not engaged in temple service, the caste has taken 
to cultivation and the lower grades of State service. The curious trans- 
formation of the Barber into the temjjle servant in Malabar has been 
already mentioned, and there are about 8,000 of the Marayan who combine 
that duty with the manipulation of the tem])1e drums when required. 

§ 58. Dancers, Singers &c. (135,900). That these professions should 
be placed immediately after those connected with temple-service is by no 



Castes and Caste-Groups. C. Subsidiary Professional Castes. 93 

means so anomalous as regards sequence as it may appear at first sight. 
In India, as in other oriental countries, dancing and singing are profes- 
sional accomplishments or ceremonial observances, and only among some 
of the wilder tribes is the dance a form of private recreation. In Brah- 
manic circles there are recognised dances, generally of a religious signi- 
ficance, danced among women, and, also, a few highly heterodox tripu- 
diations associated with the rites of some particular sect, and ignored by 
the rest of the community. There are, again, the sword-dances of the 
Khattak and other frontier tribes, and most of the more primitive forest 
communities have their reel or square-dance with its traditional figures 
handed down as a tribal possession. With these exceptions, the dance 
in India is a performance by trained professionals, of a character which 
may be called posture-singing, or illustrating by gestures the words sung 
by the performer. The subject of the ode, except amongst the Muslim, 
is usually connected \vith religion or mythology. In the Dravidian region 
the dancing takes place within or before the temple, in honour of the 
god, especially of S'iva in his many forms, and the performers are de- 
dicated to him and form part of the establishment of the temple. The 
women have their off-time, of course, which is spent in the practice of 
the ancient mystery everywhere, now as of yore, associated with profes- 
sional dancing. In fact, the old Dutch travellers when introduced to these 
bevies, did not mince their words, but habitually refer to them under 
the title of "danshoer", an appellation even more applicable to the dancing 
castes of the north than to those in the south, since the former have no 
connection with religion beyond the dedication of the individual to the 
worship of a certain god, if she be of the Brahmanic faith. It is worth 
noting that owing possibly to this connection with the popular pantheon 
or, as some think, to the more distant tradition of communistic marriage, 
the courtesan is not a degraded member of Indian society, but, like the 
Hetaira of Athens, is not only tolerated, but respected. There is, of 
course, every grade to be found amongst them, as in all countries where 
inequality of purse is the rule, from the ragged nomad in her filthy little 
reed-booth, whose musical and terpsichorean attainments are of the lowest, 
to the highly-trained singer of the great city, well versed in alike clas- 
sical and popular poetry, w'hose diction is often quoted as the standard 
of Hindi or Urdu polite conversation. It may have been gathered from 
what has been stated above, that the two arts, dancing and singing, go 
together, and comparatively few and those only of the highest rank, sing 
without the plastic accompaniment. Recruited as they are from all castes, 
Brahmanic and Muslim, under a number of titles, honorific or the reverse, 
it is not worth while to dwell upon them here otherwise than cursorily, 
as an ancient and recognised grade in Indian society. In upper India, 
alongside the functional titles of Tavaif, Kasbi, Xaik, and so on, there 
are found the semi-religious designations of Ramjani, Gandharp, Ras- 
dhari and the lower ones of Kancan, Besya, Patiiriya and so on. In 
the west, besides some of those above mentioned, there are the Naikin, 
of the semi-religious type, and the Kalavant. The religious establish- 
ments referred to above are all in the south. In the Dekkan there are 
several of comparatively small renown and endowment, and only nine 
women have returned themselves under the specific name there given to 
them. Even in the Tamil country, where the accommodation for this class 
round the chief temples indicates the extent of the community in old 



94 $• Ethnography. 

times, the number returned is far below the actual, since many of the 
girls give the name of the caste in w*hich they were born, instead of 
that to which they were dedicated when they wedded the gr)d. It is the 
duty of the Dasi to fan the god, present to him the sacred light, and to 
sing and dance before him when he is carried in procession. Owing to 
their Hrahmanic connection, they do not consort with the Kammalan, or 
artisans, who belong to the Left hand, nor, of course, with the impure 
castes. Their sons become musicians, often of considerable skill and learning, 
and occasionally marry into respectable castes. The daughters folhnv their 
mother. In the Telugu country, the caste is known as Bogam or Sani, 
and is widely scattered in small numbers. There is only one institution 
of the sort common in the Tamil region. The Kanarese Devali are mostly 
ascribed to a god or to temples, as in the south. B(nh here and in Te- 
lingana, the recruits arc from the Palli, and Iloleya, but on the coast, the 
breed is apparently from a fairer stock, like the Tiyan, or bastards of 
the Ilavik. All these dancing and singing castes have their strict rules 
about initiation, conduct, inheritance, and the observance of caste re- 
gulations, enforced through a caste Council, or Pancayat, like the larger 
communities. 

D. Urban Castes. 

§ 59. The majority of the castes coming under this head are here 
placed not on account of any ethnic distinction between them and those 
already described, but merely in consideration of the generally urban 
character of their occupations. Most of them, indeed, are but offshoots 
of larger bodies still unaffected by the influences of the city, and are 
finding their way back to the village as communication grows easier and 
the convenience they represent gets to be the object of a more effective 
demand. It should be understood, therefore, that these castes are not 
entirely confined to the towns, though it is there that they find at present 
the main field for their labours. They may be conveniently grouped as 
shopkeepers, artisans and domestic servants. 

§ 60. Grocers &c. (825,000). Under this head come the retailers not 
only of spices and condiments but of perfumery also, the functional name 
of the Ranya who sells the former in one part of the country being the 
same as that of the extractor and seller of scents in another. The latter 
is but scantily represented in the Census returns, and is usually a Muslim. 
The large proportion of Brahmanists coming under this title may be taken 
to be grocers returning their professional, in place of their caste, name. 
The Gandhi or Gandhabanik of Bengal is generally a druggist as well as 
the vendor of condiments, and when he sells sandal-wood and other fragrant 
articles which enter largely into domestic worship, he rises in position. 
The whole caste, indeed, pays homage in the spring to Gandhesvari, the 
goddess cf perfume, a manifestation of Durga. The Gandhabanik also sells 
drugs, and is reputed to be well acquainted with all local medicinal pro- 
ducts. A few take out licenses for the sale of opium and intoxicating 
preparations of hemp, but the actual sale of such articles is left to a 
Muslim assistant. The grocer of the upper Gangetic region generally be- 
longs to the Kasar- or Kesar-vani orKasaundhan castes, both some- 
what low branches of the great Banya order. The latter derives its name 
from dealings in brass or bell-metal, and the former probably from saffron. 
Both now sell grain, salt and other commodities which their Bengal con- 



Castes and Caste-Groups. D. Urban Castes. 



95 



freres avoid. Both employ the same caste of Brahman and follow to a 
great extent the teachings of Ramananda, and in Bihar, the Nanakpanthi 
doctrines. In the Dekkan and west, the Gandhi is not a separate caste, 
but merely a petty trader^ of the Vania caste. Subsidiary to this group 
may be mentioned the Kunjra, or green-grocer of the north. It is not 
a caste, i)roperly so called, except, perhaps, in Oudh and along the upper 
Ganges, where the sellers of vegetables are all Muslim and have banded 
themselves into an apparently endogamous community. It was stated in 
connection with the growers of the bitel-vine that the im])<)rtance of the 
"bid" or "birii" in society was held to entitle those connected with it to 
a quite respectable position, above that indicated by the ancestry or wealth 
of the castes in question. The Tamboli is the caste which sells the leaf 
in almost every province except in the south. In Bengal and Bihar, the 
caste is supposed to be connected with the Banya and in the Dekkan with 
the Kunbi, but in upper India it appears to be a branch of the Barai or 
grower of the vine, and in some places the latter sells the leaf he grows. 
This, however, is exceptional, but the names of the subdivisions of the 
two castes indicate former relationship if not identity. Occasionally the 
Tambnll extends his dealings to snuff and tobacco, and even to grain and 
lime. In Bengal some of them hold land, but cultivate through hired labour. 
In those tracts it ranks lower than up the river, where it sticks to the 
shop, and is considered equal to the middle-class peasant in position. 

i;6i. Grain-parchers and Confectioners (1,645,200). Both these are 
important functionaries in town life in Bengal and upper India, but are 
in comparatively little request south of the Vindhya, where the diet and 
rules connected therewith are different. The origin of these castes is not 
clear, except in the Panjab, where both the Bharbhiinja, or grain- 
parcher, and the Bhathiara, or public cook, are of the Jhinvar, or water- 
bearing caste. The Bhathiara is only found in the Muslim tracts, except in 
the larger cities, since the Brahmanic rules of living do not admit of the 
common oven. The grain-parcher is of more mixed origin. In the north, 
one of the sub-castes is connected with the Kayasth, and the same re- 
lationship appears in the communities of Bihar and the Dekkan. On the 
other hand, the Bharbhiinja is often held to be only an elevated branch 
of the Kahar, a view that coincides with the known facts further west, 
and is corroborated by the existence of sub-castes connecting the com- 
munity with the Gohr'.ii, a fishing caste of quite a different part of the 
country, and with the Kandu, the sweetmeat maker. In Bihar, in fact, 
the Bharbhunja, is considered to be a sub-caste of the Kandu. Towards 
Agra, however, the latter takes a higher place, and is almost equal 
to the Banya, exclusively engaged in the traditional pursuit of con- 
fectionery; but of its numerous sub-castes, some, like the Gorirhi, work 
in stone, and others parch grain, like the Bharbhiinja. It seems probable, 
therefore, that both the castes originated amongst the fishing and porter 
community, and have been reinforced by occupational subdivisions formed 
locally to meet a demand for their services. The Halvai, another caste 
of confectioners, is entirely distinct, and, in upper India, is often Muslim. 
It is a composite body with a good many endogamous sub-castes. One of 
these shares the name of the Godiya, or Gufia, the confectioner caste 
of Orissa, though without any other connection. In Bengal, the Mayara 
caste is like the Kandu of the north, recruited from various bodies and 
is subdivided, accordingly, into both Brahmanic gotra and totemistic exo- 



g6 5. Ethnography. 

gamous sections. Some of those castes have betaken themselves to hus- 
bandry, but in that capacity, curiously enough, they will have nothing to d.j 
with the cultivation of the sugarcane or the preparation of molasses, the 
stock-in-trade of the rest of the caste. In connection with this group of 
castes it may be remarked that the upper and middle classes of Brahmanical 
society, wherever the caste-system is strictly maintained on the northern 
Indian model, are prohibited from eating anything but parched grain or 
sweetmeats when on a journey away from their domestic cooking-place; 
and this rule may have a good deal to do with the consideration which 
is allowed to communities of such mixed Or dubious origin as those which 
purvey these convenient provisions. 

Sj 62. Butchers 1701,800). No such credit, however, is attached to 
the sale of meat, which, naturally, is chiefly in the hands of a flesh-eating 
community like the Muslim. It is not to be supposed, from this that 
Brahmanists are universally either vegetarians or fish -eaters. Customs 
differ in this respect in different parts of the country and amongst different 
castes. Beef and pork, indeed, are eaten by none but the lowest of the 
community, but in the middle classes, especially in the Dravidian country, 
the consumption of mutton and goat is considerable, though the mediation 
of a professional salesman, except in the towns, is comparatively rare. 
In Vedic times, the Arya were apparently accustomed to eat meat, 
and acquired the vegetarian habit as they got acclimatised to the 
tropics. Nowadays, the only butcher caste not Muslim is the Khatik, 
and this community, though breeding pigs in the north, only slaughters 
sheep and goats, the skins of which are tanned by its household. In 
the south, the Khatik is merely the professional title of the Muslim 
mutton butcher. The Kasaf, or Qasab, of upper India is almost exclusively 
Muslim, and in the Panjab is merely a functional branch of the TcU, or 
oilman. Further east there are subdivisions, and that which deals in mutton 
holds itself above the beef-butcher. This last is, of course, anathema to 
the Brahmanic world, and in some places is "boycotted" by tradesmen, 
so that it is obliged to make its purchases through the intermediary of 
one of the lower Brahmanic castes. 

§63. Pedlars and Glassworkers (424,100). There is a certain con- 
nection between these two apparently incongruous occupations. In the 
north, especially, there are several small castes which go round with beads, 
glasswork, bangles, and so on, which, if not made by themselves, come from 
the hand of those nearly related to them. Others deal in haberdashery, 
small hardware, soap and mirrors. Even if they were not castes at the 
outset, they all tend to become such, with subsections and regulations as 
to marriage and the like, independent of the communities to which they 
originally belonged. The Bisati, a Muslim body, is an example of this 
tendency. The Ramaiya, or Bhatra, of the east Panjab, however, seems 
to be a tru2 caste, hailing from MarvacI or the neighbourhood, and having 
conceded to it the rank of a low Brahman. It is allowed to wear the thread 
and to take offerings at eclipses. Otherwise, the Ramaiya tell fortunes and 
invoke upon almsgivers blessings which have the reputation of being ef- 
fective. They are by tradition petty traders, and in that capacity travel 
far and wide, even south of the Vindhya. The caste is much scattered 
and is only found in strength in the Bijnor district of Rohilkhand, far 
from its original home. But the Ramaiya always regard themselves as na- 
tives of the Panjab, and most of them are Sikhs by religion, though 



Castes and Caste-groups. D. Urban Castes. 97 

employing Brahmans as priests and Brahmanist barbers in daily life, thus 
showing a considerable laxity in their faith. The Manihar is strictly the 
maker of spangles for the adornment of glass bangles, but in some places, 
as in the Panjab, the caste make the bangles themselves. The Curihar, 
who follows the same trade, is a separate community, but both travel 
about with their goods and do not keep shop. Both, too, are for the most 
part Muslim. The Kan car, who also works in glass, takes the place of 
these castes in the Dekkan and west, and the Lakhera, a northern 
caste, makes the same sort of ornaments in lac. In the Dravidian region, 
the corresponding caste is the Gazula, a sub-caste of the Balija, of low 
position. In the Tamil country- it is called Vajaiyal, and is taken as a sub- 
division of the Kavarai, the Balija colony of those parts. The Cudigar, 
generally a Muslim, is probably the Curihar of the north settled in the 
Dekkan. On the Orissa coast is a caste called Patra, or Pator, which 
peddles silken necklets and cords, like the Patva in other parts. Finally, 
under this head may be included the makers of conch armlets, who are 
a caste only in Bengal, where they are called S'ankhari. It appears that 
through the Subarnabanik they have some connection with the gold- 
smith castes; but they deal exclusively in the armlets made from the conchs 
brought from the Gulf of Manar. Similar armlets are used in other parts 
of India, but they to not seem to be made by a special caste. 

§ 64. Artisans, a) Tailors (867,800). Throughout upper India the 
tailor's craft is exercised by a composite body, nearly half of which is 
Muslim, recruited, judging from the titles of the subdivisions, from many 
sources, not all of the lowest. In the Panjab the Darji is merely a 
functional name, and in each large city the tailoring body is governed 
by a craft-guild. If any caste can be said to produce the tailor more than 
another it is the DhObi or washerman. In the Gangetic region the Darji 
regulates his life on the model of the upper Brahmanic castes, and one 
of the principal sub-castes bears the name of Kayasth. But the caste is 
not popular, any more than it used to be in Europe, and is the subject 
of similar depreciatory proverbs. Its work is badly paid, but the Darjf 
rarely looks out for more lucrative employment. The general style of 
dress amongst the peasantry in the greater part of India renders the craft 
unnecessary, so the caste is mostly congregated in the cities. It is sub- 
divided according to the general nature of the work undertaken, and is 
then split up into more minute sections. The repairer and darner is at 
the bottom, and amongst the Muslim, tent-making stands high, as being 
the occupation of Ibrahim (Abraham!, the patron of the craft. Turban- 
making, too, is honourable. In the west, indeed, where the latter article 
of attire is more elaborate than in the north, and each caste has its own 
distinctive form of head-gear, the turban-folder is a separate community, 
and ranks high amongst the Darji. In the Dekkan the S'impi is often a 
travelling piece-goods dealer, going from village to village with his pack 
upon his pony. He also traffics in small pecuniary- advances, and this is 
perhaps the reason for his figuring in bad company in the village rhymes. 
One of the popular religious teachers of India, Namdev, belonged to this 
caste, and several of the sections of the Darji and similar castes are named 
after him. It seems as if the Dekkan tailor were more allied to the 
lower trading classes than to the rest of his craftsmen, and certainly he 
follows the traditional employment less than any of them. The Gujarat 
Darji, too, seems to have sprung from one of the lower classes of traders 

Indo-.\ryan Rciearch. II. 5. , 



qS S. Ethnography. | 

of west Rajputana, to which locality he claims to belong. Like the S'impi, 
he lives after the manner of the upper middle classes, and is strict in 
his religious observances, though alleged to be addicted, like the gold- 
smith, to helping himself too freely to some of the material entrusted 
to him to make up. In the Dravidian districts there is no special caste 
of this sort, the tailors in the cities being all Muslim. The introduction 
of sewing-machines, and the growth of the fashion of wearing cut-out 
garments have tended to the advantage of the town Darji, and even in 
villages the machine is often to be seen enstalled amid surroundings of 
apparently the most incongruous simplicity. 

§ 65. b) Dyers and Calenderers (495,0001. The calico-printers, calen- 
derers and dyers appear to be connected remotely with the Darji castes, 
except in the Panjab, where the Chipa is an offshoot of the Dhoba or 
washerman, who occasionally does the work of dyeing in madder, though 
he leaves indigo to the Muslim Rangrej. Elsewhere, the Chipa stands higher, 
and in upper India claims to be descended from some Rajput or kindred 
tribe in Malva. The Bhausar of Gujarat, too, admits his connection with 
Rajputana; but, though not disowning the Chipa of Agra, asserts his 
origin to have been through a Vania caste of the west, and will not 
acknowledge relationship with the Chipf of his present province. The 
Bhausar, like the Vania, has a Jain as well as a Mahes'ri, or Brahmanic, 
sub-caste, and lives much on a par with the trading classes. In the Ganges 
valley a good many of the Chipa are followers of Namdcv, the Dekkan 
S'impi, a fact which indicates something more than merely sectarian 
sympathies, considering the restricted social field of the acceptance ol 
these doctrines. The Rangrej, Rangari, or Nilari, workers in indigo, 
are chiefly Muslim in the north. In the Panjab this is due, as above in- 
dicated, to the abhorrence of the Brahmanist of those parts for the unlucky 
colour, blue. In Bihar there is not this prejudice, and the Lilua works in 
the local material. In the Maratha country, too, the women wear blue in 
preference to any other colour, but here, again, the dyer is usually a Muslim. 
In Gujarat, the taste is in favour of more varied colours, and the Bhausar 
works impartially in all, except indigo, which is the monopoly of the 
Galiara sub-caste. The Muslim engaged in the occupation began, no doubt, 
as a functional body, but are now, it is said, closing their caste to outsiders, 
and keeping to their own sectional divisions. In the Dravidian country there 
seem to be no special dyeing castes, the work being done in the Telugu 
country by Maratha Rangari. Plain white with a simple coloured border is the 
usual colour worn by the women in both theTamil districts and in lowcrBengal. 

§ 66. c) Cotton-scutchers 1760,600). Those who follow the occupation 
of cleaning cotton arc mostly Muslim, under the functional title of Penja, 
Pinjari, Dhuniya, Behna, or even the Persian, Nadaf. They are mostly 
converts from Brahmanic castes like the Tcli or oil-pressers, and those 
who have remained in their former creed follow the teachings of Namdcv, 
the S'impi, like the Tailors and Dyers, and in the Panjab, the Dhoba. 
In the north, where the calling has become the work of a caste, those 
who do not engage in it keep shops for the sale of haberdashery, spangles, 
bangles, caste-marks and so on. The Muslim, as in similar cases of other 
castes, have not altogether abandoned their Brahmanic customs or worship, 
and follow the traditions of their neighbourhood in this respect. 

§ 67. d) Distillers and spirits-sellers (1,725,000). The traditional 
connection of these castes with the provision of a forbidden article, places 



Castes and Caste-Groups. D. Urban Castes. 99 

them very low in society, in fact, little above the oilman. On the other 
hand, since the regulation of the liquor trade has been undertaken by 
the State the restriction upon sales has thrown a good many of the 
caste on to other occupations in which they have prospered far more 
than if they had kept to distillation. In the whi)lesale trade in piece-goods, 
timber, salt, etc., the Bengal Suriri is said to have reached ([uite the top 
of the tree, and being ambitious of a commensurate rank in society, is 
forming a separate caste calling itself S'aha, or Saha, in order to sever 
itself as far as possible from the branch which still deals in liquor and 
serves in the State distilleries, or takes licenses for the sale of intoxicants. 
Others of the caste engage in the boating trade, but will only ply on craft 
which are manned exclusively by their own comrades. In sjiite of the 
rise in their worldly circumstances, the Sunri have been unable to conquer 
the prejudice against them, and have to maintain barbers and washermen 
of their own, since the Nai and Dhobi decline to serve them. Even the 
Bhuinmalf, who will sweep for them, refuses to accept food from their 
hand. In upper India there is the same subdivision of the Kalal caste; 
those who have taken to trade severing themselves from those who stick 
to the traditional calling. But the Kalal in Bengal will make, but not 
sell, liquor, whereas in the north the caste does both. In all probability, 
in Bengal the castes are both composite, created as the need for their 
services became pressing, whilst in the Panjab and its neighbourhood the 
caste is older and more homogeneous. The Sikh connection of the Kalal 
or Kalvar, in the Panjab, gave the caste a great lift, and one of the 
most powerful leaders of that faith, before the rise of Ranjit Singh, belonged 
to the Kalals of Ahlii, and laid the foundations of the well-known State 
of Kapurthala. Hence a good many of the Kalvar of the province use 
the title of Ahluvalia for their caste. On the other hand, in the west 
and central Panjab they have preferred to throw in their lot with the 
Pathan, and have elongated their name into Kakkezai. The trading branch 
in those parts deals in boots and shoes, bread and vegetables, articles 
which the ordinary Khatri considers beneath him. In the south, the Kalal 
is found in comparatively small numbers as a distiller, but here he has 
to compete with the local Parsi in both making and selling spirits. 

§ 68. e) Domestic servants (698,800). The majority of the castes 
which traditionally engage in service about the houses of those above them 
belong, as already stated, to the fishing and porter communities, whose 
touch does not contaminate. The households of the Christian or Muslim, 
again, are on a different plane, and must be served by Muslim or members 
of the impure castes. The water-bearers, too, who ply in the streets or 
from house to house, irrespective of caste, are usually converts to Islam, 
or of the fisher caste. If the former, they are known generally as Bihisti, 
and form a caste of their own, with functional subdivisions, according to 
the water-bag they use or the beast of burden they employ. In some 
parts of India, again, there is a caste which lives by rice-pounding for 
large families, a work which elsewhere is done by the women of the family. 
The small community of Kuta, in Rohilkhand, and of Gola, in Gujarat, 
are examples of these, but both are probably branches of some larger body, 
the Kuta, perhaps, of the Banjara, and the Gola certainly of a Rajputana 
caste. The castes which distinctively belong to the group under considera- 
tion, however, are those which have grown up under the protection of 
the households they serve, and in most cases are in practice inseparable 



lOo 5- Ethnography. 

from them. The Rajput families, for instance, used to receive the daughters 
of lower castes around them, bring them up in domestic servitude, and 
practically own the offspring resulting from the relationship. The link was 
in some cases closer than in others, and the males were allowed to marry 
outside the household, especially in the Dravidian region. But the bastards 
usually became a caste by themselves, living on the bounty of their pro- 
tector and employed in duties about his estate or Court. The Gold and 
Cakar of Rajputana are of this class, though, as just remarked, some of 
the former have moved south and set up for themselves in Gujarat as 
rice-pounders. The Khavas of the western peninsula are of the same 
origin and position as the Gola, but rank considerably above the latter, 
and arc employed in posts of confidence which give them much influence 
in the neighbourhood. The girls serve the Rajputni, and some of them 
are generally included as part of the dowry when their young mistress 
is married off. In Orissa, the Khandait keep Casa girls, and the offspring 
ranks according to the caste of the father, as Khandait, Kayasth, etc., the 
whole body being known as Sagirdpe.sa, with endogamous sub-castes de- 
termined as above. In Bihar, too, there are corresponding communities 
which are gradually forming themselves into separate castes. In Eastern 
Bengal there is a larger caste of this sort, known by the non-committal 
title ofS'udra or S'udir, or, in some parts of the province as Ghulam or 
Bhandarf. They are descended from comparatively low castes which sold 
themselves to the Kayasth, a relationship which, tacitly though illicitly 
still subsists. The caste is nominally endogamous, though amongst families 
which are still attached to Kayasth households intermarriage with members 
of the latter caste is not uncommon, but the title of S'udra is dropped in 
the next generation in favour of that of Kayasth. In the south, the Telugu 
Velama and landlords of other castes have a similar institution, the results 
of which are known as Khasa, or private property, and are crystallising 
into a caste. In the south Tamil country, the Tottiyan have families on 
their estates which are already a caste, known as the Parivaram, the 
members of which cannot marry without the consent of their lord. In this 
case, however, recruits are taken from Paraiyan and other low castes. The 
Kotari of Kanara, also domestic servants in local families, are apparently 
of the Banta caste originally, though now severed owing to their connection 
with the landed interest. It must be remembered in connection with all 
these domestic classes that the status of slavery in which they originally 
dwelt no longer exists; nevertheless, as has been remarked above with 
regard to the predial serfs, the tie between them and the family they 
serve retains a great deal of its former character, and is perpetuated 
voluntarily by both personal attachment to the household and the benefits 
derived from the protection afforded, and also the general tendency of Indian 
communities to look upon what has once been as pre-ordained and here- 
ditary. The position they hold is recognised and established, and in their 
eyes there is nothing to be gained by abandoning it for another, indepen- 
dent but precarious. 

E. Nomadic Castes. 

§ 69. Carriers (897,800). The two great divisions into which this 

group naturally falls are those of the pastoral tribes and the Gipsies. The 

bulk of the former have been already mentioned in connection with the 

function of providing the vast number of cattle required by the village 



Castes and Caste-Groups. E. Nomadic Castes. loi 

community for the plough and for milking. These, for the most part, are 
either stationary, or, when they move, merely camp for a few months 
of the dry season on recognised grazing grounds not far from their village. 
The Caran, mentioned in connection with the duties of Hard and Genea- 
logist, is, undoubtedly a nomad in some of its sections, and, in this respect, 
it shares the habits of the Banjara, to whom it is probably akin. The 
latter, with its branch known as the Lavana, Lambhani, Lambadi orLabana, 
is the great bullock-dealer and carrier by pack-animal for the whole of 
upper India, and colonies of it have settled in the Dekkan and as far 
south as Mysore. The use of bullocks as a means of transport is an ancient 
custom in India but it received its great impetus from the Muslim invaders, 
who engaged large gangs of Banjara to accompany their forces from north 
to south. Similarly, the British armies in their earlier campaigns trusted 
to the Banjara trains for their commissariat and forage supplies, and found 
the Naik, or gang-leaders, fully up to the work and worthy of confidence, 
it is not certain how the Banjara came to be settled in Rohilkhand and 
its neighbouring Tarai, but their own tradition is that they belong to north- 
west Rajputana, and were driven out of their native country. They also 
once settled in Oudh, but were displaced by Rajputs. In their present ca- 
pacity, however, they emerged into notice from their Tarai home. The titles 
of their subdivisions, which are very numerous, indicate in some instances, 
a desert origin, a hypothesis which is borne out by their appearance. 
They are usually a tall, sinewy race, their women especially being re- 
markable for their powerful physique. Their dress, too, is that of the 
west rather than of Hindustan, and one of their sub-castes bears the 
distinctively western appellation of Caran. The Lavana, again, another 
section, indicates by its connection with salt a trade from the coast or 
Sambhar lake. The colonies above referred to appear to have been left in 
the south after expeditions by various Muslim leaders across the continent 
to the Dekkan and Karnatic. The settlers seem to have made no attempt 
to regain the north, but acquired land, and to some extent adopted the 
vernaculars of their neighbours. It is said, however, that the primitive 
customs and beliefs of the tribe are more carefully maintained by the 
Dekkan than by the North-country Banjara. Other branches are found in 
Central India and the Panjab. One section has been converted to Islam, 
under the name of Turkiya, a title which has led, by one of the humours 
of the Census, to its being numbered amongst the Osmanli and other Turks, 
though the farthest region to which it ascribes its origin is Multan. In 
the Panjab, too, a good many Banjara are called Sikhs, but this refers 
to the creed of Nanak, rather than to the more exclusive doctrines of 
Guru Govind. Nanak, indeed, is one of the names most revered amongst 
the Banjara even as far as the Dekkan. In upper India some of the tribe 
have settled down to trade and money-lending. The Vanjari of the Ma- 
ratha country-, too, are to a great extent cultivators, and for some gene- 
rations have been scarcely distinguishable from their Kunbf neighbours. 
The traditional calling of the tribe has been greatly curtailed by the 
extension of railway communication, but a good business is still done, 
especially where it can be combined with the rearing and sale of stock 
to the peasantry', as in Oudh and upper India generally. In the tracts 
where the gangs are organised for travel, the old system of Tahda, or 
gang-circuits is retained, and no Tahda is allowed to journey over the 
sphere allotted to another. In the Dekkan, indeed, the partition is said 



I02 5- Ethnography. 

to be not unconnected with predatory excursions by the lower class of 
Banjara. The Lavana, under its various designations, is sometimes treated 
as a separate caste, and is not often found alongside of the Banjara. 
But it appears to be nothing more than one of the older divisions of the 
main community, which has kept to the west and south. In the Karnatic, 
for instance, the title Banjara is unknown, and the Lambadi, or Lambhani, 
occasionally called Sukali, pursues its avocation alone, though on a lower 
plane than his comrade in the north. He maintains, however, his reputation 
as a cattle-doctor, as well as that of an expert in sorcery and witchcraft. 
This last attribute is acquired, it is said,' in the course of a wandering 
life, exposed to all weathers in jungles and other unhealthy localities. 
Strange diseases make their appearance only to be accounted for by the 
agency of witchcraft, and the old women of the Tanda, accordingly, go 
in considerable risk of their lives. In compensation, perhaps, the Banjara 
is the only caste in which the women are said habitually to take the big 
walking-staff to their husbands. There is a small caste, the ThOri, which 
performs in the lower Himalaya the duties of carriage undertaken in the 
plains by the Banjara or Lavana. They are connected with the latter, and 
apparently ply their trade in the same tracts in north Rajputana, of which 
tract they say they are natives. But there is another caste of the same 
name which is allied to the Aheri, if not identical with them, and these 
are altogether lower in rank and pursuits, being mostly fowlers, or at best, 
mat-makers, along the Indus. In Central India and the north Dekkan, even 
as far as Mysore, there are still a few bands of the once noted Pendhari 
freebooters, now engaged like Banjara in the carrying trade. Originally, 
the Pendhari were no more than a collection of all sorts of foreign Muslim 
disbanded from the Delhi army, and linked together for the common pur- 
pose of raiding villages and travellers. They are now a small caste by 
themselves, and give little or no trouble to the police. They have a Chief 
who rules a small State in Malva, but there is no longer any bond bet- 
ween him and the wandering gangs. 

