Skip to main content

Full text of "The tribes and castes of the Central Provinces of India"

See other formats

V.__^— ^ 


























I 9 I 6 


Southern India, and Mr. Ananta Krishna Iyer's volumes on 
Cochin, while a Glossary for the Punjab by Mr. H. A. Rose 
has been partly published. The articles on Religions and 
Sects were not in the original scheme of the work, but have 
been subsequently added as being necessary to render it a 
complete ethnological account of the population. In several 
instances the adherents of the religion or sect are found only 
in very small numbers in the Province, and the articles have 
been compiled from standard works. 

In the preparation of the book much use has necessarily 
been made of the standard ethnological accounts of other 
parts of India, especially Colonel Tod's Annals and An- 
tiqnities of Rdjastkdn, Mr. J. D. Forbes' Rasmdla or Annals 
of Gujarat, Colonel Dalton's Ethnology of Bengal, Dr. 
Buchanan's Eastern India, Sir Denzil Ibbetson's Punjab 
Census Report for 1881, Sir John Malcolm's Memoir of 
Central India, Sir Edward Gait's Bengal and India Census 
Reports and article on Caste in Dr. Hastings' Encyclopcsdia 
of Religion and Ethics, Colonel (Sir William) Sleeman's 
Report on the Badhaks and Rdnidseedna or Vocabulary of the 
Thugs, Mr. Kennedy's Criminal Classes of the Bombay Presi- 
dency, Major Gunthorpe's Criminal Tribes of Bombay, Berdr 
and the Central Provinces, the books of Mr. Crooke and Sir 
H. Risley already mentioned, and the mass of valuable 
ethnological material contained in the Bombay Gazetteer 
(Sir J. Campbell), especially the admirable volumes on 
Hindus of Gujarat by Mr. Bhimbhai Kirparam, and Pdrsis 
and Muhammadans of Gujardt by Khan Bahadur Fazlullah 
Lutfullah Faridi, and Mr. Kharsedji Nasarvanji Seervai, J. P., 
and Khan Bahadur Bamanji Behramji Patel. Other Indian 
ethnological works from which I have made quotations are 
Dr. Wilson's Indian Caste {Times Press and Messrs, Black- 


wood), Bishop Westcott's Kabir and the KablrpantJi (Baptist 
Mission Press, Cawnpore), Mr. Rajendra Lai Mitra's Indo- 
Aryans (Newman & Co., Calcutta), The Jainas by Dr. J. G. 
Buhler and Mr. J. Burgess, Dr. J, N. Bhattacharya's Hindu 
Castes and Sects (Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta), Professor 
Oman's Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India^ Cults, Customs 
and Superstitions of India, and BrdJunans, Theists and 
Muslims of India (T. Fisher Unwin), Mr. V. A. Smith's 
Early History of India (Clarendon Press), the Rev. T. P. 
Hughes' Dictionary of Islam (W. H. Allen & Co., and 
Heffer & Sons, Cambridge), Mr. L. D. Barnett's Antiquities 
of India, M. Andre Chevrillon's Romantic India, Mr. V. 
Ball's fungle Life in India, Mr. W, Crooke's Popular Religion 
and Folkloi'e of Northern India, and Things Indian, Captain 
Forsyth's Highlands of Central India (Messrs. Chapman & 
Hall), Messrs. Yule and Burnell's Hobson-Jobson (Mr. Crooke's 
edition). Professor Hopkins' Religions of India, the Rev. 
E. M. Gordon's Indian Folk-Tales (Elliot & Stock), Messrs. 
Sewell and Dikshit's Indian Calendar, Mr. Brennand's Hindu 
Astronomy, and the late Rev. Father P. Dehon's mono- 
graph on the Oraons in the Monoirs of the Asiatic Society 
of Bengal. 

Ethnological works on the people of the Central Provinces 
are not numerous ; among those from which assistance has 
been obtained are Sir C. Grant's Central Provinces Gazetteer 
of 1 87 1, Rev. Stephen Hislop's Notes on the Aboriginal 
Tribes of the Central Provinces, Colonel Bloomfield's Notes 
on the Baigas, Sir Charles Elliott's Hoshangdbdd Settlement 
Report, Sir Reginald Craddock's Ndgpur Settlement Report, 
Colonel Ward's Mandla Settlement Report, Colonel Lucie 
Smith's Chdnda Settlement Report, Mr. G. W. Gayer's 
Lectnres on Criminal Tribes, Mr. C. W. Montgomerie's 


CJihindzodra Scttlenieiit Report^ Mr. C. E. Low's Bdlaglidt 
District Gazetteer^ Mr. E. J. Kitts' Berdr Census Report of 
1 88 1, and the Central Provinces Census Reports of Mr. T. 
Drysdale, Sir Benjamin Robertson and Mr. J. T. Marten. 

The author is indebted to Sir J. G. Frazer for his kind 
permission to make quotations from The Golden Bough and 
Totemism and Exogamy (Macmillan), in which the best 
examples of almost all branches of primitive custom are to 
be found ; to Dr. Edward Westermarck for similar permis- 
sion in respect of TJie History of Human Marriage, and The 
Origin and Developmetit of the Moral Ideas (Macmillan) ; to 
Messrs. A. & C. Black in respect of the late Professor 
Robertson Smith's Religion of the Semites; to Messrs. 
Heinemann for those from M. Salomon Reinach's OrpJieus ; 
and to Messrs. Hachette et Cie and Messrs. Parker of Oxford 
for those from La Cite Antique of M. Fustel de Coulanges. 
Much assistance has also been obtained from Sir E. B. 
Tylor's Early History of Mankind and Primitive Culture, 
Lord Avebury's TJie Origin of Civilisation, Mr. E. Sidney 
Hartland's Primitive Paternity, and M. Salomon Reinach's 
Cultes, Mythes et Religions. The labours of these eminent 
authors have made it possible for the student to obtain a 
practical knowledge of the ethnology of the world by the 
perusal of a small number of books ; and if any of the ideas 
put forward in these volumes should ultimately be so 
fortunate as to obtain acceptance, it is to the above books 
that I am principally indebted for having been able to 
formulate them. Other works from which help has been 
obtained are M. Emile Senart's Les Castes dans TInde, 
Professor W. E. Hearn's The Aryan Household, and Dr. 
A. H. Keane's The World's Peoples. Sir George Grierson's 
great work, The Linguistic Survey of India, has now given 


an accurate classification of the non-Aryan tribes according 
to their languages and has further thrown a considerable 
degree of light on the vexed question of their origin. I 
have received from Mr. W. Crooke of the Indian Civil 
Service (retired) much kind help and advice during the final 
stages of the preparation of this work. As will be seen from 
the articles, resort has constantly been made to his Tribes 
and Castes for filling up gaps in the local information. 

Rai Bahadur Hira Lai was my assistant for several 
years in the taking of the census of 1901 and the prepara- 
tion of the Central Provinces District Gazetteers ; he has 
always given the most loyal and unselfish aid, has personally 
collected a large part of the original information contained 
in the book, and spent much time in collating the results. 
The association of his name in the authorship is no more 
than his due, though except where this has been specifically 
mentioned, he is not responsible for the theories and de- 
ductions from the facts obtained. Mr. Pyare Lai Misra, 
barrister, Chhindwara, was my ethnographic clerk for some 
years, and he and Munshi Kanhya Lai, late of the Educa- 
tional Department, and Mr. Aduram Chandhri, Tahslldar, 
gave much assistance in the inquiries on different castes. 
Among others who have helped in the work, Rai Bahadur 
Panda Baijnath, Diwan of the Patna and Bastar States, 
should be mentioned first, and Babu Kali Prasanna 
Mukerji, pleader, Saugor, Mr. Gopal Datta Joshi, District 
Judge, Saugor, Mr. Jeorakhan Lai, Deputy-Inspector of 
Schools, and Mr. Gokul Prasad, Tahslldar, may be selected 
from the large number whose names are given in the foot- 
notes to the articles. Among European officers whose 
assistance should be acknowledged are Messrs. C. E. Low, 
C. W. Montgomerie, A. B. Napier, A. E. Nelson, A. K. 


Smith, R. H. Crosthwaite and H. F. HalUfax, of the Civil 
Service ; Lt.-Col. W. D. Sutherland, I. M.S., Surgeon-Major 
Mitchell of Bastar, and Mr. D. Chisholm. 

Some photographs have been kindly contributed by 
Mrs. Ashbrooke Crump, Mrs. Mangabai Kelkar, Mr. G. 
L. Corbett, C.S., Mr. R. L. Johnston, A.D.S.P., Mr. J. H. 
Searle, C.S., Mr. Strachey, Mr. H. E. Bartlett, Professor L. 
Scherman of Munich, and the Diwan of Raigarh State. 
Bishop Westcott kindly gave the photograph of Kabir, which 
appears in his own book. 

Finally I have to express my gratitude to the Chief 
Commissioner, Sir Benjamin Robertson, for the liberal 
allotment made by the Administration for the publication 
of the work ; and to the publishers, Messrs. Macmillan & Co., 
and the printers, Messrs. R. & R. Clark, for their courtesy 
and assistance during its progress through the press. 

September 191 5. 




Introductory Essay on Caste . . . . i 

Articles on the Religions and Sects of the People 

OF the Central Provinces . . . .199 

Glossary of Minor Castes and other Articles, 
Synonyms, Subcastes, Titles and Names of 
ExoGAMous Septs or Clans . . . • 32>7 

Subject Index . . . . . .419 


Descriptive Articles on the Principal Castes and 

Tribes of the Central Provinces . . . i 




Articles on Religions and Sects 

TJie articles which are considered to be of most general i7iterest 
shown in capitals 


Arya Samaj Religion , . . , .201 

Brahmo Samaj Religion 


Dadupanthi Sect 


Dhami Sect 


Jain Religion 


Kabirpanthi Sect . 


Lingayat Sect . 


Muhammadan Religion 


Nanakpanthi Sect 


Parmarthi Sect 


Parsi or Zoroastrian Religion 


Saiva Sect 


Sakta Sect 


Satnami Sect 


Sikh Religion . 


Smarta Sect . 


Swami-Narayan Sect . 


Vaishnava Sect 


Vam-Margi Sect 


Wahhabi Sect . 


Articles on Minor Castes and Miscellaneous 
Notices included in the Glossary 












































































Articles on Castes and Tribes of the Centk 
Provinces in Alphabetical Order 


Agaria {h-on-worker-) . 

Agharia {Cidtivator') . 

Aghori {Religious inciidicant) . 

AhIr {Herds7najt and milkmaft) 

Andh {Tribe, now cultivaiois') . 

Arakh {Hunte?-) . 

Atari {Sreni-se//er) 

Audhelia {Labourer') . 

Badhak {Robbe)'-) 

Bahna {Cotion-clea7ier) 

Baiga {Forest tribe) 

Bairagi {Religious mcndicaiits) . 

Balahi {Labourer and village watchman) 

Balija {Cultivator) 

Bania {Merchant and moneylender) 









1 1 1 




















Par war. 



Banjara {Pack-ca7'ner) 

Barai {Betel-vine grower and seller) 

Barhai {Caj-penter) 

Bari {Maker of leaf -pi ales) 

Basdewa {Cattle-dealer and religious mejidicant) 

Basor {Ba/nboo-worker) 

Bedar {Soldier and public service) 

Beldar {Digger and navvy) 

Beria {Vagabond gipsy) 

Bhaina {Forest tribe) . 

Bhamta {Criminal tribe and labourers 

Bharbhunja {Graitt-parclier) 

Bharia {Forest tribe) 

'QYi'KT {Bard and genealogist) . 

Bhatra {Forest tribe) 

BhIl {Forest tribe) 

Bhilala {Landowner and cultivator) 

Bhishti {Water-man) 

Bhoyar {Cultivator) 

Bhuiya {Foi'est tribe) 

Bhulia {Weaver) 

Bhunjia {Forest tribe) 

Binjhwar {Cultivator) 

Bishnoi {Cultivator) 

Bohra {Trader) 

Brahman {Priest) 




Kanaujia, Kanyakubja. 












Cliadar ( Village watchman and labourer) 
Chamar {Tanner and labourer) 



Chasa {Ctiltivator) 

Chauhan ( Village %vatchinan a?id laboi/fe?-) 

Chhipa {Dyer and calico-printer) 

Chitari {Painter) 

Chitrakathi {Picture s/ioiiiinnji) . 

Cutchi {Trader atid shopkeeper) 

Dahait ( Village zuatc/unan and labotn-cr) 

Daharia {Cultivator) 

Dangi {Landowjier and cultivator) 

Dangri {Vegetable-groruer) . ■ . 

Darzi {Tailor) 

Dewar {Beggar and musician) . 

Dhakar {Illegitimate, cultivator) 

Dhangar {Shepherd) 

Dhanuk {Bowman, labourer) . 

Dhanwar {Forest tribe) 

Dhimar {Fisherman, water-carrier, and household servant) 

Dhoba {Forest tribe, cultivator) 

DnoBl {Washerman) . 

Dhuri {Grain-parcJier) . 

Dumal {Cultivator) 

Fakir {Religious mendicant) 


Gadaria {Shepherd) .... 

Gadba {Forest tribe) .... 

Ganda ( Weaver and labourer) . 

Gandhmali {Uriya village priests and temple servants) 

GkKVXGXKl {Averter of hailstorms) 

Gauria {Snake-charmer a?id juggler) 

Ghasia {Grass-cutter) .... 

Ghosi {Buffalo-herdsmaii) 

Golar {Herdsman) .... 

GOND {Forest tribe and cultivator) 

Gond-Gowari {F-Ierdsman^ 

Gondhali {Religious mendicajit) 

Gopal ( Vagrant crimi7ial caste) 

Gosain {Religious me7tdicant) . 

Gowari {//erdsman) .... 

Gujar {Cultivator) .... 


Gurao ( Village Priest) . 

Halba {Forest tribe^ laboiife?-) . 

Halwai {Confectiotter) . 

Hatkar {Soldier, shepherd) 

HiJRA {Eunuch, mendicant) 

Holia {Labotirer, ctiring hides) , 

Injhwar {Boat/nan and fisherinaii) 

Jadam {Cultivator) 

Jadua {Criminal caste) 

Jangam {Priest of the Lingdyat sect) 

Jat {La?tdo'wncr and cultivator) 

Jhadi Telenga {Illegitimate, labourer) 

Jogi {Religious mejidicant atid pedla7') 

J OS HI {Astrologer and village priest) 

Julaha {Weaver) 

Kachera {Maker of glass bangles) 

Kachhi {Vegetable-grower) 

Kadera {Firezvork-maker) 

Kahar {Palanquin-bearer and household 

Kaikari {Basket-maker and vagrant) 

Kalanga {Soldier, cultivator) . 

Kalar {Liquor vendor) 

Kamar {Forest tribe) . 

Kanjar {Gipsies and p>rostitutes) 

Kapewar {Cultivator) . 

Karan ( Writer and clerk) 

Kasai {Butcher) 

Kasar {Worker in brass) 

Kasbi {Prostitute) 

Katia {Cotton-spittner) . 

Kawar {Forest tribe and cultivator) 

Kayasth ( Village accoimtant, writer and clerk) 

Kewat {Boatmajt and fisher7nan) 

Khairwar {Forest tribe; boilers of catechu) 

Khandait {Soldier, cultivator) . 

Khangar ( Village watchma7i aiid labourer) 

Kharia {Forest tribe, labourer) . 

Khatlk {Mutto7i-butcher) 

Khatri {Merchant) 

Khojah ( Trader a7id shopkeeper) 

Khond {Forest tribe, cultivator) 

Kir {Cultivator) 

Kirar {Cultivato7-) 


Kohli {Ciiltivaior) 

KOL {Forest tribe, labourer) 

Kolam {Forest tribe, cultivator) 

Kolhati {Acrobat) 

Koli {Forest tribe, cultivator) . 

Kolta {Landowner and cultivator) 

Komti {Merchant and shopkeeper) 

Kori ( Weaver and labotirer) 

Korku {Forest tribe, labourer) 

Korwa {Forest tribe, cultivator) 

Koshti {Weaver) 


KUMHAR {Potter) 

KUNBI {Cultivator) 

Kunjra {Greengrocer) 

Kuramwar {Shepherd) 

KURMI {Cultivator) 

Lakhera ( Worker in lac) 

Lodhi {La7idoiu7ier and cultivator) 

Lobar {Blacksmith) 

Lorha {Growers of S3.n-hcnip) . 

Mahar ( Weaver and labourei-) . 

Mahli {Forest tribe) 

Majhwar {Forest tribe) . 

Mai {Forest tribe) 

Mala {Cotton-weaver and labourei') 

Mali {Gardener and vegetable-grower) . 

Mallah {Boat)nan and fisherman) 

Mana {Forest tribe, cultivator) . 

Manbhao {Religious meitdicant) 

Mang {Labourer and village musiciait) . 

Mang-Garori {Criminal caste) . 

Manihar {Pedlar) 

Mannewar {Forest tribe) 

Maratha {Soldier, cultivator and service) 

MEHTAR {Sweeper and scavenger) 

Meo {Tribe) .... 

Mina or Deswali {Non-Aryaii tribe, cultivator) 

'M.' {Bard aftd genealogist) . 

MoCHI {Shoemaker) ' . 


Mo war {Culitvator) 

Murha {Digger ajid navvy') 

Nagasia (Forest tribe) . 

Nahal {Forest tribe) 

Nai (Barber) .... 

Naoda {Boatman a7id fisherman) 

Nat {Acrobat) .... 

Nunia {Salt-refiner, digger and navvy) . 

0]h2L {Augur and soothsayer) . 

Or AON {Forest tribe) . 

Paik {Soldier, cultivator) 

Panka {Labourer and village luatchman) 

Panwar Rajput {Landowner and cultivator) 

Pardhan {Mi?jstrel and priest) . 

Pardhi {Hunter a7id fowler) 

Parja {Forest tribe) 

Pasi {Toddy-d)-awer and labourer) 

Patwa {Maker of silk braid and thread) 

Pindari {Freebooter) . 

Prabhu ( PVriter and clerk) 

Raghuvansi {Cultivator) 

Rajjhar {Agricultural labourer) 

Rajput {Soldier and landowner) 

Rajput Clans 

























Raj war {Forest tribe) ..... 

Ramosi ( Village watchmett and labourers, formerly thieves) 

Rangrez {Dyer) .... 

Rautia {Forest tribe and cultivators, formerly soldiers) 

Sanaurhia {Criminal thieving caste) 

Sansia ( Vagraftt criminal tribe) 

Sansia (Uria) {Mason arid digger) 

Savar {Forest tribe) .... 

Sonjhara {Gold-washer) 

Sudh {Cultivator) .... 










SUNAR {Goldsmith and silversmith) 

Sundi {Liquor distiller) .... 

Tamera {Coppersmith) ..... 

Taenia {Soldier and labourer) .... 

Teli {Oilman) ..... 

Thug {Criminal commimity of miirdercrs by strangulation) 

Turi {Bamboo-worker) ..... 

Velama {Cultivato}') ..... 

\\ViVS. {Village accountant,, clerk aiui writer) 

Waghya [Religious mendicaiit) .... 

Yerukala {Cri?ni;ial thieving caste) 





Note. — The Gonds are the most important of the non-Aryan or primitive 
tribes, and their social customs are described in detail. The Baiga, Bhil, Kawar, 
Khond, Kol, Korku and Korwa are other important tribes. The two repre- 
sentative cultivating castes are the Kurmis and Kunbis, and the articles on them 
include detailed descriptions of Hindu social customs, and some information en 
villages, houses, dress, food and manner of life. Articles in which subjects of 
general interest are treated are Darzi (clothes), Sunar (ornaments), Kachera and 
Lakhera (bangles), Nai (hair), Kalar (veneration of alcoholic liquor), Bania 
(moneylending and interest), Kasai (worship and sacrifice of domestic animals), 
Joshi (the Hindu calendar and personal names), Bhat (suicide), Dahait 
(significance of the umbrella), and Kanjar (connection of Indian and European 
gipsies). The articles on Badhak, Sansia and Thug are compiled from Sir 
William Sleeman's reports on these communities of dacoits and murderers, whose 
suppression he achieved. For further information the Subject Index may be 



Map of India 'i 

Map of the Central Provin^cesJ 

Map of the Central Provinces, showing principal 

linguistic or racial divisions . . . . 




1. Hindu temple of the god Siva 

2. Hindu sculptures . 

3. Peasant's hut 

4. Group of religious mendicants 

5. Drawing water from the village well 

6. Gayatri or sacred verse personified as a goddess 

7. Image of the god Jagannath, a form of Vishnu 

8. The god Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, with attendant 

deities .... 

9. Hindu bathing party 

10. Pilgrims carrying Ganges water 

11. A meeting of the Arya Samaj for investing boys with the 

sacred thread . 

12. Jain temples at Muktagiri, Betul . 

13. Jain ascetics with cloth before mouth and sweeping-brush 

14. Jain gods in attitude of contemplation 
I 5. Jain temple in Seoni 

16. Kablr .... 

17. Beggar on artificial horse at the Muharram festival 

18. Carrying the horse-shoe at the Muharram festival . 

19. Tazia or tombs of Hussain at the Muharram festival 





90. Girl in full dress and ornaments 

91. Old type of sugarcane mill 

92. Group of Kol women 

93. Group of Kolams . 

94. Korkus of the Melghat hills 

95. Korku women in full dress 

96. Koshti men dancing a figure, holding strings and beatinj 

sticks ...... 




1 1. 









Potter at his wheel .... 

Group of Kunbis ..... 

Figures of animals made for Pola festival 

Hindu boys on stilts .... 

Throwing stilts into the water at the Pola festival. 
Carrying out the dead .... 

Pounding rice ..... 

Sowing ...... 

Threshing ..... 

Winnowing ..... 

Women grinding wheat and husking rice . 
Group of women in Hindustani dress 
Coloured Plate : Examples of spangles worn by women on 
the forehead ..... 

Weaving : sizing the warp 

Winding thread ..... 

Bride and bridegroom with marriage crowns 

Bullocks drawing water with mot . 

Mang musicians with drums 

Statue of Maratha leader, Bimbaji Bhonsla, in armour 

Image of the god Vishnu as Vithoba 

Coolie women with babies slung at the side 

Hindu men showing the choti or scalp-lock 

Snake-charmer with cobras 

Transplanting rice .... 

Group of Pardhans .... 

Little girls playing .... 

Gujarati girls doing figures with strings and sticks 
Ornaments ..... 

Teli's oil-press ..... 

The Goddess Kali .... 

Waghya mendicants .... 


a has the sound of u in but or murviur. 

a ,, „ a in bath or tar. 

e ,, ,, e in icarte or ai in maid. 

i ,, ., i in bit, or (as a final letter) of y in stilky 

i „ ,, ee in beet. 

o „ ,,0 in bore or bowl. 

u „ „ u in p2it or bull. 

u „ „ 00 in poor or boot. 

The plural of caste names and a few common Hindustani words 
is formed by adding s in the English manner according to ordinary 
usage, though this is not, of course, the Hindustani plural. 

Note. — The rupee contains i6 annas, and an anna is of the same 
value as a penny. A pice is a quarter of an anna, or a farthing. 
Rs. 1-8 signifies one rupee and eight annas. A lakh is a hundred 
thousand, and a krore ten million. 






1. The Central Provinces. 

2. Constitution of the population. 

3. The word ' Caste.^ 

4. The meaning of the term 

' Caste: 

5. The subcaste. 

6. Confusion of riomendature. 

7. Tests of what a caste is. 

8. The four traditional castes. 

9. Occupational theory of caste. 
to. Racial theory. 

[I. Entry of the Arya?is into 

India. The Aryas and 

[2. The Sudra. 
[3. The Vaishya. 
[4. Mis take f I jnoder?i idea of the 

[5. Mixed unio?is of the four 

[6. Hypergamy. 
[7. The mixed castes. The village 

[8. Social gradation of castes. 
[9. Castes ranking above the 

JO. Castes fro??i whom a Brahman 

can take water. Higher 


2 1 . Status of the cultivator. 

22. The clan and the village. 

23. The ozvnership of land. 

24. The cultivating status that of 

the Vaishya. 

25. Higher professional a7id arti- 

san castes. 

2 6 . Castes from ivhoin a Brahman 














cannot take water ; 

village fnenials. 
The village watchmeti. 
The village priests. 

garde?iing castes. 
Other village traders 

Household servants. 
Status of the village menials. 
Origin of their status. 
Other castes who rank with 

the village menials. 
The 7ion- Aryan tribes. 
The Kolarians and Dra- 

Kolarian tribes. 
Dravidian tribes. 
Origin of the Kolarian tribes. 
Of the JDravidian tribes. 
Origin of the i7tipure castes. 
Derivation of the impure castes 

from the indigenous tribes. 
Occupation the basis of the 

Other age Jits in the for7nation 

of castps. 
Caste occi/pations divi/iely or- 

Subcastes, local type. 
Occupational subcastes. 
Subcastes fo7'7/ied fro7n social 

or religious differc/ices., or 

fro77i 77iixed desce7it. 
Exogamous groups. 
Totemistic clans. 













Terms of relationship. 
Clan kinship and totemism. 
Animate Creation. 
The distribution of life over 

the body, 
Qualities associated with 

Primitive language. 
Concrete nature of priinitive 

Words and names concrete. 
The soul or spirit. 
The transmissio7i of qualities. 
The faculty of coutiting. Con- 
fusion of the individual and 

the species. 
Similarity and identity. 
The recurrence of events. 
Controlling the future. 
The common life. 
The commoft life of the clan. 
Living afid eating together. 
The origin of exogamy. 
Promiscuity atid female de- 
Exogafny with female descefit. 

Marriage by capture. 
Transfer of the bride to her 

husband's clan. 
The exogamous clan with male 

descefit and the village. 
The large exogamojis dans of 

the Brdhmans and Rajputs. 

The Sapindas, the gens and 
the yevo?. 

75. Comparison of Hindu society 

with that of Greece and 
Rome. The gens. 

76. The clients. 

7 7 . The plebeians. 

78. The binding social tie in the 


79. The Suovetattrilia. 

80. The saciifice of the domestic 


81. Sacrifices of the gens and 


82. The Hindu caste-feasts. 

83. Taking food at initiation. 

84. Penalty feasts. 

85. Sanctity of graiti-food. 

86. The corn-spirit. 

87. The king. 

88. Other ijistatices of the co7nmon 

meal as a sacrificial rite. 

89. Funeral feasts. 

90. The Hindu deities and the 

sacrificial meal. 

91. Development of the occupa- 

tional caste from the tribe. 

92. Veneration of the caste imple- 


93. The caste panchayat a7id its 

code of offences. 

94. The status of impurity. 

95. Caste and Hinduism. 

96. The Hindu reformers. 

97. Decline of the caste system. 

The territory controlled by the Chief Commissioner of the 
Central Provinces and Berar has an area of 131,000 square 
miles and a population of 16,000,000 persons. Situated in the 
centre of the Indian Peninsula, between latitudes 17° 4.7' and 
24°27'north, and longitudes 76" and 84°east, it occupies about 
7-3 per cent of the total area of British India. It adjoins the 
Central India States and the United Provinces to the north, 
Bombay to the west, Hyderabad State and the Madras Presi- 
dency to the south, and the Province of Bihar and Orissa to 
the east. The Province was constituted as a separate admin- 
istrative unit in 1S61 from territories taken from the Peshwa 


in 1 8 1 8 and the Maratha State of Nagpur, which had lapsed 
from failure of heirs in 1853. Bcrar, which for a considerable 
previous period had been held on a lease or assignment from 
the Nizam of Hyderabad, was incorporated for administrative 
purposes with the Central Provinces in 1903. In 1905 
the bulk of the District of Sambalpur, with five Feudatory 
States inhabited by an Uriya-speaking population, were 
transferred to Bengal and afterwards to the new Province 
of Bihar and Orissa, while five Feudatory States of Chota 
Nagpur were received from Bengal. The former territory 
had been for some years included in the scope of the 
Ethnographic Survey, and is shown coloured in the annexed 
map of linguistic and racial divisions. 

The main portion of the Province may be divided, from 
north-west to south-east, into three tracts of upland, alternat- 
ing with two of plain country. In the north-west the Districts 
of Sangor and Damoh lie on the Vindhyan or Malwa plateau, 
the southern face of which rises almost sheer from the valley 
of the Nerbudda. The general elevation of this plateau 
varies from 1500 to 2000 feet The highest part is that 
immediately overhanging the Nerbudda, and the general 
slope is to the north, the rivers of this area being tributaries 
of the Jumna and Ganges. The surface of the country is 
undulating and broken by frequent low hills covered with a 
growth of poor and stunted forest. The second division 
consists of the long and narrow valley of the Nerbudda, 
walled in by the Vindhyan and Satpura hills to the north 
and south, and extending for a length of about 200 miles 
from Jubbulpore to Handia, with an average width of twenty 
miles. The valley is situated to the south of the river, and 
is formed of deep alluvial deposits of extreme richness, 
excellently suited to the growth of wheat. South of the 
valley the Satpura range or third division stretches across 
the Province, from Amarkantak in the east (the sacred source 
of the Nerbudda) to Aslrgarh in the Nimar District in the 
west, where its two parallel ridges bound the narrow valley 
of the Tapti river. The greater part consists of an elevated 
plateau, in some parts merely a rugged mass of hills hurled 
together by volcanic action, in others a succession of bare 
stony ridges and narrow fertile valleys, in which the soil has 


been deposited by drainage. The general elevation of the 
plateau is 2000 feet, but several of the peaks rise to 3500, 
and a few to more than 4000 feet. The Satpuras form the 
most important watershed of the Province, and in addition 
to the Nerbudda and Tapti, the Wardha and Wainganga 
rivers rise in these hills. To the east a belt of hill country 
continues from the Satpuras to the wild and rugged highlands 
of the Chota Nagpur plateau, on which are situated the five 
States recently annexed to the Province. Extending along 
the southern and eastern faces of the Satpura range lies the 
fourth geographical division, to the west the plain of Berar 
and Nagpur, watered by the Purna, Wardha and Wainganga 
rivers, and further east the Chhattlsgarh plain, which forms 
the upper basin of the Mahanadi. The Berar and Nagpur 
plain contains towards the west the shallow black soil in 
which autumn crops, like cotton and the large millet juari, 
which do not require excessive moisture, can be successfully 
cultivated. This area is the great cotton-growing tract of 
the Province, and at present the most wealthy. The valleys 
of the Wainganga and Mahanadi further east receive a heavier 
rainfall and are mainly cropped with rice. Many small 
irrigation tanks for rice have been built by the people them- 
selves, and large tank and canal works are now being 
undertaken by Government to protect the tract from the 
uncertainty of the rainfall. South of the plain lies another 
expanse of hill and plateau comprised in the zamindari 
estates of Chanda and the Chhattlsgarh Division and the 
Bastar and Kanker Feudatory States. This vast area, 
covering about 24,000 square miles, the greater part of 
which consists of dense forests traversed by precipitous 
mountains and ravines, which formerly rendered it impervious 
to Hindu invasion or immigration, producing only on isolated 
stretches of culturable land the poorer raincrops, and sparsely 
peopled by primitive Gonds and other forest tribes, was 
probably, until a comparatively short time ago, the wildest 
and least-known part of the whole Indian peninsula. It is 
now being rapidh^ opened up by railways and good roads. 

Up to a iow centuries ago the Central Provinces remained 
outside the sphere of Hindu and Muhammadan conquest. 
To the people of northern India it was known as Gondwana, 

I HINDI - speaking Districts. — 

L 1 The western tract includes the 

baugor, Damoh, Jubbulpore, Narsingh- 
pur, Hoshangabad, Nimar and Betvil 
Districts which lie principally in the 
Nerbudda Valley or on the Vindhyan 
Hills north-west of the Valley. In 
most of this area the language is the 
Bundeh dialect of Western Hindi and 
m Nimar and Betul a form of the 
Rajputana dialects. The eastern tract 
includes the Raipur, Bilaspur and Drug 
Districts and adjacent Feudatory 
Mates. This country is known aa 
Chhattisgarh, and the language is the 
Chhattisgarhi dialect of Eastern Hindi 

MARATHI.— Amraoti, Akola, 

Buldana and Yeotmal Districts 

of Berar, and Nagpur, Bhandara, 

Wardha and Chanda Districts of the 

Nagpur Plain. 

