I. DAKAITS AND HOUSE-BREAKERS
(2) Baori (including counterfeiters of coin)..
(3) Badak, Moghia, Delhiwal
(10) Mang Garodi ...
(u) Waddar (including Sanchaloo)
(12) Banjara (including Muhammadans) ...
(14) Sansi and Beria
(18) Professional poisoners
III. THIEVES AND SWINDLERS
Hindu communities ... (19) Barwar, Sanoria, Chandra wedi
Aboriginal ... (21) Patharrie
IV. COUNTERFEITERS OF COIN
Muhammadan ... ( 22 ) Chhapparband
V. MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION
(23) Hints on cases under Section 400, Indian 97
(24) Rewards to persons aiding Police
VI. TRIBES REGISTERED AS CRIMINAL
(25) Tabular statement
VII. RELIGIOUS MENDICANTS
(26) Introductory ... ... 104
(27) Resume of early History of "Hinduism " in
(28) Accounts of some f the better known 117
SOME CRIMINAL TRIBES OF INDIA.
These lectures were never meant for publication and have only now been
published " by order." There is no pretence that they are the outcome of
original research ; all that has been done in the majority of cases was to collate
the accounts written by others and from these to bring our knowledge up to date.
They were written for the Probationers of the Training School, all of whom
had their " Gunthorpes," and were intended to understand that the last word
on criminal tribes had not by any means been written, and that " Gunthorpe "
though selected as their text-bookwas written more than a generation ago.
In writing the lectures reference was made among others to the following
sources of information, other official papers containing notes on criminals were
not within reach :
Crooke's ' Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces ; '
Sherring's ' Hindu Tribes and Castes ; '
Gunthorpe's ' Notes on Criminal Tribes ; '
Paupa Rao Naidu's ' History of Railway Thieves ; '
Mullaly's ' Notes on Criminal Classes ; '
Sir H. Elliot's 'Races of the North-Western Provinces of India; '
Notes on Criminal tribes published from time to time in the Police Gazette ;
Articles which have appeared in the " Indian Police News."
Where possible the information already obtainable in Major Gunthorpe's
book was omitted. Invaluable assistance was also given by Inspectors Mahfuzal
Rahim, Mahadeo Prasad and Durjan Singh, who have had considerable experience
of criminals, and many opportunities of studying their ways. Inspector Mahfuzal
Rabim had himself been gathering information concerning the various tribes
with the object of publishing a book : the help given by him was therefore
particularly valuable, and it was given in the most public-spirited manner, without
a thought of self-interest ; the only cause of regret I have is that he was not at
hand while each lecture was being prepared.
One might easily be deluded into the idea that every tribe has such marked
characteristics that any one ought to be able to recognize members of it at sight.
Nothing could be further from the truth : the man who could unerringly pick a
Bhampta out of a train-load of travellers, or a Sanoria out of a well -packed sarai or
crowded bazar, would deserve the grateful acknowledgments of his fellow-beings.
Criminals when on the \varpath naturally do all they can to hide their identity and
to evade observation. In the lawless days of the past, when criminal tribes were
openly kept by petty Chiefs to provide them with the wherewithal to fill their
coffers, many tribes gloried in their skill and daring, and did not hide their light
under a bushel, but they have had to alter their tactics with changing times.
Some have found first one form of crime, then another, too risky ; all have become
more cautious and been obliged to use the utmost cunning to throw their
enemies off the scent ; each prosecution has given them some clue to the points
which have helped the police to establish their identity ; intercourse with an
advancing civilization has taught them fresh and improved ways of enriching
themselves, and experience has taught them where and when to refrain from
exercising their calling. It is therefore now out of tne question to give cut and
dried descriptions of any tribe which will cover all conditions. Each band has
its own ways and keeps them as secret as possible. One can therefore only
generalize. Customs, however, die hard in this land of caste, where the help of
tribal gods is invoked by their votaries in their criminal expeditions ; so we still
have in many instances marked circumstances to help us to distinguish tribes
both from one another and from their non-criminal brethren.
Every one who takes the trouble to read this pamphlet will note that detailed
and authentic information about the tribes is now and then asked for. Every
particular that can be sent will be most gratefully received, whether written by a
man of long experience, or a keen young officer who has taken careful and accu-
rate notes of his first contact rvith these public pests, whether it refers to
particulars picked up in the past or to fresh cases, or whether it is meant to
correct a mistaken assertion made in these lectures or to add a fresh item to
our present stock of knowledge. The only thing asked is that each officer who
sends a contribution will bear in mind that the information should give careful
and accurate details taken as far as possible from the criminal records at the
termination of a trial (if there has been one). It should aim at giving when
(a) the real home of the gang and its mother tongue ;
(b) its composition ;
(c) the places visited by it and the dates and duration of visits, and the
places chosen for camping, and mode of conveying equipage ;
(d) a full description of the offences actually committed, showing in detail
the methods adopted, and disposal of stolen property ;
(e) a description of the members of the gang and disguises used ;
(/) its religious beliefs and observances, its tribal gods and the shrines
it considers most sacred and to which it makes pilgrimages ;
() miscellaneous interesting facts, such as omens observed, slang ex-
pressions used, &c.
Criminals may frequently alter their methods of crime when the crime is
not a religious function ; but they will only change their religious beliefs and
customs by imperceptible degrees. They may lie freely about everything else,
but will hesitate to lie about their religious observances and sacred places ; and
in the near future we may have little we can rely on, but religious characteristics
to guide us in fixing the tribe to which a gang belongs unless the finger impres-
sions of some of the members betray them. In writing of a single gang of a
tribe it must be remembered that every gang of that tribe will not necessarily
A few words on the force of habit when applied to criminal propensities may
interest some of the younger members of the force. In countries where crimi-
nology has been scientifically studied it has been established that the bulk of what
may be called " organized " and serious crime against property is committed by
what the French call the recidivisle or criminal who reverts to his habits of
crime after conviction : with us this individual comes under the title of " habitual."
You will find and this will perhapc become truer as time goes on wherever
there is a run of serious offences against property, that " habituals" are at work,
and there are no habituals so bold or successful as those belonging to a tribe
which has made that particular form of crime its chief study for generations:
they are people whose blood tingles with pleasure at each fresh coup and urges
them on to fresh triumphs, whose daily companions are accomplices ever ready
to propose or co-operate in new exploits, and whose chief deity is best pleased
when they are employed in enriching themselves under his or her auspices.
Recidivism will not quickly die out among such people, and it behoves the
police to pay very marked attention to them ; for only so long as they are under
proper control will they be innocuous.
Once more forgiveness is craved for imperfections in these lectures ; it is
hoped that later when readers have rendered it possible by the supply of
authentic information a better thought out and more reliable account of these
and other tribes may be compiled and published with the photos and illustrations
which the Inspector-General hopes to obtain.
G. W. GAYER,
Principal, Police Officers' Training School, Saugor.
Note to preface. The page should be 109 and not 108.
Page 3, 2nd paragraph, 8th line. Gunthorpe not Gunthrope.
Page 10, 5/A paragraph, ;M line. Insert "the " before "tribes".
Page 17, 6tJt line from bottom. Insert "an " before "oval ".
Page 29, paragraph 3, line 1 1. " is "should be " in ".
Page 30, paragraph 6, line 6. " Purpose " should be as now given.
Page 39, last line of first paragraph, "women" should be "woman ".
Page 50 (2), last word in line. " Marvvari " should be as now given.
Page 60, 6th line, from bottom'" returned " should be " return ".
Page 6r, ^th paragraph, line 3." Which it set fire " should read " which is set fire ".
Page 66, last line "leave" should read "leaves".
Page 67, paragraph 5, line 6. The "s " of " Doms" should be omitted.
paragraph 6. The " k " in " necktar " should be omitted.
Page 77, "jth line "person"' should be "persons".
Page 87, paragraph 3, Itne \ \. Insert " a " before "large ".
Page 93, paragraph 2, line 8. Omit " k " from " workship ".
Page 94, line 8. Omit " p " from " sepparate ".
line 15. Add " t " in " horoughly ".
Page 114, paragraph 29, 2nd line. The last " r " in " Pitrir " should read " s ".
Foot-note '' made " should read '' make ".
P"S e ' '5> P^agraph 35. " Vishn " should read " Vishnu ".
Page 1 16, paragraph 42, line 2, line 7 and line 13. " Tulsidass " should be spelt with
one "s" (final).
Page 1 1 8, lines 1 1 and 1 2 " Parama Hansa " should be spelt as shown here.
Page 119, loth line" spashla" not " spastha ".
8/A line from end The " u " in " Quadiria " to be omitted.
Page 123, paragraph 57 "Parama Hansa " whenever found here and hereafter should
be as now given.
Page 124, paragraph 58, last line" ( ) " before and after " Bhattacharjee ".
Page 125, 2nd line from bottom Add " n " in " medicant ".
Page 126, paragraph 72, s,th line Insert " 1 " in " wordly ".
Page 128, line 3" delineate " not " delienate ".
Page 129 Last word of note (2) should read Sesha.
Page 131, paragraph 98, line 4 Mallik should read Malak.
Page "33. line 3 -Bhattacharjee should be in brackets.
Page 137, last line alms not aim.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The number of copies of these lectures originally printed proved insufficient,
instructions were therefore issued for the preparation of a revised edition. Since
the publication of the first edition much useful information about criminal tribes
has come to hand, with the !result that many of the lectures have had to be
rewritten, others developed, and some fresh ones added ; the occasion has also
been seized to add three new sections, the last of these contains three lectures on
religious mendicants. With the kind permission of Mr. C. R. Cleveland, C. I. E.,
I reproduce at the foot of this preface the memorandum which led to the writing
of the lectures on Sadhus. Every endeavour has been made to exclude anything
which is likely to arouse the susceptibilities of orthodox Hindus ; with this object
the rough drafts were submitted to Rai Saheb Ganga Singh, retired Extra-
Assistant Commissioner, and Pandit Hari Shastri, Professor, Training Institute,
Jabalpur, and I take this opportunity of thanking them for the trouble they
have so kindly taken, and sincerely hope that no exception can be taken to the
lectures as they now stand.
My warmest acknowledgments are also due to my brother, Mr. W. A. Gayer,
for his generosity in placing at my disposal the whole of his extensive notes,
to Mr. C. M. Seagrim for permitting me to make use of his pamphlet on Chand-
rawedis, and to Messrs. Merrick and White, for kindly letting me reprint their
memoranda on Patharries.
G. W. GAYER,
Principal, Police Officers' Training School, Saugor.
MR. CLEVELAND'S MEMORANDUM.
MR. GAYER, Police Training School. The case below will probably
interest you as throwing light on the life of an absconded murderer * in India.
It could form a peg on which to hang an interesting essay on Sadhus. Recently
a native member of the Viceroy's Council, Mr. Chitnavis I think, said the Sadhus
were one of the curses of India (Budget Debate, 1907). I think, if you feel inclined
to write an essay, the Census of India figures for Sadhus, et hoc> genus omne,
would be worth quotation. I think in mediaeval days Europe was overrun by
lazy able-bodied monks who have mostly disappeared with civilization, enlighten-
ment, industrial development and conscription. I think if Hindus are to take
a place with modern nations they will have to purge their system of several relics
of barbarism and the Sadhus are one such relic. Possibly the Hindu system
would be stimulated by advice from Government. That the question is not one
we need fear to touch is, I think, clear from the fact that such an orthodox Hindu
as Mr. Chitnavis, took it up in a public speech. I should like to establish that
the system of Sadhus is bad for public morality : that it encourages crime and
criminals ; that it prejudices industry and agriculture by shortening the supply of
labour : that it is a wasteful and unjustifiable diversion of charity and that with all
these defects it is unworthy of support by the Hindu community, by the religious
leaders thereof and by native princes and landlords.
Will you see if you can make something of the subject ? If you could write
a lecture on the question and make it square with the enlightened opinion of
orthodox Hindus I would publish it. You might perhaps introduce it as supple-
mentary to your Criminal Tribe lectures as so many of these gentry masquerade
C. R. CLEVELAND,
Inspector-General of Police.
The 28th July 1907.
* Vide page 108 about Chand Prasad.
I.-DAKAITS AND HOUSE-BREAKERS.
Minas are ethnologically as well as criminally a very interesting race.
Recent researches point to the conclusion that there were two successive waves
of Aryan immigration into India, and that the first settlers brought with them
their womenkind, a circumstance which has enabled them to retain their physical
characteristics in a very pure form. The type, known as the Indo-Aryan, is
represented by the Rajputs and Jats as found in the region round about
Rajputana. The following passage from the 1901 Census of India Report
indicates the connection of the Minas with both these Indo-Aryans and with
the Bhils :
"Except among the Meos and Minas of Rajputana, where a strain of Bhil blood may
perhaps be discerned, the type shows no signs of having been modified by
contact with the dravidians. "
Minas are broadly divided into two classes "Ujle" and "Maile"; the
former more nearly approach the Indo-Aryan type and the latter the Bhil type,
and the sub-divisions of these two classes mark the gradation, for the Ujle are
divided into cultivators and village-watchmen and the Maile into Khainvadi and
Bhilwadi ; these last speak the Bhil dialect and are closely associated with them,
whereas, in Karaoli at least, the cultivating Minas are nearly on the same level
as the Jats and Gujars.
The importance of the Minas in the olden days is well shown by Sherring
in his " Hindu Tribes and Castes " he says :
" In former times Rajput and Mina chiefs in subordination to the Tuar Kings of
Delhi ruled ever a considerable tract of country. Towards the end of the loth
century the Kachwahas dispossessed them all from what is now the State of
In Jaipur the Mina applies -the mark of sovereignty to the forehead of every
new chief ; from this Tod concluded that the country was obtained from them
originally by adoption rather than by conquest ; in the early stages of Kachwaha
rule the Minas he says "had the whole insignia of State as well as the person
of the prince committed to their trust. " He further says this custom prevailed
elsewhere " it was a Bhil who invested Goha, the founder of the Gahlot Rajputs
with a tilak made by the blood of a young Bhil tribesman ". According to the
Census of India figures the Meo, Mina, Mewati or Miana * numbered very
nearly a million souls ; of 'these the vast majority are law-abiding cultivators,
for many centuries they have been the chief and most important cultivators in the
Jaipur and Karaoli States, and they form a considerable portion of the agricul-
turists of Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur, and are pretty thickly scattered all
over the States of the Rajputana Agency, over Ajmere and Merwara and over
the Punjab Districts along the Jumna, viz., Rohtak, Delhi and Gurgaon; in the
lastnamed district Sherring says there are over 100,000 cultivating Minas fj
there are about 61,000 in the adjacent districts of the United Provinces as
well. Nearly half the number are Hindus, about two-fiths Muhammadans and a
Criminally we in these Provinces have to deal with only a small portion of
the Hindus and a few of the Animists, for the agricultural Minas do not wander
in order to commit crime. Minas are usually divided into 36 clans (in the Alwar
State there are 146 branches of the race). The cultivating Minas of Karaoli
have steadily refused to intermarry with the predatory chokedar class ; and the
* The Mianas though lumped (for convenience sake) with Minas in the consolidated figures for India, belong
to a different race inhabiting Kathiawar and Kutch.
t Only 344 Minas are registered under the Criminal Tribes Act in the Punjab and they are all residents of the
Parihar Minas of the Bandi State, who also have the reputation of being daring
marauders, are looked down on by other Minas who will not enter into matrimo-
nial alliances with them. A very low type of Mina is that found in the Aravalli
Hills north of Serohi, and he is noted for his lawlessness but does not as a rule
travel far from his wild fastnesses.
Minas bent on crime appear to come from the following places, they may
also come from other Rajputana States:
t 8. Bharatpur.
t 9. Bikaner.
ti3- Sirohi (Aravalli Hills).
14. Udaipur (Mewar).
It will be seen out of the 14 places mentioned the provisions of the Criminal
Tribes Act have been enforced in only 6, and that in the remaining 8 localities
the movements of these Minas are not systematically watched.
When they determine on a raid Minas usually set out after the Dasehra
and they all try to get back for the Holi, but occasionally they will remain absent
the whole year round. Their gangs usually consist of from 5 to 10 and they
always assume some disguise, usually that of Brahmans ; not infrequently they
take a genuine Brahman with them to answer awkward questions. Having
travelled by road to a convenient railway station, they take train to the territory
selected, which may be anywhere in India ; as a rule however they move south,
for they say the dwellers of the " Dakhan " think more highly of Brahmans than
do the natives up-country, therefore Khandesh, Berar, the Central Provinces,
Ganjam and Hyderabad have come to be their favourite hunting grounds. After
they have left the railway they move on till a convenient spot is found ; from
it they work their way slowly, during the 1'ght half of the month, from village
to village as Brahman mendicants when begging they are said to favour the
expression "Jai-Balaji ki-Jai " putting up in temples or Marwaris' houses,
in gardens or on the banks of rivers. They frequent wells and bathing places
and quietly shadow women heavily laden with jewellery to their houses. During
this period they probably mark down a number of houses and cover some
50 miles or so, as soon as the dark nights commence they double back along
their track and break into the marked houses in their reverse order.
One account says the implement used is an iron spoon with a strong and
pointed handle which at first sight does not look like a burglar's tool ; but
another, and possibly the more accurate one, says they have no special instru-
ment and either purchase an iron bar from the nearest Lohar, or abstract a large
iron nail from some convenient bullock cart. The slang term for the house-
breaking implement is "Rumal" and they will say " rumal rukh do" when
they want to get it out of the way without attracting attention. They do not
however dig into a house unless it is necessary, preferring to obtain ingress by climb-
ing a wall, breaking a lock or removing a door from its hinges ; when they do dig
through a wall the hole is usually a large one near the side of the door. Only
one man enters, the rest keeping guard, and violence is avoided as much as
possible. In order to put the police off the scent Minas frequently leave
stolen clothes near the houses of low-caste people against whom suspicion may
easily be diverted, or stuff them under the thatch of such houses with their ends
showing. Minas are also adepts at removing ornaments from the persons of
sleeping women ; they seldom take property unless it is valuable and small in bulk,
for they are in the habit of conveying it about with them till they return to their
homes. It is customary for them to stay down country until they have made a
satisfactory haul. Mr. Seagrim in 1903 recovered some Rs. 12,000 from a party
of Minas in Khandwa, and about Rv>. 30,000 worth of property, believed to have
* 344 Mianas in this district declared under Section 5 Of Act XXVII Of 1871 to be criminal-
f Minas in these States proclaimed and registered as criminal.
been stolen, from their houses ; from this it is evident they are not content with
petty earnings. The property is in most cases taken home before it is disposed
of, unless the party has visited the tract before and has become acquainted with
reliable receivers. Property not disposed of is said to be buried about a mile
,id of the halting place, and a member of the gang is told off to keep watch
over it ; in order to avert suspicion he spends his time in cooking, praying, and,
if water is near, in bathing.
When disguised as Marwari Brahmans they carry a rope, a Iota and an
iron pan as well as the articles used in ordinary worship ; they paint their fore-
heads and speak Marwari. Minas also disguise themselves as Gour Brahmans
and pretend they are cooks employed by Marwari Seths. Marwaris in Berar
are known to employ Minas as watchmen to guard their goods ; these watchmen
arc said to be very faithful to their masters and serve as a protection against
the depredations of wandering gangs. I know little about their religion, nor have
I been able to find anywhere a connected account of these criminals ; Gunthrope
does not even mention them. They evidently hold the dagger to be sacred
at least in Bharatpur for there it is said the most binding oath a Mina can take
is by the dagger. In the I5th March issue of "The Illustrated Criminal Investi-
gation " is an account which shows that a party of Minas joined forces with a
gang of Baoris and committed several house-breakings and dakaitis with them
Minas are declared under Section 5 of Act XXVII of 1871 to be a Criminal
Tribe in the Gurgaon District of the Punjab ; and they are also proclaimed and
registered in the following States of the Rajputana Agency :
(1) Jodhpur. (3) Bikaner.
(2) Sirohi. (4) Kishengarh.
2. BAORI (INCLUDING COUNTERFEITERS OF COIN).
Since I wrote my original lecture on Baoris a very interesting monograph on
this tribe has been issued by Mr. Paupa Rao Naidu, who tells us in his introduc-
tion that part of his information was derived frotn unpublished reports by
Sir W. Sleeman and Captain Harvey. I have been fortunate enough to secure
a copy of Sir William Sleeman's
" Report on Budhuck alias Bagree deceits and other gang robbers by hereditary
<" profession, and on the measures adopted by the Government of India for their suppres-
it is a very large volume, long ago out of print, published in 1849 and purports
to be a complete review of the measures adopted for the suppression of these
and other dakaits, it does not deal directly with the manners and customs of the
Baoris, but much information about them can be gleaned from its pages. Bits
of this information may prove valuable to you some day, even though the Baoris
have to a great extent given up the more violent forms of crime which he
describes, and so I will simply give an epitome of what appear to me to be the
most useful parts. The book has taught me much about the tribe which I did not
know before, and has explained among other things how they came to be
known by so many different names. I have no intention of repeating what
Mr. Naidu has written, and I advise those who have not already done so to buy
his booklet without delay.
Sleeman established the fact that a class of criminals had spread themselves,
and formed colonies, all over India, that these colonies sometimes changed their
places of abode, and that the people forming them had come to be known by
a large variety of names which had been given them by the inhabitants of the
territories they settled in, so that it was not uncommon to find colonies of the
same tribe in close proximity going under entirely different names ; but that they
one and all had a common origin, belonged to the same tribe, spoke the same
language a corrupt form of Gujarati inter-married and on occasion associated
for criminal purposes. The name they knew themselves by was Baori ;
Gunthorpe has mentioned some of the names given them by the public and
Mr. Naidu has added to the list, but even he has omitted some I have come
across in Sleeman's book, and so I will give you as many as I have noticed ;
probably even my list is not exhaustive, and may now be out of date not only as
regards names, but also in respect of the parts they are said to reside in :
... Many parts of Upper India, most of the Central
India States and Oudh.
... Malwa and Rajputana.
... Central India States.
... North- Western Oudh tarai, Marwar and Baroda.
... Upper Doab and Delhi (tent-robbers).
... Rajputana and Central India.
... Eastern Oudh forests and tarai.
... l\fangaoli (Gwalior) Raisen (Bhopal) and gene-
rally over the Central India States.
... West of Delhi in Marwar.
... Manikpur Gotra in Alwar.
... Berar, Khandesh, Dakhan.
... North Bengal.
... East of Jodhpur.
... Mewar (Udaipur).
... Not stated.
... Malwa, United Provinces (Moradabad, Mathura,
Aligarh, Mainpuri, Eta and Unao).
l ... Banswara (Rajputana).
d] Badak ...
(3) Bagri ...
(3) Bagora ...
(8) Seear Khowa
(10) Makwari, Barriari, Khoili
(u) Madana ...
(12) Takungarh, Takenkar
(13) Pardhi (including Langoti)
(14) Kichak ...
(15) Morgia ...
(16) Baoria ...
(18) Habura or Karwal ...
(19) Thori ...
Baori approvers have declared all the above to be Baoris, nevertheless some names
have been mentioned by one or two approvers only. The three names given under
(10) were given by one approver only ; the Morgias were only named by one
informer, as also the Bodharas. One approver included Haburas among Baoris,
while another said Haburas were nearer akin to Baoris than Moghias were,
and it was generally agreed Moghias were true Baoris.
According to Sleeman the serious attention of the Government of India was
first called to the depredations of Miese and other dakaits about a century ago ;
at that time the Government of the country was very unlike the Administration as
you now know it, large tracts now administered by the; Government of India
direct or by enlightened Chiefs were then under the sway of Native Princes who
harboured large colonies of bandits. These marauders used to sally forth in
great gangs sometimes numbering 200 and more with the object of looting
treasuries or treasure while on the move under military escort from one place to
another, and they had to pay heavy tribute to the lords who protected them.
They fearlessly attacked armed regimental escorts and guards and usually
succeeded in carrying off enormous amounts of treasure ; the biggest haul
I have read of \vas that looted by a gang from the treasury of the ex-Peshwa
Baji Rao (then residing at Bithur), they carried off over Rs. 2,50,000. Spasmodic
attempts to suppress them were made for several years, notably by Mr. Hodgson,
Resident of Nepal, who in 1823 accounted for a whole colony of Baoris (known
locally as " Shighal Khoris ") who had taken up their abode in the eastern
tarai and numbered many thousands, it was not however till 1837 that a special
department was organized for the purpose of taking concerted action against them
throughout India. As Sleeman then said " every body talked of Budhuk dacoits,
and their daring robberies, but no one knew, who or what they were, whence they
came, or how their system was organized." In 1839 many Badaks in jail were
given conditional pardons, that is, they were allowed their liberty on condition
they would turn approvers ; the trust imposed on them was never betrayed, and
with their help in a few years organized dakaitis on a large scale by powerful
armed gangs were practically a thing of the past. The system of collecting
evidence and identifying the dakaits is worth relating : When several approvers
had each given a separate narrative of any particular dakaiti, two or three of
them were sent with columns to arrest such of the dakaits as were still at large,
and were promised large rewards if they effected their capture ; when arrested
and brought in the approvers, who had guided the police to their haunts, were
put aside, and the other informers were separately told to pick out of a long line
of Badaks those that had been concerned in that special dakaiti and to tell their
history and parentage. This they invariably did without hesitation and the
dakaits, seeing the game was up, generally confessed freely.
Mr. Naidu on page 2 of his pamphlet mentions a circular issued by
Sleeman in 1839, appended to that circular is a short vocabulary of Baori words
which may prove of assistance and so I will give it
... ... ... 3 person of the clan in contradistinction to all
Bawun ... ... ... a woman of that clan.
Munsee or munkhee ... ... a woman, not a Baori.
Munsa or munkha ... ... a man, not a Baori.
... ... ... co ld.
... ... ... hot.
Rotala ... ... ... bread.
Tureear or paturra ... ... a sword.
Dhando ... ... ... a bullock.
Dhantee ... ... ...a hare.
Khumree ... ... ...a kite.
Meenkee ... ... ... a ca t. %
Kna P ... ... ... a snake. *
Londeo ... ... ... a dog.
Neyturree, or chureo or dhatun
Beekhee or Beeshee
Soee or Khoee
Deekro or cheea
Deekree or choree
Turkee or Tursee
Kor (for soour)
Moorcea or moor moor ...
Bhagra or bhogla ...
... a knife.
... a shoe.
.... sitting down.
. . red.
... walking, going.
... a jackal.
... son of a Baori.
... daughter of a Baori.
... father (of any person).
... mother ( do. ).
... girl or daughter (not of a Baori).
... son (not of a Baori).
... a stone.
... signs left on a road by a gang to indicate it to
... a rupee.
... a pig.
... a cloud.
... a grinding stone.
... dividing, as booty.
Baori Conjugation of the verb To go.
... Ho hindo cho.
... To hindey che.
.., Pelo hindey che.
... Ho hindo to.
... To hindo to.
... Pelo hindo to.
I will go
... Ho hindes.
We will go
Thou wilt go
... To hindse.
You will go
He will go
... Pelo hindee.
They will go
Let me go
... Munhee hindova do.
Let us go
... To hind.
Let him go
... Pelan hindova do.
Let them go
in this language the " Kh " and <<C S " are interchangeable,
wrote that he found a tendency towards making " r " and
Some of the words too are Marwari, i. e., " Meenkee" a
... Humeen hindeo cho.
... Tumhee hindo cho.
... Pela hindey cho.
... Humeen hindo tha.
... Tumhee hindo tha.
.. Pela hindo tha.
... Humeen hindson.
... Tumhee hindson.
... Pela hindseyn.
.... Human hindwa do.
... Tumheen hindo.
... Pelan hindwa do.
... Pelaan, Teehoon.
... Tae, Tehonon.
and Captain Ramsay
" b " interchangeable.
cat and " Bhathoo "
Replies to Sleeman's circular showed that some of the 8 Gotras quoted by
Mr. Naidu were also known by other names.
(a) Ralhor or Tunwar.
(5) Salonki or Khorunki.
(6) Bliatti or Bharti, Dabi, Dubas.
(7) Dhandul or Dhadara, Dhandura, Koli.
(8) Gaklot or Gordhi.
All Baoris agreed in stating that when a dakaiti was committed every man,
woman and child in the colony got a share of the plunder : it therefore was very
profitable for a woman to adopt children, and such adoptions were permitted
from nearly all castes except Dhanuks, Chamars and Bhangis, and from Musal-
mans. An adopted child was known as a " parha " and when he grew to
manhood was called a " Gulami " Bxdak and allowed to ma<ry into the tribe;
but intercourse with prostitutes was very strictly prohibited (see lecture on
A description of the manner in which dakaitis were committed may prove of
service as perhaps some of the old traditions yet exist among those who still
favour that form of crime. When it was decided to prepare for an expedition
the omens were consulted by throwing grains of prepared wheat as described by
Gunthorpe, a process ivhich went by the name of " Okat." If the omens proved
favourable the "hirowas" or spies were sent out in all directions: directly a
hiroiva brought in satisfactory " khabbar " the jemadar assembled his followers
and a confutation was held ; sometimes a rendezvous near the place to be
attacked was fixed on, and they all started for it in small parties variously dis-
guised. At other times the entire gang used to go to the place together,
disguised as Ganges water carriers, as Banjaras, or as a funeral or marriage
procession, or perhaps as a party of religious mendicants, in which case the
jemadar was usually disguised as a very holy sadhu and the rest of the gang
as his chelas. They all carried spear heads and axe heads concealed in their
clothes, and swords concealed in bundles oljuar or other stalks ; innocent looking
bamboos to fit the spear and axe heads were carried openly in the hand. On
reaching the rendezvous all weapons were buried in the sand, and the rates of
the shares (called " barats ") settled on. The leaders and spy having reconnoitred
the place to be dakaited, and having settled on the plan of attack would return
and tell off the men of the gang, apportioning to each his special post and duty.
When the time to move came round, the weapons were all unearthed and they
went to the place as quietly and secretly as possible. The parties told off to
guard the different avenues of approach having taksn up their posts, those selected
for the purpose rushed to the attack, breaking open doors till they reached the
treasure, and cutting down any one that opposed them, but never going out of
their way to hurt any that kept clear : the treasure was taken up by those to
whom the duty was apportioned and the retreat was commenced, all covering
parties falling in. A detachment quickly formed themselves into a rear guard in
case of pursuit. If pursuers were heard the rear guard divided and laid an ambush
with one party on each side of the road, as soon as the pursuers passed them they
rushed in on them with their spears from behind and scattered them. The retreat
was immediately continued and kept up until break of day, the treasure was then
buried until nightfall, when th 2 retreat was recommenced,, this time in detached
parties among whom the treasure was equally divided for convenience of transport.
On reaching their homes offerings were made to the god and then the booty
was divided in shares among the whole colony. Baoris prided themselves on
never injuring women.
Since their organization was broken up half a century or more ago Baoris
have given up dakaitis on a large scale, and pnany have practically given up
dakaitis altogether, but they still commit crime against property, and some have
made specialities of specific kinds of crime. Badaks, for instance, are specialists
in house-breaking, Delhiwals are robbers of tents, Marwaris of the Gahlot, Powar
and Ralhor Gotras are expert counterfeiters of coin and so on. It is these false
coiners I will tell you about now, they are dwellers of Jodhpur and Baroda and
their modus operandi is described in the Supplement to the Police Gazette, dated
the a8th November 1906.
The way they make their moulds is given as follows :
" The mould consists of an outer frame of coarse clay with a core of fine clay or
prepared powder. The outer frame is made up of clay roughly fashioned into
two square blocks, each about two inches square and one inch deep. Into the
face of one, at two diagonally opposed corners, pegs are driven fitting into holes
in the superposed block. Through one of the blocks a hole slightly larger
than a rupee is cut and a similar hole is scooped out of the inner face of the
other block. The channel for admitting the molten metal is also cut along the
inner surface. "
''The cavity in the lower block is then filled with the mould proper or core, which
consists of a fine power of a particular kind of stone mixed with a little ghi.
A rupee is half embedded in this and the upper block fitted on and the perforated
holes filled with the same substance. On separation of the two the rupee is
tilted out and the mould is ready to receive the molten metal. The alloy* used
is peuter, tin and a little copper. The milling is said to be made by working
the rim of a genuine coin against a counterfeit coin. "
The Baori coiners travel with their families, and though they may call
themselves mendicants on pilgrimage or more often Wagris, Kunbis or even
Rajputs famine stricken and in search of work, they do not adopt any disguise.
When searching them you may not be able to find complete moulds with them,
but the blocks with the circular holes will probably be found. These are kept
by the women who accompany them. When passing false coin they are said
to hold something, a leaf or some other article in the hand to help them to palm
A favourite trick is to tender a Farukhabad rupee in payment of some small
purchase : this is usually refused and t he Baori asks what rupees are current, on
being Banded one he returns a counterfeit coin in its place. They conceal these
coins in a stick they carry ; more coins are kept in a pocket in the folds in the
front part of the "dhotie, " and below the right hip is another pocket in which
genuine rupees are kept. The '' kanch " of the dhotie is pulled across to the
right hip to form the fold for this second pocket. They call counterfeit coins
" Lasuria " or " phagri."
All Baoris are branded soon afterbirth with a hot iron in three places, but
not always near the navel. The scars are large and unmistakable. In addition
to these marks the women are all tattooed in five places,t on the outer corner of
each eye, on the inner corner of the left eye, on the left cheek and on the chin.
They also counterfeit gold mohurs and carry numerous iron spoons with them,
and these usually have traces of baked mud on them.
The members of the gang leave a track behind them which their comrades
can easily follow. The women trail a stick in the dust as they walk along and
thus leave a mark like that made by a snake. The men p'ace a newly picked
leaf by the side of the road with a stone on it at intervals to show the route they
Baoris have been declared a criminal tribe under Section 5 of Act XXV II of
1871 throughout the Punjab and they have been proclaimed and registered
throughout the States of the Central India Agency, and in the following States of
the Rajputana Agency, (i) Jodhpur, (2) Jaiselmar, (3) Bikanir, (4) Jaipur, (5)
Kishengarh, (6) Mewar, (7) Partabgarh, (8) Banswara, (9) Kotah, (10) Tonk,
(n) Shahpura, and (12) Alwar. They are also registered in Ajmir though not
formally declared criminal under the Act. There are also settlements of Baoris
in 22 States in the Central India Agency, vide the statement on page 100.
* Compare with the Chhapparband alloy. (Vidt page 94).
t Mr. Latham tells me he had a female infoimer at Klindwi w ho was only tattooei on the left side, but he is
not sure this was not accidental.
Mr. Crojke says that sometimes Baoris willSvear a necklace of sm all wooden beads in the place of the " tulsi
m ila," he also mentions that some Bi^risfix a golden pin in thtir front teeth, and a gang of Baoris who called
themielves " Naikj " lately arrestei in Sau ;or hid '' Bairagis " among them who had their teeth so studded.
The following note from Madras on Baoris has been received in time for
insertion before the lectures are finally published:
1120 (a). C. I. D., Mad-as __ The following information, which has been furnished
by the Assistant Agent in Central India, is , ^ ^ph I079
Bauriahs. published in continuation of the note on (C. I. D., C. P.).
Bauriahs published in the Appendix to Police
Gazette Confidential Supplement, No. 43*, dated the 3131 October 1908:
The 'generic name of the tribe, commonly spoken of now as the Moghia, is not Moghia
but Baori and the tribe, with its name, according to its own traditional history, was brought
into existence in the following manner:
About 360 years ago, probably in the time of the Emperor Akbar. a Rajput Chief of
Gujerat had to send a Princess of his house to Delhi to enter the Harem of the Emperor.
Naturally she was escorted by a large armed force which consisted of Rajput Thakurs,
servants of her father's Raj, and in her company were many servants, male and female of
all conditions and castes. At one halting place the camp was situated round a large stone
well (Baoli or Baori) into which owing to some insult offered her or because of shame at
the thought of entering the Harem, the Princess threw herself and was drowned. This
well is variously stated to have been in Alwar or Jodhpur territory. The escort, with its
convoy, now dared neither to go forward to Delhi, nor to return to Gujerat, and halted
where they were until all their food supplies and funds were exhausted. By this time their
encampment had became a permanent village and they took to looting travellers and com-
mitting dakaities and robberies all round about them. The Rajputs, having taken to wife
the various servant girls and female attendants of the late Princess, raised families which
of course were outcasted by other Rajputs but which, amongst themselves, kept up the
caste distinctions of their fathers and so have handed down to their descendants the same
caste names and distinctions as exist among real Rajputs. The camp followers married
such women of the surrounding country as they could obtain and one and all became known
as the Baoliwallah Thakurs, while from their depredations they became notorious as the
Baoliwallah or Baoli and finally Baori tribe of robbers and dakaits.
At last the community grew too large for maintenance in one place and their leaders
decided to break up into parties and go in various directions. One party made for Delhi
near which they settled and gained the title of Delhiwal Baori amongst themselves, and that
of Badhuk amongst the people of the country. This name is said to have been derived
from Bad Karm, Bad Kar and then Badhuk which means executioner or murderer, from
the Sanscrit Budh or Wudh ^ to kill and 3X%\ murderer.
Here again they had to take lower caste women of the country as wives with the con-
sequence that their children fell in caste. Owing to increase in numbers parties had again
to emigrate and did so, principally towards Oudh where eventually they formed large settle-
ments in the Terai and finally became so powerful that they committed very heavy dakaitis
on treasure and even attacked treasuries and went down quite close to Calcutta on their,
expeditions so that eventually military operations had to be undertaken against them in the
early forties when their strongholds in the Terai were destroyed and themselves scattered.
One section of the refugees appears to be that now known as Bauriahs who are settled at
Muzaffarnagar and Gorakhpur in the United Provinces, and who are certainly connected
with another which came down into Gwalior and Bhopal and are now chiefly settled round
Raisen in Bhopal and at Mangaoli in Gwalior and are still known as Delhiwal Baoris or
Badhuks, and often call themselves Byragis. Bauriahs of the United Provinces have often,
when they have absconded, stopped amongst the Badaks around Raisen and they can he
recognised at once by Bhopal Badaks and have apparently the same " slang " language.
Another portion of the Delhiwal Baoris or Badaks came down into the Kerrowli State
and are now known as Kerrowlis Badhuks. They intermarry with the Bhopal Badhuks and
many of them, owing to famine, have come down at various times into Central India, where
several families are now located at the Gwalior settlement at Mirkabad Mangaoli. These
people too keep up connection with the United Provinces Bauriahs.
The remaining large branch went back into Rajputana and became known as Baori,
Bagri or Moghia according to the localities in which they finally settled.
The name of Bagri must not be confounded with the surname of an apparently abori-
ginal tribe who are merely hunters and are in no way connected with the Baori Bagri.
The latter are Baoris and are only called Bagris because they originally happened to settle
in that part of Rajputana called Bagur from which>this name, which most Baoris repudiate,
is said to be derived as also other names of the same branch such as Bagora, Bagur or
Wagri, the last being now generally known as Takinkars in the Berars and the Deccan.
The Baoris who remained in Marwar, and all their descendants who migrated south
and east are to this day called Baori except a division of them which got the name of
Moghia, now so often used as a general name for all sorts of Baoris in the following
A colony of Jodhpur Baoris lived near the borders of Mewar (Udaipur) the Chief of
which State employed them against a band of truculent Bhils or Minas (accounts differ)
who had defied his authority whom they so successfully exterminated that the Maharaja,
in his gratitude held a Darbar at which he took the whole colony into his service, gave
them land and said they should be to him as precious as the '' Moongas," i. e., coral beads
of his necklace.
Thus this band came to be called the Moongias and finally Moghias, and they settled
down around Chittorgarh whence they spread southward into Malwa and the States
bordering that country, losing in the operation touch with their Jodhpur brethren and
forming a new branch of the family with new divisions sur.h as Marwara, Kherara, Malwi
and Godwara, and because they were the first to be brought under regulations, giving their
name to the Department which eventually was formed for the control of themselves and
their kinsmen in Rajputana and Central India. From the connection of the Department
so-called the whole of the branches of the tribe in Rajputana and Central India became
known generally as the Moghia tribe, a title which the majority of the sects do not
Such is the tribal history handed down from generations past ; but the real origin of
all branches of the Baori tribes would appear to be identical with that of the Sansi or
Sansya, who also claim Rajput descent and have the Rajput Gots or sub-divisions. The
Sansi have a mythical ancestor Sans Mull, from whom sprang the Haburahs, Badhuks,
Bagris, Baoris, Kajars, Gidias, Keechuks, Baunahs, Moghias, and other tribes, who are all
professional thieves who will eat, drink, smoke and sometimes commit dakaitis together but
who will not intermarry except in th?ir broherhood. These again must be all connected
with the supposed descendants of Sans Mull's younger brother, Mullanoor, from whom the
Beriahs, Kolhetis, Domes and Domras, Naths, Bedya and Binds trace their descent, so that
the majority of tribes now known as criminal tribes in the northern half of India have pro-
bably arisen from a common stock, a proof of this theory being the great similarity of their
"slang" or thieves talk, which has its roots in Guzerati and is very similar for all tribes,
even though these tribes now have names so dissimilar to each other and varying accord-
ing to the country they inhabit.
The Pansis were originally Bhats to the Jat races but as they increased in numbers
and found it impossible for all to live upon the Jats, they scattered over Marwar and Mewar
and then on south and east over Malwa and the valley of the Nerbudda to Nagpur and
Hyderabad and gradually broke up into separrte branches with distinctive names which
lost touch of each other and wandered farther and farther over India. Soon after this
happened each tribe, according to its surroundings, invented for itself a better ancestory
and so cut itself still further from its parent stock until, in the course of time, som;; of tribes
came to be no longer recognised as being connected with the main' branch of the Sansis
which still flourishes as a separate tribe.
The Baori portion of the tribe under various clan names and with a certain amount of
clan cohesion became settled in Rajputana as Baoris, Bagris and Moghias. In Central
India as Badaks (Delhiwal and Karaulia), Baoris, Bagris and the Moghias.
In Berars, the Central Provinces and the Deccan, Wagris or Takenkars, and Baoris
with various local names.
In Bombay as Bagodi, Takari, Phanspardi.
In the United Provinces as Badaks, Haburahs, Bauriahs, Gidias, Keechuks, Aruka.
In Bengal as Keechuks and Badaks, Bagdis and Baoris.
In the Punjab as Bauriahs or Baoris, Delhiwal Badaks and Dhanderia.
It. Gujerat as Baoris (who go in for coining).
That these sects of the tribe do keep up a certain amount of touch with each other and
recognise relationship is evidenced by the fact that members settled in Northern India, as
for instance, those of the United Provinces (known as Bauriahs) and in Central India
(known as Badaks and Baoris) when they abscond generally go south and remain away for
years at a time, amongst their clan brethren of the locality they visit. Muzaffarnagar
Bauriahs have often visited the Badaks round Raisen in Bhopal and there have been cases
in which some of them have been arrestai in the Central Provinces and Bombay through
Badak informers. In the same waj Bhopal Badaks have stated that absconders of their
settlement have gone up to the Muzaffarnagar Bauriahs, while very many of them have
stopped for years with Baoris, i. e., Wagris or Takenkars and other tribal relations in the
Berars and the Deccan.
All of these tribes keep up a pretence of Rajput descent and their caste sub-divisions
or " Gots " arc those of the Rajput, vis. :
(i) Chol'-in, (2) Puar, (3) Rhatore, (4) Solanki, (5) Dabi, (6) Charan, (7) Dhamdhara
and some later added ones such as Bhaiiars Hhatti and their marriages arc arranged
according to the rules of these castes amongst the Rajputs while the birth and death cere-
monies .in likewise governed by Rajput customs with local variations which will be noted
Settlement and control under the Criminal Tribes Regulations has done much to break
this large brotherhood which practically stretches right across India, of its criminal pro-
clivities more or loss according to local condilions, but in almost all its sects the propensity
to crime is still inherent and is easily brought to the surface.
Time and distance have caused greater or less serverance of kinship between the
various branches, and when the " Mogbia Department " was instituted, (he only Baoris
that came under us operations were those of Rajputaoa and Central India and consequently
these have come to be known more generally as " Moghias " and are considered as distinct
from various sects of their original tribe which are now known under new local names
which have obliterated the memory of their descent from and kinship to the Badak Baoris
and their original ancestors, the Sansis.
The first attempt at bringing the Baoris or Moghias under rule was made in 1869,
when the Political Agent in Mewar proposed a set of rules which he had drawn up and
which, many years afterwards, developed into the rules laid down for the guidance of the
Moghia Department and eventually became embodied in the rules for the control and
reclamation of criminal tribes for the guidance of th? Native State in Rajputana and
Central India issued by the Government of India. The members of the tribe affected by
these regulations, and now generally referred to as Moghias (instead of Baoris which should
be their'distinctive title) dre, in Rajputana and Central India, known under the following
tribal names :
Merwara Baoris, Bagoras or Bagris.
Kherara Baoris or Bagris.
Karaulia Badaks and Bagris.
Badaks or Delhiwals.
In Central India, the Moghias, who at the close of the year 1906, numbered 2,293
registered members, that is males, and were shown in the census of 1901 as totalling males
and females of all ages 6,381, are of the Badak, Karaulia, Godwara, Kherara, Marwara,
Malvi and Moghia sects.
Of these, the Kheraras are most numerous and are to be found in the States of Indore,
Gwalior, Dhar, Dwas, Rutlam, Sailana, Sitamau and Jarora, Muksudangarh, K'lilchipur,
Narsingarh and Raigarh, in that portion of the Agency known as Malvva. All thesa are
named after the country in which as Baoris they originally settled and from which they
spread, vfe., the tract lying between Kot?h and Jhalrapatan in Rajputana to a line passing
about 40 miles east of Gwalior, and Jawad in the Bhopal Agency.
Next come the real Badaks, known as Delhiwal and Karaulia Badaks or Baoris, who
are to be met with in the States of Bhopal, Gwalior, Pathari and Rajgarh, east of a line
running due north and south of Bhopal ; of these, the Gwalior State members have nO'.v all
been colonized at Mangauli.
The Marwaras who come next in numbers are more scattered over the Agency than
all others and are to be found from west to east in the States of Indore, Gwalior, Jaora,
Sitamau, Rutlam, Saiiana, Garha, Bhopal, Dhar, Tonk (Sironj Pergana), Narsingarb, Raj-
garh, Khilchipur and Maksudangarh and Kurwai. They and the Kheraras are frequently
to be found together and though mortal enemies on some points, tha two sects more gene-
rally live and work together than any other two sects of the tribe.
The next in order, as regards numbers, is the Godwara sect which takes its name from
its country of origin, vis., the tract lying on the frontier of Marwar south of Pallu and
stretching from Mhairwara on the north-east to Sirohi on the south-west and Meywar on
Members of this sect are to be met with in the States of Rutlam, Narsingarh, Gwalior
The Malvis come next and are, as their name implies, residents of Malwa_ proper and
to be found only in the Piploda Thakurate, Jarora, Rutlam and Sailana, Bhangarh of Indore
and a portion of Bhopal lying in the Ma'wa country and in the Neori Pergana of Gwalior.
Finally, there are members of the tribe descended from Udaipur Moonghias or Moghias
and answering only to the name of Moghia (not Baori) who are settled in the Malwa por-
tion of Gwalior.
All these sects are divided into the Gots of Bhati, Chohan, Solanki, Rathore or Charan
Dhandal, Puar, Damdara, Pidiara, Makwana, Jadon, Suraj Bansi, Gailote, Dabi and Kulmi.
Of these, the Rathore or Charan are most numerous while the Bhati, Solanki, Chohan
and Puar come next in order and the members of the other Gots are all very few in com-
Birth, marriage and death ceremonies are all carried out more or less according to
those of the true Rajputs of the corresponding Gots.
The Baori or Moghia in Central India has now practically given up dakaiti as a profes-
sion, though the Marwara and Kherara is still prone to break out in this form of crime if
at all hard pressed by poverty.
The Badak or Karaulia very rarely now goes in for dakaiti, but is one of the most
expert of burglars and goes in heavily for this form of crime.
The Godwara will join the Marwara of Kherara, if he is allowed, in either dakaiti or
burglary but is not an expert and seldom works on his own.
The Malvi is now scarcely to be called a criminal class. He has gone in for business
and in many cases has proved most successful and as a community the Malvi Baoris are
better off than all other sects.
The Moghia has very much the proclivities of the Marwara and Kherara, but is less
bold and expert than either.
(b) The Bauriah vocabulary referred to in the Appendix to the Police Gazette Con-
fidential Supplement, No. 43, dated the 3ist October 1908, is published below for general
* (Tuk) = Bread.
(Manakho) = Man.
(Mansi) = Woman.
(Bauvri) = Bauriah man.
(Bauvren)= Bauriah woman.
(Deekra) = Male child, son.
(Deekri)=Female child, daughter.
(Aayie) = Mother.
(Bahaniyei)= Sister's husband.
(Vahuria) = Daughter-in-law.
(Kuvaree)= Unmarried girl.
(Bivah) = Marriage.
(Aungh) = Finger.
(Deh) = Body.
(Hath) = Hand.
(Pan!) = Water.
(Banto) = Chembu (a 1 vessel).
J (Chora) = Son (a term of endearment).
(Chori) = Daughter (a term of endearment).
(Thamakbu)=Ganja or tobacco.
(Jasso) = Go.
(Lugron) = Cloth.
(Choodiyo) = Knife.
(Patardon) = Sword.
(Choolo) = 0ven.
(Keh) = Hair.
(Khoyee) = Sleep (noun).
(Mondh) = Head.
(Goda) = Legs.
(Jnl, pettar) = Inspector.
(Moto) or "I^T (Mondhro)=Magistrate.
(Khahab) = European.
(Vaheel) = Vakil.
(Ourni) = Sheep.
(Murugo) = Fowls.
(Boro) = Sugar.
(Cf TfHI^ I^HT (Choreenomal Levano) = Receiver of stolen property.
(Mankho Thaio Avechhey)=A stranger is coming.
(Malkhatigero) = Conceal the property.
!^f (Dhartheenapete dheyeedhiyo)=Bury it under the earth.
HIS ^W 5^1 qrar (Gantadamenhathi Nakho)= Conceal it in the baggage.
(Kahankateon) = Where have you concealed it?
1 ^^T (Terooano hamenei bhayamsei) = I suspect this is a
^TScft ?W (Kharkhar jadthi dheksei?=The police will search us.