§ 70. Shepherds and Woolworkers (4,265,600). These two occu- 
pations go together, and are exercised by several communities of con- 
siderable numerical importance. Their social rank varies a good deal, but, 
in spite of alleged descent from the Jadav family of Mathura which some 
of them claim, they stand, on the whole, lower than the breeders of horned 
cattle. There are, however, exceptions, such as the Gadi.li of the Panjab 
Himalaya, who are of the same stock as the Khatri, and rank but little 
below the Hill Rajputs. They are admittedly wellborn, and state that they 
were driven from northern Rajputana by the Muslim and took refuge in 
the Kangra and Chamba hills. Like all the shepherd classes, they weave 
the wool of their herds, both sheep and goats, into strong homespun and 
blankets. They are also credited with being very skilful and industrious 
cultivators ..f the upland regions affected by them. They have no connec- 
tion with the caste of the same name along the Jamna, which is Muslim 
and a branch of the Ghosi, mentioned above amongst the cattle-breeding 
castes. The chief shepherd caste of the Ganges valley is the Gadariya, 
or Gareri, as it is called in Bihar. In that Province it ranks higher than 
in the west, but its home is alleged to be in the latter, and some of its 
divisions derive their origin from Maratha shepherd clans who came north 
through Malva and Gvalior. One of the chief shrines at which the caste 
worships is in the last named State. The name of the caste is said to come 



Castes and Caste-Groups. E. Nomadic Castes. 103 

from the Sanskrit name of the country, Gandhara (or Kandahar) from 
which the animal was said to have been introduced into India. Judging 
from physical appearance, however, the Gadariya and, except the Gaddi, 
the shepherd castes generally, have much more Kol or Uravidian blood 
in them than the western cattle-breeder. The Dhangar of the Maratha 
country, indeed, is by some identified with the Dhangar, or Oraon, of the 
eastern portion of the Central Belt, a large tribe which is thought, mainly 
on linguistic grounds, to have pushed its way up north from the Karnatic. 
Even in the present day, too, the Dhangar build their shrines in the same 
way and of the same sort of unhewn stones as the Kurubar of the Kar- 
natic, a once dominant tribe of the south, to which belonged the Kadamba 
dynasties of Banavasi in Kanara and the Tallava dynasties of the Tamil 
country. The Dhangar are now, however, a Marathi-speaking community, 
hardly to be distinguished from their Kunbi neighbours. The Ilolkar Chief 
of Indore belongs to this caste, and still enjoys hereditary grazing rights 
in parts of the Dekkan and some of the best of S'ivaji's celebrated 
"Mavali" troops were Dhangar. Some of the Dhangar return themselves 
as Hatkar, a title for which more than one definition is available. In 
some cases, as in the south Dekkan, the Hatkar may by now be a 
subcaste, as those who use the name are almost all blanket weavers, 
whereas the Dhangar does not always make up his own material. The 
derivation of the caste title is uncertain. It has been connected with 
"dhan" wealth, or cattle-dealing, an occupation which a few of them 
still follow in the south, though most devote themselves to sheep and 
goats. In those parts, it should be mentioned in connection with the 
above derivation, the peasant habitually refers to his cattle as Dhan, or 
Laksmi, that is, the pecunia, or wealth par excellence. The 
name of the Kurubar, too, is used for sheep in Kanarcse. In the 
south, the caste is called Kurumban. There are two sections; the 
pastoral and the Kadu, or jungle, Kurubar. The latter are hunters and 
dwellers on the outskirts of the Nilgiri and other forest ranges, and are 
still in a very unsettled condition. They are probably the remnants left 
behind when the Kurubar of the open countr\' swept down towards the 
south-east, and took to cultivation. Even now, the shepherd sections have 
elaborate rites and forms of worship alien to those of the rest of the vil- 
lagers, and are regarded as not quite assimilated into the community. 
The Tamil shepherd is the Idaiyan or those who live by the "middle" 
group of the village lands, that is, the pasture. By some of the modern 
members of the caste the name is derived from Jadav, connecting them 
with Mathura and the Krsna legend. Unfortunately for this tradition, the 
names of their subdivisions in some cases connect them with the Paraiyan. 
Their present rank, however, is far above that of the latter, and they 
are received by respectable castes, in view, it is stated, of their use in 
the provision of clarified butter, a pure and popular article in the house- 
hold. The Bharvad of Gujarat, belongs, apparently, to the Mcr, one of 
the derelicts of a Sc^fthian inroad, which left them in Sindh and the west 
of Rajputana. This caste shares with the Khadva Kanbi the peculiarity of 
celebrating its marriages only at long intervals, such as 10, 15 or even 
20 years. The occasion, as may be reasonably supposed, is one of pro- 
longed and uproarious revelry, mingled with elaborate ceremonial, the 
details of which are doubtless of considerable ethnological interest. The 
Bharvad is also connected with the Rabari, already mentioned as the 



I04 5- Ethnography. 



camcl-brecdcr of Rajputana. They worship goddesses, especially Mata, 
under various manifestations, and have the usual reputation of wanderers 
for remarkably potent spells and charms, which ensures them respect. 
Nearly all these castes, north and south, are the subject of proverbs 
commenting upon the stupidity of their men and the slovenliness or dirt 
of their women. The last attribute may be due to the practice of wearing 
homespun woollen garments, the durability of which exceeds the means 
oF desires of the wearer for purification. In addition to their dealings in 
woollen fabrics and, amongst some castes, the provision of sheep and 
goats for slaughter, the shepherd earns' a good deal by the sale of the 
manure of his flock. In upper India it is the practice to sweep the place 
where the latter was penned for the night, and sell the results. In the 
south, the utilisation of the product is more complete, and an occupant 
pays the shepherd for penning for so many nights upon the sites selected 
for the purpose. 

§ 71. Earthworkers and Well-sinkers (1,284,3001 Socially speaking, 
there is a noteworthy gap between the pastoral castes and the rest of 
the nomads, of whom the navvies or earthworkers by profession stand 
first. Indeed, except for their dirty habits and their addiction to rats and 
other unclean food, these last would occupy the place to which their 
skill and industry entitle them. They are practically of one origin under 
various titles. In the Dravidian country, where they are most numerous, 
they are called Ottan in Tamil, and Vaddar in Telugu and Kanarese. 
It is by the name of Od or Odia that they are known north of the Dek- 
kan, up to the Panjab. The derivation usually accepted in the south is 
from Ofiya, formerly Odra, and now Orissa, as it was from that region 
that these gangs are said to have first emanated. Their appearance shows 
that they belong to the darker race, and their language, though modified 
by distance into a variety of local dialects, has a Telugu basis. In the 
south, the Vaddar are generally found in two subdivisions, which do not 
eat together or intermarry. The first, and higher section are the Kallu, 
or stone quarriers, who are stationary, and abide by their quarries. The 
others, called Mannu, or earthy, Vaddar, are migrator)-, and seek jobs upon 
large undertakings, working together in their own gangs, by the piece, 
in the manipulation of which standard they show marvellous resource and 
ingenuity. They are adepts with their large spades, and no unskilled 
labour can touch them in the output, either on the flat or in well-sinking. 
The ddia reached the Panjab through Rajputana, and seem to have 
gradually worked their way up by stages, until they found a supply of 
work which maintains them throughout the year. Thus they do not, like 
many of the migratory tribes, return to their native country, but settle 
in the Province. In the upper parts of the Jamna valley, for instance, 
they seem to have given up their traditional pursuit and taken to weaving 
coarse cotton wrappers, with a little cultivation thrown in. Here, too, they 
have assimilated the local religion, and with the exception of a few details 
and ritual, do not keep up their own peculiar customs. Amongst other 
refinements, they have raised the standard of their diet, and abjure pork, 
one of their favourite meats in the south. In the Panjab a good many 
have been converted to Islam, especially those on quarry work. There is 
one other caste which shares with the Odia the work of the navvy, viz. 
the Bcldar, or the wielder of the Bel, or mattock. This caste too, works 
at both stone and earth, and it seems probable that it is a branch of the 



Castes and Caste-Groups. E. Nomadic Castes. 103 

Odia, detached locally, for the Beldar of Bihar and Oudh has an Od 
sub-caste, and also eats rats. In the Panjab, too, the two communities 
are considered to be identical, Beldar being merely a functional title. On 
the other hand, in Bihar and its neighbourhood it is thought that the 
Beldar is a branch of the Nuniya, or saltpetre-maker, which, in turn, is 
an offshoot of the labouring caste of the Bind. The BOldar of Bengal 
works to a great extent in the coal-mines. Like the Odia, he carries 
on his head the earth excavated, and will not degrade himself by putting 
the basket upon his back or shoulder. The Kora, on the contrary, his 
only rival in this class of work, despises the Beldar for not using the 
shoulder-pole and carrying two baskets at once. All the same, the 
Beldar holds the higher position and employs a better class of Brahman. 
The Kora, or Khaira, a sub-tribe of the Munda race, is closer to his 
tribal associations, and the Brahmans who minister to this caste are put 
out of communion by their kind. A few other castes have taken to earth- 
work as their profession, but they are chiefly small subdivisions of a larger 
tribe, such as the Bavariya, who traditionally follow other callings. 

§ 72. Knife-Grinders etc. (37,000). There are a few small castes 
which may be fairly termed travelling artisans rather than gipsies, since 
there is no stigma attached to them personally nor is their calling held 
to be a mere cover for criminal means of gain. The Saiqalgar, or S'ikligar, 
for example, is a Muslim caste which travels throughout the open season 
grinding knives and scissors, and at other times plies in the cities. A 
subdivision undertakes the care of razors. In old times the Saiqalgar was 
the armourer and polisher of weapons, but he is now in sadly reduced 
circumstances. The GhisadF is a small Brahmanic caste of the Dekkan, 
corresponding to the Saiqalgar but of lower origin, probably from Gujarat. 
The Khiimra is another small Muslim caste of upper India the function 
of which is to quarry and sell the querns or millstones for domestic use. 
They are hewn at the quarry- and hawked about on pack-animals. The 
roughening of the face of the stone after it has been in use a long time 
is in Central India and the Dekkan, the work of another caste, the Takari 
or Takankar, Brahmanist by faith and nomad by habit. The Khumra's 
conduct is above reproach, but the Takari is said to utilise the time he 
spends squatting on the premises where he is employed in scrutinising 
the extent and disposition of the moveable property of the household, 
with a view to a further visit by night, for its removal. The caste is af- 
filiated to the great tribe of wandering hunters, called Bavari or Vaghri, 
to be mentioned later, and seems to have entered the Dekkan from Gujarat 
or Central India, as its members keep aloof from the Pardhi, or hunting 
tribes of the south, and speak a dialect resembling Gujarat!. 

§ 73. Bamboo-'Workers (295,200). The making of mats, brushes 
and weavers' combs is an occupation associated with a gipsy life, not only 
in India but wherever these nomadic tribes have established themselves, 
and generally connotes an inclinaticm towards burglary or at least petty- 
larceny. In the east, moreover, the girls of the castes in question are 
usually engaged in ministering to the sexual pleasures of the lower classes 
and even of those of the upper who dare to run the risk of excommu- 
nication from their caste. There is a more or less definite line drawn, 
however, in India between these castes and those, equally low and impure, 
who devote themselves exclusively to working in bamboo, a plant which 
in several cases has become the totem of the whole tribe, and is wor- 



io6 5. Ethnography. 



shipped accordingly at the annual caste gatherings. With the exception 
of the Turi of Bengal, who are a branch of the great Munrla tribe, most 
of the cane-workers of eastern and northern India belong to the Dom. 
But, as has been already mentioned, the subdivisions which have taken 
to this work are generally settled on the outskirts of villages, not 
wandering like the rest, and give themselves the name of Bansphora, 
Basor, or otherwise, in token of their profession. In upper India they 
admit outsiders into their community after payment of scot and submission 
to initiation. In Bengal, the Bansphora are said to be derived from the 
Patni, or fishing tribe of the Dom. The Turi just mentioned are practi- 
cally a functional branch of the Munda, and keep up their tribal cxogamous 
customs and divisions, worshipping the tribal gods under Brahmanic 
auspices, and with some regard for Brahmanic precepts as to feeding 
with other castes. The Dharkar of the south Ganges valley are also 
not far removed from the forest tribe, but have settled round villages, and 
employ the Baiga priests, or, at best, the Ojha, a degraded Brahman of 
non-Aryan origin. They are considered a much less settled and civilised 
community than the Bansphora Dom, but are credited with similar descent. 
In the Dekkan and south the Buriid and Mcdar are similar castes, some 
of which are settled, others wander during the open season and settle 
near villages for the rains. The Medar are chiefly found in the eastern 
Telugu districts, and claim to be Oriya by origin. They have subdivisions 
which never wander, and are gradually asserting themselves to be Balija, 
employing Brahmans and prohibiting their widows from remarrying. The 
Burud also are of Telugu or Kanarese origin, and where settled in the 
Dekkan are often Lihgayats. In the Tamil country the corresponding caste 
is called Vedakkaran, and is probably an offshoot of the northern community. 
§ 74. Mat and Basket Makers (348,500). These callings, as just 
mentioned, are often, if not usually, the cover for less reputable means 
of livelihood, amongst which fortune-telling is one of the more respectable. 
Most of them admit recruits from higher castes, a form of accretion which 
generally arises from illicit connections with women of the caste, some 
of whom appear to be specially attractive even to those far above them 
in rank. Thus all the larger bodies are much subdivided, and the general 
tie between the communities is very loose. The Kanjar, for instance, 01 
upper India, has a section which has never emerged from the jungle or 
hunting stage, whilst others never go far from the villages, and make 
their living by the manufacture of weavers' brushes, winnowing fans and 
the reed-mats used for their own tents and the tilts of the peasants' 
waggons during the rains. They also cut querns like the Khumra, and 
make leaf-platters like the Bari, and stretch the skins of small animals 
for drums. They are said to reserve a certain number of their girls for 
marriage within the community and to prostitute the rest. As a rule, they 
haunt the Jamna valley and the east Panjab, but gangs are found to 
the south, whither they penetrated by way of Central India, and enjoy 
a reputation even worse than in the north. As in all castes of this de- 
scription, the women enjoy a position of much authority, owing, it is said, 
to the frequent absence of their husbands in the seclusion of the district 
Jail. If the incarceration be for a long period, a temporary connection 
with another member of the caste is formed to bridge the interval. Most 
of the castes are Brahmanist of a low type, worshipping the local goddesses, 
and not troubling the Brahman. In the south, the great gipsy tribes are 



Castes and Caste-Groups. E. Nomadic Castes. 107 

the Koraca, Korava or Kuravan and the Yerukala. These used to be 
considered identical, and no doubt they come from the same Telugu 
stock. They are now separate, however, in both customs and intercourse. 
Of the two, the Yerukala, of Telingana, are the more respectable, though 
the difference is not great. They have considerable repute as fortune- 
tellers in addition to their skill at reed and cane work, but their habit 
of travelling with a considerable herd of pack-animals and sometimes pigs, 
like the Kanjar, renders them unwelcome visitors in the neighbourhood 
of the village crops, which suffer from their depredations. One of the 
larger subdivisions of the Koraca derives its title from the carriage of 
salt from the coast, and still travels to some extent in that line. They 
are superior to the northern tribes in regard to the chastity of their women, 
so far as outsiders are concerned, though their facilities for divorce inside 
their own body have on several occasions been brought to the notice of 
the Civil Courts of the Madras Presidency. The Th6ri of Gujarat are 
few in number and probably allied to the Vaghri, a hunting tribe from 
the nt)rth. They make and sell bedsteads and mat-work, and live about 
in small tents, like the Koraca, using the ass as their means of transport. 
The Kaikadi are probably a north Dekkan branch of the Koraca. 

S 75- Mimes etc. 148,0001. Owing to the subdivisions of these castes 
and the uncertainty as to their origin the figures obtained from the Census 
are probably far from accurate. The Bahuriipiya, for instance, or the caste 
of many faces, is merely a functional body in the Panjab, and the caste 
going by that title is a division of the Mahtam, a hunting caste, which 
is said to have got the name from the variety of the ways in which it 
picks up its living. In the Ganges valley, on the other hand, the Bahurupiya 
is a sub-caste of the Banjara, and takes brides from the Nat, another 
gipsy tribe, but gives none in return. The Mahtam too, are connected 
with the Labana of the Panjab, so it is not unlikely that the Bahurupiya are 
really of the latter blood. This caste stands much higher than the Bhand, 
or Buffoon, who plies his trade about the mansions of the great, like the 
jesters of old, and with even greater freedom of speech. Indeed, the ill- 
temper of the Bhand is proverbial, mainly because of the peculiarly offen- 
sive manner in which he gives vent to it. In the Panjab the caste is 
recruited largely from the Mirasi, whose name is sometimes retained as 
well as that of the trade. The Bhavaio of Gujarat, is an acting caste, 
and performs comedies at weddings or other festivals before any village 
audience subscribing for it. The company is often attached to the village, 
as part of the establishment. They have the tradition of having once held 
a higher position in the north, but are now a purely local institution, and 
owing to confusion of nomenclature, perhaps, their full strength has not 
been recorded. The GondhaH of the Maratha country is an itinerant ballad- 
singer, and dances a special set of figures in honour of a goddess at 
weddings and private entertainments. 

{; 76. Drummers (206,200). The ceremonial drummer of a village or 
temple has been referred to as usually belonging to one of the resident low 
castes, and is generally upon the village staff. There are others, however, 
who are more strictly professional upon this instrument, and wander 
about for their living. The Dafali, for instance, and the Nagarci, of 
the Ganges valley, are ISIuslim, with a sort of religious flavour about their 
performances. The former expel spirits as well as extorting alms. The 
Dholi of Rajputana, like the Bajania of Gujarat, are Brahmanist functional 



io8 5. Ethnography. 



castes, recruited from the village menial and scavenging classes. The 
Turaha blow horns and are only found in Bengal. 

§ 77. Jugglers and Acrobats etc. (235,8001. There arc numerous 
bodies of jugglers, tumblers, snake-charmers and the like, each with a 
different name, but all connected, at least in upper India, under the ge- 
neral title of Nat or Bazigar. It is difficult to say how far the former 
is the designation of a caste or of a function. In the Panjab, for instance, 
Nat is usually held to be a caste, and Bazigar the branch of it which 
takes to juggling and tumbling. In the Gangetic region, again, the Bazigar 
is a subdivision of the Nat, like Badi, Sapcra, Kabutara, denoting different 
performances. Then, in Bengal, the Nat or Nar is a caste of trained 
musicians and dancers of much higher position and accomplishments, and 
quite distinct from the nomad of the same name. Further to the south, 
there arc the Dombar or Dommara, of the Tclugu country, who are 
identical with the Kolhatf of the Dekkan, both sharing the occupations 
and traditions of the Nat of the north. In addition to their acrobatic and 
similar performances, the greater portion of these communities live by the 
manufacture of horn articles, by hunting the wild pig and by prostituting 
their women. They hold themselves above the pom and village tanner, 
but almost invariably feed on vermin or carrion. Except in the Panjab, 
their appearance is that of the dark races of the Central Belt, and, 
indeed, a good many of the clans say that their original home was 
amongst the Gond tribes of the eastern parts of the Central Provinces. 
There are, necessarily, different grades amongst them and the distinc- 
tions are strictly maintained, but most will admit members of higher 
castes upon payment of a caste-feast or other means of establishing 
a footing. They are not by any means all criminal, though most are 
credited with the propensity- to break into houses and steal fowls and 
cattle when the opportunity occurs. The small section of the Gopal, for 
instance, of the Dekkan, is a notorious cattle-lifter. In some of the sub- 
castes of Nat only the men perform. In others the women are kept for the 
tribe, and do not prostitute themselves to outsiders. This, however, is 
exceptional. In one of the sections, the women are experts in tattooing, 
and act as professionals in this art for other castes, as the Koraca do 
in the south. About three fourths of the Nat are Brahmanists of a low type, 
with their own special deities and forms of worship. Occasionally they 
obtain the good offices of Brahmans, if only to fix the lucky day for their 
ceremonies. Their jungle origin is indicated in a good many cases by 
their knowledge of roots and herbs as medicines, together with their pos- 
session of secret preparations of repute as aphrodisiacs, love-philters and 
the means of procuring abortion, for all of which there is a certain and 
constant demand amongst the better classes. 

§ 78. Thieves (133,500). Along w-ith the above may be taken the 
castes which have little or no means of livelihood except stealing. In 
some cases this general condemnation must be qualified, as the same 
caste may be criminal in one locality but innocent in another. The Ba- 
variya, for instance, is simply a fowling caste in the Panjab, where it is 
most numerous in that capacity ; but the Bavari or Bagariya of Central 
India and the north Dekkan, where it has several sub-titles, is always 
under the eye of the police during its travels. The Bediya, again, bears 
a very bad character along the Jamna and in Oudh, but has quite re- 
spectable sub-castes in Bengal, where many have accepted Islam. Another 



Castes and Caste-Groups. E. Nomadic Castes. 109 

sub-caste, however, the Mai, is closely connected with the K61 race, and is 
credited, indeed, with the parentage of the whole Bediya community. In upper 
India that relationship is obscured if not contradicted by the affinity of all 
these castes, such as the Bediya, Habura and the like, with the Sahsiya, 
the thief par excellence, of the north. The exploits of the last-named 
community have given it a celebrity which is not justified by its numerical 
strength, though owing to its subdivisions it is difficult to ascertain the latter. 
The Sansiya stands in curious relationship to the Jat tribe, each family of 
which has its Saiisi genealogist. When a question arises in connection 
with pedigree it is said that the word of the Sarisi is accepted in pre- 
ference to that of the IMirasi. It is not easy to trace the origin of this 
parasitic attachment o( the degraded caste to the undoubtedly pure and 
foreign body, especially as this is the only function of the Sansiya which 
does not bring the caste into unfriendly contact with the police. The 
women, no doubt, sell roots and herbs, but their object in so doing is 
said to be merely to get access to the inside of the domicile, and thus 
obtain information conducive to burglary by their husbands. In contra- 
distinction to the practice of the Nat, the Sarisiya women are said to be 
chaste in their relations with outsiders, like the European gipsies, and 
very staunch in their defence of their male relatives when trouble is 
imminent. They thus enjoy much influence in the tribal councils, and, 
owing to the natural timidity- of the caste in applying for the protection 
of the law, these councils practically regulate all the affairs and disputes 
of the community-. It is hardly necessary to say that their religion is of 
the most simple, and that they feel bound to call in outside spiritual aid 
only in cases where the ghost or demon of the locality has caused serious 
illness or bad luck. A few of them have been converted to Islam, but 
one large section asserts its Rajput origin and keeps aloof from the rest 
of the tribe. On the other hand, it has been found advisable to form a 
subdivision to meet the case of the half-breeds, sprung from outsiders 
who have been admitted into Sahsiship, generally owing to devotion to 
a girl of the tribe. The small caste of the Habura, along the upper 
Ganges and Jamna, is allied to the so-called Rajput section of the Sansiya, 
and keeps up regular Rajput sept divisions. It resembles the parent tribe 
in its care of the women and disregard of the rights of property', but it 
seems to be rather more Brahmanised in its customs and is less given 
to crimes of violence. In the thieves' latin of all these criminal tribes of 
the north, it is interesting to trace the strong element of corrupt Gujarati 
found throughout, and the same feature is noticeable in the slang of the 
north Dekkan tribes of this class, as if the western Vindhya had been 
the nucleus of errant criminality among the Kol races. In the Dekkan 
itself and the Karnatic, the only tribes of this class are the small com- 
munities of Bhamtiya, Ucli or Ganticor, habitual pilferers, but not further 
advanced in crime. They are settled in some strength in Poona and its 
neighbourhood, where their calling has proved so lucrative that several 
have become large landholders. The railway has been the making of them, 
as they travel in disguise over the length and breadth of the country, 
cutting purses and slitting up bundles and carpet bags on their way. They 
are of Telingana origin, and still keep up their worship of Yellama, the 
Earth-goddess, of their home. The Sanaurhiya, another travelling frater- 
nity of the same pursuits, do not appear in the Census returns, since they 
return themselves as Sanadh Brahmans. They are a composite community 



no 5. Ethnography. 

recruited from all sorts of castes, but now bound together by the usual 
caste regulations, including one prohibiting all crimes of violence. Their 
head-(|uarters are in Bundclkhani.!, but they are mostly on the move in 
disguise, with a few of their more wealthy members established in the 
chief towns to act as receivers of the goods obtained on the journey. 
Herein they differ from the Sansiya, who will not venture into the town, 
but concert a meeting in the open field with a Sonar or other respectable 
member of society, with whom the bargain is made, and the goods de- 
livered accordingly. 

§ 79. Hunters and Fowlers (977,600). This is a group which in 
one direction is merged in that of the lower cultivators and field-labourers, 
and in the other undoubtedly tends towards that of the petty criminal. 
The same caste may have a branch in one province entirely devoted to 
settled village life, whilst in another part of the country it is still in the 
jungle or nomadic stage. So far as upper India is concerned, there seems 
reason to think that most of the hunting castes of the present day take 
their origin amongst the dark race of the western Vindhya. Their own 
traditions point, as a rule, to north Rajputana as their native country, but 
as the south is approached, the hills of Malva and the west assert their 
influence, and relationship to the Bhil or other Kol tribe is claimed. 
Several of the tribes take their name from some implement of their trade, 
usually the net or noose, as in the case of the Vaghri, Valaiyan and 
Bavariya, and the Phansi-Pardhi, of the west, without any indication of 
their parentage. The Bavariya is a particularly varied community-. It has 
all the appearance of Kol descent, even in the Panjab, where it has long 
been established. Here the caste is said to have come from Mevad and 
Ajmer. It is subdivided into three sections, only one of which still gets 
its living by the noose. Of the rest, one has taken to cultivation, and 
the other to vagrancy and petty crime. They are all by heredity good 
trackers, and though foul in their diet, not badly looked upon by their 
neighbours when they are settled. Along the Jamna, however, their 
character deteriorates, or more correctly perhaps, has not yet risen to the 
level it reaches further from its native haunts. It is, however, fairly well 
Brahmanised, though it keeps to its own worship. The higher castes are, 
as usual, admitted on payment of the cost of a feast, or even by eating 
with the members of the tribe. One of the subdivisions, the Moghiya, is 
often considered a separate caste, but it seems to be no more than 
the Central Indian variety of the main body. The Bavariya of the eastern 
parts of the upper Ganges valley are apparently quite distinct. They assert 
Rajput origin and came from Baisvara, and employ the Panrc Brahman 
of their former residence. In spite of their dark complexion and non-.-\ryan 
appearance generally they are not connected by their neighbours with 
any of the local hill-tribes, and are received on terms of equality by the 
peasantry and others. The Ahi-riya, a tribe found both in the Panjab and 
along the Jamna, is similarly divided. In the north they are hunters and 
reed-workers and occasionally settle down to life in connection with, but 
outside, the village community, without any suspicion of criminal tendencies. 
Along the Jamna, however, their reputation is that of potential burglars 
under the guise of mat-makers and collectors of jungle produce. They 
were formerly renowned for the well-planned gang-robberies they effected 
at long distances from their homes, and like the Bhils, for the expedition 
with which a large body could be got together from many different quarters. 



Castes and Caste-Groups. E. Nomadic Castes. 



and melt away imperceptibly as soon as its purpose was served. In the 
present day, they use the railway, and organise expeditions far away in 
Bengal and the Panjab. The caste is peculiar in having no subdivisions, 
endogamous or exogamous, and the conversion of one of its members 
to Islam makes no difference in his social position. The Bahcliyi is 
another example of the same name being borne by separate communities. 
In Bengal, the caste is said to be akin to the BediyS, mentioned above, 
and is almost exclusively occupied in hunting and fowling. In Bihar, the 
BaheliyS, or Bhula, is called a sub-caste of the DOsadh, but will not hold 
social intercourse with the latter. In the Ganges valley, again, this caste 
is said to belong to the Pasi, whilst in the west, it is affiliated to the 
Bhil, and is claimed as kin by the Ahcriya. In spite of their occupation 
of fowling, they are not amongst the impure, and though unattached to 
most of the ordinary Brahmanic forms of worship, they observe the orthodox 
festivals and employ the village Brahman for their own sacrifices. Com- 
paratively few of them are Muslim. So many are now resident in villages 
that they are no longer to be counted amongst the nomad tribes. The 
same may be said of the M ah tarn, a hunting caste of the Panjab, chiefly 
found in the Satlaj valley. Only a section of them still live by their 
traditional use of the noose, and the others are settled cultivators and 
labourers, with a good reputation for industry and quiet behaviour. Portions 
of both sections have changed their religion to Islam or the Sikh creed, 
but preserve withal much of their original habits. There is another com- 
munity of the same name in the submontane tract of the Panjab, which 
seems to be a branch of the Banjara or Labana caste, and to have made 
its way from the east, whereas the hunting Mahtam reached the Satlaj 
from Rajputana. There is thus no connection between the two. One other 
caste of the Vindhya belongs to this group, namely the Sahariya, ot 
Bundelkhand and the neighbourhood. It is said to derive its title from 
the Savara, a name now reserved to a tribe of the south Orissa hills, but 
applied by Sanskrit writers to any of the Dasyu tribes of the Central Belt. 
Beyond a common darkness of colour and similarity in feature, there is 
no link between the two traceable in the present day. The Sahariya do 
not wander about the country more than is necessary to give them a good 
supply of the jungle produce which they live by selling, and their crimi- 
nality is confined to petty thefts and an occasional gang-robbery. The 
caste seems to be subdivided on totemistic lines into a number of e.xo- 
gamous sections. They profess Brahmanism, but worship chiefly their local 
demons without the intervention ofBrahmans. There is no tradition amongst 
them of having immigrated from any other part of the country. The other 
side of the Vindhya presents but few hunting tribes, and those mostly of 
northern origin. The Vaghri of Gujarat, who are apparently the Baghri 
of Central India, say that they are kinsfolk of the Sansiya of the Panjab, 
and came from north Rajputana. They are now, however, naturalised in 
the west. In that part of the country they are subdivided according to 
function, and, where they are numerous, according to geographical sections 
which do not intermarry. They are still great hunters and bird-snarers. 
In the latter capacity, they have struck out a new and lucrative line of 
business with the Jain and other Vania, who set a very high value upon 
animal life. The Vaghri makes his catch of birds, takes them in cages 
to the house of the trader, and there offers to kill them or let them be 
ransomed, knowing that the merit to be acquired by the latter process 



;. Ethnography. 



will outweigh the cost in the mind of the orthodox. They also keep fowls, 
and rent fruit and other productive trees by the year, selling the crop. 
Most of them wander during the fair season, but a good many have settled 
down near villages. They have their own priests or clan-elders ("Bhuva), 
who perform their ceremonies and regulate the caste generally. The 
Vaghri, though not quite in the ranks of the criminal castes, has a bad 
reputation among villagers for theft. In the north Uckkan, indeed, this 
caste is credited with a good deal of the crime against property, but it 
is not certain that the sub-castes which operate in that region are not 
from Central India. Linguistic evidence seftms to indicate a Gujarati origin, 
but, as stated above, this peculiarity is found in the dialects of tribes far 
separated from that province. The Phansi-Pardhi, however, or snarers 
of bird and beast, seem to be really a branch of the V'aghri who have 
made their home in the Marathii country, where they are occasionally 
found in the capacity of village watchmen. 

Up to a certain point all the hunting castes in the Dekkan assert 
their origin to have been in the north. After that, the corresponding castes 
claim to have come up from the south. The Berad or Bedar have been 
classed with the watchmen, and so have the Tamil castes now so engaged : 
but there seems reason to think that all these castes are connected in 
some way or another with the Vedan, Valaiy an, Vettuvan and similar 
bodies, the majority of which belong to the hunting or fowling order. 
What the connection really is has not yet been ascertained. There is, 
however, a sub-caste of Ambalakkaran bearing the name of Vcdan, and 
the whole body claims to be descended from a Vedan, and the Valaiyan 
say that this same hero was the founder of their caste also. The Vettuvan 
hold their heads higher, and add the title VeUalan to their caste-name, 
saying that they were imported by the Kongu Chiefs to assist them in 
the conquest of Kerala. The Vedan say they were originally natives of 
Ceylon, and the Vettuvan worship Kandi-amman, the goddess of Kandy, 
as well as their seven Kannimar, or tribal deities, worshipped also by 
the Irula, a more primitive tribe. The Vettuvan of the interior, again, are 
distinct from the caste in Malabar bearing the same title. Another small 
hunting caste in Malabar is the Kuriccan, confined chiefly to the Vainad. 
The former stand higher than the latter, though both are jungle-haunters. 
The Kuriccan, too, have the same abhorrence of contact with the Brahman 
that the Paraiyan have, and worship a tribal god of their own. It would 
seem, therefore, that excej)! in the west, these castes are more settled 
and likely to rise in position than any of those found in the north, and 
that the members or families which continue to follow the traditional oc- 
cupation are being gradually relegated to sub-castes below the general 
level of the rest. 