TELUGU. — Sironcha tahsil 

of Chanda District. Telugu is 

also spoken to some extent in the 

adjacent tracts of Chanda and Bastar 


TRIBAL or Non- Aryan dialects. 

— Mandla, Seoni, Chhindwara 
and part of Balaghat Districts on 
the Satpura Range in the centre, 
^arguja, Jashpur, Udaipur, Korea, and 
Chang Bhakar States on the Chota 
Nagpur plateau to the north-east. 
Bastar and Kanker States and parts 
of Chanda and Drug Districts on the 
hill -ranges south of the Mahanadi 
Valley to the south-east. In these 
areas the non-Aryan or Kolarian and 
Dravidian tribes form the strongest 
element in the population but many 
of them have abandoned their own 
languages and speak Aryan verna- 

URIYA. — Sambalpur District 
— and Sarangarh, Bamra, Rairak- 
hol, Sonpur, Patna and Kalahandi 
i^eudatory States. This area, with 
the exception of Sarangarh, no longer 
forms part of the Central Provinces, 
havmg been transferred to Bengal in 
1905, and subsequently to the new 
Province of Bihar and Orissa. It was 
however, included in the ethnographic 
survey for some years, and is often 
referred to in the text. 

■ UR YA — bftm 
1 and ang B 
S p P an 
b T 

P D 
mp R IT k 
K d 

P ang 
p Ce 
g ra ired 
d q 

Bih (10 
d d m 

hn graphi 



an unexplored country of inaccessible mountains and im- 
penetrable forests, inhabited by the savage tribes of Gonds 
from whom it took its name. Hindu kingdoms were, it is 
true, established over a large part of its territory in the first 
centuries of our era, but these were not accompanied by the 
settlement and opening out of the country, and were subse- 
quently subverted by the Dravidian Gonds, who perhaps 
invaded the country in large numbers from the south between 
the ninth and twelfth centuries. Hindu immigration andt 
colonisation from the surrounding provinces occurred at a 
later period, largely under the encouragement and auspices 
of Gond kings. The consequence is that the existing popu- 
lation is very diverse, and is made up of elements belong- 
ing to many parts of India. The people of the northern 
Districts came from Bundelkhand and the Gangetic plain, and 
here are found the principal castes of the United Provinces 
and the Punjab. The western end of the Nerbudda valley 
and Betul were colonised from Malwa and Central India. 
Berar and the Nagpur plain fell to the Marathas, and one of 
the most important Maratha States, the Bhonsla kingdom, 
had its capital at Nagpur. Cultivators from western India 
came and settled on the land, and the existing population 
are of the same castes as the Maratha country or Bombay. 
But prior to the Maratha conquest Berar and the Nimar 
District of the Central Provinces had been included in the 
Mughal empire, and traces of Mughal rule remain in a sub- 
stantial Muhammadan element in the population. To the 
south the Chanda District runs down to the Godavari river, 
and the southern tracts of Chanda and Bastar State are 
largely occupied by Telugu immigrants from Madras. To 
the east of the Nagpur plain the large landlocked area of 
Chhattisgarh in the upper basin of the Mahanadi was colonised 
at an early period by Hindus from the east of the United 
Provinces and Oudh, probably coming through Jubbulpore. 
A dynasty of the Haihaivansi Rajput clan established itself 
at Ratanpur, and owing to the inaccessible nature of the 
country, protected as it is on all sides by a natural rampart 
of hill and forest, was able to pursue a tranquil existence 
untroubled by the wars and political vicissitudes of northern 
India. The population of Chhattisgarh thus constitutes tc 


some extent a distinct social organism, which retained until 
quite recently many remnants of primitive custom. The 
middle basin of the Mahanadi to the east of Chhattlsgarh, 
comprising the Sambalpur District and adjoining States, was 
peopled by Uriyas from Orissa, and though this area has 
now been restored to its parent province, notices of its 
principal castes have been included in these volumes. Finally, 
the population contains a large element of the primitive or 
tnon- Aryan tribes, rich in variety, Vv'ho have retired before the 
pressure of Hindu cultivators to its extensive hills and forests. 
The people of the Central Provinces may therefore not unjustly 
be considered as a microcosm of a great part of India, and 
conclusions drawn from a consideration of their caste rules 
and status may claim with considerable probability of success 
to be applicable to those of the Hindus generally. For the 
same reason the standard ethnological works of other 
Provinces necessarily rank as the best authorities on the 
castes of the Central Provinces, and this fact may explain 
and excuse the copious resort which has been made to them 
in these volumes. 

The word ' Caste,' Dr. Wilson states,^ is not of Indian 

origin, but is derived from the Portuguese casta, signifying 

race, mould or quality. The Indian word for caste x?, jat or 

jdti, which has the original meaning of birth or production of 

a child, and hence denotes good birth or lineage, respectability 

and rank. JdtJia means well-born. Thus jdt now signifies 

a caste, as every Hindu is born into a caste, and his caste 

determines his social position through life. 

4. The The two main ideas denoted by a caste are a community 

meaning of qj. persons following a common occupation, and a community 

the term ^ ° ^ ' ■' 

'Caste.' whose members marry only among themselves. A third 
distinctive feature is that the members of a caste do not as 
a rule eat with outsiders with the exception of other Hindu 
castes of a much higher social position than their own. 
None of these will, however, serve as a definition of a caste. 
In a number of castes the majority of members have 
abandoned their traditional occupation and taken to others. 
Less than a fifth of the Brahmans of the Central Provinces 
are performing any priestly or religious functions, and 

' Indian Caslc, p. 12. 


the remaining four -fifths are landholders or engaged in 
Government service as magistrates, clerks of public offices, 
constables and . orderlies, or in railway service in different 
grades, or in the professions as barristers and pleaders, doctors, 
engineers and so on. The Rajputs and Marathas were 
originally soldiers, but only an infinitely small proportion 
belong to the Indian Army, and the remainder are ruling 
chiefs, landholders, cultivators, labourers or in the various 
grades of Government service and the police. Of the Telis , 
or oil-pressers only 9 per cent are engaged in their traditional 
occupation, and the remainder are landholders, cultivators 
and shopkeepers. Of the Ahirs or graziers only 20 per cent 
tend and breed cattle. Only 12 per cent of the Chamars 
are supported by the tanning industry, and so on. The 
Bahnas or cotton-cleaners have entirely lost their occupation, 
as cotton is now cleaned in factories ; they are cartmen or 
cultivators, but retain their caste name and organisation. 
Since the introduction of machine-made cloth has reduced 
the profits of hand-loom weaving, large numbers of the 
weaving castes have been reduced to manual labour as a 
means of subsistence. The abandonment of the traditional 
occupation has become a most marked feature of Hindu 
society as a result of the equal opportunity and freedom in 
the choice of occupations afforded by the British Government, 
coupled with the rapid progress of industry and the spread 
of education. So far it has had no. very markedly disinte- 
grating effect on the caste system, and the status of a caste is 
still mainly fixed by its traditional occupation ; but signs are 
not wanting of a coming change. Again, several castes have 
the same traditional occupation ; about forty of the castes 
of the Central Provinces are classified as agriculturists, eleven 
as weavers, seven as fishermen, and so on. Distinctions of 
occupation therefore are not a sufficient basis for a classifica- 
tion of castes. Nor can a caste be simply defined as a body 
of persons who marry only among themselves, or, as it is 
termed, an endogamous group ; for almost every important 
caste is divided into a number of subcastes which do not 
marry and frequently do not eat with each other. But it is 
a distinctive and peculiar feature of caste as a social institu- 
tion that it splits up the people into a multitude of these 


divisions and bars their intermarriage ; and the real unit of 
the system and the basis of the fabric of Indian society is 
this endogaraous group or subcaste. 

The subcastes, however, connote no real difference 
of status or occupation. They are little known except 
within the caste itself, and they consist of groups within the 
caste which marry among themselves, and attend the 
communal feasts held on the occasions of marriages, funerals 
and meetings of the caste pancJidyat or committee for the 
judgment of offences against the caste rules and their expiation 
by a penalty feast ; to these feasts all male adults of the 
community, within a certain area, are invited. In the Central 
Provinces the 250 groups which have been classified as 
castes contain perhaps 2000 subcastes. Except in some 
cases other Hindus do not know a man's subcaste, though 
they always know his caste ; among the ignorant lower castes 
men may often be found who do not know whether their 
caste contains any subcastes or whether they themselves 
belong to one. That is, they will eat and marry with all the 
members of their caste within a circle of villages, but know 
nothing about the caste outside those villages, or even whether 
it exists elsewhere. One subdivision of a caste may look 
down upon another on the ground of some difference of 
occupation, of origin, or of abstaining from or partaking of 
some article of food, but these distinctions are usually con- 
fined to their internal relations and seldom recognised by 
outsiders. For social purposes the caste consisting of a 
number of these endogamous groups generally occupies the 
same position, determined roughly according to the respect- 
ability of its traditional occupation or extraction. 

No adequate definition of caste can thus be obtained from 
community of occupation or intermarriage ; nor would it be 
accurate to say that every one must know his own caste and 
that all the different names returned at the census may be 
taken as distinct. In the Central Provinces about 900 caste- 
names were returned at the census of 1901, and these were 
reduced in classification to about 250 proper castes. 

In some cases synonyms are commonly used. The 
caste of pan or betel-vine growers and sellers is known 
indifferently as Barai, Pansari or Tamboli. The great caste 


of Ahirs or- herdsmen has several synonyms — as GaoH in the 
Northern Districts, Rawat or Gahra in Chhattlsgarh, Gaur 
among the Uriyas, and Golkar among Telugus. Lohars arc 
also called Khati and Kammari ; Masons are called Larhia, 
Raj and Beldar. The more distinctly occupational castes 
usually have different names in different parts of the country, 
as Dhobi, Warthi, Baretha, Chakla and Parit for washermen ; 
Basor, Burud, Kandra and Dhulia for bamboo-workers, and 
so on. Such names may show that the subdivisions to which 
they are applied have immigrated from different parts of 
India, but the distinction is generally not now maintained, 
and many persons will return one or other of them indiffer- 
ently. No object is gained, therefore, by distinguishing them 
in classification, as they correspond to no differences of status 
or occupation, and at most denote groups which do not 
intermarry, and which may therefore more properly be con- 
sidered as subcastes. 

Titles or names of offices are also not infrequently given 
as caste names. Members of the lowest or impure castes 
employed in the office of Kotwar or village watchmen prefer 
to call themselves by this name, as they thus obtain a certain 
rise in status, or at least they think so. In some localities 
the Kotwars or village watchmen have begun to marry 
among themselves and try to form a separate caste. Chamars 
(tanners) or Mahars (weavers) employed as grooms will call 
themselves Sais and consider themselves superior to the rest 
of their caste. The Thethwar Rawats or AhIrs will not clean 
household cooking-vessels, and therefore look down on the 
rest of the caste and prefer to call themselves by this designa- 
tion, as ' Theth ' means ' exact ' or ' pure,' and Thethwar is 
one who has not degenerated from the ancestral calling. 
Salewars are a subcaste of Koshtis (weavers), who work only 
in silk and hence consider themselves as superior to the other 
Koshtis and a separate caste. The Rathor subcaste of Telis 
in Mandla have abandoned the hereditary occupation of oil- 
pressing and become landed proprietors. They now wish to 
drop their own caste and to be known only as Rathor, the 
name of one of the leading Rajput clans, in the hope that 
in time it will be forgotten that they ever were Telis, and 
they will be admitted into the community of Rajputs. It 


occurred to them that the census would be a good opportunity 
of advancing a step towards the desired end, and accordingly 
they telegraphed to the Commissioner of Jubbulpore before 
the enumeration, and petitioned the Chief Commissioner after 
it had been taken, to the effect that they might be recorded 
and classified only as Rathor and not as Teli ; this method 
of obtaining recognition of their claims being, as remarked by 
Sir Bampfylde Fuller, a great deal cheaper than being 
weighed against gold. On the other hand, a common 
occupation may sometimes amalgamate castes originally 
distinct into one. The sweeper's calling is well-defined and 
under the generific term of Mehtar are included members of 
two or three distinct castes, as Dom, Bhangi and Chuhra ; 
the word Mehtar means a prince or headman, and it is 
believed that its application to the sweeper by the other 
servants is ironical. It has now, however, been generally 
adopted as a caste name. Similarly, Darzi, a tailor, was 
held by Sir D, Ibbetson to be simply the name of a profession 
and not that of a caste ; but it is certainly a true caste in the 
Central Provinces, though probably of comparatively late 
origin. A change of occupation may transfer a whole body 
of persons from one caste to another. A large section of the 
Banjara caste of carriers, who have taken to cultivation, have 
become included in the Kunbi caste in Berar and are known 
as Wanjari Kunbi. Another subcaste of the Kunbis called 
Manwa is derived from the Mana tribe. Telis or oilmen, who 
have taken to vending liquor, now form a subcaste of the 
Kalar caste called Teli-Kalar ; those who have become shop- 
keepers are called Teli-Bania and may in time become an 
inferior section of the Bania caste. Other similar subcastes 
are the Ahlr-Sunars or herdsmen-goldsmiths, the Kayasth- 
Darzis or tailors, the Kori-Chamars or weaver-tanners, the 
Gondi Lobars and Barhais, being Gonds who have become 
carpenters and blacksmiths and been admitted to these castes ; 
the Mahar Mhalis or barbers, and so on. 

It would appear, then, that no precise definition of a caste 
can well be formulated to meet all difficulties. In classifica- 
tion, each doubtful case must be taken by itself, and it must 
be determined, on the information available, whether any 
body of persons, consisting of one or more cndogamous 


groups, and distinguished by one or more separate names., 
can be recognised as holding, either on account of its 
traditional occupation or descent, such a distinctive position 
in the social system, that it should be classified as a caste. 
But not even the condition of endogamy can be accepted as 
of universal application ; for Vidurs,' who are considered to 
be descended from Brahman fathers and women of other 
castes, will, though marrying among themselves, still receive 
the offspring of such mixed alliances into the community ; 
in the case of Gosains and Bairagis, who, from being religious 
orders, have become castes, admission is obtained by initiation 
as well as by birth, and the same is the case with several 
other orders ; some of the lower castes will freely admit out- 
siders ; and in parts of Chhattlsgarh social ties are of the 
laxest description, and the intermarriage of Gonds, Chamars 
and other low castes are by no means infrequent. But not- 
withstanding these instances, the principle of the restriction 
of marriage to members of the caste is so nearly universal as 
to be capable of being adopted as a definition. 

The well-known traditional theory of caste is that the 8. The 
Aryans were divided from the beginninsr of time into four ^°"^. . , 

'' . . traditional 

castes : Brahmans or priests, Kshatriyas or warriors, Vaishyas castes. 
or merchants and cultivators, and Sudras or menials and 
labourers, all of whom had a divine origin, being born from 
the body of Brahma — the Brahmans from his mouth, the 
Kshatriyas from his arms, the Vaishyas from his thighs, and 
the Sudras from his feet. Intermarriage between the four 
castes was not at first entirely prohibited, and a man of any 
of the three higher ones, provided that for his first wife he 
took a woman of his own caste, could subsequently marry 
others of the divisions beneath his own. In this manner the 
other castes originated. Thus the Kaivarttas or Kewats 
were the offspring of a Kshatriya father and Vaishya mother, 
and so on. Mixed marriages in the opposite direction, of a 
woman of a higher caste with a man of a lower one, were 
reprobated as strongly as possible, and the offspring of these 
were relegated to the lowest position in society ; thus the 
Chandals, or descendants of a Sudra father and Brahman 
mother, were of all men the most base. It has been 
recognised that this genealogy, though in substance the 


formation of a number of new castes through mixed descent 
may have been correct, is, as regards the details, an attempt 
made by a priestly law-giver to account, on the lines of 
orthodox tradition, for a state of society which had ceased to 
correspond to them. 

In the ethnographic description of the people of the 
Punjab, which forms the Caste chapter of Sir Denzil 
Ibbetson's Census Report of 1881, it was pointed out that 
occupation was the chief basis of the division of castes, and 
there is no doubt that this is true. Every separate occupa- 
tion has produced a distinct caste, and the status of the caste 
depends now mainly or almost entirely on its occupation. 
The fact that there may be several castes practising such 
important callings as agriculture or weaving does not invali- 
date this in any way, and instances of the manner in which 
such castes have been developed will be given subsequently. 
If a caste changes its occupation it may, in the course of 
time, alter its status in a corresponding degree. The 
important Kayasth and Gurao castes furnish instances of this. 
Castes, in fact, tend to rise or fall in social position with the 
acquisition of land or other forms of wealth or dignity much 
in the same manner as individuals do nowadays in European 
countries. Hitherto in India it has not been the individual 
who has undergone the process ; he inherits the social 
position of the caste in which he is born, and, as a rule, 
retains it through life without the power of altering it. It is 
the caste, as a whole, or at least one of its important sections 
or subcastes, which gradually rises or falls in social position, 
and the process may extend over generations or even 

In the Brief Sketch of the Caste System of the North- 
western Provinces and Otcdh, Mr. J. C. Nesfield puts forward 
the view that the whole basis of the caste system is the 
division of occupations, and that the social gradation of 
castes corresponds precisely to the different periods of 
civilisation during which their traditional occupations 
originated. Thus the lowest castes are those allied to the 
primitive occupation of hunting, Pasi, Bhar, Bahelia, because 
the pursuit of wild animals was the earliest stage in the 
development of human industry. Next above these come 


the fishing castes, fishing being considered somewhat superior 
to hunting, because water is a more sacred element among 
Hindus than land, and there is less apparent cruelty in the 
capturing of fish than the slaughtering of animals ; these are 
the Kahars, Kewats, Dhlmars and others. Above these come 
the pastoral castes — Ghosi, Gadaria, Giijar and Ahir ; and 
above them the agricultural castes, following the order in 
which these occupations were adopted during the progress of 
civilisation. At the top of the system stands the Rajput or 
Chhatri, the warrior, whose duty is to protect all the lower 
castes, and the Brahman, who is their priest and spiritual 
guide. Similarly, the artisan castes are divided into two 
main groups ; the lower one consists of those whose occupa- 
tions preceded the age of metallurgy, as the Chamars and 
Mochis or tanners, Koris or weavers, the Telis or oil-pressers, 
Kalars or liquor-distillers, Kumhars or potters, and Lunias or 
salt-makers. The higher group includes those castes whose 
occupations were coeval with the age of metallurgy, that is, 
those who work in stone, wood and metals, and who make 
clothing and ornaments, as the Barhai or worker in wood, 
the Lobar or worker in iron, the Kasera and Thathera, brass- 
workers, and the Sunar or worker in the precious metals, 
ranking precisely in this order of precedence, the Sunar being 
the highest. The theory is still further developed among 
the trading castes, who are arranged in a similar manner, 
beginning from the Banjara or forest trader, the Kunjra or 
greengrocer, and the Bharbhunja or grain-parcher, up to the 
classes of Banias and Khatris or shopkeepers and bankers. 

It can hardly be supposed that the Hindus either con- 
sciously or unconsciously arranged their gradation of society 
in a scientific order of precedence in the manner described. 
The main divisions of social precedence are correctly stated 
by Mr. Nesfield, but it will be suggested in this essay that 
they arose naturally from the divisions of the principal social 
organism of India, the village community. Nevertheless Mr. 
Nesfield's book will always rank as a most interesting and 
original contribution to the literature of the subject, and his 
work did much to stimulate inquiry into the origin of the 
caste system. 

In his Introduction to the Tribes and Castes of Bengal 


10. Racial Sir Herbert Risley laid stress on the racial basis of caste, 
theory. showing that difference of race and difference of colour were 

the foundation of the Indian caste system or division of the 
people into endogamous units. There seems reason to 
suppose that the contact of the Aryans with the indigenous 
people of India was, to a large extent, responsible for the 
growth of the caste system, and the main racial divisions may 
perhaps even now be recognised, though their racial basis has, 
to a great extent, vanished. But when we come to individual 
castes and subcastes, the scrutiny of their origin, which has 
been made in the individual articles, appears to indicate that 
caste distinctions cannot, as a rule, be based on supposed 
difference of race. Nevertheless Sir H. Risley's Castes and 
Tribes of Bengal and Peoples of India will, no doubt, always 
be considered as standard authorities, while as Census 
Commissioner for India and Director of Ethnography he 
probably did more to foster this branch of research in India 
generally than any other man has ever done. 

11. Entry M. Emilc Scuart, in his work Les Castes dans IVnde, gives 
of the ^^ admirable sketch of the features marking the entry of the 

Aryans . _ 

into India. Aryans into India and their acquisition of the country, from 
"^nd ^^^^^ which the following account is largely taken. The institution 
Das)'us. of caste as it is understood at present did not exist among 
the Aryans of the Vedic period, on their first entry into India. 
The word varna, literally ' colour/ which is afterwards used 
in speaking of the four castes, distinguishes in the Vedas two 
classes only : there are the Arya Varna and the Dasa Varna 
— the Aryan race and the race of enemies. In other 
passages the Dasyus are spoken of as black, and Indra is 
praised for protecting the Aryan colour. In later literature 
the black race, Krishna Varna, are opposed to the Brahmans, 
and the same word is used of the distinction between Aryas 
and Sudras. The word varna was thus used, in the first 
place, not of four castes, but of two hostile races, one white 
and the other black. It is said that Indra divided the fields 
among his white-coloured people after destroying the Dasyus, 
by whom may be understood the indigenous barbarian races.-' 
The word Dasyu, which frequently recurs in the Vedas, 

' Dr. Wilson'.s Indian Caste (Times Press and Messrs. Blackwood), 1875, 
p. 88, quoting from Rig-Veda. 

AV-- )ose, Collo., Derby. 


probably refers to the people of foreign countries or provinces 
like the Goim or Gentiles of the Hebrews. The Dasyus 
were not altogether barbarians, for they had cities and other 
institutions showing a partial civilisation, though the Aryas, 
lately from more bracing climes than those which they 
inhabited, proved too strong for them/ To the Aryans the 
word Dasyu had the meaning of one who not only did not 
perform religious rites, but attempted to harass their per- 
formers. Another verse says, " Distinguish, O Indra, between 
the Aryas and those who are Dasyus : punishing those who 
perform no religious rites ; compel them to submit to the 
sacrifices ; be thou the powerful, the encourager of the 
sacrifices" ^ 

Rakshasa was another designation given to the tribes 
with whom the Aryans were in hostility. Its meaning is 
strong, gigantic or powerful, and among the modern Hindus 
it is a word for a devil or demon. In the Satapatha 
Brahmana of the white Yajur-Veda the Rakshasas are 
represented as ' prohibiters,' that is ' prohibiters of the 
sacrifice.' ^ Similarly, at a later period, Manu describes 
Aryavarrta, or the abode of the Aryas, as the country 
between the eastern and western oceans, and between the 
Himalayas and the Vindhyas, that is Hindustan, the Deccan 
being not then recognised as an abode of the Aryans. And 
he thus speaks of the country : " From a Brahman born in 
Aryavarrta let all men on earth learn their several usages." 
" That land on which the black antelope naturally grazes, is 
held fit for the performance of sacrifices ; but the land of 
Mlechchhas (foreigners) is beyond it." " Let the three first 
classes (Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas) invariably dwell 
in the above-mentioned countries ; but a Sudra distressed for 
subsistence may sojourn wherever he chooses." ^ 

Another passage states : " If some pious king belonging 
to the Kshatriya or some other caste should defeat the 
Mlechchhas ^ and establish a settlement of the four castes in 
their territories, and accept the Mlechchhas thus defeated as 
Chandalas (the most impure caste in ancient Hindu society) 

^ Dr. W^ilson's Indian Caste (Times p. 94. 
Press and Messrs. Blackwood), 1875, ^ Wilson, ibidem, p. 99. 

p. 88, quoting from Rig- Veda. '' Manu, ii. 17, 24. 

2 Rig- Veda, i. II. ^\\'s,ox\, ibidem, 5 Barbarians or foreigners. 



as is the case in Aryavarrta, then that country also becomes 
fit for sacrifice. For no land is impure of itself. A land 
becomes so only by contact." This passage is quoted by a 
Hindu writer with the same reference to the Code of Manu 
as the preceding one, but it is not found there and appears 
to be a gloss by a later writer, explaining how the country 
south of the Vindhyas, which is excluded by Manu, should 
be rendered fit for Aryan settlement.^ Similarly in a 
reference in the Brahmanas to the migration of the Aryans 
eastward from the Punjab it is stated that Agni the fire-god 
flashed forth from the mouth of a priest invoking him at a 
sacrifice and burnt across all the five rivers, and as far as he 
burnt Brahmans could live. Agni, as the god of fire by which 
the offerings were consumed, was addressed as follows : " We 
kindle thee at the sacrifice, O wise Agni, the sacrificer, the 
luminous, the mighty." ^ The sacrifices referred to were, in 
the early period, of domestic animals, the horse, ox or goat, 
the flesh of which was partaken of by the worshippers, and 
the sacred Soma -liquor, which was drunk by them ; the 
prohibition or discouragement of animal sacrifices for the 
higher castes gradually came about at a later time, and was 
probably to a large extent due to the influence of Buddhism. 
The early sacrifice was in the nature of a communal 
sacred meal at which the worshippers partook of the animal 
or liquor offered to the god. The Dasyus or indigenous 
Indian races could not worship the Aryan gods nor join in 
the sacrifices offered to them, which constituted the act of 
worship. They were a hostile race, but the hostility was felt 
and expressed on religious rather than racial grounds, as the 
latter term is understood at present. 
12. The M. Senart points out that the division of the four castes 

Sudra. appearing in post-Vedic literature, does not proceed on equal 
lines. There were two groups, one composed of the three 
higher castes, and the other of the Sudras or lowest. The 
higher castes constituted a fraternity into which admission 
was obtained only by a religious ceremony of initiation and 
investment with the sacred thread. The Sudras were ex- 
cluded and could take no part in sacrifices. The punishment 

1 Sec Burnett and Hopkins, Ordi- ^ Wilson, /«^//a« Ca^/^, p. 170, quot- 

nances 6/ Manu, s.v. ing Weber, Indische Studicn, i. 170. 



for the commission of the gravest offences by a Brahman 
was that he became a Sudra, that is to say an outcast. The 
kilHng of a Sudra was an offence no more severe than that 
of killing certain animals. A Sudra was prohibited by the 
severest penalties from approaching within a certain 
distance of a member of any of the higher castes. In the 
Sutras ^ it is declared " that the Sudra has not the right 
(Adhikara) of sacrifice enjoyed by the Brahman, Kshatriya 
and Vaishya. He was not to be invested with the sacred 
thread, nor permitted, like them, to hear, commit to memory, 
or recite Vedic texts. For listening to these texts he ought 
to have his ears shut up with melted lead or lac by way of 
punishment ; for pronouncing them, his tongue cut out ; and 
for committing them to memory, his body cut in two.^ The 
Veda was never to be read in the presence of a Sudra ; and 
no sacrifice was to be performed for him.'* The Sudras, it is 
stated in the Harivansha, are sprung from vacuity, and are 
destitute of ceremonies, and so are not entitled to the rites 
of initiation. Just as upon the friction of wood, the cloud of 
smoke which issues from the fire and spreads around is of no 
service in the sacrificial rite, so too the Sudras spread over 
the earth are unserviceable, owing to their birth, to their 
want of initiatory rites, and the ceremonies ordained by the 
Vedas.^ Again it is ordained that silence is to be observed 
by parties of the three sacrificial classes when a Sudra enters 
to remove their natural defilements, and thus the servile 
position of the Sudra is recognised.*^ Here it appears that 
the Sudra is identified with the sweeper or scavenger, the 
most debased and impure of modern Hindu castes.'^ In the 
Dharmashastras or law-books it is laid down that a person 
taking a Sudra's food for a month becomes a Sudra and after 
death becomes a dog. Issue begotten after eating a Sudra's 
food is of the Sudra caste. A person who dies with Sudra's 
food in his stomach becomes a village pig, or is reborn in a 
Sudra's family.^ An Arya who had sexual intimacy with a 

1 A collection of rules for sacrifices * Manu, iv. 99 ; iii. 17S. 
and other rites, coming between the ^ Wilson, pp. 421, 422. 

Vedas and the law-books, and dated by ^ wilson, p. 187, quoting from 

Max Miiller between 600-200 B.C. Hiranyakeshi Sutra. , 

2 Wilson, Indian Caste, p. 182. ^ See article Mehtar in text. 

3 Wilson, p. 184, quoting from ^ vVilson, p. 363, quoting from 
Shrauta-sutra of Katyayana, i. 1.6. Smriti of Angira. 


Siidra woman was to be banished ; but a Sudra having 
intimacy with an Arya was to be killed. If a Sudra re- 
proached a dutiful Arya, or put himself on equality with him 
on a road, on a couch or on a seat, he was to be beaten with 
a stick.^ A Brahman might without hesitation take the 
property of a Sudra ; he, the Sudra, had indeed nothing of 
his own ; his master might, doubtless, take his property." 
According to the Mahabharata the Sudras are appointed 
servants to the Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas.^ A 
Brahman woman having connection with a Sudra was to be 
devoured by dogs, but one having connection with a Kshatriya 
or Vaishya was merely to have her head shaved and be carried 
round on an ass.^ When a Brahman received a gift from 
another Brahman he had to acknowledge it in a loud voice ; 
from a Rajanya or Kshatriya, in a gentle voice ; from a 
Vaishya, in a whisper ; and from a Sudra, in his own mind. 
To a Brahman he commenced his thanks with the sacred 
syllable Om ; to a king he gave thanks without the sacred Om ; 
to a Vaishya he whispered his thanks ; to a Sudra he said 
nothing, but thought in his own mind, svasti, or 'This is good.' ^ 
It would thus seem clear that the Sudras were distinct from 
the Aryas and were a separate and inferior race, consisting 
of the indigenous people of India. In the Atharva- Veda the 
Sudra is recognised as distinct from the Arya, and also the 
Dasa from the Arya, as in the Rig- Veda.*" Dr. Wilson 
remarks, " The aboriginal inhabitants, again, who conformed 
to the Brahmanic law, received certain privileges, and were 
constituted as a fourth caste under the name of Sudras, 
whereas all the rest who kept aloof were called Dasyus, what- 
ever their language might be." ^ The Sudras, though 
treated by Manu and Hindu legislation in general as a 
component, if enslaved, part of the Indian community, not 
entitled to the second or sacramental birth, are not even 
once mentioned in the older parts of the Vedas. They are 
first locally brought to notice in the Mahabharata, along with 

1 Wilson, Indian Caste, p. 195, from Vyavahdra Mayhkha. 

Hiranyakeshi Sutra. ^ Wilson, p. 400, from Parashara 

^ Manu, viii. 417. Smriti. 

^ Wilson, p. 260, quoting Mahab- " Wilson, p. 140, quoting from 

harata, viii. 1367 et scq. Atharva Veda, iv. 32. i. 