R;i3[qr (Tabriya ni chogi dheydhiyo) = Hand the property over
to the child.
fff JfFR^r ^2^Rf (Khuddo nomko vatavona) = Do not give out our real names.
(Bijjolehdavidhei) = Give false names.
(Kirugna lai ish) = I ask him whether he will take money.
*tF'5fifw?! (Thokoliyennai khonkariyen) = He refuses; what are we
5irq% (Kharathneitehnai ladhen jaysai) = He will take us all to
the Police station.
(Khonkariyein)=What am I to do?
(Ekbakil Karieliyo)= Engage a vakil.
r (Keh kothayenii thadhlo yahath mandomen
raho) =eTill the date of hearing remain in this village.
(Tho dero heerahosei thahan javeen radeejav
= You may go and join the rest of the gang there.
(Tho teroo 'o bandosei lasseejaw)= The guards are
careless, run away.
(Bakkil kinhin karyen) = How am I to engage a vakil?
(Tikki koina) = There is no money anywhere.
huto thahan bagee chosei thahan dhadtheena pete melee dhadheesai) = I have
buried the property in the tope near our camp.
3RR *! (Kharkhaar khaareen bathein kaheedhiyo)=So con-
fess to the Police.
(Inhapettarno barohai karo) = I think we may trust the
(Mehet kayink manse anhei khyintha-
riya dheyidhiyo)=The Magistrate may take bribes, so offer him a large
sum of money.
(Koneth Jameen thaaitho leyav) = Find out a surety.
[Supplement to the Madras Police Gazette, dated the jtk November 1908,
para. 827 (a) and (5)].
28. Vide para. 1 120 of 1908. C. I. D., C. P., the 2nd January 1909. The C. I. D.,
Madras, furnish the following information obtained by a C. I. D.
Bauriahs. Inspector regarding Bauriahs :" The Bauriahs traced by me in the
Madras Presidency have come from the United Provinces. The
Bauriah's closely imitate the Bairagis and it is difficult to distinguish between them. The
following points would help us in distinguishing them. The Bauriahs have a peculiar way
of tying the cloth. They wear ordinary dhotis, 6 cubits in length. The cloth is gathered
at one end and it is placed at the small of the waist. The remaining portion is passed
between the legs and taken to the navel and then wound round the waist twice. When the
second round comes to the navel, a portion of cloth is tied to the first round and the
remaining portion allowed to dangle free. The portion of the cloth at the back is also
tucked up. This leaves the left leg and the back of the right leg below the knee
completely exposed while a triangular piece of cloth having one end of the cloth for its
open is loosely hanging in front. The Bairagis do not tie their cloth like this. The
Baurias when in disguise and imitating the Bairagis tuck up that portion of the cloth
which is hanging in front. The Bauriahs put on waistcoats and when in disguise cover it
with another cloth which is so tied that it covers the trunk and leaves the arms exposed.
The Bairagis do not .wear waistcoats. In head dress too there is dissimilarity. The
Bauriahs generally tie their turbans round their heads, leaving one cubit hanging loosely
from back of the head. This head dress is generally of a red or yellow colour. When
in disguise they use a white towel for their head dress. They tie it in a peculiar way.
The two diagonally opposite ends are taken and left hanging behind the head while the
remaining portions are tied round the head, one portion having been placed above the
other. The Bauriahs wear garlands of Tulsi or other beads, there are two rows of them
tied closely round the neck. The Bauriah men have coral beads : and the women coral
beads or pearls interspersed wi\h the Tulsi beads, whereas the Bairagis will have no corals
mixed with those beads, The Bauriahs, in their anxiety to pass for religious men and
Bairagis, put on too many garlands, whereas a true Bairagi will not war any garland or if
at all he wears a garland it will be one or two. It may also be noted that Ihe Bairagis are
poorly clad and indifferent about their dress while the Bauriahs arc not so. The Bauriah
women dress like Marwari women. They wear chintz cloths. While unmarried women
and girls could go in for any colour. The married women arc prohibited from using
cloths of red colour : they generally wear cloths of yellow or black colour. V\ idows use
only white cloths. The Bauriah women have thr ir luiir plaited in six parts and then all of
them are taken towards the back of the Head and tied together. These are peculiarities
as regards their outward appearance and dress."
3. BADAK, MOGHIA AND DELHIWAL.*
I have mentioned in the lecture on Kanjars that Badaks are sometimes em-
ployed by Dakhani Kanjars to commit burglary for them, and are given a share
of the spoil. From this, and from the lecture on Baoris, you will have gathered
that they are professional house-breakers.
Badaks are invariably of short stature, seldom over 5' 6". They are found
all over India including the Bombay Presidency. Usually their gangs come
from Allahabad, Jaunpur, Lucknow, Cawnpur, Fatehpur, Raibareli, Jhansi and
Lalitpur. They are also located in Jabalpur, and Bhopal (Raisen circle). They
generally frequent fairs.
According to Major Gunthorpe these men never take their women with
them. This is, however, contradicted by more recent experience. Women do
accompany them, and when thus accompanied their disguise is that of Bairagis:
otherwise they disguise themselves as Gosains. When disguised as Bairagis,
they always add '' Das " to their names, and when disguised as Gosains, " Gir "
or"Puri." But it should not be understood that they strictly adhere to these
disguises only. Sometimes in order that the whole gang may not be arrested
even if suspected, its members assume different disguises, some appearing as
cattle-dealers, others as ordinary cultivators, &c. When travelling by rail they
carry cooked food with them to last them for several days, and the members of
the gang sit in different compartments.
Besides the " gyan " mentioned by Gunthorpe, Badaks often carry another
house-breaking tool : it is the same length as the gyan described, but pointed,
and is carried in the hollow of the bamboo staff used by ascetics ; the staff is
bound by iron rings ; if these are slipped off the instrument can be got at.
You will frequently find with them grains of wheat or fuari. They prefer
the former and use them for a curious purpose, viz., to invoke the spirits of their
dead relatives in order to obtain omens for their intended exploits. Gunthorpe
has given a full description of this " okat " ceremony.
They are, as I have said, expert house-breakers, and in common with other
burglars are greatly given to the form of breaking into a house known by the
term " bagli nakab. " A large hole, big enough "for the arm to be introduced,
is made in the wall at the side of a door frame in a line with the latch, and
then the fastening is undone by the hand, and the door opened. Another way is
to make two holes near the latch of the door with a gimlet, large enough to insert
two fingers, with which the latch is lifted.
Badaks as a rule do not steal anything besides cash and jewellery. But they
will also steal clothes which they sew up inside their blankets.
I want you to bear in mind the following points when deciding whether a
gang is composed of Badaks or not t :
(1) A Badak when posing as a Gosain has with him an iron " chimta,"
or a pair of tongs, much shorter than that usually carried by a
genuine Gosain. He frequently also has a nail (used for fixing
the upper part of the cart to the axle bar), stolen from a cart, and
it is employed for breaking into houses-.
(2) You will nearly always find one, two or three scars made by a hot
iron on the inside of their left wrists. They are great shikaris, like
Baheliyas, in their country and they brand the muscles of the
left wrist in order to steady the hand when firing their match-
(3) While on thieving expeditions, they always talk Hindustani in the
presence of strangers, but in private they speak the Baori language.
If they are drunk a man who knows Gujarati will probably catch
them conversing in their own language. If they say " les ke des"
instead of " leta ke Jeta" it shows that they are Badaks (Police
_ -> -.
* See pages 10 to 12.
t Seepage 14.
Gazette, dated the ist February 1904). They speak with a
nasal accent like ordinary north country "Pardeshis" such as
come from Mainpuri, Mathura and other districts.
(4) As regards the grain soaked in " ghi " which I have already men-
tioned, Mr. Mahadeo Prasad investigated a case when he was
at Khandwa, in which some Baoris were arrested and all found
in possession of some prepared wheat, contained in small tin
cases. This finding was proved against them and was one of
the few points which brought their prosecution for bad livelihood
to a successful termination.
Badaks show astonishing cleverness in the way in which they canceal
their spoil. In the case of Seria, son of Gulab, Badak, arrested at Khandwa (vide
Police Gazette of the ist of August 1904.), it was found that the accused had
inside his shoes (which were new and of Cawnpur make) pieces of gold" karas"
and of gold nosa-rings with pearls : these were discovered on the shoes being split
open. When you come across a gang of these would-be Bairagis and Sadhus
the best way of testing their real identity is to question them with great care on
points of religion : if Badaks they are sure to break down ; also note how far the
above description applies to them. You will find it more satisfactory to call in a
genuine Bairagi to help you when questioning a suspected Badak.
The United Provinces Government have recently in a report of the criminal
classes in those Provinces stated that the Badaks of Shahjahanpur have been
steadily migrating to Rampur, Bareli and Kheri, and that they disappear periodi-
cally on predatory expeditions and are lost sight of by the local Police.
Badaks are proclaimed and registered in Bharatpur in Rajputana, and in all
the States of the Central India Agency.
Moghias like the Badaks prefer house-breaking to other forms of crime.
They go in small gangs and disguise themselves sometimes as Gosains, seldom
as Bairagis, but more frequently as Ranjaras with whom they move about and
to whom they entrust their loot, which is secreted in pack saddles. They call
their house-breaking implement " Kusia " or "Rao" and sometimes keep it
concealed in a pack-saddle, it is rather like the gyan but much shorter.
Moghias do not adopt the " bagli " form of house-breaking, but dig through
the wall. The leader with them is generally called " Chor " and he does not
necessarily dig the hole ; whoever digs it enters alone, and the man who stands
immediately outside the hole is called " Uparia " : with these exceptions the
Moghia's methods are much the same as those of the Badaks.
Delhiwals usually take their women and children with them and allow out-
siders to co-operate with them, these outsiders are given the option of becoming
Baoris, which they do by marrying a Baori woman. As Delhiwals travel with
their families they have found it convenient to mark their movements by a sys-
tem of signs to guide the followers when they separate for crime. Mr. Naidu
has given some of these marks. My brother mentions a case where a gang left
marks from the railway station in Broach right through the city, and he says
in some cases they are tracked by their confederates 50 or 100 miles. The com-
monest signs are :
(1) a loop C which signifies the direction in which they have gone ;
(2) a loop with strokes ( i i i i which marks a place at which they
have halted and shows the number of males in the party ;
(3) and oval with strokes C ' ' i ^ which means the gang is camping
in the town ;
(4) a loop followed by a circle Q i i~ Q means either they are in
the district on tour, or that they have secured a good haul.
These marks differ slightly from those given y Mr. Naidu, from this it may
be inferred that all gangs do not adopt precisely thesame signs.
Pardhis come under the general head of Baoris and are believed to have
immigrated into Khandesh and the Central Maratha country many generations
ago. The only account we have of them besides that given in Gunthorpe is one
contained in a note on them by Mr. Sewell when District Superintendent of Police
of Amraoti, published in an extra Supplement to the Police Gazette of i6th May
1906. This note, which I shall shortly read to you, is almost entirely devoted to
the " Langoti Pardhis," who alone of all the Pardhis are, as a tribe, real criminals,
and it touches on the difference between these robbers and the more dangerous
Takenkars who have formed the subject of a separate lecture.
The Langoti Pardhis are not a wandering tribe, but have settled in that part
of the country which they first adopted, and only those among you who are
posted to the Berars will come into serious contact with them.
Mr. Sewell says they belong to the three following Gotras :
These three are exogamous and all worship Durga Devi in one form or
another. Their worship points indirectly to a Gujarati origin ; Mr. Crooke in
his "Popular Religions and Folklore of Northern India" says that it is in Gujerat
that " Mother worship " prevails most widely, and mentions Durga Devi in her
form of ' Amba Bhawani ' as one of the famous " Gujerat mothers." In this form
she is specially worshipped by the Chowans. The Pohars adore her in her form
of " Mari Bhawani "or as she is called in Berar " Mari Mata, " the goddess
who regulates cholera. The Salonkis worship her under the form of " Kali
Bhawani," the dread name under which she calls for blood. Every Langoti family
has and holds in special reverence its image in silver of the goddess, and
because of this no Langoti woman will wear silver below the waist or hang her
sari on a wall or peg, as it must never be put on the same level as the goddess.
Gunthorpe says all Langoti women refuse to wear red, as the image of the
goddess is placed on a bed of that colour. Mr. Sewell says this assertion is too
sweeping, as only the Salonkis refrain from wearing red. It might be well worth
while to ascertain whether the three sub-divisions all go in for the same class
of crime ; the need for further inquiries on this point is also suggested by the
fact that Mr. Sewell's informer it is not stated what sub-division he belonged
to disagreed with Major Gunthorpe's conclusions as regards the tendency of
the Langotis as a 'whole to change from the more violent to less violent forms of
I am adding some important extracts from Mr. Sewell's note, as you will not
have access to the note until you are stationed to districts :
'' Langoti Pardhis must never be confused with Phas Pardhis or Cheetawallas,
as, beyond the fact that they originally came from the same source, they are quite distinct.
Phas Pardhis, in spite of the opinions of European sportsmen, not unwilling to see them
" moved on," do not commit crime and are quite harmless.
" It is said that Chowan females will not ride in a cart or drink liquor ; Pohar women
may not ride in a cart, but may drink liquor; and they will not eat anything that lives in
water. Salonki women only draw the line at wearing red clothes.
" Though Pardhis talk Marathi and Urdu fluently, their original language is
Gujerati and their talk is said to resemble that of men newly arrived from Gujerat.
11 Men of Kunbi, Mali, Teli and other superior castes may be accepted as Pardhis,
but the conversion of Muhammadans, Dhobis, Maharas, Mangs, &c., is prohibited.
" Pardhis always feed with their women and not before, as is the custom with other
people; this is due to a woman having in olden times poisoned her husband and children.
" The pipal tree is held specially sacred. There is a legend about this tree which
connects with. the custom of refraining from the use of water after answering a call of
"Pardhis do not as a rule injure the people they attack ; if all goes well and com-
plainants give no trouble, then they do not hurt them; hut they are quite ready, apd, if
people resist, they will not hesitate to beat them. Ordinarily when committing da'coity
they are armed with sticks and stones only. In committing burglary they do not take any
pride in the hole they make, nor have they any particular mode of breaking through from
which work could be recognized as theirs. 'They sometimes will dig nearly through a
wall, leaving only a thin partition against which the leader will carefully listen before
finally bursting through. Then when a hole is made big enough to get through, the leader
strikes a match which he Isolds between fingers and thumb with his fingers stretched out
so as to form a shade, and holding this in front of him, so thai hi< features are shielded has
a good survey of the room before entering.
' It is my firm belief that where Pardhis live, there they live chiefly by crime, and
that committed with the knowledge of the Patel, usually a receiver of stolen property ;
where there is more than one Patel, then one at least of the Patels is a receiver.
Pardhis occasionally convene what are called ' Deokarias ' *; these 3~e meetings at
' Mean>"anact H w 'h' cn ' ways and means' are discussed as .well as the caste
in honour of God!" P d isputes settled and results of past offences related. Much food
is eaten and liquor drunk. At these Deokarias there is no fixed
ritual. Sometimes a buffalo is offered up and as the flesh, cannot be . eaten by them or
thrown away, it is given to a lower class of the Baoria tribe called ' Hatodi/ which lives
in Hyderabad (Deccan) territory, some of whom are sent for. The penalty for nearly every
offence is a fine for so much liquor ; that resulting for a man's sin is drunk by the men
and that paid up by the women is drunk by the women. The left ear of both men and
women guilty of adultery is cut with a razor; a Pardhi guilty of sexual intercourse with
a prostitute is punished as if he had committed adultery. Pardhi females are said to be
" The following omen's are said to be unfavourable :
(i) Meeting an empty water ch'atty.
(a) A dog flapping its ears.
(3) The bellowing of cows (though that of bulls is good).
(4) Mewing of a cat.
(5) Howling of a jackal.
(7! A snake passing from left to right (though 'f from right to left is good).
" Pardhis when ar.rested are very ready at bribing the Police in the first place, and
if not successful here, they have been said to bribe Magistrates.
"Their informant is known as ' Heria ' and this man, who is usually a respectable
man of some position, always gets his share. The receiver is called a 'Jan'.
'' It occasionally happens that one man combines the two offices.
''The following technical terms are used:
Dakaiti ... ... Bar barra.
Theft ... .. Ishali.
Burglary ... ... Joopda.
Petty grain theft ... ... Koomai.
Petty robberies and uakaitis .., Kooto.
Housebreaking implement ... Kuli-tarna.
Policeman ... ... Kali kutri.
Stolen property ... ... Gobur.
" As a rule they do not divide the property on or near the scene of crime, but bring
it home and divide there. Generally it is carried by one of the gang well behind the rest
so as to enable it to be hidden if the party is challenged.
" I have noticed a tendency for the Pardhis to reside in villages on the borders of
station ranges, specially ranges on the borders of taluks and districts. They avoid giving
trouble in the range in which they reside and hence obtain considerable immunity from
These extracts take in all the points which you Ihould specially learn.
I am afraid I have very little to say to you about these criminals that has
not already been recorded by Major Gunthorpe. They migrated very long ago
from Gujerat to Central India and the Dakhan: their mother tongue is Gujerati,
but, as often as not, they talk Marathi and Hindustani.
Major Gunthorpe In the second chapter of his book includes them among his
six Pardhi tribes : this classification is apt to mislead, as Takenkars are quite
distinct from the five tribes of real Pardhis, and will not intermarry with them.
Mr. Sewell in his note on the Pardhis (extra Supplement to the Police
Gazette, dated the i6th May 1906) says they are not " Baoris," but " Wagris,"*
and gives the following points of difference :
Wear long hair and do not ever
cut it after childhood.
Do not wash after going to stool.
Only wear the " shendhi " like other
Do wash under similar circumstances.
Wear ordinary Hindu clothing.
He might also have added that their methods of crime differ-
Generally use nothing but sticks
and stones when committing
dakaitis and do not unneces-
sarily cause hurt.
In house-breaking are not parti-
cular about the kind of hole
Use arms and torches as well, and torture
their victims to make them disclose
the whereabouts of the property.
Are most particular and alone of all
known tribes enter the hole (which
slopes downwards) feet first.
* Mr. Sewell was perhaps unaware that Wagris are in reality one of the sub-divisions of the Baori tribe though
they may not now consider themselves so. In 1845 Mandhir, a famous leader of Sansi dakaits stated that in the
districts of Amraoti and Ellichpur there was a caste whom the Sansis called "Bagori," but commonly known as
Takungar, who were much employed as chowkidars and who were house-breakers and dakaits. They confined their
operations to their own neighbourhood within a distance of 10 or 20 koss. The majority he said were cultivators.
From this it would appear they have lived in Berar for many generations. More informations about these people
would be useful.
This is another tribe of criminals which, not long ago, was practically unknown
in these Provinces. Practically the only information forthcoming about them is
that reported in the Supplement to the Police Gazette, dated 22nd November 1905,
to which I can add little. The report classes them with Sansis, bur I fancy Sir
W. Sleeman was right in saying they were near akin to the Baori tribe.
" The Haburas are a vagrant thieving tribe found chiefly in the central Ganges-Jamna
Haburas. Doab. They are connected with the regular gipsy tribe of
Sansia and Bhatu. They have a traditional connection with
the old ruined city of Noh-khera to the nortli . f parganna Jelesar in the Eta District, where
they frequently make their way during the rainy season to arrange marriage and other
caste matters in a series of general tribal councils.
They claim their decent from the Chauhan Rajputs, who
lived at Jartanli in the Aligarh District ; and have a strong
Legends of oii.?in and tribal . i M j i &
organization. tribal council under a president, who manages all caste
They are usually exogamous, though is some sub-divisions the only rule of exogamy is
Marriatje t ' lc P r hik'ition ^ marrying in their own camp or horde. Up
to recent times they used to recruit by kidnapping girls of
other castes, and there seems good reason to believe that they still introduce in the tribe
outcaste women of other castes. For a virgin bride the price fixed by tribal custom is
Rs. 25, to be paid by the father of the bridegroom, who also pays the expenses of the feasts.
The feeling against intertribal immorality is strong and a seducer of a married woman has
to pay Rs. 120 before being re-admitted to csste. Girls before marriage enjoy considerable
freedom, and a departure from strict virtue is not seriously noticed. Generally speaking,
though the women are not particularly virtuous, they are not habitually prostituted by their
male relatives as are the women of other gipsy tribes. Widows and divorced wom'en are
re-married and their off-spring are regarded legitimate.
They both cremate and bury the dead. Those who can afford the cost of wood adopt
Death ceremonies. tne former > a d tne rest either bury the corpse or expose it in
In religion they profess to be Hindus, but accept little or no service from the Brahman.
Rel; ion In some places when a boy reaches the age of 12 he is initiated
before a Jogi and trained in thieving. In other places they
worship " Kali Bhawani." They observe the usual festivals Salono, Holi, Diwali and
Dasahra. They bathe in the Ganges in honour of the sacred dead.
In Aligarh is is reported that they are almost omnivorous, but will not eat the flesh of
cows and donkevs. The only castes from whom they will not
ee.pat.on. food ^ the CbAaa t, Bhangi) Dho bi and Kalar.
They do not use any medicine, but when ill pray to Devi and Zabir Pir. They have
much fear of the evil eye, their remedy for which is to get a "Fakir" or "Jogi " to blow on
a vessel of water which is then waved over the head of the patient. As a rule they are
truthful smong themselves, but lie to others to procure the release of a clansman. 'Their
oaths are as follows : The most binding is to light a lamp (chiragh) and then blow it out.
By this he means "If I lie my family be destroyed as I blow out the light". If a Habura
can be induced to take this oath he will never lie. Another form of oath is to cut the root
of a pipal tree. The third is swearing by Devi.
The vagrant branch of this tube supplies some of the most audacious criminals in the
. . United Provinces. A recent report says : .'They are the
pest of the neighbourhoods which they frequent, are conti-
nuously pilfering, stealing standing crops, attacking carts and passengers along the road,
committing robberies and even dakaitis.' The boys are trained at first in field robbery
and are then taken out on excursions for the purpose of burglary. When they go to rob
fields the gang consists of not less than twenty men. When out for the purpose of burglary
eight or nine go together. They seldom use violence except to save themselves from arrest,
and they never carry any weapons except bludgeons. If a crime has been committed and
traced to any horde, the chief immediately determines who are to be given up. Usually a
compromise is made with the Police : two out of six or three out of eight are made over to
justice, the rest escaping. All the chief does is to Repeat a form of words and then taking
two of the grains of wheat * offered to the god, he places* them on the head of the scapegoat.
The oath of the brotherhood, is upon him and whether he be guilty or not he confesses
to the Magistrate or Judge and goes to the gallows or to a lifelong exile, confident that his
chief and brethren will, as they are bound, feed and protect his wife and children.
Compare with the ftmoas Baori " okat " process.
In Aligarh at the present day, if a Habura is killed in the commission of a crime, his
accomplices give his widow Rs. 150; if he is only arrested, they have to support his wife
and family until he is released. Neither men nor women wear any jewellery. They do
not go long distances to commit crime, and in the daylight, they can easily be identified as
Haburas, because both men and women wear the modicum of clothes consistent with
decency. They do not attempt to conceal their movements from the Police, and if one
of the gang be arrested, the headman will at once give notice of the fact. The only
stolen property they bring into the camp is grain jewellery, vessels, and clothes they
conceal in earthern vessels and bury them in the neighbourhood of tne encampment. They
are generally supported by some landowner who assists them in the disposal of stolen
property and gets a commission of four annas in the rupee.
Their slang words:
Corn of all kinds
Vessels of all kinds
Go from here
Mota Modhana. "
It the words marked with an asterisk are compared with the words having
the same meaning in the Baori Vocabulary (pages 5 and 6) it will be seen how
nearly they coincide.
In a recent report on criminal classes in the United Provinces it was said
that 77 Haburas were engaged in cultivation in the_ Moradabad settlement; and
that there were a few small cultivating settlements in Mathura. There are also
about goo of the caste in Aligarh who gave little trouble except for an inclina-
tion to commit petty thefts. Members of the tribe were very troublesome in
Mainpuri where they committed two dakaities and attempted a third. They
were also troublesome in Eta and Unao where they called themselves Karwals.
These people form a tribe with which \ve have practically little to do, since
they visit these Provinces but rarely ; our information about them is confined t ( >
a brief note which appeared in the Supplement to the Police Gazette, dated the
i6th November 1904, and this I will read out to you:
" A tribe found in the Fatclipur District. They arc known as ' Aiirlliiya ' or ' Audhya,'
' AjuJhiyabasi' or ' Avadhapur ' and take their name from tlir city of Ajudhiya in Oudh.
They prefer the title of Ajudhiyabasii or residents of Ajudhiya; by outsiders they are
usuallv Amlhiya cv ' Oudli men.' They claim to be ; '. mi. is, and say that they emi-
grated from Ajudhiya : but they have no means of fixing the time of their arrival in
Fatehpur. One tradition is that their movement was connected with the expedition of
Ram Chandra against Lanka or Ceylon.
" They are divide.! into two classes Unch or 'high' and Nich or ' low.'- The former
are those of pure blood , the latter, the descendants of a woman of another caste, taken as
a concubine. These two classes are practically exogamous. Besides these they have
no other exogamous sub-divisions, the only other restriction on marriage being that they
do not receive a bride from a family to which they have already given a daughter in mar-
riage, at any rate until all recollection of the relationship has been lost.
'' The Audhivas are well known as a dangerous criminal tribe. They deal largely
in counterfeit coin and false jewellery : they never commit crimes of violence. They
wander over Northern India as Fakirs, their journey commencing generally in June and
ending in April ; but thev are sometimes two or three years away. It is said that if a
member of the caste is imprisoned he i.3 excommunicated. They bring home cash only,
and dispose of the plunder to agents at different large cities. In the district where they
reside they are perfectly well behaved. Thev are well-to-do and to all appearances re-
spectable in their habits. Their women are well dressed with plenty of ornaments on
their persons. They have no apparent means of support. They neither cultivate land
nor trade ; and all that appears on the surface is that most of the men and boys go off
after the rains and return at the end of the cold weather. If asked how they support
themselves, they reply, by begging. Convictions have been obtained against them at
Jabaipur, Benares, Patna, Monghyr, Calcutta, Gwalior, Saugor, Murshidabad and Nadiya.
They are not under the Criminal Tribes Act, but special Police have been quartered on
them in Fatehpur. These were recently removed. In 1890 there were ascertained to be
375 Audhiyas resident in Cawnpur and 159 in Fatehpur. The majority of the adult
males continue to absent themselves from time to time for the purpose of thieving and
uttering false coin in distant places. The Audhiyas are not shown separately in the last
census returns, in which they have probably been included with the Ajudhiybasi Banias."
A fresh note on Audhiyas appeared in the Police Gazette of the iyth July
1907 and an extract from the judgment of the A'dditional Sessions Judge, Satara,
in a case under Section 40 r, Indian Penal Code, against some members of a gang
of this tribe was published in-the Police Gazetted the3ist July 1907, from these
it appears they are more dangerous criminals than was originally thought. A
copy of this new note, together with the extract from the judgment, is now
Copy of paragraph No. 515, from the Supplement to the Police Gazette, Central Provinces,
dated the ijt/t July 1907.
The following facts showing the origin, progress and result of proceedings taken
against a number of Audhiyas, a criminal tribe belonging to the Cawnpur and Fatehpur
Districts of the United Provinces of Oudh and Agra, by the Satara District Police, in
1904-05, are published for information :
Between April and August 1904 a number of burglaries were committed in the Satara
city and surrounding villages. In almost all the cases the offences were committed in
the day time on weekly market days and in houses from which the occupants were tem-
porarily absent. The locks on the doors were picked in a uniform manner which left no
doubt that the offenders were identical.
A cordon of Police in plain clothes was placed on market days round the city
to guard the approaches leading to it and a strict watch adopted towards suspicious
strangers. On the agth August 1904, i., e , nine days after the last of a series of burglaries
had been committed, two " Bairagis " were noticed prowling about in a suspicious manner,
by a chovvkidar, who divining their object promptly inflated himself into their confidence
and decoyed them into the City Police Station. Here they were searched and among
their belongings were found a strongly made iron spoon and a pair of tongs. In the
course of further enquiry it transpired that seven more " Bairagis " of the same descrip-
tion were living at a place called Vada, some three miles distant from the city where they
were traced, apprehended and searched. A few more of the above described spoons and
tongs as well as some correspondence were found in their belongings and attached. The
correspondence turned out to be connected with certain parcels sent home by one of them
through the post office.
The possession of the peculiar spoons led the local polic ta suspect that the accused
were Bauriahs of Muzaffarnagar and were so identified, by informers from Khandesh
and Indore. Their real identity, however, was finally discovered from information gleaned
from several letters addressed to these people, which the Police got hold of after the gang
was arrested. The District Superintendent of Police, Satara, wrote to the District
Snperintendent of Police, Cawnpur, and eventully after a lengthy enquiry that followed,
it was ascertained that the nine " Bairagis " arrested in Satara were Audhiyas and only
apart of a large gang which had been depredating the Deccan for nearly two years prior
to their arrest. Later on it was ascertained that six members of the gang, viz. :
(1) Ra'mbharos Bhagwan Din, (4) Gokal Prasad Bhagwan Din,
(2) Raghubir Ajodhia, (5) Balgovind Thakur,
(3) Brijlal Ram Prasad, (6) Mannu Bhudu,
bad been arrested by the Yeola Police of the Nasik District. Two (Rambharos Bhagwan
Din and Mannu Bhudu) were convicted of theft, while the ether four were sentenced to
undergo imprisonment for failing to furnish security under Chapter VIII of the Criminal
Procedure Code. One of the former, a youth, Mannu Bhudu, on the execution of the
sentence of whipping, was allowed to go. All the six were identified as " Machlia Minas "
by the Khandesh Mina informers. Eight more Audhiyas, named
(1) Kashi Prasad Dwarka Prasad, (5) Durga Ganesh,
(2) Raghuvir Cheda Prasad, (6) Surji Jwala,
(3) Ramcharan Laxman, (7) Bhikari Ayodhia,
(4) Surji Baithu, (8) Raghubir Durga,
a part of the same gang were arrested about the same time at Barsi, in the ^Sholapur
Dist-ict, by the Sholapur Police. Four of them were prosecuted for theft, while the
remainder were put up under Chapter VIII of the Criminal Procedure Code. They also
were mistaken for and identified as Bauriahs. The iron spoon or the " gyan " which was
till then considered to be peculiar to the Bauriah alone being in a great measure responsi-
ble for the mistaken identity.
The District Superintendent of Police, Satp.ra, finding that all these various groups
belonged to one and the same gang associated for the purpose of habitually committing
thefts had all the Audhiyas who had been arrested in Nasik (except No. 6, Mannu Bhudu,
who was allowed to return to his country after the execution of his sentence of whipping)
and Sholapur brought to Satara and prosecuted them under Settion 401 of ths Iniiaa t'enal
The movements of the whole gang were traced from place to place and evidence
collected along the route to establish their association They were traced to Pandhrapur
in the Sholapur District, to Kolhapur in the Southern Maratha country and to Charegaon
in the Satara District. After stopping for some time at the latter place, in a body, the
gang broke up into three divisions, one division going to Yeola of the Nasik District,
another to Barsi of the Sholapur District and the third division removed its head-quarters
from Charegaon to Vada, three miles from Satara. It was discovered that the gang
invariably selected a village or hamlet where a temple existed and which was within three
or four miles from the larger towns where they carried on their operations. Thus the Yeola
gang had established themselves in a hamlet called Underwadi, three miles from Yeola.
The Bars! gang at Shendri, four miles from Barsi. The Kolhapur gang at Unchgaon and
the Satara gang at Vada. In every instance they located themselves in a ''ninth" and
made it a point to ingratiate themselves with the ''Pujari/' who satisfied with their external
appearance of religious mendicancy, not only offered them shelter but assisted them in the
despatch and receipt of correspondence which the Audhiyas carried on with their patrons,
associates and relatives from whom they were separated for the time being. It is not
improbable that the " Pujaris " were in league with the fraternity and were liberally
recompensed for their sympathy and help bv the Audhiyas. As the operations of these
criminals extended over various districts of this presidency and their home was in the
United Provinces of Oudh and Agra, the District Superintendent of Police, Satara,
applied for and obtained the services of an Inspector of the Criminal Investigation
Department, who assisted in collecting the required evidence of association to establish
the charge under Section 401 of the Indian Penal Code. This evidence was procured
from the neighbours and relatives of the accused at their native ,>!ace. The correspond
eiztd by tha Satara Police, which wag written in the N.igri <!,. was found to be
full of ambiguous terms rmiveviug hidden meanings whir!) \ V cre dulv solved and formed an
important link in the chain of evidence that had to be prepared.
One interesting feature of the enquiry elicited by the Criminal Investigation Depart-
ment was the discovery of the despatch by these criminals of a comparatively large number
of parcels  anc ] money orders [101 | to their homes, between March 1901 and August
1504, through the post otlice. It was not practicable to obtain the exact weight of all the
parcels but the money order remittances exceeded five thousand rupees.
After an elaborate and searching investigation necessitated by the large number of
the accused, namely, twenty-two, the- wide area over which their movements and depreda-
tions had extended, and the distance between their homes and the actual scenes of thrir
crime, they were charged before the First Class Magistrate, Satara, who committed the
prisoners to the Court of Sessions, where en the 17th April 1005, all the accused, except
one who had died during the trial, were convicted and sentenced to various terms of
rigorous imprisonment ranging from three to seven years.
On appeal three out of twenty-one prisoners were acquitted.
Copies of the finding of the Sessions Judge and the judgment of the High Court
of bombay are given below :
Extract from the judgment of ths Assistant Sessions Judge, Satara,
Many of the accused have admittedly^been absent from their villages for several years
since 190 K In February 1901 Raghuvir or Raghunandin (u)and Kashiprasad (accused
13; were convicted in Aurangabad (see copies of judgments exhibit 89, finger impressions
produced from Hyderabad). Exhibits 21 and 22, finger impressions taken in Court (exhibits
19 and 20) and compared by the expert Nazim Muhammad Khan (ex. 8). In the same
year parcels were sent from Aurangabad by"Raghu" and "Mann" (Manu's name
frequently appears). Vitha (ex. 67) knew him, and he was convicted in Nasik District
along with Rambharos (accused 10), but being sentenced to whipping, had left the district
when the Satara Police instituted enquiries about Ayodhya? there. The Magistrate who
convicted Raghuvir (accused u) mentions that he had a pair of tongs, a spoon and a nail-
parer, all adapted for house-breaking purposes. In the same year parcels and n:oney
;rs were sent from Nagpur (Prayagi, accused i, was convicted in February 1901 in
Nagpur of house-breaking by day, ex. 9, 14, 8 and 84), Ajmere, Indore and Poona
Shivcharan" (accused s's name)," Manu " Ramlal and Durga (accused 8 and 19
are called Durga and of those accused 8 is a mere boy).
Copy of paragraph No. 540 from the Supplement to the Police Gazette, dated the
In continuation of the previous .account of the prosecution of certain members of the
Audhiya tribe in Satara in 1904-05, the following judgment in another case under Section
lot, Indian Penal Code, against some more members of the same gang who were convicted
by the Additional Sessions Judgf, Satara, on the i ith March 1907, is published.
(Extract fr:m the judgment of the Additional Sessions Judge, Satara.
We now come to the more recent robberies which wete committed by the gang.
11 !i 9 3 ne Glla S wa I)evi was robbed in Raipur. Ghagwa Devi, who has been
called as a witness, corroborates this, and pive? details of what he then lost ; and adds
t he can identify Mannu Prani and Ramlal as having been in Raipur at the time. It is,
i^ rSe - P oss ible that he may remember them. The next robbery was one committed
Khed in the Poona District" This robbery was undetected at the time, and the first
suspicion as to who were its authors arose when the Satara Police wrote and asked whether
it had not occurred and whether certain property had not been stolen, the latter being the
victim of the robber;:. Both exhibit 24 and the enquiring officer (ex. 23) remember the
presence of Pardeshis at the time, but they were not thtn suspected in the matter. Prayagi's
evidence in this crime i?, very full and interesting, a-5 it ^vas on this occasion that Lakhu
11 out with the other over the spoil, and much correspondence about the subject seems to
nave ensued, some of which has been attached. The crime, according to Prayagi, was
committed by Mannu, Budhu and Lakhuand others, and the booty worth Rs. 400 toRs. 500 was
temporarily buried and then disappeared. The other two accused Lakhu of having played
them false, and diverted it to his own purpose (vide reference to this matter in letters
Nos. 1 1, 12, 18).
I will now turn to the evidence furnished .by the Postal authorities, which is, I
believe, peculiarly strong against the accused. Prayagi has told us that the gang disposed
of their loot either by selling the goods in a big place and sending the proceeds by means
of money orders, or else by sending the articles themselves in parcels to their homes. At
the time of the previous case the details were not known, but Prayagi has now mentioned
some of the parcels and money orders which were sent in 1904. This evidence was not
available in full till the time of the trial in the Sessions and the circumstances preclude
the possibility of its being got up. The information has been furnished by ex. No. 12
who is the head clerk to the Superintendent of Post Offices at Cawnpur, and he has made
an abstract in English of the various parcels and money orders, sent to the accuseds' homes.
Prayagi says that Mannu Prani in 1904 sent home a parcel and money order from Nagpur,
a money order from Sidhpur, and another parcel from Amraoti. Of the parcels the returns
show one was received on the I5th April and the other on the 1 5th August 1904. The
other two have not been traced. Lakhu is said to have sent one money order for Rs. 40
to his uncle. The list shows that it W3S received on the gth July.
Prayagi says Shivabux sent a money order for Rs. 250 from Nagpur and a parcel
from Akola. The return shows that the parcel from Akola was received on the 4th April
and the money order from Nagpur on the 5th. The change of venue was probably made
in order to escape suspicion.
We next come to Randal, who sent one money order from Nagpur to Bitaniya for
Rs. 25 and Rs. 115 from Bombay to the same addressee. The former of these, the list
shows to have been received on the 6th April and the latter on the soth June, and both
The fing. - prints of suspected Audhiyas should be sent to the Central Bureau at
Allahabad, and it would be worth while to send unidentified suspects to Cawnpur and
Fatehpur for identification.
These are a set of criminals whom Gunthor ( >i' rl. , :S not mention, but. tl
are common in these Provinces and are much given to house-breakings, robber-
ies and dakaitis, and you should be careful to make inquiries in your station-
houses whether there are Pasis resident in them.
They are said to be non- Aryans and at one time were undoubtedly pe>
of position. Mr. Carnegy in his " Races of Oudh " says of them: " |t is affirm-
ed by some that thsy are a branch of the Kerat tribe of Dwarka. An heroic
Pasi named Sen of Barniya figures prominently in the poetical accounts of
celebrated battles of Ala and Udal ; and this gives colour to their asserted con-
nection with Kanouj, where those heroes flourished. It seems to be admitted
in the Sit.apur District that the Pasis were once entire mastf-rs of Khairabad."
Sherring says that, according to their own account, they fell from the brow
of the famous Parasram in the form of perspiration and the entire race is di s-
cended from the five thus originally produced at Anantal in Oudh.
Sherring divides them into nine clans .
1 . Jaiswara
5. Rainswat or Kaithwan.
Mr. Carnegy's classification of the Sitapur Pasis differs from this, and,
so far as I can gather, Pasis, Bhars, Khartiks and such like tribes are all closely
related. Mr, Mahadeo Prasad knew some in Jabalpur who called themselves
" Bahelias. "
Sherring says they used to be employed as village-watchmen to catch
thieves, in return for which they received remuneration in the shape of either
land or payment in cash and kind. If they failed to trace the thief, they had
to make good the loss of property.
At marriage festivals vhe boys are dressed as girls and made to dance in
public. They never use drums or other musical instruments, and they breed
pigs and cure the bacon obtained from them.
In Nagpur numbers of them have taken service in the mills; and in 1904
there was considerable suspicion that they were the perpetrators of a number of
house-breakings in the Wardha District. Mr. Mahadeo Prasad tells me that
they have lately taken to accepting small building contracts in Jabalpur; they
also take service as day-labourers in fields. But the more criminally disposed
prefer to take contracts for the watch and sale of mangoes in groves distant
from habitations so that their movements will not be watched by prying eyes.
They also take freely to the occupation of roof-thatching, as that enables them
to note things in houses worth stealing.
Mr. Mahadeo Prasad has had experience of their cunning in disposing of
stolen property. The men will go openly in the day time to the receiver and
acquaint him with the fact that they have property to dispose of ; the receiver
goes to the bazar, and the women come to him with grass for sale , they sell
the grass to the receiver and then accompany him to his home with i: and the
stolen property which is artfully concealed in it.
In Mandla Mr. Dhiraj Singh, Inspector of Police, had much trouble with
Pasis. He says they are numerous in Jabalpur, Nagpur, and the Berars, and
frequently, specially in Berar, call themselves JKumhars and manufacture tiles.
They seldom commit crime in the immediate vicinity of their homes, but go in
gangs to break into houses in distant villages ; having fixed on a likely house
they collect about 9 p. m. en a dark night in the house of their leader
where they drink and lay their plans till about midnight, they then set out for
the place and return before dawn to the leader's house /to divide the property
obtained. If the property is identifiable they do not take it home, but each
buries his own share some little distance off from his house telling one of his
own family where it is in case he should be arrested. Their receivers are
generally Sunars, malguzars and grain merchants. They usually are in with
the local badmashes and kotwars and obtain information from them.
Most of the Pasis in the south of the Provinces come from Raibareli and
they often visit their native home, in which case the Nainpur junction is a
favourite trysting place , probably if a smart man with experience of these so-
called kumh"rs were stationed there, he might do much in the way of watching
their movements. Inspector Dhiraj Singh has strong suspicions they often take
stolen property up-country with them through Nainpur, therefore the Police at
Nainpur should carefully study lists of property advertised in the Police Gazette
as stolen in the Maratha country if they wish to catch these Pasis.
There is a very large class of nomads who have gradually spread themselves
over practically the whole of the pemnstiUr portion of India and have penetrated
ir north as Rajputana ; the term Kaikari is usually applied to such of them
as haunt the central and rttorth -western tracts, but they are also known under
numerous other titles such as Koravar, Koracha, Korvi, Krukala, &c., and are
divided and sub-divided into a great number of clans and families.
Many people have contributed towards our stock of information concjrning
them, Gunthorpe's account you all have j Mr. Paupa Rao Naidu has also re-
cently written a very useful monograph on them and he had the advantage of
studying authorities like Captain Harvey, Major Gunthorpe, Mr. Mullaly,
Mr. Stevenson and others. I do not propose to give you information gleaned
from his pamphlet and so advise you all to purchase it. But there are accounts
given by others whose works you will find it more difficult to procure and I will
confine my remarks to such information gathered from them as 1 think will be
most useful to you. The chief of these are Mr. R. V. Russell's article for the
Ethnographic Survey compiled from sources untapped by Mr. Naidu , notes by
my brother, Mr. W. A. Gayer, who has had great experience of the more crimi-
nally disposed Kaikaris, and who has kindly placed his extensive notes at my
disposal , and an interesting description of tham by an anonymous officer in
The more one reads about these people the more one feels the difficulty of
dogmatizing ; the various accounts are very conflicting. It is generally asserted
that they have spread northward from the Tamil country : in the Hyslop papers
is a vocabulary of Kaikari words which are mostly of Tamil origin, and all other
vocabularies show their mother tongue must have been Tamil, but their secret
jargon includes Telegu, Canarese and Marathi words. It is not improbable
that as their sphere of action has widened they have been thrown more and
more on the idiosyncrasies of their leaders and that in course of time their
modes of life and methods of crime have undergone changes together with the
names by which they have become known. Most of the clans are constantly
on the move and so we will sometimes find gangs of Kaikaris is close proximity
who go by different names and have different customs and exhibit different
degrees of criminality. Every writer however is agreed that there are Kaikaris
of various kinds who make a downright profession of both dakaiti and house-
breaking ; that there are others who have eschewed evil and live peaceful lives
as honourable citizens ; and that in between there are numerous classes who
have criminal instincts which they indulge in varying degrees. My brother in
1904 drew up a list of 130 daikatis believed to have been committed by Kaika-
ris in the Nizam's dominions and neighbouring territory during the previous 10
years and he says :
"These lists should not be regarded as by any means a full record of the dakaitis
" for which these people are responsible and it should be remembered that
" beside these and other dalcaitis there are endless burglaries, highway
" robberies and thefts of which they are the perpetrators"
He says the real Kaikari dakaits are the
(1) Kaikaris (Telugu Korsi and Gullur)
(2) Chor Kaikaris (Canarese Kul Korve)
and the Bombay officer whose note shows special knowledge says:
"Later accounts, however, furnish the following particulars The Dondelay or
"Chor Kaikadis (Solapur), Nihrati or Dondelay iPoona), Dantalmare
" (Ahmednagar,) Deccanis (Kholapur), the Kail Korves (Canarese,) Korsi and
" Gullur Kaikadis (Telugu) are all said to be inveterate dacoits. The above
"list, which is not exhaustive is possibly also, not altogether accurate, as
"few agree on the nomenclature of Kaikadis. "
These two officers writing from different parts of India are so closely in
agreement that I think there need be no hesitation yi accepting their accuracy,
and my brother is well within the mark in confining his remarks to the two
classes mentioned by him (for we in the Central Provinces, may ignore the
Telugu and Canarese classes). In the Supplement to the Central Provinces
Police Gazette, dated the 2gth September 1905, are printed accounts by him
and the late Mr. Herbert of these dakait Kaikaris, in the following remarks. I
shall draw largely from these descriptions :
" Mr. Russell says that in 1901, there were 300 wanderers who called them-
selves Kaikaris in these Provinces, mostly in Nimar and the Maratha Districts;
2,000 in the Berars and 7,000 in Bombay ; he did not in these figures include
any but people calling themselves Kaikari, if in Bombay he had added the
" Korves " the number would have risen to nearly 25,000 there. I have not the
Berar census figures to refer to, but those given here for both the Central
Provinces and Berars are probably much below the mark, because Kaikaris are
given to hiding their identity.
One approver who claimed relationship to the Kaikaris stated that the
gang he belonged to had at different times given out they were " Gull Yella
Gullawars," " Ghantichores, " "Gon lies" 'and " Tirmullis " and that they
adopted the disguises of " Jangamas ," or " Joteshis, " " Kunbis ", '' Pardhis "
and " Waddars ". It is however doubtful whether these so-called Gull Yella
Gullawars were really Kaikaris, they were more likely to be of Waddar origin as
their language was a corrupt form of Telugu.
The ostensible means of subsistence of Kaikaris are various, the ordinary
means are :
(1) Basket making and mat weaving out of materials such as cotton
stalks, date-palm leaves and grass.
(2) Repairing grinding mills.
(3) Carrying earth, gravel or stones.
(4) Snaring game.
(5) Exhibiting monkeys.
(6) Exhibiting cobras (Mr. Russell says their tutelary god is the
The women nearly all go in for palmistry and tattooing and they themselves
are profusely tattooed, "because tattooing is considered to be a record of
the virtuous acts performed in this world and must be displayed to the deity
after death " (R. V. Russell). The Bombay note says " Tattooing in the
"form of the Tulsi leaf or the lucky cross of Nandi above the cheek bones
as well as words such as ' Shriram " ' Jairam ', &c., on the arms is a common
form of adornment. "
The dakait Kaikaris generally stick to basket making, for it gives them a
good excuse for hiding in the jungles from which they get some of their
materials ; they usually live in temporarily constructed huts at some distance
from a village. When they find the village headman complacent, they will
settle down and one or two members for show, will take up land, but will culti-
vate it by hired labour. This land serves a two-fold purposes, it enables them
to claim respectability as cultivators, and, when they steal crops and are asked
where they got the grain, they point to their fields. They are also past masters
at fowl and goat stealing for immediate consumption.
Kaikaris are much addicted to house-breaking but they are perhaps the
only professional burglars who don't go in for carefully planning their burglaries,
they seldom make any enquiry about the wealth of the houses they break into ;
all the precautions they take are (i) to choose a house where they are not likely
to be disturbed, such as the house of a Kunbi whose store-room is at the back
and separated from his living room by a wall and locked door and (2) to always
break in from the back, and having broken in to secure the door between them
and the inmates of the house so th?t they may get lots of warning should they
disturb their victims. Therefdre a number of burglaries of this description in
any locality, wherein some cases very little rewards the burglars, would make
one suspect Kaikaris.
Gunthorpe tells you the instrument is called " Silla koloV or " Punsee
koloo " and that the breach is made L-vrl with the ground. My brother says
'' the instrument used is an iron bar about 14 inches long, with a squared end
tapering to a point and is called "Silla kol " in Kaikan, Marathi andTelugu,
and " Kangatti " in Canarese.
The ho'e is not now-a-days always made on the level of the ground, but
often about a cubit above it, it is usually round, about a cabit in Hi \meter. Only-
one man enters, the other two or three stay outside on guard, and they keep the
silla kol. The man who enters always strikes a match or two to see where things
are located, and he does what is possible to prevent any of the inmates being
able to enter the room suddenly by blocking up or fastening the door.
The method of committing dakaiti depends much on circumstances and on
the ideas of the leaders, but generally much trouble is taken in planning a raid.
Sometimes people will come and give Kaikadis information of a suitab'e house,
in which case the gang gives the informer a share of the profits ; at others they
send women and old men in disguise the Bombay report mentions instances in
which the women have discarded their " cholis" aid passed themselves off as
" Waddars." Having got tempting ''khabbar" some experts from the gang
reconnoitre the place, they estimate the strength of the village, decide the best
method of effecting their object and fix on a convenient rendezvous about a
mile from the vil'age. Their attack varies, according to the strength of the
gang and resources of the village, from a stealthy approach and quick retreat,
to an open and continued show of strength. They generally choose the dark
night " amowsya " or one of the five nights either preceding or following it, and
the time of the attack varies from about 8 p. m. to n p. m., the smaller the
village the earlier the attack. Before setting out they propitiate " Tu'ja Bha-
wani " or " Amba Bai" ; for this purpose goats and toddy are purchased (stolen
offerings are forbidden), and the arms and imp'ements to be used a r e laid out
before them, the leader then cuts the throats of the anima's to be offered an 1 a
feast is held. The nrms used are generally axes, lathies and slings, occasionally
guns, and the " Silla kol" is always taken in case of need.