F. Hill Tribes. 

§ So. It can be easily inferred from what has been set forth in the course 
of this survey that the importance in the ethnology of India of the pre- 
Aryan inhabitants can scarcely be overrated. There is, on the one hand, 
the gradual extension among them of the foreign forms of speech; on 
the other, the assimilation of their forms of belief into the religious system 
of those who have dispossessed them of their territory and position. In 
the preceding portion of this work, too, instances are given over and over 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 113 



again of the incorporation of communities, wholly or in part, into the 
Brahmanic social system, showing the extent to which that system and 
the racial constitution of the population at large is permeated from toj) 
to bottom by the Dasyu element. It becomes necessary therefore, to give 
some consideration to the remnants of these primitive communities which 
have, so far, more or less escaped absorption, and have preserved in a 
modified but still distinguishable, shape their independent tribal existence. 
It is obvious that in the present day the chief interest of these tribes is 
found, cthnographically speaking, in their constitution, customs and beliefs. 
Into these subjects it is impossible to enter in the detail they merit in a 
review of this description. It is also unnecessary, as they have been treated 
for the most part by experts, in works devoted to such investigation, and 
the rest are still the subject of inquiry in similarly competent hands. All 
that is here attempted is a cursory sketch of the position, strength and 
geographical distribution of the more representative of these bodies, in 
order that their place in the Indian Kosmos may be duly appreciated. 

It is convenient to treat of these tribes according to the tracts wTiich 
they inhabit. The most important of these, in both extent and ethno- 
graphical interest, is what has been called in this work, the Central Belt. 
It comprises the great plateau of Cutia Nagpur, with an extension to the 
north across the Santal Parganas to the Ganges at Rajmahal. Southwards, 
it follows the ranges which separate Orissa from the eastern parts of the 
Central Provinces, skirting the plain of Chattisgarh, and continuing south 
as far as the lower Godavari. Westwards from Ciitia Nagpur, the hill 
country passes along the south of Shahabad and Mirzapur, along the Kaimiir 
range and the Vindhya, to Mcvar and the Aravalli. Almost parallel, to 
the south of the Narbada, are the Mahadcv and Satpura ranges of Bcrar 
and Khandesh, ending in the forests of east Gujarat. Contiguous to this 
western abutment of the Belt, is the line of the Sahyadri, or Western 
Ghats, which, about as far as the little State of BhOr, is inhabited by 
a few small tribes of the same character as those further east, and pro- 
bably allied to them in race. Then there occurs a gap in the series, as 
the south Dekkan is cultivated almost up to the edge of the Ghats; and 
the next locality in which the more primitive tribes are found is the 
Nilgiri, with their detached continuation separating Travancore from the 
east coast. The above tracts are the present homes of the remains of the 
Kol and Dravidian tribes. The hill communities of Mongoloidic race are 
found chiefly in the ranges separating Assam from Upper Burma, and in 
the dorsal range of Assam itself, made up of the Garo, Khasia, Jaintya, 
Naga and Mikir hills, between the Brahmaputra valley and the Deltaic 
plain. The remaining group inhabit the Himalayan southern ranges, and, 
being chiefly resident in Nepal and Bhutan, countries beyond the census 
limits, come but slightly within the scope of this review. 

§ 81. (a) Central Belt (9,221,900). The tribes of this tract may be 
taken first, not only because they form the largest division, but also by 
reason of their more intimate racial connection with the masses of the 
plains. Each differs from the rest in some important respects with regard 
to organisation, customs and beliefs, but there are a few characteristics 
general throughout the whole. All but three or four of the larger tribes 
believe themselves to be autochthonous, if not to the tract they now in- 
habit, at least to one within a comparatively short distance. All the larger 
tribes, again, have traditions of dominion over a much larger tract than 

Indo-Aryan Research. II. 5. 8 



114 5- Ethnography. 

their present one, and in most cases the statement is supported t)y evidence 
such as that of ruins, names of places and castes and by identical forms 
and objects of worship. In every large tribe, again, there are sections 
which are far more Brahmanised than the rest, usually with the tendency 
to separate under a different title, the latter being borrowed from an 
orthodox community of the plains. Most of the tribes arc much subdivided 
into exogamous divisions, totemistic as a rule; endogamous sections following 
later, after contact with Brahmanical castes. Where the tribe is free from 
such outside influences it employs priests belonging to its own or a neigh- 
bouring community, and in several cas6s the more imjiortant sacrifices 
are performable in the archaic fashion by the head of the family only. 
The usual form of religion is that of the worship of nature or spirits, 
with the accomi)animcnt of spells, witchcraft and exorcism generally. 
Among the more Brahmanised tribes there is the outward acceptance of 
some manifestation or other of a member of the Puranic pantheon, but 
from the practical side of devotion and propitiation, the belief in the 
efficacy of the older system remains unshaken: and it is worth noting that 
the older the tribe in the locality the higher the reputation of the priests 
it furnishes. In regard to occupation, the greater part of this population 
lives by cultivation, a few tribes on the plateau of Cutia Nagpur having 
attained to a fair degree of skill in their calling, and making use of the 
plough. The bulk, however, still pursue the primitive and wasteful system 
of clearing a patch of jungle, burning the vegetation thereof for manure, 
and raising two or three years' harvest off it. They then leave it fallow for 
some years, moving off meanwhile to another patch. Where this is the 
practice, the village is migratory, within a certain range, or consists merely 
of detached hamlets; but in the more open country, cultivation being 
permanent, the village site is so too, and the huts or houses are built 
more solidly. In a few of the wilder tribes the whole village is apt to 
flit when untoward events have proved the locality or its deities to be 
unpropitious. In all the large tribes there are sections which live almost 
entirely upon forest produce, and in some, where an autumn crop only 
is raised, the people rely during the hot weather entirely upon what the 
jungle contains. Some communities, again, make it their regular trade to 
collect lac, tussar-cocoons, berries and other produce for sale to agents 
from the towns, whilst others habitually work in cane or make tooth-sticks 
and brushes, smelt iron, or wash the river sands for its minute yield of 
gold. At the other end of the scale arc found in several tribes landed 
proprietors of considerable wealth, who have long passed out of the tribal 
into the caste stage, and who, in the case of petty Chieftains, marry into 
respectable Rajput families — at a distance. Great advantage has been 
taken by others of the opportunities of earning good wages on the tea- 
gardens of Darjiling, the Tarai and Assam, where they bear an excellent 
character for industry and docility. The heart of the jungle, however, has 
hitherto proved almost imi)ervious to the efforts made to improve the in- 
habitants by land grants or other means of inducement to them to work 
themselves into a higher material condition. On the outskirts it is different, 
and there, as before remarked, the tribal population is breaking away 
from its traditions, and becoming merged gradually into the conditions 
of the plains. 

§ 82. It was pointed out in the introduction that whilst in physical 
characteristics and general customs these tribes appear homogeneous. 



I 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 115 

in speech they fall into two different categories, the Kol and the Dravi- 
dian. In the case of most of the southern tribes this distinction is ob- 
viously attributable to the contiguity of the Andhra or Telugu population 
of which they form the northern fringe. As regards the detached com- 
munities further north, however, there are traditions of immigration, 
and it is remarkable to find tribes like the Oraon, of the south of Cutia 
Nagpur, and the Mal-Pahariya and their neighbours of the hills bordering 
the Ganges speaking tongues which support their assertion that they 
reached their present localities from a tract as far distant as the Karnatic, 
especially when to do so they must apparently have outflanked the Gond, 
a still more powerful tribe, which itself is said to have come from the 
same home. It must be noted that the Male, or n<irthern section of the 
inhabitants of the Rajmahal hills, are also called Savariya, or Sabar, a 
title which appears to link them to the Savara, or Suari, of the ancient 
European geographers, Pliny and Ptolemy. These were once undoubtedly 
in possession of a considerable territory south of the Ganges, but now 
the only large tribe known by their special designation except the Brah- 
manised Sahariya, mentioned above, is located far to the south, and isolated 
amongst a jiopulation speaking either Oriya or the hill-vernaculars of the 
Dravidian type. On linguistic grounds, the Savara of today arc grouped 
amongst the Kol-Khervari peoples, whereas the INIale use a tongue nearly 
akin to that of the Oraon. It is possible, therefore, that an ancient and 
wide-spread title has been applied to two different and distinct communities, 
and that the southern Savara like their neighbours, the Gadaba, are Dra- 
vidian by race, modified by the influence of more powerful alien sur- 
roundings. Thus, it may be generally put that the Uravidian element is 
indigenous in the south-east, immigrant in the south, centre and a portion 
of the north-east; and that the north, west, and most of the plateau, ap- 
pertain to the Kol-Khervari tribes. 

In regard to the latter, it must be noted that the generic designation 
of Kol is not returned as the title of a tribe except in the Central Pro- 
vinces, Central India, and the south of the Ganges valley. Towards the 
east of the tract in question, the terms used are Ho, Munda and Bhumij. 
Of these, Ho is held to mean Man, the name given to themselves by most 
primitive tribes. Kol is probably derived from Ho by transliteration. Munda 
and Bhumij are terms of Sanskrit origin, the former meaning a headman 
of a village, also a common appellation for the lower races in India, and 
in this case adopted by the tribe itself. Bhumij, in the same way, implies 
connection with the soil, and connotes in most cases in which it is applied 
the clearers of the village-site. In various forms it is found from Gujarat 
to Assam. Occasionally it means the hereditary landholders of the village; 
elsewhere, the menials and guardians of the boundaries. In the form of 
Bhiiinya, in Bengal, it is both a generic title, covering a considerable 
number of castes of different standing and origin, and also the name of 
a loose and scattered tribe in the south-eastern part of the Belt. The 
tribe to which the name of Bhumij is now given is a branch of the 
Munda which has spread from the central home of the race to the east- 
wards, and now lives in western Bengal and the districts of Manbhiim 
and Singhbhiim. The community is almost entirely Brahmaniscd, except 
in the tracts immediately adjoining the plateau, where the Murula language 
is still current, and the people intermarry with the Munda of the uplands, 
and often call themselves by their name. As the tribe advanced into the 



Ii6 5. Ethnography. 



plain all this was changed. The tribal worship was abandoned by the 
landholding class in favour of Brahmanism of a somewhat strict type, and 
the Aryan vernacular of the district is used by them. In the wealthier 
families the practice is growing of calling themselves Rajputs and dropping 
their ancestral connection altogether. The less advanced adhere to their 
tribal gods and employ their own Laya, or priests, on all occasions. The 
Munc.la are subdivided into numerous tribes, the names of most of which 
prove an origin from intermarriage with other tribes of the vicinity. These, 
again, are further parcelled out respectively into totemistic sections, 
of course exogamous, and with interestfng rules as to prohibited food. 
The chief object of worship is the Sun, as is the case with most of the 
larger tribes of this tract, but a more efficient and active deity is found 
in the Mountain god, again a not uncommon feature of the K6I race. The 
priests, or Pahan, are members of the tribe. The Ho, sometimes called 
the Larkha K61, arc probably the oldest, as they are the highest, of the 
three cognate tribes. The Santal, Bhiimij and the Munda call themselves 
Ho, but no one else does, and intermarriage between them and the Ho 
of Singbhum is now unusual. The latter are of Cutia Nagpur, like the 
others, but having got possession of a more fertile region, they have taken 
the greatest care to prevent strangers from sharing the land with them. 
Physically, they are the finest of the race, and have become a steady 
agricultural community of a somewhat undeveloped type. The tribes re- 
turning themselves as Kol are found for the most part in the Mirzapur 
district along the Ganges, in Jabalpur and Mandla in the Central Provinces, 
and in the Baghclkhand tract of Central India. They have the tradition 
of having once lived in the plains of south Bihar from which they were 
expelled by Savara of some sort, and had to take refuge in Baghclkhand. 
In all the above tracts the tribe is comparatively Brahmanised and has 
lost much of the organisation and worship it has retained in Cutia Nagpur, 
where the Kol is a branch of the ^lunda. Here they live after the fashion 
of their ancestors, but in the rest of their settlements they have taken to 
simple cultivation on the ordinary lines, and differ but little from their 
Brahmanic neighbours except in more extended respect for sorcery, and 
in the propitiation of the local gods in preference to those of wider fame. 
One of the most civilised tribes of this group is the Kharvar, to which 
belong more than one of the local Chiefs who have been accepted as 
equals by Rajputs, on payment, however, of unusually heavy dowries. The 
Kharvar appear to be without traditions of immigration from further than 
the south east of the Cutia Nagpur table-land, from which they spread 
northwards and down into south Bihar. Here their rank seems to depend 
much upon their connection with the land. Those who hold large estates 
claim to be Rajputs, and the middle classes employ S'akadvipi Brahmans 
and retain only the more important of their tribal ceremonies. Even 
amongst these classes the influence of the Baiga, or tribal priest, is by 
no means extinct. Indeed, the reputation of the tribe for supernatural 
powers is such that a section bears the name of Baiga, and is so re- 
turned in the Central Provinces and Baghclkhand, from which it may be 
inferred that the Kharvar is regarded by its neighbours in that direction 
as being of an older stock than themselves. On the other hand, sections 
of the Kharvar now employ a priest of the Korva, or even a lower tribe. 
The respect shown by the Kharvar for the Khar grass, which they say 
they take their name, seems to indicate that they were once a totemistic 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 117 

branch of a larger community, but no traces of this have been ascertained, 
and the tribe holds itself to be superior to all around it, except, perhaps 
the Ccru. The latter are even more thoroughly Brahmanised than the 
Kharvar, and have the same tradition of having been ousted from dominion 
in the south of Bihar. They were the last to leave the plain for the plateau, 
and are accepted as an orthodox Brahmanic caste. A small section, however, 
in the interior, still keeps to the jungle and breeds tussar moths, for doing 
which they are deemed impure by their relatives. Long periods of settled 
life, combined with frequent intermarriage with high class families of 
Rajputs and others, have in fact made the larger body of the Ceru a 
different and distinct community, claiming the name of Cohan-bansi. The 
totemistic subdivisions of their poor relations, however, prove their con- 
nection with both the general Muncja race and perhaps more especially, 
with the Kharia. These last say they came up to Wanbhum and Ranci 
from the Orissa State of Mayurbhanj. One branch took to cultivation and 
settled life, whilst those in Manbhum remain amongst the most shy and 
uncivilised of their kind. The former affect the highest regard for purity 
in diet, and greatly restrict their intercourse with outsiders, a habit which 
is sometimes unkindly attributed to their own filth and disregard of social 
decency. They intermarry with the Munda on unequal terms, the larger 
tribe taking brides from them but giving none in return. The Kharia keep 
to their own worship, using Munijfi or Oraon priests. The jungle section 
live on the produce of the forest with a little simple cultivation of the 
migratory sort. When any stranger settles within sight, they move off, a 
tendency welcomed by their neighbours, who regard them as the possessors 
of excepti(mal powers of magic, available against both man and beast. 
The largest of the Kol communities is the Santal, who call themselves, 
like the Munda, by a term signifying Headman of a village (Manjhi). The 
tribe is not autochthonous in its present locality, though their immigration 
does not seem to have been from a greater distance than the south-cast 
of the Cutia Nagpur plateau. From thence they spread eastwards and 
northwards in succession, and peopled the Santal Parganas about the 
middle of the 19th century. This eastward movement is still in progress, 
and the Santal are gradually taking up land in that direction wherever 
they find they can keep on laterite soil and within the range of the Sal 
tree, which is said to be to them all that the bamboo is to the inhabitant 
of the plains. The aversion from alluvial soil manifested by all the tribe, 
is accounted for, according to some, by its unsuitability to their favourite 
tree, whilst others attribute it to the fact that the uplands afford better 
outlets for expansion of cultivation than the already well-peopled riparian 
tracts of the great valley. The Santal is also one of the people most 
willing to leave his home for temporary engagements on the tea-gardens 
of Assam and the Tarai, where over 40,000 of this tribe were returned 
at the Census. In spite of their wanderings, the Santal have kept up their 
elaborate tribal organisation, with a most intricate subdivision of clans and 
with mystic pass-words current amongst them. Their tribal worship of the 
Sun and ^lountain, too, is strictly maintained. Each family, moreover, has 
its own domestic god with the addition of a secret god, the name of 
which is kept a mystery to the women of the household, and only divulged 
to the eldest son of the house, lest undue influence be brought to bear 
upon it. It is said that a generation or two ago, the wealtier Santals, in 
imitation of the Brahmanic high castes of the neighbourhood, took to 



n8 5. Ethnography. 

marrying off their girls at a very early age- This practice is common 
enough amongst the aspiring families of the lower classes, but the re- 
markable feature in the new departure among the Santals is that after a 
few years' trial the practice was abandoned and the tribal custom of 
marriage in the teens was resumed. There have been a good many 
converts to Christianity from the tribe of late years, and, indeed, most 
of the information available about the language and religion of the tribe 
is derived from Danish and other Missionaries working amongst them: 
In their own worship and in the periodical great sacrifices the Santal 
relies upon the Naiki, or priest of his own community. Akin to the Santal 
is a small tribe called Mahilf, which, judging from the names of its sub- 
divisions, must have split off from the main body on taking to work, such 
as carrying loads and making baskets, deemed degrading by the Santal. 
It seems, too, that the Munda contributed a section to the Mahili. The 
latter are now found chiefiy in Manbhum and the Ranci district of the 
plateau, with a few scattered amongst their kinsfolk elsewhere. Their 
religion has been described as a mixture of "Animism half-forgotten and 
Brahmanism half-understood ". Sacrifices are offered to the god of the 
mountain and to the snake and then consumed by those who make the 
offering. One subdivision only has advanced well into the religion of the 
plains, and employs Brahmans and abjures the food dear to the rest. The 
Binjhia and Birjia have usually been considered to be one tribe, but 
at the last Census it was considered better to tabulate them separately. 
This course appears to have been correct, as the larger community of 
the Binjhia is a Brahmanised cultivating caste, speaking Ofiya, and settled 
in the south of the Ranci district, whilst the Birjia are residents of the 
uncleared forest, where they live from hand to mouth by the cultivation 
of small patches, eked out by hunting wild animals and collecting fruit etc. 
They are held to belong to the Agaria, or iron-smelting tribe whose 
customs they follow. The Juang, or Patua, are perhaps the most primi- 
tive of all their group. They inhabit the recesses of the Orissa hills, and 
it is remarkable to find the caste amongst the indentured labourers in 
Assam. Both language and customs indicate their close relationship with 
the Kharia and Munda. They worship the forest and village gods, but 
are said to be acquiring some appreciation of Brahmanic deities. They 
keep village priests, but the important offices are performed by the elders 
of the tribe. The latter, probably because it is so small, is not subdivided, 
but forms a single endogamous community. The practice of clothing them- 
selves with leaves, which has been picturesquely described by Dalton and 
other visitors to their haunts, is said to be yielding to the taste for cotton 
wrappers, even amongst the women, who have hitherto alleged divine 
warrant for the leaf-apron. 

§ 83. Of the immigrant tribes of the plateau, the most important is 
theOraor, or Kurukh, which, as stated above, is apparently of Kanarese 
origin. According to the tribal tradition, the Oraon once held a good 
portion of South Bihar, and on being expelled by the Muslim, separated 
into two branches, one following the Ganges to the Rajmahal jungle, the 
other going up the Son and occupying the north-west corner of Ciitia 
Nagpur. The main body are now settled in the latter tract, covering the 
districts of Ranci and Palamau. As they are greatly in request as labourers 
they are also found in the Census returns of Assam and the Jalpaiguri 
tea districts in considerable numbers. Having dwelt side by side with the 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 1 19 

Munda for many generations, they have dropped a good many of their 
own customs and adopted those of the indigenous tribes. In regard to 
their worship, however, they keep themselves apart, erecting some symbol 
of their gods, whilst the Munda abstain from anything of the sort. The 
Oraon employ no Brahmans of course, and their priests are Naya, very 
like those of the Munda. According to tradition, the Oraon introduced the 
plough into the plateau and were the first to take to regular cultivation. 
They regard the Munda as their predecessors, however, and where the 
two are in the same place, the Oraon yield precedence to the elder tribe. 
The advance of settled government and systematic land administration 
has not conduced to the prosperity of the Oraon, who lose ground before 
the more cunning castes which follow those symptoms of civilisation, and 
prey upon the less educated, gradually dispossessing them of their lands. 
As to the other branch of the Oraon, who are still entrenched in the hills 
of Rajmahal, it appears that two sections have been formed, one, of the 
Mal-Paharia, the lower and more Brahmanised community, and the other, 
called, for want of a more definite title, the Male, or Hillmen. There 
seems to be little doubt but that in spite of the antagonism between the 
two in the present day they belong to the same race, using closely allied 
dialects of the Oraon-Kanarese language. The Southern community, though 
more civilised than the Northern, is still more or less in the jungle stage, 
and worships the Sun, Earth and Tiger, through the mediation of the 
headmen of the villages. One subdivision is considered by the outside 
world to be a trifle purer than the rest, as in the matter of diet it draws 
the line above rats and lizards, which enter into the daily meal of the 
others. They cultivate on the wasteful system of jungle-burning, which 
entails the occupation of an abnormally large tract of land to allow of 
the frequent fallows necessary for the recuperation of the vegetation. The 
Male of the upper hills, are far less affected by Brahmanic contact than 
the others, and are said to be homogeneous to the extent of not having 
even exogamous subdivisions. They share with the Mal-Pahafia the worship 
of the Sun, but differ from the latter in setting up a post to symbolise 
that luminary. The only semblance of a priest amongst them is the Demano 
or Diviner, and even he gives place to the headman at the more important 
ceremonies. The Male gave a good deal of trouble in the early days ot 
British rule in Bengal, as they had managed to preserve their independence 
of all government against the attempts of the Muslim to coerce them. 
The judicious handling of them by a popular local official, late in the 
iSth century, pacified them into the abstention of raids upon their neigh- 
bours, but his attempts at inducing the tribe to take to industrial pursuits 
were not successful. 

§ 84. The largest and most widely spread of the tribes of the Central 
Belt is the Gond, a title which like that of K6I, has been extended to a 
number of almost distinct communities. Some authorities trace the name 
to Konda, the Telugu for hill, as in the case of the Kond or Kand tribe, 
and they certainly cover the hill-country from Orissa westwards, with a 
strong northern settlement in the Satpura and the south-west of the Cutia 
Nagpur plateau. It has been already pointed out that their language ap- 
proximates to the Kanarese rather than to the adjacent Telugu, but there 
is little or no tradition of their earlier wanderings. The Raj-Gond, who 
pushed up the Narbada and Kaimur, established a strong dominion on 
the ruins of the Gauli dynasties, though it seems that they were in the 



5- Ethnography. 



neighbourhood long before that opportunity occurred, and were being 
transformed into Nagbansi Rajputs even by the 4th century. The zenith 
of their rule was from the i6th to the beginning of the 1 8th centuries, 
when the Bhonslc overran their country and completely dispossessed them 
of their power except in the hill fastnesses, which held out against all 
comers. From the Kaimur the Gond passed eastwards into BaghL-lkhand 
and the hills along the south of the Ganges valley. Here they are now 
known as Majhvar or Manjhi, meaning headman, like Munda. In the Cutia 
Nagpur States the Gond hold their land on military tenure, a fact which 
seems to indicate that they were in possession before the present rulers. 
All the northern and central Gond are more or less Brahmanised. The 
upper classes, descendants of the former Chieftains, and the Chieftains 
still holding petty States, claim to be Rajputs, and have for generations 
intermarried with families of that order whose circumstances were in need 
of reinforcement from some landed class better off than themselves. Under- 
lying the prevailing beliefs, however, are the old tribal worship and customs, 
and whilst Brahmans arc consulted as to lucky days and are brought in 
to perform social ceremonies, the efficacy of the local priest and exorciser, 
Pathari, Pradhan or Ojha, in practical dealings with the supernatural, 
is everywhere acknowledged. In the south-east of the Gond country, from 
Chattisgarh to Orissa, the tribes are far less Brahmanised, and live more 
in the forest. The Maria form the principal section, and are found chiefly 
in the Bastar State and the district of Canda. The majority of the Maria 
are probably the wildest of the Gond, but on the outskirts of the hills 
they are beginning, it is said to drop their designation for that of Koitar, 
a more advanced section, and leading up to the title of Gond, without 
any affix. The Koyi are less civilised than the Koitar, but the Bhatra, 
or Bottada, to the east of the Gond tract, are nearly all Brahmanised, 
some wearing the sacred thread, like the Raj section of the Gond. The 
Halaba, originally from the Bastar State, have settled to a considerable 
extent in the plain of Chattisgarh, and the further they get from the jungle 
the more strenuously they disown connection with the Gond, and claim 
to be an independent Brahmanic caste. As their main occupation is the 
distillation of spirit from forest produce their claim is not encouraged by 
the higher grades of the community to which they affiliate themselves. It 
is not possible to give the numerical strength of all these sections of the 
great Gond tribe or race, as at the Census the use of the general title 
was very extensive. In 1S91 some detail was given, but on that occasion 
also the value of the figures is diminished by the large number of un- 
specified entries. 

§ 85. Of the Dravidian tribes, next to the Gond come the Kand, or 
Kond, with their kindred. The main body calls itself Kuyi, but the deri- 
vation of both this and the ordinary title is uncertain. The Kand have 
attracted a good deal of literary notice, partly due to their former practice 
of human sacrifices and supposed advanced religious views. But the com- 
munity is much subdivided and by no means uniform in its structure or 
habits. There is, for instance, the usual division into the hill section, which 
is untouched by Brahmanism, and that of the plains, which is adopting 
both the language and religion of the Oriyas and Telugu respectively. 
The Kand resemble the Gond in having pushed up northwards from the 
southern outskirts of the ranges forming the abutment of the Central Belt 
to the south-east. A further point of resemblance is the adoption of the 



i 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 



name of the dominant tribe by bodies of artisans and menials who minister 
to the former, so that, as in the case of the Nayar but on a smaller scale, 
there are Gone! blacksmiths, drummers and cowherds, and Kand blacksmiths 
and potters. The tribe lives by agriculture of the usual rude kind, but all 
the Kand are also keen hunters, and very expert against game with their 
bow and hatchet. They are very tenacious of their tribal rights over the 
land they have once cleared, and in some cases, the whole of the village 
land is held in common. The Kondu-Dora, on the contrary, who are 
probably the southern branch of the same tribe, have lost hold of their 
hills and are no more than a Brahmanic caste, speaking a mixture of 
their old language and Telugu, and conforming to the ordinary local 
customs. The Poroja, the meaning of whose title is uncertain, apparently 
belong to the same stock as the Kand, but their language is held by 
Dr. Grierson to be Gond, at least where the two communities live along- 
side of each other. Elsewhere it is treated as a mixture of Kand and 
Oriya. The tribe therefore, may be placed midway between the Gond and 
the Kand. The Gadaba, again, are considered locally to be a branch of 
the Poroja, and their subdivisions confirm this view. They are said to 
have separate dialects of Oriya, all mutually unintelligible to the rest. In 
the Linguistic Survey, however, the Gadaba language is classed with the 
Savara, as southern Kol-Khervari. The tribe has no tradition of migration, 
and lives by cultivation, one section working as carriers and labourers. 
Their headmen act as their priests, and bear the same title as among the 
Kand. The Jatapu are said to be Kand who have become in most re- 
spects Brahmanised. Those residing in the hills speak Kand, but those 
on the plain have taken to Telugu. The Jatapu, whilst observing the 
orthodox rules as to marriage and diet, have never given up the old tribal 
gods, to whom they sacrifice animals through their own priests, and keep 
to their totemistic exogamous clans. 

?? S6. There remains the Savara tribe, of which the greater portion 
is now found in the Orissa hills and the adjacent wild country, under the 
Central Provinces and iMadras. It has been already pointed out that as- 
suming this tribe to represent the ancient Suari or Sabarae, they once 
possessed a considerable dominion in the south Ganges valley. It is curious 
to find even in the present day small communities bearing this name in 
the very north of the Central Provinces and Bundelkhand, with no tradi- 
tions of migration or former supremacy. The alternative designation of 
the ISIale of Rajmahal, Sauria, has also been ascribed to some connection 
with the Savara. Be this as it may, the detached body of the north-west 
has lost all trace of its primitive religion and language, and is simply a 
low caste of the ordinarj' Brahmanic type. Similarly, an offshoot of the main 
Savara body which has settled in western Bengal, is gradually detaching 
itself from the hill-dwellers of the tribe and employing Brahmans. It is 
worthy of note that whereas the Savara in their native haunts seem to 
be without exogamous subdivisions, those who have left the hills establish 
them upon both totemistic and Brahmanic lines, borrowing the former, 
probably, from some neighbouring tribe which preceded the Savara in 
the valley. The wilder Savara have functional classes, such as the agri- 
cultural, the metal-working, the weaving and the cane-working, but in- 
tormation is not yet available as to the social distinctions implied in this 
distribution. The Savara of the southern outskirts seem to be inclined 
to branch off from their hill-comrades as they have done on the Bengal 



5. Ethnocraphy. 



side of the hills, and to gradually incorporate themselves with the Kapu, 
or peasantry. 