^ Wilson, p. 403, quoting from ^ Wilson, p. 211. 


the Abhiras, dwelling on the banks of the Indus. There 
are distinct classical notices of the Sudras in this very- 
locality and its neighbourhood. " In historical times," 
says Lassen, " their name reappears in that of the town 
Sudros on the lower Indus, and, what is especially worthy 
of notice, in that of the people Sudroi, among the Northern 
Arachosians." ^ 

" Thus their existence as a distinct nation is established 
in the neighbourhood of the Indus, that is to say in the region 
in which, in the oldest time, the Aryan Indians dwelt. The 
Aryans probably conquered these indigenous inhabitants 
first ; and when the others in the interior of the country were 
subsequently subdued and enslaved, the name Sudra was 
extended to the whole servile caste. There seems to have 
been some hesitation in the Aryan community about the 
actual religious position to be given to the Sudras. In the 
time of the liturgical Brahmanas of the Vedas, they were some- 
times admitted to take part in the Aryan sacrifices. Not long 
afterwards, when the conquests of the Aryans were greatly 
extended, and they formed a settled state of society among 
the affluents of the Jumna and Ganges, the Sildras were 
degraded to the humiliating and painful position which they 
occupy in Manu. There is no mention of any of the Sankara 
or mixed castes in the Vedas." ^ 

From the above evidence it seems clear that the Sudras 
were really the indigenous inhabitants of India, who were 
subdued by the Aryans as they gradually penetrated into 
India. When the conquering race began to settle in the 
land, the indigenous tribes, or such of them as did not retire 
before the invaders into the still unconquered interior, became 
a class of menials and labourers, as the Amalekites were to 
the children of Israel. The Sudras were the same people as 
the Dasyus of the hymns, after they had begun to live in 
villages with the Aryans, and had to be admitted, 
though in the most humiliating fashion, into the Aryan 
polity. But the hostility between the Aryas and the Dasyus 
or Sudras, though in reality racial, was felt and expressed 
on religious grounds, and probably the Aryans had no real 

1 Wilson, Indian Caste, referring to Ptolemy, vii. i. 61 and vi. 120. 3. 
2 V^ilson, pp. 113, 114. 


idea of what is now understood by difference of race or 
deterioration of type from mixture of races. The Sudras 
were despised and hated as worshippers of a hostile god. 
They could not join in the sacrifices by which the Aryans 
renewed and cemented their kinship with their god and with 
each other ; hence they were outlaws towards whom no social 
obligations existed. It would have been quite right and 
proper that they should be utterly destroyed, precisely as 
the Israelites thought that Jehovah had commanded them to 
destroy the Canaanites. But they were too numerous, and 
hence they were regarded as impure and made to live apart, so 
that they should not pollute the places of sacrifice, which 
among the Aryans included their dwelling-houses. It does 
not seem to have been the case that the Aryans had any regard 
for the preservation of the purity of their blood or colour. 
From an early period men of the three higher castes might 
take a Sudra woman in marriage, and the ultimate result has 
been an almost complete fusion between the two races in the 
bulk of the population over the greater part of the country. 
Nevertheless the status of the Sudra still remains attached 
to the large community of the impure castes formed from 
the indigenous tribes, who have settled in Hindu villages and 
entered the caste system. These are relegated to the most 
degrading and menial occupations, and their touch is regarded 
as conveying defilement like that of the Sudras.^ The status 
of the Sudras was not always considered so low, and they were 
sometimes held to rank above the mixed castes. And in 
modern times in Bengal Sudra is quite a respectable term 
applied to certain artisan castes which there have a fairly 
good position. But neither were the indigenous tribes always 
reduced to the impure status. Their fortunes varied, and 
those who resisted subjection were probably sometimes 
accepted as allies. For instance, some of the most prominent 
of the Rajput clans are held to have been derived from the 
aboriginal ^ tribes. On the Aryan expedition to southern 
India, which is preserved in the legend of Rama, as related 
in the Ramayana, it is stated that Rama was assisted by 

1 See for the impure castes /a;-a. 40 here for convenience and not as conveying 
/losi. any assertion as to the origin of the 

2 The word "aboriginal" is used pre-Aryan j^opulation. 


Hanuman with his army of apes. The reference is generally 
held to be to the fact that the Aryans had as auxiliaries 
some of the forest tribes, and these were consequently 
allies, and highly thought of, as shown by the legend 
and by their identification with the mighty god Hanuman. 
And at the present time the forest tribes who live separately 
from the Hindus in the jungle tracts are, as a rule, not 
regarded as impure. But this does not impair the identifi- 
cation of the Sudras with those tribes who were reduced 
to subjection and serfdom in the Hindu villages, as shown 
by the evidence here given. The view has also been held 
that the Sudras might have been a servile class already 
subject to the Aryans, who entered India with them. And 
in the old Parsi or Persian community four classes existed, 
the Athornan or priest, the Rathestan or warrior, the 
Vasteriox or husbandman, and the Hutox or craftsman.^ 
The second and third of these names closely resemble those 
of the corresponding Hindu classical castes, the Rajanya or 
Kshatriya and the Vaishya, while Athornan, the name for 
a priest, is the same as Atharvan, the Hindu name for a 
Brahman versed in the Atharva-Veda. Possibly then 
Hutox may be connected with Sudra, as h frequently 
changes into s. But on the other hand the facts that the 
Sudras are not mentioned in the Vedas, and that they 
succeeded to the position of the Dasyus, the black hostile 
Indians, as well as the important place they fill in the later 
literature, seem to indicate clearly that they mainly consisted 
of the indigenous subject tribes. Whether the Aryans 
applied a name already existing in a servile class among 
themselves to the indigenous population whom they subdued, 
may be an uncertain point. 

In the Vedas, moreover, M. Senart shows that the three js- fhe 
higher castes are not definitely distinguished ; but there are 
three classes — the priests, the chiefs and the people, among 
whom the Aryans were comprised. The people are spoken 
of in the plural as the clans who followed the chiefs to battle. 
The word used is Visha. One verse speaks of the Vishas 
(clans) bowing before the chief (Rajan), who was preceded by 
a priest (Brahman). Another verse says : " Favour the prayer 

1 Bombay Gazetteer, Parsis of Gujarat, p. 213. 



(Brahma), favour the service ; kill the Rakshasas, drive away 
the evil ; favour the power {Jchatrd) and favour the manly 
strength ; favour the cow {ciJiei^m^ the representative of 
property) and favour the people (or house, visha).'' ^ 

Similarly Wilson states that in the time of the Vedas, 
visha (related to vesha, a house or district) signified the 
people in general ; and Vaishya, its adjective, was afterwards 
applied to a householder, or that appertaining to an individual 
of the common people. The Latin viais and the Greek 
ot/co9 are the correspondents of vesha? The conclusion to 
be drawn is that the Aryans in the Vedas, like other early 
communities, were divided by rank or occupation into three 
classes — priests, nobles and the body of the people. The 
Vishas or clans afterwards became the Vaishyas or third 
classical caste. Before they entered India the Aryans were 
a migratory pastoral people, their domestic animals being 
the horse, cow, and perhaps the sheep and goat. The horse 
and cow were especially venerated, and hence were probably 
their chief means of support. The Vaishyas must therefore 
have been herdsmen and shepherds, and when they entered 
India and took to agriculture, the Vaishyas must have 
become cultivators. The word Vaishya signifies a man who 
occupies the soil, an agriculturist, or merchant.^ The word 
Vasteriox used by the ancestors of the Parsis, which appears 
to correspond to Vaishya, also signifies a husbandman, as 
already seen. Dr. Max Muller states : " The three occupa- 
tions of the Aryas in India were fighting, cultivating the 
soil and worshipping the gods. Those who fought the 
battles of the people would naturally acquire influence and 
rank, and their leaders appear in the Veda as Rajas or 
kings. Those who did not share in the fighting would 
occupy a more humble position ; they were called Vish, 
Vaishyas or householders, and would no doubt have to 
contribute towards the maintenance of the armies.^ Accord- 
ing to Manu, God ordained the tending of cattle, giving 
alms, sacrifice, study, trade, usury, and also agriculture for 

^ Rig-Veda, 6. 3. 16, quoted by * Quoted by Wilson, p. 209. It 

Wilson, Indian Caste, p. no. would seem probable, however, that 

2 Wilson, p. 109. the Vaishyas must themselves have 

^ Monier-Williams, Sanskrit Diction- formed the rank and file of the fight- 

ary, pointed out by Mr. Crooke. ing force, at least in the early period. 



a Vaishya." ^ The Sutras state that agriculture, the keeping 
of cattle, and engaging in merchandise, as well as learning 
the Vedas, sacrificing for himself and giving alms, are the 
duties of a Vaishya.'-^ In the Mahabharata it is laid down 
that the Vaishyas should devote themselves to agriculture, 
the keeping of cattle and liberality.^ In the same work the 
god Vayu says to Bhishma : " And it was Brahma's ordinance 
that the Vaishya should sustain the three castes (Brahman, 
Kshatriya and Vaishya) with money and corn ; and that 
the Sudra should serve them." ^ 

In a list of classes or occupations given in the White 
Yajur-Veda, and apparently referring to a comparatively 
advanced state of Hindu society, tillage is laid down as the 
calling of the Vaishya, and he is distinguished from the Vani 
or merchant, whose occupation is trade or weighing.^ Manu 
states that a Brahman should swear by truth ; a Kshatriya 
by his steed and his weapons ; a Vaishya by his cows, his 
seed and his gold ; and a Sudra by all wicked deeds.*" 
Yellow is the colour of the Vaishya, and it must apparently 
be taken from the yellow corn, and the yellow colour of ghi 
or butter, the principal product of the sacred cow ; yellow 
is also the colour of the sacred metal gold, but there 
can scarcely have been sufficient gold in the hands of 
the body of the people in those early times to enable it to 
be especially associated with them. The Vaishyas were 
thus, as is shown by the above evidence, the main body of 
the people referred to in the Vedic hymns. When these 
settled down into villages the Vaishyas became the house- 
holders and cultivators, among whom the village lands 
were divided ; the Sudras or indigenous tribes, who also 
lived in the villages or in hamlets adjoining them, were 
labourers and given all the most disagreeable tasks in the 
village community, as is the case with the impure castes 
at present. 

The demonstration of the real position of the Vaishyas 

1 Manu, i. 90. * Mahabharata, xii. 2749 et seq. 

„ ,-^., T 1- r^ u i ^ List of classes of Indian society 

, T,.' , , . o- ^ given in the Purusha-Medha of the 

mg from Hiranyakesni butra. ?,„ -^ ,, . -.t •, inr;!,.^., ,,,^ t^^ 

*= •' White vajur-Veda, Wilson, pp. 120- 

3 Wilson, p. 260, quoting Mahab- 135. 
harata, viii. 1367 et seq. ** Manu, viii. 113. 


14. Mis- is important, because the Hindus themselves no longer 
modern recognisc this. The name Vaishya is now frequently 
idea of the restricted to the Bania caste of bankers, shopkeepers and 


moneylenders, and hence the Banias are often supposed 
to be the descendants and only modern representatives 
of the original Vaishyas. Evidence has been given in the 
article on Bania to show that the existing Bania caste is 
mainly derived from the Rajputs. The name Bani, a 
merchant or trader, is found at an early period, but whether 
it denoted a regular Bania caste may be considered as 
uncertain. In any case it seems clear that this compara- 
tively small caste, chiefly coming from Rajputana, cannot 
represent the Vaishyas, who were the main body or people 
of the invading Aryans. At that time the Vaishyas cannot 
possibly have been traders, because they alone provided the 
means of subsistence of the community, and if they produced 
nothing, there could be no material for trade. The Vaishyas 
must, therefore, as already seen, have been shepherds and 
cultivators, since in early times wealth consisted almost solely 
of corn and cattle. At a later period, with the increased 
religious veneration for all kinds of life, agriculture apparently 
fell into some kind of disrepute as involving the sacrifice of 
insect life, and there was a tendency to emphasise trade as 
the Vaishya's occupation in view of its greater respectability. 
It is considered very derogatory for a Brahman or Rajput to 
touch the plough with his own hands, and the act has hitherto 
involved a loss of status : these castes, however, did not 
object to hold land, but, on the contrary, ardently desired 
to do so like all other Hindus. Ploughing was probably 
despised as a form of manual labour, and hence an undigni- 
fied action for a member of the aristocracy, just as a squire 
or gentleman farmer in England might consider it beneath 
his dignity to drive the plough himself. No doubt also, as 
the fusion of races proceeded, and bodies of the indigenous 
tribes who were cultivators adopted Hinduism, the status of 
a cultivator sank to some extent, and his Vaishyan ancestry 
was forgotten. But though the Vaishya himself has practically 
disappeared, his status as a cultivator and member of the 
village community appears to remain in that of the modern 
cultivating castes, as will be shown subsequently. 



The settlement of the Aryans in India was in villages 15. Mixed 
and not in towns, and the Hindus have ever since remained ""'°"^ °'" 

the four 

a rural people. In 1 9 1 i less than a tenth of the population classes. 
of India was urban, and nearly three-quarters of the total 
were directly supported by agriculture. Apparently, there- 
fore, the basis or embryo of the gradation of Hindu society 
or the caste system should be sought in the village. Two 
main divisions of the village community may be recog- 
nised in the Vaishyas or cultivators and the Sudras or 
impure serfs and labourers. The exact position held by 
the Kshatriyas and the constitution of their class are not 
quite clear, but there is no doubt that the Brahmans and 
Kshatriyas formed the early aristocracy, ranking above the 
cultivators, and a few other castes have since attained to 
this position. From early times, as is shown by an ordinance 
of Manu, men of the higher castes or classes were permitted, 
after taking a woman of their own class for the first wife, to 
have second and subsequent wives from any of the classes 
beneath them. This custom appears to have been largely 
prevalent. No definite rule prescribed that the children 
of such unions should necessarily be illegitimate, and 
in many cases no doubt seems to exist that, if not they 
themselves, their descendants at any rate ultimately became 
full members of the caste of the first ancestor. According 
to Manu, if the child of a Brahman by a Sudra woman 
intermarried with Brahmans and his descendants after him, 
their progeny in the seventh generation would become 
full Brahmans ; and the same was the case with the child 
of a Kshatriya or a Vaishya with a Sudra woman. A 
commentator remarks that the descendants of a Brahman 
by a Kshatriya woman could attain Brahmanhood in the 
third generation, and those by a Vaishya woman in the 
fifth.-^ Such children also could inherit. According to the 
Mahabharata, if a Brahman had four wives of different castes, 
the son by a Brahman wife took four shares, that by a 
Kshatriya wife three, by a Vaishya wife two, and by a Sudra 
wife one share.^ Manu gives a slightly different distribution, 
but also permits to the son by a Sudra wife a share of the 

1 Hopkin's and Burnett's Code of ^ Mahabharata, xiii. 25 1 o et. seq., 

Manti, X. 64, 65, and footnotes. quoted by Wilson, p. 272. 


inheritance.^ Thus the fact is clear that the son of a 
Brahman even by a Sudra woman had a certain status of 
legitimacy in his father's caste, as he could marry in it, and 
must therefore have been permitted to partake of the sacri- 
ficial food at marriage ; ^ and he could also inherit a small 
share of the property. 

The detailed rules prescribed for the status of legitimacy 
and inheritance show that recognised unions of this kind 
between men of a higher class and women of a lower 
one were at one time fairly frequent, though they were 
afterwards prohibited. And they must necessarily have 
led to much mixture of blood in the different castes. A 
trace of them seems to survive in the practice of hyper- 
gamy, still widely prevalent in northern India, by which men 
of the higher subcastes of a caste will take daughters in 
marriage from lower ones but v/ill not give their daughters 
in return. This custom prevails largely among the higher 
castes of the Punjab, as the Rajputs and Khatris, and among 
the Brahmans of Bengal.^ Only a few cases are found in 
the Central Provinces, among Brahmans, Sunars and other 
castes. Occasionally intermarriage between two castes takes 
place on a hypergamous basis ; thus Rajputs are said to 
take daughters from the highest clans of the cultivating 
caste of Dangis. More commonly families of the lower sub- 
castes or clans in the same caste consider the marriage of 
their daughters into a higher group a great honour and 
will give large sums of money for a bridegroom. Until 
quite recently a Rajput was bound to marry his daughters 
into a clan of equal or higher rank than his own, in order 
to maintain the position of his family. It is not easy 
to see why so much importance should be attached to 
the marriage of a daughter, since she passed into another 
clan and family, to whom her offspring would belong. On 
the other hand, a son might take a wife from a lower 
group without loss of status, though his children would be 
the future representatives of the family. Another point, 

' Mann, ix. 149, 157. initiation or they could not possibly 

2 Manu indeed declares that such have been married in the father's caste. 

children could not be initiated (x. 68), 

l)ut it is clear that they must, as a ^ See article on Brahman for some 

matter of fact, have been capable of further details. 


possibly connected with hypergamy, is that a pecuHar rch\tion 
exists between a man and the family into which his dau'diter 
has married. Sometimes he will accept no food or even 
water in his son-in-law's village. The word sala, signifying- 
wife's brother, when addressed to a man, is also a common 
and extremely offensive term of abuse. The meaning is 
now perhaps supposed to be that one has violated the sister 
of the person spoken to, but this can hardly have been 
the original significance as sasiir or father-in-law is also con- 
sidered in a minor degree an opprobrious term of address. 

But though among the four classical castes it was possible 17. The 
for the descendants of mixed unions between fathers of ""'^^^ 


higher and mothers of lower caste to be admitted into their The village 
father's caste, this would not have been the general rule. "^'^"'^'^• 
Such connections were very frequent and the Hindu classics 
account through them for the multiplication of castes. Long 
lists are given of new castes formed by the children of mixed 
marriages. The details of these genealogies seem to be 
destitute of any probability, and perhaps, therefore, instances 
of them are unnecessary. Matches between a man of 
higher and a woman of lower caste were called anulorna, or 
' with the hair ' or ' grain,' and were regarded as suitable and 
becoming. Those between a man of lower and a woman of 
higher caste were, on the other hand, known as pratiloma or 
' against the hair,' and were considered as disgraceful and 
almost incestuous. The offspring of such unions are held 
to have constituted the lowest and most impure castes of 
scavengers, dog-eaters and so on. This doctrine is to be 
accounted for by the necessity of safeguarding the morality 
of women in a state of society where kinship is reckoned 
solely by male descent. The blood of the tribe and clan, 
and hence the right to membership and participation in the 
communal sacrifices, is then communicated to the child 
through the father ; hence if the women are unchaste, 
children may be born into the family who have no such 
rights, and the whole basis of society is destroyed. For the 
same reason, since the tribal blood and life is communicated 
through males, the birth and standing of the mother are of 
little importance, and children are, as has been seen, easily 
admitted to their father's rank. But already in Manu's 


time the later and present view that both the father and 
mother must be of full status in the clan, tribe or caste in 
order to produce a legitimate child, has begun to prevail, and 
the children of all mixed marriages are relegated to a lower 
group. The offspring of these mixed unions did probably 
give rise to a class of different status in the village community. 
The lower-caste mother would usually have been taken into 
the father's house and her children would be brought up in 
it. Thus they would eat the food of the household, even if 
they did not participate in the sacrificial feasts ; and a class 
of this kind would be very useful for the performance of 
menial duties in and about the household, such as personal 
service, bringing water, and so on, for which the Sudras, 
owing to their impurity, would be unsuitable. In the above 
manner a new grade of village menial might have arisen 
and have gradually been extended to the other village in- 
dustries, so that a third group would be formed in the village 
community ranking between the cultivators and labourers. 
This gradation of the village community may perhaps still 
be discerned in the main social distinctions of the different 
Hindu castes at present. And an attempt will now be 
made to demonstrate this hypothesis in connection with a 
brief survey of the castes of the Province. 

An examination of the social status of the castes of the 
Central Provinces, which, as already seen, are representative 
of a great part of India, shows that they fall into five 
principal groups. The highest consists of those castes who 
now claim to be directly descended from the Brahmans, 
Kshatriyas or Vaishyas, the three higher of the four classical 
castes. The second comprises what are generally known as 
pure or good castes. The principal mark of their caste 
status is that a Brahman will take water to drink from them, 
and perform ceremonies in their houses. They may be 
classified in three divisions : the higher agricultural castes, 
higher artisan castes, and serving castes from whom a 
Brahman will take water. The third group contains those 
castes from whose hands a Brahman will not take water ; 
but their touch does not convey impurity and they are per- 
mitted to enter Hindu temples. They consist mainly of 
certain cultivating castes of low status, some of them recently 


derived from the indigenous tribes, other functional castes 
formed from the forest tribes, and a number of professional 
and menial castes, whose occupations are mainly pursued in 
villages, so that they formerly obtained their subsistence from 
grain -payments or annual allowances of grain from the 
cultivators at seedtime and harvest. The group includes also 
some castes of village priests and mendicant religious orders, 
who beg from the cultivators. In the fourth group are placed 
the non-Aryan or indigenous tribes. Most of these cannot 
properly be said to form part of the Hindu social system at 
all, but for practical purposes they are admitted and are 
considered to rank below all castes except those who can- 
not be touched. The lowest group consists of the impure 
castes whose touch is considered to defile the higher castes. 
Within each group there are minor differences of status some 
of which will be noticed, but the broad divisions may be con- 
sidered as representing approximately the facts. The rule 
about Brahmans taking water from the good agricultural and 
artisan castes obtains, for instance, only in northern India. 
Maratha Brahmans will not take water from any but other 
Brahmans, and in Chhattlsgarh Brahmans and other high 
castes will take water only from the hands of a Rawat 
(grazier), and from no other caste. But nevertheless the 
Kunbis, the great cultivating caste of the Maratha country, 
though Brahmans do not take water from them, are on the 
same level as the Kurmis, the cultivating caste of Hindustan, 
and in tracts where they meet Kunbis and Kurmis are often 
considered to be the same caste. The evidence of the state- 
ments made as to the origin of different castes in the 
following account will be found in the articles on them in 
the body of the work. 

The castes of the first group are noted below : ig. castes 

Brahman. Khatri. Bania. Bhat. Lbovethe 

Rajput. Kayasth and Prabhu. Karan. Gurao. cultivators. 

The Brahmans are, as they have always been, the highest 
caste. The Rajputs are the representatives of the ancient 
Kshatriyas or second caste, though the existing Rajput clans 
are probably derived from the Hun, Gujar and other invaders 
of the period before and shortly after the commencement of 
the Christian era, and in some cases from the indigenous or 


non-Aryan tribes. It does not seem possible to assert in 
the case of a single one of the present Rajput clans that any- 
substantial evidence is forthcoming in favour of their descent 
from the Aryan Kshatriyas, and as regards most of the 
clans there are strong arguments against such a hypothesis. 
Nevertheless the Rajputs have succeeded to the status of 
the Kshatriyas, and an alternative name for them, Chhatri, 
is a corruption of the latter word. They are commonly 
identified with the second of the four classical castes, but 
a Hindu law-book gives Rajaputra as the offspring of a 
Kshatriya father and a mother of the Karan or writer 
caste.^ This genealogy is absurd, but may imply the 
opinion that the Rajputs were not the same as the Aryan 
Kshatriyas. The Khatris are an important mercantile caste 
of the Punjab, who in the opinion of most authorities are 
derived from the Rajputs. The name is probably a corrup- 
tion of Kshatri or Kshatriya. The Banias are the great 
mercantile, banking and shopkeeping caste among the 
Hindus and a large proportion of the trade in grain and gJii 
(preserved butter) is in their hands, while they are also the 
chief moneylenders. Most of the important Bania subcastes 
belonged originally to Rajputana and Central India, which 
are also the homes of the Rajputs, and reasons have been 
given in the article on Bania for holding that they are 
derived from the Rajputs. They, however, are now 
commonly called Vaishyas by the Hindus, as, I think, under 
the mistaken impression that they are descended from the 
original Vaishyas. The Bhats are the bards, heralds and 
genealogists of India and include groups of very varying 
status. The Bhats who act as genealogists of the cultivating 
and other castes and accept cooked food from their clients 
may perhaps be held to rank with or even below them. But 
the high-class Bhats are undoubtedly derived from Brahmans 
and Rajputs, and rank just below those castes. The bard 
or herald had a sacred character, and his person was inviol- 
able like that of the herald elsewhere, and this has given a 
special status to the whole caste.^ The Kayasths are the 
writer caste of Hindustan, and the Karans and Prabhus are 

1 Wilson, Indian Caste, i. 440, ^ g^g article Bhat for further dis- 

quoting Brahma Vaivarrta Purdna. cussion of this point. 


the corresponding castes of Orissa and Bombay. The 
position of the Kayasths has greatly risen during the last 
century on account of their own ability and industry and 
the advantages they have obtained through their high level 
of education. The original Kayasths may have been village 
accountants and hence have occupied a lower position, 
perhaps below the cultivators. They are an instance of a 
caste whose social position has greatly improved on account 
of the wealth and importance of its members. At present 
the Kayasths may be said to rank next to Brahmans and 
Rajputs. The origin of the Prabhus and Karans is un- 
certain, but their recent social history appears to resemble 
that of the Kayasths. The Guraos are another caste whose 
position has greatly improved. They were priests of the 
village temples of Siva, and accepted the offerings of food 
which Brahmans could not take. But they also supplied 
leaf- plates for festivals, and were village musicians and 
trumpeters in the Maratha armies, and hence probably 
ranked below the cultivators and were supported by con- 
tributions of grain from them. Their social position has 
been raised by their sacred character as priests of the 
god Siva and they are now sometimes called Shaiva 
Brahmans. But a distinct recollection of their former status 

Thus all the castes of the first group are derived from 
the representatives of the Brahmans and Kshatriyas, the two 
highest of the four classical castes, except the Guraos, who 
have risen in status owing to special circumstances. The origin 
of the Kayasths is discussed in the article on that caste. 
Members of the above castes usually wear the sacred thread 
which is the mark of the Dwija or twice-born, the old 
Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. The thread is not 
worn generally by the castes of the second group, but the 
more wealthy and prominent sections of them frequently 
assume it. 

The second group of good castes from whom a Brahman 20. Castes 
can take water falls into three sections as already explained : from whom 

■' >■ a tsranman 

the higher agricultural castes, the higher artisans, and the can take 
serving or menial castes from whom a Brahman takes water Htcrher 
from motives of convenience. These last do not properly afrricuitur- 

^ ists. 



belong to the second group but to the next lower one of 
village menials. The higher agricultural castes or those of 
the first section are noted below : 





Mlna or Deswali 





Panvvar Rajput. 














In this division the Kurmis and Kunbis are the typical 
agricultural castes of Hindustan or the plains of northern 
India, and the Bombay or Maratha Deccan. Both are very 
numerous and appear to be purely occupational bodies. The 
name Kurmi perhaps signifies a cultivator or worker. Kunbi 
may mean a householder. In both castes, groups of diverse 
origin seem to have been amalgamated owing to their common 
calling. Thus the Kunbis include a subcaste derived from the 
Banjara (carriers), another from the Dhangars or shepherds, 
and a third from the Manas, a primitive tribe. In Bombay 
it is considered that the majority of the Kunbi caste are 
sprung from the non-Aryan or indigenous tribes, and this 
may be the reason why Maratha Brahmans do not take 
water from them. But they have now become one caste 
with a status equal to that of the other good cultivating 
castes. In many tracts of Berar and elsewhere practically 
all the cultivators of the village belong to the Kunbi caste, 
and there is every reason to suppose that this was once the 
general rule and that the Kunbis or 'householders ' are simply 
the cultivators of the Maratha country who lived in village 
communities. Similarly Sir H. Risley considered that some 
Kurmis of Bihar were of the Aryan type, while others of 
Chota Nagpur are derived from the indigenous tribes. The 
Chasas are the cultivating caste of Orissa and are a similar 
occupational group. The word Chasa has the generic 
meaning of a cultivator, and the caste are said by Sir H. 
Risley to be for the most part of non-Aryan origin, the 
loose organisation of the caste system among the Uriyas 
making it possible on the one hand for outsiders to be 
admitted into the caste, and on the other for wealthy Chasas, 
who gave up ploughing with their own hands and assumed 
the respectable title of Mahanti, to raise themselves to 


membership among the lower classes of Kayasths. The 
Koltas are another Uriya caste, probably an offshoot of the 
Chasas, whose name may be derived from the kultJti^ pulse, 
a favourite crop in that locality. 

Similarly the Vellalas are the great cultivating caste of 
the Tamil country, to whom by general consent the first 
place in social esteem among the Tamil Sudra castes is 
awarded. In the Madras Census Report of 1901 Mr. 
Francis gives an interesting description of the structure of 
the caste and its numerous territorial, occupational and 
other subdivisions. He shows also how groups from lower 
castes continually succeed in obtaining admission into the 
Vellala community in the following passage : " Instances of 
members of other castes who have assumed the name and 
position of Vellalas are the Vettuva Vellalas, who are only 
Puluvans ; the Illam Vellalas, who are Panikkans ; the 
Karaiturai (lord of the shore) Vellalas, who are Karaiyans ; 
the Karukamattai (palmyra leaf-stem) Vellalas, who are 
Balijas ; the Guha (Rama's boatmen) Vellalas, who are 
Sembadavans ; and the Irkuli Vellalas, who are Vannans. 
The children of dancing- girls also often call themselves 
Mudali, and claim in time to be Vellalas, and even Paraiyans 
assume the title of Pillai and trust to its eventually enabling 
them to pass themselves off as members of the caste." 

This is an excellent instance of the good status attach- 
ing to the chief cultivating caste of the locality and of the 
manner in which other groups, when they obtain possession 
of the land, strive to get themselves enrolled in it. 

The Jats are the representative cultivating caste of the 
Punjab. They are probably the descendants of one of the 
Scythian invading hordes who entered India shortly before 
and after the commencement of the Christian era. The 
Scythians, as they were called by Herodotus, appear to have 
belonged to the Mongolian racial family, as also did the 
white Huns who came subsequently. The Gujar and Ahir 
castes, as well as the Jats, and also the bulk of the existing 
Rajput clans, are believed to be descended from these 
invaders ; and since their residence in India has been 
comparatively short in comparison with their Aryan pre- 
^ Dolichos tinijlorus. 


decessors, they have undergone much less fusion with the 
general population, and retain a lighter complexion and 
better features, as is quite perceptible to the ordinary 
observer in the case of the Jats and Rajputs. The Jats 
have a somewhat higher status than other agricultural 
castes, because in the Punjab they were once dominant, and 
one or two ruling chiefs belonged to the caste.^ The bulk 
of the Sikhs were also Jats. But in the Central Provinces, 
vvrhere they are not large landholders, and have no traditions 
of former dominance, there is little distinction between them 
and the Kurmis. The Gujars for long remained a pastoral 
freebooting tribe, and their community was naturally recruited 
from all classes of vagabonds and outlaws, and hence the 
caste is now of a mixed character, and their physical type 
is not noticeably distinct from that of other Hindus. Sir 
G. Campbell derived the Gujars from the Khazars, a tribe 
of the same race as the white Huns and Bulgars who from 
an early period had been settled in the neighbourhood of 
the Caspian. They are believed to have entered India 
during the fifth or sixth century. Several clans of Rajputs, 
as well as considerable sections of the Ahir and Kunbi 
castes were, in his opinion, derived from the Gujars. In 
the Central Provinces the Gujars have now settled down into 
respectable cultivators. The Ahirs or cowherds and graziers 
probably take their name from the Abhlras, another of the 
Scythian tribes. But they have now become a purely 
occupational caste, largely recruited from the indigenous 
Gonds and Kawars, to whom the business of tending cattle 
in the jungles is habitually entrusted. In the Central Pro- 
vinces Ahirs live in small forest villages with Gonds, and 
are sometimes scarcely considered as Hindus. On this 
account they have a character for bucolic stupidity, as the 
proverb has it : ' When he is asleep he is an AhIr and when 
he is awake he is a fool.' But the Ahir caste generally has 
a good status on account of its connection with the sacred 
cow and also with the god Krishna, the divine cowherd. 

The Marathas are the military caste of the Maratha 
country, formed into a caste from the cultivators, shepherds 
and herdsmen, who took service under Sivaji and subsequent 

^ Sec article Jat for a more detaikd discussion of their status. 