They travel together by night, but split up into small parties by day and if
necessary take ponies, bullocks or donkeys to cany th-ir impedimenta. Having
reached the selected rendezvous they halt, some'imes the who'e day, to feed and
rest ; their food is generally brought ready cooked. Mr. Herbert found that they
cut "babul" sticks near their rendezvous in preference to bringing lathes
with them, and, if they anticipate it will be useful, they here make the Kaikari
ladder described by Gunlhorpe. When the time for attack has come, they
divest themselves of superfluous clothing, seldom wearing more than a dh>>ti
which is generally well tucked up and pagri, a fold or two of which is tied round
the face. Sometimes however a body vest is worn and a " rumal " in place of a
fagri. One party is told off to guard the approaches and the others enter the
house as quietly as possible, either by means of the ladder, or by climbing the
wall in some other way, or they open the door by means of *' bagli n.ikab " or,
if obliged to, smash it in with axes. If oppose J Kaikaris use their la' hies and
slings with considerable effect, but they do not kill f ,.r the sake of killing, though
they are by no means scrupulous and like to crea e a wholeso ne fear among their
victims, and will unhesitatingly take life if hard pressed. They have a trick of
trying to mislead the Police by leaving behind, some article such as a Banjara
bag, and sometimes fire off crackers or other detonators to make the vi'lagers
believe they have fire arms ; they also frequently use the slang of other people
chiefly that of Banjaras to deceive the villagers.
After the dakaiti they collect and bolt straight for the place where they rested
and left their clothes, &c., there they make their booty up into convenient bund-
les, distribute it among the members of the gang for porterage and start at a good
swinging pace for their village. They march by night and rest by day, con-
cealing themselves in convenient hills, nalas and jungles. Should they be
discovered by the police in any such hiding place, they never move and are quite
civil. They say they are Dhangars going to purchase goats and as they expect
to have a large number to drive back, the size of their party is explained. If the
police party is satisfied, well and good ; if not the dakaits set on them and beat
them ; in either case as soon as possible they make themselves scarce. On
reaching. home the plunder is buried in a safe place until they have no more to
fear. The receiver is then called and goats are again brought and killed in front
of the stolen property, which is then sold. The cost of the feast is put aside
for payment and the rest of the money is divided.
Kaikaris never commit a dakaiti near their encampment unless they have
good reason to believe the police will see they come to no harm. They will
otherwise always raid in another jurisdiction, and will frequently tnvel 100 miles
to commit a dakaiti. From experience of Kaikari dakaitis in these Provinces the
following facts will usually indicate that Kaikaris have been at work :--
(1) A halting place found in the jungle where probably no food has been
cooked about a mile from the village.
(2) Places from which "Babul" or " Khair" sticks have been cut near
this halting place, or between it and the village.
(3) Freshly cut sticks of the above lying near the scene of offence.
(4) A Kaikari ladder left behind.
(5) Stones slung by the dakaits (Kaikaris use short slings).
Also if the dakaits :
(6) Wore dhoties (well tucked up) and pagris with little, or no other
(7) Fired off explosives. .
(8) Used slang peculiar to other tribes, and left behind shoes, bits of
clothing or other articles which would throw suspicion on some
other class of criminal.
When Kaikaris are suspected it will be necessary to look very far afield for
them, and to enquire for a party of men travelling by night without encum-
brances. When the journey from their homes is very long they will' often take a
woman or two with them to cook, and leave these at some spot about half way
to the place they are about to raid; these women join them again on their
Gunthorpe tells you Kaikaris burnish brass in tamarind bark flames so as
to make it resemble gold, the prqcess is described by him in his monograph on
Sanchalpos (vide the lecture on Waddars) ; Mr. Gayer tells of another process,
which has the same effect, i.e., boiling in " haldi " and " chuna " very finely
There is a very interesting paragraph (No. 537) in the Supplement to the
Gazette of 3ist July 1907, which I reproduce below :
" Inspector Nago Rao, Chilcli Taluk, reports that while searching a gang of Bija Chand
Kaikaris, he witnesssed in i-he pal (a cloth stretched across a pole forming a sort of tent}
of Shaukar. <wYa$ Sheoram, son oi Bija Chand, a horse-hair loop attached to a spring hook
and. a,, horn containing the sap of a tree. On enquiring minutely into this' the Inspector
was, informed by Kaikari constables Bab and Govinda that those Kaikaris possessing the
above mentioned articles are invaHably of the thieving fraternity. These Kaikaris have-a
great predilection for squirrels and birds for food."
11 The loops, some 20 or 30 in number, are spread net-wise over a tree, and birds and
squirrels are thus easily entangled, flour being used as a bait. The sap used is obtained
from the pipal tree and this is used by way of bird lime, two pieces of stick being placed
in position with a string on which the lime is spread. A worm called Raghuiva (in
Marathi) is also used as a bait."
"From information obtained by the Inspector it seems beyond doubt that ary Kaikaris
going in for ihis method of trapping should always be regarded with suspicion and searched
carefully as they are invariably criminals, other Kaikaris not being in possession of the
articles described above."*
* * * # *
I have found a good deal to indicate that dakait Kaikaris (as stated by
Gunthorpe) have fixed meeting places at which a number of gangs rendezvous
and where they settle on the parts of the country to be exploited by each gang
It wou'd be very interesting if an informer could ascertain for us how each gang
arranges not to interfere with other gangs, for it is believed no gang ever ope-
rates in the jurisdiction in which it resides. The heads of the gangs evidently
come to some mutual understanding, but no one seems to know whether any
given gang operates within the territorial jurisdiction of only one other gang, or
whether it can raid the territories of more than one other gang, and if so whether
there are limited periods within which thise raids must take place. Information
on these points may possibly help us to lay our hands with tolerable certainty
on the perpetrators of any given dakaiti.
I have already given you some idea of the disguises used by Kaikaris and
have mentioned that they often call themselves by names meant to mislead en-
quirers. My brother met with Kaikaris who said they often painted marks on
their foreheads to help them in their disguises, the marks they favoured most
were two white lines with a yellow one between, and they carried bits of ball metal
with them to strike when begging. Mr. Russell says in Khandesh as in Nimar
they have two exogamous clans "Jadon" and "Gaekvvar" (in the Bombay note the
two clans are called " Jadhav" and "Powar") Jadon and Povvar are well known
Rajput septs and it would appear that Kaikaris are now aspiring to imitate the
warlike Kshattriyas Some also settled down to husbandry and call themselves
"Grahastha" (Sanskrit "Gentleman") and ape the Kunbi caste ; others assume
Maratha family names such "Mane," "Dane" and "Gaekwar" ; others again hav t;
occupational titles such as "Pungi" (gourd blowers,) and Wajantri or Bhajantri
(musicians). To give you a list of all the names applied to them would take too long,
but what I have already said and a study of Mr. Naidu's brochure will show you
that you must be prepared to find Kaikaris under almost any name and disguise.
The deities they worship, are the "Nag," Bhawani. Mari Mata, Khandoba, f
Vithoba and a host of minor gods, and some Pirs. They also celebrate festivals
such as the Dasehra, Divvali, Holi and Nao Durga, but do not observe the Polaor
other Vishnuvite festivals, nor do they hold trees, such as the Tulsi and Pipal,
to be sacred.
Kaikaris are declared to be a criminal tribe in the Bombay Presidency under
Regulation XII of 1827.
Two gangs of (self-styled) ' hinga Bhois who were apparently Waddars were alio founl in pjjsession of noosM
and skins of squirrels, many of them were previous convict* (vide the Supplement to Pilue Gazette of i8th
March 1908, and the lecture On Waddars).
t Mr. Russell says "every family has a platform raised to Khandoba,'' and that an oath by a dog is the most
binding form of oath they know, as the dog is sacred to Khandoba (see lecture on Sansis page 61).
io. MANG GARODI.
You will find GuntSorpe's description of these people ample to enable you
to recognize their encampments at sight. They are rather irreligious from all
accounts : occasionally in times of distress or sickness they will go to a "Bhagat"
or priest, who has the reputation of having sometimes been " possessed " by
" Mari Mahi " jthe goddess of death , and implore his intervention. If
they cannot find a "Bhagat" they smear the invalid with ashes and call on
the goddess. In times of rejoicing, *. e. when they have enriched themselves
with an unusually large haul, they will smear cowdung over a selected spot and
then wash it over with "laddi" or lime 'kuku) : on this they will pour libations
of liquor and call on the goddess "Chorwasi." They are very common in
parts of the Central Provinces, and very frequent notice of their movements is
to be found in the Supplement to the Gazette; their gangs sometimes number
over i oo souls, e.g., in 1904, a gang in Betul was comprised of 23 men, 27
women, 25 grown boys and 28 small children. I do not think Gunthrrpe lays
sufficient emphasis on the part taken by the women in crime, for they apparently
do by far the major part of the thieving
Sherring says the men never commit house-breaking and very seldom rob
on the highway : he calls them "wanderers, showmen, jugglers and conjurors,"
and says they are robbers and get their information by performing before the
houses of rich sahukars and others.
They generally manage to find out where bazars are to be held, and encamp
iwo or three miles off, and the women enter the bazar in parties of four or five to
steal.* The following method is given in the Supplement to the Po/tce Gazette
of 24th January 1905.
They see somebody put down his clothes or bag of rupees and watch till
his attention is attracted elsewhere, then walking up quietly between the article
and its owner they drop their petticoat, and in picking it up manage to transfer
the article to their own basket. The petticoat is dropped either between the
owner and the article or in such a manner as to cover the article partially.
The women do not usuaMy consult the omens before setting out to pilfer,
but if any of the usual omens on the way seem unfavourable they place a stone
on the ground and dash another on to if, saying "Nat gat asal to phulunja" (if
the obstacle is removed, break) : if it breaks they proceed; if not, they desist.
Stolen property is kept by the thief for her family, unless it is money in which
case it is spent on drink for the gang. Stolen articles are often bartered at liquor
shops for drink.
* Mr. Latham Writes to say he found Man? Garodi women at work in bazar? io and 14 rr.iles from their en-
campments, ami they employed little girls of 7 and 8 to steal for them; these women wer also accompanied by
athletic men who ran off witn the stolen property as soon as it Was handed to them. In the Nagpur District he-
noticed the women wore "saries."
ii. WADDARS (iNcr.umxo SANCHAI.OOS).
The Waddars are a tribe about whom I have had little opportunity of learning
anything, but there is gathering evidence that their organization is quite a-; intri-
cate as that of any of the other great tribes The following is taken from Sher-
ring's and Mullaly's descriptions :
Waddars are stone-workers, tank diggers, w.-'l sinkers, earth workers and so
forlh. They are of Telugu origin, are wanderers, wi'l eat every description of
animal food, and are much given to strong drink. They are divided into two main
(1) Kallu (Stone') Waddars.
(2) Mannu (Earth) Waddars.
Each branch has the same three gotras :
(3) Bailu Waddar.
Criminal sections are commonly known as "Takku" Waddars, and they
usually belong to the Kallu branch. They are robSers and house-breaker*, and
generally operate within a radius of 20 miles from their encampment. The house
is as a rule dug into through the back or side wall, and the hole is near the founda-
tion ; the implement is ordinarily the crowbar used by them in their profession
of stone breaking. " The work is clumsily performed and not always successful,
where there has been one successful case, there are invariably signs of unsuccess-
ful attempts in the neighbourhood" (Mullaly).
So far as we could tell in these Provinces Waddars did not often trouble us, but
recently our attention has been attracted to them and it has been found that their
communities have got as many ramifications as any of the great criminal tribes.
Mr. Naidu has told us in his "History of Railway thieves" that tb/'y are known in
different places by 14 different divisions all having their own peculiarities, but
this list is by no means exhaustive. In the Supplement to the Police Gazette of
26th February 1908, paragraph 161, is anaccount from Amraoti of a gang of San-
chaloos, their advent led to the re-issue of a pamphlet written by Colonel Gunthorpe
on Sanchaloos, in 1886. Again in the next supplement was another account from
Amraoti of a couple of gangs of self-styled "Jhinga Bhois." Enquiries from Hyder-
abad elicited the information that the Jhinga Bhois and the Sanchaloos are both
sub-divisions of the great Waddar tribe. A note from Hyderabad says "the most
common names under which members of this (Waddar) tribe have been convicted
are "ChanchaUvad" or "Chenchulu" and " Yerragollavvar " or " Mushtigollawar."
Chenchu Dasari and Chenchalwad are apparently local variations of the same name
and in Berar they were known as Sanchaloo. In the Supplement of the Police
Gazette, dated the 2gth April 1908, there is an ex:ract from the Madras Criminal
Investigation Department mentioning a gang of Donga Dasaries of Motupalli, these
people were also known as "Kathiras" and "Pa nulas," and they associated for
purposes of dakaiti with Yerukulas and Parikimuggulas, these last are also
The following note on Sanchaloos by Colonel Gunthorpe will show you what
was known of them 20 years ago, and if this is compared with the very interesting
account just written by Mr. Armstrong, Deputy Superintendent of Police, it will be
seen how very much they have changed. Mr. Armstrong's description is particu-
larly valuable, as he has closely studied their present organization and has learned
much of their movements and habits while actually engaged in a criminal
compaign. His note is followed by two other useful accounts.
True caste name . Donga Sanchaloo.
Sanchaloos, it appears, originally belonged to and formed part of the
Waddar family, but their Gooroo having given them a.
" Namum " (long koonkoo mark on the forehead) they
severed themselves from the Waddars and became a separate tribe. The men
then took to wearing shoes and the women cholees (bodices) and jacketst
Their original homes were in the Cuddapah, Guntoor and Kurnool Districts of
the Madras Presidency. The villages of Podutooroo and Mangulgeeree in the
Cuddapah District were composed entirely of Sanchaloos.
About the year 1876, i. e., 3 or 4 years prior to the last famine in those
parts, they being hard pressed by the Police, and several of their numbers
beingj arrested and convicted for crimes committed by them, they began to
disperse by gangs into the neighbouring districts and Telengana countries
generally ; by the year 1879 (the year of the famine) no Sanchaloos remained
in the Cuddapah and Kurnool Districts, thence ihey spread themselves pretty
generally over the Deccan, and gangs took up permanent quarters for certain
months in the year, building themselves huts, in Poona, -Sattara, Naggur,
Madras, Surat, Nimar, Kallian Goolburga, Dharwar and Purthoor Turbunee in
His Highness the Nizam's Dominions. The gangs leave their homes at the
beginning of rains, and, taking their women and children with them, roam about
the country committing crime and hoarding up the proceeds until the end of
the cold weather, i. e , February, when they return and pass the hot weather in
marriage feasts and riotous living upon the proceeds of their plundering expe-
dition. They are great consumers of liquor, both sexes indulging freely,
and they live well, always eating meat and rice and anything money can
purchase, The reason why the rainy and cold seasons are selected for their
predatory excursions is thus explained by them : " Owing to the noise of
the rain, breaking through walls and entrance into houses is not heard by the
inmates-, and in the cold season people cover themselves all over with blankets,
&c., and cannot easily hear any sound made in the house, whereas in the hot
season people, as a rule, sleep in their yards or verandahs and keep awake a
great part of the night, and it is feared the least noise would be heard by them."
True caste. It appears the Sanchaloo tribe has three sub-divisions :
1. Golla (shepherd) Sanchaloo live by begging and prostituting their
2. Bhoie (bearer) Sanchaloo beg and sell toy poonghees (blow gourds)
(These two never leave the Ttlengana Districts.)
3. Ooper (salt maker) Sanchaloo (the subject of this paper) originally
lived by collecting salt at the salt springs in Cuddapah and
Kurnool Districts, but now and for years past a purely criminal
class. Owing to their having taken to this style of ' livelihood
they are now known among Sanchaloos as Donga Sanchaloos, i. e.,
* It must be borne in mind that nil Tirmullees are not Sanchaloos. whereas ail Sanchaloos call themselves Tir-
mullees an assumed caste. Real Tirmullees are an hor.est class, who subsist by selling koonkoo and sandal
t Waddar?, let them be ever so rich, never wear shoes of any kind on their feet, though sandals maybe
worn, nor do tW-ir women ear cholees or jackets. Their legend is : That ages past rats stole all their shoes
and cholees ard as their fore-fathers were deprived of them, they may not use them, and that is why they are
inveterate enemies of the rat, and dig them up and eat them whenever they can.
In the Berars, Central Provinces and in the Poona, Satara and Nagpur
.._ Districts of the Bombay Presidency, these Sanchaloos
assumed in different , .., 11 i j
countries. pass themselves off as lirmullees and also as Phool
Malis. '' In Madras, His Highness the Nizam's Dominions
and Kullian District, they call themselves and are known as " Trimullecs ",
also as "Sanchaloos." In the Dhnrwar and Surat Districts of the Bombay
Presidency they are known as " Chanchoo Dhaseris."
All talk Telugu among themselves. Generally have encampments, though
small detached parties sometimes bivouac either in thf
Inuentincntion, means of. . . , ... ,
open or under trees. As a rule they select villages where
there is a liquor shop to camp near. Their pals or small tents are made up
of cloths of all colors patched and lined, as a rule, with kumuls or blankets.
About their encampments or bivouacs will be found bullocks, ponies, goats and
dogs never donkeys* ; pals, goods and chattels are carried from place
to place on the backs of either ponies or bullocks. Men go into villages begging
with a bunch of peacock feathers and a bell, sometimes (those who can afford
one) also take a white conch shell. Women and children often accompany
them. At the encampments in the different pals are to be found small supplies
of beads, needles, thread, pieces of sandal -wood, which are shown as means of
livelihood when interrogated. In one encampment the writer found a bottle
of English sugar plums, which he was told were sold as medicine at 3 pies each.
In truth none of the above articles are sold, but merely kept for show. In one
pal were found 3 pieces of sandal -wood, which were discovered through the
women, which had been there for 7 or 8 years.
The men wear dhoties, a turban, generally white, or a rummal or colored
_ , handkerchief tied loosely round the head, and a sheet
Costume of males and females. , . ,, . ,, , .
thrown over their persons. 1 nose who can attora it
wear an ungreka or coat ; all have their ears pierced and some wear rings in
their ears like Marwaris. Almost all wear a necklace composed generally of
two rows of wooden beads intermixed with coral and agate. With the exception
of a small tuft of hair, heads are kept clean shaved, moustaches are worn, and
except among the older men, chins are shaved.
Silver or silk kardodahs are worn, as also armlets, but adult Sanchaloos
never have on kuddahs (wristlets), as they say only females should have anything
in the way of bangles on. All kinds of covering to the feet are used, from
sandals to north country shoes, according to each individual's fancy. Different
kinds are specially worn when going out to commit crime. Female attire
consists of sari and choice in Telengana fashion ; the hair is tied in a bunch at the
back of the head. Forearms and foreheads are tattooed. The special mark on
the latter being in the shape of a V with a dot in the centre (v/)- A nose
ring shaped like a hook (mookera) with coral and gold beads affixed to it is
worn on the left side of the nose. Several necklets of kinds are wocn by each
female. The usual ones being one composed of black beads intermingled with
gold and coral, the other composed of strings of coral and agate beads. In
addition, every married woman wears the string of black beads with a gold
Silver and glass bangles are used with a silver armlet on the right arm.
Except among the elderly females, shoes are forbidden. Should a young woman
wear them, she is fined by the caste. This is a remnant of the custom of their
ancestors, the Waddars.
Both sexes speak the Telugu and Canarese languages fluently, the former
being their mother-tongue. They are well conversant
with the Urdu and Mahratta languages, especially the
males, but when interrogated by Policemen or other Government servants, they
pretend ignorance in these languages, simply to make believe they are entirely
new to this part of the world and that they have only just come in from Telengana.
They have a slang of their own : specimen list'is attached.
* See pages 43 and 57 (Eono*.)
Chief deity is Yenketasooloo, known by the Mahrattas as Ballaji. Every
second year they repair in gangs to Yenketgiree to offer
worship to this deity. Every Saturday a bunch of pea-
cock feathers (called by them numlee-bendloo) is worshipped and sacred songs
sung. The small-pox goddess Marriamah (the Devi of this country) is much
reverenced, and on the occasion of worship of the deity, a canopy composed of
sarees is erected, and all round limes, dates, cocoanuts and other fruits are
suspended on strings. Native music is obtained from the nearest village, and
much meat and liquor consumed.
Ancestor worship is practised. But a wife will not
worship her own, but those of her husband.
Omens (good). Good omens are
Two sneezes repeated in rapid succession.
The braying of an ass.
Meeting a jackal.
A dog rubbing himself along the ground.
omens (bad) Bad omens are
A single sneeze.
A dog shaking his head.
A snake crossing the path.
Meeting any one with wet freshly washed clothes.
Meeting a bullock or bullocks with bells on their
Meeting a Brahmin widow.
Meeting a hare.
They will never start to commit crime should any of the above happen ere
they leave. If they should meet with any en route, they will abandon the trip
and return home. Omens are rigorously attended to.
The headman or leader of a gang is termed " Pedda wadoo* " and sometimes
" Karbari." He has the power to turn out of caste and
Headman or a gang. ,- , jii v T
to divorce, also to settle caste disputes. Joins in com-
mitting crime with the others, but is entitled to only an equal share with his com-
panions. This office is not hereditary, but is attained by election.
The males go into villages begging with a gong (jakottee) a bunch of pea-
cock feathers (numlee-bendloo), and a white conch shell
Ostensible means or livelihood. i , t / t \ ivn i
with brass mouth-piece (shankoo). When begging the
gong is struck, feathers shaken and the shell sounded, repeating " Ramaluchmee
Govindha " also " Ballaji Keybuggut-deo. " Women accompany the men often
on these occasions. In the Telengana countries should alms be refused, the men,
to frighten the people into giving, threaten to run an iron skewer through their
own cheeks, and sometimes carry out the threat (several men of a gang showed
scars to prove this). At their encampments pieces of sandal-wood, thread,
needles and beads are shown as articles sold as a means of livelihood.
Gang robbery, burglary, cutting jewellery off the persons of slumbering
women and children, as well as men, in the houses broken
Real means of livelihood. , , . , , , , ' _,, , , .. . . ..
into and also in sheds and verandahs. Theft of all kinds,
however small the articles. Picking pockets in crowds, in the street or at jattras.
Carrying off bales of goods from inside pals at fairs or from off carts on the
march when drivers are asleep. No violent crime is committed, but should one
of them be captured when at work^ his companions, who are always about, will
assuredly do all in their powet to rescue by attacking the caplurer or capturers
with sticks, by biting and kicking, the shins being a favourite place to attack in
kicking. As far as can be learnt, arms are not carried when going to commit
* The literal translation of this word is pedda=big, great ; wadoo=man , '. t., leader.
\Yhi!e hrgging, as described under head " ostensible means of livelihood,"
the men take note of the different rooms in a house ;
Mode of commit: 1 ... . . . , ,
ins of ingress ; the number of the inmates and orna-
ments worn, after thus going the round of a village or town, a house is sel' rtcd.
Often tin: women and children bring good information. As a rule, the house
at which alms luve been solicited and which has been selected will not be robbed
on the same day, but two or three days are allowed to elapse. They will not
commit crime in the village on whose grounds they are encamped, but go to
those 7 and 8 miles off or /ess. The village and house being pitched upon, half
or more of the strongest men of the gang armed with sticks set out about 10 at
night going by a circuitous route. Rainy or very cold nights are selected.
Those who possess house-breaking implements take them. Sanchaloos rarely,
if ever, break through a wall. The usual mode is to make a hole beside the
frame of a door or window on the latch side, then pass the hand in and undo the
fastening and thus enter. The most expert goes in, leaving one or two com-
panions near the entrance outside, the rest of the party are posted about to give
the alarm should necessity arise. Property is then passed out to the man near-
est the entrance, who in his turn passes it on. If articles of jewellery cannot be
unfastened properly, they are dexterously cut by a penknife. It is half opened
and the article to be cut is put between the half open blade and the handle, which
are then pressed together, and it is done. All copper and brass utensils are
taken. Should the locks on large boxes and cupboards be easily wrenched
open, it is accomplished, and contents carried off. Small boxes are taken out
and broken, and contents appropriated. On the return home a different route
is taken. As often as not, the property is buried en route to the encampment
otherwise it is so disposed of immediately on arrival, on the road to be taken
next morn. The day after commission of a crime, not a single male leaves the
encampment, all pretending to be laid up with some ailment : fever and rheu-
matism being the most common. After two or three days the property is unearthed
and equally divided, widows and orphans getting equal shares with the men.
Each then conceals his or her share. Sometimes it so happens that all the
spoils collected at one place are taken on the night before a move by an old
women of the gang to the next stage and division is there made.
Sometimes if they wish to learn the ins and outs of a walled enclosure, and
an overhanging tree is available, Sanchaloos beg as Pangools do, i. e. t they spread
a cloth at the foot of the tree and then get up into its branches and sit there calling
out for alms, and thus effect a gocd reconnoitre. This dodge was adopted in a
case in the Buldana District.
Property (jewellery) is either cut up at once into small pieces or melted
(nearly every owner of a pal is possessed of melting im-
Modes of secreting property. v , J , f r . ,. , i , , ,
plements and a pair of jewellers scales) and secreted
(1) by burying;
(2) by being put into the hollow of the bamboos of their pals and then
plugged up :
(3) by being put into the secret pockets of a deer skin bag all possess.
These bags are made of four folds of skin, two being fastened to-
gether on each side with a piping of leather along the top with a run-
ning net-work of twine (which can be easily unfastened) to make each
side appear as if made of one piece. Thus each bag has in reality
three pockets whereas only one or the centre one is visible to the un-
initiated. It is in these side or secret pockets the gold and silver is
put, the centre compartment being filled with soopari nuts, betel
leaves and another kind of not used for clarifying water. On the
bag being searched it is turned upside down, and all these nuts, &c.,
tumble out, and being considered empty is thrown on one side, no
one not up to the dodge dreams of the side secret pockets which
with their contents escape notice. The skin being hard and rough
and with the hair on, the small pieces of gold and silver are not
easily felt ; each bag is about 14X10 inches. The piping down the
sides of the bag is also made hollow to hold bars of gold and silver;
(A\ by being put into the false bottom of their winnowing 'baskets (soop).
This is a neat and clever thing and the baskets are specially made
to order. In addition to the ordinary bottom, another and finer
piece of matting is made in the exact shape to fit on top. It
is fastened all round the edges to the bamboo framework by the
ordinary slips of bamboo. It is between these two bottoms that
gold and silver flattened out is secreted and the edges refastened.
1 he careful Policeman during a search not wishing to leave any
utensils unexamined wants to turn grain and flour out of all the
pots. The females rush forward with their winnowing baskets, and
beg hard that the contents may not be thrown on the ground and
spoiled, but as a favour to empty them into the baskets. The
unsuspecting Policeman not wishing to damage grain or flour does
as asked, little thinking that between the folds of those empty and
unsuspicious looking flat baskets may be hundreds of rupees worth
of gold and silver ;
(5) in small pockets sewn into the folds of the women's sarees ;
(6) in the folds of their pal coverings ;
(7) in small bags let into all conceivab'e nooks and corners cf their pack-
(8) in their rice pounders a hollow 5s scooped out, jwellery put in, and the
hole plugged up so neatly as hardly to show ;
(9) in the hollows of their bamboo lathis.
These people, young and old, male as well as female, are exceedingly smart
at burying articles on the very spot whereon they may be sitting. The writer
saw a case whilst a gang was being searched actually in his presence.
Articles of unbroken jewellery are sold to village jewellers. The vendors
passing themselves off as Komtees (a Telinga merchant
tribe who wander about the country, -exchanging brass
and copper utensils for old clothing or pieces of jewellery); Patels of villages also
are sometimes the. purchasers. Brass and copper pots, &c., are generally sold
or mortgaged to Waddars or Dhers or Mangs, Cloths, &c., are sold to whoever
These Sanchaloos alias Tirmullees alias Phocl Malis, but whom the writer*
strongly suspects to be a branch of the Karwuroo or
Oeneral remarks. Tr .. < ., . . , , j j
Kaikari tribe, are, males and females, a most daring and
desperate c'ass of people. Let a gang enter a district and the'r presence is
immediately known by an outburst of crime of sorts in the surrounding villages
of their encampment. Mang-Garodees and other criminal tribes Beraris are
accustomed to, are as children compared with these desperate criminals. In
nearly every gang some of the men will be seen bearing unmistakeable sword cuts
and spear wounds on their bodies received evidently in some thieving excursion.
Some women, who have given good evidence and information, state that in some
districts; policemen sent with them on challan, have been beaten and sent about
their business. On a recent occasion in the Buldana District a Chief Constable
and two Constables (one a Telenga fortunately) c.aoie across a large gang in
some waste land near the borders of His Highness the Nizam's Dominions.
Wishing to search them, they showed fight and said to one another in Telugu,_" \\e
are many, they are few, let's kill the lot, and throw their bodies in the Moglai, no
one will know anything about it." The Telenga Constable understanding their
language, warned the Chief, who immediately sent to the nearest village for help,
which came and he carried out rvs search. A Kaikari approver from the Thuggi
* Though their methods resemble those of the Kaikaris recent information shows them to be a sub-division
of the Waddars (EDJTOS).
and Daeoiiv Departm-nt being hei n Kaj.i) lie was introduced to the
temale Saiu-halnos here. His opinion is, they are Telrn^u K.iikaris, hut he is
shaky on tliis point a.nd result of his interview leaves tin: matter doubtful.
The writer has taken much trouble and has had points corroborated by mem-
bers cf different things and by their females, extending over a period of some
is. lie then-fore thinks this brief history is pretty trustworthy, and hopes it
may prove of some use to his brother Police officers in helping to put a check
on these parasites of native society, who have taken to Berar only within the
last 6 or 7 years. Inspector Priestly has very materially helped in the com-
pilation of this history.
F. ]. GUNTHORPE, LIEUT.-COI.ONEL,
CAMP DEOLGAON RAJA:") District Superintendent of Police,
T/io loth Oct)bcr 1886. ) Buldana District.
Telugu and Slang spoken by Sanchaloos.
Hides the property
Police are come
Go and examine the house
I have seen a house
It's a wealthy house
Let us go
Strike and get away
Don't let out
The property is there
Club or stick
Jump into a well
Put the property into a well
Give a false name
Tell the truth
Give me the property
Copper and brass utensils
Somoo dhassee oettoo
Bokee wandloo wacha
Yeloo choosee ra
Dhoba woloo yeloo wanadhu
Koti wallee po
Somoo akada woonnadhee
Bavee lo dhoomkoo
Bavee lo wagoo
Dhonga paroo yevoo
Nakoo somoo yevoo
Kanchkum gulla karloo.
Yellee kudhum ra.
Sanpum ukada jageedhu.
Note on Sanchalpo or Chanchelwar by Mr. Armstrong, officiating
District Superintendent of Police, Nagpur.
A very interesting account of these people, entitled " A brief History of the
Sanchaloo Tribe" was written by Alajcr Gunthorpe nearly 30 years ago. This
account however is somewhat out of date. While retaining their habits of crime
Sanchaloos of the present day have discarded many of their old disguises and
have adopted new ones ; their ways of living too have changed, so much so that
it would be impossible to recognise a Sanchaloo encampment at sight from the
description of it given by Gunthorpe.
Names. The following are a few typical Sanchaloo names.
Men. Modlati, Nadiwadoo, Sunigadoo, Sonka, Potewadoo.
Women. Timaka, Marrima, Kesama, Yenkama.
The following are some of the names they will generally give on being ques-
Men. Tiira, Jatwa, Nago, Rama, Gerunda, Mussia.
Women. Tuni, Satur, Nagi, Massi.
Castes assumed. In his history Gunthorpe mentions that Sanchaloos
originally belonged to and formed part of the Waddar family. When he wrote
of them, however, these people apparently never call themselves Waddars
now they seldom call themselves anything but Matti Waddars. The
fenuine Matti Waddar is generally honest and commonly met with, and
anchaloos have apparently found by experience that as Matti Waddars
they enjoy an immunity from Police surveillance. They have therefore
adopted the Waddar habits of dress and living and at first sight easily pass
themselves off as the genuine article. They no longer live in the tents or pals
referred to by Gunthorpe but make for themselves straw huts such as are used by
Waddars. The huts consist of strips of straw matting, very neatly made and
resembling china matting, stretched over arched bamboos buried in the ground.
Similarly the Sanchaloo no longer transports his belonging on bullocks or pack-
ponies but uses donkeys for the purpose as Waddars do. In order to live up to
their disguise, Sanchaloos have adopted most of the habits of the Wadd'ars,
i. e., the men never wear shoes but sometimes wear sandals ; tlie women wear no
choices nor do they wear glass bangles on both wrists, glass bangles are invariably
worn on the right wrist only and silver kadas on the left wrist. Both men and women
eat pan leaves and this the genuine Matti Waddar seldom or never does. A fe w
picks and shovels will generally be found in a Sanchaloo encampment, but if t he
hands of the men be examined they will be found soft and free from the scars
and callosities with which the hand of the genuine earth worker is generally
covered. Moreover if a gang of Sanchaloos is watched for a little time it will be
found that the men seldom do any work, the only occasions when they do work,
for a few days, being when the police have for some reason become suspicious,
or when they have successfully brought off a dacoity and wish to pose as honest
labourers. Should their assumed caste of Waddar become known to the Police
they assume any one of the following castes.
Komtis. As such they generally wander about in small parties and carry
with them a suppl) of beads, needles, thread, looking glasses, and brass trinkets.
When posing as Komtis their goods are generally transported on pack-ponies but
never on donkeys. The goods are ostensibly for sale, but, if the gang is
watched, it will be found that very few of the articles are ever sold nor does the
vendor seem anxious to find purchasers.
Tirmnllees. As far as my information goes Sanchaloos when posing as
Tirmullees wear the sacred thread, paint the Siva mark, consisting of three per-
pendicular lines (the middle one white and the other two red) on their foreheads
and beg from door to door repeating the words " Lachmi Narayan Govinda
Sautties Suwaglay Ma Lakshmi." They also sometimes pose as Pul Malis. In
one instance a man who escaped the police of one district called himself a Pul
Mali in a neighbouring disrtict where he was Arrested. Some of these people
are said to be settled as cultivators in the Bellary District of the Madras Presi-
dency, where they are known as Dasaroloos.
Means of 'identification. .In dress and general appearance the Sanchaloo
resembles the ordinary Matti Waddar. but the men are generally taller and much
better built. Female attire consists of a saree only, worn in Telangana fashion,
necklets composed of black and colored beads intermingled with gold and
corals are worn by the women, and some of the men wear silver kadas. A V--
shaped mark with a dot in the centre is tattooed on the forehead of most females
between the eyebrows, and in a great number of instances both men and women
bore three small scars, one on each temple and one between the eyebrows.
Almost all the men examined will be found to have brand marks round the navel,
and in one instance these marks were noticed on a child barely two weeks eld.
Grain and other articles are carried by the gang when on the move in panniers
and when the gang is encamped, these panniers will be found deposited on
rough wooden stools before each hut. Neatly made horse-hair snares will
generally be found in some of the huts. These are used for snaring squirrels,
which the Sanchaloo, unlike the Waddar, eats. Peacock feathers, bells and
conches are still used by the Sanchaloo in begging and some of these will gene-
rally be found. Moreover in each hut will be found a sma\l round tin box con-
taining vermillion, a few pice tied in a piece of cloth and a crude representation
in silver of the snake-god Nagoba. This generally resembles the letter M spread
out very wide. In some cases are added a silver " chhatri."
Mode of Committing crime. Robberies, dacoities and house-breakings are
committed by the men, who seldom indulge in petty crime, unless it be to
occasionally steal a fowl for supper. Bazar thefts, grain thefts from fields and
theft of poultry are committed by boys who thus qualify for the higher order of
crime when they grow older. They are particularly clever at catching and
wringing the necks of fowls, and so quickly and skilfully is this done that a bird
will be caught in a crowded bazar without the theft being detected. The
women seldom commit crime, their duty being to conceal and dispose of the pro-
perty stolen by the men. House-breakings are generally committed during
dark nights and the following modus operand i adopted. One or two members of the
gang are sent to any big town or village the gang may happen to be near in
order to spy out the land. These generally sit near the village well and notice
carefully the women who come to draw water. Should a woman wearing gold
ornaments come to the well, she is followed home, and the approaches to the
house carefully noted should the spies consider it worth looting. Then again
they will disguise themselves as mendicants and beg from door to door or some-
times call themselves Mang Garodis and go from house to house playing on flutes.
The women and children are generally drawn out of the house by the music and
the spy notices what ornaments they wear. Then again the men will some-
times carry hammers and go from door to door enquiring whether their services
are needed to point mill-stones. They can never come to terms and will gene-
rally ask three or four times the amount offered them, their object being merely
to get to see the women-folk of the house. Having marked down a house the
spies note carefully how it can best be entered and return to the gang, which is
generally encamped 6 or 8 miles off. If the burglary is likely to be a heavy one,
a cockf is sacrified to the instrument of house-breaking
and T not 3 3to C len SalWa ' Sb0llght wh ' lch '" * heir slan g ' S Ca " ed a " " ulam k-" Tnen
after midnight the men strip themselves, wearing only a
"Chaddie" and a "Kamarband" in which stones are concealed, arm themselves
with clubs and set out. They seldom carry knives and never swords. Having
arrived at the house, 3 or 4 men armed with stones are posted outside to
drive off any villagers who may happen to approach and the most experienced
hand proceeds to break into the house. Unless the door can be otherwise opened
the " buglee " method of house-breaking is invariably adopted, i. e., a hole is
made near the door post and the chain removed by inserting the hand through
the hole. A wall is never broken through. ' Immediately the door is opened one
man holds a sheet up against the doorway so that should any of the inmates
of the house awake,, they will think the door is closed. Four of the most
experienced hands then enter the house and remove ornaments from the persons
of sleeping women and any boxes that are thought to contain jewellery. Should
* NOTE. The only freshly born children, two in number, both had fresh stars on them. The burning is said
to takr p'are on the 8th dy.
any of the people in the lion -.p. awake, the house-breaking is immediately err.
ted into a dacoity, the thieves using their luti: 'v regardless of what injury
they may cause Cloth is never removed, and any boxes removed will generally
be found a little distance away from the scene of ihe offence. The doors of
neighbouring houses are sometimes chained by the thieves to prevent assistance,
but generally the Sanchaloo has too great a contempt for the ordinary tc .
man's courage to take this precaution. Should the gang be encamped for some
time in the neigbourhood, a pair of shoes or cloth is sometimes left near the
houses to divert suspicion from Waddars who are known not to wear shoes.
Concealment and disposal of property.- Having successfully accomplished
dacoity the gang moves on, the property being carried by a man who is generally
6 or 8 miles ahead of the gang, and is generally buried In the neighbourhood of
the next camping ground. This continues till the gang has gone a safe
distance from the scene of the dacoity and, is then sold and the proceeds
divided, or if a considerable quantity of jewellery has been obtained it is broken up
and divided. The men who enter the house are entitled to a double share,
while all the others, including widows and the wives of men in jail, get one share
each. The man who spots the house gets Rs. 5 in addition to his ordinary
share. Most of the modes of concealing property, referred to in Gunthorpe's
history have been given up, as the Police have got to know them, but small
pieces of gold, sovereigns and rupees are still sewn into blankets and quilts.
Another clever trick of theirs is to twist pieces of gold kadas into ropes they
make. The piece of rope is generally lying about the hut during the search and,
unless the Police officer searching the huts, unravels the strands of the rope,
the presence in it of the gold pieces escapes detection. It is seldom
that property is found in the huts, and the fie'd in which the encampment stands
should always be ploughed up for concealed property.
Some of the older women are practised in swallowing gold ornaments, and it
is said that some of the women can retain as much as six tolas for a couple of
days. Incredible as this may seem it is nevertheless true, and in the Yeotmal
District gold ornaments in pieces have been recovered from women under
observation. Should the gold swallowed refuse to come away, the woman eats a
mash made by pounding the pulp and seed of the " Bir " fruit together, and
this it is said seldom fails in the desired effect.
Property is generally disposed of to Sonars in the villages the gang passes
through, the cupidity of these gentlemen being relied on as the best guarantee that
they will not tell the Police. It is seldom that a Sonar gives the gang away.
General. Waifs from other castes are sometimes admitted into the tribe,
and brought up .s Sanchaloos, eventually marrying Sanchaloo women. Of a gaiv-(
arrested in the Nagpur District one man was found to be a Gadi Waddar by birth,
one a Gowli and the third a Yerra Golawar. Sanchaloos are desperate criminals. A
gang arrested in Nagpur was found to have committed over thirty house-breakings,
robberies and dacoities in the space of 16 months and to have killed at least two
people. While under trial a gang of nine men escaped from the jail gates while
being conveyed from the prison van into the jail, under circumstances of great
daring, and committed two dacoities within a few hours of their escape. The wives
of imprisoned men are admitted into any gang they may meet with, and v. i : i
invariably say their husbands are dead.
Before going to Press the following no'c pn Sanchaloos has been received
from the office of the Inspector-General of Po'ice, His Highness the Nizam's
Dominions, Hyderabad. .
The word Sanchaloo is evidently ano'li of Chenchulu, also known as
Cbenchalwad, which is the loc.nl name of a tribe which exploited His Highness
the Nizam's Dominions, and even now gangs of it are to be found working in it
with intent to commit crime.
These people are in reality an offshoot from *the Waddar tribe, separated
Or . !(rin from the parent stock. They entered on a life of crime,
making it their sole means of obtaining a living. But in
order to get information calculated to help them in filling their pockets, and to
avoid drawing on themselves the attentions of the police, they had to adopt
ostensible professions, and soon began to be known by names descriptive of the
occupations they professed to follow. These names are:
1. Pamula. (known in the Bombay Presidency as Pamalor, and in
Hyderabad as Yerragollawar or Yerragolla). These generally go
about exhibiting snakes. Incidentally it: may be mentioned, that it
was probably this practice which led to some of them being classed
as " Mang Garodis" by the Poona and Satara Police when con-
victions were obtained against them in 1906.
2. Parkimuggulawar. (in the Madras Presidency). These pretend to
be exercisers of devil?, whom they profess to expel by spreading
flour of different kinds on the ground.
3. Dasari. These go about with kavads as Ganges water-carriers.
Some also carry lighted lamps, and keep continually blowing conch
shells, others carry the lamp without the conch shell. They gener-
ally invoke the names of " Venkatravana Govinda" and ask for
alms in these names. Peacock feathers will usually be included in
4. Pusalwad. These, like the others, are wanderers, their women gener-
ally hawk beads, needles and miscellaneous articles.
The above names do not in themselves indicate criminal propensities, but in
certain parts of the country the very names by which they are known betray only
too plainly their real profession, and the fact that a gang is believed to belong
to a tribe bearing the name, and is found wandering about without a satisfactory
explanation, is enough to justify the arrest of its members ; the names here
referred to are : \
Kathira. (Madras Presidency).
Ghant ichor. (Bombay Presidency).
Both these names point to the dexterity attained by the individuals of the
gangs in picking and cutting pockets.
Donga Dasari. The prefix shows the occupation of these people to be that
The names already given are the ones by which Sanchaloos are generally
known, but of late years some associated gangs coming from the Madras Presi-
dency have called themselves '' Mushti Collars" when arrested in the Auranga-
bad District, and " Jhinga Bhois " in the Berar. The adoption of these titles
give them the entry into villages and houses without arousing the suspicious of
the country-folk. They are simply regarded as poor mendicants who live on
charity, or as itinerant hawkers who turn an honest penny by selling peddlery.
Gangs of this tribe have also been known to call themselves Jogis, Uchlas,
Juti-waddars, Phul-malis, Tirmulis, Kamatis and ordinary or Mannu-waddars.
Some of these gangs have gone in for basket making, mat weaving and tattooing,
and this has resulted in their being erroneously classed as Yerrukallas or Kaikaris.
The original home of this tribe is in the Northern Districts of the Madras
Presidency, but small colonies of them are now scattered
Field of operations. . J r rf TT- i i iv- ii-k
about in parts of His Highness the Nizam s Dominions
and in the Bombay Presidency, where the commonest names by which they are
known are Yerragollars and Ghan' ichors respectively.
A meeting of the leaders of the more important gangs is called, generally in
the Kurnool District, and plans arediscussed for the season, or even for a num-
ber of consecutive years. The gangs then split up, each going towards the
part of the country allotted to it. Those proceeding north usually enter His
Highness the Nizam's Dominions by the jungly portions of the Mahbubnagar
District, a great stretch of which borders on the Kurnool District. The details
of the work for the season are there settled and each gang splits up into parties.
Some set off to exploit the Nalgonda, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Atrafbalda and
other districts ; (he rest proceed north, plundering the country as they go; they
scatter themselves in the Raichur, Gulburga and Bijapur districts.
At the end of the season the gangs rendezvous again in the jungles on the
borders of the Gulburga and Bijapur districts such a meeting certainly occurred
in April 1906. Plans for the next season are discussed, and the gangs split up as
before and exploit the Bedar, Nandair, Bir, Aurangabad, Sholapur, Poona and
Once again the gangs will meet in the jungles of the Khandesh District,
whence they visit the Berars and Central Provinces. It will thus be seen that
they systematically "work" the Madras Presidency, His Highness the Nizam's
Dominions, the Bombay Presidency and the Central Provinces.
At these assemblies one of the most daring and experienced leaders is
Constitution of Gangs selected to arrange plans for the season. He divides up
the country to be exploited and tells off a gang to each
tract of country. Every 'gang has its own leader who has under him from 30 to
50 men. These gangs are again sub-divided into parties of 8 or so, called
" Gumps ". Each Gump has its master burglar, who is to all intents and
purposes the leader of that Gump it is his duty not only to use, but also to carry
the house-breaking instrument known among them as " Baku".
Another interesting note, compiled by Sub-Inspector Rashid-Ullah Khan
has been received from Yeotmal, which gives useful information about the so
called " Matti-Waddars " who have recently been giving trouble in the Yeotmal
District and vicinity. According to this note the gangs in that district were
composed of " Muchi-Waddars " (probably identical with the " Mushti-Waddars "
of the Hyderabad note. They are said to have degenarated into a " Neech "
Jat with whom other or " Unch Waddars " will not ordinarily intermarry ; when such
a matrimonial alliance is contracted, the Muchi man or maid has to undergo the
purificatory ceremony of having his or her tongue burned with molten gold.
These Muchi- Waddars, or at any rate those belonging to the gangs found
in Yeotmal, are declared to have peculiarities of religion, customs, dress and
ornaments, as well as clearly defined body marks which serve to distinguish them
from " Unch " Waddars when they are in thei* 1 nor'iia'- condition, but, the note
goes on to say, they always travel about disguised, so that the distinguishing cha-
racteristics are not easily observable ; still by a good knowledge of them the
policeman's task ought to be made less difficult.
How many gangs these remarks are properly applicable to it is impossible
to say ; but as several " gumps " are included, the description is well worth giving
To begin with religion. Muchi-Waddars worship the sisters Maryai and
Gangai together with their brother Dattatriya, also Bhawani and Hanuman under
his title Maroti ; these deities are, it is true also usually worshipped by other
Waddars, but their pantheon includes other gods, the Matti Waddars, for instance,
are said to worship Soori Dewas, and the two ammans Massi and Kolapur, and
the Gari Waddars worship Yenkoba.
Unch Waddars observe all the ordinary Hindu festivals, but the Muchi
Waddars observe only the following :
1. Holi Kamed panduga or Simga.
2. Pola Edulu Panduga.
4. Nagpanchmi Nagal Pancum,
5. Dasehra. ' .
6. Pitra Paksh Pitralu Panduga.
7. Til Shankarant Chimbul Panduga.
The Bhagat, or priest, of the gang has in his keeping a " Pitari " (bamboo
basket), in which he deposits hollow silver images of their deities, the eyes and
moustaches of which are made of pure gold stuck on by resin, called by them
*'Mehu"; for these images silver ''palnas" (cradles) and a store of " Kookoo "
(red powder) are also kept. Sick persons go to the Bhagat, who intercedes with
the appropriate god or gcddess, and accepts offerings of gold and silver, which
are also deposited in the pitari, and, as opportunity offers, are expended on ani-
mals for sacrificial purposes.
As regards weddings the note says that " Unch " Waddars do not employ
Brahmans, nor does the bride wear a choli. On the other hand the Muchi
always calls in a Brahman ; three days before the ceremony the affianced pair have
to sit in a newly pitcher! pal. The ceremony itself consists in each parent carry-
ing his child to the God Maroti, on whose feet the pair bow their heads. The
bride and groom are then decorated on the head, knees and feet with kookoo and
coloured rice by married women ; then three dates, and three bits of pan and of
cocoanut, previously prepared by the bride, are placed in the mouth of the bride-
groom, and are subsequently eaten by the betrothed pair. After this the bride's
sai 'i is tied to the kurta of the groom and a feast is held ; at the termination of
the feast the fathers carry each his own child to the marriage pal, and the cere-
mony is brought to a conclusion.
The bride's clothes and ornaments are given to her by her future father-in-
law, and consist of a black sari and choli, new glass bangles, jorwas (rings on the
second toe of each foot), a karanfhul and kamal in her ears, a lohng in her nose,
and last but not least a foie (mangal sutr) for her neck.
The bridegroom is dressed in a red or yellow pagri, a white dhoti and white
coat or kurta. Widow marriage is permitted.
Muchi Waddars bury their dead in old clothes, whereas " Unch " Waddars
cremate their dead wrapped in new sheets.
These Muchi Waddars are said to brand their infants, male and female, on
the seventh day after birth with a hot needle ; a square is traced round the navel
and above and on both sides of it, two parallel lines, equal in length to the sides
of the square and parallel to them, are also burned. Unch Waddars are said
not to brand their children.
The men too were found to be tattooed in two places:
-(i) on the point of the left shoulder ;
(2) on the back of the left hand ;
and the devices were either a simple dot, or representations of either Rama or
A child born in answer to prayer and devoted to the deity (mannat-ka-paida)
has his left nostril bored.
No Muchi Waddar had borings in his ears whereas Matti Waddars have
their left ears bored.
The women were noticed to be profusely tattooed, invariably in the under-
(i) between the eyebrows. One or other of the following patterns.
(2) a dot on either cheek.
(3) a dot on chin.