§ 87. (b) Western Belt (1,922,300). The Western branch of the 
Kol tribes of the Central Belt differs considerably from those just reviewed, 
owing, probably, to their having been driven into tracts which allow but 
little room for cultivation, even on the methods adopted by the inhabitants 
of the plateau. The link between the western tribes and the rest is found 
in the Korva, a tribe Kol in its language, and by repute one of the 
earliest settlers of the western parts of Ciitia Nagpur. The Korva, under its 
western title of Kur or Korku, originated,' it is said, in the Mahadcv Hills, 
and spread east and west. That they are amongst the oldest established 
tribes seems certain, for other tribes get their priests from them in all 
cases where village or local deities have to be appeased. The few of the 
tribe who have risen to the rank of landed proprietors affect Brahmanism, 
and set up as Rajj^uts, but the rest of the community, except, perhaps, 
a few in the west, worship their ancestral ghosts and propitiate the ma- 
lignant spirits of other people. In some of the States of Cutia Nagpur, 
the Korva smelts iron and makes his own weapons and implements, but 
this art is lost amongst those of the Satpura, who have to have recourse 
to professionals for the large arrows which they use with considerable 
skill at short ranges. Towards Betul and the Berar hills, the Korku are 
divided into clans, the principal of which is called Muvasf. Further to the 
west, this title is applied to the Bhils of the same range, and there is 
doubtless some connection between the two. The Bhil has lost his tribal 
language, and, except in the heart of the forest, much of his tribal religion. 
Like the rest of his race, however, he maintains his respect for the old 
pantheon as being more intimately and practically bound up with daily 
life than the Puranic manifestations, even though the latter be brought 
down to suit his requirements. The name of Bhil is generally derived from 
a Dravidian word for bow, as in the case of the tree-tapping caste, Billava, 
in Kanara. Probably this name, or at all events its interpretation, is modern 
compared to the age of the community, but it certainly is applicable to 
the Bhil of the present day, who in the forest, and even on the outskirts 
thereof, is seldom without his weapons. In the west, the Bhil tribes are 
divided, like the K61 of further east, into a Hill and a Plain section. The 
latter, however, do not appear to aspire to more than a rudimentary form 
of village settlement by themselves or than the duties of watchmen in 
the larger villages of other castes. In the latter capacity, the permission 
to retain his arms proved too strong a tem|)tation to be resisted when the 
institution was first established, and the Bhil watchmen, with that marvellous 
power of rapid concentration which distinguishes the tribe, were wont to 
descend in force upon one of the villages exempt from their services. This 
phase soon passed, and the Bhil is now a recognised part of the establish- 
ment in the eastern villages of Gujarat. The Bhil worships the wood-spirits, 
and in the west, at least, erects posts to them in the jungle, sacrificing 
fowls and other offerings through a priest, generally of the tribe, whose 
duty on other occasions is to discover the witches who seem to be pe- 
culiarly active in this community. Some of the eastern Bhils have been 
converted to Islam, especially those of the Tadvi clan, but their observance 
of its tenets are very half-hearted, and the women especially, keep to 
their former practices. In former days the Bhils held a good part of the 
country north of their present hills, and were driven out by the Rajputs 



i 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 123 

under pressure of the Muslim. Even now, they receive the respect due 
to their former repute, an instance of which was given above in con- 
nection with the enthronement of a Rajput Chief. There is strong reason 
to think that the tribe was reinforced by the incorporation of refugee 
Rajputs, who have left their marlc upon certain clans of Bhil, especially 
in the south of Rajputana. In fact, the connection between the two is 
said to have resulted in the formation of the Bhilala, now a separate 
tribe. In regard to the relationship of the Bhil to the Korku, it may be 
noted that the name of Mcvas, which is given to some of the Bhil tracts 
in the west, is taken from the title of Muvasi, or Mavaca, by which they 
are called, and which, as observed above, is the name of the western 
branch of the Korku. Akin to the Bhil are the Dhanka, a tribe of south 
Rajputana and Central India, the Patelia in the same region, and probably 
of mixed origin, and the Tadvi and Pavada, which are both Bhil clans 
locally separated from the main body, and settled in the Khandesh Satpura. 
The Gamta, or Gamit, which nearly touch them on the north-west, seem 
to be merely a superior class of Bhil, and not a separate tribe. The great 
Koli tribe, which has been classed with the cultivators, contains, also, 
more than one subdivision which still live in or near the forest, and have 
not taken, like the rest, to either agriculture or seafaring pursuits. The 
Naikada is probably one of these, as it is distinct from the Bhil, though 
sharing the tastes and mode of life of the latter. The Naikada are found 
along the south-west border of Rajputana and Central India, with colonies 
in the forests of east Gujarat. They are by repute even worse neighbours 
than the Bhil, and on several occasions have only been kept down by 
force. For many years, however, they have been at peace, though showing 
no disposition to abandon their primitive cultivation and their dependence 
upon the jungle for their livelihood. The only advance they have made 
is to engage under the Forest officials to cut and transport timber, instead 
of working the jungle on their own wasteful plan. They pay homage to 
Mata and Hanuman, as representing their own worship of nature and the 
forest, but not only repudiate the services of the Brahman, but look upon 
the murder of one of that order as an act of merit, and have the grim 
saying, "By killing a caste-mark wearer, you feed a hundred." There is 
a small tribe of much the same name, but settled at some distance from 
the Naikada, called Nayak, which is unconnected with the Koli, and 
seems to be the elder branch of the Dhundia caste, mentioned in con- 
nection with agricultural labour. They are only found in the south-east 
of Gujarat, where they live on the skirts of the forest, but not in it. The 
Dhundia of the open country pay them respect at all formal ceremonies, 
but do not eat or intermarry with them. The Nayak, moreover, have kept 
up a good many of the tribal customs which the others have sloughed 
off. Inter alia, they are terribly skilful and persistent on the local drum, 
an accomplishment much appreciated at weddings and other festivals. The 
Chodra of a little further north, are in appearance and customs much the 
same as the Dhundia, but they have the tradition of having immigrated 
to their present home from the south of Rajputana, whence they were 
expelled along with some Rajput clans, by the Muslim. They resemble 
the Dhundia in having taken to regular cultivation, with the addition of 
cutting firewood from the forest for sale in the open country. Beyond their 
worship of the village boundary-gods and their avoidance of Brahmans, 
there is little to distinguish them from a low caste of Brahmanic cultivators. 



124 5- Ethnography. 

and they arc said to be gradually rising in position through their industry 
and peaceful habits. 

i} 88. (c) Sahyadri (367,600). The three or four small tribes of the 
northern Sahyadri are almost contiguous to those just mentioned and 
possibly are connected with some of them, though they have no traditions 
as to their origin. The lowest of them, the Katkari or Kathodi, which 
derives its name from the catechu it extracts in the forests, says it came 
from the north, by which it means the forests of south Gujarat. The tribe 
resembles the lower class of Bhil in appearance, but lacks the indepen- 
dence and joviality of the predatory communities. The Katkari stick close 
to the forests, and though they cultivate on a rude system, they never 
take up land on a permanent tenure. They have their own gods and forms 
of sacrifice, without reference to Brahmans. The tiger is an object of 
special regard, as in Cutia Nagpur. Other tribes steer clear of the Katkarf, 
not only because the latter are foul-feeders and remarkably dirty, but also 
because of their reputation as sorcerers. It is worth noting that whilst 
the principal demon of the locality is worshipped by the other tribes it 
is rejjuted to be controlled by the Katkari, a difference implying the older 
settlement of the latter tribe. The Varli (uplander), so called from being 
supposed to have come from the country above the Ghats, are now re- 
sident along the coast, but still in the forest. They are superior in ap- 
pearance to the Katkari, and arc not adverse to permanent cultivation, 
generally as subtenants upon the half-share system. The bulk of the tribe 
also deal in jungle produce. They share some of the gods and ceremonies 
of the Katkari, with the addition of Vaghoba, a tiger god recognised 
by the lower Brahmanists. The latter, in turn, do not consider them as 
altogether impure and enter their houses, or, at least, those of the Varli 
who breed cattle. The third tribe, the Thakur, called for distinction, 
the Ghat-Thakur, stands still higher in society, though except in being 
a little more cleanly, the members of it have a strong physical resemblance 
to the darker tribes of the north and east. They hold the same tribal 
beliefs, too, and worship the mountain and tiger gods, but in their do- 
mestic rites they make use of the Dcs'asth, or local Rlaratha Brahman. 
The Thakur are settled in their own villages and possess land and cattle, 
some of their community being fairly well-to-do. None of these three 
tribes strays beyond its native haunts. 

§ 89. (d) Nilgiri etc. (226,300). The comparatively small tribes of 
the Nilgiri and the vicinity consist of descendants of a fugitive branch 
of the Kurumban race and of communities the origin of which is uncertain. 
To the former belong the Kuruman of the western slopes, who are the 
same, except in locality, as the Kadu-Kurubar mentioned under the head 
of shepherds. The general conjecture is that after the downfall of the 
Shepherd dynasties of the south-east, some of the race fled into the jungle, 
where they have since remained. The Irula, who inhabit the broken 
country to the east of the Nilgiri, are apjiarently also of the same stock 
if not belonging to the Coromandel Cencu tribes. Like the Kurubar or 
Kurumban, they are divided into the section of the plain and that of the 
forest. The former are more or less Brahmanised, live in villages and 
work on the land. The others have the name of Villiyan, evidently derived 
from the bow, their weapon of choice. Both sections worship the Kannimar 
at an ant-hill in the jungle, these goddesses being probably the earliest 
of all the Dravidian pantheon. The Toda and Kota belong to the table- 



Castes and Caste-groups. F. Hill Tribes. 125 

land of the Nilgiri, on which they have been isolated from pre-historic 
time. Both apparently belong to the same stock, but the K(')ta admit their 
inferiority to the others, though having turned out more adaptable to new 
circumstances they appear to be more prosperous. The Toda arc essentially 
a pastoral community, their sole wealth consisting of their stock of buffaloes. 
Owing to their residing within an easy morning's walk of a popular hill- 
station, also the seat of Government for the greater part of the year, the 
tribe has received abundant notice, and has been to some extent cherished 
as a valuable asset, being a specimen of what may be called "stall-fed 
aborigines". There is some justification for this interest in the striking 
difference in physical appearance between the Toda and most of the 
surrounding population, as well as in their picturesque houses and mode 
of life. It is probably, however, that they come from no great distance 
from their present seat, and their language has been described as "old 
Kanarese spoken in a gale", but it seems to have closer affinity to Tamil, 
whilst the invocations more resemble Malayalam, with the Sanskritic strain 
omitted. The Kota speak a different dialect, but the two tribes understand 
each other. It is not improbable, therefore, that they both moved up to 
the seclusion of the table-land from the Malabar forests in the neighbour- 
hood of the Wainad or possibly even frt)m Coorg. In the ranges south of 
the Nilgiri are found several small forest tribes, most of whom live in as 
wild a state as the present conditions allow. The Kanikkar of Travan- 
core are thought to be, like the Kurumban, the descendants of a race 
once holding dominion over the surrounding plains, but driven to the hills 
by invaders from the north. The title appears to indicate, like Bhumia 
and its synonyms, the first claim to the soil, and this seems to be in 
harmony with their position in relation to the Brahmanic castes below the 
hills, who treat them as considerably purer than the menials of the village 
or farm. They live by rude cultivation on the wood-ash system for a part 
of the year, and then trust to hunting and the sale of jungle produce for 
the rest. They are skilled in archery, and face elephants and tigers with 
success. The iNIalayarayan, or Arayan of the hills, are more settled than 
the Kanikkar, and have well-built villages, with considerable areas of 
cultivated land. In some respects they bear a striking resemblance to the 
Toda, as in not labouring for hire, but their reputation for practical sorcery 
deprives them of the sympathy of the residents of the coast. Other hill- 
tribes with the same title as the above or one closely resembling it, live 
in the forests east of the Malabar district, with a similar fame as wizards 
and casters of spells. All these tribes have been the subject of inquiries 
in the course of the Ethnographic Survey, and till recently but little was 
known about them. 

ij 90. In the low ranges along the Coromandel coast, known as the 
Eastern Ghats, a few wandering tribes are still to be found subsisting by 
hunting, the collection of fruit and the sale of firewood to the villages 
round. The Yanadi and the Cencu are connected with each other, and 
according to the tradition among the former, the Cencu took refuge 
amongst the Yanadi when driven from their home in the west. The Yanadi 
call themselves Anadulu, or autochthonous. The two have the same tribal 
deity, named Cencu, and worshij) without Brahmans or apparently priests 
of any sort. It may be noted, also, that Cencu is the title of a subdivision 
of the Gadaba tribe, further north, as well as of a section of the Yanadi, 
and that the same name is given to the Irula in the uplands of Mysore. 



126 5- Ethnography. 

It is not improbable, therefore, that the tribes may be connected, and 
that all came from the north, the Jrula having settled in the forests of the 
transverse range uniting the eastern Ghats with the western, at the Nilgiri. 
Another hypothesis is that the Yanadi may have been influenced in their 
religion by the immigrant Cencu ; but the ethnology of all these tribes 
rests largely on vague surmise. It used to be held that the languages 
spoken by the Yanadi and Cencu were separate dialects of Telugu, but 
it appears from recent inquiry that they are nothing more than the rural 
vernacular spoken with a peculiar drawl and some differences in pro- 
nunciation. Both tribes by preference live by what they can pick up in 
the jungle, and sell fruit, honey and firewood in the villages of the plain. 
The Cencu, too, occasionally breed cattle, and the Yanadi tell fortunes. 
Both consider themselves above the leather-workers and lower menials 
of the villages. 

§ 91. Assam Tribes. The racial movements which have taken place 
in this part of India were cursorily set forth in the Introduction. Owing, 
no doubt, to the comparatively recent date at which successive settlements 
have occurred, and also, to the natural isolation of some of the tracts, 
which have thus been unaffected by alien inroads, the racial concentration 
coincides, as a rule, with the geographical position. There are exceptions, 
of course, as in the Central Belt, where a tribe has been cut off from 
its fellows, or the new-comers have been unable to effect a continuous 
occupation, but in most cases the tribes in question can be dealt with in 
groups which are geographical as well as racial. 

The general results of the Ethnographical Survey of Assam have 
not yet been published (1909), but several valuable monographs upon parti- 
cular tribes have been prepared by local officers specially qualified for 
the task, and some of these have been utilised in the last three Census 
Reports. The numerical strength of the tribes, however, which it is the 
main object of the Census to discover, is not altogether satisfactorily re- 
presented by the returns, partly because of the variety of language current 
amongst these communities, which has the result of giving to many of 
the latter a title unknown within their own body. The influence of 
Brahmanism, moreover, upon the numerous less civilised tribes by which 
it is here surrounded, turns the scale adversely to accurate ethnographic 
nomenclature. Members of a tribe who decide upon conformity with 
Brahmanic observances are apt to signify their breach with the past by 
adopting the name of an existing caste, with or without a qualifying 
epithet. Taking an example from one of the larger communities, a Kacari 
does not make use of that name, but calls himself Bara, and when he is 
dallying with the outworks of Brahmanism, he is a Saraniya, or a Saraniya 
Koc. Once the plunge taken, the prefix is dropped, and he becomes 
Koc. In due course, if he thrives, he dies Rajbansi. As the same course 
is followed by the Lalung, Mikir and Garo tribes, the identity of the 
convert is lost in an all-embracing title, once racial, but now sunk into 
nothing more than the designation of a loosely knit and heterogeneous 
Brahmanic caste. Thus the remarkable variation in the numbers returned 
for a tribe between one Census and another is attributable to little more 
than additional care in the discrimination between local terms, and, on 
the whole, the later enumeration may fairly be taken as more correct 
than its predecessor. There are other causes of variation, but they are 
exceptional. One tribe suffered more severely than others from the serious 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 127 

epidemic, called the "black disease", which ravaged the valley a few 
years back : another, the bulk of which resides beyond the frontier, may 
have sent more or fewer immigrants into British territory.- elsewhere, the 
Census was extended to tracts in which it was not possible to conduct 
the operations ten years before, and so on. Even now, there are tribes 
of considerable importance dwelling in the north-eastern and eastern hills, 
which have not yet been enumerated. 

The information available, then, extends to the main Bodo group of 
the Brahmaputra valley and the Garo Hills; the Khasi of the hills bearing 
that name; the Mikir, similarly identifiable to the east, the Naga and the 
Kuki-Lushei, to the east and south, and to the small San tribes in the 
north-east. It is imperfect in the case of the Naga and the Cin, and also 
as regards the Himalayan tribes skirting the northern edge of the Brahma- 
putra valley. Of all the tribes comprised in these groups not more than" 
two or three claim to have been always where they now are, and even 
in these cases it is probable that it is only the tradition of immigration 
from the north-east which has been lost. The different waves of migration 
which landed most of them in their present home took place at such long 
intervals and from such various sources that there are few general cha- 
racteristics common to the Mongoloidic population in the aggregate. In 
regard to religion, most of them profess the belief in one deit^- above 
the rest, but as he is passively benevolent only, the tribal worship has 
to be directed chiefly to the propitiation of local agencies which are 
actively malignant. This object is attained by the sacrifice of some animal, 
varying according to the occasion from a fowl to a buffalo, with a pig 
as a good working intermediate offering. The tribes of the valley have 
in some cases a levitical clan of priests, but generally, the officiator at 
the ceremonies is a medicine-man, either elected or hereditary, belonging 
to the tribe or clan. Occasionally, especially in the eastern hills, the 
village headman presides. In many tribes there is a belief in a future 
state, mixed with the possibility of the return of ghosts of deceased 
members of the tribe. Those who have seen a good deal of the every- 
day life of these bodies testify to their sound notions of tribal honour 
and morality, though in regard to strangers their institutions are apt to 
prove repellent. Amongst all the Naga tribes, for instance, and some of 
the Kuki and Cin, the custom of collecting the heads of members of other 
communities is only kept down where the British Government has established 
itself firmly, the inclination towards this form of vanity being as strong 
as ever. Other tribes used habitually to raid their neighbours for girls 
and boys to be kept as household slaves, the offspring being formed 
into a separate community, as is the case in the west of India. The 
village and its constitution, too, presents many interesting points of diffe- 
rence amongst the wilder tribes, and whilst most of the latter are content 
with the rude jungle cultivation which prevails amongst the Kol tribes, 
others have struck out a line of their own, and grow superior crops, in 
one case by means of an elaborate and almost unique system of irrigation. 
Some tribes are divided into exogamous clans, mostly totemistic, so far 
as is known at present; others live in village communities, each under 
its own ruler, independent of the rest. These, it may be assumed, are 
closely stockaded and in a good situation for defence. Others acknowledge 
the sway of a local Chieftain owning several such villages. The unrege- 
nerate tribesman of the valley, builds his house on a platform and enters 



128 5- Ethnography. 

it by a ladder; whilst on conversion, he builds on ground-level and goes 
in by a door. Omens, divination and witchcraft prevail throughout. 

§ 92. (a) Bodo (817,300). Dealing first with the Brahmaputra valley, 
the principal tribe still in occupation is the Bodo, or Kacari. It is now 
chiefly found along the northern bank, from the western limit of the 
Province to the Darrang district. Formerly, however, it possessed territory 
far to the east and south, and in the latter direction it is still the prin- 
cipal population of the Hill Kacar tract, received, it is said, as a dowry 
from Tipparah, in the palmy days of Bodo dominion. The Bodo are 
undoubtedly of trans-Himalayan origin, but it is uncertain by what route 
and stages they reached the valley. It is said that they first rose into 
power in the north-east of the latter tract, and spread down the river 
and across it as they approached the plains. They have no traditions, 
and belong to the peoples of whom it has been said -their languages 
are their history*. Upon that basis, they are allied to the Garo, Mcc, 
Rabha, Lalung and Tipparah tribes, and also to the K6c. In the present 
day the Bodo are a sturdy, independent, and remarkably clannish com- 
munity of labourers. They have none of the objections of the hill tribes 
to seasonal migration, and frequent in large numbers the teagardens of 
the upper valley. Their tribal subdivision seems to be different in the 
Hill country from what it is in the valley. In the former exogamous 
sections are strictly maintained, but in the latter, such as there are seem 
to be weakening in vigour, and though nominally kept up, and the clan 
name still descending in the male line, marriages are no longer regulated 
in accordance with them, nor is the totemistic prohibition regarded, 
except, perhaps, to the extent that the tiger clan are not allowed to 
abuse that animal when shot, as the rest do. The number of the tribal 
population is considerably more than the figure here quoted, since many 
of the converts to Brahmanism, as above stated, do not retain their tribal 
name, and whole villages in Upper Assam are inhabited by pure Bodo, 
though that title is not returned by a single family. Across the Brahma- 
putra, mainly in the range bearing their name, are the Garo. These claim 
to be autochthonous, but their tongue and customs indicate a close rela- 
tionship to the Bodo and to the Lalung, a neighbouring tribe on the east, 
of the same race. The Garo are not found far from their hills, but a few 
thousands have made their way into the adjacent district of Bengal and 
across the river into Goalpara. The tribe is much subdivided. There are 
four main clans, each of which has its numerous exogamous sections. In 
religion the Garo resemble the Bodo, and have the same system of pro- 
pitiating the malignant deities through the Kamal, a non-hereditary priest, 
corresponding to the Deori of the others. The Lalung are now found 
on the north slope of the Jaintya hills, spreading into the valley bordering 
the Mikir country, with apparently a tendency to advance still more to 
the eastwards. Traditions differ as to their original home. Some clans 
say they came from the south bank of the Brahmaputra, others that they 
are wholly Jaintya, and have never lived anywhere else. They do not 
appear to have been in the low country when the Ahom invasion took 
place, in the 13 th and 14th centuries. It is said that they are succumbing 
to the influence of Brahmanism, but if this be so, they must cither change 
their name on conversion or the enumerators at the Census must ignore 
their tendencies, as they are recorded as wholly Animistic in their beliefs. 
There is no doubt, however, that they are dropping their tribal language 



I 



I 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 129 

in favour of that of the lowlands. The number of exogamous subdivisions 
into which the tribe is split up is ver>' large, and it does not appear that 
they are usually totemistic as a rule, but are named after some peculiarity of 
the founder. The Rabha is a tribe certainly of Bodu blood but whether a 
distinct community, allied to the Garo, or merely a branch of the Bodo, 
alongside of whom it is chiefly found, is not determined. Some have 
thought that the Rabha was a name given to a half-converted Garo or 
Kacari, and it is certain that there are Garo who have become Rabha 
without passing into Brahmanists, just as the Kacari passes into the same 
community without proceeding to the grade of Koc. The converts constitute 
a sub-tribe by themselves. On the whole, the Rabha hold themselves to 
be above the Bodo, but marry girls from the latter. The Bodo, on the 
other hand, does not marry a Rabha without some purificatory rites. The 
special dialect of the Rabha is said to be dying out in favour of Assamese, 
and the people who join the Brahmanists call themselves Koc, so the 
tribe is on the way to extinction. The Mec live mostly in the Tarai on 
the west of the Brahmaputra, partly in Assam, partly in Bengal. From 
their comparatively fair complexion and Mongoloidic features they are 
affiliated to the Bodo, though they have no tradition of ever having lived 
out of the Tarai. They intermarried with the Koc Chiefs, a fact which 
seems to support the theory of Bodo relationship. Towards the west, in 
Bengal, they are chiefly Brahmanists, and divided into two endogamous 
sub-tribes, one of which intermarries with the Dhimal, a tribe of different 
race, possibly Kul or sub-Himalayan Nepali. The Assam Mec have kept 
up customs much resembling those of the Lalung. A small tribe, akin to 
the Garo and Bodo, called Hajong, inhabits the southern slopes of the 
Garo hills, and has made its way into the Surma valley. This descent 
into the plain appears to have resulted in the formation of two clans, the 
upper, which remains true to its tribal ways of life, and the Brahmanised 
community of the valley. The latter have also abandoned their tribal 
dialect in favour of a corrupt form of Bengali, the others speaking one 
of the varieties of Garo. Detached from the main body of the Bodo is 
the Mriing, called Tipparah by the Bengali, and now inhabiting the hills 
near the little State called by the latter name. A few of them are found 
in the Surma valley, but most of these are said to be immigrants of quite 
recent arrival. Formerly the connection between the tribes was closer, 
as the Chiefs of Kacar and Tipparah intermarried. Now, the only link 
is that of language, as the bulk of the JMrung are Brahmanised, the Chief 
claiming to be a Rajput, and the nobles to belong to the Rajbansi order. 
The tribe is much subdivided, some clans holding an position far above 
that of the labourers and rude cultivators of the interior. Many of them 
are much fairer than any of their neighbours, and this, with their Mon- 
goloidic features and Bodo speech, seems to connect them with the 
Brahmaputra rather than with the hills of Arakan. Last of the tribes 
coming within this group is the formerly dominant community of the 
Ciitiya, which, however, repudiates the connection with the Bodo indicated 
by their language. They are said in the ancient Assam histories to have 
come down from the north-east, and to have founded a kingdom in that 
corner of the valley afterwards expanding southwards into Sibsagar and 
Nowgong. They came into contact with the Ahom, and were dethroned 
in 1500. Before that date they were in part Brahmanised, and their com- 
munity is now divided into the Brahmanic, the Ahom, the Borahi, or pork- 

Indo-Aryan Research. II. 5. 9 



130 5- Ethnography. 



eaters, and the Dcori, or Levitical body. The two first have been for 
some time almost completely converted to Brahmanism, and the fourth, 
though standing out for some generations, has now succumbed, on social 
considerations, it is said, rather than by religious conviction. The Borahi 
are a lower class and were the first to fall before the Ahom, who reduced 
them to a servile condition. They are now apparently almost extinct as 
a separate community. The Cutiya have lost, along with their religion, 
their tribal language, which is closely allied to that of the Bodo. They 
are no doubt of the same origin, but ha.ve long been separated politically 
as well as geographically, and occupied in upper Assam the same domi- 
nant position which the Bodo held lower down the river. At present the 
majority of the Cutiya are found to the south of the Brahmaputra, in 
Sibsagar, Nowgong, and Lakhimi)ur. The Deori have remained in and 
about their original seat in the extreme north-east. The princii)al object 
of their worship is Durga, who was enthroned in place of the numerous 
evil spirits to whom the tribe paid homage before their conversion. Even 
now, the services of Brahmans are not called for, and the sacrifices are 
performed by the Deori and his assistants. The more Mongoloidic appea- 
rance of the remnants of the Deori clan seem to indicate that they have 
kept themselves freer from intercourse with the Bodo and Ahom than 
the rest of the Cutiya. One of their social peculiarities worth mentioning 
is the habit of lodging a whole family under one roof, enlarging the 
building as the numbers increase, until sometimes more than a hundred 
persons are thus sheltered. Their professed Brahmanism sits very lightly 
upon both priest and layman, and is almost confined indeed to the obser- 
vance of the initiatory injunction of offering prayers, keeping secret the 
instructions of the Gosal and paying their annual fee to that functionary. 
§ 93. (b) The Himalayan tribes (48,000). Though few of these, and 
those not the more important, have descended into British territory, they 
may be briefly mentioned here owing to some alleged connection between 
them and the Bodo race, a tie, however, which has long been severed. 
The Miri is the only tribe which has settled in British territory to any 
considerable extent. It is found in the Sibsagar and Lakhimpur districts, 
and seems to be receiving recruits from the hills to the north of the 
latter and from Darrang. The Miri say that they were invited down by 
the Ahom Chief at the end of the 1 8th century, in order to help him 
against the invading Khamti, and settled on the outskirts of the Naga 
hills, by the Disang. They have preserved their original type in spite of 
considerable defections from the tribal religion. Brahmanism, however, 
affects them but superficially, and those who have nominally accepted the 
guidance of the Gosaf, are now, it is said reverting, because the change 
of faith has not induced the settled population of the valley to intermarry 
with them or to accord them any better position than before they paid 
toll to their spiritual adviser and renounced beef. In any case they do 
not entrust their principal sacrifices to other than their own tribal priests. 
They are good cultivators, and their women folk work with them in the 
field. The Hill Miri, who only visit the plains for the purpose of trading, 
are much less advanced, and have a somewhat different worship and belief 
from the others. All the Miri are connected with the Abor, a stronger 
race, and it is conjectured that it was the pressure of these northern 
kinsfolk which drove the Miri to the lowlands. It is advisable to note that 
the name of Miri which means Middlemen in Assamese, is not known to 



i 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 131 

the tribe itself, any more than that of Abor is recognised except in the 
valley. The latter means Independent, and is thus appropriate enough. 
Both tribes speak of themselves by their clan, without any more general 
designation. The Abor have not yet settled to any great extent within 
British territory, but have more than once made raids therein, which resulted 
in punitive expeditions. Their clans are very numerous, but are remarkable 
for the unanimity with which they combine into a tribal whole for purposes 
of resistance or plunder. They used to be keen on the capture of girls 
and boys, whom they kept as household slaves themselves, and sold for 
the same purpose to their kinsmen, the Daphla, who live the other side 
of the Miri, on the west. The Daphla, who call themselves Nyising — the 
meaning of both terms being unknown — regard the Abor as the leading 
tribe of their race and the ^liri as poor relations, and all three speak 
much the same tongue, and to some extent, have the same titles for their 
sub-tribes. The religions present the same general features, and the .\bor 
and Daphla have not been reached even by the light touch of the Miri 
form of Brahmanism. The Aka, a tribe adjacent to the Daphla on the 
west, though mainly of the old faith, has a few members who are reported 
to have been converted by one of their Chiefs, who chanced to be com- 
pelled to serve a certain time in a British jail, where his convictions were 
modified by a persuasive Gosai. The Aka, though generally thought to 
belong to the Abor-Miri race, differ considerably from both of these in 
appearance, and show but little tendency to settle in the lower ranges. 
On the contrary, they are in close relations with the Tibet authorities on 
the other side. They are a warlike community, and in addition to their 
general title which is not used by them, and the meaning of which is un- 
known, they have two subdivisions, each of which is known to the Assamese 
by a title implying plunder. 

§ 94. (c) The Khasi and Sainteng (159,500). These tribes belong to 
the same stock and speak the same language. The former reside in the 
western portion of the range bearing their name, whilst the Sainteng share 
with the Lalung the Jaintya portion of the same range. In treating of 
languages it was pointed out that these two, with two smaller communities 
of the same tract, appear to be the remnants of a wave of the Mon-speaking 
race, left stranded by the main body. They have no traditions of any other 
home, and differ considerably from the surrounding tribes in customs as 
in speech. The numerous exogamous Khasi clans, for instance, are based 
upon descent from a female ancestor. Inheritance is in the female line, 
and the woman is the head of the family. No money or gift passes on 
marriage, and the young couple do not set up house until a child is born. 
The religion is the usual propitiation of evil spirits, with a faint and dim 
notion of a future state in which husband and wife rejoin each other, 
unless a widow has married again, in which case she belongs to her second. 
Of late the Khasi have been converted in considerable numbers to Christia- 
nity, and a few have become Brahmanists. The Sainteng show less dis- 
position to change. On the other hand, though sharing the religion and 
customs of the Khasi, they appear to have received a greater admixture 
of foreign blood, due, it is thought, to the greater accessibility of the 
Jaintya hills from the plains on the south. The Khasi, again, are divided 
into petty States or independent groups of villages, each forming a little 
republic under its own head. In the sister hills, the country' is altogether 
under the Chief of Jaintya, who appoints twelve local officials to carry on 



132 5- Ethnography. 

the village affairs. The Chief himself is a Brahmanist, but his example, 
as just mentioned, has not been contagious, and the annual tribal devil- 
drive, in which every male takes part, is as popular as ever. 

(5 95. (d) The Mikir (87,300). This tribe inhabits the lower portion 
of the Khasi range on the north-east and has spread over the plain to 
the east, up to the Naga hills. The traditions it has regarding its former 
home are vague and valueless, but it pmbably occupied the low range 
which goes by its name after leaving the Jaintya hills. From the language, 
it is supposed to have some affinity to the Naga race, though in habits 
and appearance it might well be affiliated to the Bodo. The Mikir call 
themselves Arleng, meaning simply Man, an appellation so common amongst 
forest tribes that it affords no guide to identification. They are subdivided 
into several large sections which may, but do not, intermarry. Their chief 
god is benevolent and powerful, but his subordinates, though theoretically 
less in authority, arc more active, and generally work mischief. The sacri- 
fices to them, accordingly, are more frequent. They are conducted by 
priests who are selected from the elders of the clan, whether men or 
women. The Mikir are excellent agriculturists in their own line and keen 
traders in disposing of their crops. They are peculiar amongst their kind 
in these parts in not congregating in large villages, but in building a few 
large houses close to their fields. They are great breeders of buffaloes, 
but, like almost all hill-tribes, K61 or Mongoloid, they abstain from making 
use of milk. Until recently they had resisted the temptation to embrace 
Brahmanism, but of late a certain number on the southern limits of their 
tract have begun, it is said, to observe certain restrictions in diet when 
out of their own village. Physically, the Mikir stand second to the Bodo 
and above the rest of the tribes here mentioned. Whatever may be their 
connection with the Naga or other races, they themselves deny any rela- 
tionship with their neighbours. 