Maratha leaders. The higher clans may have been con- 
stituted from the aristocracy of the Deccan states, which was 
probably of Rajput descent. They have now become a 
single caste, ranking somewhat higher than the Kunbis, from 
whom the bulk of them originated, on account of their 
former military and dominant position. Their status was 
much the same as that of the Jats in the Punjab. But the 
ordinary Marathas are mainly engaged in the subordinate 
Government and private service, and there is very little 
distinction between them and the Kunbis. The Khandaits 
or swordsmen (from khanda, a sword) are an Uriya caste, 
which originated in military service, and the members of 
which belonged for the most part to the non-Aryan Bhuiya 
tribe. They were a sort of rabble, half military and half 
police, Sir H. Risley states, who formed the levies of the 
Uriya zamindars. They have obtained grants of land, and 
their status has improved. " In the social system of Orissa 
the Sreshta (good) Khandaits rank next to the Rajputs, who 
are comparatively few in number, and have not that intimate 
connection with the land which has helped to raise the 
Khandaits to their present position." ^ The small Rautia 
landholding caste of Chota Nagpur, mainly derived from the 
Kol tribe, was formed from military service, and obtained a 
higher status with the possession of the land exactly like 
the Khandaits. 

Several Rajput clans, as the Panwars of the Wainganga 
Valley, the Raghuvansis, the Jadums derived from the Yadava 
clan, and the Daharias of Chhattisgarh, have formed distinct 
castes, marrying among themselves. A proper Rajput should 
not marry in his own clan. These groups have probably 
in the past taken wives from the surrounding population, 
and they can no longer be held to belong to the Rajput caste 
proper, but rank as ordinary agricultural castes. Other 
agricultural castes have probably been formed through mixed 
descent from Rajputs and the indigenous races. The 
Agharias of Sambalpur say they are sprung from a clan of 
Rajputs near Agra, who refused to bend their heads before 
the king of Delhi. He summoned all the Agharias to 
appear before him, and fixed a sword across the door at the 

1 Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. Khandait. 


height of a man's neck. As the Agharias would not bend 
their heads they were as a natural consequence all decapitated 
as they passed through the door. Only one escaped, who 
had bribed a Chamar to go instead of him. He and his 
village fled from Agra and came to Chhattlsgarh, where they 
founded the Agharia caste. And, in memory of this, when 
an Agharia makes a libation to his ancestors, he first pours 
a little water on the ground in honour of the dead Chamar. 
Such stories may be purely imaginary, or may contain some 
substratum of truth, as that the ancestors of the caste were 
Rajputs, who took wives from Chamars and other low castes. 
The Kirars are another caste with more or less mixed descent 
from Rajputs. They are also called Dhakar, and this means 
one of illegitimate birth. The Bhilalas are a caste formed 
of the offspring of mixed alliances between Rajputs and Bhils. 
In many cases in Nimar Rajput immigrants appear to have 
married the daughters of Bhil chieftains and landholders, and 
succeeded to their estates. Thus the Bhilalas include a 
number of landed proprietors, and the caste ranks as a good 
agricultural caste, from whom Brahmans will take water. 
Among the other indigenous tribes, several of which have in 
the Central Provinces retained the possession of large areas 
of land and great estates in the wilder forest tracts, a sub- 
caste has been formed of the landholding members of the 
tribe. Such are the Raj-Gonds among the Gonds, the Binjhals 
among Baigas, and the Tawar subtribe of the Kawar tribe of 
Bilaspur, to which all the zamindars -^ belong. These last 
now claim to be Tomara Rajputs, on the basis of the similar- 
ity of the name. These groups rank with the good agri- 
cultural castes, and Brahmans sometimes consent to take 
water from them. The Dangis of Saugor appear to be the 
descendants of a set of freebooters in the Vindhyan hills, 
much like the Gujars in northern India. The legend of their 
origin is given in Sir B. Robertson's Census Report of 1891 : 
" The chief of Garhpahra or old Saugor detained the palan- 
quins of twenty-two married women and kept them as his 
wives. The issue of the illicit intercourse were named 
Dangis, and there are thus twenty-two subdivisions of these 
people. There are also three other subdivisions who claim 

' Proprietois of Luge landed estates. 




descent from pure Rajputs, and who will take daughters in 
marriage from the remaining twenty-two, but will not give 
their daughters to them." Thus the Dangis appear to have 
been a mixed group, recruiting their band from all classes 
of the population, with some Rajputs as leaders. The name 
probably means hillman, from dd)ig, a hill. Khet men bdvii, 
gaon men Ddngi or ' A Dangi in the village is like the hole 
of a snake in one's field,' is a proverb showing the estimation 
in which they were formerly held. They obtained estates in 
Saugor and a Dangi dynasty formerly governed part of the 
District, and they are now highly respectable cultivators. 
The Minas or Deswalis belonged to the predatory Mina tribe 
of Rajputana, but a section of them have obtained possession 
of the land in Hoshangabad and rank as a good agricultural 
caste. The Lodhas of the United Provinces are placed lowest 
among the agricultural castes by Mr. Nesfield, who describes 
them as little better than a forest tribe. The name is perhaps 
derived from the bark of the lodh tree, which was collected 
by the Lodhas of northern India and sold for use as a dyeing 
agent. In the Central Provinces the name has been changed 
to Lodhi, and they are said to have been brought into the 
District by a Raja of the Gond-Rajput dynasty of Mandla 
in the seventeenth century, and given large grants of waste 
land in the interior in order that they might clear it of forest. 
They have thus become landholders, and rank with the higher 
agricultural castes. They are addressed as Thakur, a title 
applied to Rajputs, and Lodhi landowners usually wear the 
sacred thread. 

The above details have been given to show how the 21. Status 
different agricultural castes originated. Though their origin cultivator, 
is so diverse they have, to a great extent, the same status, 
and it seems clear that this status is dependent on their 
possession of the land. In the tracts where they reside they 
are commonly village proprietors and superior tenants. 
Those who rank a little higher than the others, as the Jats, 
Marathas, Dangis and Lodhis, include in their body some 
ruling chiefs or large landed proprietors, and as a rule were 
formerly dominant in the territory in which they are found. 
In primitive agricultural communities the land is the principal, 
if not almost the sole, source of wealth. Trade in the 


modern sense scarcely exists, and what interchange of com- 
modities there is affects, as a rule, only a trifling fraction of 
the population. India's foreign trade is mainly the growth 
of the last century, and the great bulk of the exports are 
of agricultural produce, yet in proportion to the population 
the trading community is still extremely small. It thus 
seems quite impossible that the Aryans could have been 
a community of priests, rulers and traders, because such a 
community would not have had means of subsistence. And 
if the whole production and control of the wealth and food 
of the community had been in the hands of the Sudras, 
they could not have been kept permanently in their 
subject, degraded position. The flocks and herds and the 
land, which constituted the wealth of early India, must thus 
have been in the possession of the Vaishyas ; and grounds of 
general probability, as well as the direct evidence already 
produced, make it clear that they were the herdsmen and 
cultivators, and the Sudras the labourers. The status of the 
modern cultivators seems to correspond to that of the 
Vaishyas, that is, of the main body of the Aryan people, who 
were pure and permitted to join in sacrifices. The status, 
however, no longer attaches to origin, but to the possession of 
the land ; it is that of a constituent m.ember of the village 
community, corresponding to a citizen of the city states of 
Greece and Italy. The original Vaishyas have long dis- 
appeared ; the Brahmans themselves say that there are no 
Kshatriyas and no Vaishyas left, and this seems to be quite 
correct. But the modern good cultivating castes retain the 
status of the Vaishyas as the Rajputs retain that of the 
Kshatriyas. The case of the Jats and Gujars supports this 
view. These two castes are almost certainly derived from 
Scythian nomad tribes, who entered India long after the 
Vedic Aryans. And there is good reason to suppose that a 
substantial proportion, if not the majority, of the existing 
Rajput clans were the leaders or aristocracy of the Jats and 
Gujars. Thus it is found that in the case of these later 
tribes the main body were shepherds and cultivators, and 
their descendants have the status of good cultivating castes 
at present, while the leaders became the Rajputs, who have 
the status of the Kshatriyas ; and it therefore seems a reason- 

■ > ti. ^ .A». 

■. * •''.-••- *'"/^ z»-iiZ» 

' ^"^1 ■ ^r-ALM 


able inference that the same had previously been the case 
with the Aryans themselves. It has been seen that the word 
Visha or Vaishya signified one of the people or a householder. 
The name Kunbi appears to have the same sense, its older 
form being kutumbika, which is a householder or one who 
has a family/ ?l pater familias. 

It has been seen also that Visha in the plural signified 22. The 
clans. The clan was the small body which lived together, '^''"' ^"'' 

^ o ' the village. 

and in the patriarchal stage was connected by a tie of kin- 
ship held to be derived from a common ancestor. Thus it 
is likely that the clans settled down in villages, the cultivators 
of one village being of the same exogamous clan. The 
existing system of exogamy affords evidence in favour of 
this view, as will be seen. All the families of the clan 
had cultivating rights in the land, and were members of 
the village community ; and there were no other members, 
unless possibly a Kshatriya headman or leader. The Sudras 
were their labourers and serfs, with no right to hold land, 
and a third intermediate class of village menials gradually 
grew up. 

The law of Mirasi tenures in Madras is perhaps a survival 
of the social system of the early village community. Under 
it only a few of the higher castes were allowed to hold land, 
and the monopoly was preserved by the rule that the right 
of taking up waste lands belonged primarily to the cultivators 
of the adjacent holdings ; no one else could acquire land un- 
less he first bought them out. The pariahs or impure castes 
were not allowed to hold land at all. This rule was 
pointed out by Mr. Slocock, and it is also noticed by Sir 
Henry Maine: "There are in Central and Southern India 
certain villages to which a class of persons is hereditarily 
attached, in such a manner that they form no part of the 
natural and organic aggregate to which the bulk of the 
villagers belong. These persons are looked upon as 
essentially impure ; they never enter the village, or only 
enter reserved portions of it ; and their touch is avoided as 
contaminating. Yet they bear extremely plain marks of 
their origin. Though they are not included in the village, 
they are an appendage solidly connected with it ; they have 
^ See article on Kunbi, para. i. 


definite village duties, one of which is the settlement of 
boundaries, on which their authority is allowed to be con- 
clusive. They evidently represent a population of alien 
blood whose lands have been occupied by the colonists or 
invaders forming the community." ^ Elsewhere, Sir Henry 
Maine points out that in many cases the outsiders were 
probably admitted to the possession of land, but on an 
inferior tenure to the primary holders or freemen who formed 
the cultivating body of the village ; and suggests that this 
may have been the ground for the original distinction 
between occupancy and non- occupancy tenants. The 
following extract from a description of the Maratha villages 
by Grant Duff" may be subjoined to this passage: "The 
inhabitants are principally cultivators, and are now either 
Mirasidars or Ooprees. These names serve to distinguish 
the tenure by which they hold their lands. The Oopree is 
a mere tenant -at -will, but the Mirasidar is a hereditary 
occupant whom the Government cannot displace so long as 
he pays the assessment on his field. With various privileges 
and distinctions in his village of minor consequence, the 
Mirasidar has the important power of selling or transferring 
his right of occupancy at pleasure. It is a current opinion 
in the Maratha country that all the lands were originally of 
this description." 

As regards the internal relations of clans and village 
groups. Sir H. Maine states : " The men who composed the 
primitive communities believed themselves to be kinsmen in 
the most literal sense of the word ; and, surprising as it may 
seem, there are a multitude of indications that in one stage 
of thought they must have regarded themselves as equals. 
When these primitive bodies first make their appearance as 
landowners, as claiming an exclusive enjoyment in a definite 
area of land, not only do their shares of the soil appear to 
have been originally equal, but a number of contrivances 
survive for preserving the equality, of which the most frequent 
is the periodical redistribution of the tribal domain." ^ 
Similarly Professor Hearn states : " The settlement of Europe 
was made by clans. Each clan occupied a certain territory 

1 Village Comiiiunilies, p. 127. ^ Village Co?nf>noiities, pp. 226, 

- History of the A'/ardihas,vo\.\.\).2'). 227. 


— much, I suppose, as an Australian squatter takes up witwi 
country. The land thus occupied was distributed by metes 
and bounds to each branch of the clan ; the remainder, if 
any, continuing the property of the clan." ^ And again : " In 
those cases where the land had been acquired by conquest 
there were generally some remains of the conquered popula- 
tion who retained more or less interest in the lands that had 
once been their own. But as between the conquerors them- 
selves it was the clansmen, and the clansmen only, who were 
entitled to derive any advantage from the land that the clan 
had acquired. The outsiders, the men who lived with the 
clan but were not of the clan, were no part of the folk, and 
had no share in the folkland. No services rendered, no 
participation in the common danger, no endurance of the 
burden and heat of the day, could create in an outsider any 
colour of right. Nothing short of admission to the clan, and 
of initiation in its worship, could enable him to demand as 

of right the grass of a single cow or the wood for a single 

R') 2 

Thus it appears that the cultivating community of each 23. The 

village constituted an exogamous clan, the members of which ownership 

'^ s> ) of land. 

believed themselves to be kinsmen. When some caste or 
tribe occupied a fresh area of land they were distributed by 
clans in villages, over the area, all the cultivators of a village 
being of one caste or tribe, as is still the case with the Kunbis 
in Berar. Sometimes several alien castes or groups became 
amalgamated into a single caste, such as the Kurmis and 
Kunbis ; in others they either remained as a separate caste 
or became one. When the non-Aryan tribes retained 
possession of the land, there is every reason to suppose that 
they also were admitted into Hinduism, and either constituted 
a fresh caste with the cultivating status, or were absorbed 
into an existing one with a change of name. Individual 
ownership of land was probably unknov/n. The patel or 
village headman, on whom proprietory right was conferred 
by the British Government, certainly did not possess it 
previously. He was simply the spokesman and representa- 

1 The Aryan Household, ed. 1891, ing that the clan was an expansion 

p. 190. of the patriarchal joint family ; but the 

' Ibidem, p. 228. Professor Hearn reasons against this view are given 

followed Sir Henry Maine in think- subsequently. 



tive of the village community in its dealings with the central 
or ruling authority. But it seems scarcely likely either that 
the village community considered itself to own the land. 
Cases in which the community as a corporate body has 
exercised any function of ownership other than that of 
occupying and cultivating the soil, if recorded at all, must 
be extremely rare, and I do not know that any instance is 
given by Sir Henry Maine. A tutelary village god is to be 
found as a rule in every Hindu village. In the Central 
Provinces the most common is Khermata, that is the 
goddess of the village itself or the village lands. She is a 
form of Devi, the general earth-goddess. When a village is 
founded the first thing to be done is to install the village god. 
Thus the soil of the village is venerated as a goddess, and it 
seems doubtful whether the village community considered 
itself the owner. In the Maratha Districts, Hanuman or 
Mahabir, the monkey god, is the tutelary deity of the village. 
His position seems to rest on the belief of the villagers that 
the monkeys were the lords and owners of the soil before 
their own arrival. For the worship of these and the other 
village gods there is usually a village priest, known as 
Bhumka, Bhumia, Baiga or Jhankar, who is taken from the 
non-Aryan tribes. The reason for his appointment seems to 
be that the Hindus still look on themselves to some extent 
as strangers and interlopers in relation to the gods of the 
earth and the village, and consider it necessary to approach 
these through the medium of one of their predecessors. The 
words Bhumka and Bhumia both mean lord of the soil, or 
belonging to the soil. As already seen, the authority of 
some menial official belonging to the indigenous tribes is 
accepted as final in cases of disputed boundaries, the idea 
being apparently that as his ancestors first occupied the 
village, he has inherited from them the knowledge of its true 
extent and limits. All these points appear to tell strongly 
against the view that the Hindu village community con- 
sidered itself to own the village land as we understand the 
phrase. They seem to have looked on the land as a god, 
and often their own tutelary deity and protector. What 
they held themselves to possess was a right of occupancy, in 
virtue of prescriptive settlement, not subject to removal or 


disturbance, and transmitted by inheritance to persons born 
into the membership of the village community. Under the 
Muhammadans the idea that the state ultimately owned the 
land may have been held, but prior to them the existence of 
such a belief is doubtful. The Hindu king did not take rent 
for land, but a share of the produce for the support of his 
establishments. The Rajput princes did not call themselves 
after the name of their country, but of its capital town, as if 
their own property consisted only in the town, as Jodhpur, 
Jaipur and Udaipur, instead of Marwar, Dhundhar and 
Mewar. Just as the village has a priest of the non-Aryan 
tribes for propitiating the local gods, so the Rajput chief at 
his accession was often inducted to the royal cushion by a 
Bhil or Mina, and received the badge of investiture as if he 
had to obtain his title from these tribes. Indeed the right 
of the village community to the land was held sometimes 
superior to that of the state. Sir J. Malcolm relates that 
he was very anxious to get the village of Bassi in Indore 
State repopulated when it had lain waste for thirty-six years. 
He had arranged with the Bhil headman of a neighbouring 
village to bring it under cultivation on a favourable lease. 
The plan had other advantages, and Holkar's minister was 
most anxious to put it into execution, but said that this could 
not be done until every possible effort had been made to 
discover whether any descendant of the former patel or of 
any watanddr or hereditary cultivator of Bassi was still in 
existence ; for if such were found, he said, "even we Marathas, 
bad as we are, cannot do anything which interferes with their 
rights." None such being found at the time, the village was 
settled as proposed by Malcolm ; but some time afterwards, 
a boy was discovered who was descended from the old pateVs 
family, and he was invited to resume the office of headman 
of the village of his forefathers, which even the Bhil, who had 
been nominated to it, was forward to resign to the rightful 
inheritor.^ Similarly the Maratha princes, Sindhia, Holkar 
and others, are recorded to have set more store by the head- 
ship of the insignificant Deccan villages, which were the 
hereditary offices of their families, than by the great princi- 
palities which they had carved out for themselves with the 

1 Memoir of Central India, vol. ii. p. 22. 


sword. The former defined and justified their position in the 
world as the living link and representative of the continuous 
family comprising all their ancestors and all their descendants ; 
the latter was at first regarded merely as a transient, secular 
possession, and a source of wealth and profit. This powerful 
hereditary right probably rested on a religious basis. The 
village community was considered to be bound up with its 
village god in one joint life, and hence no one but they could 
in theory have the right to cultivate the lands of that village. 
The very origin and nature of this right precluded any 
question of transfer or alienation. The only lands in which 
any ownership, corresponding to our conception of the term, 
was held to exist, were perhaps those granted free of revenue 
for the maintenance of temples, which were held to be the 
property of the god. In Rome and other Greek and Latin 
cities the idea of private or family ownership of land also 
developed from a religious sentiment. It was customary to 
bury the dead in the fields which they had held, and here 
the belief was that their spirits remained and protected 
the interests of the family. Periodical sacrifices were made 
to them and they participated in all the family ceremonies. 
Hence the land in which the tombs of ancestors were situated 
was held to belong to the family, and could not be separated 
from it.^ Gradually, as the veneration for the spirits of 
ancestors decayed, the land came to be regarded as the 
private property of the family, and when this idea had been 
realised it was made alienable, though not with the same 
freedom as personal property. But the word pecunia for 
money, from pecus a flock, like the Hindi dhan, which means 
wealth and also flocks of goats and sheep, and feudal from 
the Gaelic T^^if, cattle, point to conditions of society in which 
land was not considered a form of private property or wealth. 
M. Fustel de Coulanges notices other primitive races who did 
not recognise property in land : " The Tartars understand 
the term property as applying to cattle, but not as applying 
to land. According to some authors, among the ancient 
Germans there was no ownership of land ; every year each 
member of the tribe received a holding to cultivate, and the 
holding was changed in the following year. The German 

1 La Cite antique, 2 1st ed. pp. 66, 68. 


owned the crop ; he did not own the soil. The same was 
the case among a part of the Semitic race and certain of the 
Slav peoples." ^ In large areas of the Nigeria Protectorate at 
present, land has no exchangeable value at all ; but by the 
native system of taxation a portion of the produce is taken 
in consideration of the right of use.^ In ancient Arabia 
' Baal ' meant the lord of some place or district, that is, a 
local deity, and hence came to mean a god. Land naturally 
moist was considered as irrigated by a god and the special 
place or habitation of the god. To the numerous Canaanite 
Baalims, or local deities, the Israelites ascribed all the natural 
gifts of the land, the corn, the wine, and the oil, the wool 
and the flax, the vines and fig trees. Pasture land was 
common property, but a man acquired rights in the soil by 
building a house, or, by ' quickening ' a waste place, that is, 
bringing it under cultivation.^ The Israelites thought that 
they derived their title to the land of Canaan from Jehovah, 
having received it as a gift from Him. The association 
of rights over the land with cultivation and building, 
pointed out by Professor Robertson Smith, may perhaps 
explain the right over the village lands which was held 
to appertain to the village community. They had quickened 
the land and built houses on it, establishing the local 
village deity on their village sites, and it was probably 
thought that their life was bound up with that of the 
village god, and only they had a right to cultivate his 
land. This would explain the great respect shown by the 
Marathas for hereditary title to land, as seen above ; a 
feeling which must certainly have been based on some 
religious belief, and not on any moral idea of equity or 
justice ; no such deep moral principle was possible in the 
Hindu community at the period in question. The Hindu 
religious conception of rights to land was thus poles apart 
from the secular English law of proprietary and transfer- 
able right, and if the native feeling could have been under- 
stood by the early British administrators the latter would 
perhaps have been introduced only in a much modified 

1 La Ciit' antique, 2isted. pp. 66, 6S. Revieiv, 6th April 19 12. 

2 Nigeria, quoted in Saltirday ^ Religion of the Seinilcs, p. 96. 


24. The The suggested conclusion from the above argument is 

cultivating ^-j-^g^^ ^j^g main body of the Aryan immigrants, that is the 

status that -^ 111 

of the Vaishyas, settled down m villages by exogamous clans or 
Vaishya. scpts. The cultivators of each village believed themselves 
to be kinsmen descended from a common ancestor, and 
also to be akin to the god of the village lands from which 
they drew their sustenance. Hence their order had an 
equal right to cultivate the village land and their children 
to inherit it, though they did not conceive of the idea of 
ownership of land in the sense in which we understand this 

The original status of the Vaishya, or a full member of 
the Aryan community who could join in sacrifices and employ 
Brahmans to perform them, was gradually transferred to the 
cultivating member of the village communities. In process 
of time, as land was the chief source of wealth, and was also 
regarded as sacred, the old status became attached to castes 
or groups of persons who obtained or held land irrespective 
of their origin, and these are what are now called the good 
cultivating castes. They have now practically the same 
status, though, as has been seen, they were originally of most 
diverse origin, including bands of robbers and freebooters, 
cattle-lifters, non-Aryan tribes, and sections of any castes 
which managed to get possession of an appreciable quantity 
of land. 

The second division of the group of pure or good castes, 
or those from whom a Brahman can take water, comprises 
the higher artisan castes : 

Barhai. Hahvai. Komti. Sunar. Vidiir. 

BharbhiJnja. Kasar. Sansia. Tamera. 

The most important of these are the Sunar or gold- 
smith ; the Kasar or worker in brass and bell-metal ; the 
Tamera or coppersmith ; the Barhai or carpenter ; and the 
Halwai and Bharbhunja or confectioner and grain-parcher. 
The Sansia or stone-mason of the Uriya country may 
perhaps also be included. These industries represent a 
higher degree of civilisation than the village trades, and 
the workers may probably have been formed into castes 
at a later period, when the practice of the handicrafts was 
no longer despised. The metal-working castes are now 



usually urban, and on the average their members arc as 
well-to-do as the cultivators. The Sunars especially include 
a number of wealthy men, and their importance is increased 
by their association with the sacred metal, gold ; in some 
localities they now claim to be Brahmans and refuse to take 
food from Brahmans.^ The more ambitious members abjure 
all flesh-food and liquor and wear the sacred thread. But 
in Bombay the Sunar was in former times one of the village 
menial castes, and here, before and during the time of the 
Peshwas, Sunars were not allowed to wear the sacred thread, 
and they were forbidden to hold their marriages in public, as 
it was considered unlucky to see a Sunar bridegroom. Sunar 
bridegrooms were not allowed to see the state umbrella or to 
ride in a palanquin, and had to be married at night and in 
secluded places, being subject to restrictions and annoyances 
from which even Mahars were free. Thus the goldsmith's 
status appears to vary greatly according as his trade is a 
village or urban industry. Copper is also a sacred metal, 
and the Tameras rank next to the Sunars among the artisan 
castes, with the Kasars or brass-workers a little below them ; 
both these castes sometimes wearing the sacred thread. 
These classes of artisans generally live in towns. The Barhai 
or carpenter is sometimes a village menial, but most carpenters 
live in towns, the wooden implements of agriculture being 
made either by the blacksmith or by the cultivators themselves. 
Where the Barhai is a village menial he is practically on an 
equality with the Lobar or blacksmith ; but the better-class 
carpenters, who generally live in towns, rank higher. The 
Sansia or stone-mason of the Uriya country works, as a rule, 
only in stone, and in past times therefore his principal employ- 
ment must have been to build temples. He could not thus 
be a village menial, and his status would be somewhat im- 
proved by the sanctity of his calling. The Halwai and 
Bharbhunja or confectioner and grain-parcher are castes of 
comparatively low origin, especially the latter ; but they have 
to be given the status of ceremonial purity in order that all 
Hindus may be able to take sweets and parched grain from 
their hands. Their position resembles that of the barber 

^ See article Sunar for a discussion of the sanctity of gold and silver, and the 
ornaments made from them. 



and waterman, the pure village menials, which will be 
discussed later. In Bengal certain castes, such as the Tanti 
or weaver of fine muslin, the Teli or oil-presser, and the 
Kumhar or potter, rank with the ceremonially pure castes. 
Their callings have there become important urban industries. 
Thus the Tantis made the world-renowned fine muslins of 
Dacca ; and the Jagannathia Kumhars of Orissa provide the 
earthen vessels used for the distribution of rice to all 
pilgrims at the temple of Jagannath. These castes and 
certain others have a much higher rank than that of the 
corresponding castes in northern and Central India, and the 
special reasons indicated seem to account for this. Generally 
the artisan castes ranking on the same or a higher level than 
the cultivators are urban and not rural. They were not 
placed in a position of inferiority to the cultivators by accept- 
ing contributions of grain and gifts from them, and this 
perhaps accounts for their higher position. One special caste 
may be noticed here, the Vidurs, who are the descendants of 
Brahman fathers by women of other castes. These, being 
of mixed origin, formerly had a very low rank, and worked 
as village accountants and patwaris. Owing to their con- 
nection with Brahmans, however, they are a well-educated 
caste, and since education has become the door to all grades 
of advancement in the public service, the Vidurs have taken 
advantage of it, and many of them are clerks of offices or 
hold higher posts under Government. Their social status 
has correspondingly improved ; they dress and behave like 
Brahmans, and in some localities it is said that even Maratha 
Brahmans will take water to drink from Vidurs, though they 
will not take it from the cultivating castes. There are also 
several menial or serving castes from whom a Brahman 
can take water, forming the third class of this group, but 
their real rank is much below that of the cultivators, and 
they will be treated in the next group. 
26. Castes f he third main division consists of those castes from whom 

a°Brahn°M ^ Brahman cannot take water, though they are not regarded 
cannot as impure and are permitted to enter Hindu temples. The 
the village typical castes of this group appear to be the village artisans 
menials. ^nd menials and the village priests. The annexed list 
shows the principal of these. 



Village menials. 

Lobar — Blacksmith. 
Barhai — Carpenter. 
Kumhar — Potter. 
Nai — Barber. 
Dhimar — Waterman. 
Kahar — Palanqui n-bearer. 
Bari — Leaf-plate maker. 
Bargah — Household servant. 
Dhobi — Washerman. 
Darzi — Tailor. 

Basor or Dhulia — Village 

Bhat and Mirasi — Bard and 

Halba — House-servant and farm- 

Castes of village watchmen. 






Village priests a?id mendicants. 

Joshi — Astrologer. 
Garpagari — Hail-averter. 
Gondhali — Musician. 

V, , IWandering priests and 

C-. ■ mendicants. 




Mali — Gardener and maker of 

Barai — Betel -vine grower and 


Other village traders and artisans. 

Kalar — Liquor-vendor. 

Teli — Oil-presser. 

Hatwa ^ 


Banjara — Carrier. 

Bahelia "i ^ , , , 

Pardhi /"bowlers and hunters. 

Bahna — Cotton-cleaner. 
Chhipa — Calico-printer and dyer. 
Chitrakathi — Painter and picture- 
Kachera — Glass bangle-maker. 
Kadera — Fireworks-maker. 

Nat — Acrobat. 
Gadaria 1 
Dhangar ^Shepherds. 
Beldar^ Diggers, 
MurhaV navvies, and 
Nunia J salt-refiners. 

The essential fact which formerly governed the status of 
this group of castes appears to be that they performed various 
services for the cultivators according to their different voca- 
tions, and were supported by contributions of grain made to 


them by the cultivators, and by presents given to them at 
seed-time and harvest. They were the cHents of the culti- 
vators and the latter were their patrons and supporters, and 
hence ranked above them. This condition of things survives 
only in the case of a few castes, but prior to the introduction 
of a metal currency must apparently have been the method 
of remuneration of all the village industries. The Lobar or 
blacksmith makes and mends the iron implements of agri- 
culture, such as the ploughshare, axe, sickle and goad. For 
this he is paid in Saugor a yearly contribution of 20 lbs. of 
grain per plough of land held by each cultivator, together 
with a handful of grain at sowing-time and a sheaf at harvest 
frorti both the autumn and spring crops. In Wardha he gets 
50 lbs. of grain per plough of four bullocks or 40 acres. 
For new implements he must either be paid separately or at 
least supplied with the iron and charcoal. In Districts where 
the Barhai or carpenter is a village servant he is paid the 
same as the Lobar and has practically an equal status. The 
village barber receives in Saugor 20 lbs. of grain annually 
from each adult male in the family, or 22^ lbs. per plough 
of land besides the seasonal presents. In return for this he 
shaves each cultivator over the head and face about once a 
fortnight. The Dhobi or washerman gets half the annual 
contribution of the blacksmith and carpenter, with the same 
presents, and in return for this he washes the clothes of the 
family two or three times a month. When he brings the 
clothes home he also receives a meal or a wheaten cake, and 
well-to-do families give him their old clothes as a present. 
The Dhimar or waterman brings water to the house morning 
and evening, and fills the earthen water-pots placed on a 
wooden stand or earthen platform outside it. When the culti- 
vators have marriages he performs the same duties for the whole 
wedding party, and receives a present of money and clothes 
according to the means of the family, and his food every day 
while the wedding is in progress. He supplies water for drink- 
ing to the reapers, receiving three sheaves a day as payment, 
and takes sweet potatoes and boiled plums to the field and sells 
them. The Kumhar or potter is not now paid regularly by 
dues from the cultivators like other village menials, as the 
ordinary system of sale has been found to be more convenient 


in his case. But he sometimes takes for use the soiled grass 
from the stalls of the cattle and gives pots free to the culti- 
vator in exchange. On Akti day, at the beginning of the 
agricultural year, the village Kumhar in Saugor presents five 
pots with covers on them to each cultivator and is given 2\ 
lbs. of grain. He presents the bride with seven new pots at 
a wedding, and these are filled with water and used in the 
ceremony, being considered to represent the seven seas. At 
a funeral he must supply thirteen vessels which are known 
as ghats, and must replace the household earthen vessels, 
which are rendered impure on the occurrence of a death in the 
house, and are all broken and thrown away. In the Punjab 
and Maratha country the Kumhar was formerly an ordinary 
village menial. 

The office of village watchman is an important one, 27. The 
and is usually held by a member of the indigenous tribes. '^'"''^^^ 

■' -^ o watchmen. 

These formerly were the chief criminals, and the village 
watchman, in return for his pay, was expected to detect 
the crimes of his tribesmen and to make good any losses 
of property caused by them. The sections of the tribes 
who held this office have developed into special castes, as 
the Khangars, Chadars and Chauhans of Chhattlsgarh. 
These last are probably of mixed descent from Rajputs 
and the higher castes of cultivators with the indigenous 
tribes. The Dahaits were a caste of gatekeepers and 
orderlies of native rulers who have now become village 
watchmen. The Pankas are a section of the impure Ganda 
caste who have embraced the doctrines of the Kablrpanthi 
sect and formed a separate caste. They are now usually 
employed as village watchmen and are not regarded as 
impure. Similarly those members of the Mahar servile 
caste who are village watchmen tend to marry among 
themselves and form a superior group to the others. The 
village watchman now receives a remuneration fixed by 
Government and is practically a rural policeman, but in 
former times he was a village menial and was maintained 
by the cultivators in the same manner as the others. 