(i) Sandhni, on back of hand. This is a representation of the " chowk "
on which the bridegroom sits.
(2) Chandra Maian, on the inside of the wrist.
of the moon.
These are symbols
(3) Teet and Afanttsh (can this be a mistake for Dhanush bow ?) on the
inside of fore-arm.
(4) Palna, on the arm just above elbow-joint. This is a representation
of the cradle.
(5) Basingha, on the upper arm. This is in imitation of the crown worn
by the bride-groom.
(i) Chendu-ka-phul on the wrist.
(a) Cadi, on the fore-arm (design not given).
EBW^j!* 1 *"
(3^ Five Gaolin (Milkmaid) sisters on the upper arm.
/\ /\ x\ /\ /\
Ears are bored both in the lobe and in the fold (anthelix or upper portion.)
The left nostril is also perforated.
Waddar women of the Unch classes are tattooed to a minor extent, but
they are said to always have a tattoo spot on each temple ; and their ears are
not'bored in the lobe, but in two places in the fold.
Each of these Muchi Waddar man
(1) a red " Mandu " fiagri 15 or more yards long by 8 or 9 inches wide ;
after being wound, it is fastened behind the left ear, a fold being
first brought across the crown of the head from the right. (Matti
Waddars were khadi caps sewn square like a bag.)
(2) a rough white dhoti reaching to the ankle and done up Marwaris
fashion (Ordinary waddar's dhotis, when worn, fall to the knee.)
(3) a kvriha of latha without lining but with sleeves, or a lined mirsai
of khadi with two pockets and sleeves. (Unch Waddars do not
Their women wore :
(1) Dhotis of black cloth, called "band", resembling a maratha dhoti
but tied with a kanch after the Gujarati style (most Waddars tie
the dhoti in the Telugu style).
(2) Chillis of khan (which is elastic), sewn in the Maratha style, and
knotted in front (other Waddars do not wear choli*}.
(3) They suspended black cloth bags (about six by four inches) by a
string from the shoulder and tucked it ; n to the dhoti at the waist
(this bag was sometimes found to contain pieces of stolen gold,
also pan supari) .
(4) They tied their hair like Telugu women in a bunch (jura] at the back
of the head, or on the top of the head choti- fashion, or even let
it fall loose. (Other Waddars usually gather up their hair choti
As regards their ornaments the note says that these men did not wear baits
in their ears as is usual with Matti Waddars, but they did wear silver karas
round the left biceps.
The ornaments worn by the women in the gangs require rather minute
discriptions, they are detailed as follows :
(1) a Mukhphula (lohng) in the left nostril (Matti Waddar women wear
(2) a karanphul in the lobe of the ear.
(3) a kamal in the upper cartilage, or fold, of the ear,
Maratha " bagri " (Matti Waddar women
earrings in their ears).
(4) afiote, glass bead necklace of two strands, with six or seven central
gold beads flanked by beads of red stone or b} pieces of gold, the
size of an eight anna piece, called paddak. (Matti Waddar
women have no red stones or paddaks in their poles).
(5) Glass bangles, and brass and silver karas on both wrists. (Matti
Waddar women Vear glass bangles on the left wrist only, but karas
are worn on the right.)
it resembles the
(6) Jorioas, silver rings on second toe.
(7) Kotkoo mark painted between eyebrows. (Matti Waddar women
do not apply kookoo, but they blacken their teeth with mwsi,
which the Muchis do not do.)
If the Muchi Waadar women cannot afford the ornaments mentioned in (i),
( 2 )> (3) they substitute sticks of the nim (meli azadiractita), or the dry sap!of the
fuan (Sorghum vulgare) stalk. Widows do not wear potes or jorwas, nor do
they apply kookoo. Unmarried girls wear lakh aret bangles instead of glass.
Muchi Waddars speak Marathi and Hindustani rather more fluently than
Matti Waddars do.
The disguises they select depend on the locality and on circumstances.
In Madras that of the " Nandewal " (beggars) ^appeals to them, they then apply
halii to their forehead in the place of kookoo, are not accompanied, when
begging, by women, but drive about a cow or bullock with some deformity. In
the Berars and Nagpur they passed themselves off as Matti Waddars and imitated
their dress so far as they could.
In describing their methods of crime the note says their chief occupation
is house-breaking'; the master burglar of the gump is called " Rangati " he
carries a knife and the haku an iron bar about one foot long with a point tapering
for the last inch. The remaining seven or eight are known as " Wataris ", they
arm themselves with lathis and carry stones in their dhotis. Before setting to
work they divest themselves of their kurtas or mirzais leaving them under a
tree. They then entice or drive away any dogs that are likely to give the alarm,
and when all is quiet, they proceed to the spot and fasten the doors of the
neighbours from the outside. The Rangati alone enters and entry is effected
either by climbing over a wall into the house or by means of bagli nakab ; in the
latter case a sheet is held up over the door to prevent draughts or light entering.
The Rangati lights a match to get the general lie of things inside. They steal
nothing but cash and jewellery and often remove the ornaments from sleeping
persons ; boxes are broken open outside and not carried away. Force is not
used unless any resistance is shown. Before leaving they usually deposit articles
such as shoes to divert suspicion from themselves. The investigating officer
may therefore infer that Muchi Waddars have been at work if the signs are con-
sistent with the above methods.
They also indulged in petty thefts of goats, fowls and grain for consump-
tion, these were all of the usual type.
Sometimes they consulted the oracle or its substitute the Bhagat who sat
on the ground, previously leeped with cow-dung ; before him dhup or lobhctn was
burned, the Devi then took possession of him and answered questions put to
him ; if the answers were favourable they proceeded with their undertaking. On
the way a sneeze, phiao of the solitary jackal and the sight of a snake crossing
the path were considered unlucky.
The disposal of stolen property has already been mentioned by Mr.
Armstrong, the note says further that the hollows of the bamboo pegs, used for
tethering donkeys, were made use of, as also the collars of the dogs.
Their donkeys were purchased at Marri in the Pathardi Taluk of Ahmad-
These gangs kept good looking girls of other castes for the delectation of
such constables as might be put on to watch their movements ; and they did not
scruple to provide for the other wants of these officials. They used to rely to
a great extent on their boys and girls to bring them information of places worth
looting, as these children could go anywhere unsuspected.
Banjaras are to be found all over India, but the accounts of them in the differ-
ent Provinces vary in a rather confusing manner. For instance, in the United
Provinces we find three Hindu tribes
and three Muhammadan tribes
In Southern India all the tribes are described as Hindus and are generally
known as.Lambadis or Sugalis, Charans, Mathurias and Lavanas.
In the intervening country (including Central Provinces and Berar) we hear
of both Hindu and Muhammadan tribes. From the south we get the Hindu
Banjaras called Charans, Mathurias and Labhanas. The Muhammadan Banjaras
we meet are the Dhasis or Banjara " Bhats," Multani Banjaras whose real name
is Kaenjar or Kenjar Chaggras and Mukeris.
I will take the Hindus first. Of these the most criminal are the Charans,
who are divided into families, of which the Rathors are to be found in our
Mr. Cumberlege, District Superintendent of Police of Wun (Berar), wrote
over 40 years ago a very interesting account of them in the Berar Gazetteer.
He divides them into three grand Hindu tribes
(a) Mathuria (those coming from Mathura),
(b) Lavana (probably derived from the Sanskrit " lavana," salt, being
(c) Charan (Sanskrit " charna," a wanderer ; chara, a spy).
These three tribes trace their descent from the ; great Brahman and Rajput
races of 'Upper India and ascribe their tribe segregation to legendary irregular
marriages. The Banjaras are said to have accompanied the Moghal armies to the
south early in the iyth century as grain-carriers and from them started this " Dak-
khan " branch. Mr. Cumberlege says the Rathor family of the Charan tribe is
very strong and holds sway in Berar.
All the Dak-khan is apportioned out among the different Banjara tribes, and
no camp (or tanda) trades or grazes cattle beyond its own borders (here
read Crooke, pages 151, 152, 153 and 154 to line i on page 155).
The oath most sacred to the Rathors is taken in the name of Siva Bhaya,
a holy man who resided at Pahora in the Wun District, where there are perhaps
still temples to Siva Bhaya and Mariyai, and where a nephew of Siva Bhaya,
by name Sukha Bhaya, officiated in Mr. Cumberlege's time. There are numer-
ous " Bhagats " to whom they go in serious difficulties : otherwise the chief
Naik, or their own Naiks, settle disputes.
There is a hut set apart in the camp and devoted to Mithu Bhukiya, an old
freebooter. No one may eat, drink or sleep in this hut : it is for devotional pur-
poses only. In front of it is a flagstaff to which a piece of white cloth is attached,
By all criminals Mithu Bhukiya is worshipped as a clever freebooter, but he is
more thought of on the east of the Wardha river than on the west of it. Whenever
the white flag is seen, it means that Mithu Bhukiya is worshipped in that
camp. It should therefore be watched carefully at night, when the tanda is
suspected to be committing crime. The men who have arranged to commit
crime meet at night in this hut, where an Image of Sati is produced. Ghi is
put into a saucer and into this a wick is placed ; it is very broad at the bottom
and tapers upwards. The wick standing erect is lit, an appeal is made to Sati
for an omen, those worshipping mentioning in low tones to the goddess where they
are going and for what purpose. The wick is then watched and should it drop
at all, the omen is propitious. All immediately get up and make an obeisance
to the flag and start then and there for the business they have agreed on. They
are unable to return to their homes before they start, because they must not
speak to any one till the business has been carried through. Here we have a
reason why Banjaras are rarely known to speak when engaged in a robbery ; for,
if challenged, these men who have gone through the ceremony may not reply.
Should they have reached their destination and be 'challenged, if any one of
them reply, the charm is broken and all return home ; they must again worship
and take the omen or give up the attempt : but they generally punish the man
w ! ho accosted them, sometimes even killing him. If one of the gang sneezes on
the road, it is fatal and they all return.
Another family of the Charan tribe is the " Barthiya :" they are mostly found
further south in Telingana and worship Siva Das.
The Banjaras of Central India have a curious form of ox-worship : they
have a certain bullock in each tanda devoted to the god Balaji and call it Hatadia
(Sanskrit Hatia and Adia, " which is an extra sin to kill "). No burden is ever
laid on it ; it is decorated with streamers of red-dyed silk and tinkling bells, with
many brass chains and rings on the neck and feet, strings of cowrie shells and
silken tassels hanging in all directions. It moves at the head of the tanda, and
the place where it lies down, they make their halting place for the day. At its
feet they make their vows when difficulties overtake them ; and in illness
whether of themselves or their cattle, they trust to its worship as a cure.
Gunthorpe says of the Charans, they used to commit dacoity on a large scale,
but now do so on a small scale : they also commit highway robbery, go in for cattle-
lifting, sheep-stealing, kidnapping children, and steal from carts at night either
when on the move or halted : they also commit thefts at large fairs, and pilfer
grain and cotton at harvest time. They do not, however, take much to house-
Liquor vendors, resident Banjaras, and Marwaris -often give them the
information on which they plan their looting expeditions ; but often they watch
roads and make their own opportunities. They generally arm themselves with
sticks called " gadees " of the " khair " or " anjan " and peel off the bark : these
are burned or hidden or destroyed after the crime.
They generally commence their attack by stone-throwing and seldom speak
but grunt their signals instead the reason of this you have already seen .from
Mr. Cumberlege's account of the Hindu worshippers of Mithu Bhukiya.
Dhotis are braced up tight, nothing is worn on the body and the faces are
usually muffled. After committing a dakaiti, they nearly always lay a false trail
leading away from their tanda for a mile or two, dropping things so as to make
the track clear, and after dropping the last article, double back to their destina-
tion by. unfrequented paths. This false track will often lead to some gang they
have a grudge against.
Stolen property is at first generally buried in the jungle (Gunthorpe gives a
number of likely hiding places on page 34, Hindi copies); their receivers or
" fences " are often liquor vendors, Marwaris or village headmen.
Cattle-lifting is their principal form of crime, and Gunthorpe gives you a
description of their methods. Banjaras do mot assume disguises. They are
much addicted to smoking " Choongis," and traces will sometimes help ta
identify the perpetrators as Banjaras.
Mathurias and Labhanas, according to Gunthorpe, also cattle-lift and kidnap,
but the District Superintendent of Police, Betul, in an account given in the Central
Provinces Gazette which I will read to you later, says the Labhanas are not
criminals. Mathurias, who are, I believe, the Basdevas,' wear the sacred thread
and the women generally wear blue saris. They are distinguished from the
other tribes by these signs. I have known a gang of Basdevas to be dakaited
by Charans (I think) in this district. The difference between the women of
the Labhans and Charans is that the women of the former wear saris and
the latter " lahengas."
Gunthorpe unfortunately lumps the Charans and Dharis together in his
description of their methods of crime, but the methods are probably different, as
Dharis are now Musalmans (though they were originally Hindus and still worship
Saraswati Devi) : for instance he says they sometimes only grunt and sometimes
cry " Deen ! Deen ?" This latter cry is a moslem one, and undoubtedly is used
by Muhammadan Banjaras oVily.
The Charans will sometimes set fire to a village in several places at once
and drive away the cattle that stampede, while the villagers are engaged in
saving their goods and chattels : other methods employed in stealing are to be
found in your Gunthorpe.
We now come to the Musalman Banjaras and will take first the Multani
Banjaras or Kaenjars or Kenjars. Their tandas do not apparently often penetrate
further south than the Central Provinces, Berar and the northern strip of Hyder-
abad; nor do they appear to go to the United Provinces, unless indeed they are an
offshoot of the Turkiyas, but they journey into the country to the north-west of
these Provinces as far as Western Rajputana. They carry pals with them and
the men never shave their beards and let their back hair grow long. The women
wear fewer ornaments than their Hindu sisters. They are addicted 10 dakaiti,
highway robbery and cattle-lifting, but do not often resort to house-breaking.
Opium is a very favourite article of theft, and they are great 'adepts at stealing
You will find more details in Gunthorpe's account. The Dharis you have
already heard about : Gunthorpe mixes them up with the Hindu Mathurias : they
are the " Bhats" minstrels of the Banjaras, and I gather five out of their twelve
tribes frequent the Central Provinces.
You will also find an account of Chaggras and Mukeris in Gunthorpe, and
I will read you an account of them given by the District Superintendents of Betul
and Hoshangabad in the Police Gazette of September it, 1904.
The last census lumped all the tribes under the one name " Banjara " and
numbered them at 51,000 in the Central Provinces (I have not got the Berar
figures), or about 2,600 in each district. Many of these have of course taken
to cultivation and other trades, but the majority are still nomadic. The figures
show that they were most numerous in Nimar (over 1 1,000), in Wardha, Chanda
and the Chhattisgarh Division. The Betul and Hoshangabad reports show that
they were active there as cattle-lifters in 1904. The Headmaster will also
read you some notes given by Inspector Mahfuzal Rahim, which will be of
use to you.
i; v KANJAR.
Gunthorpe in his notes on Kanjars does not give so complete an account of
gvpsies as one would like. Mr. Crooke, in his " Tribes and Castes of the
United Provinces ", gives a very interesting account of the so-called Kanjars of
those provinces, but experience of the Kanjars of these provinces shows that
Mr. Crooke in classifying Jallads with Kanjars has, so far as our knowledge leads
us to suppose, been entirely misled, though there are customs ,m<l other tin:
which at first sight would seem to justify his conclusions. These Jallads of
Mr. Crooke's are really I believe Doms. Mr. Mahfuzal Rahim went to the
United Provinces to make special enquiries on this point as Mr. Crooke's account
seemed inconsistent with facts ascertained by him.
Kanjars are undoubtedly closely connected with the great family of Sansias,
Haburas,* Berias, Bhatus, and more distant kin, such as the Nats. Gunthorpe
divides them into three tribes, but in this he also has been led into error. I think
it would be far more satisfactory to divide them thus :
(1) Kunchband or Koochiwalla Kanjars (non-criminal).
(2) Kanjars proper (criminal).
The Kunchband Kanjars need not trouble us much : their chief god is Mana,
from whom they profess to be decended, and they make pilgrimages to Manik-
pur, close to which Mana is said to be buried, and they call themselves Saktas.
The real Kanjars who frequent these provinces have a territorial division, and
Gunthorpe calls them Marwari and Dakkhani Kanjars. The Dakkhan appears
to comprise all the country south of the Narbada Valley, and Marwar all the
northern part of the Provinces. So that both kinds are met with in the north.
The Dakkhani Kanjars appear to have originally come from Gujarat, for they
speak that language and generally call themselves Gujaratis.
The Marwari Kanjar woman are by caste rules prohibited from wearing gold
of any kind as ornaments, and this is one of the customs in common with
Mr. Crooks's Jallads.
Very little really is known about the Kanjars : they generally hide their
identity. Mr. Seagrim, who has made a special study of criminal tribes, says
" both Berias and Sansis come under the major head of Kanjars, in which term
are included most of the wandering tribes."
Mr. Mahfuzal Rahim, who is also an expert, and Mr. Mahadeo Prasad, who
has had considerable experience of Kanjars, are inclined to the view that the
Kanjars proper are a very exclusive 'community' as well as ethnologically a
' tribe ', ;md that when Kanjar youths or girls are old enough to take care of them-
selves they are called on to choose whether they will remain Kanjars or join
other tribes. In saying this they too like Mr. Seagrim include Sansis and
Berias under the head of Kanjars.
In this way numbers of them in the olden days joined the ranks of the
Thags, and perhaps now become Sansis ; some at any rate become Nats, and go
about with monkeys. Numbers of their women, who prefer a life of prostitution,
now join the Beria tribe. Kanjars and Berias intermarry. Gunthorpe unfortu-
nately says nothing about their religion and little about their customs that will
help us to distinguish the two tribes from other wandering tribes, and the Kanjars
themselves do not help us in this matter, for they seldom admit they are
About a couple of years ago thirty-two Kanjars were arrested in Berar and sent
up for trial under Section 401 on the charge of being associated for the purpose of
committing thefts in Berar. Twenty-nine of them were convicted and appealed to
the Judicial Commissioner. I have the JuaicialCommissioner's judgment which
It is by no means certain that Haburas are connected with these gypsies ; there is substantial evidence
connecting them with Baoris.
was published in the Police Gazztte, of July 19, 1905. A good deal that is of
interest to us in our study of these tribes can be extracted from this judgment.
Unfortunately there is nothing to distinctly show what Kanjars these thirty-two
were, beyond the fact that they were wandering some way south of the Narbada.
All of them also declared they were Gujarati Bhats, from which facts we may
infer they were " Dakkhani Kanjars "; for Gunthorpe says these Kanjars talk
Gujarati much mixed with Marwari and they speak Marathi fluently, whereas the
Marvvari Kanjars, he says, do not speak Marathi at all, in which case they would
hardly get on in the Berars. Sherring, again, writing on Kanjar Bhats says ;
" These are the Kanjars of Gondwana, the Sansis of Northern India ; they are the
most desperate of all dacoits and wander about the Deccan as though belonging
to the Gujarati Dombaris, or show men ; their time for committing crime is
invariably nightfall." This last is a point which will be emphasised later.
The judgment shows that there were four things which every one of the
thirty-two stated :
(1) That he was a Gujarati Bhat.
(2) That he came from Aurangabad District (in the Nizam's dominions).
(3) That his occupation was the making of string purses, bags, balls
and the like.
(4) That he was a wanderer.
The arresls were practically simultaneous an i all the prisoners were found
wandering in the same territory, but in separate gangs, all these gangs, being
connected with each other and dividing the loot.
That they occasionally admit others to the tribe is shown by the fact that in
the famine of 1 896 this gang picked up a Kumhar boy named Hiria in Jabalpur, and
Hiria remained with them till they were arrested two years ago ; and Mr. Mahadeo
Parsad says they kidnap children from the north of the Provinces and take them
to the Nizam's dominions. They are always on the move the judgment shows
they sometimes visited as many as fifteen villages in a day. The villages fixed on
for their encampments were always carefully selected : as soon as they were
encamped the women and children set about making their string articles and
selling them in the village. This was the only ostensible means of livelihood of
the gang, and the men never shared in the labour. Their work only began after
the evening meal, as soon as it was dark they would sally forth three or four
times a week to steal, returning with their booty later on in the night. It generally
consisted of grain and eatables, but they also stole anything else that came to
hand ; the booty was divided among the members of the gang. These Kanjars
did not habitually go in for dakaiti, robbery or house-breaking, though they
undoubtedly frequently commited technical house-breakings. The only imple-
ments found with the gang which pointed to anything besides theft were three
crowbars and one knife. But, that these Kanjars did not shrink from more violent
froms of crime is proved by the fact that five of the gang had been sentenced for
dakaiti three years before. Now the facts which came out in the trial show
either (i) that this gang of Kanjars are inclined to give up violent crime or (2)
that no evidence was forthcoming to connect them with the more serious classes
of offences against property during their last campaign.
It was very different with a gang of Marwari Kanjars arrested in Nimar a
few years ago. Evidence was forthcoming there to connect members of the gang
with forty dakaitis, and all the authorities, who have written on these people,
accuse them of being the most inveterate and desperate of dakaits.
House-breaking of the description which means " breaking into a house "
seems unknown to them ; Dakkhan Kanjars sometimes employ Badaks and
Mangs to commit house-breakings ofithis kind for them. But these Dakkhanis
commit technical house-breakings which come under the head of " Lurking house-
trespass by night with theft. " To illustrate this I might mention that last year a
gang of Dakkhanis were operating in Saugor, Damoh, Jabalpur and Narsingpur.
I have not got the facts of the case, but I believe- I am right in saying that in
Jabalpur it was found that women hired themselves out as punkhiwallis and
used to go from bungalow to bungalow to pull pankhas and, wherever they w<-re
employed, the houses were looted after they left ; in all these cases technical
house-breaking probably took place.
The Gorindas, many probably from K.injar stock, who take service in the
railway, are rather given to cpium-smuggling, and carry the opium on the engines.
In order to help you to identify the Dakkhani from Marwari Mr. Akram Khan
has made out in two parallel columns the distinguishing points as given by Gun-
thorpe, supplemented by information which Mr. Mahadeo Parsad has supplied :
Have the ordinary Dakkhani cast of Men have good physique with the
countenance, dark complexion (now Marwari cast of countenance and fair
with Beria complexion ; women handsome but dirty.
the complexion of many of
yonger generation is lighter)
regular features. Men wear their
long like Marwaris.
Talk Urdu and Marathi very fluently
with a slight foreign accent ; their
common language is Gujarati much
mixed with Marwari.
Donkeys are a remarkable feature in
Their women wear long " lahengas "
of dark blue or red cloth, reaching
down to ankle, but some of them are
now taking to wearing saris, and wear
them either in the Maratha fashion
with a fold between the legs or in the
Gujarati fashion without passing a fold
between the legs, so that it serves the
purpose of both dkoti and lahenga
they also wear the " choice " with a
sleeveless " kurta " above it ; they also
wear a gold ornament, shaped like a
flower, on the left side of the nose,
but do not use nose-rings and anklets ;
the hair is tied up at the back of the
head in a knot.
Dakkhanis never retain their spoil,
but pass it on at once to a patel or
villager, with one or two of whom they
always manage to get on intimate
terms ; the property is rarely found
within twenty or thirty miles of the place
Speak fluently in Marwari, but very
badly in Urdu and not at all in Marathi.
Bullocks and cows, but no donkeys are
found in their camps.
Women wear shorter " lahengas '
reaching half way between knee and
ankle, generally of coloured cloth and
they prefer blue and red. They do not
use " cholees ", but wear a long jacket
with long sleeves ; they plait a portion of
the hair on either side of the forehead,
which they decorate with cowries or
brass ornaments like buttons, and the
rest at the back of the head. They
never wear gold ornaments. They
tattoo the left temple with a dot about
the size of the head of a large pin.
Marwaris always secrete the spoil in
or about their camp. The bulky things
are buried in the ground ; small and
valuable articles are secreted in the
hollow legs of the small cots used by
them ; and many things are stowed
away by women in the large long
pockets which you will find in the am-
ple folds of their lahengas in front.
Gunthorpe says the Dakkhanis are much given to donkey and fowl stealing.
The former are usually stolen in one of two ways, sometimes being driven
off with their own donkeys and quickly moved many miles from the scene of the
theft : if the theft is noticed and the Kanjars followed, they at once give back the
stolen donkey with many apologies, pleading ignorance of its presence. At others
they will drive the animal to be stolen into a nalla and tie up its legs and leave it
there till nightfall, when, if it is still where they left it, they drive it off with all
In stealing pou'try they enter the fowl-house and throw a wet cloth over the
birds to make them sit quiet : then they wring their necks one by one.
Kanjars can best be identified by two things (i) the costume of the women
and (-2) their encampments : the former have been described ; of the latter we have
no clear description, but the presence of donkeys in Dakkhani camps, coupled
with the women's distinctive long coloured " lahengas " or "saris", sleeveless
" kurtas " and gold " nath " in the left nostril will generally be sufficient to catch
In the Marwari camps there are the bullocks and cows, the women's short
blue lahengas, the long sleeeves to their long jackets, and the hair plaited at the
sides and decorated with cowries and brass buttonlike ornaments, but no gold
ornaments, to give you the clue.
They now use the railway freely in their journeys and many, such as the
Gorindas in Jabalpur, take employment on the railway.
Now all Kanjars are great drunkards and can never resist liquor, and while
under its influence they sometimes get communicative. Under these circumstances
you can occasionally get information from them ; but when sober, they are most
loyal to themselves and their confederates, and will never give the least hint
to help you in your inquiries.
I hope Mr. Mahfuzal Rahim will be passing through soon for he has
promised to bring his notes, and I hope he will tell us some more about these
interesting people. I also sincerely hope you will all, when in your districts,
do all you can to get fresh authentic information about them and send it to the
school for the use of future probationers.
There is a settlement of Kanjars at Dharainpura near Nowgong which is
under the control of the Political Agent of Bundelkhand ; there is also another
colony in the State of Dharnanda near Goona in the Gwalior State. Kanjars
are registered in all the States of the Bundelkhand Agency and in the following
States of Rajputana :
(1) Tonk. (3) Bharatpur.
(2) Bundi. (4) Dholpur.
i4- SANSI AND BERIA.*
Since I wrote my original lecture on these two tribes I have found in
Sleeman's book on Badak and other clakaits a very interesting account of Sansi
dakaits. His information was obtained in the years 1846 48 when he broke up
their organization. At that time they were spread over Hyderabad, Bombay,
Khandesh, Berar, the Central Provinces and a considerable portion of Upper
India from Patna in Bengal to Rajputana. His Report covers 100 pages of
his large volume and from it I am going to give you such information as I think
may prove interesting and instructive. You must not however take it for
granted that all he says is now applicable, for he broke up all the great Sansi
bands of robbers, and the descendants of those that escaped his vigilance have
evidently from the latest accounts departed from their former customs. It is
possible however that some of them have kept their blood more or less pure and
still cherish some of their old traditions. Should any police officer recognize
any of the original methods, when dealing with a dakaiti committed by the
fraternity, let us hope he will not keep the circumstance to himself, but write
and tell us his experience.
Seventy years ago the Sansis affirmed there were two brothers Sainsmall
and Mallanur who were believed to be inhabitants of Marwar, and that the
Sansis were descended from Sainsmall and the Berias or Kolhatis from Mallanur :
Sainsmall had a son named Nirbhan or Malha, and he adopted a boy of the Nai
caste na%ied Baidhu or Kalkhur. Nirbhan had 12 sons and Baidhu had 8.
From these sons the then existing families of Sansis were called, the names of
these families or clans are taken from four lists given by Sansis caught in different
parts of India; wherever the names do not agree I have shown the aliases which
Malhas descended from Nirbhan.
2. Palha or Palka.
8. Manohar or Gangria.
9. Khuntia of Jodhpuria.
10. Kankia or Talia.
1 1 . Kuran or Puran.
12. Machhar or Chacha.
Kalkhurs descejided from Baidhu.
3. Daiala or Dheria or Bantia.
4. Daihia or Daika or Dhawa.
5. Sahu or Dhatu.
6. Baichu or Binju.
7. Muma or Chuma.
8. Kaoria or Pathia.
You will see from Mr. Seagrim's and Mr. NYidu's recent investigations
how much of the legendary traditions have been forgotten and what changes
have taken place.
See page 10.
In those days Sansis were allowed to adopt boys from any but the lowest
castes, but adopted sons were never allowed to marry true blooded Sansi
women. Sansis lived in temporarily made huts of Sirki and kept dogs, cattle,
ponieSj mules and donkeys.
A mother on giving birth to a child was not allowed to wash for five days,
on the sixth day she had to wash in the open in a running stream, but never
in the house. When a son was born a 1 ! his hair was shaved off except a central
tuft which was left in the name of Bhagwan ; such a child was known in the
tribe as "Jerula"; when he was ten or twelve years old this tuft was shaved
off and he was then raised to the status of a" Mundawan" ; any that died before
reaching this state were buried, after reaching it they were burned. On 'a
Sansi dying he was buried or burned face downwards. If he were cremated
his bones were buried under the funeral pyre in a gharra with a big stone placed
over the mouth. When a body was burned, sweet cakes were prepared ; a dog
was first fed with three of these, and the rest were eaten by the tribe (Note.
Later you will see that Khande Rao the '' Lord of the Dogs" was specially in-
voked before a dakaiti).
The parents of the bride and bridegroom determined marriages by agree-
ment, the father of the boy having to pay what he could afford to the father
of the girl. At a wedding there was much feasting and the marriage v as made
valid by pouring out a libation of liquor to Bhagwan on the gr^ind. A
Malha might only marry a Kalkhur, and a Kalkhur a Malha. A man might
not even enter his mother-in-law's or his daughter-in-law's house, for if the
petticoat of either touched him he was outcasted. If a woman struck a man
with her petticoat he was outcasted.
In speaking before others they employed Hindustani, but among themselves
they spoke a Marvvari dialect, or a tribal dialect which they themselves called
When they sallied forth to commit dakaiti, they left their old men and
women and children behind, taking only the strong young women with such
infants in arms as they happened to be mothering, these were taken to avert
suspicion. They also took sufficient ponies, donkeys and mules to carry their
impedimenta, and to mount the whole party in case of need. The expedition
was then led some 200 miles or so from their homes and an encampment pitched
about forty or fifty miles from the place to be exploited in some secluded jungly
nook. On the road they passed themselves off as " Jatao-ka-Bhat ",
" Jag Bhat ", " Gujerati Bhat ", " Kashi Bhat " or " Kumhar Bhat ". The men
wore Maratha " cholias " (short pyjamas) and pagris, and carried a purse ; the
women wore coloured "lahengas" or " saris ", banjara necklaces, and orna-
ments in both ears and in the nose. Having chosen a base and come to a halt
on it, the leader or jamadar with a few of the smartest men and women taking
spear-heads concealed in bundles of fiiar or bajra stalks went forward to the
place chosen for the dakaiti. They first made offerings at the temple of the
chief deity in the place, and then set themselves leisurely to discover the names
and houses of the richest Sahukars, frequenting the liquor shops for the purpose.
Having selected the wealthiest and most likely banker, one or two called
on him before sunrise and either asked change in the rupees current in that locality
for two or three hundred rupees worth of coin of some other Raj, or on
some other pretext induced the Sahukar to go to the safe in which he
locked his money for the night, for they knew at that early hour he would
not have extracted and put aside the cash needed for the day's transactions.
As socn as they had located the whereabouts of his principal safe, they would
purchase enough bamboos for all the spear heads cf the party and secrete
them in a well chosen spot, usually in the dry sandy bed of a nala, or in a
covered drain, and returned to their encampment. The next step was to move
to a more convenient base, but before doing so they invariably poured cut a
libation of liquor to the Goddess Devi and invoked her aid. Then they moved
forward to a previously chosen spot in the jungle some 7 or 9 kos from the
scene of operations. The jamadar now apportioned to each man his particular
<3uties, one specially selected man was told off as " masalchi" or torch bearer,
his task was most important as on him almost everything depended. He made
his torch \yilh great care from strips of " Kupta" (the stringy canvas like tissue
of the Kajur or Sindhi palm) intermixed with strips of cloih ; when finished it
was some ten inches long and fastened to a light dry inflammable stick of cither
mango, dhnk or thur; at this stage no oil was applied, as that had to be pur-
chased in the village where the robbery was to take place, because the omen
of omens which finally determined whether the attack was tc be < airied through
or not, was whether the masalchi -when purchasing the oil did, or did net, hear
a sneeze ; if he heard one the enterprise was immediately abandoned. The day
was carefully selected, as no dakaiti was permissible on a moonlight night, and
during the dark half of the moon only 5 days were suitable, -viz., 7th, 9th, nth
and 1 3th also the night on which the new moon was seen.
Having told off the gang, all the women, infants and the physically unfit
were left behind with injunctions to prepare cooked food for a three or four days
journey, and to have all the camp ready for an immediate start directly the
marauders returned, so that they could all mount and set off. Next the time
for the gang to start was so chosen that they might reach their destination in
time to commit the dakaiti in the dusk of the evening as they wanted the
whole night to get a long start of any pursuers. I may note here that Berias used
to commit their dakaitis after dark had set in. Sansis paid particular attention
to their costume, taking as little as possible ; the jamadar carried the axe with
whicrrthe money boxes were to be broken open, and the masalchi concealed
his torch under a cloth ; arms were concealed in bundles of stalks. Having
set out they paid attention to the omens on the road, I will detail these omens
later. On arrival at the place whsre the bamboos had been secreted, they
called a halt and despatched the masalchi to purchase the oil, in the meantime
the others fastened the spear-heads on to the bamboos, tied their shoes into
their kammarbands, and deposited a store of stones in the same garment,
leaving- their bodies and legs bare. As soon as the masatchi returned and said
all was favourable, the jamadar invoked Khandoba* or Khande Rao (who lived
in the Jejuri hill, 30 miles from Poona and was regarded as an incarnation of Siva
in his form Mallari or " Lord of the dogs" ; Siva is also t: Lord of the axe " and
the patron of thieves and rubbers), and beggjd for power to wield his axe vvi:h
great effect. Then the masalchi who had carried his pot of oil, handling it with
great almost reverent care, for if anything went wrong with it disaster was
certain to follow ; it was on no account allowed to corns in contact with earth,
until the whole of the contents, without spilling any, had been worked into the
"mussal"; while this was being done the mi sale hi had the anxious gaze of the
whole gang on him ; when the task was complete the pot was dashed to pieces
on the ground, and a slow match was lighted and screened by a light c'oth,
and it was so nursed that it would burst into a flame when blown. From this
moment there was to be no hesitation, no looking back, no one was to drink,
sp't or answer a call of nature, all the energies were to be concentrated on the
attack. On reaching the spot all went silently to their places, and the nnsslchi
then blew up his match, and, as the torch flared up, operations began ; until then
no looting could ba done. The house was rushed, any one in the way
remorselessly speared, the doors battered down, and the jamadar, with practised
skill, smashed open the chests with a few well directed blows, while others kept
the place clear with their stones and spears. As soon as the place had been
plundered of its cash, jewellery and precious stones, the torch was extinguished
after which no more booty could be taken, and a hasty retreat was beaten.
About a mile or so off a halt was made to sea that the muster was correct, to
put on shoes and to tie up the loot more securely. During this halt the jamadar
called on Bhagwan, and on the spirit of any Sansi killed in the dakaiti, to mislead
any that might think of pursuit; after which a bee line was made for the
encampment. During the dakaiti and retn-at the watchword by which they
recognized each other was " Lakhar-khan-bhai. " If they were followed they
warned their pursuers to keep off, if the viarning was disregarded, they were
dispersed by a savage onslaught with spears. \Vhen nearing the camp they
advertised their approach by a " kookoo " ; if no warning answer came they
advanced cautiously and then called like a partidge, if all appeared right they
again advanced and hissed like a snake. The peopb in the camp knew by
See pfge33 last n >te.
these signs that the party was theirs ; then all rapidly mounted and rode
without a halt as far as their animals could go, often as much as 40 kos, and
this forced marching was kept up for 3 or 4 days. After a dakaiti all the spears
were buried and fresh ones bought before the next raid. If the plunder was all
they required they went straight home, if not they planned another dakaiti.
When they reached home the property was divided and offerings were made
to the deities. Sleeman quotes in full an account given to Captain Ramsay
by several intelligent approvers, it runs as follows :
" Our pujas are performed to Bhagwan and Devi, when we pray to the former we
tix on a spot, four or five hundred paces from our camp, and after purchas-
ing rice, goor, ghi, etc., etc., and a number of cooking pots to the amount
which we may have in hand, for the purpose of the puja, a long trench is dug,
in which a fire is lighted, and we cook the materials in it in the name of
Bhagwan the jamadar putting the first pot on the fire. All the dakaits
who may be concerned in the puja do the same. When the meal is cooked
a white cloth is spread on the ground upon which is placed a wooden
trough; each person takes a spoonful of cooked rice out of his own cooking
pot, and puts it into the trough, by which \\e place a par. of water. We
then ail join together and call on Baghwan to assist us, and tell him we have
made the feast in his honour the rice is afterwards taken from the trough
and rolled up into balls which are burnt the rest of the food is eaten by
the dakaits with the exception of a small quantity, which has previously been
put on one side, and is kept uncooked for distribution to the fakirs. In the
evening of the puja we drink and enjoy ourselves, first spilling some mjuor
in the name of Bhagwan. Should a kite suddenly carry off any portion of
the food, before the puja is completed, we consider it as inauspicious and
that the puja is not accepted."
" When we pray to Devi, we get some cocoanuts, some goor, some ghi f gujal
(fragrant gum) and flour ; digging a large hole in the ground, some distance from
our encampment, fill it with dried cow-dung, which it set fire to; we then
make np some small sweet-cakes which are then baked on the fire, and
afterwards broken into small pieces. A small portion of the fire is raked
out on one side, on which we sprinkle the fragrant gum, calling upon Devi,
in such terms as we think most agreeable to her, such as " Maha Kali "
"Amba bai " "Tulja bai", etc., etc., and beg of her to assist us in our
expeditions, and prevent any calamity befalling us ; after this a cocoanut is
thrown into the fire and the puja is completed. The rest of the cocoanuts
and the cakes are distributed among the party. "
I will now give you the omens which they used to consider propitious and
Just before leaving camp.
(1) If they saw a pig or blue jay (i) If a piece of bread being
(Indian Roller]. prepared for the journey
(2) If one of them found a rupee broke while bein baked '
he had lost.
(2) If a woman broke her
bangle or waterpot.
(3) If any one sneezed just as
they were on the point
On the road to the dakaiti.
(1) If a jay flew from right c to (i) A snake, wolf or fox cross-
left, f ing the path.
(2) If a jackal crossed the road (2) Meeting a carpenter or
(this meant much booty). blacksmith, or a T*U.
(3) If they saw a lizard.
(4) If they met a women selling
(5) If they saw a cow suckling
(6) If they met a person carrying
a basket of grain, or a bag
of money, or a gharra of
water, or a fish.
(7) A donkey braying about
twilight in the village to
(8) If they met a corpse in the
village to be looted when
advancing to the attack.
carrying oil, or a corpse,
a cat, or a hare or a
thief, who had been
(3) If they met a person carry-
ing a new earthern pot,
or a Brahmani widow
with shaven head.
a pair of
If they met
(5) If they heard a jackal cry,
or a kite scream whilst
sitting on a tree, or a
flute, or jackass bray.
(6) If a woman broke a ^Aar/iJ,
or any one dropped a
(7) And worst of all if any one
sneezed while the oil
for the torch was being
bought or applied to
I have already warned you that the more recent accounts of this tribe differ
from the notes given above and you must be guided by present day information.
I fear I have encroached somewhat or Mr. Naidu's account but this I could
hardly help doing without making complications and I have repeated as little as
In the lecture on Kanjars you were told thatKanjar youths and girls are
given by their elders the choice of remaining with their own tribe or of joining,
among others, the Berias. The girls join the others for no other purpose than
prostitution. Sansis may be included in this information about Kanjars.
The origin of the two tribes as recently given is said by Mr. Seagrim to be
as follows :
Formerly in the village of Biyan in Kanjar Baroli District of the Bharatpur
State was a Rajput family from whom spring the Gujars and Berias. Among
Berias there were two leaders, Sahamal and Sahasi. The descendants of the
former are Berias and of the latter Sansis.
Mr. Seagrim from whose description nearly all the rest of this lecture is
written in his note, published in the Police Gazette, dated I2th September 1906,
mentions that Berias have eight clans or " gotras " :
II. Bithoo sub-clans (a) Mangal, (b) Chadi.
VII. Bhura. .
They are all exogamous, with the exception of Bithoos and Gehlas, who do
Sansis have got five clans
Clan No. i cannot marry with clan No. 3.
Clan No. 2 cannot marry with clan No. 4.
Clan No. 3 can marry with clans Nos. 2 and 4.
Clan No. i can marry with clans Nos. 2 and 4.
Clan No. 2 can marry with clans Nos. i and 3.
Clan No. 4 can marry with clans Nos. i and 3.
Clan No. 5 can marry only among themselves.
You should not be led away by the mistake which Gunthorpe has made in
mentioning Sansis as identical with Kanjars. They are distinct from the latter
in spite of having several points in common with them.
Berias and Sansis are called by different names in different provinces of
I. In Malwa they are known as Sansis.
II. In Gujarat as Papal Ghagrapaltan Wadkutia.
III. In the Western Provinces (such as Sindh) as Gidhiye.
IV. Beyond the Ganjees (Ganges) as Bhantos.
V. In the United Provinces as Kan jar or Berias.
VI. In Gwalior as Bagarias or Berias.
VII. In Bengal as Chirdhkarwal.
VIII In Hyderabad as Kolhati (W. H. Sleeman).
They are a dissolute and disorderly people found scattered all over Northern
India and in the Central Provinces.
They are notorious for their orgies. When in liquor in the camp they gene-
rally end their revels with a free fight and beat their women and each other, not
infrequently killing one another. When a death does occur restitution is made to
the relatives by defraying the expenses of a fresh drinking bout.
Beria women are generally prostitutes, and the kidnapping of girls is common
among this people A well-tp-do Beria has often five or six girls whom he has
brought up or stolen as children, and keeps them for the income he derives from
The Sansi women are not so immoral.
_ The Beria is a coarse type of being, but the Sansis show good breeding, and
their hands and feet, both in men and women, are usually small and well made.
In ferocity and daring both are equally dangerous.
bansis swarm in the Punjab, where the census figures mention 40,000 in that
Province. Berias are found in large numbers in the neighbourhood of Cawnpur.
The men are notorious thieves and are greatly addicted to cattle-lifting,
dakaiti and robbing carts.
Berias of Jabalpur are expert Chouse-breakers. They are sometimes armed
ivith swords and matchlocks arKl are very daring. They get a lot of information
through their women.
They always travel with donkeys and bull-buffaloes.
It is a pity we do not know more about their present methods of working.
They have numerous ways of concealing their stolen property. The women
habitually conceal stolen jewellery and even rupees in their private parts, in which
they make special " saos " or receptacles by practice. Their quilts will be found
to have stolen property sewn up in them. Like the Marwari Kanjars they are
said to secrete property in the hollow legs of their charpais. Their charpais
when unroped will sometimes be found to have some property carefully bound
round the side poles. Each member buries what he does not want of his share of
the loot, and it is believed they never forget the spots in which they have buried
The Beria woman wears a petticoat which is unusually short and swings from
side to side with a distinctive motion as she walks.
When arrested they ought to be kept apart a procedure which they greatly
dread, as they fear that discrepancies in their statements will betray them. Their
secret code of signs is very large and they can easily communicate with each
other in this way when no other is available.
Their receivers are generally either local Kalars or rich Seths : they are
among the former's best customers, but resort to the latter when they have
valuable articles to dispose of. These Seths visit the encampment with scales
and weights and buy up the gold and silver wholesale.
During the daytime the men are seldom to be found in the encampment, as
they are in the habit of hiding in ditches and jungles, where the women take
them their food ; at night they return to their tents, but are off again at dawn.
Every one in the camp shares alike whether they have taken part in the
expedition or not ; wives of those in jail and widows have a half share.
Sansis have been declared a criminal tribe under Section 5 of Act XVII
of 1871, in the following districts of the United Provinces :
(1) Muzafarnagar. (3) Budaon.
(2) Kheri. (4) Allahabad.
Also throughout the Punjab, and they are registered in the Jodhpur and
Kotah States of Rajputana.
Mangs are very low in the social scale, being placed below even the
" Dhers." In the Central Provinces they are found mostly in Nagpur, the Berars,
Nimar and Hoshangabad, where they number about 20,000.
Gunthorpe divides them into 4 groups :
Ruckwaldar (or Mang Ramusi).
Dukelpur Mang. '
Sherring puts all these into one sub-division and mentions three others which
apparently do not visit the Central Provinces.
Gunthorps describes their ways of living and crime.
Sherring says of them : " They are gang robbers, burglars and highwaymen
and are very dexterous in colouring and passing off brass and other metals for
There is an interesting legend about their origin given in the Central Prov-
inces Census Report of 1901 : it also shows how one of their well-known
occupations came into being. In olden days before cattle were used for plough-
ing there was a terrible famine on the face of the earth and many men died of
starvation. Mahadeo took pity on the few who still lived and gave them seed
to sow. Men in those days used to drag the plough themselves. A Kunbi
was so emaciated that he could not do so. At his request Mahadeo gave him
the bull " Nandi " on which he rode. Nandi was yoked and worked smoothly
so long as Mahadeo was present, but in his absence refused to work. Mahadeo
came again in burning wrath at the bull's behaviour and great beads of perspira-
tion stood on his brow. One of these fell to the ground and a coal-black man
sprang up to do Mahadeo's bidding. Mahadeo bid him bring the bull to reason,
which he did by castrating it. Since then Mangs have always been castrators
of bulls.- Mangs show great respect for the bamboo ; at a marriage the bride
and bridegroom have to stand in a bamboo basket. They also reverence the
nim tree, and the Mangs of Sholapur spread " hariyali " (doob) grass and nim
leave on the spot where one of their caste dies.
These are a race of outcastes whom Gunthorpe does not mention ; they are
scattered over parts of the United Provinces and the Vihdhyan range. There
are indications they have aboriginal blood in their veins. Though at present
they occupy the most degraded position among Indians, yet there have beenli
when they were the predominating race in certain localities. According to Sir
H. Elliot (The Races of the North-Western Provinces of India) "tradition fixes
their residence to the north of the Ghogra, touching the Bhars on the east in the
vicinity of Rohin. Several old forts testify to their former importance, and still
retain the names of their founders, as, for instance, Domdiha, Domangarh ;
Ramgarh and Shankot on the Rohin are also Dom forts."
In their present condition they are likened to " humanity in its extremest
degradation " and "scum and filth."
They must not be confounded with a tribe of Muhammadans, also called
Dom, but better known as " Mirasis " and " Pakhawajis."
The Doms, as might be expected, follow the meanest occupations; they
make cane chairs and stools, palm-leaf fans, ropes, mats and such like articles,
and take employment as street sweepers. In Oudh the name is applied to
sweepers, as Bhangi and Chulera are elsewhere.
The Dom dresses in rags and is a very unclean feeder, even eating the flesh
of animals which have died of disease or been found dead. Sherring in the first
volume of his " Hindu Tribes and Castes " says that in some parts his services
are considered indispensable at the cremation of dead bodies. In Benares he
supplies the five logs on which the rest of the funeral pyre is erected, and when
all is ready, the Doms brings a whisp of lighted straw which is taken from him
and applied to the pyre ; he is considered entitled to payment for the logs, the
straw and the fire.
They claim decent from Rahu and Ketu. Rahu means the "looser" or
the " seizer" and he was one of the " Asuras '' or demons. Mr. Crooke says :
" When the gods produced the ' amrita ' or necktar from the churned ocean, he
disguised himself like one of them and drank a portion of it. The sun and
moon detected his fraud and informed Vishnu, who severed the head and two of
the arms of Rahu from the trunk. The portion of nectar which he had drunk
secured him immortality ; the head and tail were transferred to the 'solar
sphere, the head wreaking its vengeance on the sun and moon by occasionally
swallowing them, while the tail under the name of Ketu, gave birth to a numer-
ous progeny of comets and fiery meteors. By another legend Ketu was turned
into the demon Sainhikeya and the ' Arunah Ketavah ' or ' red apparitions.' Ketu
now-a-days is only a vague demon of disease, and Rahu too has suffered
a grievous degradation." He is now the special godling of the Dusadhs and
Dhangars : his worship is a kind of fire sacrifice or fire walking. Doms
show reverence by begging during an eclipse.
They are thieves and house-breakers : when out on an expedition they are
accompanied by their women and children and always have a number of
dogs. They usually encamp in jungle near water and manufacture their ca-ne
and bamboo articles.
When they have seen a house which they think is suitable for their purpose, they
move on in the ordinary course two or three marches further, and then go back
to commit the house-breaking ; very frequently they adopt the " bagli " form of
breaking into the house. Stolen property is usually buried in or about the camp
or eren concealed under the bedding.
Harni is a Sanskrit word meaning a "thief." It applies to a Muhammadan
criminal tribe of the Punjab, said to number about 3, 179 when Mr. Sherring
wrote of them long ago. Their real home is at present Ludhiana, where about
a thousand are living ; the rest are scattered about the neighbouring districts and
States The following note published in the Punjab has the most recent and
fullest account of them. It was reproduced in the Extra Supplement to the
Police Gazette, Central Provinces, dated 3rd October 1906:
Some centuries ago, Mahmud Ghaznavi, on one of his invasions of India, was accom-
panied by a body of Pathans, residents of Ghanur, a village near Kabul, under (heir chief-
tain, Babr Khan. Mahmud Ghaznavi gave them the village of Mansuri, near Delhi, to
settle in and here they remained for several jears. They are next heard of in Bhutnair; in
Bikanir State, where they founded the town of Harnian Khaira. They intermarried with
the Hindu Rajputs of the neighbourhood, and this is probably the reasoa why the present
day Hacni sometimes says that his ancestors, before becoming followers of Islam, were
Rajput Chhatris. This is confirmed by the names of the eleven gots or Clans (Tur, Chuhan,
Lathik, Gujjar, Malak, Barang, Sanghair^, Leer, Ladar, Nandika, Powar) some of which
are Hindu and the remainder Muhammadan.