§ 96. (e) The Naga tribes (i62,Sooj. This name is applied by the 
outside world of Assam to a collection of tribes occupying a considerable 
hilly region between Manipur and the south bank of the Brahmaputra. 
The communities themselves know of no general title, and their tribal 
designations are seldom those by which they are called by their neighbours. 
A large amount of information about them has been collected in connection 
with the Ethnographic Survey, and until this is given to the world, no 
adequate account of them is available. It is probable that they reached 
their present locality from two directions. One branch came down from 
the north-east, whilst a later section doubled back northwards, after having 
spent some time alongside of the Kuki and other tribes, to the south. The 
largest tribe, as far as is at present known, is the Angami, called Tengima 
by its own members. It is settled along the western ranges of the hills, 
and is one of the communities said to have come from the south. The 
Tengima reside in unusually large villages, some containing as many as 
800 houses. The villages are set upon a hill, and carefully stockaded and 
guarded against attack. The unit of the tribe is not, however, the village, 
but a subdivision of the population thus concentrated, called Khel or Tcpfu, 
exogamous, and said to be derived from a single ancestor. Faction-fights 
between these bodies are frequent and used to be bloody, as outside aid 
was called in to take part. The large size of their villages is probably the 
result of their adoption, apparently from the Manipuri, of the system of 
permanent cultivation by irrigated channels, carried with extraordinary 



I 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 133 

skill and labour round the slojics of the hills. They have the usual vague 
tribal belief in a supreme god and a future state, though they have not 
formulated their notions of what happens to the soul when it leaves the 
body. Their worship is devoted to the propitiation of the spirits of nature, 
who inhabit pools, trees and rocks, and cause illnesses. The beginning 
and the end of harvest are celebrated, as in the valley, with elaborate 
festivals. The Ao Naga tribe came from the north, and is settled to the 
north-east of the hills. The men are inferior to the Tcngima in physique 
and in their way of life, but their buildings and villages arc, if anything, 
superior. Beyond a few special tribal customs, the two tribes have much 
the same beliefs and practices. The Ao arc really two communities, the 
Cungli and Mongsen, which speak different dialects and intermarry, each 
having its own e.xogamous sub-sections. The enslavement of members of 
neighbouring tribes used to be a regular custom, now, of course more 
or less suppressed. The victims were treated well, except when paid over 
as fine or ransom to another village, when they were usually sacrificed. 
The villages, though nominally governed by a headman, are in practice 
independent democratic units. The Sema, or Sima, village, on the con- 
trary, under the adjacent tribe, has a hereditary headman, or Chief, endowed 
with considerable authority and privileges. This tribe came from the south 
east, near Kohima, and has occupied a considerable tract round its present 
settlement. The Sima are more akin to the Tengima than to any other 
of the local tribes, but are distinguished even among the Naga, for their 
barbarism and ferocity. They used to prey upon the lands of the Ao, 
but having been headed off under British control, they are spreading 
eastwards, over a wilder country'. The Lhota, in contradistinction to the 
Sima, are a quiet and industrious people, though they adhere to the old 
method of cultivating on burnt patches of jungle. They manage, neverthe- 
less, to grow a good deal of cotton, which they convey themselves to the 
river for sale. In habits they resemble the Rengma, their neighbours. 
A section of the latter, being evilly entreated by other tribes, sought the 
lower hills, east of the Mikir, where they alone of all the Naga have taken 
to something approaching the life of the population of the plains. As to 
the large number of tribes in this group which live in the interior and 
south of the hills, little information beyond their titles is at present available. 
§ 97. i^f) The Kuki tribes (200,200). Almost the same remark applies 
to these, with the exception of the Manipuri and Lu.sei. In tl'.c Kacar 
hills are found some called the "Old Kuki" (67,200), who were driven 
north by others of the same race, who, in turn, were being pressed hardly 
by the Lusci. The principal tribes of the former are the Rangkol and 
the Bete. They are subdivided into eight social grades, like castes, with 
the all-important difference that they intermarry with each other and with 
other tribes. The existence of exogamous clans is probable, but the 
nomenclature obtained at the Census throws no light upon this point. The 
Rangkol, and probably the other tribes, worship one chief and several 
minor deities, and select one t)f their own clan to serve as priest. In Kacar 
they are beginning to mould their diet upon Brahmanic lines but not so 
as to interfere materially with their ancestral habits. They differ from the 
other Kuki in having no Chief, but they elect a headman for each village 
to manage its affairs. The population of Manipur is divided into four 
tribes, the Khumal, the Luyang, the Ningthauja or Meithei, and the 
Mayarang, of which the Meithei (69,400) seems to have absorbed the others. 



134 5- Ethnography. 



and is used as a general title by the inhabitants. The exogamous sub- 
divisions of the tribes, however, are still in existence, and seem to consist 
of the descendants of an individual, by whose trade or nickname the section 
is called. In 1720, the then Chief, called by the Muslim title of Gharib 
Navaz, was persuaded by some Brahmans at his court that he and his 
subjects were K.satriya of the Lunar race. The monarch thereui)on embraced 
their creed and was invested with the sacred thread, and with him a large 
number of his people. Since then, not only have most of the Meithci 
become K.satriya, but the rank has been conferred by the Chief upon a 
plentiful supply of recruits from the surrounding Kuki and Naga tribes. 
The result is that at the Census only 33 of the inhabitants of the State 
returned the tribal name, whilst the 33,000 Manipuri found on the record 
are bastard Bengali enumerated in Kacar and its vicinity. The Brahmans 
wht) first entered the State upon their mission of conversion were given 
wives of the class of Kei, or Naga slaves of the Chief, into which body 
their descendants also married, so that the sacerdotal caste docs not bear 
any special title to respect in the eyes of the local K.satriya, to whom many 
of them act as cooks, for the convert is most particular as to diet and 
intercourse with his inferiors. Nevertheless, they have 300 deities of the 
old worship who are still propitiated through the native priest, or Maiba, 
and in every house hangs the basket containing the household god. The 
connection of the ruling family with the Jadav clan has naturally attracted 
the Manipuri K.satriya to Mathura, the centre of Krsna-worship, where a 
small colony of them appears to reside. They also observe the great Kr.sna 
festivals in their native country. The Loi clan of the papulation seem to 
be descended from the Mayarang, and now to constitute a sort of receptacle 
for anyone degraded from the K.satriya class. The Loi are the helots and 
labourers of the State, and the original families of the clan have their 
own dialect. It seems, however, that a Loi who embraces Brahmanism 
and has never been degraded from any other position, may be made at 
once a Ksatriya. 

§ 98. (gj The Lu§ei (63,600). This people, who call themselves Dulien, 
are of the same race as the Thado, or Kuki, whom they drove out some sixty 
or seventy years ago. Long previous to that date, however, a Chief of 
the Lu.sei had subjugated most of the hill villages around him, and his 
descendants are said to be the progenitors of the present numerous Chief- 
tains who rule the tract. The clans and subdivisions are many, but they 
seem constantly to be being absorbed or reformed, always with reference 
to connection with the eponymous founder. Each village is under one of 
these petty Chieftains, who is entirely independent but has recognised 
duties towards his fellow villagers, and in return receives a certain share 
of each man's rice crop. The only remedy against a too despotic headman 
is to flit, and transfer allegiance to another village. The village itself is 
stockaded, like those of the Naga, but is laid out differently, the streets 
radiating from a square in the centre, in front of the house of the Chieftain. 
Except in detail, the religion of the Lusci does not materially diflfer from 
that of the tribes just mentioned. Like most of the Kuki, the Lu.sei is 
a keen and expert hunter and snarer, and seems to carry into his warfare 
the qualities which makes him successful against wild animals, for he 
rarely attacks except from ambush or by a surprise. The tribe is not given 
to head-hunting for the mere sake of the trophy, but cuts off the head of 
his enemy in order to prove to the women at home that he actually killed 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 135 

him. South of the Lusei Hills, the tribes almost entirely belong to Burmese 
races, with which this review is not concerned. 

§ 99. (li) The San tribes (4,600). The portion of this great race 
which has found a home in British India is but small, and, with one 
exception, of comparatively recent settlement. The break-up by the Burmese 
of the Mau San dominion on the upper Irawadi, about 1760, obliged 
several small bodies of different tribes to cross the Patkai, and settle east 
of Sadiya, on the Brahmaputra. Amongst these are the Khamti, Turung, 
Nora and Phakial. The Khamti were originally connected with the Ahom, 
who will be mentioned later, and it was with the permission of the Ahom 
Chief that the former obtained a foothold in Assam. They encroached, 
however, got into trouble about their practice of raiding for slaves, and 
were finally scattered about 70 years ago, many returning across the hills 
to the Irawadi. A few years later another colony api>carcd and settled 
in the same tract, where they now are. The Phakial also belonged to 
the Mogaung kingdom, and had to leave when the Burmese overran their 
country. They did not make direct for Assam, but halted on the way. 
Being probably pressed by the Singpho, or Kacen, they accepted the 
invitation of the Ahom to settle along the Dihing, and afterwards near 
Jorhat, from which, however, they withdrew when the Burmese entered 
Assam. The Nora belong to one of the tribes of the Ahom which elected 
to remain on the east of the range when the main body crossed into Assam. 
They are also called Khamjang, from one of their halting places in the 
north-east. From this they were ejected about a century ago by the Singpho, 
and came into Assam for safety. It is said by the Turung, another tribe 
of the same origin, that the Nora, having settled in the valley, sent for 
them to join the colony, and as they were oppressed by Kacen, they came. 
On the way, however, they were taken prisoners and enslaved by the 
Singpho, and were only released on the arrival of a British expedition 
in 1825. They intermarried with their captors and are accordingly looked 
down upon by the Nora, still more by the Khamti, who stand at the head 
of the San community of Assam. Turung brides are taken by the others, 
but none are given in return. All the above tribes are Buddhist and have 
their own priests. The Alton, a small band of refugees from the San 
court of Mungkong, settled in two bodies, one near the others of their 
race, and the other in the Naga hills. Both, though professing Buddhism, 
are gradually becoming Brahmanised, alike in creed and language. The 
Census figures for these small communities are anything but accurate, as 
many are set down simply as San, and others as Buddhist, without any 
tribal title. Finally, there are the Ahom, the only tribe of long settlement 
and political importance. They have been mentioned more than once in 
connection with tritial religion and language, having abandoned their 
tradition and practice in regard to both. They have preserved, however, 
a very complete series of histories of their career. From these it appears 
that they left Mogaung on the Irawadi about 1228, in consequence of a 
dynastic dispute, and crossed the Patkai into the north-east corner of the 
province which now bears their name. By 1500 they had subjugated the 
Cutiya ; and forty years later, the Kacari or Bodo dominion fell to them. 
They recovered from a severe defeat at the hands of the Koc, and repulsed 
on several occasions an invasion by the Muslim, getting possession of the 
valley as far west as Gauhati, and later, to near Goalpara. Their decline 
set in on the conversion of the Chief to Brahmanism. Discontent arose 



136 5- Ethnography. 

amongst those who would not follow his example. Some rebelled ; the 
seat of government was withdrawn down the valley; the Burmese were 
called in, and ended in absorbing the whole kingdom, until the British 
took possession. It seems that the Ahom were divided into classes but 
whether these were endogamous or not is uncertain. The highest class 
Comprises the Chiefs family and six or seven others of rank. The middle 
class is divided functionally, and the third comprises all who are bound 
to render services to the Chief. There were also Levitical or priestly 
families. In the present day the distinctions based on occupation and on 
service formerly rendered are dying out. The whole tribe has become 
to a greater or less extent Brahmanised; that is, the spiritual authority of 
a Gosai is acknowledged, and some changes in diet are gradually adopted. 
The priests, as in the case of the Cutiya, stood out for some time longer 
than the rest, but have now conformed. It is curious that whilst the little 
that remains of the sacred writings of the Ahom is in a language closely 
resembling that of the Khamti, the y\h6m were never Buddhists. It may 
be inferred from this, perhaps, that the latter had not reached the upper 
valley by the 13 th century. Nowadays, the Ahom are all nominally Brah- 
manists except about 400, and it is said to be only a matter of time for 
the whole tribe to be absorbed into the various castes of the valley. 

§ 100. The Singpho (1,800). So few families of the great Kacen race 
are found within the borders of India, as the limits of that country are 
here understood, that the only reason for mentioning them is the reference 
made above to their interception of bodies of immigrants on their way 
to Assam. About a century ago a small colony of the northern Kaccn 
made their way into the same corner of the valley as the rest of the 
Irawadi races had done, and there they have remained, under their Assamese 
designation of Singpho, or "the Men". The main feature of interest in 
connection with them is that the offspring of their alien slaves, who form 
a separate community called Doania, now outnumber their former lords 
and masters. Both are Buddhist in the main, but the Doania are inclining 
towards Brahmanism. About 340 are returned under their tribal religion. 

§ loi. Himalayan (Nepali) tribes (218,600). Of the tribes coming 
within this group only a few are settled in British territory, and the rest 
belong to Nepal, where no Census has been taken. Almost all of the 
former class are concentrated in Sikkim, Darjiling and the immediate 
neighbourhood, whilst the Nepali subjects are either sojourners in or about 
the same locality, or are serving in the Gorkha regiments in Assam. The 
Lepca, or, as they call themselves, the Rong, claim to be the original 
inhabitants of Sikkim, though one of their subdivisions is said to have come 
down from the Chinese frontier. The Khambu and Li mbu assert them- 
selves to belong to the Kirata race, a pretension which is not allowed 
by the Yakha, who would limit the territory associated with that ancient 
title to the tract between the Diid-Kosi and the Tambor river, where they 
live themselves, along with a tribe known there as Jimdar, or Rais. This 
title, however, has been appropriated by the Khambu living in the Darjiling 
territory, but it would not he allowed to them across the Nepal frontier. 
The Limbu touch the Kirata tract on the west, the Khambu on the north, 
and the Lepca on the east. The Limbu are amongst the earliest inhabi- 
tants of the country where they are still found, and from their appearance 
it seems that they are originally from Tibet. Their petty Chieftains were 
in power towards the end of the i8th century, when the Gorkha occupied 



i 



Castes and Caste-Groups. F. Hill Tribes. 137 

Nepal, and incorporated the Kirata land with their new acquisition, after 
a stout resistance from the Limbu. The latter take rank amongst the 
Kirata tribes after the Khambu and before the Yakha, though, as above 
remarked, in Nepal the order may be different as regards the Yakha. 
A certain number of the Limbu have entered into close relations with the 
Lepca, intermarrying with them and eating their food, a course which 
amongst the other Kirata places them outside their fellows. At the same 
time, it appears that the Lepca, Miirmi and other Himalayan Mongoloids 
are admitted into the Limbu ranks after certain ceremonies, whilst the 
Khambu and Yakha may be adopted without such formalities. The Limbu 
have their own priests as well as using the exorcists, or Bijua, common 
to all the tribes of the neighbourhood. They indifferently profess S'aivism 
when amongst Brahmanic castes and employ the Lama at a higher altitude. 
Probably their real creed is that of old Tibet. Their kinsfolk and neigh- 
bours, the Khambu, live on the southern range of the Himalayan system, 
where those who own land call themselves Jimdar, .so that this title has 
been merged in the general tribal designation at the Census, without 
reference to the claims of the Yakha mentioned above. They profess 
Brahmanism, but employ no Brahmans, and serve an ancestral deity through 
Home, priests corresponding to the Bijua of the other Tibetan communities. 
They seem to have some faint reminiscence of Buddhism in portions of 
their worship, and may once have passed through a phase of that creed, 
like many of the Himalayan tribes. They intermarry with a beef-eating 
tribe of Khambu from the north of the main range, and on that account, 
irrespective of the quarrel about nomenclature, are kept at arm's length 
by the Kirata of the west. These last, as well as the lower tribes of Kirata, 
such as Hayu, Thami, and Danuar, of the Tarai, are only sparse and 
occasional residents in British India. The Lepca probably represent two 
different immigrations from Tibet or its eastern frontier, but the sections 
are now amalgamated. Amongst the clans, however, two stand above the 
rest, and do not intermarry with other Lepca or with Limbu, and it is 
possible that these are the descendants of the semi-Chinese band introduced 
along with one of the Sikkim Chiefs from across the Tsan-pu. In the 
present day, the Lepca is working a little more steadily than he was 
accustomed to do before the British occupied Darjiling, but he still objects 
to remaining more than a few years in one locality, and after a season 
or two of careless cultivation, moves off to fresh woods, in which he can 
burn enough vegetation to manure his ])atch of rice or maize. Buddhism 
is professed by the whole tribe, and their Lamas are all from Tibet; but 
against the more actively malevolent spirits the aid of the Bijua or Ojha 
is invoked. Their religion is very much that of the Limbu, behind a 
veil of Buddhism of the Himalayan type. The Tibetan strain is much more 
marked in the Murmi than in most of the tribes hitherto mentioned; 
indeed, the usual name for the tribe is Tamang Bhotia, and the sub- 
divisions are almost all Tibetan in their titles. The Miirmi have been long 
in their present locality, and have half-assimilated a good deal of Brah- 
manism which is obscuring the Buddhism they brought with them. But 
though the Brahman officiates for them at the festivals of his creed, and 
the Lama is called in for marriages, stones, trees and village gods are 
not neglected, and if a Lama be not at hand, their worship is carried on 
by any layman who has mastered the procedure. They rank as a pure 
caste in Nepal, but will eat with the Kirata and Lepca. The majority of 



138 5- Ethnography. 

those enumerated in British territory are probably labourers in the tea gar- 
dens of Darjiling. In their native place the Murmi are an agricultural class. 

The Ncvar, of whom a few thousands arc found in the same locality 
as the Murmi and Kirata, are not a caste, but the aggregate of the early 
inhabitants of Nepal, differentiated into functional divisions which gradually 
grew into castes. The Nevar are both Brahmanists and Buddhists, the 
latter are attracted to the Tibetan frontier, whilst the others are gaining 
ground on the south ranges and valleys. The two stand absolutely aloof 
from each other in all social matters. The Nevar in British territory, being 
away from the strict organisation imposed upon the community by the 
Chief of the race ruling before the Gorkha, grow very lax in the matter 
of intermarriage, and thus lose position if they venture back into their 
native land. 

§ 102. The five principal tribes of Nepal, known as the Mukhya, are 
the Khas, the Gurung, the Mangar and the Sunuvar. It was the 
combination of these which overthrew the Nevar rule in the middle of 
the 1 8th century, and established that of the Gorkha. The Khas is a 
thoroughly Brahmanised community, with a strong admixture of Brahman 
blood. On the advent of the Muslim, many Brahmans had to fly for refuge 
to the hills, where they settled amongst the local tribes and proceeded 
to bring them into conformity with their own scheme of life. To help on 
this task the families of highest rank were dubbed Ksatriya, and the same 
rank was stipulated for by them for the offspring of their own order by 
the hill women. These two stocks furnished the now dominant class in 
the State, with the peculiarity that with K.satriya rank the patronymic 
titles are all Brahmanic, from the caste of the father. It is also on record, 
however, that in the 14th century, a-Rajput Chief of north Bihar dispossessed 
an ancient Hill Rajput dynasty, and that the Gorkha Chief who in turn 
dispossessed the intruder from the plains, was himself a direct descendant 
of one of the Udepur line, who fled to Gorakhpur after defeat by the 
Muslim, and set up a princiiiality of his own on the upper Gandak. Thus, 
whilst the Aryan strain is undoubtedly existent in the Khas, the Mongoloidic 
origin is no less apparent. The Gurung rank next to the Khas among 
the fighting, or Gorkha, tribes. In their case there is no question of mixed 
origin. Since, however, the Gurung has abandoned Buddhism for the creed 
of his rulers, there has been, as between this tribe and the four others 
of the Mukhya, not exactly an interchange of brides, but the condonation 
of the abduction of them from each other. In the tribal worship and 
ceremonial there remains a good deal of the Himalayan animism, imported, 
probably, from the interior, and a member of the Lama sub-caste, though 
not a professional ministrant, is often substituted for the Brahman, when 
there is a suspicion of sorcery or witchcraft. The Mangar and Sunuvar 
both hail from western Nepal, and both made their way east-ward by the 
same route. Their appearance and the nomenclature of their subdivisions 
stamp them as Mongoloid of the Tibetan type, though both are now what 
are called "undeveloped" Brahmanists, like the rest, and are served by 
Upadhya Brahmans, who suffer no degradation thereby. Both are agri- 
culturists and soldiers, the Mangar also doing something in the \vay of 
petty trade. In connection with the recruiting of so-called Gorkha soldiers, 
mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, it should be noted that the 
term Gorkha is used outside the State of any recruit of a Nepal tribe, 
but it correctly appertains to the Mukhya tribes only. At the same time. 



i 



Castes and Caste-Groups. G. Muslim Race Titles. 139 

the Nepal rulers have for a generation or more taken into their service 
recruits from the Kirata tribes, but they are brigaded into regiments by 
themselves. In the British army, some of the Gorkha battalions contain a 
good many of this class, especially in Assam. 

G. Muslim Race Titles. 

§ 103. Of the total Muslim population of India nearly 58 per cent bear 
the titles of races foreign to the country. Those whose names imply Arab 
descent amount to 30,442,000. About 4,239,000 nominally belong to the 
tribes on the north-west frontier, and the remaining 434,000 affiliate them- 
selves to races introduced by the Central Asian dynasties which successively 
ruled from Delhi. It must not be supposed, however, that the proportion 
of foreign blood is that indicated 1)y the prevalence of the above titles, 
except in the case of the frontier races, who have naturally overflowed 
into Sindh and upper India. On the contrary, in some parts of the country, 
it is said that converts from Brahmanism are so deeply imbued with the 
notion of a fourfold division of society, fostered by the traditional sacer- 
dotal partition of the Indian world into Brahman, K.satriya, Vaisya and 
S'udra, that they consider themselves bound, when acce|)ting Islam, to 
enrol themselves as either Sekh, Saiyad, Mughal or Pathan. In eastern 
Bengal, accordingly, the name of Sekh is practically assumed to connote 
native, instead of foreign, origin. In the Panjab, again, and the region 
round Delhi, the long supremacy of the ^Mughal has endowed that race 
with a halo which is still attractive to the local convert. Nearly nine tenths 
of the Turk, too, belong to a subdivision of Banjara, which, as already 
stated above, adopted Islam en masse; and, finally, nearly all the Arabs 
of Sindh bear the title of Kalhora, the ruling race before the Talpur. The 
figures now to be reviewed, then, must be taken with the above qualifi- 
cations. The latter, it will have been seen, apply most extensively to the 
communities purporting to belong to the native land of the Prophet, which 
ought to be the most honourable, as they are the most numerous on 
the record. 

§104. (a) Arabian (25,441,900). The small number returning themselves 
as Arab, without detail, might be still further reduced were the Kalhora to 
be treated as an indigenous body, bringing the total down to about 75,000. 
The returns of Mother-tongue would justify still further diminution, but in 
the west of India, where the Arab is chiefly found, the community is divided 
into the Vilayati, or foreigners, principally from Hadramat, and the Muvallad, 
or native-born, the latter being the progeny of Arab or sometimes Makrani 
fathers by wives taken from some local Sunni caste, in whose household 
the current vernacular is Hindustani. The Arabs settled in India perma- 
nently are generally guards in the service of native Chief or kept by the 
principal bankers in the same capacity. The others, true to their secular 
connection with India, are merchants and traders, with the modern addition 
of horse-dealing, in connection with the ports on the Persian Gulf The 
two small tribes of Hans and Khagga, in the Panjab, are also said to be 
Arabs who came by land and settled north of Multan. They are now 
apparently merged in the Pathan or Jat tribes. The title of Sekh is 
widely spread over the country, and, except in the Panjab and Kashmir, 
predominates more or less over all Muslim designations. The common 
practice just referred to, of taking this name on conversion is justified by 



MO 5. Ethnography. 



the Hadith, or saying of the Prophet "All converts to my faith are of me 
and my tribe". In Lower Bengal, from which 80 per cent of the .Sckh 
are returned, this title covers 85 per cent of the total Muslim population^. 
In the Muslim -State of Haidarabad, the corresponding proportion is 70 per 
cent, and in Mysore, also under rulers of this creed once, it is over 
60 per cent. Elsewhere it ranges from 25 to 40. It is smaller, as is to 
be expected, in upper India where Islam was the State religion, and in 
the Panjab where conversion does not affect caste or social position, and 
where, as in the upper Gangetic region, the larger communities often 
contain a Brahmanic and a Muslim branch, giving the convert the oppor- 
tunity of retaining his former status, with a change in his worship only, 
and often a very slight one even in that. In Bihar, a jirovince which stands 
between the ignorance of eastern Bengal and the cxclusiveness of the 
upper valley, it is only the converts of the higher castes, such as Rajput, 
Babhan or Kayasth, who are allowed to pass directly into a race-title. 
Those of humbler origin have to spend a time in the probationary grade, 
as it were, of Nau-Muslim, or raw-recruits, and their further advancement 
depends upon their conduct or worldly prosperity. 

The Sekh are much subdivided, though throughout the greater part 
of India the sections have little more significance than the main title. 
Originally, amongst the Arabs, the term denoted eldership or a position 
of authority only. It subsequently became the special designation of the 
Qurc.s, the tribe to which the Prophet belonged, and of the descendants of 
his own family and of his relations. Thus, the Banu 'Abbas .Sekh are derived 
from his uncle, 'Abbas; the Ha.simi, from his great grandfather; J'afari, 
from his cousin. The .Siddiqi are so called from the first Khalif. Abu Bakr, 
named As Siddiq, or the Truthful One. The second Khalif, Omar, was 
called Faruq, the Distinguisher of Right from Wrong, and from him come 
the Faruqi. The Ansari, or Helpers, were the inhabitants of Al Medinah, 
who sheltered the Prophet, and so on with several more of these sub- 
divisions. In some Provinces the details of Sekh have been tabulated, 
but for the most part the value of the return is vitiated by the prepon- 
derance of those who failed to have this information entered against their 
names. At best, except in the north, the return indicates in most cases no 
more than the personal preference of the householder. In the Gangetic 
region, so far as the information goes, the favourite section is decidedly 
the SiddlqT, and after it, the Qure.si. In the Panjab, too, and in Sindh the 
Qure.si have been separately given, but the return is only partial. 

The Saiyad, a title said to be derived fromSud, gain, are, strictly 
speaking, the descendants of 'Ali, cousin of the Prophet, who became his 
son-in-law, and the line is generally limited to his offspring by Fatma, not 
by his other wives. Thus the primary division of the Saiyad is into the 
claimants through Hasan and those through Hussain, the proto-martyrs of 
the faith, but many call themselves after other relatives of the Prophet, 
using the same titles as the Sekh. Others have adopted geographical 
names, such as Bukhari, Sabzawan, BilgramT, Barha, the two last being 
descended from a celebrated Saiyad of 'Iraq, whose family settled in upper 
India, like many others, in the train of one of the Muslim conquerors. 
Probably in all the tracts surrounding Delhi and the principal seats of 
Muslim authority there are families of Saiyad who hold their estates by 
inheritance from ancestors who rendered distinguished service to the Mughal 
power either in the field or in administration. Indeed, one family is said 



i 



p 



Castes and Caste-Groups. G. Muslim Race Titles. 141 

to have "made four Timurides emperors, dethroned and killed two, and 
blinded and imprisoned three". The genealogy of most of the Saiyad of 
India, however, is not so well attested, and, apart from the selection of 
this rank by converts of high Brahmanic caste, which is a practice said 
to have received the approval of the great Emperor Akbar, it is reported 
to be not uncommon for a Muslim changing his sect from Sunni to Si'ah, 
to signify his belief in the rank of 'All as jjremicr Khalif, by adopting 
himself into the company of the Apostles. Nevertheless, far down to the 
south, there are Saiyad settled whose forefathers followed the fortunes 
of some one or other of the Muslim invaders, and who now, though in 
some cases reduced to take to lowly occupations for a living, generally 
hold to their rank and intermarry only with other Saiyad, or members of 
the Mughal or Pathan races, and occasionally, but as seldom as possible, 
with some respectable local family of the same sect. For there are, it 
should be noted, Sunni Saiyad as well as those of the Si'ah sect, to which, 
in theory, all ought to belong. In the western Panjab the Saiyad is usually 
a religious teacher, irrespective of race or descent, and too often is a 
member of "that pestilential horde of holy men, who not only prey upon 
the substance of the people but hold them in the most degrading bondage". 
"The Pathan is a bigoted Sunni, yet he maintains more Saiyad than the 
Baluc, once known as "the friends of 'AH". 

§ 105. (b) Mongol (394,600). Of the two races which entered 
India with the Ghaznavides and later, the Turk and the Mughal, it 
is hard to say which is the more unduly magnified in the Census returns. 
The inclusion among the former of the Turkiya sub-caste of Banjara 
has been mentioned. Then, too, in Bihar and round Delhi, Turk is 
the equivalent amongst the peasantry for any official, especially if he 
be of the creed of Islam, and Mughal serves the same purpose in Orissa 
and the east Dekkan. The real Turk in the north is the traveller or 
merchant from Turkistan, who is a temporary sojourner in Kashmir and 
Peshawar. The only permanent colony is that left by Timur in Hazara at 
the end of the 14th century'. In the west coast, in Bombay and a few other 
towns, and in Haidarabad, there are probably a few families of Osmanli. 
The Mughal element, in the south and east is better defined, as the con- 
vert of those parts does not affect the title, and those who bear it are 
probably correctly described, being as they are, the representatives of 
families brought into Bengal and the south Dekkan by the semi-independent 
Viceroys of Delhi. In the north there is the tendency already mentioned 
to assume the title of Mughal on conversion or on rising in the world, 
which is found in the parts of the Panjab where Islam predominates but 
the Pathan influence is not supreme. Along the Jamna, however, there are 
considerable numbers of true immigrants, settled upon estates conferred 
upon their family by the Turk Emperors, from Babar downwards. The dis- 
tinction between Turk and Mughal, however, is not in such cases very 
clearly drawn, and subdivisions are returned which are common to both, 
as, for instance, Turkman, Qizilba.s, and even Caghatai, the tribe of Babar. 
As a rule, the Mughal and Pathan, assuming them to be of really pure 
descent, are not considered, away from the frontier, at all events, as equal 
in rank to the Saiyad and Sekh, and their position, consequently, depends 
a good deal upon that of the family in its neighbourhood. In the interior, 
too, there is a tendency to introduce endogamous subdivisions, or more 
correctly, perhaps, to make existing sections endogamous. There is also, 



142 5- Ethnography. 



at the lower edge of these communities, a fringe of dependents who are 
either bastards of the upper classes, as among the Rajputs, or have taken 
the title of their employers and patrons on conversion. These do not 
intermarry with the Mughal or better families of the Sckh. In the west 
of India, in addition to the Caghatai, there is a considerable sprinkling of 
Persian settlers and refugees, who go by the name of Mughal. They are 
strict Si'ah and do not intermarry with Indian Muslim. Most of them have 
engaged in trade. The Caghatai, on the other hand, have become almost 
an integral part of the Muslim masses, apd are Sunni, with the cu.stoms, 
language, and religious observances of their neighbours. 

i? io6. (c) The Pathan and Baluc (4,287,000). If the hypothesis of the 
identity of the Pathan with the Paktyes of Herodotus be true, as is now 
generally believed, these tribes must have been from time immemorial 
neighbours of India, and even occupants of some part of the territory 
which is now included in that country. Some of them, again, were people 
amongst whom Brahmanism found a favourable reception, and then. Buddhism, 
the latter especially lingering long in these secluded valleys and on the 
high road to India which passes near them. The Pathan, however, accepted 
with equal zeal and devotion the exceedingly narrow and superstitious 
form of Islam now current amongst them, and anything less like the mild 
and tolerant character of the Indian Buddhist than the present temperament 
and habits of the frontier men of nowadays can hardly be imagined. At 
the same time, the Pathan, like all highlanders in the tribal stage, has 
his charm in his virile independence and his strict observance of the 
national code of hospitality and asylum, even towards an enemy — the great 
solace of his life. It cannot be denied, however, that the epithet of 
"faithless", universally appended to his name by those who have to deal 
with him, is, like most of the proverbial sayings of the country-side, very 
well deserved, by at all events the hillmen. Those who have settled in 
the plains of the Panjab, even though within easy reach of their fellow 
tribesmen of the highlands, are soon softened by their circumstances, and 
the more they prosper the less respect they show for the hard life they 
have left behind. In the interior of India there is no Province or State 
without its quota of this race, and, no doubt, looking at the extent to 
which soldiers of fortune were settled by their victorious employers upon 
the land overrun by them, there is a good deal of real Pathan blood 
disseminated amongst them, but not to anything like the amount indicated 
on the face of the returns for regions like Bengal or the peninsula. In 
the former, indeed, the title of Pathan is regarded as the right of a con- 
verted member of a Brahmanic military caste, and the further detail of 
selecting a tribe or clan presents no more difficulty to him than that of 
a Rajput clan does to an aspiring Kol. 