The village priests are another class of this group. 
The regular village priest and astrologer, the Joshi or 
Parsai, is a Brahman, but the occupation has developed a 


28. The separate caste. The Joshi officiates at weddings in the 
pries^ts village, selects auspicious names for children according to 
The gar- the constcUations under which they were born, and points 
casTes^ out the auspicious moment or makfirat for weddings, name- 
giving and other ceremonies, and for the commencement 
of such agricultural operations as sowing, reaping, and 
threshing. He is also sometimes in charge of the village 
temple. He is supported by contributions of grain from 
the villagers and often has a plot of land rent-free from the 
proprietor. The social position of the Joshis is not very 
good, and, though Brahmans, they are considered to rank 
somewhat below the cultivating castes. The Gurao is 
another village priest, whose fortune has been quite different. 
, The caste acted as priests of the temples of Siva and were 
also musicians and supplied leaf-plates. They were village 
menials of the Maratha villages. But owing to the sanctity 
of their calling, and the fact that they have become literate 
and taken service under Government, the Guraos now rank 
above the cultivators and are called Shaiva Brahmans, The 
Gondhalis are the village priests of Devi, the earth-goddess, 
who is also frequently the tutelary goddess of the village. 
They play the kettle-drum and perform dances in her honour, 
and were formerly classed as one of the village menials of 
Maratha villages, though they now work for hire. The 
Garpagari, or hail-averter, is a regular village menial, his 
duty being to avert hail-storms from the crops, like the 
'^aXa^o(pv\a^ in ancient Greece. The Garpagaris will accept 
cooked food from Kunbis and celebrate their weddings with 
those of the Kunbis. The Jogis, Manbhaos, Satanis, and 
others, are wandering religious mendicants, who act as priests 
and spiritual preceptors to the lower classes of Hindus. 

With the village priests may be mentioned the Mali or 
gardener. The Malis now grow vegetables with irrigation 
or ordinary crops, but this was not apparently their original 
vocation. The name is derived from mala, a garland, and 
it would appear that the Mali was first employed to grow 
flowers for the garlands with which the gods and also their 
worshippers were adorned at religious ceremonies. Flowers 
were held sacred and were an essential adjunct to worship 
in India as in Greece and Rome. The sacred flowers of 


India are the lotus, the marigold and the champak} and 
from their use in religious worship is derived the custom of 
adorning the guests with garlands at all social functions, 
just as in Rome and Greece they wore crowns on their 
heads. It seems not unlikely that this was the purpose 
for which cultivated flowers were first grown, at any rate 
in India. The Mali was thus a kind of assistant in the 
religious life of the village, and he is still sometimes placed 
in charge of the village shrines and is employed as temple- 
servant in Jain temples. He would therefore have been 
supported by contributions from the cultivators like the 
other village menials and have ranked below them, though 
on account of the purity and sanctity of his occupation 
Brahmans would take water from him. The Mali has now 
become an ordinary cultivator, but his status is still 
noticeably below that of the good cultivating castes and 
this seems to be the explanation. With the Mali may be 
classed the Barai, the grower and seller of the pan or betel- 
vine leaf. This leaf, growing on a kind of creeper, like the 
vine, in irrigated gardens roofed with thatch for protection 
from the sun, is very highly prized by the Hindus. It 
is offered with areca-nut, cloves, cardamom and lime rolled 
up in a quid to the guests at all social functions. It is 
endowed by them with great virtues, being supposed to 
prevent heartburn, indigestion, and other stomachic and 
intestinal disorders, and to preserve the teeth, while taken 
with musk, saffron and almonds, the betel-leaf is held to 
"be a strong aphrodisiac. The juice of the leaf stains the 
teeth and mouth red, and the effect, though repulsive to 
Europeans, is an indispensable adjunct to a woman's beauty 
in Hindu eyes. This staining of the mouth red with betel- 
leaf is also said to distinguish a man from a dog. The 
idea that betel preserves the teeth seems to be unfounded. 
The teeth of Hindus appear to be far less liable to decay 
than those of Europeans, but this is thought to be because 
they generally restrict themselves to a vegetable diet and 
always rinse out their mouths with water after taking food. 
The betel-leaf is considered sacred ; a silver ornament is 
made in its shape and it is often invoked in spells and 
1 Michelia champaka, a variety of the jack or bread-fruit tree. 


magic. The original vine is held to have grown from a 
finger-joint of Basuki, the Queen of the Serpents, and the 
cobra is worshipped as the tutelary deity of the /««-garden, 
which this snake is accustomed to frequent, attracted by 
the moist coolness and darkness. The position of the 
Barai is the same as that of the Mali ; his is really a low 
caste, sometimes coupled with the contemned Telis or 
oil-pressers, but he is considered ceremonially pure because 
the betel-leaf, offered to gods and eaten by Brahmans and 
all Hindus, is taken from him. The Barai or Tamboli was 
formerly a village menial in the Maratha villages. 
29. Other The castes following other village trades mainly fall 

t'radfr^sand ^"^° ^^^^ g^'o^P) though they may not now be village menials. 
menials. Sucli are the Kalar or liquor-vendor and Teli or oil-presser, 
who sell their goods for cash, and having learnt to reckon 
and keep accounts, have prospered in their dealings with 
the cultivators ignorant of this accomplishment. Formerly 
it is probable that the village Teli had the right of pressing 
all the oil grown in the village, and retaining a certain 
share for his remuneration. The liquor-vendor can scarcely 
have been a village menial, but since Manu's time his trade 
has been regarded as a very impure one, and has ranked 
with that of the Teli. Both these castes have now become 
prosperous, and include a number of landowners, and their 
status is gradually improving. The Darzi or tailor is not 
usually attached to the village community ; sewn clothes 
have hitherto scarcely been worn among the rural popula- 
tion, and the weaver provides the cloths which they drape 
on the body and round the head.^ The contempt with 
which the tailor is visited in English proverbial lore for 
working at a woman's occupation attaches in a precisely 
similar manner in India to the weaver.^ But in Gujarat 
the Darzi is found living in villages and here he is also 
a village menial. The Kachera or maker of the glass 
bangles which every Hindu married woman wears as a 
sign of her estate, ranks with the village artisans ; his 
is probably an urban trade, but he has never become 

^ See article Darzi for further dis- " See articles on Bhulia, Panka, 

cussion of the use of sewn clothes in Kori and Julaha. 


prosperous or important. The Banjaras or grain-carriers 
were originally Rajputs, but owing to the mixed character 
of the caste and the fact that they obtained their support 
from the cultivators, they have come to rank below these 
latter. The Wanjari cultivators of Berar have now discarded 
their Banjara ancestry and claim to be Kunbis. The Nat 
or rope-dancer and acrobat may formerly have had functions 
in the village in connection with the crops. In Kumaon ^ 
a Nat still slides down a long rope from the summit of a 
cliff to the base as a rite for ensuring the success of the 
crops on the occasion of a festival of Siva, Formerly if 
the Nat or Badi fell to the ground in his course, he was 
immediately despatched with a sword by the surrounding 
spectators, but this is now prohibited. The rope on which 
he slid down the cliff is cut up and distributed among 
the inhabitants of the village, who hang the pieces as 
charms on the eaves of their houses. The hair of the Nat 
is also taken and preserved as possessing similar virtues. 
Each District in Kumaon has its hereditary Nat or Badi, 
who is supported by annual contributions of grain from 
the inhabitants. Similarly in the Central Provinces it 
is not uncommon to find a deified Nat, called Nat Baba 
or Father Nat, as a village god. A Natni, or Nat woman, 
is sometimes worshipped ; and when two sharp peaks of 
hills are situated close to each other, it is related that there 
wa*once a Natni, very skilful on the tight-rope, who performed 
before the king ; and he promised her that if she would 
stretch a rope from the peak of one hill to that of the other, 
and walk across it, he would marry her and make her 
wealthy. Accordingly the rope was stretched, but the 
queen from jealousy went and cut it nearly through in the 
night, and when the Natni started to walk, the rope broke, 
and she fell down and was killed. Having regard to the 
Kumaon rite, it may be surmised that these legends com- 
memorate the death of a Natni or acrobat during the 
performance of some feat of dancing or sliding on a rope 
for the magical benefit of the crops. And it seems possible 
that acrobatic performances may have had their origin in 
this manner. The point bearing on the present argument 

1 Traill's Account of Knmaon, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. (1S28) p. 213. 


is, however, that the Nat performed special functions for 
the success of the village crops, and on this account was 
supported by contributions from the villagers, and ranked 
with the village menials. 

Some of the castes already mentioned, and one or two 
others having the same status, work as household servants 
as well as village menials. The Dhimar is most commonly 
employed as an indoor servant in Hindu households, and is 
permitted to knead flour in water and make it into a cake, 
which the Brahman then takes and puts on the girdle with 
his own hands. He can boil water and pour pulse into the • 
cooking-pot from above, so long as he does not touch the 
vessel after the food has been placed in it. He will take 
any remains of food left in the cooking-pot, as this is not 
considered to be polluted, food only becoming polluted 
when the hand touches it on the dish after having touched 
the mouth. When this happens, all the food on the dish 
becomes ;>7///^ or leavings of food, and as a general rule no 
caste except the sweepers will eat these leavings of food of 
another caste or of another person of their own. Only a 
wife, whose meal follows her husband's, will eat his leavings. 
As a servant, the Dhimar is very familiar with his master ; 
he may enter any part of the house, including the cooking- 
place and the women's rooms, and he addresses his mistress 
as ' Mother.' When he lights his master's pipe he takes the 
first pull himself, to sho\y that it has not been tampered \Mith, 
and then presents it to him with his left hand placed under 
his right elbow in token of respect. Maid-servants frequently 
belong also to the Dhimar caste, and it often happens that 
the master of the household has illicit intercourse with them. 
Hence there is a proverb : ' The king's son draws water and 
the water-bearer's son sits on the throne,' — similar intrigues 
on the part of high-born women with their servants being 
not unknown. The Kahar or palanquin-bearer was probably 
the same caste as the Dhimar. Landowners would maintain 
a gang of Kahars to carry them on journeys, allotting to 
such men plots of land rent-free. Our use of the word 
' bearer ' in the sense of a body-servant has developed from 
the palanquin-bearer who became a personal attendant on 
his master. Well-to-do families often have a Nai or barber 



as a hereditary family servant, the office descending in the 
barber's family. Such a man arranges the marriages of the 
children and takes a considerable part in conducting them, 
and acts as escort to the women of the family when they go 
on a journey. Among his daily duties are to rub his master's 
body with oil, massage his limbs, prepare his bed, tell him 
stories to send him to sleep, and so on. The barber's wife 
attends on women in childbirth after the days of pollution 
are over, and rubs oil on the bodies of her clients, pares 
their nails and paints their feet with red dye at marriages 
'and on other festival occasions. The Bari or maker of 
leaf-plates is another household servant. Plates made of 
large leaves fastened together with little wooden pins and 
strips of fibre are commonly used by the Hindus for eating 
food, as are little leaf-cups for drinking ; glazed earthenware 
has hitherto not been commonly manufactured, and that 
with a rougher surface becomes ceremonially impure by 
contact with any strange person or thing. Metal vessels 
and plates are the only alternative to those made of leaves, 
and there are frequently not enough of them to go round 
for a party. The Baris also work as personal servants, 
hand round water, and light and carry torches at entertain- 
ments and on journeys. Their women are maids to high- 
caste Hindu ladies, and as they are always about the zenana 
are liable to lose their virtue. 

'The castes of village and household menials form a large 31. status 
group between the cultivators on the one hand and the °!^,^^^ 

*» -i ^ village 

impure and servile labourers on the other. Their status is menials. 
not exactly the same. On the one hand, the Nai or barber, 
the Kahar and Dhimar or watermen, the household servants, 
the Bari, Ahir, and others, some of the village priests and 
the gardening castes, are considered ceremonially pure and 
Brahmans will take water from them. But this is a matter 
of convenience, as, if they were not so held pure, they would 
be quite useless in the household. Several of these castes, 
as the Dhlmars, Baris and others, are derived from the 
primitive tribes. Sir H. Risley considered the Baris of 
Bengal as probably an offshoot from the Bhuiya or Musahar 
tribe : " He still associates with the Bhuiyas at times, and 
if the demand for leaf-plates and cups is greater than he 


can cope with himself, he gets them secretly made up by 
his ruder kinsfolk and passes them off as his own production. 
Instances of this sort, in which a non-Aryan or mixed group 
is promoted on grounds of necessity or convenience to a 
higher status than their antecedents would entitle them to 
claim, are not unknown in other castes, and must have 
occurred frequently in outlying parts of the country, where 
the Aryan settlements were scanty and imperfectly supplied 
with the social apparatus demanded by the theory of 
ceremonial purity. Thus the undoubtedly non - Aryan 
Bhuiyas have in parts of Chota Nagpur been recognised as. 
Jal-Acharani (able to give water to the higher castes) and it 
may be conjectured that the Kahars themselves only attained 
this privilege in virtue of their employment as palanquin- 
bearers." ^ The fact that Brahmans will take water from 
these castes does not in any way place them on a level with 
the cultivators ; they remain menial servants, ranking, if 
anything, below such castes as Lobar, Teli and Kalar, from 
whom Brahmans will not take water ; but these latter are, 
as corporate bodies, more , important and prosperous than 
the household menial castes, because their occupation confers 
a greater dignity and independence. 

On the other hand, one or two of the village menials, 
such as the Dhobi or Avasherman, are considered to some 
extent impure. This is due to specially degrading incidents 
attaching to their occupation, as in the case of the Dhobi, 
the washing of the clothes of women in childbirth.^ And 
the Sungaria subcaste of Kumhars, who keep pigs, are not 
touched, because the impurity of the animal is necessarily 
communicated to its owner's house and person. Still, in 
the village society there is little real difference between the 
position of these castes and those of the other village 
32. Origin The status of the village menial castes appears to be 

of their fixed by their dependent position on the cultivators. The 
latter are their patrons and superiors, to whom they look 
for a livelihood. Before the introduction of a currency in 
the rural tracts (an event of the last fifty to a hundred 
years) the village artisans and menials were supported by 

' Tribes and Castes of /bengal, art. Bfui. - rointcd out by Mr. (Jrooke. 


contributions of grain from the cultivators. They still all 
receive presents, consisting of a sowing-basketful of grain at 
seed-time and one or two sheaves at harvest. The former 
is known as Bij phiitni, or ' The breaking of the seed,' and 
the latter as Khanvdr, or ' That which is left.' Sometimes, 
after threshing, the menials are each given as much grain as 
will fill a winnowing-fan. When the peasant has harvested 
his grain, all come and beg 'from him. The Dhlmar brings 
some water-nut, the Kachhi or market-gardener some chillies, 
the Barai betel -leaf, the Teli oil and tobacco, the Kalar 
liquor (if he drinks it), the Bania some sugar, and all receive 
grain in excess of the value of their gifts. The Joshi or 
village priest, the Nat or acrobat, the Gosain or religious 
mendicant and the Fakir or Muhammadan beggar solicit 
alms. On that day the cultivator is said to be like a little 
king in his fields, and the village menials constitute his 
court. In purely agricultural communities grain is the 
principal source of wealth, and though the average Hindu 
villager may appear to us to be typical of poverty rather 
than wealth, such standards are purely relative. The 
cultivator was thus the patron and supporter of the village 
artisans and menials, and his social position was naturally 
superior to theirs. Among the Hindus it is considered 
derogatory to accept a gift from another person, the 
recipient being thereby placed in a position of inferiority 
to the donor. Some exception to this rule is made in the 
case of Brahmans, though even with them it partly applies. 
Generally the acceptance of a gift of any value among 
Hindus is looked upon in the same manner as the taking 
of money in England, being held to indicate that the 
recipient is in an inferior social position to the giver. And 
the existence of this feeling seems to afford strong support 
to the reason suggested here for the relative status of the 
cultivating and village menial castes= 

The group of village menial and artisan castes comes 
between the good cultivating castes who hold the status of 
the Vaishyas or body of the Aryans, and the impure castes, 
the subjected aborigines. The most reasonable theory of 
their status seems to be that it originated in mixed descent! 
As has already been seen, it was the common practice of 


members of the higher classes to take lower-caste women 
either as wives or concubines, and a large mixed class would 
naturally result. Such children, born and brought up in 
the households of their fathers, would not be full members 
of the family, but would not be regarded as impure. They 
would naturally be put to the performance of the menial 
household duties, for which the servile castes were rendered 
unsuitable through their impure status. This would corre- 
spond with the tradition of the large number of castes 
originating in mixed descent, which is given in the Hindu 
sacred books. It has been seen that where menial castes 
are employed in the household, classes of mixed descent do 
as a matter of fact arise. And there are traces of a relation- 
ship between the cultivators and the menial castes, which 
would be best explained by such an origin. At a betrothal 
in the great Kunbi cultivating caste of the Marathas, the 
services of the barber and washerman must be requisitioned. 
The barber washes the feet of the boy and girl and places 
vermilion on the foreheads of the guests ; the washerman 
spreads a sheet on the ground on which the boy and girl 
sit. At the end of the ceremony the barber and washerman 
take the bride and bridegroom on their shoulders and dance 
to music in the marriage-shed, for which they receive small 
presents. After a death has occurred at a Kunbi's house, 
the impurity is not removed until the barber and washerman 
have eaten in it. At a Kunbi's wedding the Gurao or village 
priest brings the leafy branches of five trees and deposits 
them at Maroti's ^ temple, whence they are removed by the 
parents of the bride. Before a wedding, again, a Kunbi 
bride must go to the potter's house and be seated on his 
wheel, while it is turned round seven times for good luck. 
Similarly at a wedding among the Hindustani cultivating 
castes the bride visits the potter's house and is seated on his 
wheel ; and the washerman's wife applies vermilion to her 
forehead. The barber's wife puts red paint on her feet, the 
gardener's wife presents her with a garland of flowers and 
the carpenter's wife gives her a new wooden doll. At the 
wedding feast the barber, the washerman and the Bari or 
personal servant also eat with the guests, though sitting 

' The Alarathi name for the god Hanuman. 


apart from them. Sometimes members of the menial and 
serving castes are invited to the funeral feast as if they 
belonged to the dead man's caste. In Madras the barber 
and his wife, and the washerman and his wife, are known 
as the son and daughter of the village. And among the 
families of ruling Rajput chiefs, when a daughter of the 
house is married, it was customary to send with her a 
number of handmaidens taken from the menial and serving 
castes. These became the concubines of the bridegroom 
and it seems clear that their progeny would be employed 
in similar capacities about the household and would follow 
the castes of their mothers. The Tamera caste of copper- 
smiths trace their origin from the girls so sent with the 
bride of Dharam-Pal, the Haihaya Rajput Raja of Ratanpur, 
through the progeny of these girls by the Raja. 

Many other castes belong to the group of those from 33. other 
whom a Brahman cannot take water, but who are not '^^^^^^ ^^° 

' rank with 

impure. Among these are several of the lower cultivating the village 
castes, some of them growers of special products, as the '"'^"'^^• 
Kachhis and Mowars or market-gardeners, the Dangris or 
melon-growers, and the Kohlis and Bhoyars who plant 
sugarcane. These subsidiary kinds of agriculture were 
looked down upon by the cultivators proper ; they were 
probably carried out on the beds and banks of streams 
and other areas not included in the regular holdings of the 
village, and were taken up by labourers and other landless 
persons. The callings of these are allied to, or developed 
from, that of the Mali or gardener, and they rank on a 
level with him, or perhaps a little below, as no element 
of sanctity attaches to their products. Certain castes which 
were formerly labourers, but have now sometimes obtained 
possession of the land, are also in this group, such as 
the Rajbhars, Kirs, Manas, and various Madras castes of 
cultivators. Probably these were once not allowed to hold 
land, but were afterwards admitted to do so. The dis- 
tinction between their position and that of the hereditar}^ 
cultivators of the village community was perhaps the 
original basis of the different kinds of tenant-right recognised 
by our revenue law, though these now, of course, depend 
solely on length of tenure and other incidents, and make 


no distinction of castes. The shepherd castes who tend 
sheep and goats (the Gadarias, Dhangars and Kuramvvars) 
also fall into this group. Little sanctity attached to these 
animals as compared with the cow, and the business of 
rearing them would be left to the labouring castes and 
non-Aryan tribes. The names of all three castes denote 
their functional origin, Gadaria being from gddar, a sheep, 
Dhangar from dJian or small-stock, the word signifying a 
flock of sheep or goats and also wealth ; and Kuramwar 
from kiirri, the Telugu word for sheep. Others belonging 
to this group are the digging and earth-working castes, 
the Beldars, Murhas, Nunias and so on, practically all 
derived from the indigenous tribes, who wander about 
seeking employment from the cultivators in the construction 
and repair of field embankments and excavation of wells 
and tanks ; and various fishing and boating castes, as the 
Injhwars, Naodas, Murhas and Kewats, who rank as equal 
to the Dhlmars, though they may not be employed in 
household or village service. Such castes, almost entirely 
derived from the non-Aryan tribes, may have come gradually 
into existence as the wants of society developed and new 
functions were specialised ; they would naturally be given 
the social status already attaching to the village menial 
34. The The fourth group in the scheme of precedence comprises 

non-Aryan ^^^ non-Aryan or indigenous tribes, who are really outside 
the caste system when this is considered as the social 
organisation of the Hindus, so long at least as they continue 
to worship their own tribal deities, and show no respect 
for Brahmans nor for the cow. These tribes have, however, 
entered the Hindu polity in various positions. The leaders 
of some of them who were dominant in the early period 
were admitted to the Kshatriya or Rajput caste, and the 
origin of a few of the Rajput clans can be traced to the 
old Bhar and other tribes. Again, the aristocratic or land- 
holding sections of several existing tribes are at present, 
as has been seen, permitted to rank with the good Hindu 
cultivating castes. In a few cases, as the Andhs, Halbas 
and Manas, the tribe as a whole has become a Hindu 
caste, when it retained possession of the land in the centre 


of a Hindu population. These have now the same or a 
slightly higher position than the village menial castes. On 
the other hand, those tribes which were subjugated and 
permitted to live with a servile status in the Hindu villages 
have developed into the existing impure castes of labourers, 
weavers, tanners and others, who form the lowest social 
group. The tribes which still retain their distinctive exist- 
ence Vv^ere not enslaved in this manner, but lived apart in 
their own villages in the forest tracts and kept possession 
of the land. This seems to be the reason why they rank 
somewhat higher than the impure castes, even though they 
may utterly defile themselves according to Hindu ideas 
by eating cow's flesh. Some tribes, such as the Gonds, 
Binjhwars and Kawars, counted amongst them the owners 
of large estates or even kingdoms, and consequently had 
many Hindu cultivators for their subjects. And, as the 
Hindus themselves say, they could not regard the Gonds 
as impure when they had a Gond king. Nevertheless, the 
Gond labourers in Hindu villages in the plains are more 
despised than the Gonds who live in their own villages in 
the hill country. And the conversion of the tribes as a 
whole to Hinduism goes steadily forward. At each census 
the question arises which of them should be classed as 
Hindus, and which as Animists or worshippers of their own 
tribal gods, and though the classification is necessarily very 
arbitrary, the process can be clearly observed. Thus the 
Andhs, Kolis, Rautias and Halbas are now all Hindus, and 
the same remark applies to the Kols, Bhils and Korkus in 
several Districts. By strict abstention from beef, the 
adoption of Hindu rites, and to some extent of child- 
marriage, they get admission to the third group of castes 
from whom a Brahman cannot take water. It will be 
desirable here to digress from the main argument by 
noticing briefly the origin and affinities of the principal 
forest tribes of the Central Provinces. 

These tribes are divided into two families, the Munda 35- The 

-P^ ... Kohinans 

or Kolarian, named after the Kol tribe, and the Dravidian, ^nd Dra- 
of which the former are generally held to be the older and vkiiaas. 
more primitive. The word Kol is probably the Santfdi 
hdr, a man. " This word is used under various forms, such 


as Jidr, hdj-a, ho and koro by most Munda tribes in order 
to denote themselves. The change of r to / is familiar and 
presents no difficulty." ^ The word is also found in the 
alternative name Ho for the Kol tribe, and in the names 
of the cognate Korwa and Korku tribes. The word Munda 
is a Sanskrit derivative meaning a head, and, as stated by 
Sir H. Risley, is the common term employed by the Kols 
for the headman of a village, whence it has been adopted 
as an honorific title for the tribe. In Chota Nagpur those 
Kols who have partly adopted Hinduism and become to 
some degree civilised are called Munda, while the name Ho 
or Larka (fighting) Kol is reserved for the wilder section 
of the tribe. 

36. Koiar- The principal tribes of the Munda or Kolarian family in 

lan tribes. .^^ Central Provinces are shown below : 

Kol, Munda, Ho. Korwa. Mai, Male. Bhuiya. 

Bhumij. Korku. Gadba. Bhaina. 

Santal. Nahal. Khairwar. Bhunjia. 

Kharia. Savar or Saonr. Baiga. Binjhwar. 

Pfobable : Bhar, Koli, Bhll, Chero. 

One large group includes the Kol, Munda or Ho tribe 
itself and the Bhumij and Santals, who appear to be local 
branches of the Kols called by separate names by the Hindus. 
The Kharias seem to be the earliest Kol settlers in Chota 
Nagpur, who were subjugated by the later comers. The name 
Kol, as already seen, is probably a form of the Santali /idr, a 
man. Similarly the name of the Korku tribe is simply a cor- 
ruption of Koraku, young men, and that of the Korwa tribe is 
from the same root. The dialects of the Korku and Korwa 
tribes closely approximate to Mundari. Hence it would seem 
that they were originally one tribe with the Kols, but have 
been separated for so long a period that their direct connection 
can no longer be proved. The disintegrating causes which 
have split up what was originally one into a number of dis- 
tinct tribes, are probably no more than distance and settle- 
ment in different parts of the country, leading to cessation of 
intermarriage and social intercourse. The tribes have then 
obtained some variation in the original names or been given 
separate territorial or occupational designations by the Hindus, 

1 Linguistic Stwyey, vol, iv., Munda aiid Dravidian Languages, p. 7. 



and their former identity has gradually been forgotten. Both 
the Korwas of the Chota Nagpur plateau and the Korkus of 
the Satpura hills were known as Muasi, a term having- the 
meaning of robber or raider. The Korwas have also a sub- 
tribe called Koraku, and Mr. Crooke thinks that they were 
originally the same tribe. Sir G. Grierson states that the 
Korwa dialect is closely allied to Kharia. Similarly the 
resemblance of the name raises a presumption that the great 
Koli tribe of Gujarat and western India may be a branch of 
the Kols who penetrated to the western coast along the 
Satpura and Central India hill ranges. The Kolis and Bhlls 
are tribes of the same country and are commonly spoken of 
together. Both have entirely lost their own language and 
cannot therefore be classified definitely either as Kolarian or 
Dravidian, but there is a probability that they are of the 
Kolarian family. The Nahals, another tribe of the western 
Satpura range, are an offshoot of the Korkus. They are 
coupled with the Bhils and Kolis in old Hindu accounts. 

The Savars, Sawaras or Saonrs are also a widely distri- 
buted tribe, being found as far west as Bundelkhand and east 
in Orissa and Ganjam. In the Central Provinces they have 
lost their own language and speak Hindi or Uriya, but in 
Madras they still retain their original speech, which is 
classified by Sir G. Grierson with Gadba as a Munda or 
Kolarian dialect. The name occurs in Vedic literature, and 
the tribe is probably of great antiquity. In the classical 
stories of their origin the first ancestor of the Savars is some- 
times described as a Bhil. The wide extension of the Savar 
tribe east and west is favourable to the hypothesis of the 
identity of the Kols and Kolis, who have a somewhat similar 
distribution. The Gadbas of Ganjam, and the Mai or Male 
Paharia tribe of Chota Nagpur seem to be offshoots of the 
Savars. The Khairwars or Kharwars are an important tribe 
of Mirzapur and Chota Nagpur. There is some reason for 
supposing that they are an occupational offshoot of the Kols 
and Cheros, who have become a distinct group through taking 
to the manufacture of edible catechu from the wood of the 
khair tree.^ 

Another great branch of the Kolarian family is that 

1 Acacia catechu. 


represented by the Bhuiya and Baiga tribes and their offshoots, 

the Bhunjias, Bhainas and Binjhwars. The Kolarian origin 

of the Bhuiyas has been discussed in the article on that tribe, 

and it has also been suggested that the Baiga tribe of the 

Central Provinces are an offshoot of the Bhuiyas. These 

tribes have all abandoned their own languages and adopted 

the local Aryan vernaculars. The name Bhuiya is a Sanskrit 

derivative from bhu^ earth, and signifies ' belonging to the soil.' 

Bhumij, applied to a branch of the Kol tribe, has the same 

origin. Baiga is used in the sense of a village priest or a 

sorcerer in Chota Nagpur, and the office is commonly held by 

members of the Bhuiya tribe in that locality, as being the 

oldest residents. Thus the section of the tribe in the Central 

Provinces appears to have adopted, or been given, the name of 

the office. The Bharias or Bharia-Bhumias of Jubbulpore seem 

to belong to the great Bhar tribe, once dominant over large 

areas of the United Provinces. They also hold the office of 

village priest, which is there known as Bhumia, and in some 

tracts are scarcely distinguished from the Baigas. Again, in 

Sambalpur the Bhuiyas are known as Bhumia Kol, and are 

commonly regarded as a branch of the Kol tribe. Thus it 

would seem that two separate settlements of the Kolarian 

races may have occurred ; the earlier one would be represented 

by the Bhars, Bhuiyas, Baigas and kindred tribes who have 

entirely lost their own languages and identity, and have 

names given to them by the Hindus ; and a later one of the 

Kols or Mundas and their related tribes, whose languages 

and tribal religion and organisation, though in a decaying 

state, can be fully recognised and recorded. And the 

Dravidian immigration would be subsequent to both of them. 

To judge from the cases in which the fissure or subdivision 

of single tribes into two or more distinct ones can still be 

observed, it seems quite a plausible hypothesis that the 

original immigrants may have consisted only of a single tribe 

on each occasion, and that the formation of new ones may 

have occurred after settlement. But the evidence does not 

warrant any definite assertion. 

37. Dra- The principal Dravidian tribes are the Gonds, Khonds 

^'.^''^" and Oraons. The Gonds were once dominant over the greater 

tribes. ° 

part of the Central Provinces, which was called Gondwana 


after them. The above three names have in each case been 
given to the tribes by the Hindus. The following tribes are 
found in the Province : 

Gond, Oraon or Kurukh, Khond, Kolam, Parja, Kamar. 
Tribal Castes : Bhatra, Halba, Dhoba. Doubtful: Kawar, Dhanwar. 

The Gonds and Khonds call themselves Koi or Koitur, a 
word which seems to mean man or hillman. The Oraon tribe 
call themselves Kurukh, which has also been supposed to be con- 
nected with the Kolarian horo^ man. The name Oraon, given 
to them by the Hindus, may mean farmservant, while Dhangar, 
an alternative name for the tribe, has certainly this signification. 

There seems good reason to suppose that the Gonds and 
Khonds were originally one tribe divided through migration.^ 
The Kolams are a small tribe of the Wardha Valley, whose 
dialect resembles those of the Gonds and Khonds. They 
may have split off from the parent tribe in southern India 
and come northwards separately. The Parjas appear to re- 
present the earliest Gond settlers in Bastar, who were sub- 
jugated by later Gond and Raj -Gond immigrants. The 
Halbas and Bhatras are mixed tribes or tribal castes, de- 
scended from the unions of Gonds and Hindus. 