In the year 1783 A. D. (Sambat 1840) a number of men of this tribe, if we may call it
so, were forced by the severe famine then prevailing to emigrate. Numbers of them
crossed the Ganges and settled in the United Provinces, where their descendants are
known as Hairees and Banjaras. Another branch of this tribe is the " Chirrimars " of
the Sialkot District.
The remainder came into the Punjab and took service under a certain Rai Kallah, a
powerful chieftain, who held under his sway the country in the neighbourhood of the large
towns of Raikot and Jagraon, in the Ludhiana District. These men were subsequently
joined by their families and relations and were of the greatest assistance to their liege-lord,
Rai Kallah, who employed them not only as shikaris or huntsmen, but also as mercenary
free-booters ; and the latter, by making constant plundering raids on the lands held by Rai
Kallah's enemies, caused the possessions of the latter to be subject to a ceaseless series of
harassment and rapine.
The indefatigable exertions of this band of free-booting mercenaries and their con-
spicuous and never failing success in this method of predatory warfare gained them the
name of Harnis or Harnees. This name is derived from either the Sanskrit word " Harni "
(a thief) or from the two words" har " and " nahin", i. e., the never failing or invincible.
Some, of the Harnis wrongly state that their name is derived from "harni " (a doe) and was
given them by Rai Kallah on account of the activity of one of their number, who ran
down and caught a wounded doe.
On the death of Rai Kallah, these Harnis, taking advantage of the dishrbed condition
of the neighbourhood, made themselves masters of the five villages of Chimna, Malak,
Panheeni, Sangatpura and Leelan, in the Jagraon "Ilaqa." They continued their predatory
habits and carried them to such extremes that, in 1818 A. D. (Sambat 1875!, General Sir
David Ochterlony brought their conduct to the notice of Maharajah Ranjit Sirgh, who
ordered the Raja of Kapurthals, in whose territories these Harni villages lay, to banish
Nothing is known of this tribe from then till 1847 A. D. (Sambat 1904), but it is prob-
able that, in this interval, a number went away and settled at Burj Lamra, a village near
Ludhiana, while others went and established themselves in parts of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur,
Jullundur, Kapurthala and Faridkote, where they are still found to some extent.
In 1847 A. D. this tribe was permitted by a Mr. Kewell ? '^Campbell), a British Settle-
ment Officer, to establish themselves in the villages of Bir, Tappar and Kiri, in the jurisdic-
tion of Jagraon Police Station, Ludhiana District.
In tlv; adjacent village of Bodalwala, some Harnis, who had for many years been in the
service of the Rajas of Kapurthala, had taken up their residence after payment of a large
sum of money, while the Harnis o^the Neighbouring village of Meerpur were located in it
about the year 1850 A. D. by Moulvi Rajab AH of Jagraon. In 1873, small numbers of
Harnis were found in some 29 other villages in Ludhiana District. The total number of
Harnis in Ludhiana District at that time was 463 men, 510 women and 1,075 children. The
total amount of land in their possession was only 1,725 bighas (owned by 185 individuals)
and the inadequacy of it to support them drove the Harnis to committing burglaries and
dakaitis which extended over half the Punjab and many of the Native States adjoining it.
In spite of the faulty identification of criminals of that period, the Police Registers showed
that 202 Harnis had been convicted of one or more burglaries or othrr offences against
It is as well to discuss the me Jus optrandi then in vogue among them for comm'iltirg
crime before the Criminal Tribes Act was put in force among them.
Then, as now, the Harni never committed any offences locally, beyond the theft of
grain or standing crops or the occasional theft of a stray goat or cow, which were almost
immediately killed and consumed.
They invariably journeyed to other districts for their offences and, to prevent local
hinderance or obstruction, paid a fixed poll-tax, for each individual going on thieving
expeditions, to their own headmen, and chaukidars as well as to the local police.
It is estimated that, at that time, 125 to 150 persons would sally forth every month for
the purpose of committing crime and acquiring plunder. If the local police attempted to
interfere with these expeditions, the Harnis would retort by plundering in their jurisdiction,
and the same local terrorism was exercised over headmen, neighbours, etc., by destroying the
crops of all those who opposed or gave evidence against them.
Disguised as beggars (Faquirs), quacks (Hakims), travelling merchants or potters they
would set out in gangs of 10 or 12 able-bodied men, generally accompanied by one or two
very feeble old men and a couple of boys. They were invariably accompanied by a
" Khumar " or potter and a few mules or donkeys, whenever they were passing themselves
off as grain merchants ; on occasion they took a few sheep or goats along with them and
represented themselves to butchers or cattle dealers.
Every party had a burglarious implement (generally a " Sabbal " or long iron nail),
a box of lucifer matches, a sickle and a sharp pocket knife. Having encamped, the young
men would visit neighbouring villages and mark out the most convenient places for their
In the evening, having re-assembled, discussed the results of their enquiries and
appointed a fresh rendezvous, the old men and boys would proceed to the latter, while the
remainder of the gang broke up into parties of four. Each party would then set off to the
place it was determined to rob. With .the sickle 4 stout sticks would be cut for weapons
in the event of their being surprised and pursued, one of the party was left outside the
village in charge of the shoes and superfluous clothes of the party and the remainder
entered the village.
One man hid himself in a lane, adjoining the scene of the proposed burglary, to keep
a watch for the local watchman or any stray passer-by, a second would quickly dig a hole
in the roof or wall of the house and enter, leaving the third at the mouth of the aperture to
receive the stolen property passed out to him.
The lucifer matches would now be used to guide the burglar to any property worth
appropriating, while the sharp pocket-knife was brought into play in cutting open bags or
leather boxes or the strings securing the ends of necklaces worn by sleeping women and
Having completed their work, these three men would rejoin the fourth outside the
village, and, proceeding for some distance over turfy or hard ground, would then put on
their shoes and proceed to their rendezvous.
Their plunder and implements of burglary would be carefully buried in some adjoining
sand-hill or underneath the roots of a tree until their next march.
Day by day the process was repeated until the approach of moonlight nights. All
valuable property, such as money, jewellery, etc., would then be made over to one man who
would proceed home alone by a separate route while the remainder would stuff all stolen
clothing, etc., into large sacks, filling up the mouths of the latter with cotton or hemp.
They then placed these sacks on their animals and returned home by the ordinary route,
the old men and boys riding on the animaL, while the remainder of the gang walked in
twos or threes at some distance in front or behind to guard against any sudden attack. At
ferries, especially, arrd also at other places, where they were likely to be suspected, they,.
if possible, mounted lepers on their animals, and filially grossing the Sutlej, principally at
the ferries of Tihara, Sidhwan, Pandari, where the boatmen were in their pay, they made
their way to their villages.
The property would be equally divided between the members of the gang (except that
the burglar, or individual who entered the burgled houses, received a double share in con-
sideration of the additional risk of capture incurred by him) and sold to neighbouring
Zamindars or Mahajans, the purchaser inspecting the stolen property in the Harnee villages
and the property being subsequently taken to his house by Harni women and children.
Such was the modus operandi of the Harnees of this district fwith the exception of the
Gownimar Harnis who live in the village of Kiri and whose modus operandi will be
described hereafter) previous to the year 1873, in which the provisions of the Criminal
Tribes Act (XXVII of 1871) were put into force and the excursions of the Harni gangs of
burglars checked. The enforcement of this Act, the extensive introduction of railways
and the greater facility gained therefrom by the police of different districts in co-operating
with one another, and lastly the arrest and conviction of a great number of Harnis (who
had been concerned in a vast number of cases throughout the Punjab and its adjoining
Native States,) by Mr. J. P. Warburton, then District Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana,
have caused the Harnees to seek more distant fields for their attention.
The present modus operandi of the Harnis will now be discussed. In the village of
Kiti in this district, as well as in one village near Kartarpur in the Jullundur District and in
one or two villages in Hoshiarpur District, resides a branch or clan of the Harnis known as
"Gownimars:" The name is derived probably from " gooni " (a theft) and 'mama" (to
commit), hence theft committers or thieves (practically the same meaning as that of
This clan, now as heretofore, commit practically only one class of offence, their
women, while young and comely, take up their residence in the houses of the rich as
servants, mistresses or wives. After some time they either seize a convenient opportunity
to make over all articles of jewellery or other valuables, that they can conveniently seize,
to some one of their male relatives who has visited the house, generally in the guise of a
religious mendicant or Faquir or else they take all the valuables they can and vanish,
leaving behind them as souvenir any children they may have borne to their masters or
husbands. Sometimes these Gownimars will enter in disguise houses, in which marriage or
other ceremonies are taking place, and steal anything they can.
The remainder of the Harnis now commit only the following offences, of which I shall
point out any facts of interest.
No Harni will commit in his own Ilaqa (/. e., the limits of the jurisdiction of his police
station) any offence other than perhaps the theft of standing crops or of a stray goat or
If a Harni, bent on plunder, cannot obtain the co-operation of other Harnis, he will
join local bad characters or members of other criminal tribes, chiefly Sansis, and commi t
burglaries with them. A Harni will seldom or never commit any offence, other than petty
thefts, single handed. The main characteristic of their burglaries- is the very small hole
by which they make their way through the roof or wall of the house burgled. These holes
are generally very neatly made and are made with a " Sabbal " or long iron nail, with or
without a wooden handle ; when not in use, a loop of string having been affixed to the
handle of the " Sabbal," the arm, as far as the shoulder, is passed through the loop leaving
the " Sabbal " to hang down and escape notice between the arm and the side. Their
usual offence is burglary (attended by dakaiti or violence if surprised or opposed) and in
many cases of burglaries committed by them, necklaces and other ornaments are removed
or wrenched from off the bodies of sleeping women and children. When wandering about
India in disguise, they either join local bad characters in burglaries or other offences or
else commit petty thefts single handed.
The following are their principal venues :
1. The Punjab, south and east of the districts of Rawalpindi and Jhelum (though
they have been arrested as far west as Multan.) and its adjoining Native States, but chiefly
the districts of Hoshiarpur and Ambala, and the Native States of Patiala and Faridkote.
3. The Dekkan a small number are now said to be present at village Parbani ,
police station Parbani, in Hyderabad.
4. Bombay Presidency some are said to be living in Nasak in Nasik District.
5. Guzarat A number have been and now are living in Surat, where they visit the
shrine (Dargah or Khandah) of Timur Shah, the Pir or Saint of the Banwa or Benawa
6. The Central Provinces and Nagpur.
w 7. Bombay City.
* Vidt page 136.
They visit these places in the following roles :
A- Jugglers and Acrobat *.
(. Gurzmars or
I). Mirasi or Singers and players.
F. Banjaras or Baisatis or grain merchants.
As A, they will nearly invariably describe themselves as Ranjars or Muhammsdac
As B and C, they will state that they are Ranjars (Rajput Muhamroadans), or Qadria
Faquirs, Benawa or Banwa Faquirs, or Gurzmar Faquirs.
If asked their Shijra or Faquir genealogy they will trace it back to the prophet Ali,
and state (in many instances) that their Pir or Saint is Timur Shah of Surat.
As D, they will pass themselves off as Mirasis or Qalandars.
As F and G, they will make out they are Rains or Arains.
Note i. In Bombay city they are always found as Faquirs.
Note 2. They are never seen in any but Muhammadan disguises and are said to be
able by a special method of applying a compound containing cocoanut oil
to make the hair on their Ijeads and faces grow rapidly.
Note 3. In Bombay, they nearly always prostitute their women-folk and beg them-
selves, and make a large income by both livelihoods, as paid-off native
sailors and lascars will spend their arrears of pay on the wife, while the
husband will trade on the susceptibilities of the generous and reap a. rich
Note 4. When going to Bombay they go by the narrow gauge Railway via Bandikci,
at which olace there is a rich Muhammadan butcher, who sends them, in
their guise of Faquirs, fre3 of charge to Bombay in the trains which
convey his animals thire weekly.
Note 5. The inhabitants of Bodalwala and Tappar generally go to Nagpur and the
Dekkan, those of Bir and Mirpur to Bombay and Burma, while the in-
habitants of Kiri seldom go beyond the Punjab.
Note 6. As Faquirs they generally wear an " Alfi " or long robe of thick cloth or
Note 7. In nearly every case they will say their ancestors were Rajputs, and in this
district, the Harni will often describe himself Rajput alias Harr.i or
Rajput urf Harni.
If questioned they will invariably state they are residents of districts beyond or
adjoining the Sutlcj, such as Jullundur and Ferozepore, or else a Native Sfte such as
Patiala or Faridkote where the inhabitants speak a dialect similar to their own.
If, however, they are suddenly and boldly accused of being Harnis, they will often
admit the fact.
As a Harni will never, if he can avoid doing so, eat his bread dry, ghi or claiified
butter will nearly invariably be found in their baggage, except when they are masquerad-
ing as Faquirs, in which case they will invariably beg or buy some ghi to eat with their
When abusing their children they often use the expression '' phot Allah maria "may
god smite you.
If any persons are suspected of being Harnis, their "finger-prints" should immedi-
ately be sent to the Phillour Bureau, where finger-prints of every registered Harni above
the age of 12 are kept.
In religion the Harni is according to his lights, a strict Sunni, but his religion does
not keep him from a desire for and appreciation of alcoholic liquors, a desire which he
will generally gratify on any " red letter " day.
The average height of a. full grown male Harni is about 5 feet 7 inches. They are
well made, muscular, and sinewy. Being taught habits of activity and endurance from
their childhood, they are extremely hardy and have been known to proceed to a spot ten
of fifteen kos (twelve and a half to nineteen miles) away, commit a burglary and return
between nightfall and dawn.
Their food is principally bread made from wheat flour or crushed Indian corn. They
are generally monogamous though a few have a second wife, and the men invariably marry
women of their own tribe. The majority of them are absolutely uneducated, nor 'do they
Their language is Punjabi, but they use so many words of their own that two Harnis
can carry on a conversation without an outsider understanding them. The most common
of their words are Tusian (-Policeman) ; Dhariwala (-a Station-house Officer of Police),
Dhotni (a woman), Damrid or Chheetra (a rupee).
They will absent themselves without permission from their villages for long periods,
during their absence remitting sums of money to their relatives through the Post Office at
When tired of their wanderings, they often return home and surrender themselves to
the police, and by telling a piteous tale of woe as to how they were forced by want and
the lack of any means of livelihood to leave their villages without permission, as their
applications for passes or tickets of leave were either refused or never replied to, often get
off with as light a sentence as six weeks' imprisonment, and thereafter return to their
villages to live on the proceeds of their wanderings.
Those living in the neighbourhood of their villages are loath to prosecute or give
evidence against Harnis, as they very often carry on intrigues with Harni women, while
they are in fear of the Harnis in retaliation destroying their crops and ricks.
In the Ludhiana District there are at present the following registered male Harnis (of
above 12 to 14 years of age). The finger prints of all such are taken and kept at the Cen-
tral Bureau, at Phillour: but the fact that a suspected man's finger prints are not traced at
Phillour is not absolute proof that the man is not a Harni as several have absconded and
do abscond when served with a notice to show why they should not be brought under the
provisions of the Criminal Tribes Act :
No. exempted for life
from provisions of
Act XXVII of 1871.
No. who have been
convicted of any
In Kiri, Badalwala, Bir, Mirpur, Tappar ..
ID other Tillages ...
They are declared to be a Criminal Tribe under Section 5 of Act XXVII of
1871 throughout the Punjab where some 1,750 are registered under the Act.
1 8. PROFESSIONAL POISONERS.
The first official mention I have found of these persons is that made by
General Sleeman, who, in 1820, brought to the notice of the East India Company
the organization of the Thags, for the suppression of which he was appointed
in 1835. Every or.e knows the success which attended his compaign against the
Thags. When he started his operations in 1835 he wrote incidentally of " Datu-
rias " or " Professional Poisoners " as follows :
" The impunity with which this crime is everywhere prepetrated and its consequent
increase in every part of India are among the greatest evils with which the country is at
. this time affected. These poisoners are spread all over India and arc as numerous over the
Bombay and Madras Presidencies as over that of Bengal. There is no road free from them,
and throughout India there must be many hundreds who gain their subsistence by this trade
alone. They put on all manner of disguises to suit their purpose ; and, as they prey chiefly
upon the poorer sort of travellers, they require to destroy the greater number of lives to
make up their incomes.
" A party of two or three poisoners have very often succeeded in destroying another
of eight or ten travellers, with whom they have joined for some days, by pretending to give
them a feast on the celebration of the anniversary of some family event. Sometimes an old
woman or man will manage the thing alone by gaining the confidence of travellers and
getting near the cooking pots while they go aside, or when employed to bring the flour for
the meal from the bazar. The poison is put into thfe flour or the pot as opportunity offers.
" People of all castes and callings take up the trade, some casually, others for life, and
others derive it from their parents or teachers. They assume all manner of disguises to
suit their purposes ; and the habits of cooking, eating and sleeping on the side of the road
and smoking with strangers of seemingly the same caste, greatly facilitate their designs on
travellers. The small parties are unconnected with each other and two parties never unite
in the same cruise. The members of one party may sometimes be convicted and punished,
but their conviction is accidental, for the system which has enabled us to put down the Thag
association cannot be applied, with any fair prospects of success, to the suppression of these
pests to society. "
NOTE. Professional poisoners may be under the definition of the Penal Code (drafted after Sleeman wrote this)
" Thags " though at the time when Thags flourished they had no connection with them.
" The poison used on such occasions is commonly the dhatura, and it is sometimes <jiven
in the hookah to be smoked and at others in food. When they require to poison children
as well as grown-up people, or women who do not smoke, they mix up the poison in food.
The intention is almost always to destroy life, as " dead men tell no tales" but the poisoned
people sometimes recover and lead to the detection of the poisoners. The cases in which
they recover are, however, rare, and of those who recover, few are ever able to trace the
General Sleeman also tells at length the stcry of a Fakir who lived with his
only son at a wayside shrine built over the bones of his dead wife. After ten
years of begging at that shrine the old man saved enough to buy a blanket for
the child, and a few days after, while the blanket was hanging near the shrine, a
party of poisoners came along, ingratiated themselves, offered food to the Fakir
and his son and poisoned both. The boy died, but the Fakir, who ate little,
recovered to find the poisoners had tried to murder both for the sake of the
blanket which they stole.
Gunthorpe in his note on them describes a special form of this crime as
committed on cartmen for the sake of the cart and bullocks. The Police
Gazettes contain some notes on cases of poisoning by professional poisoners.
The first 1 have come across is that mentioned in the Gazette of i6th March
1904, where Panalal, son of Rama Bulaki, poisoned a Brahman whom, while in the
guise of a pilgrim, he had engaged to escort him to the railway station from
Onkarji. Panalal bought packages of gram pulse and gave one, into which
he had inserted datura, to the Brahman w^iom, he looted of Rs. 4-8-0 when
insensible. Then in 1906 (Supplement to Gazette of 22nd August 1906) a gang
of six poisoners, who had been concerned in several cases in the Bombay Presi-
dency, were tracked down and convicted. This gang usually followed the tactics
described by Gunthorpe, but not always.
Then, in the Supplement to the Gazette of ist May 1907, there is an interest-
ing note by the Diwan of Rutlam, part of which I am copying into this lecture.
It runs thus :
" Dhatura is of two varieties. It grows wild in this part of the country, and its seeds,
which are poisonous, are generally used by native ' hakims' and ' waids ' for medicinal
purposes. The seeds are either black or white. The latter are generally used by profes-
sional poisoners, as they can be mixed with other substances without fear of detection either
on Ihe ground of taste or colour. The white seeds are generally powdered and are admin-
istered in three ways. The powder is either mixed with tobacco or ganja to form a
smoking mixture or is mixed with sweetmeats or other eatables. In the latter case the pow-
der is mixed with jaggery or red sugar, and this red sugar, is used with parched gram or the
powder is mixed with dried or salted gram pulse. The powder is also mixed with
wheat or makai flour which is made into cakes. It is believed that the smoking mixture
referred to above is more narcotic in its properties and brings on insensibility within
a shorter time than by the other methods.
" The procedure followed by professional poisoners usually is that of hiring a cart and
of administering dhatura to the driver with a view to misappropriating his cart and bullocks ;
the other methods that are also sometimes used are of making friends with the travellers hy
the railway, and of depriving the victims of the cash and other property after they become
insensible under the influence of the dhatura poison.
"The first cases that occurred here were in 1900 and 1901. In 1900 a Brahman men-
dicant gave some sweetmeat (ladu and chironji dana) to a boy named Kaloo, son of Samthu,
Rajput, aged 13, and to a girl named Gasi, daughter of Bhera Gasi, who were tending some
cattle in pasture grounds at Namli, a jagir village of the Rutlam State.
"The boy did not partake of the same and the girl ate the sweetmeat some time after
the mendicant left her. The girl died the next day, probably from the poison. Another
case of a similar nature occurred at Dhamnod, a village of this State. In both the cases
the local police were not able to trace the offenders : the culprits probably intended to take
away the cattle which were being grazed by their victims, but in both cases no cattle
"The crimes of this nature that took place subsequently in this and in the neighbour-
ing States were, it appears, committed by organized gangs which were traced by the local
Police and such of the offenders as were found within the limits of this State were brought
to justice. "
The latest cases are those mentioned in the Police Gazette of 8th May
1907, which 1 will read to you.
Datura is probably the only easily procurable narcotic that acts quickly,
has no smell and practically no taste ; but it has further advantages for the
criminal, for it very seldom causes the victim to vomit, and people when recovering
from datura poisoning are very delirious and have often been driven from villages
in the belief that they were mad men, when they have in reality, in their own
delirious way, been trying to obtain help. Therefore in datura poisoning cases
it is very difficult to find out what has happened for several days ; investigations
have to be begun in the dark and the police have to do a good deal of their
work before the poisoned person (if he lives) comes to.
The Police Manual, paragraph 477, tells you what medico-legal evidence
should be sought, and paragraphs 772 and 773 give detailed instructions on the pro-
cedure to be followed in cases under Section 328, Indian Penal Code.
In Adam's " Criminal Investigation " there are some remarks on datura which
should find a place here: they are :
" Great care must be taken not to confuse the datura seed with that of the capsicum "
or " chili. " Chevers notes the following superficial distinctions:
"The one great distinguishing feature above all others is the form and shape of the
embryo. If one of each of the seeds be divided by cutting parallel with the flattened sides,
the embryo of the capsicum will be found curved like the figure 6, while the end of the
curve in the datura is 'twisted' or recurved not towards the down stroke of the 6 but away
from it, or towards the right hand: there are, however, many minor differences, of great
importance when taken together. These may be contrasted thus :
White Datura seeds.
(i) Almost kidney-shaped, but one end
much smaller than the other.
(2) Outline angular.
(3) Size rather more than
rather less in width.
inch long and
(4) Colour greenish brown when fresh ;
changing to yellow when dry.
(5) Attached to the placenta by a large
white fleshy mass which separates
easily, leaving a deep furrow along half
the length of the concave border of the
(6) Surface scabrous, almost reticulate,
except on the two compressed sides
where it has become almost glaucous
from the presence of the neighbouring
(7) Convex border thick and bulged, with
a longitudinal depression between the
bulgings caused by the compression of
the two sides.
(8) When divided into two by cutting with
a knife placed in the furrow on the
convex border, the testa is seen ir-
regular and angular in outline, the em-
bryo is seen lying curved and twisted
in a fleshy albumen.
(a) Outline rounded.
(3) A little shorter and wider than the
(5) Attached to the placenta by a thin cord,
from a prominence on the concave bor-
der of the seed,
(6) Uniformly scabrous, the sides being
equally rough with the borders.
(7) Convex border thickened, but uniformly
(8) When similarly divided the testa is
more uniform in outline, the embryo is
seen lying in a fleshy albumen curved
but not twisted or recurved.
" The taste of the capsicum is pungent, while that of the datura is insipid. The
most distinctive external symptoms of datura poisoning are giddiness, followed by drowsi-
ness and muttering delirium, picking at imaginary objects, sometimes wild and excited
behaviour, but always wide dilatation of the pupils of the eyes, while internally the brain is
congested, and so also frequently are the linings of the mucous membrane of the stomach
In this account the dose is apparently not a large one ; an overdose, as
previously stated, causes insensibility usually followed by death.
The Police Gazette of sand May 1907 has the following warning :
" All police officers are warned to be very careful before they accept the statements of
persons who, having had datura poison administered to them in food or smoke, subse-
quently deny that they laid themselves open to poison in this manner. There have been
three recent cases in which persons having undoubtedly had datura administered to them
by professional poisoners, persisted in denying the possibility of their having been
poisoned by contamination of food or smoke, and in two of these the police were too ready
to accept their denials. It must be remembered that caste people who are deceived into
sharing food or smokes with plausible strangers are most naturally inclined to cover up
their indiscretion by a denial of the facts. It is the business of the police to work on the
undoubted fact of poisoning in preference to the impossible theory of symptoms cf datura
poisoning appearing spontaneously."
III. THIEVES AND SWINDLERS.
19. BARWAR, SANGRIA AND CHANDRAWEDI.
It is believed Barwars are descended from the Kurmis who live in the neigh-
bourhood of Patna. They drifted westward : some who retained the name Barwar
kept to the north and settled in Gonda ; Bareli, Sitapur, Hardoi and adjacent
districts : others went further south and chose the country about Lalitpur, Bilas-
pur, Bhopal and the Bundelkhand Agency for their residence ; they became
known as Sanorias.
The Barwars of the north admitted recruits into their ranks from Bengal
and elsewhere, and these are distinguished by the name "Gulam", while the
original Barwars are styled " Sowang". The Sowangs of Gonda have inter-
married with Gulams but the rest have remained pure. Their servants are known
by the name " Talarsi. "
Sanorias worship the Goddess Devi and Mahabir, and claim Brahmanical
descent, in fact they are generally called " Sanoria Brahmans ". Those residing
most to the north also reverence the Muhammadan Pir Syed Musa-ul-Ghazi
and visit his tomb in Bahraich. They are said by some to pay much
respect to omens and to consider it very inauspicious to meet a government
official when setting out on an expedition ; in such a case they are said
invariably to turn back. They set out on their travels after the Dasehra and
continue their operations until the advent of the rains, when they return home
and divide the spoil in equal shares to all but the leader, who gets a double
portion. The gang consists of from 2 to 15 or 20 ; the leader is generally known
as"Mukhia" (Gunthorpe says Mukhtiar), the working members are styled
" Upardar" ; each Upardar has one or more boys, who rejoice in the title of
" Chawa" and are seldom over 12 years of age, attached to him.
Sanorias I believe are never accompanied by their women, Barwars on the
other hand do take their women and employ them usefully in fairs, bazars and
festivals. Neither section ever resort to violence in the commission of crime,
they trust to cunning. Originally they used to kidnap children, but have given
up the practice as too dangerous.
The Upardar keeps out of harm's way as much as possible, the Chawa
being made his cat's paw. You will notice that Gunthorpe tells you Sanorias are
fond of pilfering articles left in the charge of relatives while the owners are bath-
ing, by enticing the relatives away from their charge. Mr. A. C. Hankin in a
note written in 1893 savs tnat ^ ^e relative happens to be a woman, the Upar-
dar will sometimes go to the length of deliberately sitting down to ease him-
self near her in such a position as to force her to turn her back on the arti-
cles she is guarding; the Chawa then stealthily purloins all he can. They have
several ways of forcing people to bathe, one is for the Chawa to " accidentally on
purpose " touch some high caste well dressed man with something that causes
pollution, and for the Upardar to politely point it out to the victim, who at once
goes to wash ; the Upardar also sits down to wash his mouth, or drink, or do
something else, and while he diverts the bather's attention the Chawa watches
Another way is for the Upardar to enter into conversation with the victim
and walk along with him ; the Chawa comes running along and cannons into
them and is instantly abused ; he humbly begs their pardon, adding he is only a
poor sweeper who means no harm ; this confession necessitates a bath when
the old trick is played again.
Barwar women (Sanorias remember do not take their women with them), well
dressed and bejewelled, join parties of other women entering temples and, while
the worshippers are engaged in their devotions and presentation of offerings,
steal what they can : their dexterity and lightness of touch is very great, and
they will remove nose-rings, ear-brings and necklaces without arousing the suspi-
cions of their victims. These women pose as Brahmanis and keep their faces
Both Barwars and Sanorias have of course taken kindly to the railway,
and in thair methods of theft in railway carriages resemble the I ! lump-
are perhaps more prone to throw the property out of the window. They also
sometihies stick a stolen article under the seat with the help of a bit of wax or
other convenient adhesive. They will watch the crowd when buying tickets,
and if a parcel or bundle is put down in a convenient place the Chawa is not
likely to miss his chance. Again they scrutinise person alighting from a train
and if they see one who has several bundles they are instantly on th and
after the victim has taken out four or five packages and re-enters the carriage for
more, the Chawa picks up one of those on the platform and in an incredibly short
time it has passed through several hands.
Barwars usually wear at the waist a long bag of network secured at both
ends with strong cotton string : this is quite different from the bag described
by Major Gunthorpe which is slung over the shoulder and used by Sanorias.
Sanorias for a long time have been known to have a language of their own,
and to communicate with each other by a code of signs. These signals are known
as elbow f|tft signs. A Sanoria once told my brother " when I want to
know whether a man is a Sanoria or Bhampta I pull my pagri cloth or shawl
over my shoulders and then raise my elbow and move it across from back
to front, if the man is one of the fraternity he will put both his hands on his pagri
and I will know it is safe to talk to him. "
For a long time it was thought that Sanorias and Chandrawedis were the same,
but Mr. Seagrim in 1906 wrote a pamphlet* on the latter and from it I gather
that a Sanoria may be a Chandrawedi, but a Chandrawedi need not necessarily
be a Sanoria. In his pamphlet Mr. Seagrim says "Chandrawedis are not a
class but a confraternity of criminals, recruited from any caste of Hindus
(except sweepers and Chamars) or even Muhammadans " and he shows how
the fraternity originated from the teaching of two Sanoria Brahmans Ramlal and
Madan Prasad, who settled in Raruwa in the Datia State. He gives three deriva-
tions of the name Chandrawedi all signifying abhorence of crime committed
during the time the moon holds her sway. The community has increased from
the two founders to numerous colonies in Datia, Gwalior, Jhansi and other parts
of Bundelkhand. The Chief of a colony is styled "Nalband" who has Upardars,
Chawas and Derawallas (members who elect to look after the camp and get
a half share) under him, all are thoroughly taught and trained. The course
of training includes instruction in two languages
(1) Parsi (a secret-code-vocabulary).
(2) Tenif (elbow-secret-code signals).
The following Parsi words are given by Mr. Seagrim, the italics represent-
ing notes and additions given by my brother :
Kaniyai or " Bhagori." Purse (money bag).
Gond. Turban (safa).
Kaithi or kamthi. Do. (pagri).
Tanai or " Tania" Coat.
Pujani. Drinking pot.
Damru or nethi. Rupee.
Dande. Copper coin.
Kanpi. Cowrie shells.
Guli. Gold mohur (Rs.i5).
Paiti or " allan. " Toda or silver anklet.
" Chandrawedis described by the Police Department, Indore State " I96, P" ce Be
Pitghesa or gunjitlai. Gold necklace " pitghesa is also
said to be a -waist belt"
Lokiya asur gaya. A constable is coming.
Khanchdeo Hide it.
Ukanjao or " ladjao" Run.
1 Bakhole. Shoes. (Ibelt)
2 Gonia. Shoes.
3 Gudari " (? f atari) ." Shoes.
Rungathiojaw. " Pick up and bolt."
Thook or pichori. Sheet or cloth.
Khol. Banias shop or " any house."
Kathari " (IBhawtt)" A safe for depositing valuables.
Teda. Lock and key.
Dharkarana " (? Darwaza)" Door.
Lamani or " Lambi. " Chain.
Mamada bhapata hai or " hajta, hat" You are being watched.
The elbow signs given by Mr. Seagrim, with some additions given by
Mr. W. A. Gayer are :
(1) An Upardar raises his hand to his cheek bone and scratches it ; the
Chawa knows this means" approach nearer."
(2) The Upardar then raises his elbow and points it in the direction in which
the article is lying ; the Chawa on this picks it up.
(3) If the Upardar closes one hand, turns the fist upwards and strikes the
palm of the other ; the Chawa knows he has to sit down, or wait for further orders
as some one is watching.
(4) When the Upardar brings his hands to his chest and gently raises one
elbow or " brings his hands up and scratches the back of his neck " (W. A. Gayer)
the Chawa knows the coast is clear and runs away with the article.
(5) If the Upardar sees the boy is detected and wishes to signal " drop it
and bolt " he either drops the hand, or having raised the hand and elbow to the
height of the shoulder he drops the elbow.
(6) It is understood that everything stolen is to be buried, but if such an
order has to be given it is done by opening both hands, and making one pass
under the other pointing to the ground.
(7) If one elbow is raised and the other hand, with the thumb turned
outside, is moved across the waist it signifies that the Chawa should look for a
waist purse only among the clothes lying there.
These and such like signals are thoroughly taught, when the Nalband is
satisfied that his Upardars know their business and that the Chawas have
sufficient dexterity, he makes his arrangements to start on an expedition, and he
makes ample provision for the wives and families left behind even if he has to
borrow for the purpose.
After some ceremonies fully described by Mr. Seagrim, the Nalband and t his
Derawallas go straight to the place selected for ths start, while each Upardar
takes his Chawa and makes his way there also, generally alighting at some wayside
station short of the pre-arranged rendezvous.
Their modus operandi is* much the same as that already described for
Sanorias. Mr. Seagrim says that Chandrawedis will disguise themselves as
women and steal in female compartments, but my brother's informers told him
this was not correct, though Chawas will sometimes get in among the women and
The Nalb-uid halls at a pre-arranged pl.ire, called by Chandrawedis " Band"
and all the stolen property is brought to him there. If any member of the gang
is arrested the Nalband sends money by some trustworthy hand to help him ; and
if any are imprisoned the Nalband supports their families until their
The following extracts from Mr. Seagrim's notes are given verbatim:
" After .1 successful trip and on their return to head-quarters the stolen property is cither
kept intact or is melted down as best suits the convenience of the Nalbaml, ami a day is
fixed for its distribution. The village I'atwai i and the Sonar of the gang is called in, and
tin price of the loot determined, and tin ilhisinn is made as follows."
In addition to their respective shares 15 per cent is set aside for the Upardars and
Chawas. The 1'aUvari receives Re. i from each batch of which the party is composed.
" The Sonar gets Re. i in the same way, /'. c., if the gang of 20 had divided up into-
parties of four he would get Rs 5 ".
" Rs. 5 is given by each set in charity to the village temple for the annnal " Navaratri"
sacrifice, the balance is then divided up into equal shares. Except that the Nalband gets
two shares and the remaining members one share each."
" The Joteshi also comes in for a reward if his prophecies have proved reliable."
" The Chandrawedis have regular receivers of stolen property, in each of their own and
other villages : the stolen property is taken by these receivers for disposal to Bombay and
Jhansi, also Datia and other States in Bundelkhand.
* * * * it is reported that a tax of Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 per Chandrawedi is levied by the
petty local officials. No receipts, it need hardly be said, being given for the payments.
This is doubtless why the Chandrawedis have been having such an easy time of it for many
years, and their operations have not been made public.
* # * * * * K. must h ow ever be added to his credit that a Chandrawedi never
goes out armed, nor does he ever commit violent crime. Stealing by night he considers an
unpardonable sin, as he glories in the fact that his art enables him to accomplish it in
Bhamptas can hardly be called a tribe in the true racial sense, for there seems
every reason to believe they originated from gangs of thieves who banded together
for the purpose of exploiting fairs and bazars, and that the organization has to a
large extent been swelled by the admission of suitable recruits'from practically any
caste or creed (Muhatnmadans and even Parsis have been found among them),
until they found it expedient to establish a caste system of their own and to split
the newly formed caste into two exogamous groups. The fraternity is known by
several epithets such as Ghantichore (bundle thief), Uchlia (lifter), Khisa kateru
(pocket cutter), etc, and the word Bhampta itself means " cheat." They are one
of numerous communities who find thieving on railways a most lucrative trade.
Mr. Naidu whose renown as a successful railway-thief detective is wide-
spread in India has given a most excellent account of these associations in his
" History of Railway Thieves" a booklet every Policeman ought to study ; and
be has left me little 1 can say about Bhamptas.
The Poona Bhamptas are said to call themselves " Pathrut " and their
secret jargon " waddari ". Bhamptas as a rule dress well and favour the Maratha
style of costume.
Their women like to wear nose-rings, and they have their left nostrils bored for
that purpose ; it is fashionable for them to have their faces and hands tattooed, not
infrequently the left hand is more profusely ornamented than the right ; a common
beauty mark is the Vishnuvite trident (trisula) tattooed at the corners of the
Among the deities mentioned elsewhere I have seen no mention of Yellamah
whose temple at Soundatti in the Belgaum District they consider very sacred.
They also make pilgrimages to Alundi and Pandharpur, and to the Jejuri hill to
worship Khandoba ; most of these places are however visited at the time the
great fairs are held at them, and no doubt they find such visits pay them hand-
Any accomplished thief who aspires to become a Bhampta can do so by
going before a caste Punchayet who in consideration of a small fee of some
Rs. 20, a feast and the performance of certain ceremonies admit him into the so-
called tribe, and he then has gnined the privilege of marrying a Bhampta woman.
Major Gunthorpe and Mr. Naidu have told you many of the methods and
artifices of these cunning thieves, but there is an ingenious trick not mentioned by
either which I have on two occasions seen puzzle policemen. Sometimes a
banker's agent carrying a bag of money for his firm will take the greatest
precautions to safeguard his treasure ; he will sit on the bag both in the
waiting room and the train, and, if he is too weary to keep awake, will sleep with
it under his head, nevertheless he will find that another bag filled with valueless
stuff has been substituted for it in some mysterious way. In such cases it is well
for^the police to let daylight into his intellect by trying to ascertain from him if,
while sitting on his bag in the waiting room or platform, he was forced to move for
a moment to avoid being knocked over by a few boisterous youths scrimmaging
about in some rough game ; or whether some cruel parent chastised a child so
unmercifully that it ran to him for protection, and struggled so violently to remain
with him, that in the confusion he was constrained for a moment to get up from
his seat. Question on 'such points will often recall to the victim's memory some
in:ident which will indicate where, and when, the Bhamptas substituted the dummy
bag for the one with specie.
The Bhamptas of the Korcgaon Taluk of Satara are said to have taken to
house-breaking ; perhaps some of the more recent recruits who were formerly
burglars have led this movement. They appear to have chosen as their burglar's
tool that innocent looking household article called "Ulthan" commonly used
for turning chafattis, but which for its new purpose it is made of fine steel.
Mr. VV. A. Gayer has l^indl^ sent me a note on some so-called Rajput
Bhamptas he came across. He says they are quite distinct from the remaining
Dakkhani Bhamptas for they never commit theft between sunset and cock-crow,
and do net make a speciality of stealing in trains. Such a description at first
sight turns one's thoughts to Chandrawedis, but these Rajputs worship " M.in-
ahi " and make pilgrimages to her temple in Yelvi in the Jat State ; they talk
Hindustani to strangers but are well versed in all the southern languages. Before
setting out the whole gang, men, women, and children, bathe and dress in clean
clothes and perform fu/a, after which they move off, paying attention to
omens. The men sometimes dress as Gosains and add the suffix " Das " to
the names they adopt: when on business bent they assume any suitable
disguise and work in lots of three ; one engages the intended victim in
conversation, or otherwise attracts his attention, another picks his pockets or
annexes anything he can, and hands the things to the third, who is a sprinter
and bolts with them for camp ; if the distance is great a fourth man relieves
him on the road. Sometimes one will take service with a well-to-do cultivator,
and slip into the hands of a confederate, who comes begging in the guise of a
Sadhu, the most valuable things he can lay his hands on.
In connection with these Rajput Bhamptas a very instructive note was
issued in the Madras Supplement to the Police Gazette in September 1904, written
by the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Bellary, it runs as follows :
" In the end of February last the Inspector of Police, Hospet, saw some women in the
Govvripur Famine Feeder Railway Line Coolie Camp who were strangers to these parts.
They were all young grown up women, but yet they said they were unmarried. There
were seven of them. Consequently a watch was kept over them. They lived apart from
the other cool'e gangs at Gowripur. They themselves said they were from Northern India.
It was noticed that the number of women gradually increased, but still no male members
joined them. A little apart from this camp there were two huts containing two old men.
By the loth of May there were 39 females. These divided themselves into two camps close
to one another and pretended they had nothing to do with each other. The two old men
were joined by three other old men. The first two said they were not connected with
the women. It was thus shown that the five old men and the thirty-nine women laere
connected together. On the nth May it was noticed that preparations were being made
for a marriage ceremony and the date fixed for the same was the night of the I3th idem.
That night the Inspector with a party visited the camp. It was then found that six more
women and sixteen men had joined the camp. The lot collected here then turned out
to be three separate gangs, headed by Gopala, Babuji, son of Krishna, and Babji, son of
Hari (or Irna). The last named two are the two old men mentioned above as having been
first found in the encampment. As regards these gangs the following was ascertained. It
is stated above that six women and sixteen men joined for the ceremony. These six
women and 5 of the men were traced to have come from Bellary, where they had lived for
the past two years under the leadership of Gopala. There they had given out that they
were " Rajputs" or " Sadhus " and had been doing coolie work when figuring as Rajputs
and begging when Sadhus. This lot has been registered as wandering gang No. 69. As
regards the rest they divided into two gangs consisting of 8 males and g females in one
(wandering gang No. 70) and of 8 males and 30 females in the other (wandering gang
No. 71). Finger-impression slips of these three gangs were sent to the various Bureaux.
One member of No. 69 was sentenced to 3 months rigorous imprisonment and Rs. 10 fine
at Poona in 1899 for theft. Babuji, son of Krishna, headman of wandering gang No. 70
and another member of the same gang were identified by the Police of Chittaldrug,
Mysore Province, as having travelled through Mysore as merchants in 1901 ; another
member of the same gang had a conviction under section 379, Indian Penal Code, of three
months' rigorous imprisonment on the i8th December 1903 in Lingsugur, Nizam's
Dominions. As regards gang No. 71, one member had two convictions for theft in
Chittaldrug District'in 1897, and the headman Babji, son of Hari, was convicted in the
same district for theft in 1897 and another member for theft in the Nizam's Dominions in
1902. A list of 79 Bhamptas wanted by the Sholapur Police was obtained. It was then
found that one member of No. 69, three' of 70 and four of 71 corresponded in every detail
to 8 of the 79 men wanted by the Sholapur Police. This and the following reasons proved
that the whole lot were Bhamptas belonging to Sholapur and the Native States adjoining
that district. Railway Constables Nos. 706 and 639 identified four females of these three
gangs, who had here no male members attached to them as being related to four members
bound over in 1902 in Anantapur District. At that time it was ascertained that these
four men belonged to Sholapur District. A constable from Sholapur District came and
identified the whole lot as Bhamptas, but he said that most of them belonged to the
'On the 22nd July three new males and six females were spotted disguiseu as
Bairagis near the Gowripur Camp. Enquiries elicited that they also were Bhamptas, that
one of them had a conviction in 1902 in Anantapur* District under Section 379. These
three males \\ere put up before the Head Assistant Magistrate, Hospet, who sent them to
jail for six months each for failing to give security (Section 109, C. P. C.).
" On the 30th July two males and nine females were again spotted disguised as
Bairagis. One of the women pretended she was a widow, but she was proved by the
Railway Constables Nos. 706 and 639 mentioned above to be the wife of one of the four
bound over in 1902 in Anantapur. The remaining were identified as having been in
Gowripur in May last, who had been registered in gang No. 71. The two males were
proved to be related to two of these women. Further, a previous conviction in Anantapur
in 1902 under section 379 was also proved. These two men with the woman who said
she was a widow were charged (sic) under sections 109 and no, Criminal Procedure Code,
before the Head Assistant Magistrate, Hospet. The woman received three months and
the male with the previous conviction six months for failing to give security. The
other man was discharged, as the Magistrate considered it was not fully proved he was a
Bhampta. Our reason for thinking he was one was that a constable of Sholapur heard
him speaking to the other man in Bhampta language and calling him brother, and further
the father's name given by the convicted man when he was convicted in Anantapur
corresponded to the father's name given by the discharged man here. This man on the
very night he was discharged bolted with one of the women, in all probability to the Nizam's
Dominions just across the river. These five men and the women have been added to
gang No. 71. As regards the movements of these gangs, gang No. 69 had gone back to
Bellary a month after the marriage ceremony in May at Gowripur.
"Gang No. 70 and the original members of 71 were handed over to the Police Patel
of Tijori, Nizam's Dominions, on the i7th July 1904 by the Hampasagaram Police, having
left Gowripur on the 7th idem.
" The following peculiarities of the Bhampta females are noteworthy :
"They never bore their nostrils or wear nose jewels. Tattoo marks are never made
at the outside corners of the eyes, near the eyes as is usual among Maratha women. They
usually tie their clothes like the Brahman women. The unmarried and widows wear one
or two strings of red beads with a single gold bead round their necks. When found first,
they think nothing is known about them ; they rarely admit they are married, or that their
husbands are alive. The married wear a double necklace of small black beads (size of a
"ragi" grain) with the usual gold tali jewel attached. If they have time 'when spotted
they remove their necklace.
"A constable of the Jat State, who came to Hospet for purposes of identification,
gave the following information. About 10 years ago he visited Kumarasvvami festival
near Bandom and saw three or four hundred Bhamptas among the pilgrims. They used to
move in batches of 30 or 40. He learnt that they came from Kharadu, Jambibadi Taluk
and Tangola Taluk and they were disguised as Bairagis, Marwaris and Gosavis. They
had collected for stealing from the pilgrims.
"The following additional facts are also of interest:
"They do not bear the suffix of Das or Sing when in their own country but they
do so only when they go abroad to make the people think they are Gosains, Bairagis or
bon&fide Rajputs. The usual Gothrams are (i) Chevan, (2) Gondu, (3) Chadi, (4) Bada-
gazar, (5) Bonnar, (6) Ratodu. There are no inter-marriages in the same Gothrams. In
.marriages a coronet made of date leaves is worn by the bride-groom, differing from other
castes of Hindus who use pith or paper. "
Then follow a list of convictions which need not be repeated.
Bhamptas are declared to be a Criminal Tribe under Regulation XII of 1827
in the Bombay Presidency.
1 am, by permission, reproducing four memoranda *writtcn by District
Superintendents of note on these people.
Mr. Hyslop divided the Gonds into ia.v castes of which the Piidal were the
half-caste, of them he says :
''The Padl, also named Pathidi, Pardhan, and Desai, is a numerous class found
in the same localities as the Raj-Gonds, to whom its members act ;:s religious counsellors
(Pardhan 1 . They an-, in fact, the Bhafs of the upper classes, repeating their gen
:uul the exploits (1 f their ancestors, explaining their religious system, and assisting at
festivals, on which occasions they play on two sorts of stringed instruments, named Kingri
and jantur (yantr;). For their services they receive presents of cows or bullocks,
cloth, food and money. The birth or death either of a cat or dog in their family defiles
them ; and from this uncleanness they cannot be free till they have shaved off their
moustache, purchased new household vessels, and regaled their caste fellows with a
plentiful allowance of arrack. They have assumed the name of Raj-Pardhan, to dis-
tinguish themselves from a sub-division of the same class, which is degraded to the rank
of a half-caste ; consisting of those who in the vicinity of \agpur speak Marathi, play on wind
instruments of brass, and spin cotton-thread, like the out-cast : Hindus. "
Later in talking of the Bhumaks and Pujaris he says :
" About the Mahadeva Hills the higher Pardhans act as Pujaris and the lower as
Again in a note taken by him in Nagpur he says :
''My informants, whether seven or six god worshippers, call themselves Koitors, and
say that although Pardh&ns (Hindu name.equal to Pradhan Prime Minister , but among
themselves, Pathadi) follow the same religion, and are sub-divided, according to the
number of their gods, yet the caste is different and they neither eat nor intermarry with
them. The Pardhar.s will eat from the hands of the Koitors and are reckoned inferior.
* * * The Pardhans * * * discharge the functions of Bhats, /. e , sing songs and
give information on genealogical matters. They also think it no indignity to play on
stringed instruments. They call themselves Raj-Pardhan. Beneath them there is a sub-
division whcse women tattoo Gonds and Hindus. Beneath them again is a sub-division
who play on wind instruments of wood, while there is a still lower class who speak more
Marathi than Gondi and play on wind instruments of brass, and spin thread like the
From the following passage culled from the Berar Gazetteer it would appear
that Pardhans are to be found there also:
"Tire original Pardhan among the Gonds answered to the Bhat among the Hindus
but many seem to have settled as a separate species of Goad in the plains. "
Memorandum (written about 1872) concerning a Criminal tribe called
' Pat harries," by Captain D. MCNEILL, District Superintendent of Police.
The " Patharries," or as they call themselves " Kenkree Patharrie Gonds
say that they are the " Bhats " or Bards of the Gonds. They are named
' Kenkree Patharries " because they play a musical instrument called " Kenkree "
(Kinjree), and they state their origin to be as follows:
Once on a time there were four Gond brothers. The youngest of these
brothers, neglecting the legitimate occupation of his race,
devoted all his time to playing on the musical instrument
above alluded to. From constant practice he became a great proficient in the
use of (he " Kenkreet"; partly on this account and partly because he would not
work, his brothers appointed him their minstrel, and from him are descended
the Gond " Bhats " or Kenkree Patharries. The Patharries had to perform
the duties common to the Bards of almost every race. They attended all
feasts and ceremonies, such as marriages, deaths, births. On these occasions
they played on the " Kenkree," sang the praises of the ancestors of those
employing them, and extolled their various gods. They were
Their duties as Bards. 11 11 , i-pr , .. r L\.
supposed to be well up in the different tribes or gotrs of the
Gonds, and to know to what particular gods each tribe paid their devotions.
They therefore took care to sing the praises of the particular gods of the tribe
to which the person at whose house the ceremony was taking place belonged.
For these services they were paid in cattle, goats, fowls, &c., or occasionally with
money. They were alwavs recaled with an abundance of
Their remuneration. ,. r i i i , , r
liquor, ot which they appear capable ot consuming enormous
' quantities. They were also entitled to the clothes and cooking vessels of any
one who died.