The term Pathan is now used to denote any one speaking the Pakhtun 
language, or Pastu, and thus includes the Afghan, a foreign race which, 
however, has impressed its name upon the whole country. The Afghan, 
whose Jewish origin is insisted on by several authorities, and regarded 
as unproved by others, first settled in the hill tracts of Ghor and Hazara. 
Thence they descended upon the Helmand valley, which was in the occu- 
pation of the Gandhari, a Pathan tribe expelled from the Peshawar valley 
by one of the Scythian invaders. These people were dominated and then 
converted by the Afghan, who finally intermarried freely with them. The 
Gandhari, however, took the first opportunity of reverting to their former 



i 



Castes and Caste-Groups. G. Muslim Race Titles. 143 

seat, where, under the names of Yusufzai, Mohmand, etc., they now reside. 
The Afghans, by this time known as Tarin, Sirani, and Abdall, or Durrani, 
remained round Kandahar until the i8th century, when they transferred 
their headquarters to Kabul. The Ghilzai, a Turk tribe which is Pathan 
but not Afghan, arrived across the Bamian from Ghor, like its predecessors. 
After rendering great assistance to Mahmud of Ghazni on his raids into 
India, the Ghilzai took possession of the country between Jellalabad and 
Qal'at-i-Ghilzai, and have since spread east and west from that nucleus. 
In addition to the GandharT just mentioned, the Paktyes contained, according 
to ancient writers, the Aparytai, or Afridi: the Sattagydai, or Khatak, 
and the Dadikai, or Dadi, all of whom are ascribed to an Indian origin. 
Along with the Afghan, Ghilzai, the Scythic Kakar, the Waziri (said to be 
Parmar Rajputs\ and a few Turk accretions brought down by Sabaktagfn 
and his successors, these tribes constitute the Pathan of to-day. The terri- 
tories occupied by the ancient people of that name, however, have been 
much altered^ The Kakar nearly obliterated the Dadi in Sewistan; the 
Khatak and Afridi were dispossessed by the Turk to a great extent. But 
through the operation of intermarriage and the adoption by all of the 
Pa.stu language, the whole has been welded into one nation, with the 
usual fictions as to common descent to explain the fusion. 

The modern Pathan inhabitants of upper India were first introduced 
by the Lodi and Sur dynasties, and consisted chiefly of Ghilzai, who were 
not Afghan, nor, at that time, Pathan. They were soon followed, however, 
by large bands of other tribes, who were generously endowed with estates 
by the Ghazni Chiefs and also by Babar, whose original army grew like 
a snowball as he moved it across the hills to the plains of promise. The 
tribes most numerously represented in this distribution were the Yusufzai, 
the Orakzai, Lodi, Kakar and Karlanri. The tribal organisation gets weaker, 
as is only to be expected, as the distance from the frontier increases, 
and is scarcely to be found in its original form east of the Jamna, where 
the Rohilla community, well known in history, is probably the best-knit, 
as it is the most prosperous, of the larger settlements of this race. In 
addition to the Pathan colonies and the converts arrogating to themselves 
that title, there is a floating population of from 100,000 to 150,000 Powindah, 
or itinerant traders of Pathan nationalit\-. They belong chiefly to the Ghilzai 
tribes, though, owing to their nomad life, their connection with their kins- 
folk is of the loosest. Large caravans assemble in the autumn to the east 
of Ghazni, and march in armed bodies through the dangerous country of 
the Waziri and Kakar, to the Indus at Dera Ghazi Khan. Here they deposit 
their arms, leave their families encamped on the grazing grounds along 
the river, under the guardianship of a detachment of their fighting men, 
and wander off across upper India, often as far as Bihar, selling the goods 
and horses they have brought from Kandahar and Central Asia. When 
these have been disposed of, the Powindah act as pedlars on behalf of 
merchants in the larger towns. In the spring they re-assemble on the 
Indus, and wend their way back to Kandahar, dispersing from that centre 
by their various routes through Herat and Kabul to the north. Some few 
of the band engage in contract labour for the season. There are gangs, 
also, but not belonging to the regular Powindah, which remain longer in 
India, taking up work as it suits them, and usually afi'ecting tracts well 
known for their prosperity and the unwarlike character of their population. 
In these lush pastures their superior size and strength, added to their loud 



144 5- Ethnography. 



and gruff voices provide them with a living until they are moved on by 
the police towards a region where those qualifications are sufficiently 

familiar to fail to extort respect or alimony. 

i; 107. Baluc. A line drawn from Dcra Ghazi Khan through the 
Sulaiman range due west to Quettah demarcates approximately the Pathan 
on the north, from the Baluc on the south; but the latter have advanced 
considerably to the north of this limit in the Indus valley, and have also 
established large colonies in upper and middle Sindh. The Baluc state- 
ment of their origin is to the effect that .they belong to Aleppo, and were 
expelled from Syria on sectarian grounds. They found their way through 
Baghdad and Kirman to Makran, where they lived for many generations 
before they occupied Khalat and the south Sulaiman hills, which they took 
from the Pathan, A large section of their community was expelled from 
BalucTstan in a tribal dispute, and settled in Sindh. Members of these 
exiled clans joined with their kinsfolk of the plains in rendering assistance 
to the Emperor llumayun, when regaining India after his expulsion. They 
were rewarded with grants of land along the Indus, and have now spread 
well up the Cinab and Satlaj valleys. The result of this movement is that 
there are now more Baluc in Sindh and the Panjab than were enumerated 
in their native country, where they are outnumbered by the Brahui. There 
are many Baluc tribes, but the predominant section is the Rind, from 
which most of the rest claim to be descended. The La.sari stands next 
in rank, but according to the tradition of the others, it was treated as 
the Ksatriya were treated by Paras'urama, and swept off the face of the 
country, thereafter being known only in middle Sindh, and there in a 
disjointed condition which has never been repaired. The Rind, too, colonised 
a part of upper Sindh, but are not found to any great extent elsewhere 
in British territory, outside British Balucistan. The tribes best represented 
on the frontier and along the rivers are the Marri, with their hereditary 
foe the Bughtr, of the hills, and the Mazari, Gurchani, Leghari, Lund, 
Bozdar, and of course, the Rind itself Except in upper Sindh and the 
Dcra Ghazi Khan district, the Baluc of British domicile do not keep up 
in parti bus the characteristic tribal organisation so strictly observed in 
their own country. As they get higher up the rivers, they tend to amal- 
gamate with the Jat and Pathan. In the south-west Panjab, indeed, every 
camel driver is called Baluc, owing to the marked addiction of the race 
to that occupation. In spite of this dilution of the original stock, the 
independence of the artificial restrictions of caste and the strongly-marked 
character of the Baluc and Pathan alike, different as these peoples are 
in other respects, have had very considerable effect upon the customs and 
general tone of the population in the midst of which these races have 
settled. This influence, according to competent observers, has been greater 
than that of the political supremacy of Islam in producing that laxity in 
religious matters which is generally attributed to the latter cause alone. 
It should not be forgotten, however, that the people of the west enjoyed, 
many centuries before a single Muslim was in existence, a unique repu- 
tation in the eyes of the Singers on the Sarasvati, for religious indifference 
and "neglect of rites", which justified their inclusion amongst the MIcccha. 

§ io8. Brahui. Last among the more definite communities acknow- 
ledging Islam is that of the Brahui, inhabiting Balucistan and Upper 
Sindh, of whom only 48,000 were enumerated within the scope of this 
survey. For centuries the Brahui have been Muslim, and have inter- 



i 



Castes and Caste-Groups. G. Muslim Race Titles. 145 

married with Jat and Baliic, and have even admitted adult recruits from 
these races into their trii^es. Nevertheless, they have preserved their 
distinct physical features, being shorter and more swarthy than their neigh- 
bours; and, though, as remarked in the Introduction, their language has 
been overlaid with SindhT and Baluci, they keep, for domestic use at 
all events, a tongue undoubtedly Dravidian in its main characteristics. In 
common with their neighbours, from whom they have perhaps borrowed 
it, they hold the tradition of Arab descent, Aleppo being their chosen seat 
of origin. On the other hand, they are cijually certain that they have never 
lived in any other country but that which they now occupy. Setting on 
one side the conjecture that the Brahui are of Scythian race, for which 
there is little corroborative evidence, it is known that there was of yore 
a considerable Indian population settled along the hill-country west of 
Sindh, with its own customs and temples. It is possible, therefore, that 
the Brahui may denote the high-water mark of the Dravidian extension 
northwards, left derelict and isolated under the protection of the desert, 
after the Indus had changed its course and the tide of Aryan occupation 
had absorbed the bulk of the darker race. In the present day the Brahuf 
are specially addicted to the rearing and tending of camels. They enjoy 
a good social position in Balucistan, but are rarely found far from their 
wide pastures, except for purposes connected with their occupation. 

With these tribes ends the list of the communities which have been 
selected as representative of the different elements of which the vast and 
complicated society of India is compounded. That the review of their 
leading characteristics is imperfect has been fully admitted throughout, 
and the certainty of error will not be denied by any one who has attacked 
even the outworks of a task of this nature. It needs but little experience 
of Indian life to bring home to the student of ethnography the vanity of 
thinking that the whole field can be adequately surveyed in the light of 
such knowledge as can possibly be acquired by a single individual. Here, 
indeed, if anywhere, a little knowledge is dangerous, because, as has been 
abundantly shown in the course of this review, Indian society differs from 
tract to tract to an extent which inevitably involves the lurking danger of 
being led astray by analogy or similarities of nomenclature, rites or customs, 
into the assumption that what is true of a community in one part is equally 
applicable to a body of perhaps the same name elsewhere. Information 
upon such distinctions must be obtained, as a rule, at second-hand, and 
fortunately, the supply thereof has greatly increased of late years both in 
amount and quality and has received valuable additions even since the 
body of this review was written. It is on such material that reliance has 
been mainly placed in the attempt here made, perhaps rashly, to give a 
word-picture of society as it exists to-day in India, not merely geographi- 
cally, but as a whole. 



In.lo-Arjan Research. 11. 5. 



146 



5- Ethnography. 



APPENDIX A 



Summary of Caste-Groups. 



A. («} 24 — 31 ) Special Groups. 



(§ 24—26) Brahman 

(§ 27) Rajput . . 

(§ 28 — 29) Traders 

Banya unspec* 

Agarval 

Agrahari 

S'rimali 

Porval 

Osval 

HumbacI 

Khatrl 

Arora 

Bhatia . 

Lohana 

Subarnabanik 

Balija 

KOmati 

Banjiga 

Vatluga 

Cetti . 

Khojah 

Meman 

Bohra . 

Labbai 

Mappila 

Jonakkan 

(§ 30) Writers 
Khatri. . . . 
Kayasth . . . 
Prabliu . . . 
Brahmaksatriya 
Karan-Mahant . 
Kanakkan 
Karnam . . . 
Vidhur . . . 
Vaidya . . . 



14,893,300 
10,040,800 

3,163,300 
557,600 

92,000 
227,400 

75,000 
382,700 

60,700 
585,000 
732,100 

60,600 
572,800 
154,800 
534,700 
656,300 
173,400 

95,900 
320,000 
155,300 
112,100 
177,300 
426,300 
925,200 
100,300 

138,000 

2,149,300 

28,800 

4,200 

195,000 

63,000 

42,800 

39,200 

90,000 



Atit . 
Sadliu 

Jogi ■ 
Faqir 
And! . 
iJasari 
Panisavan 



151,800 
67,800 

212,500 
1,212,600 

101,400 
48,300 
13,700 



5. (§ 31) Religious Devotees. 

r Gosai 152,600 

I Bairagi 765,200 



B. 


(§ 32—53) The Village Com- 


munity. 




6. (a) (§ 33 — 34) Landh 


olders. 


Military etc. 






" Jat 


7,086,100 




Gujar .... 


2,103,100 




Avan .... 


686,000 




Khokhar 


117,500 




Gakkhar . . . 


30,000 




Kathi . . . • . 


27,400 




Sumro .... 


124,100 




Sammo .... 


793,800 


^ Taga .... 


165,300 


Babhan-Bhuinhar 


1,353,300 


r Rajbahsi-Koc . . 


2,408,700 


L Ahum .... 


178.000 


Khandait 


720,300 


Maratha . . . 


5.029,300 


r Razu .... 


113,500 


L Velama .... 


519.900 




- Kalian .... 


494,600 




Maravan 


350,000 




Agamudaiyan . . 


318,600 


Nayar .... 


1,046,700 




Kodagu. . . . 


36,200 



(b) (§ 35—36) Peasants. 

Kambo .... 183.600 

Me6 395,000 

Thakar 102,200 

Rathi 39,300 

Raut 81,900 

Ghirath 170,100 

Kanait 389,900 



Appendix A. Summary of Caste-Groups. 



147 



(c) 



" Kurmi . . 






3,873,600 


Kucri . . 






1,784,000 


Lodha . . 






1,663,400 


Kisan . . 






442,700 


" Kavar . . 






iS6,ioo 


Kolta . . 






127,400 


_ Kirar . . 






166,700 


~ Kalita . . 






203,400 


Halvai-Das 






29,200 


Kaibartta . 






2,665,100 


Sadgop . . 






579,400 


Casa . . 






870,500 


Gangauta . 






82,600 


POd\ . . 






464,900 


_ Namasudra 






2,031,700 


Kunbr . 






2,700,000 


Kanbi . . 






1,350,600 


. K6I1 . . . 






2,477,300 


Vakkaliga . 






1,392,400 


Lingayat unsp 


d. 




2,612,300 


Pancamasale 






431,100 


Caturtha 






111,600 


Banta . . 






1 20,600 


_ Cauda . . 






162,500 


" Kappu-Reddi 






3,110,200 


Kamma . . 






974,400 


Telaga . . 






644,200 


Kalingi . . 






126,900 


Tottiyan 






151,000 


' VeOalan. . 






2,464,900 


_ Nattaman . 






151,300 


(§ 37) Gardeners etc. 


■ Baraf 545,900 


Senaikkudaiyan 




39,300 


. Kodikkal . . 




60,000 


Arain 






1,026,500 


. Maliar . . 






159,900 


■ Mali . . . 






1 ,948,600 


Kachi . . . 






1,260,200 


Murao . . 






662,900 


Saini . . 






200,600 


Tigala . . . 






64,800 



(§ 38) Cattle-breeders. 

Ahir 9,841,900 

Goala-Golla . . 1,357,400 

Gaura 431,600 

Rabari 253,900 





Gh(")Si . . 






58,500 


Kannacjiyan . . 22,500 


8. (i; 39) Artisans. 


(a) Combined castes (Panckaisi) 


Kammalan .... 644,600 


Katfisala 






295,500 


Pancala . . 






323,800 


(b) Sonar . . 






1,271,800 


Niyariya . 






18,700 


(c) r Tarkhan . 






754,500 


L Barhai . 






1,133,100 


Sutar . . 






581,100 


Khati . . 






219,400 


(d) LOhar . . 






1,605,100 


Kamar . . 






757,200 


(e)- Raj . . . 






26,000 


. Thavi . . 






2,300 


Gaunili . 






8,700 


. Kadio . . 






14.400 


(f) Kasera . . 






138,600 


Thathcra . 






57,800 


Tambat . . 






10,400 


9. (§ 40) Weaver 






' Patnuli . . . 


. . 90,500 




Patve . . 






72,000 




. Khatri . . 






56,200 


i~ Tanti . . 






772,300 


L Tantva . . 






197,900 


r Perike . . 






63,000 




Janappan . 






83,000 




Kapali . . 






144,700 




_ DhOr, . . 






24,400 


r Panka . . 






726,700 


j Ganda . . 






277,800 


L Dombfi . 






76,400 


Kori . . . 






1,204,700 


Julaha . . 






2,907,900 


L Balahi . . 






585,100 




Kaikkohn . 






354,700 




Sale . . . 






639,300 




Togata . . 






64,500 




Devanga 






288,900 




Neyige unsp"*- 






97,000 


Jug. . . . 






536,600 




Ko.sti . . 






277,400 



148 



5. Ethnography. 



(§ 41) Oil-presscrs. 
Tclf-Ghanci . . . 4,060,300 
Kalu 154,900 



Vaniyan 

Ganiga . 

(§ 42) Potters. 

Kumhar 

Kusavan 

{§ 43) Barbers 

Nai-Nhavi . . 

Hajam . . . 

Ambattan . . 

Marayan . . 

Mangala . . 

Bhandari . . 



187,500 
114,909 

3,376,300 
145,500 

2,458,400 
534,300 
219,700 
S,8oo 
277,600 
120,300 



13. (§ 44) Washermen. 
DhobT-Parit . . . 2,016,900 
Vannan .... 253,200 
Veluttcclan . . . 24,500 
Agasa 122,200 

_ Cakala 470,800 

14. {§ 45) Fishers, Boatmen 

and Porters. 

' Mallah unsp''- . . 721,600 

Patni 63,700 

Tiyar 270,900 

Malo 246,600 

. Kevat 1,110,800 

- Kahar 1,970,800 

Dhimar 291,200 

Jhfnvar 477,700 

Machi 288,600 

. Mohano .... 113,100 

Bhof 169,800 

Boya 530,400 

Palle (about) . . . 150,000 

Besta 230,400 

Kabbera-Ambiga 76,500 

Moger 38,200 

^lukkuvan .... 20,400 

S'embadavan . . . 54700 

(§ 46) Stone, Salt and 
Lime-workers. 

Bind 219,700 

Cain 158,600 

Gonrhl 165,200 



17- 



16. 



Luniya-Nuniya 




807,400 


Kharol . . . 




12,700 


Rchgar . 






14,400 


Kharvi . 






50,000 


Agria . 






270,400 


Uppara . 






260,000 


Uppiliyan 






43.700 


Patharvat 






23,400 


Baiti-Cunari . 




iS.ioo 


(§ 47) Toddy-drawers. 


Pasi 1,408,400 


Bhandari 






176,000 


Paik . . 






80.900 


Billava . 






145,600 


Tivan 






580,000 


Tandan . 






19,000 


Ijavan 






791,100 


.S'anan . 






759.300 


I.liga 






337,400 


Gaundia 






361,500 


Segidi . 






53,700 


Yata . . 






52,700 


§ 48—49) Field-labourers. 


Dhanuk .... 804,200 


Arakh 76,400 


Dhundia-Dhodia . . 1 10,200 


Dubla-Tala 


via 




141,800 



BagdT 1,042,500 

Baurl 705,600 

Rajvar 166,400 

Musahar .... 664,700 

. Bhar 458,500 

Dhakar 125,700 

Palli 2,572.300 

PaUan 836,500 

Pulayan-Ceruman 524,500 

Paraiyan .... 2,258,600 

Mala 1,863,900 

Holeya 866,200 

Mahar 2,561.600 

DhecJ 378,800 

(§ 50) Leather- workers. 

Camar .... 11,176,700 

Megh 140.500 

Dagi J 54.700 



Appendix A. Summary of Caste-Groups. 



149 



19. 



Madiga . . . 
Mang 

S'akkiliyan. 
Jloci .... 
Bambhi (about) 

(§ 51) Watchmen 

Barvala . 
Gh5tval . 
Kandra . 
Ambalakkaran 
Mutraca 
Khangar 
Mind . . 
Dosadh . 
i\I51 . . 



Berad-Bedar 
Ramos'i . . 



i§ 52—53^ Scaven 

Bhangi-Mihtar 

Cuhra . . . 

Mazbr (about) 

Bhuinmalf . . 

Hari and Kaora 
L Haddi . . . 

Dom .... 
_ Ghasiya . . . 



1,281,200 
579,900 
487,500 

1,007,800 
200,000 



101,700 
88,800 
151,500 
162,500 
329,100 
113,700 
581,900 
,258,200 
145,700 
646,000 
60,800 



839,200 
1,329,400 

38,000 
131,600 
306,500 

28,100 
855,600 
1 19,300 



54—58) Professions 
Subsidiary. 



(^ 541 Bards and Gc 
nealogists. 

Bhat . . 
Bhatrazu 



Raj-Bh5t 
Caran . 
Mirasi . 



577,700 
28,000 
11,200 
74,000 

291,600 



(§ 55) Astrologers etc. 

Jo.si . . 
Dakaut . 
Ganak 
Kanis'an 
Panan . 



Velan . 
Garpagarl 



83.700 
15,600 
20,500 
15,700 
33.300 
27,700 
8,800 



23- (§ 56— 57)Temple-services. 

(a) Priests. 

r Pujari 880 

L Bhojki 1,070 

r Bhojak 1,200 

L Scvak 6,800 

r Pandaram .... 68,600 

L Valjuvan .... 85,300 

r Tambala .... 3,800 

L Jangam 405,000 

r Garuda .... 20,600 

_ Bharai 66,000 

Ulama 36,200 

(b) Servants. 
Phulari-Hugar 1 5,700 

Gurao 94,000 

Bari 89,600 

r Satani 77,400 

L Devadiga .... 23,800 

24. (§ 58)Dancers andSingers. 
Besiya, Kancan etc. 5 7. 700 
Kalavant .... 20,000 

~ DasF-Dcvali . . 25,300 

L Bogam 32,900 

D- (§ 59—68) Urban Castes. 

25. (§ 60) Grocers etc. 
Attari . . 
Gandhabanik 

r Kasarvani . 
L Kasaundhan 

Gandhi . . 

Kunjra . . 

Tamboli 



26. 



27- 



(§ 61) Grain-parch 

Confectioners. 
Bharbhunja 
Bhathiara .... 

Kandu 

Halvai . . . . : 

Mayara 

Godiya-Guria . 

(§ 62t Butchers. 

Qasab 

Khatik 



5,900 

141,100 

79,700 

99,700 

3,700 

285,400 

209,500 

ers and 

359,500 
58,200 
667,900 
260,000 
149,200 
150,400 

369,500 
332,300 



ISO 



5- Ethnography. 



28. (§ 63) Pedlars and Glass- 

workers. 

Bisati 3,600 

Ramaiya .... 5.300 

Manihar .... 102,300 

Curihar 55, 500 

Kancar 19,100 

. Lakhcra . . . . 60,100 

Gazula 102,000 

Patra 61,400 

S'ankhari .... 14,800 

29. (§ 64—67) Artisans. 

(a) Tailors. 

Darji 831,100 

S'impi 36,800 

(b) Dyers etc. 

Chipi 269,400 

Bhausar 38,200 

Rangrej 137,000 

NilarT 48,300 

Galiara 1,100 

(c) Cotton-scutchers. 

Pinjari 50,800 

Behna 362,500 

Dhuniya .... 272,800 

Dudekula .... 74,500 

(d) Distillers and Liquor- 

seile rs. 

Suriri-S'aha . . . 724,800 
Kalal-Kalvar . . . 1,000,200 



30. 



(g 68) Domestic 


Servants. 


Bihisti 107,500 


Gola . . . 






39,700 


Kuta . . 






6,400 


Cakar . . 






163,600 


Khavas . . 






30,600 


S'udra . . 






285,000 


Sagirdpesa 






47,100 


Parivaram . 






18,900 



31- 



E. (§ 69—79) Nomads. 

(§ 69) Carriers. 

Banjara 496,400 

I.abana 349, 500 



Thori . 
Pcndhari 



41,800 
10,100 



32. 



33- 



34- 



35- 



36. 



37- 



38. 



39. 



(i; 70) Shepherds and 

Wool-workers. 
Gaddi 103,800 



Garlariya . . 
Dhangar-Hatkar 
Kurubar 
Idaiyan . . . 
Bharvad . . 



1,272,400 
1,015,800 
1,068,000 
702,700 
102,900 
{§ 71) Earthworkers. 
Od-Vaddar . . . 903,100 

Bcldar 214,700 

Kura-Khaira . . . 166,500 
(§ 72) Knife-grinders etc. 
S'ikligar .... 21,000 

Ghisadi 8,400 

Khumra . . . . 1,100 

Takari 6,500 

(§ 73) Bamboo-workers. 

Turi 68,000 

Basor-Barisphora . 96,000 
Burud-^Iedar . . . 87,600 
Dharkar .... 43,500 
(§ 74) Mat and Basket- 
makers. 

Kanjar 34,000 

Kuravan-Koraca 234,800 

Yerukala .... 65,500 
Kaikadi .... 14,200 
(§ 75) Mimes etc. 
Bahurupiya . . . 3,900 

Bhand 10,600 

Bhavaio .... 6,000 
GundhaH .... 27,500 
(§ 76) Drummers etc. 



Dafali . 
Nagarci 
DhOli 
Bajania , 
Turaha 



50,200 
20,600 
43.700 
14,400 
77,300 



(§ 77^ Juggles, Acrobats, 
Snake-charmers etc. 

Nat 162,300 

Bazigar 27,000 



Appendix A. Summary of Caste-Groups. 151 


Dombar-Kolhati . . 39,400 




" Kand 612,500 


Gopal 7.100 




Kondu-Dora . . . 88,700 


40. (§ 78) Thieves etc. 




Poroja 91,900 

Gadaba 41,300 


Bagariya .... 30,900 




Jatapu 75,700 


Bediya 57,500 




_ Savara 367,400 






Habura 4.300 


(b) (§ 87) Western Belt. 


Bhamtiya-UcH . . 6,100 




Kurku-Korva . . . 181,800 


41- (i;79)Hunters and Fowlers. 




Bhil . . . 




1,198,800 




' Bavariya-Mogl 
Aheriya . . 
Baheliya . 


liy: 


1 


30,300 
35,400 
53,600 




BhilSla . 
Dhanka . 
Tadvi . 






144,400 
66,ioo 

10,500 




Mahtam 






82,900 




Nihal 






6,900 




Sahariya 






1 36,400 




Gamta . 
- Patelia . 






49,300 
91,000 


1 Vaghri . . 
L PardhI . . 






114,000 














32,000 


Naikada 






90,200 










Nayak 






25,100 




Veilan . . 






25,500 


Chodra . 






!;8.200 




Valaiyan . 






383,000 






Vettuvan . 






74,900 


(c) (§ 88) Sahyadri. 


!_ Kuriccan . 






9,600 


Katkari 93,000 




Vfirli . . 


. . 152,300 


F. (§ 80—102) Hill Tribes. 


Ghat-Thakur 


. . 122,300 


42. (a) (§81—86) Central Belt. 


id) (§ 89-90) N 


Igiri etc. 


K61 299,000 




~ Kuruman . 


. . 10,600 


Ho . . . 






385,100 




Irula . . 




. . 86,100 


Munda . 






466,700 




Toda 




. . 800 


Bhumij . . 






370,200 




_ KOta 




■ 1,300 


Bhuinya 






789,100 


r Kanikkan 




. • 4,100 




Kharvar 






1 39,600 


L Malaiyan 




. . 11,200 




Baiga 








33,900 


r Yanadi . 




. . 103,900 




Ceru 








30,200 


L Cencu . 




. . 8,300 




Kharia 








120,700 




Santal 








1,907,900 


43- t§ 91 — 100) Assam Tribes. 


. Mahili 








66,800 


(a) Bodo-Kacari . . . 242,900 
Garo 162,200 


r Birjia 








5,700 


L Juang 








11,200 


Lalung 35,500 




Uraon 








614,500 


Rabha 67,300 




Male 








48,300 


Mec 99,500 




. Mal-Paharia 






35,000 


Hajong 8,800 




" GOnd . . 






2,286,900 


: Tipparah-Mrung 111,300 




Majhvar 






52,400 


L Cutiya 85,800 




Bottada-Bhatr 


a 




50,100 






Halaba . . 






90,100 


(bl Miri 46.700 




Pathari . . 






2,900 


Abor 320 




Pradhan 






22,900 


Daphla 950 




- KOyi . 








115,200 




Aka . . 






28 



152 5- Ethndc.raphy. 


(c) Khasi ui,6oo 


44. (§ loi — 102) Himalayan Ne- 


Sainteng 






47,900 


pali) Tribes. 


(d) Mikir . . 






87,300 


" Khambu .... 46,500 










Yakha . 








2,400 


(e) Naga unsp"'- 






78,900 


_ I.imbu 










24,600 


Angami-Teng 


ma 




27,500 


I-epca 










18,000 


Ao . . . 






26,800 


Murmi 










33,900 


Sema-Sima 






4,700 


Nevar 










11,500 


Lhota . . 






19,300 


, "" Khas 










15,900 


Rengma 






5,600 




Guriing 










16.600 


(f) Kuki unsp""- 






67,200 




Mangar 










23,900 


Meithci . . 






69,400 




Sunuvar 








6,900 


Lu.sci . . 






63,600 


,. Gorkha unsp^"- 




18,400 


(g) San unsp''- 






1,850 


G. (§ 103—108) Muslim Race Titles. 


Khamti . . 






2,000 


45. (a) r Arab unsp''- . . 96,700 


Phakial . . 






220 


; Sekh . . 


23,836,800 


Nora . . 






140 


[ Saiyad 






. 1,508,400 


Turung . . 






400 


(c) r Turk 








5.700 


Aiton 






80 


L Mughal 








388,900 


[Ahom* 






178,000] 


(d) r Pathan 








3,204,500 


(h) Singpho 






800 


Baluc 








1,034,300 


Doania . . 






1,000 


\_ Brahuf 






. . 48,200 



Included amongsl Landed-Military in 6 (a). 



Total of selected Castes and Tribes 265,701,200. 



Appendix B. Caste Index. 



153 



APPENDIX B. 



Caste Index. 



Caste 


Group 


1 . c a 11 1 y 


Abor 


43(b). Hill tribe 


Assam Himalaya 


Agamudaiyan 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Tamil 


Agarval 


3. Traders 


North and West 


Agasa 


13. Washermen 


Karnatic 


Agrahari 


3. Traders 


Agra 


Agria 


15. Saltworkers 


Agra and West Coast 


Aheriya 


41. Hunters and towler.s 


Panjab and Agra 


Ahfr 


7. Cattle-breeders 


Upper and Central India 


Ahom 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Assam 


Alton 


43(g). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Aka 


43(b). Hill tribe 


Assam Himalaya 


Ambalakkaran 


19. Watchmen 


Tamil 


Ambattan 


12. Barbers 


Tamil 


Ambiga = Kabbera 






Andi 


5. Religious mendicants 


Tamil 


AngamT-Tengima 


43(c). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Ao 


43(e). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Arab 


45(a). Muslim race 


Panjab and West 


Arain 


6(c). Market-gardeners 


Panjab 


Arakh 


17. Field-labourers 


Agra etc. 


Arura 


3. Traders 


W. Panjab 


Atit 


5. Devotees 


Bengal and North 


Attari 


25. Perfume-makers 


North and Centre 


Avan 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Panjab 


Babhan-Bhuinhar 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Ganges Valley, Bihar 


Bagariya 


40. Thieves 


Cent. India 


Bagdi 


17(a). Field-labourers 


Bengal 


Baheliya 


41. Fowlers 


Panjab 


Bahuriipiya 


37. Mimes 


Panjab and Ui)per India 


Baiga 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Cent. Prov. 


Bairagi 


5. Devotees 


Univers. N. and Centre 


Baiti 


15. Lime-burners 


Bengal 


Bajania 


38. Drummers etc. 


West 


Balahi 


9. Weavers 


Rajputdna etc. 