The Munda languages have been shown by Sir G. 38- Origin 
Grierson to have originated from the same source as those Koianan 
spoken in the Indo-Pacific islands and the Malay Peninsula, tr'bes. 
" The Mundas, the Mon-Khmer, the wild tribes of the Malay 
Peninsula and the Nicobarese all use forms of speech which 
can be traced back to a common source though they mutually 
differ widely from each other." ^ It would appear, therefore, 
that the Mundas, the oldest known inhabitants of India, 
perhaps came originally from the south-east, the islands of 
the Indian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula, unless 
India was their original home and these countries were 
colonised from it. 

Sir Edward Gait states : " Geologists tell us that the 
Indian Peninsula was formerly cut off from the north of Asia 
by sea, while a land connection existed on the one side with 
Madagascar and on the other with the Malay Archipelago ; 
and though there is nothing to show that India was then 

1 See article on Gond. ^ Linguistic Survey, p. 15. 


inhabited, we know that it was so in palaeolithic times, when 
communication was probably still easier with the countries 
to the north-east and south-west than with those beyond the 
Himalayas." ^ In the south of India, however, no traces of 
Munda languages remain at present, and it seems therefore 
necessary to conclude that the Mundas of the Central 
Provinces and Chota Nagpur have been separated from the 
tribes of Malaysia who speak cognate languages for an 
indefinitely long period ; or else that they did not come 
through southern India to these countries but by way of 
Assam and Bengal or by sea through Orissa. There is 
good reason to believe from the names of places and from 
local tradition that the Munda tribes were once spread over 
Bihar and parts of the Ganges Valley ; and if the Kolis are 
an offshoot of the Kols, as is supposed, they also penetrated 
across Central India to the sea in Gujarat and the hills of 
the western Ghats. The presumption is that the advance of 
the Aryans or Hindus drove the Mundas from the open 
country to the seclusion of the hills and forests. The Munda 
and Dravidian languages are shown by Sir G. Grierson to be 
distinct groups without any real connection. 

Though the physical characteristics of the two sets of tribes 
display no marked points of difference, the opinion has been 
generally held by ethnologists who know them that they 
represent two distinct waves of immigration, and the absence 
of connection between their languages bears out this view. 
It has ahvays been supposed that the Mundas were in the 
country of Chota Nagpur and the Central Provinces first, 
and that the Dravidians, the Gonds, Khonds and Oraons 
came afterwards. The grounds for this view are the more 
advanced culture of the Dravidians ; the fact that where the 
two sets of tribes are in contact those of the Munda group 
have been ousted from the more open and fertile country, of 
which, according to tradition, they were formerly in possession; 
and the practice of the Gonds and other Dravidian tribes of 
employing the Baigas, Bhuiyas and other Munda tribes for 
their village priests, which is an acknowledgment that the 
latter as the earlier residents have a more familiar acquaint- 
ance with the local deities, and can solicit their favour and 

^ Introduction to 77zt' Mundas and their Country, p. 9. 



protection with more prospect of success. Such a belief is 
the more easily understood when it is remembered that these 
deities are not infrequently either the human ancestors of the 
earliest residents or the local animals and plants from which 
they supposed themselves to be descended. 

The Dravidian languages, Gondi, Kurukh and Khond, 39. of tin 
are of one family with Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and 
Canarese, and their home is the south of India. The word 
Dravida comes from an older form Damila or Dramila, and 
was used in ancient Pali and Jain literature as a name for 
the people of the Tamil country.^ Afterwards it came to 
signify generally the people of southern India as opposed to 
Gaur or northern India. 

As stated by Sir Edward Gait there is at present no 
evidence to show that the Dravidians came to southern India 
from any other part of the world, and for anything that is 
known to the contrary the languages may have originated 
there. The existence of the small Brahui tribe in Baluchistan 
who speak a Dravidian language but have no physical re- 
semblance to other Dravidian races cannot be satisfactorily 
explained, but, as he points out, this is no reason for holding 
that the whole body of speakers of Dravidian languages 
entered India from the north-west, and, with the excep- 
tion of this small group of Brahuis, penetrated to the 
south and settled there without leaving any traces of their 

The Dravidian languages occupy a large area in Madras, 
Mysore and Hyderabad, and they extend north into the Central 
Provinces and Chota Nagpur where they die out, practically 
not being found west and north of this tract. As the 
languages are more highly developed and the culture of 
their speakers is far more advanced in the south, it is justifi- 
able to suppose, pending evidence to the contrary, that the 
south is their home and that they have spread thence as far 
north as the Central Provinces. The Gonds and Oraons, too, 
have stories to the effect that they came from the south. The 
belief has hitherto been, at least in the Central Provinces, 
that both the Gonds and Baigas have been settled in this 
territory for an indefinite period, that is, from prior to any 

1 Li)iguistic Survey, \i. 277. 


Aryan or Hindu immigration. Mr. H. A. Crump, C.S., 
has however pointed out that if this was the case the Munda 
or Kolarian tribes, which have lost their own languages, 
should have adopted Dravidian and not Hindu forms of 
speech. As already seen, numerous Kolarian tribes, as the 
Binjhwar, Bhaina, Bhuiya, Baiga, Bhumij, Chero, Khairwar 
and the Kols themselves in the Central Provinces have 
entirely lost their own languages, as well as the Bhils and 
Kolis, if these are held to be Kolarian tribes. None of them 
have adopted a Dravidian language, but all speak corrupt 
forms of the ancient Aryan vernaculars derived from Sanskrit, 
The fact seems to indicate that at the time when they 
abandoned their own languages these tribes were in contact 
with Hindus, and were not surrounded by Gonds, as several 
of them are at present. The history of the Central Provinces 
affords considerable support to the view that the Gond 
immigration occurred at a comparatively late period, perhaps 
in the ninth or tenth century, or even later, after a consider- 
able part of the Province had been governed for some 
centuries by Rajput dynasties.^ The Gonds and Oraons 
still have well-defined legends about their immigration, which 
would scarcely be the case if it had occurred twenty centuries 
or more ago. 

Any further evidence or argument as to the date of the 
Dravidian immigration would be of considerable interest. 

The fifth or lowest group in the scheme of precedence is 
that of the impure castes who cannot be touched. If a high- 
caste Hindu touches one of them he should bathe and have his 
clothes washed. These castes are not usually allow~ed to live 
inside a Hindu village, but have a hamlet to themselves adjoin- 
ing it. The village barber will not shave them, nor the washer- 
man wash their clothes. They usually have a separate well 
assigned to them from vv^hich to draw water, and if the village 
has only one well, one side of it is allotted to them and the 
Hindus take water from the other side. Formerly they 
were subjected to more humiliating restrictions. In Bombay 
a Mahar might not spit on the ground lest a Hindu should 
be polluted by touching it with his foot, but had to hang an 
earthen pot round his neck to hold his spittle. He was 

1 See for this the article on KoI, from which the above passage is abridged. 


made to drag a thorny branch with him to brush out his 
footsteps, and when a Brahman came by had to He at a 
distance on his face lest his shadow might fall on the 
Brahman.^ Even if the shadow of a Mahar or Mang fell on 
a Brahman he was polluted and dare not taste food and 
water until he had bathed and washed the impurity away. 
In Madras a Paraiyan or Pariah pollutes a high-caste Hindu 
by approaching within a distance of 64 feet of him.^ 
The debased and servile position of the impure castes 
corresponds to that which, as already seen, attached to the 
Sudras of the classical period. The castes usually regarded 
as impure are the tanners, bamboo-workers, sweepers, hunters 
and fowlers, gipsies and vagrants, village musicians and 
village weavers. These castes, the Chamars, Basors, Mahars, 
Koris, Gandas and others are usually also employed as 
agricultural and casual labourers. Formerly, as already 
seen, they were not allowed to hold land. There is no 
reason to doubt that the status of impurity, like that of the 
Sudra, was originally the mark of a subjugated and inferior 
race, and was practically equivalent to slavery. This was the 
position of the indigenous Indians who were subjugated by 
the Aryan invaders and remained in the country occupied 
by them. Though they were of different races, and the dis- 
tinction was marked and brought home to themselves by the 
contrast in the colour of their skins, it seems probable that 
the real basis for their antagonism was not social so much 
as religious. The Indians were hated and despised by the 
immigrants as the worshippers of a hostile god. They 
could not join in the sacrifices by which the Aryans held 
communion with their gods, and the sacrifice itself could not 
even be held, in theory at least, except in those parts of India 
which were thoroughly subdued and held to have become the 
dwelling-place of the Aryan gods. The proper course pre- 
scribed by religion towards the indigenous residents was to 
exterminate them, as the Israelites should have exterminated 
the inhabitants of Canaan. But as this could not be done, 
because their numbers were too great or the conquerors not 
sufficiently ruthless, they were reduced to the servile condition 

1 Botiibay Gazetteer, vo\. y.n. \:>. 175. quoted in Sir H. Risley's Peoples of 

2 Cochin Census Report, 1901, India, 2nd ed. p. 115. 


of impurity and made the serfs of their masters Hke the 
Amalekites and the plebeians and helots. 

If the whole of India had been thoroughly subjugated 
and settled like the Punjab and Hindustan, it may be 
supposed that the same status of impurity would have been 
imposed upon all the indigenous races ; but this was very 
far from being the case. In central and southern India the 
Aryans or subsequent immigrants from Central Asia came at 
first at any rate only in small parties, and though they may 
have established territorial states, did not regularly occupy the 
land nor reduce the indigenous population to a condition of 
servitude. Thus large bodies of these must have retained a 
free position, and on their acceptance of the new religion and 
the development of the caste system, became enrolled in it 
with a caste status on the basis of their occupation. Their 
leaders were sometimes admitted to rank as Kshatriyas or 
Rajputs, as has been stated. 

Subsequently, as the racial distinction disappeared, the 
impure status came to attach to certain despised occupations 
and to customs abhorrent to Hinduism, such as that of eating 
beef But, as already seen, the tribes which have continued 
to live apart from the Hindus are not usually regarded as 
impure, though they may eat beef and even skin animals. 
The Dhlmars, who keep pigs, still have a higher status than 
the impure castes because they are employed as water- 
bearers and household servants. It is at least doubtful 
whether at the time when the stigma of impurity was first 
attached to the Sudras the Hindus themselves did not 
sacrifice cows and eat beef.^ The castes noted below are 
usually regarded as impure in the Central Provinces. 

The Dhobi (washerman) and Kumhar (potter) are some- 
times included among the impure castes, but, as already noted, 
their status is higher than that of the castes in this list. 

Audhelia: Labouring caste of mixed Basor: Bamboo basket-makers and 
descent who keep pigs. village musicians. 

Chamar : Tanners and labourers. 

Balahi : Weavers and village mes- Ganda : Weavers and village 
sengers and watchmen. musicians. 

1 This was permissible in the time of Asoka, circa 250 B.C. Mr. V. A. 
Smith's Asoka, pp. 56, 58. 


Ghasia : Grass-cutters, labourers Madgi : Telugu tanners and hide- 
and sweepers. curriers. 

Kaikari : Vagrant basket-makers. 1.^1' ' r,, , ' ouicrs. 

Mala : Telugu weavers and 

Kanjar, Beria, Sansia : Gipsies and labourers. 

thieves. Mang : Broom- and mat-makers 

Katia: Cotton-spinners. ^f^ ^'"^^^ musicians. They 

also castrate cattle. 
Kori : Weavers and* labourers. Mehtar : Sweepers and scavengers. 

Certain occupations, those of skinning cattle and curing 
hides, weaving the coarse country cloth worn by the 
villagers, making baskets from the rind of the bamboo, 
playing on drums and tom-toms, and scavenging generally 
are relegated to the lowest and impure castes. The hides of 
domestic animals are exceedingly impure ; a Hindu is defiled 
even by touching their dead bodies and far more so by 
removing the skins. Drums and tom-toms made from the 
hides of animals are also impure. But in the case of weaving 
and basket-making the calling itself entails no defilement, 
and it would appear simply that they were despised by the 
cultivators, and as a considerable number of workers were 
required to satisfy the demand for baskets and cloth, were 
adopted by the servile and labouring castes. Basket- and 
mat-making are callings naturally suited to the primitive 
tribes who would obtain the bamboos from the forests, but 
weaving would not be associated with them unless cloth was 
first woven of tree-cotton. The weavers of the finer cotton 
and silk cloths, who live in towns, rank much higher than 
the village weavers, as in the case of the Koshtis and Tantis, 
the latter of whom made the famous fine cotton cloth, known 
as abrawdn, or ' running water,' which was supplied to the 
imperial Zenana at Delhi. On one occasion a daughter of 
Aurangzeb was reproached on entering the room for her 
immodest attire and excused herself by the plea that she had 
on seven folds of cloth over her body.^ In Bengal Brahmans 
will take water from Tantis, and it seems clear that their 
higher status is a consequence of the lucrative and important 
nature of their occupation. 

The Katias are a caste of cotton-spinners, the name 
being derived from kdtna, to cut or spin. But hand- 
spinning is now practically an extinct industry and the 

1 Sir II. Risley's Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. Tanti. 


Katias have taken to weaving or ordinary manual labour 
for a subsistence. The Kanjars and Berias are the gipsy 
castes of India. They are accustomed to wander about 
carrying their grass -matting huts with them. Many of 
them live by petty thieving and cheating. Their women 
practise palmistry and retail charms for the cure of sickness 
and for exorcising evil spirits, and love-philtres. They do 
cupping and tattooing and also make reed mats, cane 
baskets, palm-leaf mats and fans, ropes from grass- and 
tree-fibre, brushes for the cotton-loom, string-net purses and 
balls, and so on ; and the women commonly dance and act 
as prostitutes. There is good reason for thinking that the 
Kanjars are the parents of the European gipsies, while 
the Thugs who formerly infested the high-roads of India, 
murdering solitary travellers and small parties by strangula- 
tion, may also have been largely derived from this caste. ^ 
41. Deriva- It can Only be definitely shown in a few instances that 

tion of the ^■^^ existing impure occupational castes were directly derived 

impure o i r ^ j ^ 

castes from from the indigcnous tribes. The Chamar and Kori, and 
the Chuhra and Bhangi, or sweepers and scavengers of 
the Punjab and United Provinces, are now purely occupa- 
tional castes and their original tribal affinities have entirely 
disappeared. The Chamars and Mehtars or sweepers are 
in some places of a superior physical type, of comparatively 
good stature and light complexion ; ^ this may perhaps 
be due to a large admixture of Hindu blood through their 
women, during a social contact with the Hindus extending 
over many centuries, and also to the fact that they eat 
flesh when they can obtain it, including carrion. Such 
types are, however, exceptional among the impure castes, 
and there is no reason to doubt their general origin from 
the non- Aryan tribes, which in a few instances can be directly 
traced. Thus it seems likely that the Kanjars, Berias, 
Sansias and other gipsy groups, as well as the Mirasis, the 
vagrant bards and genealogists of the lower classes of 
Hindus, are derived from the Dom caste or tribe of Bengal, 
who are largely employed as sweepers and scavengers as 
well as on ordinary labour. The evidence for the origin 

^ See article Kanjar for a discus- and Thugs with the Kanjars. 
sion of the connection of the gipsies '^ See article Chamar, para. i. 


of the above groups from the Doms is given in the article 
on Kanjar. Sir H. M. Elliot considered the Doms to be 
one of the original tribes of India. Again, there is no doubt 
that the impure Ganda caste, who are weavers, labourers and 
village musicians in the Uriya country and Chhattlsgarh 
Districts of the Central Provinces, are derived from the 
Pan tribe of Chota Nagpur. The Pans or Pabs arc a 
regular forest tribe, and are sometimes called Ganda, while 
the Gandas may be alternatively known as Pan. But the 
section of the tribe who live among the Hindus and are 
regarded as impure have now become a distinct caste with a 
separate name. The Bhuiya tribe were once the rulers of 
Chota Nagpur ; they still install the Raja of Keonjhar, and 
have a traditional relation to other ruling families. But in 
parts of Chota Nagpur and southern Bihar the Bhuiyas 
living in Hindu villages have become a separate impure 
caste with the opprobrious designation of Musahar or rat- 
eater. The great Mahar caste of the Maratha country or 
Bombay are weavers and labourers, and formerly cured 
hides, like the Chamars and Koris of northern India. They 
are regarded as impure and were the serfs or villeins of the 
Kunbis, attached to the land. An alternative name for 
them is Dher, and this is supposed to be a corruption of 
Dharada a hillman, a name applied in Manu to all the 
indigenous races of India. Though the connection cannot 
be traced in all cases, there is thus no reason to doubt that 
the existing impure castes represent the subjected or 
enslaved section of the primitive non-Aryan tribes. 

It has been seen that the old Aryan polity com- 42. Occu- 
prised four classes : the Brahmans and Kshatriyas or priestly b||sjs ^f *" 
and military aristocracy ; the Vaishyas or body of the the caste 
Aryans, who were ceremonially pure and could join in 
sacrifices ; and the Sudras or servile and impure class of 
labourers. The Vaishyas became cultivators and herdsmen, 
and their status of ceremonial purity was gradually trans- 
ferred to the cultivating members of the village community, 
because land was the main source of wealth. Between the 
last two there arose another class of village menials and 
craftsmen, originating principally from the offspring of 
fathers of the Aryan classes and Sudra women, to whom 


was left the practice of the village industries, despised by 
the cultivators. In spite of the almost complete fusion of 
races which the intercourse of centuries has effected, and 
the multiplication and rearrangement of castes produced by 
the diversity of occupation and other social factors, the 
divisions of the village community can still be recognised 
in the existing social gradation. 

It has been seen also that occupation is the real basis 
of the division and social precedence of castes in India, as 
in all communities which have made any substantial progress 
in civilisation and social development. Distinctions of race, 
religion and family gradually disappear, and are merged in 
the gradation according to wealth or profession. The 
enormous majority of castes are occupational and their 
social position depends on their caste calling. Thus in the 
case of an important industry like weaving, there are 
separate castes who weave the finer kinds of cloth, as the 
Tantis and Koshtis, while one subcaste of Koshtis, the 
Salewars, are distinguished as silk-weavers, and a separate 
caste of Patwas embroider silk and braid on cloth ; other 
castes, as the Mahars, Gandas and Koris, weave coarse cloth, 
and a distinct caste of Katias existed for the spinning of 
thread, and the Muhammadan caste of Bahnas for cleaning 
cotton. The workers in each kind of metal have formed a 
separate caste, as the Lobars or blacksmiths, the Kasars or 
brass-workers, the Tameras or coppersmiths, and the Sunars 
or gold- and silversmiths, while the Audhia subcaste of 
Sunars ^ and the Bharewas, an inferior branch of the Kasars, 
work in bell-metal. Each of these castes makes ornaments 
of its own m.etal, while the Kachera caste ^ make glass 
bangles, and the Lakheras make bangles from lac and clay. 
In the case of agriculture, as has been seen, there is usually 
a functional cultivating caste for each main tract of country, 
as the Jats in the Punjab, the Kurmis in Hindustan, the 
Kunbis in the Deccan, the Chasas in Orissa, the Kapus in 
the Telugu country and the Vellalas in the Tamil country. 
Except the Jats, who were perhaps originally a racial caste, 
the above castes appear to include a number of hetero- 

1 Lolia, iron ; tainba, copper ; kdnsa, brass or bell-metal ; soiia, gold. 
2 KCutch, glass. 



geneous groups which have been welded into a single body 
through the acquisition of land and the status which it 
confers. Various other cultivating castes also exist, whose 
origin can be traced to different sources ; on obtaining 
possession of the land they have acquired the cultivatino- 
status, but retained their separate caste organisation and 
name. Other agricultural castes have been formed for the 
growing of special products. Thus the Malis are gardeners, 
and within the caste there exist such separate groups as the 
Phulmalis who grow flowers, the Jire Malis cumin and the 
Halde Malis turmeric.^ Hindus generally object to cultivate 
j-««-hemp,^ and some special castes have been formed from 
those who grew it and thus underwent some loss of status ; 
such are the Lorhas and Kumrawats and Pathinas, and the 
Santora subcaste of Kurmis. The dP or Indian madder- 
dye is another plant to which objection is felt, and the Alia 
subcastes of Kachhis and Banias consist of those who grow 
and sell it. The Dangris and Kachhis are growers of melons 
and other vegetables on the sandy stretches in the beds of 
rivers and the alluvial land on their borders which is sub- 
merged in the monsoon floods. The Barais are the growers 
and sellers of the betel-vine. 

Several castes have been formed from military service, 
as the Marathas, Khandaits, Rautias, Taonlas and Paiks. 
All of these, except the Marathas, are mainly derived from 
the non-Aryan tribes ; since they have abandoned military 
service and taken as a rule to agriculture, their rank depends 
roughly on their position as regards the land. Thus the 
Marathas and Khandaits became landowners, receiving 
grants of property as a reward for, or on condition of, 
military service like the old feudal tenures ; they rank with, 
but somewhat above, the cultivating castes. The same is 
the case, though to a less degree, with the Rautias of Chota 
Nagpur, a military caste mainly formicd from the Kol tribe. 
On the other hand, the Paiks or foot-soldiers and Taonlas 
have not become landholders and rank below the cultivating 

1 P/i?//, flower; /^a^//, turmeric ;yVrfl:, ^ Alorinda citrifoUa. The taboo 
cumin. against the plant is either because the 

2 Crotalaria juncea. See article red dye resembles blood, or because 
Lorha for a discussion of the objections a number of insects are destroyed in 
to this plant. boiling the roots to extract the dye. 



castes. The Hatkars are a caste formed from Dhangars or 
shepherds who entered the Maratha armies. They are now 
called Bangi Dhangars or shepherds with the spears, and 
rank a little above other Dhangars. 
43. Other The great majority of castes have been formed from 

ufe'foima- occupation, but other sources of origin can be traced. 
tion of Several castes are of mixed descent, as the Vidurs, the 
descendants of Brahman fathers and mothers of other 
castes ; the Bhilalas, by Rajput fathers and Bhil mothers ; 
the Chauhans, Audhelias, Khangars and Dhakars of Bastar, 
probably by Hindu fathers and women of various indigenous 
tribes ; the Kirars of mixed Rajput descent, and others. 
These also now generally take rank according to their 
occupation and position in the world. The Vidurs served 
as village accountants and ranked below the cultivators, but 
since they are well educated and have done well in Govern- 
ment service their status is rapidly improving. The Bhilalas 
are landholders and rank as a good cultivating caste. The 
Chauhans and Khangars are village watchmen and rank as 
menials below the cultivators, the Dhakars are farmservants 
and labourers with a similar position, while the Audhelias 
are labourers who keep pigs and are hence regarded as 
impure. The Halbas or ' ploughmen ' are another mixed 
caste, probably the descendants of house-servants of the 
Uriya Rajas, who, like the Khandaits, formed a sort of 
militia for the maintenance of the chief's authority. They 
are now mainly farmservants, as the name denotes, but 
where they hold land, as in Bastar, they rank higher, almost 
as a good cultivating caste. 

Again, very occasionally a caste may be formed from a 
religious sect or order. The Bishnois were originally a 
Vaishnava sect, worshipping Vishnu as an unseen god, and 
refusing to employ Brahmans. They have now become 
cultivators, and though they retain their sectarian beliefs, 
and have no Brahman priests, are generally regarded as a 
Hindu cultivating caste. The Pankas are members of the 
impure Ganda caste who adhered to the Kablrpanthi sect. 
They are now a separate caste and are usually employed as 
village watchmen, ranking with menials above the Gandas 
and other similar castes. The Lingayats are a large sect of 


southern India, devoted to the worship of Siva and called 
after the lingam or phallic emblem which they wear. They 
have their own priests, denying the authority of Brahmans, 
but the tendency now is for members of those castes which 
have become Lingayats to marry among themselves and 
retain their relative social status, thus forming a sort of 
inner microcosm of Hinduism. 

Occupation is the real determining factor of social 44. Caste 
status in India as in all other societies of at all advanced °'^'="P^' 


organisation. But though in reality the status of occupations divinely 
and of castes depends roughly on the degree to which they °'''^^'"^''- 
are lucrative and respectable, this is not ostensibly the case, 
but their precedence, as already seen, is held to be regulated 
by the' degree of ceremonial purity or impurity attaching 
to them. The Hindus have retained, in form at any rate, 
the religious constitution which is common or universal in 
primitive societies. The majority of castes are provided 
with a legend devised by the Brahmans to show that their 
first ancestor was especially created by a god to follow their 
caste calling, or at least that this was assigned to him 
by a god. The ancestors of the bearer- caste of Kahars 
were created by Siva or Mahadeo from the dust to carry 
his consort Parvati in a litter when she was tired ; the 
first Mang was made by Mahadeo from his own sweat to 
castrate the divine bull Nandi when he was fractious, and 
his descendants have ever since followed the same calling, 
the impiety of mutilating the sacred bull in such a manner 
being thus excused by the divine sanction accorded to it. 
The first Mali or gardener gave a garland to Krishna. 
The first Chamar or tanner made sandals for Siva from 
a piece of his own skin ; the ancestor of the Kayasth or 
writer caste, Chitragupta, keeps the record of men's actions 
by which they are judged in the infernal regions after death ; 
and so on. 

All important castes are divided into a number of 45- Sub- 
subordinate groups or subcastes, which as a rule marry and j^^,^! (yp^ 
take food within their own circle only. Certain differences 
of status frequently exist among the subcastes of the 
occupational or social type, but these are usually too minute 
to be recognised by outsiders. The most common type of 

VOL. I ^ 


subcaste is the local, named after the tract of country in 
which the members reside or whence they are supposed to 
have come. Thus the name Kanaujia from the town of 
Kanauj on the Ganges, famous in ancient Indian history, 
is borne by subcastes of many castes which have immigrated 
from northern India. Jaiswar, from the old town of Jais 
in the Rai Bareli District, is almost equally common. 
Pardeshi or foreign, and Purabia or eastern, are also 
subcaste names for groups coming from northern India or 
Oudh. Mahobia is a common name derived from the town 
of Mahoba in Central India, as are Bundeli from Bundel- 
khand, Narwaria from Narwar and Marwari from Marwar in 
Rajputana. Groups belonging to Berar are called Berari, 
Warade or Baone ; those from Gujarat are called Lad, the 
classical term for Gujarat, or Gujarati, and other names are 
Deccani from the Deccan, Nimari of Nimar, Havelia, the 
name of the wheat-growing tracts of Jubbulpore and Damoh ; 
Chhattisgarhia, Kosaria, Ratanpuria (from the old town of 
Ratanpur in Bilaspur), and Raipuria (from Raipur town), 
all names for residents in Chhattisgarh ; and so on. Brahmans 
are divided into ten main divisions, named after different 
tracts in the north and south of India where they reside ; ^ 
and these are further subdivided, as the Maharashtra 
Brahmans of the Maratha country of Bombay into the 
subcastes of Deshasth (belonging to the country) applied to 
those of the Poona country above the western Ghats ; 
Karhara or those of the Satara District, from Karhar town ; 
and Konkonasth or those of the Concan, the Bombay coast ; 
similarly the Kanaujia division of the Panch-Gaur or 
northern Brahmans has as subdivisions the Kanaujia proper, 
the Jijhotia from Jajhoti, the old name of the Lalitpur and 
Saugor tract, which is part of Bundelkhand ; the Sarwaria 
or those dwelling round the river Sarju in the United 
Provinces ; the Mathuria from Muttra ; and the Prayagwals 
or those of Allahabad (Prayag), who act as guides and 
priests to pilgrims who come to bathe in the Ganges at the 
sacred city. The creation of new local subcastes seems to 
arise in two ways : when different groups of a caste settle in 
different tracts of country and are prevented from attending 

' See article on Brahman. 


the caste feasts and assemblies, the practice of intermarriage 
and taking food together gradually ceases, they form 
separate endogamous groups and for purposes of distinction 
are named after the territory in which they reside ; this 
is what has happened in the case of Brahmans and many 
other castes ; and, secondly, when a fresh body of a caste 
arrives and settles in a tract where some of its members 
already reside, they do not amalgamate with the latter group, 
but form a fresh one and are named after the territory from 
which they have come, as in the case of such names as 
Pardeshi, Purabia, Gangapari (' from the other side of the 
Ganges '), and similar ones already cited. In former times, 
when the difficulties of communication were great, these local 
subcastes readily multiplied ; thus the Kanaujia Brahmans of 
Chhattlsgarh are looked down upon by those of Saugor and 
Damoh, as Chhattlsgarh has been for centuries a backward 
tract cut off from the rest of India, and they may be 
suspected of having intermarried with the local people or 
otherwise derogated from the standard of strict Hinduism. 
Similarly the Kanaujia Brahmans of Bengal are split into 
several local subcastes named after tracts in Bengal, who 
marry among themselves and neither with other Kanaujias 
of Bengal nor with those of northern India. Since the 
opening of railways people can travel long distances to 
marriage and other ceremonies, and the tendency to form 
new subcastes is somewhat checked ; a native gentleman 
said to me, when speaking of his people, that when a few 
families of Khedawal Brahmans from Gujarat first settled in 
Damoh they had the greatest difficulty in arranging their 
marriages ; they could not marry with their caste-fellows in 
Gujarat because their sons and daughters could not establish 
themselves, that is, could not prove their identity as 
Khedawal Brahmans ; but since the railway has been opened 
intermarriage takes place freely with other Khedawals 
in Gujarat and Benares. Proposals are on foot to 
authorise the intermarriage of the three great subcastes of 
Maratha Brahmans : Deshasth, Konkonasth and Karhara. 
As a rule, there is no difference of status between the 
different local subcastes, and a man's subcaste is often not 
known except to his own caste-fellows. But occasionally a 


certain derogatory sense may be conveyed ; in several 
castes of the Central Provinces there is a subcaste called 
Jharia or jungly, a term applied to the oldest residents, who 
are considered to have lapsed in a comparatively new and 
"barbarous country from the orthodox practices of Hinduism. 
The subcaste called Deshi, or ' belonging to the country,' 
sometimes has the same signification. The large majority 
of subcastes are of the local or territorial type. 
46. Occu- Many subcastes are also formed from slight differences of 

pationai occupation, which are not of sufficient importance to create 

subcastes. . 

new castes. Some instances of subcastes formed from grow- 
ing special plants or crops have been given. Audhia Sunars 
(goldsmiths) work in brass and bell-metal, which is less 
respectable than the sacred metal, gold. The Ekbeile Telis 
harness one bullock only to the oil-press and the Dobeile two 
bullocks. As it is thought sinful to use the sacred ox in 
this manner and to cover his eyes as the Telis do, it may be 
slightly more sinful to use two bullocks than one. The Udia 
Ghasias (grass-cutters) cure raw hides and do scavengers' 
work, and are hence looked down upon by the others ; the 
Dingkuchia Ghasias castrate cattle and horses, and the 
Dolboha carry dhoolies and palanquins. The Mangya 
Chamars are beggars and rank below all other subcastes, 
from whom they will accept cooked food. Frequently, 
however, subcastes are formed from a slight distinction of 
occupation, which connotes no real difference in social status. 
The Hathgarhia Kumhars (potters) are those who used to 
fashion the clay with their own hands, and the Chakarias 
those who turned it on a wheel. And though the practice 
of hand pottery is now abandoned, the divisions remain. The 
Shikari or sportsmen Pardhis (hunters) are those who use 
firearms, though far from being sportsmen in our sense of 
the term ; the Phanse Pardhis hunt with traps and snares ; 
the Chitewale use a tame leopard to run down deer, and the 
Gayake stalk their prey behind a bullock. Among the sub- 
castes of Dhlmars (fishermen and watermen) are the Singaria, 
who cultivate the singdra or water-nut in tanks, the Tanki- 
walas or sharpeners of grindstones, the Jhlngars or prawn- 
catchers, the Bansias and Saraias or anglers (from bansi or 
sarai, a bamboo fishing-rod), the Kasdhonias who wash the 


sands of the sacred rivers to find the coins thrown or dropped 
into them by pious pilgrims, and the Sonjharas who wash 
the sands of auriferous streams for their particles of gold.-' 
The Gariwan Dangris have adopted the comparatively novel 
occupation of driving carts {gdrt) for a livelihood, and the 
Panibhar are water-carriers, while the ordinary occupation of 
the Dangris is to grow melons in river-beds. It is unneces- 
sary to multiply instances ; here, as in the case of territorial 
subcastes, the practice of subdivision appears to have been 
extended from motives of convenience, and the slight difference 
of occupation is adopted as a distinguishing badge. 