Things continued in this state until on one occasion there was a large
assembly of Gonds collected together for some ceremonial purpose. A Patharrie
was journeying to this assembly, to take his allotted part in the proceedings, and
engaged a coolie to carry his luggage. This coolie happened to be a Gond.
Now the said Patharrie had two pairs of shoes, and as he could
Their disgrace. ', , ,
only wear one pair at a time, he fastened the other pair in the
bundle carried by the coolie. This coolie arrived at the assembly before his
employer, and some of the Gonds enquired why the man carried his shoes and
did not wear them. He replied that the shoes were not his, but belonged to the
owner of the bundle. Presently the Patharrie appeared riding his pony, and was
pointed out by the coolie as the owner of the bundle. The idea of a Patharrie
riding on a pony while one of their people was carrying his shoes aroused the
fiercest wrath of the Gonds. They immediately seized the offender and having
burned him all over with a hot iron, expelled him from the
And expulsion by the LI vr i 11 r i t-^ J
Gonds. assembly. JNor was this all ; the anger of the Gonds was
raised to such a pitch that they forthwith passed a resolution
that from thenceforth the Patharries should not be allowed to act as the " Bhats"
of the Gond race.
I have adhered in the above narrative, strictly to the account given me
bv the Patharries of their tradition as to the origin and.
Vanour traditions con- ,-. ....... ,.-. , . . .
ccrning their origin, &c. oisgrace of thtir tribe, but difterent legends appear to exist m
different parts of the country. For instance, I find in the
" Classified list of races in the Mandla District," published in the " Report of the
F.thnological Committee, 1 ' that " the Gond theory is " that many years ago several
of their tribe refused to worship their deities and were consequently turned out
and became outcaste.
Thus botn in Mandla and Chhattisgarh they would appear to be outcastes,
but they seem to have fallen even lower in the latter than they have in the
former, for Captain Ward, in his report of the Settlement of the Mandla District,
says that in that district the PardKins (Patharries) act as Bards to all classes of
Gonds, whereas in Chhattisgarh, since their expulsion, the Gonds will not employ
them at all as their Bards.
In Mr. llyslop's essay on the aboriginal tribes of the Centra! Provinces, he
Mr. Hv.!o -, \ u-count a ' so ITU:nt '" ls 'I' 1 ' '' " r Pathnrrii-s as the Bards
of the Gonds, hut they would, from his account*, appear
to occupy a much higher social s'atus, for when dividing the Gonds into 12?. tn
he states that they do not intermarry except the Raj-Gond and Pardhans. If a
Pardhan can intermarry with a Raj-Gond (admiiledly the highest tribe
of the Gond race) he must occupy a much higher place in the social scale than
a Patharrie ; Mr. Hyslop further states that the rast-off clothes cf the dead are
given to the Pardhans, but surelv it would be degrading for a member of a
tribe who can intermarry with the Raj-Gonds to receive as a gift their cast-oft
raiment. Is it not possible that the " Pagans," designated by Mr. Hy slop as
the half-caste, may be the same as the Patharrie of the Chhaitisgarh Division?
Derivation cf the w ri 1 am not aware whether any derivation of the word
Patharrie has l.ren siu-es'ed, but the "Uriya" word
' Pattao " means " send " ; thus " Patharrie " might possibly mean '' se:n " or
'' sen; out, " and thi-, in ei.her one of two ways.
lie Patharries of Chhattisgarh are outcastes, and in this sense are sent or
cast out. Again, in the abs f ract English version of the Gond songs prepared by
^ir R. Temple from Mr. Hyslop's notes, it is stated (Part V) that '' Lingo "
sent the " Pardhan " to look for a wife for the Gonds ; here, again, but in a
totally different sense, the Pa'harri- was sent out. This would appear the more
probable derivation of the two, for in this sense it might apply equally to the
Pardhan of Nagpur as to the Patharrie of Chhattisgarh, supposing them origin-
ally to have sprung from one stock. Of course a great part of the above is mere
surmise, and possibly not even correct surmise; but 1 will no\v descend to the
region of facts and re'ate some that have come under my own observation regard-
ing the criminal Iffe of the Patharries.
When the Patharries were expelled by the Gonds, their usual occupation was
The consequence of their gone, and they had to seek out other means of livelihood.
A few became cultivators, others tank diggers, others
again weavers or makers of gunny bags, and, lastly, not a few adopted a
criminal life. It is to these last mentioned that I propose to confine my remarks.
The Patharries. confess that they occasionally steal, but their chief criminal
Th.ir criminal pursuits. P ur suit is undoubtedly cheating and swindling by means
of false gold, which they themselves manufacture and pass
as genuine, taking in exchange anything they can get, but chiefly money or jewels.
The manner in which the "Palharries manufacture gold is ingenious and at
_ Their mode of nranufactur- the same time exceedingly simple. It is as follows.
Having procured a quantity of dry bark of any of the
undermentioned trees, it is collected into a heap and set on fire ; near this heap
small circular hole is dug ; when the bark has burned some time, and has
come a mass of red fire, it is raked into this hole. A small piece of brass is
eanwhile cleaned and polished until it shines again. On the burning bark
ing precipitated into the hole, the brass is inserted into the bark and almost
immediately begins to change colour. During the time it is in the fire the brass
is constantly moved and turned about, so that all sides may be equally affected.
After a short interval of, at the outside, 10 or 15 minutes, the light yellow colour
brass has been replaced by the deep orange of gold.
\\ hile this process is going on a small heap of ashes has been collected near
the fire, and is sifted very carefully, until the residue is completely free from all
extraneous matter, such as small stones, bits of unburned bark, &c.
I he brass, or, as a Patharrie wou'd now say, gold, it having by this time
completely assumed the colour of that metal, is withdrawn from the fire and
instantly thrust into the ashes, when the same process of turning and moving about
is repeated for a few minutes, after which it is taken out and carefullv enveloped
m cotton wool.
'Captain i McNeil, has mistaken Mr. Hysiop's account, thij version was given to him by Police Insfector
^ernpdin as that told him b Gonds in Seoni. Mr. Hyslnp himself said the Pardhans were the half-caste ( f'i<le
The pieces of brass transformed in my presence were prepared somewhat
hurriedly, yet at. the end of the process they were, in appearance at least,
almost undistinguishab'e from genuine gold.
" he Medical Officer was present when the Patrarries wer.t through this pro-
cess of making gold ; he afterwards tested some of the bark and found the pecu-
'liar orange co'our was produced by the volatilizing of sulphur and resin from it.
The four trees above ajluded to are
The Peepul (Ficus Keligiosa), the Tamarind (lamaraidus Indica.), the
Cooler (Ficus Glomerate}, the Mobwa (Bassia Latifolia).
The Patharries say they are not aware of any ether tree which produces a
The gold being now ready, the next step is to dispose of it advantageously.
Their method of passing For this purpose they divide into small parties and set
the g M - forth on swind'ing expeditions. One of their favourite resorts
is a large market or fair, where many persons, comparatively speaking strangers
to each other, assemble. Here a few Patharries represent themselves, say. as
"Gwa'as," and express a desire to purchase some cattle ; a bargain is concluded
with the owner, but when the time for payment arrives the Patharries suddenly
find they have not the requisite amount in ready money.
Deploring their stupidity at having coir.e unprovided with a sufficient
amount of coin, they apparently, with great reluctance, allow the o\\ner to
drive off his cattle. He has not, however, proceeded mere than a few paces
when after a hurried and ostentatious consultation among themselves, they call
On his return he is informed that rather than lose the cattle they are pre-
pared to part on disadvantageous terms with some gold they have. The gold
is, in a somewhat mysterious manner, produced, probably thereby inducing the
belief that it has been come by dishonestly, and the bargain" is hastily concluded.
The cheat and the cheated each goes on his way rejoicing, and it may be
-days, possibly weeks, before the latter discovers lhat, so far from driving an
advantageous bargain, he has parted with his cattle for next to nothing.
The Patharries are very successful in cheating persons proceeding to the
various religious shrines. One would suppose that these holy pilgrims, travelling
as they do, for the good ot their souls, would for the time at least, subordinate
temporal to eternal matters; but this is far from being the case. None are
more easily gulled, none are more anxious to drive an advantageous bargain ;
for this purpose they will part with even the few cooking vessels they require
for use on the iourney. Here again the Patharries adapt themselves to cir-
cumstances. Two or three of their number dress themselves for the occasion in
clean respectable clothes ; jewels, if they happen to have any, are worn. For
this purpose they keep a number of pewier bangles, which are polished up
until they are so bright as not to be distinguished from silver, and the Brah-
manical thread itself is not unfrequently turned to account.
They now join a party of pilgrims and accompany them, possibly for
several days' journey, \\ithout attempting anything in the way of their trade.
On a favourable opportunity presenting itself, when perhaps the true and the
false pilgrims are enjoying a smoke together, some other members of the gang
come up and offer to part with some gold they have, seating as a reason that
they are hard up for travelling expenses. The false pilgrims, who of course are
well aware that these are their confederates, commence bargaining with them
and eventually purchase some gold. .The true pilgrims, seeing gold selling at so
cheap a rate, invest freely, giving money, jewels, anything they have in ex-
change. I need hardly mention that very shortly afterwards neither those who
sold the goid nor those who first purchased it are forthcoming.
At the risk of being tedious, I must mention one more method, and this
probably the most common, by which the Patharries accomplish their purp
They pretend to be travellers, and on meeting any one they think a likely victim,
enquire from him the way to a certain place. Should he show any reluctance,
they offer to reward him if he will but accompany them a short distance and put
them fairly on the road. Having got him away from every one else, the same
process of offering the gold, &c., above related is repeated, and he, willingly or
unwillingly, is swindled out of his property. I say unwillingly, because
there is no doubt that under favourable circumstances they do not hesitate to
resort to a show of violence. For instance, two men, brothers, belonging to
the " Sarangarh " Feudatoryship were proceeding to a fair to purchase buffaloes
for agricultural purposes, on the way they met two or three respectably dressed
men, who enquired the way to a certain place : one of the brothers pointed out
the road, but they were requested to accompany the enquirers a short distance
in order that there might be no mistake. They did so, the place was lonely
and the party had proceeded but a very short way, when the men who had
asked to be shown the road offered for sale some gold at a very cheap rate.
The brothers protested that they did not want any gold, as they required all
the ready money they were possessed of to purchase cattle.
The would-be sellers grew very importunate, but could, not induce the
other to accede to their wishes, when suddenly several rude, ' uncouth -looking
men appeared on the scene. One of these had a sword, the others sticks, they
talked in such a loud and threatening tone that although they did not actually
say they would resort to violence, yet they let it be understood frorn their
manner that they would have little hesitation in doing so. Under these cir-
cumstances the brothers were too frightened to resist any longer, and parted
with all their property for a few pieces of worthless brass, the Patharries for
of course the pretended travellers and their confederates were none other
passing on their way rejoicing.
The Patharries, for criminal purposes, appear to be divided into small
parties of six or seven, at the head of each of which there is a jamadar ; these
again are all subordinate to the head of the gang. The gang with which I had
to do consisted of between thirty or forty men, and the chief of the whole
was a woman. She is a widow, and succeeded to the chief authority on the
death of her husband ; her authority appears to be quite undisputed, for she
punishes even the jamadars of the gang with the greatest severity if they
displease her. At one time she made one of the jamadars, probably the most
successful swindler of all, stand up to his neck in a tank at the coldest season
of the year, until she permitted him to come out. On another occasion she
had hot oil poured on his head, and large stone tied on the sore which the oil
All property appears to be taken to this woman, who distributes it as she
pleases. When any of the gang are hard up they resort to her for assistance.
She gives them possibly some property that they have themselves brought her
but even this she will not give for nothing. She makes them give her promis-
sory notes, many of which are written on stamped paper, and these, as occasion
requires, she makes use of to uphold her power.
Several hundreds of rupees worth of these notes were found in her posses-
sion, all purporting to have been written by members of the gang.
This woman, who is of enormous size and commanding aspect, in these
respects quite differing from the other members of the gang, is evidently very
shrewd, and, as I have shown above, enforces her authority with the utmost
vigour and determination, not unfrequently accompanied by the cruelty of an
It is possible that the whole or the greater part of what I have here
narrated may be already known to the Inspector-General if so, my
ignorance of the fact must prove my excuse for having troubled him with this
On the other hand, should anything here recorded prove of use in enabling
others .to deal with the members of a community wh'ich is shown to be botn
mischievous and dangerous, I shall be more than repaid for any trouble I may
have taken in the matter.
Memorandum (written about 1872^ on the Patharries of the Raipur District,
by Major F. G. STEWART, District Superintendent of Police.
I have read with much interest the report on Patharries by Captain
MciNeill. It is so complete that I have nothing to add to it, except to state
that the caste is one well-known to the police of this district ; but as cheating
is a misdemeanour not cognizable by the police, no regular crusade has been
made against the fraternity. Their operations, so far as the khalsa portion of
the district is concerned, may be styled fitful, not continuous, judging at least
by the few cases that are yearly complained of to the police. I have noticed
also that the persons who are duped seem to be thoroughly ashamed of them-
selves, and two cases have occurred during the current year in which the
sufferers, instead of admitting that they have been swindled, have in the first
instance complained that they have been robbed.
Fortunately for the good fame of the police the true story has on inquiry
oozed out, and the worthless brass turned up in the possession of the complain-
ant, whose idea has probably been that by proclaiming that he has been rob-
bed, more active measures would be taken to discover the thieves and recover
his property than if he had told the honest truth, that his stupidity had been
the cause of his having been the dupe of a set of swindlers.
2. The devices of these victimizers of the unwary are numerous and
adapted to suit the occasion, and they rarely perpetrate more than one or two
frauds at any one time in the same neighbourhood.
They are treacherous as regards each other, and the offer of a good reward
would, I feel certain, easily obtain one or two good informers, by whose assist-
ance the various members of the gang could be unearthed. This has been
done on one or two occasions by the Raipur Police.
3. They are spread over the Dhamtari, Balode and Rajim circles, they
were in Arung, but found it made too hot for them, and like all such wanderers
moved off to more favoured localities. They mostly, however, affect the
Zamindaris of Nandgaon and Chhuikhadan ; Khairagarh was another favourite
residence, but the location of our police caused an exodus of them. They are
also to be found in Fingeshwar, Khuji, and, I think, Gunderdehi.
4. Ostensibly they live by cultivation, and as the fit takes them or neces-
sity presses they appear to go forth, make a windfall and then disappear from
the notice of the police and retire into private life, until again hard pressed or
a favourable opportunity presents itself.
Memorandum, dated igth June 1905, regarding Patharries by Mr. W.P.
WHITE, District Superintendent of Police, Mandla.
The name of this caste is " Patharrie", or more properly " Pardhan". In
the Mandla District only, possibly in a small part of
Caste name. . . . tm .f u 1
Seoni, is the name Patharrie given to this caste. In
other districts they are called Pardhans; namely, in Balaghat and Bhandara,
Mukhasia Pardhan; in Chanda, Chandara Pardhan ; towards Deogarh,
Deogarhia Pardhan, &c.
2. To ascertain the meaning t of the word" Patharrie " is a matter of no
small difficulty, chiefly due to Hhe fact that the Patharries of this district are
a most illiterate lot and know nothing of their own history.
(( ^ has been suggested that the members of this caste were given the name
' Patharries " because thcv live 1 in their greatest numbers in a tract of
land in the south-west of this district which was called " P;ithar ".
Three further suggestions are :
(i) The name "Patharrie" is derived from the word "Patha" (1)
meaning the waste land outside a village whereon the Go n( ^s
invariably build their shrines and holy places.
(ii) The name is also said to be derived from the Hindi verb TZRr to
send, the inference being that the Patharrie, in his capacity of
professional mourner and Bard to the Gonds, was always at
the beck and call of his employers. It may possibly have some
connection with his degradation. This, however, would seem
(iii) The whole is a corruption of the whole" Pujari" due to Hindu
3. The word" Pardhan" may be either one of two. It may be the
Sanskrit word iqfa meaning leader, head, chief, priest, and applied to this caste
for the very same reason the name Mehtar has been given to sweepers, or in
other words on the principle of always calling an object of dislike by a pleasing
name. This principle is in force among all superstitious peoples, civilised
The second interpretation of the word "Pardhan" is <TCRr*TR namely, one
who eats grain (rice) belonging to another, a beggar.
4. The Patharries were originally Gonds, and the legends recounting their
separation from the parent caste are humorous and
Reputed origin. . '
5. The first and in all probability the most correct account is as follows :
Long ago the Gonds were divisible into three grades, the Raj-Gond, the
Khatolha, and the Rawanbansi. They were the holders of the soil, and their
occupation was unchallenged by the presence of other peoples. Difficulties
arose over the disposal of the customary gifts of grain, clothes, &c., which were
offered in connection with funerals and other religious ceremonies, as it was
even in those days considered to be in a measure derogatory to a man's honour
to be the recipient of such presents. The question was finally settled by the
Gond Rajas, who determined that all such offerings should be the perquisite of
the Rawanbansi, who were then separated from the caste and made to occupy
a social position of a more distinctly defined inferiority to that they had
(Note A paralled case is that of the Brahmans and the Maha Brahmans.)
6. A second account relates that Parvati had 140 children, some fair and
some dark. The fair ones were called Hindus and the dark ones Gonds. The
Gond babies were very troublesome and fought fiercely among themselves fo r
their mother's milk, and in this way contrived to injure Parvati's breasts.
Eventually she complained to Mahadeo, who gathered up all the dusky little
ones and threw them into a river like so many kittens. He was disappointed,
however, for the little rascals swam out of the river, came back, and again
began swarming over Parvati's breasts to her discomfort. Again Mahadeo was
appealed to. This time he dug a big hole in the ground and buried all the
Gonds. Over the place of their entombment he placed a large stone to prevent
their escape thence. One mistake he made. In his hurry to get rid of his
troublesome brats he overlooked a little girl who must have been in hiding
when her father was rounding up her brothers and sisters. This little girl
approached Parvati and asked where her playmates were. She was pointed out
the little Hindu babies, who beat her when she attempted to join them. She
went crying to her mother, who took pity on her and told her where her proper
companions were. The little girl then went to the stone and called out. The
answer came from within, " We are all here. We want to escape, but we have
no clothes. Get us some." This she did, and was rejoiced to find all the
prisoners escape and rejoin her. They then all departed together and started
life in a country far away from that in which their lighter coloured and more
fortunate brethren lived.
Here they were approached by the deity now worshipped as " Bura Deo"
by all Gonds who came playing on a " Kingdi." He asked them for one who
would act as his servant and whom he would teach the art of playing on the
"Kingdi." The Gonds selected their youngest brother and made him over to
the god. This youth became expert and delighted his patron by his playing.
He was then appointed minstrel to the Gond family. This office became
7. From the above two legends the most interesting of those I have been
able to collect it will be sten that a junior branch of
the Gond family was se'ected to be the recipients of Gond
charity, in return for which they were expected to attend all feasts and ceremo-
nies and to perform the duties common to the Bards of almost every race.
8. I have been unable to discover any legend similar to that related by
Captain McNeill in his memorandum, wherein is set forth the disgrace of the
9. The Patharries still act as Bards to the Gonds. Their caste is distinct
from and their social status lower than that of their
employers, but is not this the result of time, which has
exaggerated the originally slight distinction between the Gond and the Patharrie
to the latter's detriment ? Is not the tendency for a caste to split up into classes,
which again gradually sub-divide until the various units bear no resemblance the
one to the other, to be found at work throughout India ?
10. The instrument peculiar to the Patharrie caste is
Musical instrument. . .. ,. ^ . T *. , t J
the kmgdi ^n^i). It is of two kinds.
The first consists of a stick passed through a gourd. A string or wire is
stretched over this. The gourd can be moved up and down the stick. This
instrument is played with the fingers.
The second is about two feet long and resembles slightly a sitar in shape and
construction. It possesses three strings of woven horse hair and is played with
the help of a " bow."
n. For services rendered the Patharries are generally paid in kind as
Remuneration already noted in paragraph 5 on very much the same
principle as Kotwars. Patharries do not of course all
follow their hereditary occupation. Some have taken to cultivation, some work
as Kotwars, while others have entered service and are regularly and honourably
12. Throughout the district the Patharries live in little colonies, that is to
The Patharrie as a criminal, fay, they keep strictly to themselves. They are to be
found in very small numbers in Hindu villages. In such
villages their houses form part of the village itself and the Patharries are gene-
rally in regular employment. They are to be found in greater numbers in Gond
villages. Here they do not live inside the village, but build separate "tolas" for
themselves apart and form, to all intents and purposes, separate communities.
13. Each little community is self-containing and self-supporting, and in the
campaign against crime should be looked on by the Police as a hostile unit.
It is from these little coVnmunities that bands of three and four are sent
out for the committal of offences. All the property stolen is taken back to the
village and is then distributed by a punchayat, which is presided over by an
iiidividual called the " Mukasi, " who is elcrted by the community ar.d hold* tlie
office for life generally, but he may be removed by the same power by which he
To be a successful candidate for the office of " Mukasi " one shou'd possess
wealth and , v jn-rience. It is not a disadv. n in jail.
The duties of the post are twofold; the general superintendence of the
internal affairs of the community and the maintenance of good relations with the
Malguzarand Kotwar by means of gifts, In other words the Mukasi is the
Home and Foreign Secretary to the Patharrie community in which he resides.
14. From the attached statement* giving the crime committed by Patharries
in this district for the last ten years, it will be seen that they devote their
energies chiefly to house-breakings and thefts.
15. The Patharries almost invariably work in gangs of three or four. They
Gangs, implements, .-. c. possess three implements for house-breaking, the khanta,
the sarota and the ha?iya. The khanta (^rar) is a
short crowbar some eighteen inches long which has generally a wooden handle
fitted on to it.
ihe sarota (*mar) is a pair of handled blades hinged together, very
(The sar.ita is used for cut- similar to the instrument commonly used for cutting
ting away tatties, Ac.)
The hasiya (^ra^r) is to all intents and purposes a small sickle. With
these instruments they are in a position to break through all obstructions
between (hem and the property they are desirous of possessing.
16. When breaking into a he use the Patharries dig holes which are, as a
rule, bigger than those made by the ordinary run of burglars.
17- Patharries are also very partial to making descents on grain fields, to
removing ornaments from the bodies of sleeping persons, to abstracting cloths
from the sacks of banias on bazar nights, to cattle-lifting, in short to taking
possession of all movable property that comes in their way.
1 8, Each sex has its own sphere of work. To the men is allotted the more
Men and women. active P art of ob t ainin g possession of property. The
women act as spies, collect information, take charge of
and conceal the stolen property until it is finally disposed of by the pi.nchayat
under the presidency of the Mukasi.
19. The Patharrie of the present day is not a genius in crime and has no
Methods distinctive methods of his own. There has not occurred
of late years in connection with these men a single case
of such interest as to be worthy of being quoted here.
20. Cajtain McNeill states that cheating and swindling are the chief
Cheati criminal pursuits of this caste. This is now no longer
the case. In the last ten years only one Patharrie has
been arrested for the offence of cheating in this district.
21. A glance at the attached crime statement* will be sufficient to show
General. that criminally the Patharrie is no longer the man he was
and that he is burdened with a reputation he now most
certainly does not deserve.
Their inactivity in crime, so marked in the last fiv'e years, is probably the
result of many causes, but chief among them is the successful action of the
Mandla Police in breaking up certain gangs which for years past carried on their
depredations around Anjania, Mahedwani and Bondar. The chief members of
these gangs were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment, and the effect on the
communities they belonged to has been most beneficial.
22. The social and religious customs of this caste have not been touched
on as they are beyond the scope of this memo'ran&im.
Note dated Wi August 1905 regarding Pat harries by Mr. H. W. MERRICK,
District Superintendent of Police, Raipur.
This caste is divided into four sub-castes, namely, (i) Totia, (2) Lakaria,
(3) Sonjerhar and (4) Hartia. The two firitare cultivators, &c., and have a
settled residence. The Sonjerhars and Hartias are addicted to crime and lead a
Formerly these Patharries were the Bhats of the Gonds, but for some
generations they have been outcasted, the reason given for this by the Gonds
is practically that given in Captain D. McNeilPs Memorandum, paragraph 3,
vith variations. In Chhattisgarh the Patharries are looked on by the Gonds.
as of lower caste than themselves and they cannot intermarry with other Gonds
There is, at present, some talk amongst the Gonds of re-admitting certain
selected Patharries to again act as their Bhats.
As I have mentioned above, the Sonjerhar and Hartia Patharries are addicted
to crime : these men are found mostly in the Feudatory States of Nandgaon,
Chhuikhadan, Khairagarh, Kanker, Bastar and Karwardha. Some may also be
residing in the zamindaris of the Raipur District, but on this point it is difficult
to get reliable information, and station-house officers in their reports have made
no distinction between the criminal and non-criminal Patharries. The chief
crime the Patharrie is addicted to is cheating, but he also commits thefts, dacoities,
robberies and passes false coin on occasions.
The manner in which Patharries manufacture gold has already been given
in Captain D. McNeill's report and I have nothing to add to it.
The. following are some of the methods of disposing of the false orna-
(1) A false ornament is placed on a frequented road and a Patharrie
sits some distance away. When some passer-by picks up the
ornament the Patharrie comes forward and demands a share of
the find, and will agree to take money or some ornament of lesser
value which the finder may be wearing.
(2) 1 hey take the false ornaments to some rich man saying that they
are stolen and offer them to him for a fourth of their value, saying
they are unable to sell them to Sonars for fear of being suspect-
(3) They frequent fairs in parties of three, one of whom passes himself
off as a rayct, another as a rich man, and the third as a malguzar.
The rayot goes up to any well-to-do looking man and tells a story to
the effect that he has eloped with a rich man's daughter, asks
the way to some village offering some of the false gold in pay-
ment ; also letting it be understood that he has a lot more which
he will dispose of at a very low rate.
Two other methods resorted to by them are :
(1) They sit on a frequented road till they see a man pass whom they
think will probably be worth looting ; they enter into conversation
with him on some pretext or other, and offer him a smoke, having
previously placed dhatura in the chillum. The man of course
becomes insensible, when they rob him and make off.
(2) They seat one of the best looking of their women on a frequented
road, who if p t ossitle entices a passer-by to her house. The
husband and other members of the tribe then catch them together
and threaten to take the man to the Police unless he gives up
what he has ; if he refuses they beat him and take all he has and
turn him out.
IV.-COUNTERFEITERS OF COIN.
MU HAM MAD AN.
These are a small community of Muhammadans from Bijapur in the Bombay
Presidency : their residence is strictly confined to the Bagiwacli and Maddibihal
tahsils of that district. They occupy forty-four villages in the former and twuty .
in the latter tahsil. A census of them was made by the police a few years ago
and they were found to number 2,585 all told, the male adults present at the linn;
They appear to have settled in the Bijapur District in the lyth century
after accompanying the Moghal armies to the south as " Chhapparbands " or hut-
makers. About 100 years SL^O when wars ceased they became restless, and began
to wander over the country, first as peddlers, then as mendicants, and lastly tis
the most confirmed makers and utterers of counterfeit coin. They wear beads
and profess to follow Pirs, one being near Gulbarga, another in Ajmir and a third
at the foot of the Himalayas. Every Sunday they are said to collect their false
rupees, and the moulds in which they make them, and workship " Pir Makhan, "
who is supposed to have started them on their nefarious calling.
At home the Chhapparbands live an hones'; and law-abiding life. Ostensibly
they are beggars and their women makers of mats and quilts. They are very
superstitious and consult omens before leaving their villages. When setting out
on an expedition they go to visit a friend who lives a considerable distance from
their villages, and there disguise themselves as " Madari Fakirs,"* adding Shah
to their names a gang caught last year in Belari added " Saheb " to thefr
names and imitate the " Sawals " or sing-song begging tone of their class.
Chhapparbands generally travel in small gangs of from three to ten ; they
never allow women to accompany them, but one or two boys form a part of the
gang. They call their leader " Khagda " and he is implicity obeyed ; he keeps the
earnings of the gang, the moulds, the clay and the lead ; but he does not carry
the false coins, that duty being performed by the " Bhondars, " who are the
utterers or passers of the counterfeit coin. The boy who accompanies them is
called the " Handiwal, " he does all the rough jobs of the camp and keeps watch
while the others are manufacturing their false coins; this is done in the day time.
The gang when manufacturing generally encamps on some high ground near
water so that they can see any one who approaches ; when alarmed they conceal
the moulds and coins and, when afraid of detection, they fling them into the water.
When on the move the Khagda and Handiwal travel together direct to the
next ha'ting place and bury the moulds, &c., the former usually rides on a small
pony. The Bhondars on the other hand make a circuit of the surrounding villages
in which they utter all the false coins they can, gradually working their way to the
camping-ground (which has of course been previously agreed upon), avoiding roads
wherever possible. If the Khagda on reaching the camping-ground finds it is not
suitable and decides to move elsewhere, he makes a mark on the chief pathway
leading to the place originally chosen at a spot where another pathway from it
leads in the direction he is going, in order to guide the Bhondars to the fresh
place chosen. The mark consists of a mud heap on the side of the road a foot
long, six inches broad and six inches high, with an arrow in front pointing in the
direction to be followed. The Khngda generally makes three of these marks at
I oo yards intervals along the path in case any should become obliterated.
While manufacturing their false coins they are very wary and are very
suspicious of persons who approach the place, but sometimes they will not mind
a Hindu who is obviously coming to bathe, provided he does not show any
disposition to come too close.
Two methods of manufacturing the coip have been described. According
to one, the moulds are made of " Multani " or oth'ei- sticky clay. (Police Gazette
* Vide page 138.
dated the i6th March 1904 ; mentions " Gopichandan " and " Badap " as two
other kinds of clay.) The clay after being powdered and sifted is mixed with
a little water and oil and well kneaded. The two halves of the mould are then
roughly shaped with the hand and a genuine coin is pressed between them so as
to obtain the obverse on one half and the reverse impression on the other. The
whole is then hardened in an extempore oven and the hole to admit the metal
is bored so as to admit of its being poured in from the edge. The halves are then
speparated and the genuine rupee tilted out ; the molten alloy of tin or pewter is
poured in and allowed to cool. According to the other method, " Badap " clay
brought from their own country is considered the most suitable for the moulds,
though " Multani " clay may be used when' they run out of " Badap." Two discs are
made from clay kneaded with water ; these discs are then highly polished on the
inner surface with the top oiajuart stalk called " danthal "; a rupee slightly
oiled is then placed between the discs which are firmly pressed over it ; the whole
is then horoughly hardened in the fire. The alloy used in these moulds differs
from that used in the other and consists of an alloy of lead and copper or tin.*
In the ceases the milling is done by hand with a knife, or file, or piece of shell.
When uttering false coin the Bhondars are particular in their choice of
victims, women, or men who look foolish, being usually selected. The commonest
method is for the Bhondar to show a quantity of copper collected by him in his
character of beggar and ask for silver in its place; the dupe produces a rupee
which the Bhondar looks at ; he then shakes his head sadly and hands back a
counterfeit coin saying such coins are not current in his country, and moves
on to try the same trick elsewhere ; their dexterity in changing the rupees is
very great, the result of long practice when a " Handiwal."
The Chhapparband false coin is generally of crude manufacture, and it is
seldom difficult to tell it from a genuine rupee when looked at carefully. The
following instructions taken from the Police Gazette of 5th December 1906,
will help you when examining a suspicious coin :
(1) A suspected coin should, if possible, be compared with two genuine
coins of the same description and examined in a good light,
(2) When rung on a stone slab, or similar hard surface, a genuine coin
should give a clear high note. Counterfeits do not as a rule
(3) The colour of the coin should be scrutinized, a brassy or dull leaden
appearance would generally point to the coin being counterfeit.
Some counterfeits have a peculiar glazed appearance. A genuine
coin should be silvery, and dull or bright according to the
treatment it has received.
(4) In a genuine coin, the thickness at the rim is made the same all
round. In counterfeit coins the rim is sometimes thicker at
one point than another (especially in the case of struck counterfeits),
and the coin itself may be slightly bent or distorted.
(5) The rim of a genuine coin is regularly milled all the way round with
straight lines at right angles to the faces. All rupees minted
since 1904 have 150 serrations or teeth in the milling. In coun-
terfeits the lines of the milling are often at a slant, the distances
between the lines are irregular and the lines (or ridges) themselves
uneven and broken. This is a most important test. The milling
can best be examined by placing the suspected coin between two
good ones (of the same description), so that the rims of all the
three are close together and can be seen at the same time.
Defects can be readily detected.
(6) The beading on the inner side of the rim of the coin should be even
and regular all round, the pearls being uniform in size and shape,
and equidistant from each other. On counterfeit coins the
pearls are often badly shaped, uneven in size and spaced at
irregular intervals. A peculiarity of some counterfeits is that the
pearls are very small and far apart, but this is also the case
in some genuine coin/? of 1840.
* Compare with Baori alloy, page 8.
(7) The devices on the obverse and reverse should be clear and well
defined. Blurred lines or edges and an imperfect impression
(unless plainly due to wear and tear) are suspicious.
(8) Letters and figures of the inscription should be clear, well-defined
and sharp-edged Blurred irregular or double lines are to be
regarded with suspicion. In some counterfeits the letters are much
thinner than on genuine coins
(9) The plain surface ofthe coin (f. r. t the portion not occupied by device
or inscription) should be smooth, even and free from blemish. An
uneven, spotted or rough surface is suspicious.
(10) The edges of the rim should be smooth to the touch. Rough,
jagged edges are suspicious.
(n) All cast coins are counterfeits. In a cast coin the surfaces may
be granulated or pitted with minute pin-holes which appear as
black spots to the naked eye, but can be felt with the point of
needle or pin.
The milling is often defective, especially at the point where the
metal was poured into the mould. The letters and figures in cast
coins nearly always present a rounded appearance instead of having
square sharp edges.
(12) A counterfeit coin will generally be found to exhibit at least two of
the faults indicated above. A coin should not be condemned
for only one fault unless it is very marked.
I will now give you some hints to show how you should proceed when
Chhapparbands are suspected in your Police station. No attempt should be made
to approach the halting place while the gang is separated : they will collect in their
halting place in the afternoon. Your only chance of approaching a gang when
manufacturing coin is by going to the water as though to bathe, but you will
then be one against the whole gang. It will therefore probably be best to wait
till the process of manufacture is over. When searching a gang each member
must be immediately handcuffed and moved away from the others ; if not, one
will pick a sudden quarrel with the rest and in the confusion of the scuffle the
moulds and coin will be got rid of. Their " langotis " should be examined with
care, as they contain a pocket on the under side in front of the private parts and
counterfeit coins are concealed in these pockets. They also conceal coins
(generally their earnings) in the rectum, where by constant manipulation a cavity
is formed in the passage to the bowels. They have been known to secret as
many as 25 gold mohars in the rectum. Medical aid, when practicable, should
be sought in the search of the rectum.
Articles of the following nature should be sought for in their encampments :
Bamboo receptacles containing the " danthals " ; knives of various sizes ; iron
ladles and tongs ; pewter ornaments ; pieces of lead ; sweet oil, gum ; pestle
and mortar ; copper and silver coins ; stones of various sizes and shapes ; file ;
scissors, and clay * of fine quality. The only member of the gang from whom
useful information can be hoped for is the Handiwal : sometimes he can be per-
suaded to openly confess all he knows.
A Chhapparband's coin is generally easily identified if made of lead alloy ;
the lead will come off if it is rubbed with clean paper. You will sometimes come
across a false coin so perfectly made that you will not be able to distinguish
it from a real one.
There are three methods of testing these coins employed by the mint, viz.,
by its weight, by its specific gravity and by assay.
In the Supplement to the Police Gazette of 27th February 1907, is an
extract from the Madras Gazette about Chhapparbands it says :
The following notes may be of interest to distinguish Chhapparbands :
(i) Genuine fakirs travelling about with their women seldom, if ever,
take children with them. Chhapparbands are invariably accompanied
by male children or juveniles ; never by women.
* NOTB. This clay is sometimes moulded into the form of an idol or something else.
(ii) Fakirs coming from outside the Madras Presidency are generally
alone. Sometimes, but not often, they travel with their family ;
rarely with one or two other fakirs. The Chhapparbands party
ordinarily consists of not less than four.
(iii) Chhapparbands as a rule avoid the ordinary choultry or other place
where fakirs usually halt, preferring a place of the kind which is out
of the way. They do not like facing genuine fakirs and wish to be
able to carry on their manufacture undisturbed.
(iv) Fakirs are seldom, if ever, abstainers from ganja, and without the
wherewithal to use it. Chhapparbands use ganja but rarely.
(v) Fakirs seldom purchase provisions and when they do they pay in
coppers. Chhapparbands try to buy provisions with their own
counterfeit rupees or other smaller silver coin.
(vi) Chhapparbands avoid enquiries about their Pir, his " Shajee " or
genealogy, and the tradition of their (assumed) order " Madaria."*
(vii) Chhapparbands try for alms in coin, not as in the case of fakirs in
grain. They do not want grain and generally make some excuse
for not receiving it.
(viii) Their stock of counterfeits and moulds are not kept at the halting
places, but are concealed in a manure or rubbish heap close by.
All the Chhapparbands of the Bagiwadi and Maddibihal Tahsils are bound
under Section 27 of the Bombay Regulations 12 of 1827, to obtain permission
from the authorities before they can absent themselves, and are liable to be
prosecuted for absence without leave.
* Vide page 138.
V. MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION.
23. HINTS ON WORKING UP CASES UNDER SECTION 400. INDIAN Pp.NAL
CODE (AS ISSUED BY THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.)
(a) Knowledge of the guilty practices of the gang, presence with the
gang after acquiring that knowledge, habitual association and
community of living must be proved.
(b) It is necessary to show the existence, at the time charged, of a gang
of persons associated together for the purpose of habitually com-
mitting dakaiti, and that the prisoner was one of them.
(c) " Habit " is to be proved by an aggregate of acts (at the very least,
two in number). These acts must be separated by some interval
(d) Evidence of bad character is not admissible in a criminal proceeding
(Section 54, Indian Evidence Act), but in a case of this nature,
convictions for dakaiti, ,and proceedings under Section no, Cri-
minal Procedure Code, arising after dakaiti alone, but not the
convictions under that section, are admissible to establish the
element of habit, under the provisions of Section 14, Indian Evi-
(e) An accomplice is a competent witness under Section 133, Indian Evi-
dence Act. but this section has to be read with Section 14 (ills, b.)
which is to the effect that an accomplice is unworthy of credit
unless he is corroborated in material particulars. It should be
borne in mind that accomplices cannot corroborate one another.
(/) The confession of a co-accused, to be of any use, must be recorded
in the presence of the other accused persons so as to fix their
identity (Section 30, Indian Evidence Act).
The criminal biography of each gang member, showing his complicity or
supposed complicity in offences against property, must be worked up, reference
being made to
(a) Files of detected and undetected cases.
(b) Registers XIII and XV kept at Police Stations Registers of bad
(c) Station Beat Registers and Village Registers. Evidence should be
collected on the following points :
(i) Instances of association, both general and specific, of gang
members at different times and places.
(ii) Relationship of gang members to convicted dakaits and thieves.
(Hi) Instances of absence in a body, coincident with occurrences of
theft or dakaiti.
(iv) Fluctuation of crime, coincident with the presence or disappear-
ance of gang members.
(v) Instances of arrest in batches, on suspicion,
(vi) Changes of residents, with reasons for the same.
(vii) Purchase of property (moveable or immoveable)., shortly after
occurrences of dakaiti or other offences against property.
24. -REWARDS TO PERSONS AIDING POLICE.
The following Resolution of the Government of India, was issued under
Circular No. 8 29-3, dated Simla, the 2gth May 1906, and reproduced for
information in the Central Provinces Police Gazette :
I am directed to inform you that the Governor-General in Council lias had under consi-
deration the question of rewarding private persons who may have rendered special
assistance to the Police or to the criminal administration, by making small grants of land
or assignments of land revenue to them. He has come to the conclusion that rewards
in such a form would have an excellent effect in encouraging private persons to aid the
Police against desperate criminals and in difficult circumstances, and is therefore
pleased to promulgate the following rule on the subject.
A Local Government may, without the previous sanction of the Government of India, in
recognition of special service rendered to the Police or to the criminal administration by
a private person, inclusive of a village headman or watchman, make a gift to that person,
or to his heir or widow, of State land of a value not exceeding Rs. 500, or may grant him
or his heir or widow an assignment of land revenue not exceeding Rs. 15 a year for
one life or for a term of twenty-five years, whichever period may be the longer. The
grant may be made partly in the form of a gift of land and partly in the form of an
assignment, either of the land revenue of that land or of other land ; but the total esti-
mated value of the grant should not exceed Rs. 500. The grant should be made on
the condition that it will not be alienated without the sanction of the Collector and when
it is in the form of an assignment of land revenue, it should be subject to the condition of
loyalty and good conduct.
Y!.' TRIBES REGISTERED AS CRIMINAL.
25. EXPLANATORY NOTH TO TABULAR STATKMENT.
Over page will be found a tabular statement showing which of the various
tribes have been declared under Section 5 of Act, XXV II of 1871, to be criminal
in the different Provinces of British India and in the Native States of the
Rajputana and Central India Agencies.
In the Bombay Presidency Regulation XII of 1827 takes the place of
In the Native States of Rajputana and Central India an amended form of
Act, XXVII of 1871, has been brought into force as embodied in Chapter
XIV of the Thagi and Dakaiti Manual. Under the rules of this chapter it
is incumbent or. a Native State :
(a) Whenever it finds a man who is a member of a registered Criminal
Tribe of another State within its territories, to hand over the
absconder to the State concerned for punishment and re-
(b) Whenever it finds a man who is a member of a Tribe declared to be
Criminal under Section 5 of the Criminal Tribes Act, and who has
absconded from British India, to inform the authority concerned
through its own Political Agent with a view to the absconder being
taken over, and to meanwhile retain him.
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VII. RELIGIOUS MENDICANTS.
All of you are only too familiar with the sight of beggars, hundreds
prrh;i])s even thousands of whom you may see in the course of any one month ;
but 1 wonder if you have ever realized what enormous numbers there are in
India, or what the loss of their labour and the burden of their maintenance means
to the Indian Empire. The last census returns show that nearly 5,000,000
(to be more exact 4,924,000) were living on alms. Now the population of the
Central Provinces, including the Berars and Feudatory States, is less than
15,000,000; if therefore all the beggars in India happened to be concentrated
in the Central Provinces, every third person you met between Saugor and Bastar,
Bilaspur and Malkapur would be a beggar.
2. The 5 millions include nearly 1,000,000 religious medicants, the remain-
ing 4 millions being ordinary beggars. Let us suppose that each individual in
the 5 millions, whether a Sadhu, Fakir or any other kind of religious medicant, or
ordinary beggar receives on an average the value of about 7 pice a day in alms
or roughly speaking Rs. 40 per annum and we will find by a simple calculation
that the Indian people give these beggars yearly a present of 20 crores of
Rupees (2,00,000,000) !
3. This, mind you, in addition to all the other so-called charities and religi-
ous taxes, such as the enormous sums spent on priests (of whom there are about
if millions in addition to the religious mendicants), maths and temples, on the
semi-religious ceremonies which are connected with births, deaths, marriages
and other social and domestic events at which Brahmans are employed or
feasted, and on pilgrimages, &c. What wonder that the voice of people, as
they awake to the realities, is beginning to make itself heard, and that the social
reformers, preaching against the imposition are getting more and more insistent.
4. Social reform is not however considered to be one of the recognized
duties of the police, though in an indirect way they have much more to do with
it than is usually thought, for certain sections of Indian society sanction and
even encourage many practices which the law of the land sets its face against
as immoral. Therefore the subject of social reform is one of much importance
to us, especially in the branch which embraces begging. In most civilized coun-
tries the laws impose on the police the task of suppressing mendicity - t and in
India also legislation on the subject is beginning to take shape ; the other day
(5th September 1907) the papers contained a notice that rules had been made
for the suppression of mendicity in Quetta, and agitation against beggars is
increasing daily in Bombay and other cities. Educated opinion is clearly in
favour of suppressing beggary ; over and over again I have seen the subject
mentioned in newspapers, beggars being freely anathematized, specially in the
big towns and cities. The question is certain to receive considerable attention
when the Provincial Councils are formed, You will understand why if you think
over the following facts. The last Census Report of India says in paragraph 335,
" Excluding Burma*the largest number of the agricultural labourers in any of
the main Provinces is returned in the Central Provinces, Madras and Bombay "
(the italics are mine). Notwithstanding this the labour question in the Central
Provinces is sc pressing that our Provincial Member, the Honourable Mr.
Chitnavis*, C. I. E., in his memorable speech on the Budget Debate of 1907 said,
" There is yet another serious difficulty in the way of Indian industrial develop-
ment. There is a growing dearth of labour at industrial centres, and more than one
industry suffers in consequence. Appreciable relief can be afforded by Govern-
ment in this matter by encouraging immigration of the surplus population of the
congested areas into these centres, by checking emigration out of India so
long as the internal needs are not supplied, and indicting beggary except in the
case of the aged, the infirm and the disabled. * Beggary, as a profession is on the
increase in certain parts of India, and I think the time has come when the
strong arm of the law should intervene to arrest its further progress."
ventured to trouble Mr. Chitnavis with a letter, in answering which he kindly
gave me some valuable hints. Among other things he said " The price of agri-
cultural labour has gone up so very high, that agriculturists find it extremely
difficult to make both ends meet, and it will be therefore impossible in the long
run to carry on agriculture with profit, and to bring large wastes under the
plough. I therefore suggested the desirability of putting down begging with
a high hand, so that all strong-built and able-bodied men who are now living on
begging may be utilised for work ; this may I think relieve scarcity of labour
to a certain extent." If we turn to the Census of India Report once more we
will see what this means, in paragraph 320 we learn that nearly two-thirds of
the total population (of India) have returned some form of agriculture as their prin-
cipal means of subsistence. 52 per cent are either landlords or tenants, 12 per cent
are field labourers, and about i per cent are growers of special products, &c., in addi-
tion to this about z\ per cent are also partially agriculturists. If therefore in the near
future the cost of raising crops leaves practically no margin of profit to the farmer,
agriculture, which is the principal means of subsistence of two out of every three
persons in India, will receive a set-back from which it will never recover. Who
can doubt under these circumstances but that the Government will shortly be asked
to consider the question seriously, if it is not doing so already?
5. Society could put a stop to vagrancy in a fortnight if it refused alms,
but for the Government the question is a very thorny one, as the volume of
legislation in the various countries, which have tackled it, shows. One reason
being that the State which forbids begging has at the same time to provide an
assured means of livelihood for the beggar, or else it might quite easily condemn
him to starvation. It cannot order him to find employment for himself in the
open labour market, for, with the best will in the world, he might be unable to
do so in time to save his life. Though the subject is hardly one for dis-
cussion in this lecture I cannot help thinking that Mr. Chitnavis has cleverly
struck the right policy, i. e., to leave the helpless to beg, and to compel the
able-bodied to earn their own livelihood. Village authorities, if they could not
offer work to such beggars in their own villages, might be authorized to pass
them on under escort to central works of public utility under Government super-
vision, where they might be set to work under proper discipline, or be sent to
employers who desired labourers. Whatever policy is eventually inaugurated
the police will undoubtedly be called on to do a great deal in connection with
it, and they will probably have to distinguish between the true religious mendi-
cants and the baggars who have taken to begging from other than religious
motives, -because the Government will never willingly interfere with genuine
religious practices of a legitimate nature.
6. Let us divide the begging communities into their natural divisions and
you will then understand more clearly the purport of these lectures. There are
first and foremost two leading divisions (i) the beggar proper and (2) the
religious mendicant, but these run imperceptibly into each other. The first may
be of two kinds, those who are physically incapable of work, and those who can
work. This latter class is again divisible into (a) those who are willing to labour
but are unable to obtain steady employment throughout the year because of the
uncertainties of demand- in other words those who are driven by want to
beg and (b) those who prefer not to work although they have the opportunity.
Little sympathy can be felt by any for the members of this last class, neverthe-
less they receive direct encouragement, because the people* are foolish enough
to extend their charity to them ; while they in their turn are a distinct menace to
the country, for they (and their progeny) more than almost any other class, are
liable to swell the ranks of the petty criminal. At present the police, in t common
with the people, can only deplore their existence, and help to thin their ranks by
catching them when they turn their hands to picking and stealing ; but they may
have considerably more to do with them in the days to come. It is a curious fact
that these lazy vagabonds in common with nearly all mendicants beg in the name
of some deity.
7. With these general remarks on the beggars proper I can turn to the
other horde of beggars who form the real subject of these lectures the religious
mendicants. In no country I know of are these people such pests as in India :
large parties of them, which sometimes number hundreds, and even on special
occasions thousands, wander through the length and breadth of the land and
obtain their wants and often much more than their actual needs from
people. I have been told it is probably an exaggeration to say that 50,000 of
the million, or say one in every twenty genuinely takes to begging from purely
8. I have been greatly struck by some remarks made by Mr. J. N.
Bhattacharjee in his book " Hindu Castes and Sects." In Chapter V on the
' True origin of religions " he shows how religions in India have their origin in
human policy, how the founders of most of the religious systems are actuated
by selfish zeal, and how unusual it is for the religious ruler to keep to the path
of duty or rectitude, with the result that some actually encourage immorality.
In the next chapter he says " Many of the so-called religions of men tend more
to corrupt their morality than to purify it. There are in fact some religions, as
for instance, those of the Tantries, Kauls, KartaBhafas, Birja Margis, Jalaliyas,
Aghoris, &c., which have perhaps not one redeeming feature in them, and which
tend only to make their followers wallow in the mire of abominations*."
9 Then after explaining how the social demands of the people, rather then
their religious teaching, regulate the morals of a country he says " The prophets
who afject to teach us morality and claim to be worshipped on that account, are
generally the man who betray the greatest disregard of that sense of moral
responsibility which is the essence of good citizenship. To begin -with they
generally teach their followers to lead an idle life and to live by begging, bullying
or cheating. The latter day prophets of India, at least, are, in fact, so many
givers of licenses to beg and to corrupt the morality of the people, f The
amount of mischief done by encouraging able-bodied men to neglect the proper
aiork of life, and live as drones on public charity, is simply incalculable.' 1
10. The temptation to quote his Xth Chapter practically verbatim has been
too'great for me, for it says exactly what would be most appropriate here, it
runs as follows :
" It is the fashion now-a-days to speak of the Hindu sect founders as SD many
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
"Looked at with the light of sober common sense and unbiased judgment the
net result of their so-called reformations is that they let loose on society an army
of able-bodied beggars, with the most preposterous claims on the charity and the reverence
of the laity. Moral leaching of any kind very seldom forms a part of the programmes
of our prophets. They teach their followers to sing some songs which tend either to
corrupt their morality, or to make them indifferent to work for the production of wealth.