Balija 


3. Traders 


Telingana 


Baluc 


45(c). Muslim race 


Panjab and Sindh 


Bambhi 


i8. Shoemakers 


Rajputana 


Banjara 


31. Carriers 


North and Centre 



«54 


5. Ethnography. 






Taste 


(>r'iu\i 


I . (J c a 1 i t y 


15anjiya 


3. Traders 


Karnatic 


Bahsphura-Basor 


35. Bamboo-workers 


1 Upper and West. India 


Banta 


6(b). Peasants 


j Kanara 


Banya unsp<*- 


3. Traders 


Univ. except in South 


Barai 


6(c). Bctel-vine-growcrs 


Univ. except in South 


Barhai 


8(c). Carpenters 


Upper India 


Bari 


23(b). Leaf-plate-makers 


Upper India 


Barvala 


19. Watchmen 


Panjab 


Bas6r = Baiisphora 






Bauri 


6(c). Field-labourers 


Bengal 


Bavariya 


41. Fowlers etc. 


Panjab and Agra 


Bazigar 


39. Acrobats etc. 


Panjab 


Bcdar = Bcrad 






Bediya 


40. Disreputable nomads 


Upper India 


Bchna 


29(a). Cotton-scutchers 


Upper India 


Beldar 


33. Earth- workers 


North and Centre 


Berad-Bedar 


ig. Watchmen 


Karnatic 


Bi'siya-Kancan 


24. Dancers and singers 


Upper India 


Besta 


14. Fishermen 


Telingana 


Bhand 


37. Mimes 


Panjab etc. 


Bhandari 


12. Barbers 


Orissa 


Bhandari 


16. Toddy-drawers 


West Coast 


Bhangi-Mihtar 


20. Scavengers 


All but in South 


Bhar 


i7(ai. Field-labourers 


Bchar etc. 


Bharai 


23(a). Shrine priests 


Panjab 


Bharbhunja 


26. Grain-parchers 


Upper India 


Bharvad 


32. Shepherds 


West 


Bhat 


21. Bards and genealogists 


Upper and West. India 


Bhathiara 


26. Public cooks 


W. Panjab 


Bhatia 


3. Traders 


West 


Bhatra = Bottada 






Bhatrazu 


21. Bards and genealogists 


Telingana 


Bhausar 


29(b). Calenderers 


West 


Bhavaio 


37. Actors 


West 


Bhil 


42(b). Hill tribe 


West Belt 


Bhilala 


42(b). Hill tribe 


West Belt 


BhOi 


14. Fishers and porters 


Dekkan and West 


Bh6jak 


23. Priests to Jains 


Rajputana 


BhOjki 


23. Priests of hillmen 


Panjab 


Bhiiinhar = Babhan 






Bhiiinmali 


20. Scavengers 


Bengal and Assam 


Bhuinya 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal and Cent. Belt 


Bhumij 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Bihisti 


30. Water bearers 


North and Centre 


Billava 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Kanara 



i 



Appendlx B. Caste Index. 



'55 



Caste 


Group 


Locality 


Bind 


15. Stone and lime-workers 


Bihar and Oudh 


Birjia 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Bisati 


28. Pedlars 


Panjab etc. 


Bodo = Kacari 






Bogam 


24. Dancers 


Telingana 


Buhra-Vohora 


3. Traders and cultivators 


West 


Bottada-Bhatra 


42(a). Hill tribe 


South Cent. Belt 


Buya 


14. Fishers etc. 


Telingana 


Brahmaksatriya 


4. Writers 


Gujarat 


Brahiij 


45. Muslim race 


Sindh Frontier etc. 


Ruriitl-Mcdar 


35. Bamboo-workers 


Dekkan and Karnatic 


("ain 


15. Stone-workers 


Oudh and Bihar 


Cakala 


13. Washermen 


Telingana 


Cakar 


30. Domestic servants 


Rajputana 


Camar-Khalpo 


18. Leather-workers 


Univ. except in South 


Caran 


21. Genealogists 


West 


Casa 


6(b). Peasants 


Orissa 


Caturtha 


6 (b). Cultivators and traders 


Karnatic 


Cencu 


42(d). Hill tribe 


Eastern Ghats 


Ceru 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Ceruman = Pulayan 






Cetti 


3. Traders 


Tamil 


Chipi 


29(b). Calenderers and dyers 


Upper India 


Chodra 


42(b). Hill tribe 


West 


Cuhra 


20. Scavengers 


Panjab 


("unari-Baiti 


15. Lime-burners 


Upper India and Bengal 


Ciirihar 


28. Pedlars and glass-workers 


North and Centre 


Ciitiya 


43(a). Hill tribe 


Assam 


Dafali 


38. Mendicant drummers 


Agra and Bihar 


Dagi 


18. Leather-workers 


Panjab Hills 


Ddkaut 


22. Astrologers 


Agra etc. 


Uaphla 


43(b). Hill tribe 


Assam Himalaya 


Darji 


29(a). Tailors 


Universal 


Dasari 


5. Devotees 


Telingana 


Dasi-Devali 


24. Dancers 


Telingana and Karnatic 


Dcvadiga 


23 (b). Temple servants 


Telingana and Karnatic 


Devali ^ DasI 






Devahga 


9. Weavers 


Karnatic 


Dhakar 


17. Field-labourers 


Rajputana etc. 


Dhangar-Hatkar 


32. Shepherds 


Dekkan 


Dhanka 


42(b). Hill tribe 


West Belt 


Dhanuk 


17. Field-labourers 


Agra and Rajputana 


Dharkar 


35. Bamboo-workers 


Agra and Rajputana 



1 56 



5. Ethnography. 



Caste 



I,(.kalit\ 



bhcM.I 

Dhimar 

Dhobf-Parit 

Dhoriia = Dhunc.lia 

Dholi 

Dhor 

Dhuldhoya = Niya- 

riya 
Dhundia-Dhodia 
Dhuniya 
Doania 
Pom-Dumna 
Dombar-Kolhati 
Domba 
Dosadh 
Dubla-Talavia 
Dudekula 
pum = Mirasi 
Dumna = Dom 

Faqir 

Gadaba 

Gadariya 

Gaddf 

Gakkhar 

Galiara 

GamaHa = Gaundla 

Gamta 

Ganak 

Ganda 

Gandhabanik 

Gandhi 

Gangauta 

Ganiga 

Garo 

Garpagari 

Garuda 

Cauda 

Gaundi 

Gaundla-Gamajla 

Gaura 

Gazula 

Ghanci = Teli 

Ghasiya 



17. Village menials 
14. Fishers etc. 
13. Washermen 

38. Drummers 
9. Hemp-weavers etc. 



17. Field-labourers 
29(c). Cotton-scutchers 
43(h). Bastard Singpho 
20. Scavengers 
39. Acrobats etc. 
9. Weavers 
19. Watchmen 
17. Field-labourers 
29(c). Cotton-scutchers 



5. Religious mendicants 

42(a). Hill tribe 
32. Shepherds 
32. Shepherds 
6(a). Landed-dominant 
29(b). Indigo-dyers 

42(b). Hill tribe 
22. Astrologers 

9. Weavers 
25. Grocers 
25. Grocers 

6(bi. Peasants 
10. Oil-pressers 
43(a). Hill tribe 
22. Hail-averters 
23 (i). Low priests 

6(b). Peasants 

8(e). Masons 
16. Toddy-drawers 

7. Cattle-breeders 
28. Pedlars 

20. Scavengers 



West 

Ujjper and Cent. India 

Univ. cxce|)t in South 

West 
Dekkan 



West 

North 

Assam 

Upper India 

E)ekkan 

N. E. Madras 

Bihar 

West 

Telingana 



Universal 

N. E. Madras 
Upper India 
Panjab Hills 
Panjab 
West 

West 

Assam 

East Cent. Prov. 

Bengal 

Dekkan etc. 

Bihar 

Ivarnatic 

Assam 

Cent. Prov. 

West 

Karnatic 

Dekkan 

Telingana 

Bengal 

Telingana 

Ganges Valley 



i 



I 



Appendix B. Caste Index. 



157 



Caste 


Group 


Locality 


(Ihat-Thakiir 


42(c). Hill tribe 


Sahyadri 


(Ihatval 


19. Watchmen 


Bengal 


Ghirath 


6(b). Peasants 


Panjab Hills 


Ghisadi 


34. Knife-grinders 


Dekkan 


(.hosi 


7. Cowherds 


Upper India 


Goala-Golla 


7. Cattle-breeders 


Upper India 


Gudiya-Guria 


26. Confectioners 


Bengal-Orissa 


G61a 


30. Rice-pounders 


West and North 


Golla = Goala 






Gonc.l 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Cent. Prov. 


Gondhali 


37. Ballad-singers 


Dekkan 


Gurirhi 


15. Stone-cutters 


Bihar and Oudh 


Gopal 


39. Jugglers 


Dekkan 


Gorkha unsp''- 


44. Himalayan tribe 


Nepal 


Gosai 


5. Devotees 


Univ. except in South 


Giijar 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Panjab and Agra 


Gurao 


23(b). Temple-servants 


Dekkan 


Giiria = Gocjiya 






Giiriing 


44. Himalayan tribe 


Nepal 


Habura 


40. Thieves 


Upper India 


Haddi 


20. Scavengers 


Orissa 


Hajam 


12. Muslim barbers 


Universal 


Hajong 


43(a). Hill tribe 


Assam 


Halaba 


42(a). Hill tribe 


S. E. Cent. Prov. 


Halvai 


26. Confectioners 


Upper and East. India 


Halvai-Das 


6(b). Peasants 


Assam 


Hari-Kaora 


20. Scavengers 


Bengal 


lliukar = Dhangar 






HO 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Holeya 


17. Village menials 


Karnatic 


Hugar = Phulari 






Hiimbai.l 


3. Traders 


West 


Idaiyan 


32. Shepherds 


Tamil 


Tdiga 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Telingana 


llavan 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Malabar 


Iriila 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Nilgiri etc. 


Janappan 


9. Hemp-weavers 


Tamil 


Jahgam 


23(a). Liiigayat priests 


Karnatic [putana 


Jat 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Panjab, Agra and Raj- 


Jatapu 


42(a). Hill tribe 


N. E. Madras 


Jhinvar 


14. Fishers and water-bearers 


Panjab 


J'"'gi 


5. Devotees 


Upper India 



1 58 


J. Ethnography. 





( asti- 

Jonakkan 


( I r o u 1 > 
3. Traders 


I.iM alit\ 
Malabar 


Josf 


22. Astrologers 


Univ. except in South 


Juang 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Orissa Hills 


J"g' 


9. Weavers 


Bengal 


Julaha 


9. Weavers 


U|)i)cr India 


Kabbcra-Ambiga 


14. Fishers 


Telingana and Kanara 


Kacari-Bodo 


43(a). Hill tribe 


Assam 


Kacf 


6(c). Market-gardeners 


I'jiper and Central 


Karliu 


8(e). Masons 


West 


Kahar 


14. Fishers and porters 


Upper India 


Kaibartta 


6(b). Peasants 


Bengal 


Kaikacli 


36. Mat-makers 


Dekkan 


Kaikkujan 


9. Weavers 


Tamil 


Kalal-Kalvar 


29. (d) Distillers 


Upper and Cent. India 


Kalavant 


24. Dancers 


West 


Kalirigi 


6(b). Peasants 


Telingana 


Kalita 


6(b). Peasants 


Assam 


Kalian 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Tamil 


Kalu 


10. Oil-pressers 


Bengal 


Kalvar = Kalal 






Kamar 


8(a). Blacksmiths 


Bengal 


Kambo 


6(b). Peasants 


Panjab 


Kamma 


6(b). Peasants 


Telingana 


Kammalan 


8(a). Artisans 


Tamil 


Karhsala 


8(a). Artisans 


Telingana 


Kanait 


6(b). Peasants 


Panjab Hills 


Kanakkan 


4. Writers 


Tamil 


Kanbi 


6(b). Peasants 


West 


Kancan = Bcsiya 






Kancar 


28. Glass-workers 


Upper and Cent. India 


Kand 


42(a). Hill tribe 


N. E. Madras 


Kandra 


19. Watchmen 


Orissa 


Kandu 


26. Confectioners 


Univ. except in South 


Kanikkar 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Malabar 


Kanisan 


22. Astrologers 


Malabar 


Kanjar 


36. Mat-makers 


Upper India 


Kannadiyan 


7. Cattle-breeders 


Tamil 


Kaora = Hari 






Kapali 


9- Jute-weavers 


Bengal 


Kapu-Reddi 


6(b). Peasants 


Telingana 


Karan-Mahant 


4. Writers 


Orissa 


Karnam 


4. Writers 


Telingana 


Kasar-Kascra 


8(f). Brassmiths 


Univ. except in South 


KasarvanI 


25. Grocers 


Agra and Oudh 



Appendix B. Caste Index. 



159 



Caste 


Ci r u 1 1 


Local it \ 


Kasaundhan 


25. Grocers 


Agra and Oudh 


Kasera = 


Kasar 






Kathi 




6(a). Landed-dominant 


West 


Katkari-Kathodi 


42(c). Hill tribe 


Sahyadri 


Kavar 




6(b). Peasants 


Cent. Prov. 


Kayasth 




4. Writers 


Upper Ind. and Bengal 


Kevat 




14. Fishers etc. 


Upjier India 


Khaira = 


Kora 






Khalpo = 


= Camar 






Khambu 




44. Himalayan tribe 


N6pal 


Khamti 




43(g). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Khandait 




6(a). Landed-dominant 


Orissa 


Khangar 




19. Watchmen 


Cent. Ind. 


Kharia 




42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Kharol 




15. Salt-workers 


Rajputana 


Kharvar 




42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Kharvi 




15- Salt-workers 


West 


Khas 




44. Himalayan tribe 


Nepal 


Khasf 




43(C). Hill tribe 


Assam 


Khati 




8(c). Carpenters 


Upper India 


Khatik 




27. Butchers 


Upper and West. India 


Khatri 




3. Traders 


Panjab 


Khatri 




4. Writers 


Ganges Valley 


Khatri 




9. Silk-weavers 


West 


Khavas 




30. Domestic servants 


West 


Khojah 




3. Traders 


West 


Khukar 




6(a). Landed-dominant 


Panjab 


Khumra 




34. Grindstone-makers 


I'pper India 


Kirar 




6(b). Peasants 


Cent. Prov. 


Kisan 




6(b). Peasants 


Agra and Cent. India 


Koc = Rajbansi 






Kodagu 




6(a). Landed-dominant 


Coorg 


Kodikkal 




6(c). Bitel-vine-growers 


Tamil 


Koeri 




6(b). Peasants 


Agra, Oudh and Bihar 


K6I 




42(a). Hill tribe 


Cent. Prov. 


Kolhati = 


Dombar 






KoH 




6(b). Peasants 


West 


Kolta 




6(b). Peasants 


Cent. Prov. 


Komati 




3. Traders 


Telingana 


Kondu-Dora 


42(31 Hill tribe 


N. E. Madras 


Koraca = 


Kuravan 






Kora-Khaira 


33. Earth-workers 


Bengal 


Korf 


1 


9. Weavers 


Upper India 


Korku-Korva 


42(b). Hill tribe 


Berar and Cent. Prov. 


Korvf = Kuravan 







i6o 


5. Ethnography. 






1 
( asic r,roii|i 


Locality 


Kn^ti 


9, Weavers 


Uekkan and Cent. Prov. 


K()ta 


42(d). Hill tribe 


Nilgiri 


K<-)yi 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Cent. Prov. etc. 


Ksatriya = Rajput 






Kuki unsp''- 


43(f). Hill tribes 


Assam Frontier 


Kumhar 


II. Potters 


Univ. except in South 


Kunbi 


6(b). Peasants 


Dekkan and West 


Kunjra 


25. Greengrocers 


Upper India 


Kuravan-Koraca 


36. Mat-makers 


Telingana and Dekkan 


Kuriccan 


41. Fowlers 


Malabar 


Kurmi 


6(b). Peasants 


Upper India 


Kurubar-Kurumban 


32. Shepherds 


South 


Kurukh = Oraon 






Kuruman 


42(d). Hill tribe 


Nilgiri 


Kus'avan 


II. Potters 


Tamil 


Kilta 


30. Rice-pounders 


Upper India 


Labana 


31. Carriers 


Univ. except in East 


Labbai 


3. Traders 


S. E. Coast 


Lakhera 


28. Lac-workers 


Upper India 


Lalung 


43(a). Hill tribe 


Assam 


Lepca-Rong 


44. Himalayan tribe 


Sikkim 


Lhota 


43(ei. Hill tribe. 


E. Assam 


Limbu 


44. Himalayan tribe 


Nepal 


Lihgayat unsp''- 


6(b). Peasants 


Karnatic 


Lodha 


6(b). Peasants 


Upper India 


Lohana 


3. Traders 


Sindh 


Lobar 


8(d). Blacksmiths 


Univ. except in South 


Luniya-Nuniya 


15. Salt-workers 


Upper India 


Lusei 


43(0- Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Machi 


14. Fishermen 


Panjab and West 


iVladiga 


18. Leather-workers 


Telingana 


Mahant = Karan 






Mahar 


17. Field-labourers 


Dekkan 


McihilT 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


iMahtam 


41. Fowlers etc. 


Panjab 


Majhvar 


42(a). Hill tribe 


S. Ganges Valley 


IMal 


19. Watchmen 


Bengal 


Mala 


17. Field-labourers 


Telingana 


Malaiyan 


42(d). Hill tribes 


Nilgiri and Malabar 


Male 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Mair 


6(c). Market-gardeners 


Univ. except in South 


Maliar 


6(c). Market-gardeners 


Panjab 


Mallah unspJ- 


14. Fishers and boatmen 


Bengal 



Appendix B. Caste Index. 



i6i 



Caste 



Group 



Malo 

Mal-Paharia 

Mang 

Mahgala 

Mangar 

Manihar 

Mappila 

Maratha 

Maravan 

Marayan 

Mayara 

Mazbi 

Mcc 

j\lC-dar = Buruil 

Mcgh 

Meithci 

INIcman 

MC-0 

Mihtar = Bhangi 

Mikir 

Mimar = Raj 

Mma 

Wirasi-Dum 

Miri 

Moci 

Moger 

Wohano 

Mrung = Tipparah 

IMughal 

Mukkuvan 

Munda 

Murao 

Murmi 

Musahar 

Mutraca 

Naga unsp'i- 

Nagarci 

Nai-Nhavl 

Naikada 

Namas'udra 

Nat 

Nattaman 

Nayak 

Nayar 

Indo-Aryan Research. II. I 



14. Fishers and boatmen 
42 (a). Hill tribe 
18. Leather-workers 
12. Barbers 

44. Himalayan tribe 
28. Bead-pedlars 

3. Traders 

6(a). Landed-dominant 

6(a). Landed-dominant 

12. Barbers etc. 

26. Confectioners 

20. Scavengers 
43(a). Hill tribe 

18. Leather-workers 
43(f). Hill tribe 

3. Traders 
6(b). Peasants 

43(d). Hill tribe 

19. Watchmen 

21. Genealogists 
43(b). Hill tribe 

18. Leather-workers 
14. Fishermen 
14. Fishermen 

45. Muslim race 
14. Fishermen 
42(a). Hill tribe 

6(ci. Market-gardeners 
44. Himalayan tribe 
17. Field-labourers 

19. Watchmen 

43 (cl Hill tribes 

38. Drummers 
12. Barbers 
42(b). Hill tribe 

6(b). Peasants 

39. Acrobats 
6(b). Peasants 

42(b). Hill tribe 
6(a). Landed-dominant 



Locality 



Bengal 

Bengal 

Dekkan 

Telingana 

Nepal 

Upper India 

Malabar 

Dekkan etc. 

Tamil 

Malabar 

Bengal 

Panjab 

Assam 

Panjab Hills 

Manipur 

West 

Rajputana and Panjab 

Assam 

Rajputana 

Panjab 

Assam 

Univ. except in South 

Kanara 

Sindh 

Upper and West. India 

Malabar 

Bengal etc. 

Upper India 

Nepal 

Upper India and Bihar 

Telingana 

Assam 

Upper India 

Univ. except in South 

West 

Bengal 

Upper India 

Tamil 

West 

Malabar 



l62 



5. Ethnoorachy. 



Caste 


fir(iU|i 


Locality 


Nevar 


44. Himalayan tribe 


Nipal 


Neyige unsp"*- 


9. Weavers 


Karnatic 


Nhavl = Nai 






Nihal 


42(b). Hill tribe. 


West 


Nllari 


29(b). Indigo-dyers . 


Upper India 


Niyariya-Dhuldhoya 


8(b). Gold-dust-washers 


Upper and West. India 


Nora 


43 (g). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Nuniya = Luniya 






Od-Vatldar 


33. Earth-workers 


Univ. except in East 


Oraon-Kurukh 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Osval 


3. Traders 


West 


Paik 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Kanara 


PaUan 


17. Field-labourers 


Tamil 


Palle 


14. Fishermen 


Telingana 


PaUi 


17. Field-labourers 


Tamil 


Panan 


22. Exorcists 


Malabar 


Paficala 


8 (a). Artisans 


Karnatic 


Paficamasale 


6(b). Peasants 


Karnatic 


Pandaram 


23 (a~l. Priests 


Tamil 


Panisavan 


5. Devotees 


Tamil 


Panka-Pan 


9. Weavers 


Cent. Prov. 


Paraiyan 


17. Village servants 


Tamil 


PardhT 


41. Fowlers etc. 


Dekkan 


Pant = DhobI 






Parivaram 


30. Domestic servants 


Tamil 


Pasi 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Upper India and Bihar 


Patella 


42(b). Hill tribe 


West Belt 


Pathan 


45. Muslim race 


N. W. Frontier 


Pathari 


42(a). Hill-tribal-priests 


Cent. Prov. etc. 


Patharvat 


15. Stone-w^orkers 


Dekkan 


Patnl 


14. Fishers etc. 


Bengal 


Patra-Pator 


28. Pedlars 


Orissa 


PattunOrkaran 


9. Silk-weavers 


Tamil 


Patve 


9. Silk-weavers 


Upper and Central India 


Pendhari 


31. Carriers 


Dekkan and Karnatic 


Perike 


9. Hemp-weavers 


Tamil 


Phakial 


43(g). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Phulari-Hugar 


23(b). Temple servants 


Dekkan etc. 


Pinjari 


29(c). Cotton-scutchers 


West 


Pod 


6(b). Peasants 


Bengal 


Poroja 


42(a). Hill tribe 


N. E. Madras 


Porval 


3. Traders 


Rajputana etc. 


Prabhu 


4. Writers 


West 



Appendix B. Caste Index. 



I6J 



Caste 


Group 


Locality 


Pradhan 


42(a). Hill tribe 


1 
Cent. Prov. 


Pujarl 


23 (a). Hill-tribal-priests 


Panjab Hills 


Pulayan-Ccruman 


17. Field-labourers 


Malabar 


Qasab 


27. Butchers 


Upper India 


Quresi = Sckh 






Rabarl 


7. Camel-breeders 


Rajputana etc. 


Rabhfi 


43iat- Hill tribe 


Assam 


Raj-Mimar 


8(c). Masons etc. 


Upper India 


Rajbaiisl-Koc 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Assam and Bengal 


Raj-Bhat 


21. Bards and genealogists 


Bengal 


Rajput-Ksatriya 


2. Landed-dominant 


Upi)er and West. India 


Rajvar 


17. Field-labourers 


Bengal 


Ramaiya 


28. Pedlars 


Panjab 


RamOs'i" 


19. Watchmen 


Dekkan 


Rangrej 


29 (b\ Dyers 


Univ. except in South 


Rathi 


6(bi. Peasants 


Panjab Hills 


Raut 


6(b). Peasants 


Panjab Hills 


Razu 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Telingana 


Redc.li = Kapu 






Rehgar 


15. Salt-workers 


Rajputana 


Rengma 


43 (ei. Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Rong = Lepca 






Sadgop 


6(bV Peasants 


Bengal 


Sadhu unsp*^- 


5. Devotees 


West 


Sagirdpesa 


30. Domestic servants 


Orissa 


S'aha = Suhri 






Sahariya 


41. Fowlers etc. 


Cent. India 


Saint 


6(c). Market-gardeners 


Panjab 


Sainteng 


43(c). Hill tribe 


Assam 


Saiyad 


45. Muslim race 


Universal 


S'akkiliyan 


18. Leather-workers 


Tamil 


Sale 


9. Weavers 


Dekkan and South 


Sammo 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Sindh 


Samru 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Sindh 


San 


43(g)- Hitl race 


E. Assam 


S'anan 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Tamil 


S'aiikhari 


28. Armlet-makers 


Bengal 


Sahsiya 


40. Thieves 


Panjab 


Santal 


42(a). Hill tribe 


Bengal 


Satani 


23(b). Temple servants 


Telingana 


Savara 


42(a). Hill tribe 


S. Orissa 


Segidi 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Orissa 



1 64 



S. Ethnography. 



Caste 



( I r . I u 1 1 



Locality 



Sckh-QurC-.-ji 


45. Muslim race 


Bengal 


Sema-Sima 


43(e). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


S'embadavan 


14. Fishermen 


Tamil 


Scnaikku(laiyan 


61c). Bitel-vine-growers 


Tamil 


Sevak 


23. Priests to Jains . 


Rajputana 


S'ikligar 


34. Knife-grinders 


Upper and West. India 


Sima = Sema 






S'impT 


29(a). Tailors 


Dekkan 


Singpho 


43(h). Hill tribe 


Assam 


Sonar 


8(b). Goldsmiths 


Univ. except in South 


S'rimair 


3. Traders 


West 


Subarnabanik 


3. Traders 


Bengal 


S'udra 


30. Domestic servants 


Bengal 


Sumro 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Sindh 


Sunrl-S'aha 


29(d). Distillers 


Bengal 


Sunuvar 


44. Himalayan tribe 


Nepal 


Sutar 


8(c). Carpenters 


Univ. except in South 


Tadvi 


42(b). Hill tribe 


West 


Taga 


6(a). Landed-dominant 


Agra 


Takari-Takankar 


34. Grindstone-makers 


Dekkan 


Talavia = Dubia 






Tambala 


23(a). Priests 


Telingana 


Tambat 


S(f). Coppersmiths 


West 


Tamboli 


25. Bitel-sellers 


Univ. except in South 


Tandan 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Malabar 


Tanti 


9. Weavers 


Bengal 


Tantva 


9. Weavers 


Bihar 


Tarkhan 


8(c). Carpenters 


Panjab 


Telaga 


6(b). Peasants 


Telingana 


Tclf-Ghancr 


10. Oil-pressers 


Univ. except in South 


Tengima = Angami 






Thakar 


6(b). Peasants 


Panjab Hills 


Thathera 


8(f). Brass-workers 


Upper India 


Thavi 


8(c). I^Lisons 


Panjab Hills 


ThorT 


31. Carriers 


Panjab Hills 


Tigaja 


6(c). Market-gardeners 


S. Dekkan 


Tipparah-Mrung 


43(a). Hill tribe 


E. Bengal 


Tiyan 


16. Toddy-drawers etc. 


Malabar 


Tiyar 


14. Fisher and boatmen 


Bengal 


Toda 


42(d). Hill tribe 


Nilgiri 


Togata 


9. Weavers 


Karnatic 


Tottiyan 


6(b). Peasants 


Karnatic 


Turaha 


38. Drummers etc. 


Bengal 


Turl 


35. Bamboo-workers 


Bengal 



Appendix B. Caste Index. 



165 



Caste 


Ci r u p 


Locality 


Turk unsp''- 


45. Muslim race 


Panjab West 


Turung 


43(g). Hill tribe 


E. Assam 


Ulama 


23(a). Priests 


Panjab 


Uppara 


15- Salt-workers 


Karnatic 


Uppiliyan 


15. Salt-workers 


Malabar 


Vaddar = Oil 






Vaduga 


3. Traders 


Telingana 


Vaghri 


41- Fowlers 


West 


Vaidya 


4. Writers 


Bengal 


Vakkaliga 


6(a). Peasants 


Karnatic 


Valaiyan 


41. Hunters 


Tamil 


Valjuvan 


23(a). Low priests 


Tamil 


Vaniyan 


10. Oil-pressers 


Tamil 


Vannan 


13. Washermen 


Tamil 


Varlf 


421CI. Hill tribe 


Sahyadri 


Vedan 


41. Hunters 


Tamil 


Velama 


6iai. Landed-dominant 


Telingana 


Velan 


22. Exorcists 


Malabar 


Veimian 


6(b). Peasants 


Tamil 


Veluttedan 


13. Washermen 


Malabar 


Vettuvan 


41. Hunters 


Tamil 


Vidhur 


4. Writers 


Dekkan and Cent. Prov. 


Vohora = Bohra 






Yakha 


44. Himalayan tribe 


Nepal 


Yanadi 


42(d). Hill tribe 


Telingana 


Yata 


16. Toddy-drawers 


Orissa 


Yerukala 


36. Mat-makers 


Telingana 



5. Ethnography. 



APPEND 

Showing (A) the number returning each principal '. 

of the populatio 



Language and Family 



India 



No. per 

10,000 

of popu- 
language I ,atio„ 



Total number 
returning the 



N. West 



II. 



I. Kol-Khervari 
Kol 

Santali 
Savara 
Kharia 
Korku . 
Gadaba 
Kora . 
0//iers . 
Dravidian 
Gurx.l . 
Oraon . 
Kand . 
Maltc) . 
Telugu 
Kanarese 
Kodagu 
Tulu . 
Tamil . 
Malayalam 
Brahiii 
0//urs 

III. Gipsy tongues 

IV. Indo-Aryan 
Sina etc 

I Kasmiri 
I Lahnda 
[ Sindhi . 
[ West Pahari 
I Central Pahari 
I East Pahari 
[ West Hindi 
I Panjabi . 
I Rajasthani 
1 Gujarati . 
East Hindi 



>) Including N>ii 



3,179,300 
948,700 
1,790,500 
157,100 
102,000 
87,700 
37.200 
23,900 
32,200 

56,315.700 

1,125,500 

592,300 

494,100 

60,800 

20,600,000 

10,364,700 

39,200 

535.200 

16,425,000 

6,028,900 

47,900 

2,100 

344,100 

219,352,100 

54,200 

1,007,900 

3,337,900 

3,002,800 

1,710,000 

1,270,900 

138,300 

40,568,900 

17,033,300 

10,917,100 

9,921,700 

22,136,400 



112 

33 
63 
6 

4 
3 
I 



40 
21 
17 

728 
366 

I 

19 
581 
213 

2 

1 

12 
7.756 

2 

36 
118 
106 
60 
45 
5 
1.434 
602 
386 
351 
783 



-') 


- 


I 


1 


l 





I 














— 


9 


4 


9.380 


9494 


193 





3.550 


3 





1,244 





10 


552 


579 


— 





3 


4 


6 


1.559 


4.624 


5,833 


452 


245 








— 


— 



Stales 



ecicd with the Pr 



I Including the N. \V, Frontier Provi 



Table of Languages. 



3LE I. 



^age, and (B) the Linguistic distribution per 10,000 
eh Province or State. 



B 


. 1 entral 


Central 


East 


West 


South 




a 
c >^ 

a 


'■5 >< 




■(3 


E 


u 


>> 


It 

■a 


Xi 


at 


a. 




3 




c E 


bo 


as 


u 


Xi 















u 


V > 

u 2 

(X, 


(U 


< 


CC 


E 



OQ 








10 


— 





72 


354 


121 


103 











46 





io 


— 


— 


16 


112 


61 


— 


— 


— 


— 







^ 







— 


220 


49 





— 


— 


— 


37 





;- 


— 


— 


6 


10 


3 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


!— 


— 


— 


50 


— 


— 


103 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


J— 


— 


— 





— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


9 


— 


i- 


— 


— 


— 


3 





— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


- 


— 


— 





9 


8 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


,0 





27 


934 


86 


51 


437 


1,448 


2 


6,122 


9.191 


9,260 


}- 





25 


751 


— 


3 


302 


1 


— 


68 


12 


— 


;- 


— 


— 


41 


69 


17 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


p 


— 


— 


45 


7 
8 


19 


— 


— 


— 


— 


88 


— 


P 





I 


89 


8 


129 


49 


2 


4,621 


3,381 


1,507 


,D 


— 





3 








4 


1,354 





1,402 


372 


7.301 


l~ 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 








\- 


— 


— 


— 


— 





— 





— 





118 


37 


D 





I 


5 





4 


2 


4 





31 


3.805 


409 


- 


— 


— 


— 





— 








— 





1,415 


6 


I 


_ 


_ 





. 