Subcastes are also occasionally formed from differences 47. Sub- 
of social practice which produce some slight gain or loss of ^''*^"^^ 

A^, , _ 00 formed 

status. Thus the Biyahut or ' Married Kalars prohibit the from social 
remarriage of widows, saying that a woman is married once ^[ffg^j-e^'""^ 
for all, and hence rank a little higher than the others. The or from 
Dosar Banias, on the other hand, are said to take their name descent 
from dusra, second, because they allow a widow to marry a 
second time and are hence looked upon by the others as a 
second-class lot. The Khedawal Brahmans are divided into 
the 'outer' and 'inner': the inner subdivision being said to 
exist of those who accepted presents from the Raja of Kaira 
and remained in his town, while the outer refused the presents, 
quitted the town and dwelt outside. The latter rank a 
little higher than the former. The Suvarha Dhlmars keep 
pigs and the Gadhewale donkeys, and are considered to 
partake of the impure nature of these animals. The 
Gobardhua Chamars wash out and eat the undigested grain 
from the droppings of cattle on the threshing-floors. The 
Chungia group of the Satnami Chamars are those who smoke 
the chongi or leaf-pipe, though smoking is prohibited to the 
Satnamis. The Nagle or ' naked ' Khonds have only a 
negligible amount of clothing and are looked down upon by 
the others. The Makaria Kamars eat monkeys and are 
similarly despised. 

Subcastes are also formed from mixed descent. The 
Dauwa Ahirs are held to be the offspring of Ahir women 
who were employed as wet-nurses in the houses of Bundcla 
Rajputs and bore children to their masters. The Halbas and 

1 Sonjhara is a separate caste as well as a subcaste of Dhiniar. 


Rautias are divided into subcastes known as Puralt or ' pure,' 
and Surait or of 'mixed' descent. Many castes have a subcaste 
to which the progeny of illicit unions is relegated, such as 
the Dogle Kayasths, and the Lahuri Sen subcaste of Barais, 
Banias and other castes. Illegitimate children in the Kasar 
(brass-worker) caste form a subcaste known as Takle or 
* thrown out,' Vidur or ' illegitimate,' or Laondi Bachcha, the 
issue of a kept wife. In Berar the Mahadeo Kolis, called 
after the Mahadeo or Pachmarhi hills, are divided into the 
Khas, or ' pure,' and the Akaramase or ' mixed ' ; this latter 
word means gold or silver composed of eleven parts pure 
metal and one part alloy. Many subcorstes of Bania have 
subcastes known as Bisa or Dasa, that is ' Twenty ' or ' Ten ' 
groups, the former being of pure descent or twenty-carat, 
as it were, and the latter the offspring of remarried widows 
or other illicit unions. In the course of some generations 
such mixed groups frequently regain full status in the caste. 

Subcastes are also formed from members of other castes 
who have taken to the occupation of the caste in question 
and become amalgamated with it ; thus the Korchamars are 
Koris (weavers) adopted into the Chamar (tanner) caste ; 
Khatri Chhipas are Khatris who have become dyers and 
printers ; the small Dangri caste has subcastes called Teli, 
Kalar and Kunbi, apparently consisting of members of 
those castes who have become Dangris ; the Baman Darzis or 
tailors will not take food from any one except Brahmans and 
may perhaps be derived from them, and the Kaith Darzis 
may be Kayasths ; and so on. 

Occasionally subcastes may be formed from differences 
of religious belief or sectarian practice. In northern India 
even such leading Hindu castes as Rajputs and Jats have 
large Muhammadan branches, who as a rule do not inter- 
marry with Hindus. The ordinary Hindu sects seldom, 
however, operate as a bar to marriage, Hinduism being 
tolerant of all forms of religious belief Those Chamars of 
Chhattlsgarh who have embraced the doctrines of the Satnami 
reforming sect form a separate endogamous subcaste, and 
sometimes the members of the Kablrpanthi sect within a 
caste marry among themselves. 

Statistics of the subcastes are not available, but their 


numbers are very extensive in proportion to the population, 
and even in the same subcaste the members Hving within a 
comparatively small local area often marry among themselves 
and attend exclusively at their own caste feasts, though in 
the case of educated and well-to-do Hindus the construction 
of railways has modified this rule and connections are kept 
up between distant groups of relatives. Clearly therefore 
differences of occupation or social status are not primarily 
responsible for the subcastes, because in the majority of 
cases no such differences really exist. I think the real reason 
for their multiplication was the necessity that the members 
of a subcaste should attend at the caste feasts on the occasion 
of marriages, deaths and readmission of offenders, these 
feasts being of the nature of a sacrificial or religious meal. 
The grounds for this view will be given subsequently. 

The caste or subcaste forms the outer circle within which 48. Exo- 
a man must marry. Inside it are a set of further subdivisions s^^mous 

-' groups. 

which prohibit the marriage of persons related through males. 
These are called exogamous groups or clans, and their name 
among the higher castes is gotra. The theory is that all 
persons belonging to the same gotra are descended from the 
same male ancestor, and so related. The relationship in the 
gotra now only goes by the father's side ; when a woman 
marries she is taken into the clan of her husband and her 
children belong to it. Marriage is not allowed within the 
clan and in the course of a few generations the marriage of 
persons related through males or agnates is prohibited within 
a very wide circle. But on the mother's side the gotra does 
not serve as a bar to marriage and the union of first cousins 
would be possible, other than the children of two brothers. 
According to Hindu law, intermarriage is prohibited within 
four degrees between persons related through females. But 
generally the children of first cousins are allowed to marry, 
when related partly through females. And several castes 
allow the intermarriage of first cousins, that of a brother's 
daughter to a sister's son and in a less degree of a brother's 
son to a sister's daughter being specially favoured. One or 
two Madras castes allow a man to marry his niece, and the 
small Dhoba caste of Mandla permit the union of children of 
the same mother but different fathers. 


Sir Herbert Risley classed the names of exogamous 
divisions as eponymous, territorial or local, titular and 
totemistic. In the body of this work the word clan is usually 
applied only to the large exogamous groups of the Rajputs 
and one or two other military castes. The small local or 
titular groups of ordinary Hindu castes are called ' section,' 
and the totemic groups of the primitive tribes ' sept' But 
perhaps it is simpler to use the word ' clan ' throughout 
according to the practice of Sir J. G. Frazer. The 
vernacular designations of the clans or sections are gotra, 
which originally meant a stall or cow-pen ; khero^ a village ; 
dih, a village site ; baink, a title ; inul or viur, literally a 
root, hence an origin ; and kul or kuri, a family. The 
sections called eponymous are named after Rishis or saints 
mentioned in the Vedas and other scriptures and are found 
among the Brahmans and a few of the higher castes, such as 
Vasishta, Garga, Bharadwaj, Vishvamitra, Kashyap and so 
on. A few Rajput clans are named after kings or heroes, as 
the Raghuvansis from king Raghu of Ajodhia and the 
Tilokchandi Bais from a famous king of that name. The 
titular class of names comprise names of offices supposed to 
have been held by the founder of the clan, or titles and names 
referring to a personal defect or quality, and nicknames. 
Instances of the former are Kotwar (village watchman), 
Chaudhri, Meher or Mahto (caste headman), Bhagat (saint), 
Thakuria and Rawat (lord or prince), Vaidya (physician) ; 
and of titular names and nicknames : Kuldip (lamp of the 
family), Mohjaria (one with a burnt mouth), Jachak (beggar), 
Garkata (cut-throat), Bhatpagar (one serving on a pittance of 
boiled rice), Kangali (poor), Chlkat (dirty), Petdukh (stomach- 
ache), Ghunnere (worm -eater) and so on. A special 
class of names are those of offices held at the caste feasts ; 
thus the clans of the Chitrakathi caste are the Atak or 
Mankari, who furnish the headman of the caste panchdyat or 
committee ; the Bhojin who serve the food at marriages and 
other ceremonies ; the Kakra who arrange for the lighting ; 
the Gotharya who keep the provisions, and the Ghorerao 
{gkora, a horse) who have the duty of looking after the 
horses and bullock-carts of the caste-men who assemble. 
Similarly the five principal clans of the small Turi caste are 


named after the five sons of Singhbonga or the sun : the 
eldest son was called Mailuar and his descendants arc the 
leaders or headmen of the caste ; the descendants of the 
second son, Chardhagia, purify and readmit offenders to caste 
intercourse ; those of the third son, Suremar, conduct the 
ceremonial shaving of such offenders, and those of the fourth 
son bring water for the ceremony and are called Tirkuar. 
The youngest brother, Hasdagia, is said to have committed 
some caste offence, and the four other brothers took the parts 
which are still played by their descendants in his ceremony 
of purification. In many cases exogamous clans are named 
after other castes or subcastes. Many low castes have 
adopted the names of the Rajput clans, either from simple 
vanity as people may take an aristocratic surname, or because 
they were in the service of Rajputs, and have adopted the 
names of their masters or are partly descended from them. 
Other names of castes found among exogamous groups 
probably indicate that an ancestor belonging to that caste 
was taken into the one in which the group is found. The 
Bhaina tribe have clans named after the Dhobi, Ahir, Gond, 
Mali and Panka castes. The members of such clans pay 
respect to any man belonging to the caste after which they 
are named and avoid picking a quarrel with him ; they also 
worship the family gods of the caste. 

Territorial names are very common, and are taken from 
that of some town or village in which the ancestor of the 
clan or the members of the clan themselves resided.^ The 
names are frequently distorted, and it seems probable that 
the majority of the large number of clan names for which no 
meaning can be discovered were those of villages. These un- 
known names are probably more numerous than the total of 
all those classes of names to which a meaning can be assigned. 

The last class of exogamous divisions are those called 49. Totem- 
totemistic, when the clan is named after a plant or animal 
or other natural object. These are almost universal among 
the non-Aryan or primitive tribes, but occur also in most 
Hindu castes, including some of the highest. The commonest 
totem names are those of the prominent animals, including 
several which are held sacred by the Hindus, as bdgh or 

1 See article Kurmi, appendix, for some instances of territorial names. 


nd/iar, the tiger ; bachds, the calf ; viorkuria, the peacock ; 
kaclihzudJia or limudn, the tortoise ; ndgas, the cobra ; hasti, 
the elephant ; bandar, the monkey ; bhainsa, the buffalo ; 
richharia, the bear ; knliha, the jackal ; kuktu^a, the dog ; 
karsaydl, the deer; Jieran, the black -buck, and so on. 
The utmost variety of names is found, and numerous trees, 
as well as rice, kodon and other crops, salt, sandalwood, 
cucumber, pepper, and some household implements, such as 
the pestle and rolling-slab, serve as names of clans. Names 
which may be held to have a totemistic origin occur even in 
the highest castes. Thus among the names of eponymous 
Rishis or saints, Bharadwaj means a lark, Kaushik may be 
from the kilsha grass, Agastya from the ^^^^j/z flower, Kashyap 
from kachhap, a tortoise ; Taittiri from titar, a partridge, 
and so on. Similarly the origin of other Rishis is attributed 
to animals, as Rishishringa to an antelope, Mandavya to a 
frog, and Kanada to an owl.^ An inferior Rajput clan, 
Meshbansi, signifies descendants of the sheep, while the 
name of the Baghel clan is derived from the tiger (bagh), 
that of the Kachhwaha clan perhaps from kachhap, a tortoise, 
of the Haihaivansi from the horse, of the Nagvansi from the 
cobra, and of the Tomara clan from toinar, a club. The Karan 
or writer caste of Orissa, similarly, have clans derived from 
the cobra, tortoise and calf, and most of the cultivating and 
other middle castes have clans with totemistic names. The 
usual characteristics of totemism,in its later and more common 
form at any rate, are that members of a clan regard them- 
selves as related to, or descended from, the animal or tree 
from which the clan takes its name, and abstain from killing 
or eating it. This was perhaps not the original relation of 
the clan to its clan totem in the hunting stage, but it is the one 
commonly found in India, where the settled agricultural 
stage has long been reached. The Bhaina tribe have among 
their totems the cobra, tiger, leopard, vulture, hawk, monkey, 
wild dog, quail, black ant, and so on. Members of a clan 
will not injure the animal after which it is named, and if 
they see the corpse of the animal or hear of its death they 
throw away an earthen cooking-pot, and bathe and shave 
themselves as for one of the family. At a wedding the bride's 

1 Wilson's Indian Caste, p. 439. 


father makes an image in clay of the bird or animal of the 
•groom's sept and places it beside the marriage-post. The 
bridegroom worships the image, lighting a sacrificial fire 
before it, and offers to it the vermilion which he afterwards 
smears on the forehead of the bride. Women are often 
tattooed with representations of their totem animal, and men 
swear by it as their most sacred oath. A similar respect is 
paid to the inanimate objects after which certain septs are 
named. Thus members of the Gawad or cowdung clan will 
not burn cowdung cakes for fuel ; and those of the Mircha 
clan do not use chillies. One clan is named after the sun, 
and when an eclipse occurs they perform the same formal 
rites of mourning as others do on the death of their totem 
animal. The Baghani clan of Majhwars, named after the 
tiger, think that a tiger will not attack any member of their 
clan unless he has committed an offence entailing temporary 
excommunication from caste. Until this offence has been 
expiated his relationship with the tiger as head of the clan 
is in abeyance, and the tiger will eat him as he would any 
other stranger. If a tiger meets a member of the clan who 
is free from sin, he will run away. Members of the Khoba 
or peg clan will not make a peg nor drive one into the ground. 
Those of the Dumar or fig-tree clan say that their first 
ancestor was born under this tree. They consider the tree 
to be sacred and never eat its fruit, and worship it once a 
year. Sometimes the members of the clan do not revere 
the object after which it is named but some other important 
animal or plant. Thus the Markam clan of Gonds, named 
after the mango-tree, venerate the tortoise and do not kill it. 
The Kathotia clan of Kols is named after kathota, a bowl, 
but they revere the tiger. Bagheshwar Deo, the tiger-god, 
resides on a little platform in their verandas. They may not 
join in a tiger-beat nor sit up for a tiger over a kill. In the 
latter case they think that the tiger would not come and 
would be deprived of his food, and all the members of their 
family would get ill. The Katharia clan take their name 
from kathri, a mattress. A member of this sept must never 
have a mattress in his house, nor wear clothes sewn in cross- 
pieces as mattresses are sewn. The name of the Mudia or 
Mudmudia clan is said to mean shaven head, but they 


apparently revere the white kuinhra or gourd, perhaps 
because it has some resemblance to a shaven head. They 
give a white gourd to a woman on the day after she has 
borne a child, and her family then do not eat this vegetable 
for three years. The Kumraya sept revere the brown 
kumhra or gourd. They grow this vegetable on the thatch 
of their house-roof and from the time of planting it till the 
fruits have been plucked they do not touch it, though of 
course they afterwards eat the fruits. The Bhuwar sept are 
named after bhu or bJmmi, the earth. They must always 
sleep on the earth and not on cots. The Nun (salt) and 
Dhan (rice) clans of Oraons cannot dispense with eating 
their totems or titular ancestors. But the Dhan Oraons 
content themselves with refusing to consume the scum which 
thickens on the surface of the boiled rice, and the Nun sept 
will not lick a plate in which salt and water have been mixed. 
At the weddings of the Vulture clan of the small Bhona 
caste one member of the clan kills a small chicken by biting 
off the head and then eats it in imitation of a vulture. 
Definite instances of the sacrificial eating of the totem animal 
have not been found, but it is said that the tiger and snake 
clans of the Bhatra tribe formerly ate their totems at a 
sacrificial meal. The Gonds also worship the cobra as a 
household god, and once a year they eat the flesh of the 
snake and think that by doing so they will be immune 
from snake-bite throughout the year. On the festival of 
Nag-Panchmi the Mahars make an image of a snake with 
flour and sugar and eat it. It is reported that the Singrore 
Dhimars who work on rivers and tanks must eat the flesh 
of a crocodile at their weddings, while the Sonjharas who 
wash the sands of rivers for gold should catch a live crocodile 
for the occasion of the wedding and afterwards put it back 
into the river. These latter customs may probably have fallen 
into abeyance owing to the difficulty of catching a crocodile, 
and in any case the animals are tribal gods rather than totems. 
Exogamy and totemism are found not only in India, 
but are the characteristics of primitive social groups over 
the greater part of the world. Totemism establishes a 
relation of kinship between persons belonging to one clan 
who are not related by blood, and exogamy prescribes that 


the persons held to be so related shall not intermarry. 
Further, when terms of relationship come into existence it 
is found that the}^ are applied not to members of one family, 
but to all the persons of the clan who might have stood in 
each particular relationship to the person addressing them. 
Thus a man will address as mother not only his own mother, 
but all the women of his clan who might have stood to him 
in the relation of mother. Similarly he will address all the 
old men and women as grandfather or grandmother or aunt, 
and the boys and girls of his own generation as brother and 
sister, and so on. With the development of the recognition 
of the consanguineous family, the use of terms of relationship 
tends to be restricted to persons who have actual kinship ; 
thus a boy will address only his father's brothers as father, 
and his cousins as brothers and sisters ; but sufficient traces 
of the older system of clan kinship remain to attest its former 
existence. But it seems also clear that some, at least, of the 
terms of relationship were first used between persons really 
related ; thus the word for mother must have been taught 
by mothers to their own babies beginning to speak, as it is 
a paramount necessity for a small child to have a name by 
which to call its mother when it is wholly dependent on 
her ; if the period of infancy is got over without the use of 
this term of address there is no reason why it should be 
introduced in later life, when in the primitive clan the child 
quickly ceased to be dependent on its mother or to retain 
any strong affection for her. Similarly, as shown by Sir 
J. G. Frazer in Totemism and Exogatny, there is often a 
special name for the mother's brother when other uncles or 
aunts are addressed simply as father or mother. This name 
must therefore have been brought into existence to distinguish 
the mother's brother at the time when, under the system of 
female descent, he stood in the relation of a protector and 
parent to the child. Where the for grandfather and 
grandmother are a form of duplication of those for father and 
mother as in English, they would appear to imply a definite 
recognition of the idea of family descent. The majority of 
the special names for other relatives, such as fraternal and 
maternal uncles and aunts, must also have been devised to 
designate those relatives in particular, and hence there is a 


probability that the terms for father and brother and sister, 
which on a pTiori grounds may be considered doubtful, were 
also first applied to real or putative fathers and brothers and 
sisters. But, as already seen, under the classificatory system 
of relationship these same terms are addressed to members 
of the same clan who might by age and sex have stood in 
such a relationship to the person addressing them, but are 
not actually akin to him at all. And hence it seems a 
valid and necessary conclusion that at the time when the 
family terms of relationship came into existence, the clan 
sentiment of kinship was stronger than the family sentiment ; 
that is, a boy was taught or made to feel that all the women 
of the clan of about the same age as his mother were as 
nearly akin to him as his own mother, and that he should 
regard them all in the same relation. And similarly he 
looked on all the men of the clan of an age enabling them 
to be his fathers in the same light as his own father, and 
all the children of or about his own age as his brothers and 
sisters. The above seems a necessary conclusion from the 
existence of the classificatory system of relationship, which 
is very widely spread among savages, and if admitted, it 
follows that the sentiment of kinship within the clan was 
already established when the family terms of relationship 
were devised, and therefore that the clan was prior to the 
family as a social unit. This conclusion is fortified by the 
rule of exogamy which prohibits marriage between persons 
of the same clan between whom no blood-relationship can 
be traced, and therefore shows that some kind of kinship 
was believed to exist between them, independent of and 
stronger than the link of consanguinity. Further, Mr. 
Hartland shows in Primitive Paternily^ that during the period 
of female descent when physical paternity has been recognised, 
but the father and mother belong to different clans, the 
children, being of the mother's clan, will avenge a blood-feud 
of their clan upon their own father ; and this custom seems 
to show clearly that the sentiment of clan-kinship was prior 
to and stronger than that of family kinship. 

The same argument seems to demonstrate that the idea 
of kinship within the clan was prior to the idea of descent 

1 Vol. i. pp. 272, 276. 


from a common ancestor, whether an animal or plant, a 51. cian 
god, hero or nicknamed ancestor. Because it is obvious '"'"f'^'P 

and loK.m- 

that a set of persons otherwise unconnected could not ism. 
suddenly and without reason have believed themselves to be 
descended from a common ancestor and hence related. If 
a number of persons not demonstrably connected by blood 
believe themselves to be akin simply on account of their 
descent from a common ancestor, it can only be because 
they are an expanded family, either actually or by fiction, 
which really had or might have had a common ancestor. 
That is, the clan tracing its descent from a common ancestor, 
if this was the primary type of clan, must have been sub- 
sequent to the family as a social institution. But as already 
seen the sentiment of kinship within the clan was prior to that 
within the family, and therefore the genesis of the clan from 
an expanded family is an impossible hypothesis ; and it 
follows that the members of the clan must first have believed 
themselves to be bound together by some tie equivalent to 
or stronger than that of consanguineous kinship, and after- 
wards, when the primary belief was falling into abeyance, 
that of descent from a common ancestor came into existence 
to account for the clan sentiment of kinship already existing. 
If then the first form of association of human beings was in 
small groups, which led a migratory life and subsisted mainly 
by hunting and the consumption of fruits and roots, as the 
Australian natives still do, the sentiment of kinship must first 
have arisen, as stated by Mr. M'Lennan, in that small body 
which lived and hunted together, and was due simply to the 
fact that they were so associated, that they obtained food for 
each other, and on occasion protected and preserved each 
other's lives.^ These small bodies of persons were the first 
social units, and according to our knowledge of the savage 
peoples who are nearest to the original migratory and hunting 
condition of life, without settled habitations, domestic animals 
or cultivated plants, they first called themselves after some 
animal or plant, usually, as Sir J. G. Frazer has shown in 
Totemism and Exogamy^ after some edible animal or plant. 
The most probable theory of totemism on a priori grounds 

'^ Studies in Aficient History, ip. 12T,. Frazer notes that the majority are 
2 See lists of totems of Australian edible animals or plants, 
and Red Indian tribes. Sir J. G. 


seems therefore to be that the original small bodies who lived 
and hunted together, or totem-clans, called themselves after 
the edible animal or plant from which they principally derived 
their sustenance, or that which gave them life. While the 
real tie which connected them was that of living together, 
they did not realise this, and supposed themselves to be 
akin because they commonly ate this animal or plant 
together. This theory of totemism was first promulgated 
by Professor Robertson Smith and, though much disputed, 
appears to me to be the most probable. It has also been 
advocated by Dr. A. C. Haddon, F.R.S.^ The Gaelic names 
for family, teadhloch and cuedichc or coedichc, mean, the first, 
' having a common residence,' the second, * those who eat 
together.' ^ The detailed accounts of the totems of the 
Australian, Red Indian and African tribes, now brought 
together by Sir J. G. Frazer in Toteviisjn and Exogamy^ 
show a considerable amount of evidence that the early 
totems were not only as a rule edible animals, but the 
animals eaten by the totem-clans which bore their names.^ 
But after the domestication of animals and the culture of 
plants had been attained to, the totems ceased to be the 
chief means of subsistence. Hence the original tie of kin- 
ship was supplanted by another and wider one in the tribe, 
and though the totem-clans remained and continued to fulfil 
an important purpose, they were no longer the chief social 
group. And in many cases, as man had also by now begun 
to speculate on his origin, the totems came to be regarded 
as ancestors, and the totem-clans, retaining their sentiment 
of kinship, accounted for it by supposing themselves to be 
descended from a common ancestor. They thus also came 
to base the belief in clan-kinship on the tie of consanguinity 
recognised in the family, which had by now come into ex- 
istence. This late and secondary form of totemism is that 
which obtains in India, where the migratory and hunting 

1 Address to the British Association, 112, 120, ii. p. 536, iii. pp. 100, 162 ; 
1902. I had not had the advantage Native Tribes of Central Atistralia, ■p'P- 
of reading the address prior to the com- 209-10; Native Tribes of Sottth- East 
pletion of this work. Australia, p. 145 ; Native Tribes of 

2 M'Lennan, Studies in Ancient Northern Australia (Professor Baldwin 
History, p. 123, quoting from Grant's Spencer), pp. 21, 197 ; J. H. Weeks, 
Origin and Descent of the Gael. Among llie Primitive Bakongo, p. 99. 

3 Toteviism and Exogamy, i. pp. 


stage has long been passed. The Indian evidence is, how- 
ever, of great value because we find here in the same com- ' 
munity, occasionally in the same caste, exogamous clans 
which trace their descent sometimes from animals and 
plants, or totems, and sometimes from gods, heroes, or 
titular ancestors, while many of the clans are named after 
villages or have names to which no meaning can be attached. 
As has been seen, there is good reason to suppose that all 
these forms of the exogamous clan are developed from the 
earliest form of the totem-clan ; and since this later type of 
clan has developed from the totem -clan in India, it is a 
legitimate deduction that wherever elsewhere exogamous 
clans are found tracing their descent from a common 
ancestor or with unintelligible names, probably derived from 
places, they were probably also evolved from the totem-clan. 
This type of clan is shown in Professor Hearn's Aryan 
Hotisehold to have been the common unit of society over 
much of Europe, where no traces of the existence of totemism 
are established.^ And from the Indian analogy it is therefore 
legitimate to presume that the totem-clan may have been 
the original unit of society among several European races as 
well as in America, Africa, Australia and India. Similar 
exogamous clans exist in China, and many of them have the 
names of plants and animals." 

In order to render clear the manner in which the clan 52. Ani- 
named after a totem animal (or, less frequently, a plant) came cr^gation 
to hold its members akin both to each other and their totem 
animals, an attempt may be made to indicate, however 
briefly and imperfectly, some features of primitive man's 
conception of nature and life. Apparently when they began 
dimly to observe and form conscious mental impressions of 
the world around them, our first ancestors made some 
cardinal, though natural and inevitable, mistakes. In the 
first place they thought that the whole of nature was animate, 
and that every animal, plant, or natural object which they saw 
around them, was alive and self-conscious like themselves. 
They had, of course, no words or ideas connoting life or 
consciousness, or distinguishing animals, vegetables or lifeless 

1 See pp. II, 138, 190 (Edition ^ Totemism and Exogamy, ii. pp. 

iSgi)- ' Zl^, 339- 



objects, and they were naturally quite incapable of distinguish- 
ing them. They merely thought that everything they saw was 
like themselves, would feel hurt and resentment if injured, 
and would know what was done to it, and by whom ; when- 
ever they saw the movement of an animal, plant, or other 
object, they thought it was volitional and self-conscious like 
their own movements. If they saw a tree waving in the 
wind, having no idea or conception of the wind, they thought 
the tree was moving its branches about of its own accord ; 
if a stone fell, they, knowing nothing of the force of gravity, 
thought the stone projected itself from one place to another 
because it wished to do so. This is exactly the point of 
view taken by children when they first begin to observe. 
They also think that everything they see is alive like them- 
selves, and that animals exercise volit-ion and have a self- 
conscious intelligence like their own. But they quickly learn 
their mistakes and adopt the point of view of their elders 
because they are taught. Primitive man had no one to 
teach him, and as he did not co-ordinate or test his observa- 
tions, the traces of this first conception of the natural world 
remain clearly indicated by a vast assortment of primitive 
customs and beliefs to the present day. All the most 
prominent natural objects, the sun and moon, the sky, the 
sea, high mountains, rivers and springs, the earth, the fire, 
became objects of veneration and were worshipped as gods, 
and this could not possibly have happened unless they had 
been believed to have life. Stone images and idols are con- 
sidered as living gods. In India girls are married to flowers, 
trees, arrows, swords, and so on. A bachelor is married to 
a ring or a plant before wedding a widow, and the first 
ceremony is considered as his true marriage. The Saligram, 
or ammonite stone, is held to represent the god Vishnu, 
perhaps because it was thought to be a thunderbolt and to 
have fallen from heaven. Its marriage is celebrated with the 
tulsi or basil-plant, which is considered the consort of Vishnu. 
Trees are held to be animate and possessed by spirits, and 
before a man climbs a tree he begs its pardon for the injury 
he is about to inflict on it. When a tank is dug, its marriage 
is celebrated. To the ancient Roman his hearth was a god ; 
the walls and doors and threshold of his house were gods ; 


the boundaries of his field were also gods.^ It is precisely 
the same with the modern Hindu ; he also venerates the 
threshold of his house, the cooking-hearth, the grinding-mill, 
and the boundaries of his field. The Jains still think that 
all animals, plants and inanimate objects have souls or 
spirits like human beings. The belief in a soul or spirit is 
naturally not primitive, as man could not at first conceive of 
anything he did not see or hear, but plants and inanimate 
objects could not subsequently have been credited with the 
possession of souls or spirits unless they had previously been 
thought to be alive. " The Fijians consider that if an 
animal or a plant dies its soul immediately goes to Bolotoo ; 
if a stone or any other substance is broken, immortality is 
equally its reward ; nay, artificial bodies have equal good 
luck with men and hogs and yams. If an axe or a chisel 
is worn out or broken up, away flies its soul for the service 
of the gods. If a house is taken down or any way destroyed, 
its immortal part will find a situation on the plains of 
Bolotoo. The Finns believed that all inanimate objects 
had their haltia or soul." ^ The Malays think that animals, 
vegetables and minerals, as well as human beings, have 
souls.^ The Kav/ar tribe are reported to believe that all 
articles of furniture and property have souls or spirits, and 
if any such is stolen the spirit will punish the thief Theft 
is consequently almost unknown among them. All the 
fables about animals and plants speaking and exercising 
volition ; the practice of ordeals, resting on the belief that 
the sacred living elements, fire and water, will of themselves 
discriminate between the innocent and guilty ; the pro- 
pitiatory offerings to the sea and to rivers, such incidents 
as Xerxes binding the sea with fetters, Ajax defying the 
lightning, Aaron's rod that budded, the superstitions of 
sailors about ships : all result from the same primitive 
belief Many other instances of self-conscious life and 
volition being attributed to animals, plants and natural 
objects are given by Lord Avebury in Origin of Civilisa- 
tion, by Dr. Westermarck in The Origin and Development 

1 La Cite Atitique, p. 254. '■' W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic, pp. 

- The Origin of Civilisation, ixXxe.A. 52, 53. 
p. 246. 


of the Moral Ideas} and by Sir J. G. Frazer in The 
Golden Bough} 

Thus primitive man had no conception of inanimate 
matter, and it seems probable that he did not either realise 
the idea of death. Though it may be doubtful whether any 
race exists at present which does not understand that death is 
the cessation of life in the body, indications remain that this 
view was not primary and may not have been acquired for 
some time. The Gonds apparently once thought that people 
would not die unless they were killed by magic, and similar 
beliefs are held by the Australian and African savages. 
Several customs also point to the belief in the survival of 
some degree of life in the body after death, apart from the 
idea of the soul. 