The most important part of the discipline imposed by our " incarnations " on their lay
followers consists in requiring them to paint or brand their bodies in some particular
manner, and to show every possible honour to their spiritual guides and to the begging
mendicants. The monks and the nunsj of every sect are only so many licensed beggars.
To be distinguishable from the followers of other sects, they are required not only to
brand or paint their bodies in the same manner as the laity, but to dress and toilet in
some particular manner. Each sect has also a peculiar method of begging for its monks
and nuns, the distinguishing feature being either in the alms-bowl, or in the time and
mode of applying for arms, or in the shape in which alms would be taken. The alms-bowl
is either an earthern or a brass pot, or a hemispherical portion of a cocoanut shell, or a
basket, or a cooking pot, or a bag of cotton cloth. Some have a staff and a water-pot
in addition to the alms-bowl, while there are others who do not encumber themselves
with any of these things, but will receive in the palm of their hand the food that is offered
to them The mendicants of most of the sects take uncooked rice, or pice, or whatever
else of value is offered to them excepting cooked food. But there are some sects the
monks and nuns of which will accept only a spoonful of cooked rice, while there are others
whose ecclesiastics will not, in order to show their indifference to wealth, take either
* The author cannot hold himself responsible for Mr. Bhattacharjee's statements : his views are not those
of people who interpret the Tantra spiritually such as the followers of the Sankhya philosophy.
t Mi. Bhattacharjee could hardly have meant these passages to be understood literally.
JNuns are seldom countenanced outside Bengal.
pice or rice, but will only eat cooked food if offered by a Brahman with due honour. Some
of the religious mendicants rove about for alms during daytime only; while with others
night is the favourite time for such excursions. Some pass through the streets repeating
the name of some god or that of the founder of their sect, or only some queer phrase, and
the people give them alms without any further solicitation on their part. Some carry
about their person small bells by the tinkling of which the people are appraised of their
presence. But generally they stop at every door on the roadside, and use one or other
of the following means to induce or compel* the inmates of the tenements to submit to
their demands :
(1) Singing songs impressing upon man the uselessness of wealth to its owner after
(2) Singing, in the names of gods and goddesses, amorous songs which are
necessarily very agreeable to the ears of young men and women, and for which
they gladly give alms.
(3) Singing songs relating to Rama's exile, Durga's marriage with Siva, and
Krishna's neglect of his foster parents such songs being calculated to
awaken the tenderest sentiments in the matrons.
(4) Singing songs calculated to impress upon men the idea that great danger might
arise by slighting the mendicants.
(5) Parading an idol representing one of the mischief making gods or goddesses
as, for instance, those that are believed to have the power of causing the
death of their scoffers by means of cholera, small-pox or snake-bite.
(6) By simply lavishing good wishes.
(7) By offering holy water or consecrated food brought from some sacred place.
(8) Playing on the credulity of the people by fortune-telling and palmistry.
(9) By professing to be only collectors of subscriptions for the feeding of poor
(10) By professing to be en route to, or from, a place of pilgrimage.
(u) Terrifying the people by threatening to commit suicide in their presence.
(12) Carrying snakes, carrion and ordure to disgust and horrify the people.
" The last two methods are not very common. Some of the Sankarite monks are
well versed in Sanskrit lore. But the mendicants of most of the other sects are generally
quite illiterate. There are a few good and harmless men among them. But the majority
of them are men of very low morals. They have among them px-convicts, criminals
"wanted " by the Police, and persons outcasted for making illicit love. The teaching of
morality by such men is out of the question. Their sect-marks and uniforms serve to
rehabilitate them to some extent, and in their new character, they are very often able to
become the heads of monasteries with harems full of so-called '' nuns. "
" The profession has had great attractions in every age. In former times, the heads of
the mendicants became, in some cases, recognized as important powers in the country.
They acted as the spies of the kings, and very often supplied recruits to them
in times of war. Under British rule their political importance is well nigh gone.
But in their own spheres, they still flourish as before. Some attain almost princely
positions by becoming the abbots of the existing monasteries, some establish new monasteries
and place themselves in charge. They all begin their career as beggars. Some of them
succeed in ingratiating themselves in the favour of the superiors of their sects, and become
their successors sooner or later. A few of the monks and nuns manage to attain a high
position by means of fortune-telling, or by developing the curious power of swooning on
the mere mention of the name of some god. When a mendicant has acquired a character
for sanctity by any one of the usual processes, he has only to give out that he has found
an idol by miracle, with injunctions to erect a temple to it. The necessary funds for the
purpose being never supplied miraculously to the devotee, he invites subscriptions from the
pious ; and when the temple is built, a part of it naturally becomes his dwelling house.
With the further contributions made by the visitors to the shrine, he is enabled to live in
comfort. When a shrine is in the struggling state, the high priest generally leads a pure
life, and spends a large part of his income in feeding the poor pilgrims. But the high
Eriests of the temples that have well established characters for sanctity are usually just the
ind of men that they ought not to be. There are thus five stages in the careers of the
successful monks and nuns. First the beggar ; then the charlatan ; the temple promoter
then the princely high priest ; and last of all the debauchee. The theme is one to which
justice could be done only by the giius of a Shakespeare. " *
* None of the religions lay down how alms should be obtained ; when a religious beggar employs questionable
means he does so without the sanction of his religion.
11. In the chapter I have just quoted you will have observed that the ranks
of the religious mendicants contain classes of persons with whom the police
have much concern ; this has been aptly illustrated by a recent case in Jabalpur,
the records of which the Inspector-General kindly sent me with some instruc-
tions which have given rise to tries- lectures, and which I have *ridcavoured to
carry out for your benefit. In July 1858 two brothers, Chand Prasad and
Brahmans of Rajgowa, killed a cousin Murliman with whom they were
at deadly enmity. They escap- d and no trace of them was forthcoming for B\
years when, in January 1907, Chand Prasnd, re-visiu-d his home in t| !t - '<uiise of
a Sadhu, w.-is recognized, arrested, chailantd, and transported for life. !! gave
an interesting account of his wanderings to the police. The brothers first fled
to some relations in Magar-Moha and hid in a te mple ; their relatives collected
Rs. 25 for them with which they set out for Bhopal under the guidance cf an
Udasi Baba named Kamalsa the Udasis are Nanak Shahis. They settled in
Jahangirabad where they studied the Ramayana under the tuition ^f the Baba,
but as he tried to compel them to conform to the austere practice of one rreal
a day, they left him and set out for t'jjain ; on the way they visited another
Nanak Shahi Gosain and then in company with 7 other Sadhus begged their way
to Jhabwa, via Ujjain. In Jhabwa they became the chelas of Haridas Bairagi
(it is not stated what sect he belonged to). At this place the brothers separat-
ed, and Chand Prasad went alone to a remote Bhi! village called Kundunpur
where he lived the life of a hermit for one year. Thence he went with
other Sadhus to Dhar where he lived two years. After that he went to live with
a Brahmachari who receives Rs. 2,000 per annum from the Dhar State for
" shankar bhog. " He then went through Indore with i= other Bairagis to
Mhow, where 10 remai: ed behind, while he and 5 more went'on to Or.karji ; there
they were joined by 20 more and returned to Bhopal, subsequently going on
to Moradabad by way of Ajudhia; they next visited Mathura where 10 of the
party left them. With varying company Chand Prasad visited Jaipur, Ajmir, Sitpur
(in Gujarat), Ahmedabad, Junagar, Girnar Dwarka Narain Sir, Hyderabad (Sindh),
Multan, Sakar, Shikarpur, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Sriviagar (Kashmir). Amarnath,
Jammu, Sialkot, Wazirabad, Amritsar, Delhi, Ajmir. Chittorgarh, Ujjain, Ehopal,
Bombay, Indore, Jabalpur and so eventually came to his hom^. It will be
noticed how he at once took to the life of a religious mendicant, and how the
whole fraternity seemed to welcome him, though a fugitive from justice, and
though his crime was one that Indian society is taught to look on asttrribly
heinous. Another noticeab'e point is how naturally these people go about in
large parties, ar.d what a lot of country they cover.
12. The Judge who tried the man told me that Chand Prasad intimated
all through the trial that he was under the impression the charge against him
was time-barred afier 7 years, and the judge thought some one perhaps had
misquoted Section 108, Evidence Act, to him, where it says the presumption is in
favour of a man's death if he has not been heard of for 7 years by those who
would naturally have heard of him. May it not however just be possib'e that his
guru ordered 7 years of religious life spent on pilgrim ges as expiation fur his
social offence of helping to take a Brahman's life, and that he thought if that
exo' er^ted him in divine eyes it ought also to clear him in the eye of the law.
Manu says in Chapter XI, if a Brahman kills anuher unintentionaMy he may
expiate the sin in 12 years. May it not have been possible for his guru after
Chand Prasad to'd him his version of the share he had taken in the matter to
have considered 7 years, expiation enough ? Whether this was so or not, it is
quite certain that the Hindu idea of expiation as laid down by Manu must induce
many sinners against society to join the ranks of the ascetics in the hope of
expiating their faults, be those faults criminal or otherwise.
13. Perhaps'the best known instance of a man, who wou'd now-a-days
certainly fall into police hands, becoming a religious recluse is that of one of the
most famous robber chiefs that ever lived, Valmiki ; he was however reclaimed
by some saints whom he set out to rob ; he gave up his calling and retired to a
hermitage where he repented, became a saint and wrote in Sanskrit that wonderful
.epic, the Ramayana, which in its Hindi versidn, as written by Tulsidas, is now
the Bible of practically half the Hindus of India.
14. Quite recently some so-called Hindu Missionary Societies have taken
advantage of the Government's gift of freedom and have organized seditious
propaganda and are employing Sadhus to spread sedition. The following extract
from the " Englishman " is significant : " We have hitherto refrained from com-
ment on ihe action of a certain Hindu Missionary body in Calcutta which, acting
in absolute defiance of its own rules and principles, is now occupied in preaching
active hostility to the British Rdj But the time seems to hsve come to direct
the attention of the authorities to the activities of this Mission, for, not content
with the mischief it is doirg in Calcutta, it is now using its funds and organization
to send so-called Missionaries to other parts of India to stir up race-feeling In
this case the pity of it is the greater, because in its inception the mission not
only had the sympathy, but the active support of many Europeans. It vvas
suppos<'d^fo work and did work amongst the poor, and many of its members won
the admiration of European Calcutta by their self-denial. The Mission to
which we allude is probably not t!ie only one which has within recent months
been turned from its original purpose, and the police have a suspicion that a
large number of the so-call d Swamis and Sadhus * now touring in (he dis-
affected tracts are there rather to embitter the lower orders than to turn them into
paths of peace. It is quite in keeping with the subtilty which has characterised
the campaign 'gainst the Government to make use of religion as a cloak to
cover malicious design, but it is to be hoped that really pious and educated
Hindus and Buddhists will come forward to denounce this monstrous abuse of
the religious freedom which the Government has freely granted to all classes in
All of you who read " The Illustrated Criminal Investigation and the
Law Digest " will have been struck by the significance of P. Sanyasayya, Naidu's
articles on " Sadhus and Crimes. "
16. Mr. Oman in "The Mystics, Ascetics, and Saints of India," page 262.
tells how he visited a monastery in the Punjab and says:
"Being informed by one of my companions that I was much interested in Sadhus,
he ( the abbot ) forthwith broke out into a tirade against the whole crew. There might
he said, be one in a hundred who had any pretensions to goodness or virtue, but the rest
were vile scum and unmitigated scoundrel's "
"What more especially annoyed him was that men who one day were ploughing their
fields as ordinary peasants would the very next dav in the garb ot sadhus, claim the hospi-
tality of an Akhara, spend the night with loose women, and then become transformed
again into cultivators of the soil as soon as it suited their convenience to do so".
" I have no doubt the Mahant's complaint was based on actual experience find that it
vvas not without cause he grudged the pte'.do-Sadhus their board out of the moderate
revenues at his disposal ; but, for all that, I felt sure that my priestly host was well aMe to
take care of himself. He wished that Government wou'd enact that each and every
Sadhu should carry a certificate to show who and what he really was. a suggestion
which might be commended to the consideration of the authorities, as its adoption
would certainly be convenient at seasons of general unrest or political tension ".
" I was subsequently informed that this abbot's claim to the headship of the monas-
tery was disputed, and that the question of his right of possession was engaging the
attention of one of the law courts. "
17. It may interest you to know that India is not the only land that has
suffered under the burden of religious mendicity, Europe was a'so overrun by
religious mendicants in mediaeval times, but the causes which led to their orga-
nizations were vastly different from those which have brought about greater
results in India. In Europe, Roman Catholicism in the 4th century A. D.
developed a system of monachism or monasticism, that is a life of religious
* The following extract from a letter written by Mr. Benimad Ghosh, a Bengali Vakil of the Allahabad
Hish Court, to his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of the United Provinces, has appeared in the newspapers just
before going to Press :
Two suggestions I beg humbly to offer to jour Honour* . Secondly as the wave of anarchism cures from Bengal the Bengal
residents of these Provinces should be asked to be r n thefi guard so that they may not be ir.fluenced by any operation of the members of
fhe Secret Society of the anarchists, but should try to eipose them if they happen to be in their midst and bring them before a Court of
Justice. The members of the Secret Societies are believed to be wandering about the country incornllo often in the jarb of Sanjatii- The
Police should always look with suspicion on a Bengali newcomer wha is either dressed in the garb of a Sanyaii; or cannot give a satisfactory
account of his past life and should watch his movements cautiously .
seclusion in monasteries; these religious r.'dnsrs were called monk;, and monk
life bt-came so popular among the^ religiously inclined that many who would
otherwise have become priests preferred a lift; of seclusion, thus leaving the
parochial c'ergy numericallv too weak to cop with their difficulties, they gradu-
ally succumbed under the s' rain and tell into slothfulness. The power of th-
Roman Catholic pri. s'hord was so truch undermined in consequence that under
the rule of Po; e Innocent III (in the beginning of the I Jth century just after
Ramanuja'a death in India) " the extravagance of the ecclesiastical authorities
Stirred the revolutionary spirit in two great men. Francis and Dominic, who
founded the two original crders of friars, or mendicant priests who bore their
names " ( Encyclopaedia Britannica ).
18. In India, on the other hand, each new religion or sect ever since mor
teries were first started 2,500 years ago has originated with wandenng mendi-
cants, their founders themselves setting the example. Still it is quite probable
that the causes which have undermined the influence of the friars in Europe
and thinned their ranks may also do their share in bringing about the same
result in India ; there, civi'ization, enlightenment, industrial development, and
conscription have done much to reduce the numbers of friars, and here in India
all these influences are alreadv at work, except the last, but so far do not seem
to have done much to j;ut down ho'y vagabondage.
19. The Police force contains very few officers who have a thorough working
knowledge of the different kinds of religious mendicants ; all I have spoken to
have shown marked ignorance of the subject, and we are all anxious that this
reproach should be removed for the future. I am therefore, under instructions,
telling you all I can from what I have read on the subject.
20. In the next lecture I shall give you a brief historical introduction to
the third, in which you will be given useful accounts of the better known sects
of religious mendicants, and it is hoped these descriptions will be of real assist-
ance to you in marking down a genuine member of a religious order to his true
sect, and in exposing an impostor.
21. Before closing this however I wish to warn you against the uni-
verally loose habit people have got into of describing such people by their
wrong titles; for instance, Hindu mendicants are frequently spoken of as "Fakirs'
even by people who ought to know that the term should in strictness be applied
to Muhammadan mendicants only. Again how often does one hear in a police
report ' A Sadhu named so and so passed through, his guru is so and so."
Sadhu " simply means " a holy man, " and is applicable to the majority of the
mendicants in religious garb.
Sannyasi means " he who has abandoned the world '
Vairagi* (derived from Vai and Raga) means, " he who has overcome his.
'These two are generic terms and are equally applicable to any of the
erratic beggars of the Hindus. Though these terms are used in a wide
acceptation, yet we occasionally do find them limited in meaning and designa-
ting distinct and inimical bodies of men. When this is the case, it may be
generally concluded that the ' Sannyasis ' imply the mendicant followers of Siva
and the ' Vairagis ' those of Vishnu. (H. H. Wilson.). There are persons not
belonging to the Saiva faiths to whom the name " Sannyasi " is also truly appli-
cab'e and these are the Raman-jja ' Tridandi Sannyasis',' and the' Ramanand.
kyogi means one who performs Yoga which will be described in the part
dealing with the Saiva sects ; he is an ascetic and frequently a self-mortifying one.
Gosatn means "a spiritual teacher " or " superior."
Stoamt means " Lord " or " Master. "
Mahant is the head of a monastery.
* Or Bairagi.
29 RSUM OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF " HINDUISM."
J. 22. The task of tracing the patli of evolution of the numerous sects of the
Hindus is far beyond me ; all I can hope to accomplish is a sketch showing in
the briefest outline ho\v the main currents of relig'ous thought have come into
existence, and the rocks on which they and their subsequent streams have split ;
in a later lecture I hope to supplement this by a brief description of the distin-
guishing characteristics of the better known sects, and by hints which will htlp in
iden ifying the various mendicants when they are met with.
23 The history of Hindu religions has never been treated from the stand-
point herein taken, so that I have had to d'av my conclusions from hcts
obtained by a study of tne writings of many eminent schoVs, among whom
Sir Monier-Monier-Williams ;
Sir Alfred Lvall ;
Dr Grierson ;
Sir Herbert Risley ;
Professor H. H. Wilson ;
Mr. W. Crooke ;
The writers of articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica;
Hr. Joeendm Nath Bhattacharjee ; and
Mr. J. C. Oman ;
and I have frequently borrowed descriptive phrases from them.
24. Our earliest information is contained in the coMections nf texts, Samhi-
ias, which form the Hindu scriptures called the Vcdas, rf wHch thi re are four.
f these the one I shall most often refer to is the Rigveda, which consists of
10 Mandatns or books made up of an enormous number of livmns As in the
case of other scriptures throughout the world divine origin is claimed for them ;
m a work called the "Aitareya Brahmana" it is said that Prappaii having
created the earth, the medial expanse, and the heaven, then created fire (Agtn)
from the earth, wind ( Vayu} from the expanse, and the sun i u>y from the heaven,
he then produced the Rigveda from the fire and so on. There are also other
legendary ways in which they came into existence, for instanr.- Sayana, the
great commentator on the Pigveda, in the opening prayer to Siva asserts that
the Veda was his breath (Ucchavasitam).
25. In regard to other scriptures it has been proved that 'he b^oks making
up their sum total rame into existence at various stages of 4 ! e earth's existence,
and this appears, to .have been the case with the Vedas also; f or the Rigveda
depicts the re'igious thought of a period which covers a large number of centuries
in fact the general opinion is it must have taken over i,oo<> ye;>.rs in compi'ation.
The hymns are in an o'd form of Sanskrit and show great va ie ies of style and
ifferences of age, and they tell of a progressive religion. Th< se hymns that
relate to the earliest times picture a joyous nature worshi'> p rre and simple,
a worship of the elementary forces regarded as beings (Deva - r shining ones),
endowed with Divine attribu'es, to whom man used to pray ior the gift of n'O years
of life, and for an after-life with the whole earthly body ; for it was believed the
joys of heaven were an intense form of those on earth. Man in those days
rfeared the gods and humbled himself before them.
26. The three leading forces already mentioned gave rise to the later Vedic
Triad of Indra (the God who awarded to his people the life-giving rains, and
who at a still later period appeared as the favourite God of the masses, the modern
Vishnu) ; of Agni (who was invoked as a bearer of oblations ai-d mediator between
God and man, and the kindly God who enabled each house- holder to cook his
food) ; and of Brahma* (the creator or First Person of th Triad, who finds no
* Brahma (with a short final e] is Ihe abstract supreme spirit and Brahma is the fi;st incarnation of that spirit.
separate place in the hymns of the period >as hi work was accomplished, and a
thing of the past). Each of these gods were gradually surrounded by snm< ten
minor gods, SO that 33 gods arc Fubsequently represented; of th<:s- the one
!h-'tt interests us most is Rudra the God of the howling storm, usually portravil
a fierce destructive deity, who was destined to reappear later as Shiv the
Destroy. r, the Siva of the Brahman of to-day.
27. In the Rigveda caste as now known was non-existent. Originally we
have the Aryas (men of noble descent) when they first flowed into the north-west
of India, aliens in an alien country, subduing the children of the soil, or, as the
invaders called them, Dasyus (enemies). At that time the head of 'every Aryan
family was the household priest, and the head of each tribe-, or clan the priest
of it ; later the Aryans are shown as of three classes
i. Rajan or royal (later military) ;
2. Brahman or priestly ;
3 Vish or working class ;
and indications exist to show that each of these offices was becoming hereditary.
The 9Dth hymn of thi last book of the Rigveda (which is generally believed
not to have ber.n written earlier than the 8th century B. C. after some of the
Brahmanas and Upanishads had been written) contains the first c'ear pronounce-
ment we have of the foundations of caste. In this " Purusha Sukta " the Bran-
mans, the Kshatriyas, the Yaisyas and Sudras are represented as having sprung
from the mouth, arms, thighs and feet of Punish (which means Soul and is
another name for Brahma) respectively. " In the meantime the Upanishads and
" Brahmanas had focussed the metaphysical development forecasted in the
" Atharva Veda into the idea of an impersonal ' Brahma,' ' The Universal Self-
" Existing Soul,' represented by Prajapati the 'Personal Creator,'" (Encyclo-
paedia Britannica) ; and the religion of the Brahmans as human representatives of
Brahma and partaking of his divine nature had become a Pantheism, the Vedic
gods being considered as so many forms or manifestations of the All-God. In
this sama Atharva Veda there is much talk about sorcery and witchcraft and the
power of the priest over these supernatural agencies, which lead; to the conclu-
sion that the influence of the abirigina's o f the country was telling greatly on
the Aryan religious mind This influence, if it existed, might account for a dogma
which formed a leading characteristic of the later Brahmanical creed ; in the Vedas
the doctrine of Metempsychosis that continual round of Souls from on* exist-
ence to another utril at last th.- soul, covered with a Brahman's body, having
entered the fourth and last asrania or stage of life, and having gained true know-
ledge of the Universal Deity and of self, passes quietly fro:n human ken and finds
eternal rest and peace bv absorption into the " Eternal Essence " is hardly
mentioned, and is certainly not developed, though it is a not unnatural outcome
of the belief in the all pervading power of the impersonal spirit, part of whose
essence enters into all creitures and a'l matter, and must after the destruction
of its envelope find some fresh honr.e "^his doctrine of transmigration of souls
was not one that was ever likely ti be popular with anv htit th-i Brahmarts, for a
man's existence in the future life cL'pendei on his actions in this, and his present
condition was the outcome of actions in the last existence; therefore to raise
himself in the next life he had to lay up much " merit '' (punya) in this by
"works" (karma) ; and this he had t? do in successive lives until he be:ame
a Brahman and 'could despatch his sonl to its eternal resting pla-'i-;
28. Such a creed could no h ~>\^. to ranain unchallenged by a people
among whom the Brahmans numbered only a fr.i :ti in of the population, and ever.
before the Rigveda comes to an end we have foreshadowed the great struggle,
which the Brahmans have hid to sustain against the religious revolt of the
masses, in the story of Vishwamitra a Kshatriya who by the force of his
austerities compelled Brahma to admit him into the Brahmanical order, into
which he sought admission, in ' -<-/ rj;tk the priest Vasishta with
whom he had quarrelled Here we have ths first recorded instance of a person
who is no 1 : a Brahman, who has the power by the practice of austerities to force
Brahma to admit ho has as much divinity in'lvim as the most righteous Brahman;
but from this time onward we haw cvjr increasing instances of beings outside
the divine priestly ranks becoming religious leaders and teachers.
29. Another practice had also become a leading religious factor and that
was the worship of ancestors or " Pitrir."
30. In this Vedic period therefore marvellous changes in religious matters
had come over the country. " Nature" worship had passed through a polythe-
istic stage and had developed into a pantheistic creed, with the belief that man
himself in the form of the Brahman was a manifestation of God and could by
religious observances win peace for his soul. Further the divine position of the
Brahman had been successfully stormed by a pioneer of a non-priestly though
highly placed clan. Religious ideas developed fast until worship became concen-
trated on two special forms of the " All-God," namely, Vishnu, the Preserver,
whose attractive character made him the popular God of the people, and Siva
the Destroyer who naturally a^o, under the doctrine of transmigration of souls,
became the " Re-creator" and as such was worshipped in the additional character
of the generative power, symbolised by the phallic emblem Linga and the sacred
bull Nandi , in which character he became known as the " Great God " or
Mahadeva, the modern Mahadeo.
31. The Aryans before this had become firmly established in the " Madhya
Desha," " the middle land " or Upper Gangetic Valley, where was the birth-place
of " Brahmanism " as opposed to " Hinduism " which was already threatening
to make its existence felt. About this time we hear of the heavens of the two
great Gods Siva and Vishnu. Siva's heaven, Kailasa, is said to be situated 22,000
feet up on the snowy peaks of the Kai'as Gundri Range, from the glaciers of
which the Indus takes its source.* Vishnu's heaven is Vaikuntha which is said
to be in the mythical mount Meru where Indra's Svarga and Krishna's Go-Loka
are also located. Worshippers of these Gods if they had enough merit to their
credit went to these heavens where their souls came to rest, and the bliss thus
obtained was oi^y one stage less than t'hat accompanying absorption into the
32. We also find that the Brahman had been strengthening the hedge
round his caste and making it impossible for a non-Brahman to enter it under any
circumstances; nevertheless there is ample evidence to show that he did not pre-
vent others from adopting a life of religious asceticism. In the rules for domestic
life as laid down in the Grihya Sutras is emphasised the importance and sanctity of
the four asrama or stages of life for the Brahman, in the last of which he becomes
a Sannyasi or Bhikshu. Under the doctrine of metempsychosis the human soul
could only find final and complete rest by absorption, and this desired end could
only be attained by " knowledge of God" (Brahmajnan), and knowledge of the
relationship of one's own soul to him : many paths led to the attainment of this
knowledge : some said it could be reached by logic ; others averred that meditation
and abstraction would lead to it ; others again thought the practice of "Yoga"
was the right way, while still others pinned'their faith to ritual and so on. In this
way many schools of thought were originated, and the tendency towards ritual and
sacrifice developed rapidly. At the time when these sacrificial developments
had reached their greatest height, an incarnation of Vishnu known as "The
Buddha," or Enlightened One (who was the son of a North Indian Kshatriya
king and whose soul revolted against the idea of sacrifice and against the exclu-
sive creed of the Brahmansj, preached a novel doctrine which included the idea
of the equality of mankind, of brotherly love and of universal charity, and also
the belief in emancipation from the dead transmigration cult for all those who
were able " to destroy desire." Such teaching was attractive to the people
who were not allowed to read the Scriptures (which were in Sanskrit) and who
had few hopes held out to them ; so it was not long before his ever swelling band
of disciples had formed a considerable fraternity, and had organized numerous
monasteries or maths in which they could congregate.
33- Gautama is believed to have died in 508 B. C. and he left behind him
regular monastic organizations *nd an order of begging monks. Brahman
Sannyasis of the fourth Asrama ought to have been and were more or less solitary
mendicants ; ascetics of other castes may have formed themselves into small
communities but real organised monachism started under Buddhistic influence,
and this influence, if not crushed, threatened to be the death-blow of Brahmanism.
* Recent discoveries made this source of the Indus doubtful.
The Brahmans therefore h;ul !<> cuter into tli : 2nd s'.a^'c of their great struggle
against the revolt of the 1 UV.T castes, \vh > neverth -(.ill believed in and
reverenced orthodox Brahmanism, though they had no internal appreciation of
it, and did not understand it because of the exclusive policy of the Brahmans
wh> retained all the scriptures in their own hands, and so prevented the study
of them by all outside their own ranks.
34- What tin 1 threat si niggle meant can be imagined from the power of
Buddhism outside India. It is estimated that it took some 14 centuries to drive
Buddhism from the land of its birth (it s'.ill flourishes in Nepal and parts of the
Himalayas) whereas it got such a hold of foreign nations that it now numbers
some 350 millions of adherents.
35. During this religious upheaval the great epics of India, the Maha
Bharataand the Ramayana, introduced to the peop'e the two avatarasoi Vishnu
Krishna and Rama- that were believed to have appeared in the north of the
country some centuries earlier. Their coming gave a popular and human side to
the Hindu religion which the people cou'd understand and appreciate, and to
which they could once more turn instead of Buddhism. These epics being the
outcome of priestly pens once more gave the Brahmans an assured footing of
supremacy, but the victory was bought at the price of radical changes in
religious ideas ; and the cults springing from them have helped to develop the
system now usually called " Hinduism." The Brahmans in the new phase of
religion had accepted the principle of brotherly love, and thereto had added still
another idea, that of "Bhakti," the meaning of which was explained by Krishna in
a conversation recorded in the Bhagavadgita as " fervent faith in a living personal
God (Himself) as opposed to an eternal impersonal essence" ; but this living God
was a god of the Brahmans, the message of salvation not being extended to the
lower castes (so one gathers from the Vishn Purana).
36. In the meantime another movement organized as a protest against the
exclusion of all but Brahmans from the ascetic fraternities had been set going by
Vardhamana (who was also a Kshatriya like Buddha and probably a contempor-
ary of his) the founder of Jainism. "Jainism is the only one of early monastic
orders which has survived to the present day in India." (Imperial Gazetteer.)
37. Monachism then appears to have been brought into existence some
2,500 years ago. In the Imperial Gazetteer we read, '' again the strength of
Buddhism largely depended on the " Sangria or Congregation of the Monastic
Order. This was an institution quite alien to Brahmanism.* * * The primary
object of this convocation \vas to frame a code of discipline for the monastic
communities." Now, as every one knows, the orthodox Brahman Sannyasi ought
not to shelter in a " Math " because he has to retire absolutely from the world ;
yet the significance of the lesson taught by Buddhism seems to have borne fruit,
for in the Yajnavalkya (which was written sometime after the appearance of
the "Institutes of Manu," which it is generally believed saw the light in the
second century A. D.) we find a portion devoted to rules for the organisation of
Brahmanical monasteries, so we may safely assume such monasteries were then
38. Before entering on the next phase of the religious history I ought to
say something about the 3rd great sect of Hindus. I have already spoken about
the worship of Siva whose followers are the Saivas, and the worship of Vishnu
whose followers are the Vaishnavas, and I must now mention the " Saktas " ;
they worship the female energy as manifested in one or other of the forms of the
Consort of Siva, Durga, Kali, Parvati, &c. The following quotation must suffice
to show how the cult is spreading, '' The ritual of the sect which prescribes blood
offerings and other abominable libidinous rites, is found in the Tantras
The cultus seems to have arisen in Eastern Btng<gl or Assam about the 5th cen-
tury A. D and unhappily it seems to be spreading in Upper India under
the encouragement of Bengali clerks." (Imperial GazetteeY.)
39. All that I have said chiefly affected the Aryans in the north of India,
others had been spreading southward and had felt the struggle less, and it is
from the south the next nu-ve comes. Sai/ksra Acharya, a Narnbini Brahman
of the Sivite faith, commenced a crusade arainst Hinduism in the 8lh century;
he travelled ihe country from south to i orth, founding rr.orasteries along his
path, and leaching the Mimansa philosophy, which aimed at purging the existing
beliefs of extraneous ideas arid bringing the creed back to its former Vedantic
purity. "The Veclanta philosophy was the latest revelation 0f the Vedas and
taught the non-duality and non-plurality of the sprit that is the real existence
of only one spirit called At ma, or IrSrahrr.an. instead of many. The separation of
human spirits and of all the phenomena of nature from that one spirit being only
affected when it is enveloped in 'illusion' ; Mava'" (Sir M. M. Williams). He
formed the famous sect of D and is who under the names oi his disciples became
known as the " Da-nami Gosains. 1 ' The rpost noted of the monasteries he
organized was the famous Sringeri Math in Mysore near ihe source of the
Tungabhadra ; and another was that ?.t Badarir.ath in Kumaun. Sankara has been
deified as an incarnation of Siva himself; the Dakhan Smarta Brahmans origi-
nated from his teaching. The next great school also originated from the south,
but this lime the teacher was a Vaishnava named Ramanuja who lived at the
beginning of the lath century and "maintained that there was one supreme
spirit, that individual beings are separate spirits, and the univeise non-spirit."
Two centuries later one of his fol'owers, Ramanand, whose work was in Northern
India, preached in the common vernacular of the peop'e and not in Sanskrit, and
he introduced kxv-caste disciples into the communion. Ramanand was the
founder of the Ramanandi Bairagns, and had 12 disciples, one of them Kabir a
weaver by caste, taught the spiritual equa'ity of all men and declared there was
only one God who might, be ca'led, either Rama or Allah, thus bringing together
the Hindu and Muhammadan faiths. He declared that the accident of birth
was mere " illusion " or Maya and that any one by " Bhakti " could obtain bliss.
He was the founder of the Kabir Pant his'.
40. Half a century later a Vaidik Brahman named Chaiianya arose in Ben-
gal and extended this teaching still further, declaring that people of any caste
could be not only disciples but also Gosains or spiritual guides, and he formulated
the idea of processions of worshippers accompanied by music and singing.
41. About the same time Guru Nanaka founded the Sikh faith*. Mr. Rose
writes" the Sikh creed involves belief in one God, condemning the worship of
other deities ; it prohibits idolatry, pilgrimage to the great shrines of Hinduism,
faith in omens, charms, or witchcraft ; as a social system it abolishes caste dis-
tinctions and, as a consequence, the Brahmanical supremacy and usages in a'l
ceremonies at birth, marriage, death and so on. But this creed is probably ac-
cepted and acted on by a very small number even of those who call themselves
42. The doctrines proclaimed by Rarnanuja and his successors inspired the
poet Tutsidass who lived in the sixteenth century ; he believed there was on'y one
God who became incarnate as Rama the Saviour of Souls, and he wrote a version
of (he Ramayana in the old Eastern Hindi of Upper India, the first of the Hindu
scriptures which saw the light in a language the people could read and under-
stand for themselves; hitherto all religious literature had been in Sanskrit which
few butthft Pandits could understand, " Tulsidass founded no sect, he, was a whole-
hearted bel ever in Rama, and simp 1 }- preached what he believed to be the true relation
between God and man ; and his teaching quickly spread and became most
popular, so that now about half the Hindus of India profess Ramaisrn, with lulsi-
dass' version of the Ramayana as their Bib'e ; but the present ' belief among
the worshippers of Rama is not the pure teaching of Tulsidass, for other factors
had been at work. The Krishnaism of tru- Brahmans had been getting a foot-
ing in certain tracts of India, chiefly from its fascination over the female sex, but
this is not what ! wish io mention' I have already said that th? Aryans had
been borrowing beliefs from the original people of the country : even Vedantic
Brahmanism had become mortfied by this influence, as is easily seen from a
study of the Atharva Veda. The masses of the people had drunk deep of the
waters offered them by Animism, Totemism, and devil worship, and their
religion had become saturated with supers'.ition, witchcraft and demonolpgy:
they consequently found themselves surrounded by a pantheon of 330 million
*As opposed to Brstmainiim
goda, godlings, ghosts, demons and sp .rt and description. Tl
wen- tribal gods, village spoils, hill 4,1 "Is, jmi Is, river gods, snake g
animal gods ; even the individual trees, rocks, families, houses and diseases :
their own special gods and every deity its o\vn priest. Still a! the back of all
this whether followers ol Kama, Kn.slina, or any other gnd 01 creed, all knew of
the Brahman's Pantheon, and though thry never understood its mysteries, they
belli veil it and reverenced it, and imagined it lor. basis of their nun religion ;
nenrly all acknowledged the su; of the liralinians, adniiited their divinity,
called them in at all the critical times el their lives, and obeyed their orders. The
common religion of illiterate Hindus may t'. be likened to a conglomeration
o!' practically every rJigion that Ins ever flourished in the land, and the different
religious ideas show everywhere on the surface just as do the ingredients that
a e collecud in a lump of conglomer
43. I think it will be best to stop this historical sketch at this point and to
now give' you some practical information about the more common sects them-
selves, so that yen can make use of what you are learning. I will ccmrm
with the Sivite sects, as they represent the teaching of the older form of re-
ligion ; tel'mg you first of the various forms in which the God appeared, as his
fo'!ti\vers are prone to adopt marks or symbols of those forms to distinguish the
different sects from one another. It must be remembered however then: are
many sects of whom I have no knowledge, and that there are great numbers of
solitary wanderers who belong to no recongnized sect and whose tenets are self-
made ; my list taken almost entiul\ from the works of other writers is therefore
far from exhaustive.
INDEX TO SECTS MENTIONED IN 28.
Saiva sects . Dasnami
. I. Tirtha
f Dasnami Sannyasi or Atit.
1. Dar.di Parama Has Ma.
2. Avadhuta Parama Has Ma.
... i. Anand.
... i. Kanphata,
3. Aghori Panthi.
,,. i. Jangama.
... i. Aghori.
2. Urdvha Bahu.
9. Jaladhara Tapasvi.
J i. Dudhahari.
i 7. Kara Linga.
1 8. Naga.
ist Sampradaya i. Ramanuja or Sri Vaisbnava.
2. Ramanandi or Ramavat or Ramat.
6. Dadu I'amhi.
1. Viral; ta.
3. Vistar Dhari.
and Sampradaya... i. Madhvachari or Brahma Sampraday*.
3rd ,, ... i. Vallabhachari or Rudra ,,
i. Gokulastha Gosain.
2. Svrami Narayana.
Sakta Sects. Sakta
Mis c e 1 1 a- Satnami
neous Sects. Paltu Dasi
Muhamma- Sects of Fakirs
... i. Nimavats or Sanakadi Sampradaya.
... i. Chaitanya ...i. Spastha Dayaka.
2. Karta Bhaju.
4. Nara Neri.
2. Radha Vallabhi.
3. Sakhi Bhava.
4. Charan Dasi.
... i. Dakshinachari (right handed Saktas).
2. Vamachari (left do. )
... i. Satnami.
... 2. Paltu Dasi.
... i. Nanak Shahi.
3. Govind Sinhi.
... i. Digambara. r. Mula Sangi.
2. Kashta Sangi.
3. Tera Panthi.
4. Bis Panthi.
i. Sxvetambara.i. Lumpaka.
-2. Bais Tala.
3. Tera Pant hi.
3. Naksh Bandia.
7. Sada Sohag.
9. Barh Barh.
28. ACCOUNTS OF SOME OF THE BETTER KNOWN SECTS.
44. Siva is associated with Rudra the God of the roaring storm, a
fierce destroyer and he himself assumed the destructive element of Rudra's
attributes; but, as we are told in the Siva Purana, he was ^vithout form and so
Vamdeva Rishi prayed him to assume some form in which his people could
worship him. He then appeared in human shape with a third eye and a crescent
moon above it. If however we look sti'l further back we find (in the Satarudriya
hymn in the Vajasaneyi Samhita of the Yajur Veda XVI i, &c.) that he was
then known in 100 aspects, and in Vamdeo's time (Siva Purana LXIX Anusana
Parvan XVII) Siva is given 1,008 names and epithets (8 more than Vishnu). In
the "Trita" Yug (as stated in the Brahmahotra Kand Skand Puma) Ravana
so pleased Mahadeva by his worship of him in Kailasa that the God gave him
the " Linga" which was set up in Gokarna in Travancore ; this is the first mention
I can find of his taking the form cf the Phallus. In the Piiranas he is pictured
as living in Kailasa with his wife Durga and his two sons Skanda and Ganesh.
NOTE. The excavated temple at Eilora is a counterpart of Kailnsn.
45. The principal forms of Siva and distinguishing marks connected with
him which are adopted by members of the Saiva sects are:
(1) Kapardin means wearing the hair spirally braided like a shell.
(3) He is tall.
(4) He is a dwarf.
(5) Kas a white complexion caused by the reflection of the snows in
(6) Has a dark complexion from his representation of Kala the dark
(7) Panchanana five-faced.
(8) One face with a third eye.
(9) Nilkantha blue-necked owing to his having swallowed poison to save
(10) Kala the God of time whose emblem is a crescent moon.
(11) Maha Yogi and appears naked (Dig-ambara) with one face and three
eyes, sitting in profound meditation under a Banyan tree or cobra's
hood the God and serpent are sometimes 5 headed.
(12) Kirata or jovial mountaineer given to hunting, drinking and dancing.
(13) Lino a when he is cooled by sprinklings (abhisheka) of cold Ganges
water and cooling Bilva leaves. In temples a " yoni " (also called
"jelheri")to represent the female element or according to the
Sankhya system the " Prakriti " as opposed to the " Purusha " is
usually added. In the Sankhya philosophy Prakriti is from the root
' Kri ' and is according to Sir Monier-Monier Williams the " eternal
procreant germ or creative force."
(14) Kapalabhrit\\e whose alms dish is a skull.
(15) Lord of the Soma juice.*
(16) Lord of thieves and robbersf and is himself a thief, .robber and
deceiver (Vide Satarudriya litany of the Yajur Veda) and of,
among others, hunters and shikaris.
* This may have led the unorthodox ascAics to believe themselves justified in indulging in intoxicating drugs.
t The idea of course being that Siva is all powerful and God of evervthing, even of robbers. Sir Monier
Williams says (Brahmanism and Hinduism page 77) " in the drama called Mricchakatika some burglars invoke
Skanda, son of Siva, as their patron deity. At present nearly all the degrading characteristics of the God have been
transferred to the form of his consort called Kali. That goddess is to this day the patron of thieves, robbers,
thugs, murderers, and every kind of infamous rascal."
07) H< is the wearer of the sacred thread and iron car-ri
(iS) He is clothed in a skin (generally that of a tiger, often of a deer, and
sometimes of an elephant).
(19) He wears a serpent round his m <:k to denote the endlrss ryc'e of
(20) He wears a necklace of skulls and serpents to denote the eternal
evolution of ages.
(21) He smears his body with the ashes of the gods he burnt with a flash
of his central eye.
(22) He rides a white bull (Nandi).
(23) He rattles a drum (called DamariO, which is shaped like an hour
glass, in time to his dancing.
(24) He holds a Sankha (conch shell) ; the Sankha is however generally
considered sacred to Vishnu.
(25) He let drop tears of rage which became Rudra-raksha berries (Kleo-
carpus ganitru), hence rosaries (Japa-Mala) of that seed consisting
of 32 berries (or double tlut r.umber and sometimes 84) ; some-
times in its place a " Danta Mala " or rosary made of the teeth
of corpses is worn.
(26) He is armed with a Trisula (trident) ancMiis votaries make a mark
in imitation of it on their foreheads with Vibhuti or white ashes,
which should either betaken from the fire of an Agnihotra Brahman
or made of burned cowdung from an oblation offered to the God. The
mark is called Tripundra (or in the south Gandha), and the lines
(27) He is armed with a bow (ajagava or pinaka).
(28) He is armed with an axe.
(29) He is armed with a noose (pasa).
(30) He accepts blood sacrifices, and in this differs from Vishnu.
He is essentially the Adideva or Ishtadeva of the Brahmans, but all
Hindus even the strictest Vaishnavas pay homage to him as
the '"Dissolver" and "Regenerator."
The following Piiranas are essentially Sivite (a) Linga, (ft) Siva,
(c) Kurma, (d) Skanda.
Sivites adopt either the five or six syllable initiating Mantra " Namo
Sivaya" or "Om Namo Sivaya."
Some Saivas are self-mortify ntig ascetics.
Saivas who worship him in bis form of Bhairava are initiated by
being made to cffer to the God blood drawn from an incision
on the inner part of the knee.
46. At the lime when Sankara Acharya commenced bis compaign six
Saivite sects were known (H. H. Wilson) -.
(1) Saivas (with Linga branded on both arms).
(2) Raudras (with Tripundra on forehead),
(o) Ugras (with Eamaru on both arms).
(4) Bhattas (with Linga on forehead).
(5) Jangamas (with Tripundra on fcrehead and carryirga Lirga), Priests
of the Lingaits.
(6) Pasupatas (with Linga branded on forehead, arms, breast and navel),
worshippers of Siva as Pasupati.
Of these tha last two are the only ones of the orig'nal sects which have
numerous followers at the present time.
47. Sankara denounced the branding of the body as he declared various
gods were present in the "human form divine". Sankt.ra was not exclusively a
worshipper of Siva, he adored the ether gods of the Pantheon, but Siva was his
Istadeva. Therefore followers of Sankara are not necessarily Sivites though
the vast majority of them are.
48. Sankara had four immediate disciples whose fame has not diminished,
they settled in the four quarters of India in Maths organized by Sankara and
they started the ten families of Gosains widely known as the "DasnamisI*. The
following tree will show in the clearest way the connection of the different Das-
namis with each other, and with the four Maths :
Padmapada (ivc=t) Surtsvara (south) Hastamalaka (east) Trotika (north)
(i) Tirtha (2) Asra'rra (3) Saraswati (4'^Bhinti (5) Puri- (6) Vaai (7) Arany.i (8' Giri (r,) Parvati (10) Sajra:
-place of -211 order. -Goddess of -Speech. -a city, -a wood, -a wood, -a moun- -a moun- -an ocean.
pilgrimage. eloquence. tain or taineer.
I I I_ _! I 1 _i _L_ _J
n i, i I
Sharada Math Sringeri Math Govardhan Math joshi Math at Badarin th
of of of in the
Dwarka. Mysore. Puri. Himalayas.
49. Brahman " Sannyasis " who are followers of Sankara are known as
Dasnami " Dandis ". A " Dand " is a wand or staff. A
Brahman Sannyasi who has become a Dasnami *' Dandi"
carries a Dand which has several projections (usually six) and a piece of cloth dyed
with red ochre, in which the ashes of the Brahmanical cord are enshrined
attached to it. He shaves his head and beard at least once every four months.
He begs cooked food which he puts into a small clay pot, and he usually dresses
in 5 pieces of cotton cloth dyed with red ochre ; with one he covers his loins,
with the second he makes a belt to holdup No. i, the third isawaisl cloth, the fourth
is tied round the breast and the fifth serves as a turban ; but some go about quite
naked. Dandis usually cany either an image of Vishnu or a Phallus. They are
supposed not to accept money, not to touch fire or metal on any account, and
only to feed once in 24 hours on food obtained from a Brahman. They are to
be found in very large numbers in Benares. They usually take one of the four
followin surnames :
(1) Tirtha ;
(2) Asrama ;
(3) Saras wati ;
(4) Bharati ;
and change their own names ; they have to be parentless, wifeless and
childless before they can be initiated.
50. Dasnami " Dandis " usually profess to adore Nirguna or Niranjan,
the deity devoid of passion or attribute. They have no particular time for nor
mode of worship but spend their time in austere . practices, meditation and
religious study. Many of these Brahmins are very learned but the majority
are shams. Some of them mark the Tripundra on their foreheads but this is not
considered orthodox. As they may no" touch fire they either bury their corpses
or float them down stream in coffins.
51. All the remaining Dasnamis are considered to have fallen from the
purity of practice but are still holv, and are called Atits
Atits Or Uasnami Sannasis l ..., J ' , ... - . .
..., , , ... ,- P ,. . .
(liberated from worldly cares and feelings). Atits aban-
don the staff, wear clothes, use money and ornaments, cook their own food, and
admit members of any orders of Hindus. They collect in Maths, carry on trade,
officiate as priests at shrines ; some even marry when they are called " Saniyogi
52. _ The A;i;s are generally known .is Sannyasi Dasnamis, and tl
Sannyasis takv th;- surnames of
(s) Puri -
(6) Yan:i or Ban.
(7) Ant: \ranyn.*
It \\i'l he lU'ticcd tliat both Dandis proper and Sannyasi Dasnamis may take
tlir name of Bharati. The surnames marked with the asterisk are seldom
53. These Sannyas's usually encourge the gro\vth of their hair which they
mat into ropes and coil on their heads in imitation of Siva's form of Kapardin.
Thev often paint the Tri^unclra on their foreheads. They smear their bodies with
asnes and carry about a tiger's skir.. Soire paint a third eye on their foreheads
to be mere like the god they reverence. Some carry a conch shell or a pair of
"chimtas". Whenseatedtheygenerallyhaveafire and smoke ganja. They
carry articles to show the shrines they have visited. A ring of iron, brass or
copper with images of the god carved on it, indicates a pilgrimage to Pasupati-
nath, Kedarnath and Badrinath on the Himalayas; orasmaller ring of the same
kind nay form part of a Rudraraksha rosary. Those whose wanderings have
extended to the shrine of Kali at Hingalaj in Baluchistan \vtar necklaces of
little stone beads called Thumras, and adorn their hair with a metallic substance
called Swarna Makshi (literal'y golden fly). Pilgrims to the shrines at the hot
springs of Manikarnika on the Himalayan slopes are given similar beads. Sannyasis
who visit Rameshwar in the south wear a ring of conch shells on the wrist.
54. Among the Sannyasis will be found Yaishnavas and Saktas as well as
55. The Gurus of the Smarta Sect in the lower Carnatic are called
Sannyasis, they always paint on the Tripundra.
56. The throne of Saraswati the "Pita" on which Sankara sat is in
Kashmir and is considered a place of pilgrimage.
57. To quote from Mr. J. N. Bhattacharjee " after a period of probation
which properlv ought to extend to twelve years the Dandi and
The Pararoa Hamsu. . ,, * r . -. * .._ . in TI
the Sannyasi becoms qualified to be a Parama Hamsa.
The Hamsa Goose* is one of the names of Vishnu, and the expression
Parama Hamsa evidently means the Supreme Vishnu. The Parama
Hamsa is neither a Sivite nor a Yishnuite ; he is a self-worshipper. The Sivite
prayers, which form part of the Sivite ritual are omitted by the Parama Hamsa.