3 


2 


10 


21 








250 


13 


I 


109 


8 


69 


»89 


9.996 


9.956 


8,962 


9,494 


7,688 


9.295 


8,510 


9,554 


3.747 


743 


645 


3 








_ 








— 














— 


D 








— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


D 


40 


I 











— 


90 


I 











D 


— 


— 





— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


— 


II 





— 





— 


— 





— 


— 








— 


5 








— 


ID 


32 


— 





— 


— 





— 


527 


2,823 


5,479 


1,629 


171 


29 


991 


495 


354 


1,069 


212 


48 > 


3 


23 


4 


I 





5 


2 


I 





2 








2 


6,743 


2,171 


430 


I 


12 


152 


46 


10 


54 





2 


I 


360 


326 


17 


I 


2 


76 


3,228 


9,431 


I8 


23 


6 


.25 


— 


1,623 


3,653 


146 


545 


15 


I 











— 


lilank 


means that 


the langu 


ige was no 


returned, 


a cipher tl 


a. it was r 


etuniedby 


less than 


ane in io,oe 


xtoflbepo 


pulation. 



I68 



5. ExHNOGRAPm-. 



India 



N. West 



Language and Family 



No. per 

10,000 

of popu- 
anguage ^^^^^^ 



Total number 
returning the 



Hihari . 
Bengali 
Assamese 
Oriya . 
Marathf 
0//iers . 
Iranian 
Pasta 



VL 



Baluci 

Persian 

Of/urs 

Tibeto-Burman . . 

Bhotia 

Kanavari 

Kiranti 

Murmi 

Of/ier Himalayan . . 

Miri-Abor 

0//u-r East-Himalayan 

B(-)do 

Garo 

Tipparah 

0//ier Assam. . . . 

Mikir 

Naga languages . . 

Meithci 

Lu.sC'i .... 



VII. 

VIII 

IX. 

X. 

XI. 

XII 

XI IL 



Total 



Kuki 

Of/t£rs 

Kacin 

Burmese 

Mni . . 

Tai (Sam 

Mon (Khasi) 

Mongolian 

Malay 

Semitic (Arabic). . . 

Hamitic 

European 

Knglish 

Of/nrs ' '. ' 

i'nspicifted^\ 

population returning language 

■) Kelurncd by Icsi than one per 10000 



34,579,800 

44,413,600 

1,350,800 

9,674,200 

18,233,200 

800 

1,388,200 

1,218,500 

150,600 

18,900 

200 

1,804,800 

244,900 

19,500 

45.400 

32,200 

83,800 

40,800 

900 

239,500 

185,500 

112,000 

59,000 

83,600 

164,160 

269,300 

72,200 

53,900 

20,000 

1,800 

65,400 

10,500 

3.400 

177,800 

3.600 

26 

19,700 

180 

243,100 

227,900 

15,200 

282,832,000 

the Province or 11 



1.223 

1,570 

48 

342 

645 

O 

49 

43 

5 

I 

o 
64 

8 

I 

2 



597 
597 



Table of Languages. 



169 



c 


tral 


Central | 


East I 


West 1 


South 


a >-. 

•a 

IS 


'■5 >> 

. V 

v< 


2 ^ 

SI 


c 

03 


5 
a 

< 


u 
a 
u 
u 
CQ 




B 

CQ 


•s 

2 

n 

03 


•a 

u 

(« 

X 


<n 

2 

•0 







00 

) 

I 

3 



2 








— 




7 
7 

2 


3 


2 

I 
I 








I 
I 



222 



130 

I 

I 





5 
5 


I 




I 

1,355 
1,876 














6 
6 

5 


3,095 
5,279 


790 



I 









59 

3 

5 
4 
10 

2 
5 

13 
3 

2 

2 
I 

8 

I 





6 
6 

I 


I 
4,812 
2,203 

38 

9 

3 

2 

I 


1,835 
2 

I 



9 
66 

I 
388 
217 

17 
96 

134 
268 

417 
"7 
76 

22 

3 
I 

5 
289 





3 
3 


5 





7,969 

2 

2 








2 
2 


I 






4,649 

5 


3 

2 





2 

20 
•5 

5 

2 





198 








I 
I 



2 





2 
2,602 

I 
I 






9 

7 
7 


4 




433 
7S 














10 

9 
I 

3 




1 

IS" 


4 


4 







18 

18 

4 



170 



5. Ethnography. 



APPENDIX, TABLE 11. 



Religions per 10,000 of population of each division. 





ll 


Brahmanic 






» 

V 


c 
.2 




Political 


'3 



B 


.c 


., 


j= 


'C3 


£ 


u 

V 


Division 


h| 


c 


u 
03 




a 


•0 
•0 

a 


Oh 




""* 


'u 

U 





2 / Kashmir . . 




2,372 




89 


I 


121 




7,416 




I 




^1 Panjab* . . 


— 


3,898 


— 


792 


19 


3 


— 


5,261 


— 


27 


— 


2; ' Sindh* . . 


— 


2,309 


— 


— 


3 


— 


6 


7,652 


I 


23 


6 


__ I Rajputana 


371 


8,320 


I 


2 


352 


— 


— 


951 


— 


3 


— 


2 Unit. Prov.* 


— 


8,532 


14 


3 


17 


— 


I 


1,412 


— 


22 


— 


S 1 Central India 


1,150 


8,094 


— 


2 


131 


— 


— 


613 


— 


9 


1 


^ 1 Centr. Prov. * 


1,469 


8,208 


— 


I 


41 


— 


I 


259 


— 


21 


— 


Bombay*. . 


43 


8,689 


— 


— 


243 


— 


35 


889 


5 


96 


— 


w Baroda . . 


903 


7,922 


— 


— 


248 


— 


43 


84s 


— 


39 


— 


^ Berar . 


472 


8,671 


— 


5 


71 


— 


2 


770 


— 


9 


— 


Haidarabad . 


59 


8,860 


— 


4 


18 


— 


I 


1037 


— 


21 


— 


1 ( Bengal* . . 


354 


6,330 


— 


— 


I 


30 


— 


3,248 


— 


36 


I 


W \ Assam* . . 


1,744 


5,597 


I 


I 


3 


— 


14 


2,581 


— 


59 


— 


1 ( Madras* . . 


166 


8,916 








7 








642 





269 





o\ Mysore . . 


156 


9,205 


— 


— 


25 


— 


— 


523 


— 


91 


— 


India . . 


289 


7,305 


4 


77 


47 


10 


3 


2,167 


— 


98 


— • 



Including Native States. 



Tables of Religion. 



171 



I 



APPENDIX, TABLE III. 

Showing the numerical strength of the principal Forest Tribes, and the 
relative prevalence of the Tribal language and religion. 





Total 


Per- 
cciuage 


I'c 


centage returning Tribal Religion 


1 Tribe 


popula- 


retur- 
lan- 












tion 


Total 


Provincial 


A. Central Belt 


9.178,515* 





58 






Santal . . 


1,907,871 


94 


67 


Bengal 70; Assam (labourers) 7 




Munda 






466,668 


J62 


65] 
87 71 


Bengal 78; Assam (labourers) 7 


,_ 


Ho . 






385,125 


Bengal 


> 


K61 . 






298,997 


1 


56) 


Cent. Prov. 22; C.lnd. lOO; Elsewhereo 


U 


Korku 




151755 


48 


45 


Berar 94; Cent. Prov. 13 


wC 

« 


Savara 






367,367 


43 


45 


Madras 87; Cent. Prov. 5; Bengal 


:i 


Kharvar 






•39,625 


— 


1 


Bengal \ ; Cent. Prov. 10 


^ 


Kharia 






120,725 


92 


55 


Bengal 69; Cent. Prov. 47 




Khaira 






109,571 


— 


13 


Bengal 6; Cent. Prov. 47 




Bhinjia 






84,990 


— 


31 


Bengal 0; Cent. Prov. 33 




Gond. 






2,286,913 


45 


72 


Berar92;C.Prov.77; Beng.27;Madras3 




Gorirhr 






264,605 




68 


Cent.Ind. 100; Un. Prov. 0; Bengal 


.2 


KoyI . 






115,216 





10 


Madras 17; Haidarabad I 


|5 


Poroja 






91,886 





29 


Madras 


a 


Pan . 






684,746 


— 


4 


Bengal 6; Cent. Prov. and Madras I 


Q 


Oraon 






614,501 


96 


71 


Bengal 73; Assam (labourer) 8 




Kand 






701,198 


70 


68 


Madras 82; Cent. Prov. 57; Bengal 38 


Ot/iers 






3Sb,S4b 


- 


48 




B. W^estern Belt 


2,175.514 


— 


45 






Bhil . . . 


1,198,843 


64 


55 


Cent.Ind. lOO; Baroda 100; Rajput. 97; 
Bombay 14; Berar 57 




Bhilala . . 


144,423 


— 


91 


Cent. Ind. 100 




Kotval 






53,342 





58 


Cent. Ind. 100 


_ 


Tadvi 






10,566 





80 


Bombay (rest Muslim) 


'-2 


Dhodia 






110,242 


— 


17 


Baroda 100; Bombay 3 




Dubla 






129,267 


— 


24 


Baroda lOO; Bombay 3 




Naikada 






115,600 


— 


lO 


Cent. Ind. 100; Bombay 8 




Varll . 






152,309 


— 


— 


Bombay 




KatkarF 






93.032 


— 


2 


Bombay 




Others 






ib§,88i 


— 


43 





Not including Christian Converts. 



172 



5- Ethnography. 



; Total 


Pcr- 


Percentage returning Tribal Religion 




Tribe 


popula- 


ning 
Tribal 
















tion 


lan- 
guage 


Total 


Provincial 




C. Nllgiri 






302,392 


— 


9 






Irula . 






86,087 


2 


— 






Kuruman 






179,928 


5 


13 






Toda . 






807 


99 


99 






Kota . 






1271 


— 


45 






Badaga 






34,299 


98 


— 






D. North-East 


1,419,222 


— 


76 






Kacarf . . 


242,904 


1- 


71 


Assam 71 ; Bengal 79 




Mcc . 






99,534 


78 


Assam 100; Bengal 15 




Tipparah 






111,279 


lOI* 


4 


Assam 49; Bengal 




Garo . 






166,237 


112* 


95 


Assam 99; Bengal 82 




Rabha. 






67,285 


30 


89 


Assam 




Lalung 






25,513 


46 


100 


Assam 




Naga . 






162,797 


— 


99 


Assam 




Mikir . 






87,335 


96 


99 


Assam 




Kuki . 






67,212 


— 


86 


Assam 100 ; Bengal 




Lusei . 






63,588 


113* 


100 


Assam 




Miri . 






46,720 


87 


49 


Assam 




Cutiya 






85,829 


3 





Assam 




KhasF . 






159,549 


III* 


99 


Assam 




Others. 






59fi53 


" 


97 


Assam 





* The Tribal language is here returned by some no longer returning the Tribe. 



\ 



Indl\, general. 173 

A LIST 

of the more important works on Indian Ethnography 

by Dr. W. Siegling. 

India, general. 



The Census of India, 1901, Vols. I— XXVI. 

(Vol. I: India; Part I: Report by H. H. Risley and E. A. Gait; Part II: 
Tables; Part III: Ethnographic appendices. 3 vols. fol. Calcutta 1903). 

The Imperial Gazetteer of India, by W. W. Hunter. 9 vols. London 1881 ; — 
2"'' ed. 14 vols. London 1885 7; — 3'' ed. 26 vols. Oxford I907'9. 

The Imperial Gazetteer of India, provincial series. 1907 sqq. 



Farla y Sousa, M. de. Asia Portuguesa ... 3 vols. fol. Lisboa 1666—75; — 
The Portugues Asia; or, the history of the discovery and conquest of 
India by the Portuguese; translated by J. Stevens. 3 vols. London 1695. 

Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, ecrites des missions ctrangcres. En 34 
recueils. 12° Paris 1717 — 74; — 2= ed. 26 tomes 12° Paris 1780 — 83; 
— autre ed. 26 tomes 12° Toulouse 1 8 10; — 4 tomes 8° Paris 

1837—43; -- 
Nouvelles lettres edifiantes des missions de la Chine et des Indes Orien- 

tales. 8 tomes 120 Paris 1S18 — 23; — 
Ed. nouvelle: Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, ecrites par des mission- 
naires de la Compagnie de Jesus; collationnces sur les mcilleures 
editions, et enrichies de nouvelles notes. Mem. du Levant, t. 1—9; 
mem. d'Amerique, t. 10—16; mem. des Indes, t. 17 — 24; mem. de la 
Chine, t. 25 — 38; mem. des Indes et de la Chine, t. 39 — 40. 20 vols. 
8" Paris 1829—32. 

Hamilton, Capt. A. A new account of the East Indies: being the obser- 
vations and remarks of Capt. A. Hamilton, who resided in those parts 
from the year 16SS to 1723. 2 vols. Edinburgh 1727; — 2'"' ed. 
2 vols. London 1739; — 3'' ed. 2 vols. London 1744. 

TiEFFENTHALER, J. Historisch-geographische Beschreibung von Hindustan. 
Aus dessen latein. Handschrift iibersetzt. Herausgeg. von J. Bermmlli. 
2 Bde. Berlin und Gotha 1785—86; — Description historique et 
geographique de I'lnde, qui prescnte en 3 vols., enrichis de 68 cartes 
et autres planches: i) La geographic de I'lndoustan, ccrite en latin, 
dans le pays meme, par le pere Joseph Tieffenthaler. 21 Des recherches 
historiques et chronologiques sur I'Inde, et la description du cours 
du Gange et du Gagra, avec une tres grande carte, par Anquetil 
du Perron. 3) La carte gencralc de I'Inde, celles du cours du Brahma- 
poutra, et de la navigation interieure du Bengale, avec des memoires 
relatifs a ces cartes, publics en anglois, par Jacques Rennell. Le tout, 
augmente de remarques et d'autres additions, redigd et publid en 
franqois, par Jean Bernoulli. 3 vols. 4° Berlin 1786—91. 

Rennell, Maj. J. Memoir of a map of Hindoostan, or, the Mogul empire ; 
and a map of the countries between the Indian rivers and the Caspian, 
account of the Ganges and Barrampooter rivers, etc. 4° London 1788; 



174 5- Ethnography. 



— 2"'' ed., with additions, corrections, etc. 4" London 1792; — 
S"* ed., with additional map and geography of the peninsula of India. 
4" London 1793; — 
(Trad, frangaise, par J. B. Boucheseiche, etc. 3 tomes Paris 1800). 

Forbes, J. Oriental memoirs; written during 17 years' residence in India 
(1766 — 84), including observations on parts of Africa and South America, 
and a narrative of occurrences in four Indian' voyages. 4 vols. 4° 
London 1813; — 2"'^ ed., abridged, 2 vols. 8° and i vol. 4" (illustra- 
tions) London 1834 5. 

Hamilton, W. The East India gazetteer; containing particular descriptions 
of the empires of Hindostan and the adjacent countries; India beyond 
the Ganges, and the Eastern Archipelago; together with sketches ... of 
their various inhabitants. London 1815; — 2"'' ed. 2 vols. London 182S. 

Craufurd, Q. Researches concerning the laws, theology, learning, com- 
merce, etc., of ancient and modern India. 2 vols. London 1 81 7. 

Hamilton, W. Geographical, statistical, and historical description of Hin- 
dostan and the adjacent countries. 2 vols. 4" London 1820. 

Langles, L. Monuments anciens et modernes de I'Hindostan, dccrits sous 
le double rapport archeologique et pittoresque, et precedes d"une 
notice geographique, d'une notice historique, et d'un discours sur la 
religion, la legislation et les moeurs des Hindous. 2 vols. fol. Paris 1821. 

Remusat, a. Melanges asiatiques, ou choix de morceaux critiques et de 
memoires relatifs aux religions, aux sciences, aux coutumes, a I'histoire 
et a la geographic des nations orientales. 2 tomes Paris 1S25/6; — 
Nouveaux melanges asiatiques. 2 tomes Paris 1829; — 
Melanges posthumes. Paris 1843. 

Colebrooke, H. T. Miscellaneous essays. 2 vols. London 1837. 

Hough, Rev. J. History of Christianity in India, from the commencement 
of the christian era. 5 vols. London 1839. 

Benfey, Th. Indien. 4° Leipzig 1840 (Part of "Ersch und Gruber's 
Encyclopaedic"). 

Parkes, Mrs. F. Wanderings of a pilgrim, in search of the picturesque, 
during the four and twenty years in the East; with revelations of life 
in the Zenana. 2 vols. London 1850. 

Balfour, E. Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia. 
Madras 1857—62; — 2"'' ed. 5 vols. Madras 1871 — 73; — 3'' ed. 
3 vols. London 1885. 

Lassen, Ch. Indische Altertumskunde. 4 Bde. (i and 2 : 2. Aufl.) Leipzig 
1858-74. 

Martin, R. M. The Indian empire : its history-, topography, government, 
finance, commerce, and staple products. With a full account of the 
native troops, and an exposition of the social and religious state of 
one hundred million subjects of the crown of England. 3 vols. 
London 1858—61. 

Prinsep, J. Essays on Indian antiquities, historic, numismatic, and pala;o- 
graphic; to which are added his useful tables, illustrative of Indian 
history, chronology, modern coinages, weights, measures, etc. Ed. by 
Edw. Thomas. 2 vols. London 1858. 

Malleson, G. B. An historical sketch of the native states of India in sub- 
sidiary alliance with the British government. With a notice of the 
mediatized and minor states. London 1875. 



India, general. 175 

Tagore, S. M. Yantra Kosha, or, a treasury of the musical instruments 
of ancient and of modern India, and of various other countries. 
Calcutta 1875. 

Wheeler, J. T. Early records of British India; a history of the English 
settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of 
old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest 
period to the rise of the British power in India. Calcutta 1878; — 
2"'' ed. 1879. 

Egerton (of Tatton, Lord) W. An illustrated handbook of Indian arms ; 
being a classified and descriptive catalogue of the arms exhibited at 
the India Museum, with an introductory sketch of the military history 
of India. London 1880: — new ed., with considerable additions: 
A description of Indian and oriental armour. Illustrated from the 
collection formerly in the India Office, now exhibited at South Ken- 
sington, and the author's private collection. London 1896. 

Hodgson, B. H. Miscellaneous essays relating to Indian subjects. 2 vols. 
London 1880. 

Phear, Sir J. B. The Aryan village in India and Ceylon. London 1880. 

Schlagintweit, E. Indien in Wort und Bild. Eine Schilderung des indischen 
Kaiserreiches. 2 Bde. fol. Leipzig i88o'i; — 2. Aufl. 1890/1. 

Hunter, W. W. The Indian empire : its peoples, history, and products. 
London 1882; — 2"<' ed. 1886; — 3'' ed. 1892. 

Ly.\ll, Sir A. C. Asiatic studies, religious and social. London 1882: — 
2"'! ed. 1S84; — First and second series. 2 vols. London 1899; — 
2"'! ed. 1907. 

LiTH, P. A. VAN der. Livre des merveilles de I'lnde. Texte arabe. Tra- 
duction franqaise par L. Marcel Devic. 4° Leide 1883—86. 

Whitworth, G. C. An Anglo-Indian dictionary ; a glossary of Indian terms 
used in English, and of such English or other non-Indian terms as 
have obtained special meanings in India. London 1885. 

Statistical atlas of India, fol. Calcutta 1886; — 2'-'i ed. fol. Calcutta 1895. 

Yule, H., and A. C. Burnell. Hobson-Jobson : being a glossary of collo- 
quial .Vnglo-Indian words and phrases of kindred terms, etymological, 
historical, geographical, and discursive. London 1886; — 2"'' ed., 
revised by W. Crooke. London 1903. 

Le Bon, G. Les civilisations de llnde. 4° Paris 1887; — nouv. ed., 
augmentce. fol. Paris 1900. 

Bastlan, a. Ideale Welten in Wort und Bild. 3 Bde. 4" Berlin 1892. 

BosE, P. N. History of Hindu civilisation during British rule. 3 vols. 
Calcutta 1894—6. 

Chakrabarti, J. Ch.\sdra. The native states of India. Calcutta 1895; — 
2"<' ed. London 1896; — S"* ed. London 1897. 

Baden-Powell, B. H, The Indian village community. Examined with refe- 
rence to the physical, ethnographic, and historical conditions of the 
provinces; chiefly on the basis of the revenue-settlement records and 
district manuals. London 1896. 

The Hind Rajasthan, or, the annals of the native states of India. Com- 
piled by Markand Nandshankar Mehta and Manu Nandshankar Mehta. 
Baroda 1896. 



176 5- Ethnography. 

Temple, G. Glossary of Indian terms, relating to religion, customs, govern- 
ment, land, and other terms and words in common use. London 1897. 

Baden-Powell, B. H. The origin and growth of village communities in 
India. London 1899; — new ed. London 1908. 

La Mazeliere, Marquis de. Essai sur revolution de la civilisation indienne : 
rinde ancienne; I'lnde au moyen age; I'lndc moderne. 2 tomes 
Paris 1903. 

Linguistic survey of India. Ed. by G. A. Grierson. fol. Calcutta 1903 ff. 

Crooke, W. Things Indian. Being discursive notes on various subjects 
connected with India. London 1906. 

Manlxci, N. Storia do Mogor; or, Mogul India, 1653— 1708. Translated, 
with introduction and notes, by W. Irvine. 4 vols. London 1907—8! 

Ancient India. 



Robertson, W. An historical disquisition concerning the knowledge which 
the ancients had of India; and the progress of trade with that country 
prior to the discovery of the passage to it by the Cape of Good Hope. 
With an appendix, containing observations on the civil policy, the 
laws and judicial proceedings, the arts, the sciences, and religious 
institutions of the Indians. 4° London 1791; — (8° Basil 1792; 
Utrecht 1792); — 3'^ ed. London 1799; — 7th ed. London 1817; — 
12° Edinburgh 1806; — London 1821; — reprinted Calcutta 1904. 
(Historische Untersuchung iiber die Kenntnisse der Alten von Indien. 
Nebst Anhang, welcher Bemerkungen iiber die gesellschaftiichen Ver- 
haltnisse usw. der Indier enthalt. Ubersetzt von G. Forster. Berlin 1792; 
Recherches historiques sur la connaissance que les Anciens avaient de 
rinde. Paris 1792.) 

Reinaud. Fragments arabes et persans incdits, relatives a I'lnde, ante- 
rieurement au ii« siccle de I'cre chretienne, recueillis avec traduction 
frangaise. Paris 1845. 

Reinaud. Memoire gcographiquc, historique et scientifique sur I'lnde, 
antcrieurement au milieu du XI<= siccle de I'^re chretienne, d'apres 
les ccrivains arabes, persans et chinois. 4" Paris 1849. 

Speir, Mrs. Life in ancient India. London 1856. 

Vivien de St. Martin, L. Etudes sur la gcographie grecque et latine de 
rinde, et en particulier sur I'lnde de Ptolcmee, dans ses rapports 
avec la geographic sanscrite. 4° Paris 1S5S. 

Vivien de Pt. Martin, L. Etude sur la gcographie et les populations pri- 
mitives du nord-ouest de I'lnde d'apres les hymnes vcdiques. Paris i860. 

Manning, Mrs. (Formerly Mrs. Speir). Ancient and media:val India, being 
the history, religion, laws, caste, manners and customs, language, 
literature, poetry, philosophy, astronomy, algebra, medicine, archi- 
tecture, manufacture, commerce, etc., of the Hindus, taken from their 
writings. 2 vols. London 1869. 

Mc Crindle, J. W. Ancient India as described by Megasthenes and Arrian. 
Bombay 1S77. 

ZiMMER, H. Altindisches Leben. Die Cultur der vedischen Arier, dargcstellt 
nach den Samhitas. Berlin 1879. 



Ancient India. — Travels. 177 

Rajendralala Mitra. Indo-Aryans: contributions towards the elucidation 
of their ancient and medieval history. 2 vols. London 1881. 

Mc Crindle, J. W. Ancient India as described by Ktesias the Knidian. 
Bombay 1882. 

Mc Crindle, J. W. Ancient India as described by Ptolemy. Bombay 1885. 

Alberuni. India. An account of the religion, philosophy, literature, geo- 
graphy, chronology, astronomy, customs, laws, and astrology of India, 
about A. D. 1030. Ed. by E. Sachau. 40 London 1887. — English trans- 
lation with notes and indices by Ed. Sachau. 2 vols. London 1888; 
— new ed. 2 vols. London igio. 

Dl'tt, R. Ch. History of civilisation in ancient India, based on Sanscrit 
literature. 3 vols. Calcutta 1889/90; — revised ed. 2 vols. London 1893. 

Caland, W. Altindischer Ahncncult. Leiden 1893. 

Mc Crindle, J. W. The invasion of India by Alexander the Great, as des- 
cribed by Arrian, Q. Curtius, Diodorus, Plutarch, Justin, and other 
classical authors. l^ondon-Westminster 1893: — 2"'' ed. London 1896. 

Calanu, \V. Die altindischen Toten- und Bestattungsgebrauche. Amster- 
dam 1896. 

FiCK, R. Die sociale Gliederung im nordostlichen Indien zu Buddhas Zeit. 
Kiel 1897. 

Goblet d'Alviella. Ce que I'lnde doit a la Grece. Des influences classiques 
dans la civilisation de I'lndc. Paris 1897. 

Hillebrandt, a. Alt-Indien. Kulturgeschichtliche Skizzen. Breslau 1899. 

Mc Crindle, J. W. Ancient India as described in classical literature: a 
collection of Greek and Latin texts from Herodotus and other works, 
translated and annotated. London 1901. 

Smith, Vincent A. Asoka, the Buddhist emperor of India. Oxford 
(London) 1901. 

Hardy, E. Konig Asoka; Indiens Kultur in der Blutezeit des Buddhismus. 
Mainz 1902. 

Ray, Pr. Ch. History of Hindu chemistry from the earliest times to the 
middle of the le'^ century A. D. Calcutta 1902 : — 2"<i ed., revised 
and enlarged. London 1907. 

Henry, V. La magie dans I'lnde antique. Paris 1903; — 2' ed. Paris 1909. 

Rhys Davids, J. W. Buddhist India. London 1903. 

S.WTH, V. A. The early history of India. Oxford 1904; — 2"'' ed. 1908. 

LiJDERS, H. Das Wiirfelspiel im alten Indien. Berlin 1907. 

V.\iDYA, C. V. Epic India, or, India as described in the Mahabharata and 
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Caland, \V. Altindische Zauberei. Darstellung der altindischen Wunsch- 
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Travels. 



Fa-Hien: Foe Koue Ki, ou relation des royaumes bouddhiques: voyage 
dans la Tartaric, dans I'Afghanistan et dans I'lnde, execute a la fin 
du IV<^ siecle, par Chy Fa Hian. Traduit du chinois et commente 
par Abel Remusat. Ouvrage posthume, revu, complete, et augmentd 
d'eclaircissements nouveaux par Klaproth et Landresse. 4° Paris 1836; 
— (English translation of this ed. Calcutta 1848); — 

Indo-Aryan Research. 11.5. " 



17^ 5- Ethnography. 



Travels of Fah-Hian and Sung-Yun, Buddhist pilgrims, from China to 
India, 400 A. D. and 518 A. D. Translated from the Chinese by S. Beal. 
London 1869; — 

Record of the Buddhistic Kingdoms (by Fa-IIiam. Translated from the 
Chinese by H. A. Giles. London i88o; — 

Fa-Hien, a record of Buddhistic Kingdoms; being an account of his travels 
in India and Ceylon (399—4141. Translated and annotated by J. Legge. 
4" Oxford 1886. 
Hiuen-Thsang. Histoire de la vie de Hiouen-Thsang, et de ses voyages 
dans I'lnde, depuis I'an 629 jusqu'cn 645, par Hoeili et Yen-Thsong, 
suivie de documents et d'cclaircissements geographiques tires de la 
relation originale de Hiouen-Thsang. Traduit du chinois par Stanislas 
Julien. Paris 1853; — 

Mc-moires sur les contrces occidentals, traduits du Sanscrit en chinois, 
en I'an 648, par Hiouen-Thsang, et du chinois en frangais par Stanislas 
Julien. 2 tomes Paris 1857 '8; — 

Hiuen-Tsiang, Si-yu-ki, Buddhist records of the western world. Trans- 
lated from the Chinese by S. Beal. 3 vols. London 1884 88; — new ed. 
2 vols. London 1906; — 

Walters, Th. : On Yuan Chwang's travels in India, 629 — 45. Ed. after 
the author's death by T. W. Rhys Davids and S. \V. Bushell. 2 vols. 
London 1904 '5. 
Relation dis voyages faits par Ics Araies et Us Pcisans daits I' hide et a 
la Chine dans le IX' siccle de I'ere chretienne. Texte arabe, imiirimc 
en 181 1 par les soins de feu Langles, public avec des corrections 
et additions et accompagne d'une traduction franqaise et d'cclaircisse- 
ments, par J. T. Reinaud. 2 tomes 16° Paris 1845. 
Marco Polo. The book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian, concerning the 
kingdoms and marvels of the East. Translated and edited, ^with notes, 
by H. Yule. London 1871; — a""* ed. 1875; — 3'* ed., revised by 
H. Cordier. 2 vols. London 1903. 
Friar Jordanus. Mirabilia descripta, the wonders of the East. Translated 
from the Latin original as published at Paris in 1839, in the "Recueil 
de Voyages et de Mcmoires" etc., by Col. H. Yule. London 1863 
(Hakluyt-Society, vol. 31). 
India in the !§"• century, being a collection of narratives of voyages of 
India in the century preceding the Portuguese discovery of the Cape 
of Good Hope, from Latin, Persian, Russian, and Italian sources, now 
first translated into English. Ed. with an introduction by R. H. Major. 
London 1857 (Hakluyt-Society, vol. 22). 
Maffei, J. r. Selectarum epistolarum ex India libri quatuor, Joanne Petro 
Maffeio interpretc. 4° Venetiis 1588; — id. 4° Viennae Austriae 1751; — 

Historiarum Indicarum libri XVI. 4° Florcntia 1588; — id. 4° Viennae 
Austriae 1751 ; — 

Le istorie dell' Indie orientali. Tradotte di latino in lingua toscana da Fran- 
cesco Serdonati. 40 Venezia 1589; — new ed. 3 vols. Milano 1S06: — 

Historiarum Indicarum libri XVI. Selectarum item ex India epistolarum 
codem interprcte libri IV. Access. Ign. Loiolae vita postremo recogn. 
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CONTENTS. 

Page 

Introduction 1—9 

SocuL Organisation 9—24 

A. Historical 9 

B. Descriptive 21 

Castes and Caste-Groups 24— US 

A. Special Groups 24 

B. The Village Community 42 

C. Subsidiary Professional Castes 85 

D. Urban Castes 94 

E. Nomadic Castes 'oo 

F. Hill Tribes 112 

G. Muslim Race Titles . . . .- '39 

Appendices 146—172 

A. Summary of Caste-Groups 146 

B. Caste Index '53 

Table of Languages '^ 

Table of Religions '7° 

Table of Forest Tribes ■ '7' 

List of the more important works on Indian Ethnography 173—211 



CORRECTIONS. 

p. 6, line 4 for belongs read belong. — P. 6, line 17 for stand read st.mds. 

P. 13, line 31 for others read other. — P. 25, line 36 for between read about. 

P. 27, line 5 for clouth read South. — P. 30, line 16 for times' read lime's. 

P. 30, line 42 for Chapter read review. 



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DS Eaines, (Sir) Jerx-cise 

430 Athelstane 

B23 2thnograj:hy (castes and 

tribes)