The latter has only to repeat constantly the mystic syllable Om." The Parama
Hamsas are of two kinds. Those who enter the order after having been Dandis
TWO kind are called Dandi Parama Hamsas. But those who have
Dnndi Parama Hamsas not been regularly initiated to the Order are called Avadhuta
ias - Parama Hamsas.' A few Parama Hamsas go about naked,
never s;:eak and never indicate any natural want ; alms are accepted for them by
their attendants who feed them and attend to their wants as if they were helpless
infants. The majority however dress as Dandis proper. The head of a Parama
Hamsa convent is called Swamiji and many members of the order aie very learned
men. Some Parama Hamsas profess to live without eating, but Mr. J. N. Bhatta-
charjee quotes an instance of where such an one admitted when caught that he
lived on food vomited by his attendants. Thismanhad made great profit out of
his fraud and had a tremendous reputation for piety.
Hamsa in thi sense means " Soul " or "Spirit."
58. Dandi Sannyasis and Parama Hams?s accost each other by the formula
" Namo Narayanaya," Householders address them in the same way, they respond
by uttering the name of Narayana. An invitation to dinner is the question ''will
Narayana accept alms here." Bhattacharjee).
59. The Brahmachari proper is of course the vrdic student in the first
. Asrama or stage cf brahmanical life, but there are four
orders of Brahmachari created by Sankara known as Attend,
Chaitanya, Praknsh, and S'xarup Brahrnacharis. Ordinarily these accompany
Dandis and Parama Hamsas as their attendants, cooks and receivers of alms.
They dress like their Gurus, but carry no datid, and bind round the arms and
neck or suspend from the ears strings made of grape-seeds. Many of them
however start life on their own account and beg independently. The upper
castes may enter this order. They must not be confounded with the Tantric
" Vamacharis " who are Saktas.
60. The term Yogi (Jogi) is properly applicable to the followers of the
Yoga or Patanjala school of philosophy, which teaches that
the Yogi is able by Ycga to so obtain control over elemen-
tary matter that he can separate his soul and unite it with the Supreme Soul.
Yoga meaning " Union." Mr. J. N. Bhattaeharjee says " the most important
physical exercises involved in Yoga are described below :
"(a) The Yogi has to sit with his right leg on his left thigh and his Wt leg on
his right thigh and in that uncomfortable position to point his eyes towards
the tip of his nose.
(6) He must, while so seated, shut up one of his nostrils by the tips of t.vo of his
right hand fingers and while repeating certain formulae mentally, he should
with his open nostril inhale as much air as possible.
((} When the lungs are inflated to the utmost degree possible, the Yogi is required
to shut up both the nostrils, the open one being closed by pressing the
thumb of his right hand.
(a?) In the condition mentioned abr>ve, the Yogi has to repeat the prescribed
formula a certain number of times again.
(c] When the recitation mentioned above is completed, then the Yogi must remove
his fingers from the nostril first closed, and go on repeating the mystic
formula a certain number of times again."
61. Some Yogis are believed to have the power of sitting in the air, as
they are supposed to be able to make themselves lighter than the lightest sub-
stance and heavier than the heaviest, and do what they like with either their
bodies or souls ; but the trick of sitting or floating in the air is an easy one to
perform if you have the proper appliances, it is frequently done by jugglers in
62. Professor Wilson says " The term Jogi in popular acceptation is of
Kan hata i 's aim ost as general application as Sannyasi and Yairagi ;
and it is difficult to fix it upon any individual class besides
the Kanphata." According to the same authority the ancient Pasupata sect has
merged into other sects and particularly into that of the Kanphata Jogis.
63. This sect, known also as Jojishurs, acknowledges as their founder
Gorakhnath, who was spiritually descended from Adinath and Machendranath
(Matsyendranath). Their ears are bored at the time of ini'iarion, and they wear
either the Saiva iron ring (mundra), or a sione, or shell, intended to represent the
Linga, or Sankha of Siva, in the hole. This boring of the ear and the wear-
ing of the Shell are the real distinguishing marks of the sect. The Shs'i is a
cord of woollen threads tied round the neck, and from it is sometimes suspended
the PhsSlic 'emblem called Nad* Kanphatas smear their
< vvfod dt beawhist!e made bodies with ashes, paint Saiva lines on their foreheads,
allow their nails to grow unrestrictedly, and coi! their
matted hair in ropes on their heads. Many also wear a patch-work cap. The
usual surname of the Kanphata Jogis is " Nath " (females " Nathni "). A man
of any caste may become a Kanphata. Their chief temples and sacred
places are :
(1) At Gorakhpur.
(2) The Gorakh Khetri plain at Dwarka.
(3; A subterraneous passage at Haridwar.
(4) At Samburnath and Pasupatinath in Nepal.
(5) At Eklinga in Mevvar.
(6) At Mahanad in the Mooghly District.
(7) Near the Cantonment of Dum Dum.
64. Professor Oman says they pay especial honour to the following 9 Naths
or immortal saints :
1. Gorakhnath. 5. Ghugonath.
2. Machendranath. 6. Gopinath.
3. Charpulnath. 7. Prannath.
4. Mangalnath. 8. Surathnath.
65. I have also a note by me taken from information a Sub-Inspector once
gave me ; as it may prove of use for further enquiry I give it for what it is worth.
He said Jogis are divided into 9 " Phirkas " or Naths or Sects and all are known
as " Nath " Jogis. Their founder was :
(1) Machendranath who was born from a fish and produced
(2) Jalandranath from the ashes of his dhuni.
Jalandranath gave some Vibhuti to a woman to eat in order that she
might have a child, she in disgust threw it into a dunghill, and
(3) Gorakhnath sprang out of it. Gorakhnath put some Vibhuti into an
elephant's ear, and
(4) Kanipanath was born. Gorakhnath also accepted king
(5) Bnartihari of Ujjain as his chela, hence the Bhartiharinath Jogis;
(6) Chauranginath started another sect and his chela
(7) Charpatnath laid the foundations of his phirlca and produced a spirit-
ual descendent named
(8) Retinath out of sand. Retinath's disciple
(9; Barsidhinagnath was the founder of all the Jogis who tame snakes
including the Kalbelias who are, I am told, much given to crime.
66. The majority of these names given by the Sub-Inspector may be those
of some of the 84 Siddhas or perfect Jogis. In the census report of the Punjab
1891 (as quoted by Oman). " The distinctive emblem of the Siddha worshippers
is a silver Singhi or cylindrical ornament worn on a thread round the neck ."
67. There is a division of Jogis known as Oghars who in the place of
" Nath " take the title " Das." They are not considered
Oghars or Aughars. , i
very respectable, their low-caste origin being against
them ; they usually blow a blast on their " Nads " every morning and evening, and
before partaking of any kind of nourishment.
68. These are exactly like the Aghoris (to be later described) except that
. Aghori Panthi Jogis. they wear rings in their ears like the Kanphatas.
Kanj a . . 69. Some of the snake <jharmers dress exactly like the
Kanphatas and call themselves Kanipa Jogis.
70. Professor Wilson says " The Jogis are particularly distinguished
amongst the different medicant characters by adding to their religious personifi-
cation more of the mountebank than any others ; most of the religious mendicants
it is true, deal in fortune-telling, interpretation of dreams and palmistry ; they
are also often empirics and profess to cure diseases with specific drugs, or
with charms and spells ; but, besides these accomplishments, the Jogi is frequently
musical and plays and sings ; he also initiates animals into his business, and
often travels about with a small bullock, a goat or a monkey whom he has taught
to obey his command and to exhibit amusing gesticulations. The dress of this
class of Jogi is generally a cap and coat or frock of many colours : they profess
to worship Siva, and often carry the Linga, like the Jangamas,. in the cap ; all
classes and sects assume the character, and Mussalman Jogis are not uncommon.
One class of Hindu Jogis is called Sarangihar Jogis from their carrying a
Sarangi, or rmall riddle or lute with which they accom-
Sarangihari ]og^.s. i .1. n r>L i
pany their songs : these are usually Bhasha stanzas
amongst wjiich are stanzas ascribed to Bhartihari. The
Sarangihars beg in the name of Bhairava : another sect
Dorihari Jogis. o f them, also followers of that deity, are termed Dorihars
Machendri jogU. from their trafficking in small peddlary. Another class
adopt the name of Machendris from Matsyendra whom
they regard as their founder ; and a fourth sect are Bhartihars from a traditional
reference to him as the institutor of this particular order. The varieties of this
class of mendicants, however, cannot be specified ; they are all errants, fixed resi-
dences, or Maths, of any Jogis except the Kanphatas rarely occurring."
71. As already stated these are Sivites pure and simple : they are the
priests of the Lineaits. a sect which was in existence in all
The Jangama;;. , S > 11-
probability before bankara Acnarya started his travels,
though many writers place its date of birth in the twelfth century. Jangamas
wander about ringing bells, and asking for alms ; they carry Lingas in their caps,
Are Gurus of the Lingaits anc ^ wa ^ ets i m which to deposit their alms, over their shoul-
ders. They are the Gurus of the Lingaits, and they
smear their foreheads with Vibhuti^eax necklaces, carry Rudraraksha rosaries,
and wear red ochre coloured clothes. They are generally met leading about a bull
Pandaram, not (Siva's charger Nandi) decked with many coloured
wanderers. 'Li_ i i n ii
Vaders are the monks of the nbbons and strings of cown shells : they of course carry
Lingaits. the usual Jangama bell. The Jangama priests of shrines
are generally called Aradhya and Pandaram. The ordinary mendicant monks of
the Lingaits are called Vaders. They usually tie the bells to their arms so as to
advertise their presence and save themselves the trouble of soliciting alms. In
the south these Vaders are treated with great reverence. It may interest you to
hear that Basava, a renegade Brahman who is supposed to have restored or
founded the Lingait cult in the i2th century, married the daughter of Danda
Nayaka, the chief of Police in the kingdom of Chalukya (Kalyan) and succeeded
to the post after the death of his father-in-law. He is the first Policeman I have
seen any mention of in India : Mr. Russell enumerated 3,000 Jangamas in the
Central Provinces in 1901.
72. These mercifully are a small community, for the Aghoris are the most
A horifc disgusting beings one could imagine ; their wands are
studded with human bones, and their water pot is the
upper half of a human skull. They pretend to be absolutely indifferent to wordly
things and eat and drink whatever is given to them, even ordure and carrion.
They smear their bodies with excrement and carry it about with them in a skull,
either to swallow it if people will pay thern to do so, or to throw at those who
refuse alms. They will also gash themselves so that the crime of blood may rest
on those who refuse. There are still people living who in the days gone-by have
seen Aghoris eat the flesh of human corpses.
73. These are nearly all solitary mendicants who extend one or both arms
,, _, . D . above their heads till they remain of themselves so eleva-
Urdvha Bahuj, self-torturing . , .. ,
ted, andfhe nails pass through the palms, ihey seldom
Saiva Ascetics. wear more than a loin cloth which is stained with ochre :
they assume the Saiva marks, and coil their lia'r into a
' Jata" in imitation of Kapardin.
74. Like the above, except that, instead of holding up an arm they held up
their faces to the sky, until the muucles stiffen and they
cannot move their necks.
75. Confine their torture to their finger nails which
they never cut.
76. Always remain in a standing posture.
Urdhamukhis. 77. Hang head downwards from the bough of a tree.
78. Light five fires and remain seated between them
in all weathers.
7^ Stand in water to their necks all night.
Tapashis. g o Have a jet of water playing on them all night.
81. Live on fruit only.
Dudha Haris. g 2 Live on milk only.
Alonas - 83. Never touch salt.
84. Go out with a metal pan on which they burn scented wood in houses in
exchange for alms for which they will not ask except by
Gudaras. . & . . . . . ' r .
repeating the word Alakh. Wear a large round cap
and a long gerua frock. Some wear ear-rings like the Kanphatas, or a cylinder of
wood called " Khechari Mudra " passed through the lobe.
85. Carry a stick 3 spans in length, dress as above, but their ear-rings are
Sulthar made of the tudra-raksha seed, and they carry a twisted
piece of gerua cloth over the left shoulder ; also beg by
repeating " Alakh."
, , 86. Are the same, but do not carry the stick, and
Rukharas. ... . r ' . i
wear metallic instead ot rudra-raksna ear-rings.
r 87. Either of the last two who drink spirits and eat.
Kara Lingas. 88. Go naked and mark their triumph over sensual
desires by fixing an iron ring and chain to the male organ
89. Are I believe not to be found now-a-days.
90. Vishnu has already been described to you as the comparatively
recent manifestation of a more ancient God. He is perhaps, except in his
descents on earth in material form, more difficult to delienate than Siva. The
name Vishnu is derived from the root ' Vish " to pervade. The Aitareya
Brahmana of the Rigveda opens by giving him the highest place among the
Gods. In the Vishnu Purana, Chapter 2nd, he reclines as the Supreme Being
in profound repose on the thousand-headed serpent (Sesha) floating on the
water, and there he lies inert until some internal force stirs him into activity
and as Brahma he creates the world ; others, on the other hand, say from
his navel grows the lotus flower which supports Brahma. His worshippers
have endowed him with i,oco names and epithets (8 less than Siva) the repeti-
tion of which (nama sakirtana) is productive of vast stores of religious merit.
The following forms and distinguishing marks will help in the identification of
the Sects which worship him as their " Ishta Deva" or chosen God :
(1) Sri Vatsa. The auspicious mark on his breast, a twist or curl of
NOTE. In one form of Krishna (as Vithoba in the Maratha country) his breast has the impress of the foot of
the sage Bhrigu who kicked him there.
(2) He has four arms and holds a symbol in each of his four hands :
these are :
(i) Sudarsana, a wheel or circular weapon (Chakra).
(ii) Panchajanya, conch shell (Sankha).
(iii) Kaumodaki, a club (Gada).
(iv) Padmali, a lotus flower. .
(3) He is armed with a magic bow (Sarnga).
(4) He is armed with a magic sword (Nandaka).
(5) He has a jewel (Syamantaka) on his wrist.
(6) Do. (Kaustubha) on his breast.
(7) He is borne through space on the mythical bird Garuda (Semi-hu-
man in form and character, with a birdlike face), a ruthless
destroyer of snakes.
(8) The Ganges issues from his right foot and flows through the
skies before it falls on Siva's head.
91. Leaving these out of the question, the forms he is best known in are
those in which he descended on earth to deliver his worshippers from danger,
or to benefit mankind. Both Sir Monier Monier-Williams and Mr. J. N.
Bahttacharjee agree in giving the following ten as the true descents of Vishnu :
(1) As Matsya. The fish, to save mankind at the deluge when the ship
containing Manu and the 7 Rishis was anchored to a horn he let
grew from his forehead.
(2) As Ktirma. The tortoise, which served as the pivot on which the
mountain Mandara was set revolving to churn the ocean of milk.
^3) As Varaha.The boar, to raise the world from the waters of the
deluge in which it was submerged.
(4) As Nara-Sinha. The man-lion, to save mankind from the tyrant Hi-
ranya Kasipu whom he tore in pieces.
NOTE. These four descents are said to have taken place in the Satya Yug (the first age).
(5) As Vamana. The dwarf, who recovered the three worlds from the
demon Bali by expanding until he strode in 2 steps over heaven and
earth, and then left the lower world to the demon out of compas-
(6) As Parasu Rama. Rama with the axe, who as a Brahman com-
pletely annihilated the Kshatriya race 21 times.
NOTZ. These two are said to have appeared in the second or Treta age.
(7) As Ramchandra. The moonlike Rama, the saviour of mankind
and destroyer of the demon Ravana.
NOTE (i). Said to have lived at the close of the Treta age.
NOTE (2). The Ramayana I, 75-76, tells of Rama's victory over Parasu Rama.
(8) As Krishna. The dark Hero God, who delivered the world from
K.msa, the tyrant.
NOTR(I). Thll deieent II laid ti ;lie Dvapura or third age of the world. Hit
re-ascension into heaven having marked the commencement of the present Kali Yng.
XOTE (j). Some (Mr. J. N. Bhattarharjre nay-s "the orthodox ") aver that Krishna was not an Avatara of
\ iihmi. but Vishnu himself, and these substitute -other Balarama the Strong Rama for Krishna, hot
Ba.arama i ,i e d as an incarnation of the serpent Shesah.
(9) As Buddha. The "enlightened" who lived in the present Kali Yug.
(10) As Kalki. The future incarnation which is to descend at. the end
of the present Kali Yug for the purpose of rescuing (according
to Mr. J. N. Bhattacharjee) the land of the Aryas from the
oppressors, or (according to Sir Monier Monier- Williams) when he
will be revealed in the sky seated on a white horse, with a drawn sword
blazing like a comet, for the final destruction of the wicked, for
the redemption of the good, for the renovation of all creation
and restoration of the age of purity (Satya Yug).
NOTE. In the Vishnu Purana one Mahayug is made up of four yugs :
(1) Krita or Satya Yug ... ... ... 4 800 divine years.
(2) Treta Yug ... ... 3,600 do. do.
(3) Dvapara Yuj ... ... _. 2,400 do. do.
(4) Kali Yug ... ... ... 1,200 do. do.
A divine year is 360 mortal years: the Kali Yug is therefore 432,000 mortal
years ; it commenced B. C. 3101, therefore so far only 5,008 years have elapsed,
and we still have 426,992 years to look forward to before the promised incarna-
tion appears and the Satya Yug once more commences. There are 1,000
Mahayugs in one Kalpa (day) of Brahma's life and he lives for 100 years of 365
Kalpas. We are now in the 4th Yug of the ist Mahayug of the ist Kalpa
(called the Varaha or boar Kalpa) of the 5 ist year of Brahma's life.
92. The existing Vaishnava Sects are nearly all worshippers of the God
in the form of either Krishna or Rama, and the two systems elaborated round
these incarnations are generally spoken of as " Krishnaism" and " Ramaism. "
I do not propose to give any account of these two faiths such an undertaking
would make these lectures inordinately long suffice it to say that neither cult
made much headway until the nth century, when a South Indian Brahman
Ramanuja (he was born at Parambur near Madras, studied in Kanjivaram, after-
wards settled in Srirangam on the Kauvari and was buried in the great temple
of Ranganath) maintained in opposition to Sankara :
(1) That there is one Supreme Spirit " Iswara. "
(2) That individual beings are separate Spirits " Chit."
(3) That the universe is non-Spirit " Achit. "
He devoted all his energies to the abolition of Linga worship and the
substitution of Vishnu worship. His followers are known
Kamanujas or an vaishnavas. . ... ' . _.,.
as Kamanujas or Sn vaishnavas (after Sri or Lakshmi
the consort of the God) ; they form one of the four original " Sampradayas " or
orders, which are :
(i x i Sri Sampradaya, founded by Ramanuja.
(2) Madhva or Brahma Sampradaya, founded by Madhva.
(3) RuJra Sampradaya, founded by Vallabha.
(4) Sanaka Sampradaya. founded by Nimbaditva hence its other name
93. The Sri Sampradaya have sub-divisions called after Narayana,
Lakshmi, Lakshrrn Narayana, Ram, Sita, Sita-Rama, Krishna, Rukhmini, &c., but
there is no sub-division devoted to Radha as she, was only a mistress. In course
of time the worship degenerated, and in the 13th century in consequence of the
doctrines of Vedant Acharya (a learned Brahman of Kanjivaram) who endeavour-
ed to restore the teaching of the original founder, the order split into two
factions, the northern or Yadagala and the southern or Tengala. These factions
are at bitter enmity with each other; the Vadagalas
adhere to the Sanskrit Vedas, while the Tengalas have
produced a Tamil Veda of their own. The two schools generally go by the
names of the monkey and cat schools ; the Vadagalas holding that the human
spirit by its own will takes hold of the Supreme spirit as the baby monkey clings
to its mother, wherea? the Tengalas maintain that the human spirit remains passive
till picked up by the Supreme spirit as the cat picks up its helpless kitten. The
Vadagalas are the more exclusive school as they admit few Sudras, whereas the
Tengalas embrace all castes.
94. The forehead marks, popularly called " trifala, " of the two schools
differ: the " tilak " of the Vadagalas is shaped like an U, that of the Tengalas
like a Y. The U represents the right foot of Vishnu from which the Ganges
flows : the Y represents both feet, the tail down the nose being the lotus throne.
In both a perpendicular red or yellow streak bisects the space between the
branching arms and represents Sri or Lakshmi : the branches are painted with
Tiruman or Gopichandan (supposed to be soil from the bed of the pool in Dwarka
in which the Gopis drowned themselves, but more often ordinary magnesian or
calcareous clay obtainable in many places). These marks extend from the hair to
the eyebrows. Ramanujas also daub patches of Gopichandan on the breast and
arms with a central red streak in the middle of the breast. These patches re-
present the Sankh, Chakra, Gada and Padma, while the central streak is Sri or
Lakshmi. In Southern India these marks ate frequently branded on by the
Guru with a red hot stamp. Initiation is accompanied by the whisper of the 8 syl-
lable Mantra " Om namo Narayanaya ". Members of the sect wear a necklace of
the wood of the Tulsi, or the lotus, and carry a rosary (japarnala) of the beads
of either the Tulsi (the Basil or " Ocymum sanctum ") or the lotus and
worship the Salagram (a black ammonite generally obtained from the bed of the
Gandak). Ramanujas may only eat food which has been cooked by themselves
in the strictest privacy. The Brahman Ramanujas are allowed to wear nothing
but silk and wool when cooking and eating ; the rest wear cotton dyed with ochre.
A few Brahmans of this sect, who have passed through the first two stages of
the Brahmanical order, carry a staff and call themselves Dandi (or Tridandi)
Sannyasis, but they wear the sacred thread, and do not enshrine its ashes,
as is the practice with Sankara's Dandis. They have numerous Maths and
Asthals or Akharas presided over by Mahants who collect resident chelas
around them, while they send out a number of vagrant members to beg. When
accosting a Ramanuja the usual form of salutation is " Dasoshmi " or " Dasoham "
(I am your slave).
95. The Ramanandis are an offshoot of the Ramanuja sect. Ramanand
Pam!inandis is commonly asserted to be the 5th in descent from
Ramanuja and lived in the I4th century; he was the
missionary of popular Vaishnavism in Northern India: he admitted low-caste disciples
into his sect, and was the first to preach his tenets to the people in their own
language instead of Sanskrit. He broke from the Ramanujas because they
objected to his carelessness in allowing people to see him cooking his food. The
Ramanandis, or Ramavats as they are sometimes called, in consequence are not
careful about seclusion during their culinary duties. They call themselves Sri
Vaishnavas, like the Ramanujas and paint their foreheads like the Vadagala, except
that the red streak is varied in shape and extent to suit the pleasure of the
individual and is generally narrower than that of the Ramanujas. They put Rama
and Sita first in worship and not Vishnu and Lakshmi as do the Ramanujas, and
their initiatory mantra is simply "Sri Rama"; their forms of salutation are
"Jaya Sri Rama,"" Jaya Rama " and "Sita Rama." Some of Ramanand's
disciples founded separate schools, among these were Naradeo, the cotton
printer, Sena, the barber, Kabir, the weaver, Nabhaji, the Dom (author of
the Bhakta Mala) and Raidas, the Chamar. The Ramanandis arc divided
into four schools
(1) Achofis Brahmrfiis, who wear only silk and wool.
(2) Sannyasis any caste, wear only cotton dyed with ochre and dress
like Dasnami Dandis.
(3) I'airagisany caste, wear a small rag to cover the loins and ano 1
called '' Haliir Baa " round tin' uai
(4) Klnkis any caste, go about almost naked, smear their bodies with a
mixture uf i lay and ashes and do not trim their hair or
nails : a few dress their hair in a Jata like Sivites.
96. All Ramfivats wear necklaces and carry rosaries of Tul ii (Basil) beads
or wood. The non-Brahman Ramavats accost each other with " Rama Rama,"
but when they salute a Brahman say " paun lagi " (thy feet are toucrud). They
are most numerous along the Ganges and Jumna valleys, and thy Samadh or
spiritual throne of the founder is said to be in Jaipur.
97. Of Ramanand's (so-called) Muhammadan disciple Kabir. Dr. Grierson
says "he founded a religion whose origin was largely
infused with Christianity and added to it the Mussalman
doctrines of the unity of God and of the hatred of image worship. Kabir
Panthis are noted for their piety and morality. " Their itinerant monks worship
the invisible Kabir, and their begging is accompanied by the songs of the founder
of their order; they accept gifts, but do not solicit alms. Some go about nearly
naked, some wear tulsi-malas, some paint their foreheads as do the Ramavats,
and some make a streak with sandal or gopichandan along the ridge of the nose ;
but these outward signs are of minor importance to them. Obedience to Gurus
is very strictly observed : they consider life to be the gift of God and so abhor
all violence, and they regard truth as one of the cardinal virtues.
98. Maluk Dasis are another offshoot of Ramanand's teaching. The red
streak painted on their foreheads is shorter than that of
the Ramavats and they worship Ram as the giver of all.
Malluk Das was born at Kara Manikpur near Allahabad. The principal seat of
his followers is there at a math on the Ganges. He died in Puri where an
establishment of great repute exists near the Kabir Panthi Math; other rioted
monasteries are at Allahabad, Benares, Brindaban, Ajudhya and Lucknow.
99. The Ram Snehi are, according to Mr. Bhattacharjee, also a division of
Ramavats. They were founded by Ramcharan of Sura
Sena in Jaipur who was himself originally a Ramavat.
They do not worship images. Their mendicants are divided into Bidehis and
Mohinis. The Bidehis go about completely naked ; the
Bidehis, Mohinis. .. - . . . . r i . j , i i
Mohinis wear two pieces or ochre-dyed cotton cloth : the
mendicant's water-pot is made of wood and he dines off a stone or an earthen
plate. The monks are celibates ; they are also vegetarians and abstain from
all intoxicating drinks and drugs and from tobacco. A man of any caste may
join the sect. They paint a white perpendicular line on the forehead, shave
their heads of all but a central lock, and wear tulsi-malas. Ram Snehis are
numerous in Mewar and Alwar and are found in Bombay, Gujarat, Surat,
Hyderabad, Poona, Ahmedabad and Benares. The chief monastery is in
100. The Dadu Panthis. Dadu was the 5th in descent from Ramanand
and is said to have been one of Kabir's pupils. He was
Dadu Panth'S. , , A . . , . .' - 1 -in
a cotton cleaner born at Ahmedabad and in middle age
entered a hermitage in the Vaherana mountain near Naraina : from there he
disappeared and his followers believed he was absorbed into the Deity. The
sect has no temples, and image worship is prohibited ; they wear no external
marks, but carry a rosary and don a peculiar white cap, which has by some been
described as round and by others as four cornered with a flag hanging down behind:
the difference in appearance may be due to the fact that each devotee has to
make his own cap. They are divided into three classes :
Viraktas. Go bare-head with one garment and one water-pot.
Nagas. Carry arms and take military service (the Raja of Jaipur is said
to have entertained over 10,000 in his army).
Vittar Dharis. Follow the occupations of ordinary life.
The chief place of worship is Nara!na where Dadu lived before he
101. The second Sampradaya is that of the Madhvacharis : the'r dogma
is duality (human soul separate from the divine soul).
The order was founded by Madhva Acharya, a Brahman
born at Tuluva in Canara in 1199 A. D. The principal
shrine erected by him is that at Udipi near whirh he constructed 8 monasteries.
Madhvacharis paint their foreheads like Vadagalas except that the central line
is black and they are branded like the Tengalas. They admit people of any
caste and imitate the Saiva Dandis, and they are chiefly found in Southern India.
102. The two remaining Sampradayas worship Vishnu in the form of
Krishna alone or conjointly with the milkmaid Radha.
103. The Rudra Sampradaya or the VaHabhacharis were founded by
Vishnu Swami, the fifth in descent from him was
Vallabha, born in 1479, and it is after him the sect is
named. They worship Krishna as Bala Gopala, the cowherd boy ; and their
head-quarters were originally fixed at Gokula, the scene of Krishna's boyhood
as the foster son of the cowherd Nand Ghosh. Vallabha is believed to have
miraculously discovered 8 idols which he set up there, but some generations
later the family was driven off with their idols by the persecutions of Aurangzeb
and took refuge in Rajputana where temples have been built over them in the
following places :
(i) The Srinath Temple at Nath Dwara.
, Nanita do. do.
, Mathura Nath Temple at Kotah.
Vitthal Nath do. do.
Dwarka Nath do. Kankervvali.
Gokul Nath do. Jaipur.
Mddan Mohan do. do.
Yadu Nath do. Surat.
104. The descendants of Vallabha are the priests of these idols, and all his
descendants are venerated as Gods and called " Maharaja", they are generally
known as Gokulastha Gosains. The followers of Vallabha are mostly to be found
among the mercantile classes of the western provinces of India. Low-caste
Sudras are not admitted into the sect. Their worship is known as Pushni Marga
(the road of nourishing food). The mendicants or Gosains often engage in trade
during their pilgrimages, dress well, feed well and live in state The mark on the
forehead is in the form of a U with a round red spot in the middle. Some how-
evc-r make the centre spot black. The necklace and rosary are made of the
stalk of the Tulsi. The salutations among them are " Srikrishna " and " Jaya
105. Vallabha's successor Vitthal Nath had 7 sons who were all teachers,
and as their followers form different ccmmunities I will give their names :
Girdhari Rai, Govind Rai, Bala Krishna, Gokulnath, Raghunath, Yadunath,
106. " The Gokulastha Gosains and their Maths are among the wealthiest
in the land, specially the Math of Sri Nath Dwara in Ajmir ; the high priest (a
descendant of Goku'nath) is a man of great importance and opulence" (Wilson)
Members of the sect when they visit Sri Nath Dwara (which they are all supposed
to do at least once in their life-time ) receive a certificate from the head Gosain
to show they have done this pilgrimage.
107. The Swami Narayana sect of Gujarat. Their founder's name was
Swami Nara anas original ly t 'Sanajananda, but in Jetalpur when he found his
teaching was attractive, he changed his name to Swami
Narayana. His followers have to wear two tnlsi rosaries, one for Krishna and
one for Radlia. The forehead mark is like the letter U with a red spot in the centre
to represent Tc-cka. Female adherents "paint a circular mark with the red (sic)
powder of saffron " Bhattacharjce. The mendicants wear the salmon colotnred
dress of ascetics. Swami Narayana sought to denounce and expose the !!
tious practices of the Bombay " Maharajas " of the Gokulastha Gosains.
108. The Nimavats sometimes Nimats or Sanakadi Sampradayis have
Nim.-iv.-i.i or s a n a k a s i their head -quarters at Mathura in the Monastery of
Dliruva Kshetra. They paint their foreheads with two
perpendicular lines of gofichandan with a round black mark in between. The
sect worships Krishna in conjunction with Radha, and is said to be on the decline.
109. Vaishnavas of Bengal. '1 heir founder was Chaitanya or as he
Ch . was named by his parents Nimai or Bishambhar, a
Baidak Brahman born in Nadiya in Bengal in 1484. He
preached the worship of Radha and Krishna in a country devoted to Saktaism
and popularized his religion by inaugurating the " Sankirtan " or procession of
worshippers playing and singing, and by teaching that the road to salvation was
by "Bhakti," that Bhakti was of four kinds :
1. The devotion of a servant to his master,
2. Do. a friend to a friend,
3. Do. a parent to a child,
4. Do. a lady to her lover,
that the last form of Bhakti was the highest, and that the Bhakti shown by
Radha for Krishna was the supreme form of ideal devotion. He preached
against animal sacrifice, and against the consumption of meat and stimulants.
The spiritual guides or Gosains of this cult are not necessarily Brahmans, and he
admitted all castes and even Muhammadans into the sect. His followers are
distinguished by two white perpendicular streaks of gopichandan united at the
root of the nose by what Mr. Bhattacharjee says " is something like a bamboo
leaf or basil leaf," and the marking is often continued down the nose to near the
tip. They imprint in gopichandan daily the names of Radha arid Krishna with
a metal stamp on their arms and breasts and sometimes they also paint the names
" Gora " on the arms and breast : Gora is a corrupt form of " Goura " yellow
which was one of Chaitanya's names. The in 1st necklace is close fitting
and usually made of three strings, and the tnlsi rosary of at least 108
tulsi beads which are often very minute. Their regard for the tuisi plant leads
them to eat tiihi leaves with their food and drink. Their garments are usually
white and consist of a " langoti " a girdle and a " bahir-bas " or outer garment
which is a piece of cotton cloth without border about two yards in length, this is
sometimes dyed with turmeric. I have already mentioned the Gosains of the sect.
Babajis. The male mendicants are called Babaji and dress as ascetics, while the
Matajis. females are known as Mataji and dress as widows, but the sexes gene-
tas- rally live openly together. Some Babajis called themselves " Virakta"
(disgusted with the world), they l.iye in monasteries and will not allow females to
cook for them. The majority of' the Babajis are of the clean Sudra castes.
Mr. Bhattacharjee says '' there are among them many bad characters too. If
proper inquiries be made it may appear that they have in their society many ex-
convicts, criminals who have eluded the pursuit of the police, etc."
1 10. In Bengal there are several seceding classes of this sect :
i. Spashta Dayakas, 2. Karta Bhagas, 3. Sahajas, 4. Nara Neris, 5. Bauls.
in. The teachers of the Spashta Dayakas, male and female, who live toge-
ther and are called " Udasina," are mendicants and ascetics.
Their sectarial ma^s are a shorter tilak than that of
orthodox Chaitanyas and their tulsi necklace consists of one string, the men
often wear only an apron (or Kaupina) round the waist and the women shave
their heads of all but one slender tress.
us. The Karta Bhagas and Sahajas are non-mendicant.
1 13. The Nara Neris are a low class of Chaitanyas : the Nara is the male,
and the Neri the female : they beg and sing together and
Nara Neris. , ,,
wear a coat of kantha or rags patched together.
114. The Byuls are the dirtiest of the Chaitanyas; they wear a cone-
shaped cap and a long jacket of dirty rags patched
together, they dance and sing to musical instruments ;
according to their tenets sexual indulgence is the most approved form of
115. The Radha Vallabhis were founded by Hari Vans about 1585, their
head-quarters are in Brindaban and their Gosains are
Kadha Vallabhis. r in TT TI-..I i ri 1 1
round all over Upper India, they worship Kadha in pre-
ference to Krishna. I can find no accounts of their attire.
1 16. The Sakhi Bhavas are men who are rarely met with ; they wear female
attire and follow the occupations of women.
117. Charan Dasis. This sect was instituted by Charan Das, a Dhusar.
Their teachers may be of any caste or sex. They wor-
Charan Dasis. ,. _ ., , J ., . , . I.
ship Kadha and Krishna as the source of all things.
They profess to act up to a very moral code. The mendicants of the sect wear
yellow garments, paint a single streak of gopichandan on their foreheads and
have a tulsi necklace and rosary ; the cap is small and pointed and round its
lower part is wound a yellow turban. Their chief seat is in Delhi and they have
various maths in the upper part of the Doab.
118. The third religion, that of the Saktas, does not require much mention
as the medicant members are fortunately few. They are divided into the :
Dakshinacharis or Bhaktas ... ... Right handed Saktas.
Vamacharis ... ... Left handed Saktas.
Kauls ... ... Extreme Saktas.
All wear a necklace of rudraraksha beads like the Sivites. The Dakshinachari
have generally an " Urdhapundra " or perpendicular streak in the central part of
the forehead, the colouring matter being either a paste of sandlewood or a
solution of charcoal (obtained from a " Horn " fire) in ghi. The mark on the
forehead of the Vamachari consists of three transverse lines painted with the
charcoal of the sacred fire dissolved in ghi. The Kauls paint their foreheads with
vermilion dissolved in ghi. The tint of blood being their favourite colour they
wear either scarlet silk, or cotton cloth dyed with ochre.
1 19. Satnamis profess to adore the true name alone, but recognise the whole
Hindu Pantheon and pay reverence to what they consider
aatnamis. ... . < i MI> i
manifestations of God in the avatar . Kama and
Krishna. The sect was founded by Jagjivnn Das, a Kshatriya who lived in the
middle of the iSth century. The so-called n.endicants or monks do not beg but
are supported by the lay members of the sect. They wear a double string of si'k
bound round the right wrist. Lines on the forehead are not usually worn but some
make a perpendicular streak with the ashes of a burnt offering made to Hanuman.
1 20. Paltu Dasi. Paltu Das was a contemporary of Jagjivan Das, and
p . his tenets were much the same as those of the Satnamis.
The mendicants w^ar a cap and yellow garments. Some
shave their heads and moustaches clean, others let all their hair grow unrestrict-
ed. " Satyaram " is their form of salutation.
121. The Sikhs or Nanak Shahis have several sub-sects; Professor Wilson
mentions seven, but of these only four need be mentioned
Nanak Shahis. '
1. The Udasis.
2. The Nirmalas.
3. The Govind Shahis or Sinhis.
The two former are followers of Guru Nanak's teaching, the third follow
the teaching of the warrior Guru Govind who was the tenth Guru in descent, and
the last are fanatics. Their monasteries are called Dharmsalas.
122. The Udasis were established by Dharmachand, the grandson of Nanak.
u . :< They profess indifference to worldly vicissitudes. They
are purely religious characters devoting themselves to
prayer and meditation and usually collect in ' Sangats ' or colleges, they also
travel about to places of pilgrimage generally in parties of some strength.
They profess poverty although they never solicit alms. Th?y are in general
well dressed and allow the whiskers and beard to grow." (H. H. Wilson.)
123. The Nirmalas " observe celibacy and disregard their personal appear-
,. ance often going nearly naked. They are not, like
Nirmalas. TT , . fo , i '7 ii i i r* >>
Udasis, assembled in colleges but are always solitary.
(H. H. Wilson.)
124. The Govind Sinhis. Guru Govind devoted his followers to steel,
hence the worship of the sword and its employment
oinniSi . t * i i i TT* i * J
against both Muhammadans and Hindus in days gone
by. He prescribed that every Sikh should bear the five marks known as the
5 " Ka " :
Kes The hair uncut.
Kachh The short drawers.
Kara Iron bangle.
Khanda Steel knife.
1 25. There is also a class of Sikh fanatics known as the Akalis who may be
Akalis recognised by their blue turbans with iron discs. Some
Nanak Shahis wear their ,hair coiled on their heads and
are called Jatadaris, some wear it loose and are called Bhaoriahs. Some the
Parama Hamsas shave their heads. Most of them wear orange coloured
clothes and carry " chipis " (cocoanut shell alms-bowls).
126. The Jain sect is not .one that is likely to trouble the police much for
their tenets aim at securing a life of morality. They
worship 24 Tirthankaras (deified Saints) or Jinas, the last-
two of whom Parasvanaiha and his disciple Vardhamana, known also, as Maha-
vira and Jina are historical personages. Their moral code is expressed in
five " Mahavratas " or cardinal duties (i) Refraining from injury to life, (2)
Truth, (3) Honesty, (4) Chastity, (5) Freedom from worldly desires; and there
are four " dharmas " or merits (n liberality, (2) gentleness, (3) piety, and (4)
penance. They are divided into two main orders :
(1) Digambara sky clad or naked, though now-a-days they usually only
divest themselves of clothes when eating .
(2) Swetambara wearers of white clothes.
According to Mr. Bhattacharjee the Digambaris are divided into four sub-
(1) Mula Sangis. These use brushes of peacocks feathers, wear red gar-
ments and receive alms in their hands.
(2) Kashta Sangis. These worship wooden images and employ brushes
of the tail of the yak.
(3) Tera Panthis. The Tera Pamhis do not worship image;s, and have
neither temples nor Yatis.
(4) Bis Panthis. These worship images, but make their offerings in front
of them and not on them.
"There are similar sub-sects among the Swetambaris ; they are as
(i) Lumpakas. -^-Founded by Jinendra Suri in the i6th century. These
do not worship images.
(3) Bais Talas. Founded by a teacher named Raghunath.
(3) Tera Panthis. Founded by a teacher named Bhikannath, and hence
called also Bhikan PanthL These discard images and keep their
mouths veiled when they go out.
(4) Dhoondias. These keep their mouths veiled at all times and affect to
conform strictly to all the moral rules of their religion. They do
not worship images. They have nuns among them called Dhoon-
dis. The sect is monastic and the monks are called Jatis or
127. I do not think it necessary to mention the different theistic sects
such as the " Brahma Samaj " and the " Arya Samaj ", &c. So far as I can
gather they have no mendicant members though they have itinerant preachers
and lecturers who may, and frequently do, collect subscriptions for the further-
ance of their various cults.
128. This course of lectures would be incomplete without some reference
to Muhammadan fakirs ; but 1 know so little of the subject that I must restrict
myself to giving you a note on Fakirs which was published in the Supplement to
the Police Gazette of istli June 1907.
129. Fakirs and their Sargurohs of Anrangabad. 415. Criminal Inv<
gating Department, Central Provinces, dated the 5th June 1907. The following
notes on fakirs under the Aurangabad Moti Chowk has been supplied bv the
Inspector-General of Police, Hyderabad (Deccan), and is published for the
information of Police officers in the Central Provinces :
130. From reports received it would appear that fakirs have no criminal
intent in view when they move from one place to another, their object being to
settle doctrinal and private disputes amongst lakirs in accordance with their own
code' of laws on the subject.
131. Chowk or Moti Chowk is the name given to the place which the
Sarguroh selects, for a fixed period, as the meeting place of the fakirs.
132. Sects of Fakirs
3. Naksh Bandia.
7. Sada Sohag.
9. Barh Barh.
NOTE BY AUTHOR. The only other mention I can find of a list of fakirs U ihat contained in a translation of Jaffir
Sharif's Kanun-i-islam by Mr. G. A. Herklots, M. D., published with notes in 1832.
Of the above he mentions
2. Qaditia or Banawa.
3- Naksh Bandia.
4. (Net mentioned.)
5. Madaria or Tabkatia,
6. Mallang (evidently same as Bhandari).
7. Sohagia (evidently same as Sada Sohag) .
8. (Not mentioned.)
9. ( Do. )
He also mentions .
1 1. Shutaria
12. Rafai or Gurz-mar.
14. Bawa Pearia.
Or eleven sects in all.
1. Chishtia. This sect is connected with the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja
Moinuddin Chishti Samdani Luli of Ajmir. They go about begging, beating a
small drum and chanting life stories of Harm and Halima Dai. In their wan-
derings they travel as far as Ajmir, Mecca and the shrine of Asman Harooni .
2. Qadiria. These are the followers of Sheikh Abdool Qadir Jilan
Peeranepeer Ghouse-e-Azam Dastagir whose shrine is in Baghdad. These also
are always on the move but do not beg. They are entertained from funds allot-
ted for the purpose by each shrine.
3. Naksh Bandia. Are followers of Sheikh Farid Shakar Gunj Saiyid
Muhammad Shah of Gwalior. They beg carrying a lamp which they keep alight,
night and day.
4. Etfayi.~-A.re followers of Saiyid Rafi Shah of Lahore who beg wearing
iron bangles. They also carry a whip and mace. They inflict personal injuries
upon themselves, sometimes very serious, and*terrify people into giving them aim.
NOTE. Kutbuddin, retired Segadar of Sadar Adalat, Bidar, who now resides in Esa Mian Bazar is connected
to a great extent with the Eifayi sect.
5- Madari.kre followers of Zinda Shah Madar of Farukhabad. They
6. Bhindari.ls a sub-sect of the Madaris. These wear long hair and
beg. They meet every six months and the meeting is known as Bhandar.
7. Sada Sohag. These wear bangles and take alms from prostitutes and
8. Banua.* These beg carrying a " Chamla Rach Kula " which is more
or less like a cocoanut shell but very much larger.
9. Bark Bark. These beg like the Banuas and do a bit of fortune-telling
NOTE. The Sajjada Buzarg of Gulbarga, Saiyid Muhammad Muhammad-ul-Hussaini Shah Walliullah Hus-
saini is the held of this sect of fakirs.
133. In the Deccan three sects are generally found. That which has its
head-quarters at Moti Chowk, Aurangabad District. The Sarguroh of this sect
is nominated by the Sajjada of the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Burhanuddin of
134. The second sect is connected with the shrine of Masa-bi-Sahiba Chandi
and the Sarguroh is nominated by the Sajjada of Pilgundah in British Territory.
Gulbarga District is included in this Sarguroh's jurisdiction which includes the
districts of Bijapur, Hubli, Dharwar, Gulbarga, Bidar, &c., &c. The tour begins in
the lunar months of Rabi-us-Sani when they start from Kudchi (Belgaum District
of Bomby Presidency) after performing the Niaz ^ceremonial vows) of Hazrat
Ghouse-e-Pak. At this time fakirs from all parts of the country congregate and
the selection of the Sarguroh is left to the option and discretion of the Sajjada. He
always nominates a literate man well versed in the doctrinal principles of fakirs
and their traditions. After his selection, he is invested with the insignia of his
office-turban, Kafni, deer skin and bedding. He is then given a retinue consisting
of Naquib, chopdar, &c. ,who are chosen from amongst the fakirs collected
135. The Naquib now proclaims in a loud voice "Shahon ke Shahan ;
Badshahon ke Badshahan" (King of Kings, Emperor of Emperors). When
proceeding along the road he shouts at intervals " hosh bur dum " ; Nazar bar
kadam " ; " safar dar Watan " ; " Kilawat dar Anjuman. "
136. This Sarguroh is the head of all fakirs in his territorial limits irrespec-
tive of the creed they follow or the sect they belong to. His word is law both in
private and doctrinal disputes. He starts, as already stated, from Kudchi and
meeting the Aurangabad Sarguroh at Moti Chowk traverses the district of Nander
and Parbhani and arrives with his retinue at Gulbarga in the lunar month of Ziquad.
Here he puts up near the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja-Bunda Nawaz Gesu Daraz at
a spot which is consequently known as Fakir's Chowk. He has a following of no
less than fifty men which consists of Banua Fakirs, Chopdar, Naquib, Kotwal and
Bhandaris. This Chowk (session) is held on the 151!! Ziquad.
137. A Chowk of Eifayi fakirs is held in front of the Devdi of the Sajjada of
Gulbarga. Another Chowk of Tabquani Fakirs is held in the Bakshi Haveli. The
same Sarguroh is acknowledged by these fakirs also as their head. He remains at
Gulbarga till the end of Ziquad and stays with the Sajjada of Rouza-e-Sheik for
a day as his guest. He then proceeds to Chilapur to the shrine of Chita Wali
Sahib and returning to Gulbarga resumes his tour -via the village of Kamsi, &c.
&c. , to Bidar where the party receives permission to shout "Allahuma Tar Tar. "
Here they disband and the members disperse to their homes. The Sarguroh,
Naquib, Kotwal, Bhandari, &c., return to Kudchi and after submitting a full report
of their doings during their tour retire from office.
138. _ The same Sarguroh exercises supervision over the moral conduct of
Banua fakirs. Any irregularity o( cbnduct on the part of any fakir makes him
* Vide page 70 (Harnis).
liable to expulsion from the Chowk and he is deprived of his "Hal Fal ", i e., Kafni
(Robe), Jholi (Bag), and Thasma. This sect professes to be enlightened and
strict in their adherence to religious doctrines.
139. Madari fakirs, in which are included those who move about carrying
banners and with performing monkeys and bears. Chapparbands* also belong
to this sect. Possibly these fakirs commit crime aided and screened by each
other. The only fakirs of bad repute are the Chapparbands who belong to this
sect. During their stay in Gulbarga, fakirs of this sect receive sadabharat and
daily doles of tobacco and ganja from the Sajjada.
140. Banua fakirs move about the place when the Sarguroh is here. They
keep chanting religious songs but do not beg. The Sarguroh provides for their
141. Thabquini fakirs are also provided for by the Sarguroh but contrary to
the Banuas they go about begging, which is also the case with Eifayi fakirs. The
Sajjadas of Rouza-e-Buzarg, Rouza-e-Khurd, the Rouzas of Sheikh and Thaig-e-
Barahma and Saiyid Enayetullah Kadiri make Banua fakirs. One wishing to
be admitted into this order of fakirs is made to drink from a cup which has been
previously touched by the lips of one of the above, and he then becomes a Murid.
142. Madari fakirs are not made in Gulbarga but at Bokur in Sir Khurshed-
jah's Paigah. Every year on the 1 8th of the lunar month of Jamadi-ul-Awal an
"Oorus" or annual ceremony is held at the shrine of Badiuddin Shah Zinda Shah
Madar. The Sajjada at the time of the Oorus admits members into the fraternity
of Madari fakirs. At the annual session of fakirs held here they come from all
parts of the country from Bombay, Poona, Sholapur, Bijapur, &c. , &c. , and after
a week or ten days they return to their homes.
143. There is a settlement of Madari fakirs in Gulbarga at the shrine of
Gunje-Rawan, who have been here for a long time and are hereditary fakirs.
144. In the Yadgir Taluqa also there is a sect of Barh Barh fakirs who
are more or less a sub-sect of Madari fakirs. They say that they are astrologers
and fortune-tellers, and travel most 1 y by rail. Their movements, &c. , are quietly
watched by the police, but none of them have up to now been convicted of any
145. In short, the reason why these fakirs visit shrines and are consequently
always on the move is that they may receive instruction in the principles of their
creed, and pay visits of pilgrimage to important shrines, and further obtain for them-
selves the wherewithal for their subsistence.
146. The special tenets and doctrines of their creed are known solely to the
Sarguroh who imparts instruction on points of difficulty but does not communicate
the principles themselves, which are preserved as a religious secret.
147. Their Murshids admit them to the privileges of fakirdom and select
from them the Sarguroh. Any orders that these Sargurohs receive are implicitly
and scrupulously observed, and nothing can be done contrary to these orders by the
Sarguroh. The Sarguroh also receives further instructions which are communicat-
ed verbally by tha Murshad, and only when there is an extraordinary call for it, is
a written communication received by the Sarguroh. This he wears about his person
tied up like a charm round his arm and keeps it in " Ja!al-ul-Khyrat. "
148. Long exp2rience has shown that these fakirs look down upon crime, and
any one guilty of an offence is expelled from the society of fakirs.
149. Among fakirs the Jalali sect includes brave and courageous men who,
solely to earn money, inflict serious injuries upon their person, and produce blood.
150. Their principles and doctrines, their respect and veneration for shrines
and their means of livelihood are above suspicion.
Vide page 93.
Govt. Press, Nagpur : No. 1333, I. G. of P. 23-9-091,000.