Primitive man further thought that life, instead of being 
concentrated in certain organs, was distributed equally over 
the whole of the body. This mistake appears also to have 
been natural and inevitable when it is remembered that he 
had no name for the body, the different limbs and the 
internal organs, and no conception of their existence and 
distribution, nor of the functions which they severally per- 
formed. He perceived that sensation extended over all parts 
of the body, and that when any part was hurt or wounded 
the blood flowed and life gradually declined in vigour and 
ebbed away. For this reason the blood was subsequently often 
identified with the life. During the progress of culture many 
divergent views have been held about the source and location 
of life and mental and physical qualities, and the correct 
one that life is centred in the heart and brain, and that the 
brain is the seat of intelligence and mental qualities has only 
recently been arrived at. We still talk about people being hard- 
hearted, kind-hearted and heartless, and about a man's heart 
being in the right place, as if we supposed that the qualities of 
kindness and courage were located in the heart, and deter- 
mined by the physical constitution and location of the heart. 
The reason for this is perhaps that the soul was held to be 
the source of mental qualities, and to be somewhere in the 

1 I. p. 253. Culture, i. pp. 282, 286, 295 ; ii. pp. 

^ 2nd ed. vol. i. pp. 169, 174. See 170, 181, etc. 
also Sir E. B. Tylor's Primitive 


centre of the body, and hence the heart came to be identified 
with it. As shown by Sir J. G. Frazer in The Golden Bough 
many peoples or races have thought that the life and 
qualities were centred in the whole head, not merely in the 
brain. And this is the reason why Hindus will not appear 
abroad with the head bare, why it is a deadly insult to 
knock off a man's turban, and why turbans or other head- 
gear were often exchanged as a solemn pledge of friendship. 
The superstition against walking under a ladder may have 
originally been based on some idea of its being derogatory 
or dangerous to the head, though not, of course, from the 
fear of being struck by a falling brick. Similarly, as shown 
in the article on Nai, the belief that the bodily strength and 
vigour were located in the hair, and to a less extent in the 
nails and teeth, has had a world-wide prevalence. But this 
cannot have been primary, because the hair had first to be 
conceived of apart from the rest of the body, and a separate 
name devised for it, before the belief that the hair was the 
source of strength could gradually come into existence. The 
evolution of these ideas may have extended over thousands 
of years. The expression ' white-livered,' again, seems to 
indicate that the quality of courage was once held to be 
located in the liver, and the belief that the liver was the seat 
of life was perhaps held by the Gonds. But the primary 
idea seems necessarily to have been that the life was equally 
distributed all over the body. And since, as will be .seen 
subsequently, the savage was incapable of conceiving the 
abstract idea of life, he thought of it in a concrete form as 
part of the substance of the flesh and blood. 

And since primitive man had no conception of inanimate 
matter it followed that when any part of the body was severed 
from the whole, he did not think of the separate fraction as 
merely lifeless matter, but as still a part of the body to which 
it had originally belonged and retaining a share of its life. 
For according to his view of the world and of animate nature, 
which has been explained above, he could not think of it as 
anything else. Thus the clippings of hair, nails, teeth, the 
spittle and any other similar products all in his view remained 
part of the body from which they had been severed and 
retained part of its life. In the case of the elements, earth, 


fire and water, which he considered as Hving beings and 
subsequently worshipped as gods, this view was correct. 
Fractional portions of earth, fire and water, when severed 
from the remainder, retained their original nature and consti- 
tution, and afforded some support to his generally erroneous 
belief. And since he had observed that an injury done to 
any part of the body was an injury to the whole, it followed 
that if one got possession of any part of the body, such as the 
severed hair, teeth or nails, one could through them injure that 
body of which they still formed a part. It is for this reason 
that savages think that if an enemy can obtain possession 
of any waste product of the body, such as the severed hair or 
nails, that he can injure the owner through them. Similarly 
the Hindus thought that the clippings of the hair or nails, if 
buried in fertile ground, would grow into a plant, through 
the life which they retained, and as this plant waxed in size 
it would absorb more and more of the original owner's life, 
which would consequently wane and decline. The worship 
of relics, such as the bones or hair of saints, is based on the 
same belief that they retain a part of the divine life and 
virtue of him to whom they once belonged. 

It is probable that qualities were first conceived of by 
being observed in animals or natural objects. Prior to the 
introduction of personal names, the individuality of human 
beings could neither be clearly realised nor remembered after 
they were dead. But man must have perceived at an early 
period that certain animals were stronger or swifter than he 
was, or more cunning, and since the same quality was repro- 
duced in every animal of the species, it could easily become 
permanently associated with the animal. But there were no 
names for qualities, nor any independent conception of them 
apart from the animal or animals in which they were observed. 
Supposing that strength and swiftness were mainly associated 
with the horse, as was often the case, then they would be 
necessarily conceived of as a part or essence of the horse 
and his life, not in the way we think of them, as qualities 
appertaining to the horse on account of the strength of his 
muscles and the conformation of his limbs. When names 
were devised for these qualities, they would be something 
equivalent to horsey or horse-like. The association of 


qualities with animals is still shown in such words as asinine, 
owlish, foxy, leonine, mulish, dogged, tigerish, and so on ; 
but since the inferiority of animals to man has long been 
recognised, most of the animal adjectives have a derogatory 
sense.^ It was far otherwise with primitive man, who first 
recognised the existence of the qualities most necessary to 
him, as strength, courage, swiftness, sagacity, cunning and 
endurance, as being displayed by certain animals in a greater 
degree than he possessed them himself. Birds he admired 
and venerated as being able to rise and fly in the air, which 
he could not do ; fish for swimming and remaining under 
water when he could not ; while at the same time he had 
not as yet perceived that the intelligence of animals was in 
any way inferior to his own, and he credited many of them 
with the power of speech. Thus certain animals were 
venerated on account of the qualities associated with them, 
and out of them in the course of time anthropomorphic gods 
personifying the qualities were evolved. The Australian 
aborigines of the kangaroo totem, when they wish to multiply 
the number of kangaroos, go to a certain place where two 
special blocks of stone project immediately one above the 
other from the hillside. One is supposed to represent an 
' old man ' kangaroo and the other a female. The stones are 
rubbed and then painted with alternate red and white stripes, 
the red stripes representing the red fur of the kangaroos, and 
the white ones its bones. After doing this some of them open 
veins in their arms and allow the blood to spurt over the 
stones. The other men sing chants referring to the increase 
in the numbers of the kangaroos, and they suppose that this 
ceremony will actually result in producing an increased 
number of kangaroos and hence an additional supply of food. 
Here the inference seems to be that the stones represent the 
centre or focus of the life of kangaroos, and when they are 
quickened by the painting, and the supply of blood, they will 
manifest their creative activity and increase the kangaroos. 
If we suppose that some similar stone existed on the 
Acropolis and was considered by the owl clan as the centre 

1 See also Primitive Culture, i. pp. 1 19, 121, 412, 413, 514- 

2 Messrs. Spencer and Gillan, Native Tribes of Central Australia (London, 
Macmillan), p. 201. 


of the life of the owls which frequented the hill, then when 
the art of sculpture had made some progress, and the 
superiority of the human form and intellect began to be 
apprehended, if a sculptor carved the stone into the semblance 
of a human being, the goddess Athena would be born. 

It has been seen that primitive man considered the life and 
qualities to be distributed equally over the body in a physical 
sense, so that they formed part of the substance and flesh. 
The same view extended even to instrumental qualities or 
functions, since his mental powers and vision were necessarily 
limited by his language. Language must apparently have 
begun by pointing at animals or plants and making some 
sound, probably at first an imitation of the cry or other 
characteristic of the animal, which came to connote it. We 
have to suppose that language was at the commencement a 
help in the struggle for life, because otherwise men, as yet 
barely emerged from the animal stage, would never have 
made the painful mental efforts necessary to devise and 
remember the words. Words which would be distinctly 
advantageous in the struggle would be names for the animals 
and plants which they ate, and for the animals which ate 
them. By saying the name and pointing in any direction, 
the presence of such animals or plants in the vicinity would be 
intimated more quickly and more accurately than by signs 
or actions. Such names were then, it may be supposed, 
the first words. Animals or plants of which they made no 
use nor from which they apprehended any danger, would for 
long be simply disregarded, as nothing was to be gained by 
inventing names for them. The first words were all nouns 
and the names of visible objects, and this state of things 
probably continued for a long period and was the cause of 
many erroneous primitive conceptions and ideas. Some 
traces of the earliest form of language can still be discerned. 
Thus of Santali Sir G. Grierson states : " Every word can 
perform the function of a verb, and every verbal form can, 
according to circumstances, be considered as a noun, an 
adjective or a verb. It is often simply a matter of conveni- 
ence which word is considered as a noun and which as an 
adjective. . . . Strictly speaking, in Santali there is no real 
verb as distinct from the other classes of words. Every 


independent word can perform the function of a verb, and 
every verbal form can in its turn be used as a noun or 
adjective." ^ And of the Dravidian languages he says : 
" The genitive of ordinary nouns is in reality an adjective, 
and the difference between nouns and adjectives is of no 
great importance. . . . Many cases are both nouns and 
verbs. Nouns of agency are very commonly used as verbs." ^ 
Thus if it be admitted that nouns preceded verbs as parts 
of speech, which will hardly be disputed, these passages 
show how the semi-abstract adjectives and verbs were 
gradually formed from the names of concrete nouns. Of 
the language of the now extinct Tasmanian aborigines it is 
stated : " Their speech was so imperfectly constituted that 
there was no settled order or arrangement of words in the 
sentence, the sense being eked out by face, manner and 
gesture, so that they could scarcely converse in the dark, 
and all intercourse had to cease with nightfall. Abstract 
forms scarcely existed, and while every gum-tree or wattle- 
tree had its name, there was no word for ' tree ' in general, 
nor for qualities such as hard, soft, hot, cold, etc. Anything 
hard was ' like a stone,' anything round ' like the moon,' and 
so on, the speaker suiting the action to the word, and supple- 
menting the meaning to be understood by some gesture." ^ 
Here the original concrete form of language can be clearly 
discerned. They had a sufficiency of names for all the 
objects which were of use to them, and apparently verbal 
ideas were largely conveyed by gesture. Captain Forsyth 
states ^ that though the Korkus very seldom wash them- 
selves, there exist in their language eight words for washing, 
one for washing the face, another for the hands and others 
for different parts of the body. Thus we see that the verbal 
idea of washing was originally conceived not generally, but 
separately with reference to each concrete object or noun, 
for which a name existed and to which water was applied. 

The primitive languages consisted only of nouns or the 56- Con- 
names of visible objects, possibly with the subsequent addition mature of 


1 Linguistic Survey of India, vol. 292, 294. ideas. 
\v., iMujtda and Dravidian Languages, ^ T)x. A. H. Keane, The World's 

pp. 40, 41, 45. Peoples, London, Hutchinson, 1908, 

2 Linguistic Survey of India,-vo\.i\., p. 50. 

Munda and Dravidian Lattguages, pp. ^ Niiiiar Settlement Report. 


of a few names for such conceptions as the wind and the 
voice, which could be heard, but not seen. There were 
no abstract nor semi-abstract terms nor parts of speech. 
The resulting inability to realise any abstract conception 
and the tendency to make everything concrete is a principal 
and salient characteristic of ethnology and primitive religion.^ 
All actions are judged by their concrete aspect or effects and 
not by the motives which prompted them, nor the results 
which they produce. For a Hindu to let a cow die with a 
rope round its neck is a grave caste offence, apparently 
because an indignity is thus offered to the sacred animal, 
but it is no offence to let a cow starve to death. A girl 
may be married to inanimate objects as already seen, or to 
an old man or a relative without any intention that she shall 
live with him as a wife, but simply so that she may be married 
before reaching puberty. If she goes through the ceremony 
of marriage she is held to be married. Yet the motive for 
infant-marriage is held to be that a girl should begin to bear 
children as soon as she is physically capable of doing so, and 
such a marriage is useless from this point of view. Some 
castes who cannot afford to burn a corpse hold a lighted 
brand to it or kindle a little fire on the grave and consider this 
equivalent to cremation. Promises are considered as concrete ; 
among some Hindus promises are tied up in knots of cloth, 
and when they are discharged the knots are untied. Mr. S. 
C. Roy says of the Oraons : " Contracts are even to this 
day generally not written but acted. Thus a lease of land 
is made by the lessor handing over a clod of earth (which 
symbolises land) to the lessee ; a contract of sale of cattle 
is entered into by handing over to the buyer a few blades of 
grass (which symbolise so many heads of cattle) ; a contract 
of payment of bride-price is made by the bridegroom's 
father or other relative handing over a number of baris or 
small cakes of pulse (which symbolise so many rupees) to 
the bride's father or other relative ; and a contract of 
service is made by the mistress of the house anointing 
the head of the intended servant with oil, and making a 
present of a few pice, and entertaining him to a feast, thus 
signifying that he would receive food, lodging and some 

^ See also Primitive Culture, i. p. 40S. 


pay." ^ Thus an abstract agreement is not considered suf- 
ficient for a contract ; in each case it must be ratified by a 
concrete act. 

The divisions of time are considered in a concrete sense. 
The fortnight or Nakshatra is presided over by its constella- 
tion, and this is held to be a nymph or goddess, who 
controls events during its course. Similarly, as shown in 
Tlie Golden Bought many kinds of new enterprises should 
be begun in the fortnight of the waxing moon, not in 
that of the waning moon. Days are also thought to 
be concrete and governed by their planets, and from this 
idea come all the superstitions about lucky and unlucky 
days. If a day had been from the beginning realised as 
a simple division of time no such superstitions could exist. 
Events, so far as they are conceived of, are also considered 
in a concrete sense. The reason why omens were so 
often drawn from birds ^ is perhaps that birds fly from a 
distance and hence are able to see coming events on their 
way ; and the hare and donkey were important animals of 
augury, perhaps because, on account of their long ears, they 
were credited with abnormally acute hearing, which would 
enable them to hear the sound of coming events before 
ordinary people. The proverb ' Coming events cast their 
shadows before,' appears to be a survival of this mode of 
belief, as it is obvious that that which has no substance 
cannot cast a shadow. 

The whole category of superstitions about the evil eye 
arises from the belief that the glance of the eye is a concrete 
thing which strikes the person or object towards which it is 
directed like a dart. The theory that the injury is caused 
through the malice or envy of the person casting the evil 
eye seems to be derivative and explanatory. If a stranger's 
glance falls on the food of a Ramanuji Brahman while it is 
being cooked, the food becomes polluted and must be buried 
in the ground. Here it is clear that the glance of the eye is 
equivalent to real contact of some part of the stranger's body, 
which would pollute the food. In asking for leave in order 

1 The Oraons, pp. 408, 409. Thug and Index. Also !\Iiss Harri- 

2 2nd ed. vol. ii. p. 457 et seq. son's Themis, pp. 98, 99. 
^ For instances of omens see article 


to nurse his brother who was seriously ill but could obtain 
no advantage from medical treatment, a Hindu clerk 
explained that the sick man had been pierced by the evil 
glance of some woman. 
57. Words Similarly words were considered to have a concrete 

and names force, SO that the mere repetition of words produced an 

concrete. '■ '^ 1 • 1 

effect analogous to their sense. The purely mechanical 
repetition of prayers was held to be a virtuous act, and this 
idea was carried to the most absurd length in the Buddhist's 
praying - wheel, where merit was acquired by causing the 
wheel with prayers inscribed on its surface to revolve in a 
waterfall. The wearing of strips of paper, containing sacred 
texts, as amulets on the body is based on this belief, and 
some Muhammadans will wash off the ink from paper con- 
taining a verse of the Koran and drink the mixture under 
the impression that it will do them good. Here the belief 
in the concrete virtue and substance of the written word is 
very clear. The Hindus thinlc that the continued repetition 
of the Gayatri or sacred prayer to the sun is a means of 
acquiring virtue, and the prayer is personified as a goddess. 
The enunciation of the sacred syllable Aum or Om is 
supposed to have the most powerful results. Homer's phrase 
' winged words ' perhaps recalls the period when the words 
were considered as physical entities which actually travelled 
through the air from the speaker to the hearer and were 
called winged because they went so fast. A Korku clan has 
the name /odo which means a piece of cloth. But the word 
/odo also signifies ' to leak.' If a person says a sentence 
containing the word /odo in either signification before a 
member of the clan while he is eating, he will throw away 
the food before him as if it were contaminated and prepare 
a meal afresh. Here it is clear that the Korku pays no 
regard to the sense but solely to the word or sound. This 
belief in the concrete force of words has had the most 
important effects both in law and religion. The earliest 
codes of law were held to be commands of the god and 
claimed obedience on this ground. The binding force of 
the law rested in the words and not in the sense because the 
words were held to be those of the god and to partake of 
his divine nature. In ancient Rome the citizen had to take 

Bemrose, Coilo., Derby. 



care to know the words of the law and to state them exactly. 
If he used one wrong word the law gave him no assistance. 
" Gains tells a story of a man whose neighbour had cut his 
vines ; the facts were clear ; he stated the law applying to 
his case, but he said vines, whereas the law said trees ; he lost 
his suit." ^ The divine virtue attached to the sacred books 
of different religions rests on the same belief Frequently 
the books themselves are worshipped, and it was held that 
they could not be translated because the sanctity resided in 
the actual words and would be lost if other words were used. 
The efficacy of spells and invocations seems to depend mainly 
on this belief in the concrete power of words. If one knows 
an efficacious form of words connoting a state of physical 
facts and repeats it with the proper accessory conditions, 
then that state of facts is actually caused to exist ; and if 
one knows a man's name and calls on him with a form of 
words efficacious to compel attendance, he has to come and 
his spirit can similarly be summoned from the dead. When 
a Malay wishes to kill an enemy he makes an image of the 
man, transfixes or otherwise injures it, and buries it on the 
path over which the enemy will tread. As he buries it with 
the impression that he will thereby cause the enemy to die 
and likewise be buried, he says : 

It is not I who am burying him, 
It is Gabriel who is burying him, 

and thinks that the repetition of these words produces the 
state of facts which they denote so that the guilt of the 
murder is removed from his own shoulders to those of the 
archangel Gabriel. Similarly when he has killed a deer 
and wishes to be free from the guilt of his action, or as he 
calls it to cast out the mischief from the deer, he says : 

It is not I who cast out these mischiefs, 
It is Michael who casts them out. 
It is not I who cast out these mischiefs. 
It is Israfel who casts them out, 

and so on, freeing himself in the same manner from re- 
sponsibility for the death of the deer.- Names also are 
regarded as concrete. Primitive man could not regard a 

1 La Citd Antique, p. 225. 
•^ W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic, pp. 178, 57 1- 


name as an abstract appellation, but thought of it as 
part of the person or thing to which it was applied and 
as containing part of his life, like his hair, spittle and the 
rest of his body. He would have used names for a long 
period before he had any word for a name, and his first idea 
of the name as a part of the substantive body to which it is 
applied has survived a more correct appreciation. Thus if 
one knew a person's name one could injure him by working 
evil on it and the part of his life contained in it, just as one 
could injure him through the clippings of his hair, his spittle, 
clothes or the earth pressed by his foot. This is the reason 
for the common custom of having two names, one of which, 
the true name, is kept secret and only used on ceremonial 
occasions when it is essential, as at a wedding, while the 
other is employed for everyday life. The latter, not being 
the man's true name, does not contain part of his life, and 
hence there is no harm in letting an enemy know it. 
Similarly the Hindus think that a child's name should not 
be repeated at night, lest an owl might hear it, when this 
bird could injure the child through its name, just as if it got 
hold of a piece of cloth worn or soiled by the child. The 
practice of euphemism rests on this belief, as it was thought 
that if a person's name was said and a part of him was thus 
caused to be present the rest would probably follow. Hence 
the rule of avoiding the use of the names of persons or 
things of which one does not desire the presence. Thus 
Sir E. B. Tylor says : " The Dayak will not speak of 
the smallpox by name, but will call it ' The Chief,' or 
'Jungle leaves,' or say, 'Has He left you?' The 
euphemism of calling the Furies the Eumenides, or ' Gracious 
Ones,' is the stock illustration of this feeling, and the 
euphemisms for fairies and for the devil are too familiar to 
quote." ^ Similarly the name of a god was considered as 
part of him and hence partaking of his divine nature. It 
was thus so potent that it could not be mentioned on 
ordinary occasions or by common persons. Allah is only 
an epithet for the name of God among the Muhammadans 
and his True or Great Name is secret. Those who know 
it have power over all created things. Clearly then the 

' Ear/y History of Mankind, yd ed. p. 143. 


divine power is held to reside in the name itself. The 
concealment of the name of the tutelary deity of Rome, for 
divulging which Valerius Soranus is said to have paid the 
penalty of death, is a case in point.^ Sir E. B. Tylor gives 
many other interesting examples of the above ideas and 
points out the connection clearly existing in the savage 
mind between the name and the object to which it is applied. 
The Muhammadans think that Solomon's name is very 
efficacious for casting out devils and evil spirits. The 
practice of naming children after gods or by the epithets or 
titles applied to the divine being, or after the names of 
saints, appears to be due to the belief that such names, by 
reason of their association with the god or saint, acquire a 
part of his divine life and virtue, which when given to 
children the names will in turn convey to them." On the 
other hand, when a Hindu mother is afraid lest her child 
may die, she sometimes gives it an opprobrious name as 
dirt, rubbish, sweepings, or sold for one or two cowries, 
so that the evil spirits who take the lives of children 
may be deceived by the name and think that such a value- 
less child is not worth having. The voice was also held 
to be concrete. The position of the Roman tribune was 
peculiar, as he was not a magistrate chosen by divine 
authority and hence could not summon people to his court ; 
but the tribune had been dedicated to the city gods, and 
his person was sacrosanct. He could therefore lay hands 
on a man, and once the tribune touched him, the man was 
held to be in the magistrate's power, and bound to obey 
him. This rule extended even to those who were within 
hearing of his voice ; any one, even a patrician or consul, 
who heard the tribune's voice was compelled to obey him. 
In this case it is clear that the voice and spoken words were 
held to be concrete, and to share in the sanctity attaching to 
the body.^ When primitive man could not think of a name 
as an abstraction but had to think of it as an actual part of 
the body and life of the person or visible object to which 
it belonged, it will be realised how impossible it was for 
him during a long period to conceive of any abstract 

^ Ibidem, p. 125. Hindu names. 

^ See article Joshi for examples of ^ La Cite Antique, p. 357. 


idea, which was only a word without visible or corporal 
58. The Thus he could not at first have had any conception 

riru""^ of a soul or spirit, which is an unseen thing. Savages 
generally may have evolved the conception of a soul or 
spirit as an explanation of dreams, according to the view 
taken by Mr. E. Clodd in Myths and Dreams} Mr. Clodd 
shows that dreams were necessarily and invariably con- 
sidered as real events, and it could not have been other- 
wise, as primitive man would have been unable to conceive 
the abstract idea of a vision or fantasy. And since during 
dreams the body remained immobile and quiescent, it was 
thought that the spirit inside the body left it and travelled 
independently. Hence the reluctance often evinced to 
waking a sleeper suddenly from fear lest the absent spirit 
might not have time to return to the body before its awaken- 
ing and hence the man might die. Savages, not having the 
conception of likeness or similarity,^ would confuse death 
and sleep, because the appearance of the body is similar in 
death and in sleep. Legends of the type of Rip Van 
Winkle and the Sleeping Beauty, and of heroes like King 
Arthur and Frederick Barbarossa lying asleep through the 
centuries in some remote cave or other hiding-place, from 
which they will one day issue forth to regenerate the world, 
perpetuate the primitive identification of death and sleep. 
And the belief long prevailed that after death the soul or 
spirit remained with the body in the place where it lay, 
leaving the body and returning to it as the spirit was held 
to do in sleep. The spirit was also thought to be able to 
quit the body and enter any other body, both during life and 
after death ; most of the beliefs in spirit-possession and many 
of those about the power of witches arise from this view. 
The soul or spirit was commonly conceived of in concrete 
form ; the Egyptians, Greeks and Hindus thought of it as 
a little mannikin inside the body. After death the Hindus 
often break the skull in order to allow the soul to escape. 
Often an insect or a stone is thought to harbour the spirit. 
As shown by Sir E. B. Tylor in Primitive Culturef the 

^ p. 182, et seq. - See para. 61. 

3 I. p. 430. 


breath, the shadow and the pupil of the eye were sometimes 
held to be or to represent the soul or spirit. Disembodied 
spirits are imprisoned in a tree or hole by driving nails into 
the tree or ground to confine them and prevent their exit. 
When a man died accidentally or a woman in childbirth, 
and fear was felt that their spirits might annoy or injure the 
living, a stake might be driven through the body or a cairn 
of stones piled over it in order to keep the ghost down and 
prevent it from rising and walking. The genii of the 
Arabian Nights were imprisoned in sealed bottles, and when 
the bottle was opened they appeared in a cloud of vapour. 

There seems every reason to suppose, as the same author 
suggests, that man first thought he had a spirit himself and as 
a consequence held that animals, plants and inanimate objects 
also contained spirits. Because the belief that the human 
body had a spirit can easily be accounted for, but there • 
seems to be no valid reason why man should have thought 
that all other visible objects also contained spirits, except 
that at the period when he conceived of the existence of a 
soul or spirit he still held them to be possessed of life and 
self-conscious volition like himself. But certain beliefs, such 
as the universal existence of life, and of its distribution all 
over the body and transmission by contact and eating, the 
common life of the species, and possibly totemism itself, 
appear to have been pre-animistic or prior to any conception of 
or belief in a soul or spirit either in man himself or in nature. 

Primitive man thought that the life and all qualities, S9- The 
mental and physical, were equally distributed over the body eion^of 
as part of the substance of the flesh. He thus came to qualities, 
think that they could be transferred from one body or 
substance to another in two ways : either by contact of the 
two bodies or substances, or by the eating or assimilation of 
one by the other. The transmission of qualities by contact 
could be indicated through simply saying the two names of 
the objects in contact together, and transmission by eating 
through saying the two names with a gesture of eating. 
Thus if one ate a piece of tiger's flesh, one assimilated 
an equivalent amount of strength, ferocity, cruelty, yellow- 
ness, and any other qualities which might be attributed to 
the tiger. Warriors and youths are sometimes forbidden 

VOL. I ^ 


to eat deer's flesh because it will make them timid, but 
they are encouraged to eat the flesh of tigers, bears, and 
other ferocious animals, because it will make them brave. 
The Gonds, if they wish a child to be a good dancer, cause 
it to eat the flesh of a kind of hawk, which hangs gracefully 
poised over the water, with its wings continually flapping, 
on the look-out for its prey. They think that by eating 
the flesh the limbs of the child will become supple like the 
wings of the bird. If a child is slow in learning to speak, 
they give it to eat the leaves of the pipal tree, which rustle 
continually in the wind and are hence supposed to have the 
quality of making a noise. All qualities, objective and 
instrumental, were conceived of in the same manner, because 
in the absence of verbs or abstract terms their proper relation 
to the subject and object could not be stated or understood. 
Thus if a woman's labour in child-birth is prolonged she is 
given to drink water in which the charred wood of a tree 
struck by lightning has been dipped. Here it is clear that 
the quality of swiftness is held to have been conveyed by 
the lightning to the wood, by the wood to the water, and 
by the water to the woman, so as to give her a swift delivery. 
By a similar train of reasoning she is given to drink the 
water of a swiftly-flowing stream which thus has the quality 
of swiftness, or water poured through a gun-barrel in which 
the fouling of a bullet is left. Here the quality of swiftness 
appertaining to the bullet is conveyed by the soiling to the 
barrel and thence to the water and to the woman who drinks 
the water. In the above cases all the transfers except that 
to the woman are by contact. The belief in the transfer 
of qualities by contact may have arisen from the sensations 
of the body and skin, to which heat, cold and moisture are 
communicated by contact. It was applied to every kind of 
quality. A familiar instance is the worship of the marks on 
rocks or stone which are held to be the footprints left by a 
god. Here a part of the god's divine virtue and power has 
been communicated through the sole of his foot to the rock 
dented by the latter. Touching for the king's evil was 
another familiar case, when it was thought that a fraction 
of the king's divine life and virtue was communicated by 
contact to the person touched and cured him of his ailment. 


The wearing of amulets where these consist of parts of the 
bodies of animals is based on the same belief. When a 
man wears on his person the claws of a tiger in an amulet, 
he thinks that the claws being the tiger's principal weapon 
of offence contain a concentrated part of his strength, and 
that the wearer of the claws will acquire some of this by 
contact. The Gonds carry the shoulder-bone of a tiger, or 
eat the powdered bone-dust, in order to acquire strength, 
The same train of reasoning applies to the wearing of the 
hair of a bear, a common amulet in India, the hair being 
often considered as the special seat of strength.^ The 
whole practice of wearing ornaments of the precious metals 
and precious stones appears to have been originally due to 
the same motive, as shown in the article on Sunar. 

If the Gonds want a child to become fat, they put it in 
a pigsty or a place where asses have rolled, so that it may 
acquire by contact the quality of fatness belonging to the 
pigs or asses. If they wish to breed quarrels in an enemy's 
house, they put the seeds of the amaltds or the quills of the 
porcupine in the thatch of the roof. The seeds in the dried 
pods of this tree rattle in the wind, while the fretful 
porcupine raises its quills when angry. Hence the seeds 
will impart the quality of noise to the house, so that its 
inmates will be noisy, while the quills of the porcupine 
will similarly breed strife between them. The effects pro- 
duced by weapons and instruments are thought of in the 
same manner. We say that an arrow is shot from a bow 
with such force as to penetrate the body and cause a wound. 
The savage could not think or speak in this way, because 
he had no verbs and could not think of nouns in the 
objective case. He thought of the arrow as an animate 
thing having a cutting or piercing quality. When placed in 
a suitable position to exercise its powers, it flew, of its own 
volition, through the air to the target, and communicated to 
it by contact some of the above quality. The idea is more 
easily realised in the case of balls, pieces of bone or other 
missiles thrown by magicians. Here the person whom it is 
intended to injure may be miles away, so that the object could 
not possibly strike him merely through the force imparted to 
1 See article on Nai. 


it by the thrower. But when the magician has said charms 
over the missile, communicating to it the power and desire 
to do his will, he throws it in the proper direction and 
savages believe that it will go of its own accord to the person 
against whom it is aimed and penetrate his body. To pre- 
tend to suck pieces of bone out of the body, which are 
supposed to have been propelled into the victim by an 
enemy, is one of the commonest magical methods of curing 
an illness. The following instances of this idea are taken 
from the admirable collection in The Golden Bough ^ : " (In 
Suffolk) if a man cuts himself with a bill-hook or a scythe 
he always takes care to keep the weapon bright, and oils it 
to prevent the wound from festering. If he runs a thorn or, 
as he calls it, a bush into his hand, he oils or greases the 
extracted thorn. A man came to a doctor with an inflamed 
hand, having run a thorn into it while he was hedging. On 
being told that the hand was festering, he remarked : ' That 
didn't ought to, for I greased the bush well after I pulled it 
out.' If a horse wounds its foot by treading on a nail, a 
Suffolk groom will invariably preserve the nail, clean it and 
grease it every day to prevent the wound from festering." 
Here the heat and festering of the wounds are held to 
be qualities of the axe, thorn or nail, which have been 
communicated to the person or animal wounded by contact. 
If these qualities of the instrument are reduced by cleaning 
and oiling it, then that portion of them communicated to the 
wound, which was originally held to be a severed part of 
the life and qualities of the instrument, will similarly be 
made cool and easy. It is not probable that the people of 
Suffolk really believe this at present, but they retain the 
method of treatment arising from the belief without being 
able to explain it. Similarly the Hindus must have thought 
that the results produced by the tools of artisans working on 
materials, and by the plough on the earth, were communicated 
by these instruments volitionally through contact ; and this is 
why they worship once or twice a year the implements of their 
profession as the givers of the means of subsistence. All the 
stories of magic sword.-, axes, impenetrable shield.s, sandals, 
lamps, carpets and so on originally arose from the same belief. 

' 2nd ed. vol. i. p. 57. 


But primitive man not only considered the body as a 60. The 
homogeneous mass with the life and qualities distributed 'J^'-'"\7 °*^ 

" ^ counting. 

equally over it. He further, it may be suggested, did not Confusion 
distinguish between the individual and the species. The divkiua"' 
reason for this was that he could not count, and had no idea »'"• '^c 
of numbers. The faculty of counting appears to have been 
acquired very late. Messrs. Spencer and Gillan remark of 
the aborigines of Central Australia : ^ " While in matters 
such as tracking, which are concerned with their everyday 
life, and upon efficiency in which they actually depend for 
their livelihood, the natives show conspicuous ability, there 
are other directions in which they are as conspicuously 
deficient. This is perhaps shown most clearly in the matter 
of counting. At Alice Springs they occasionally count, 
sometimes using their fingers in doing so, up to five, but 
frequently anything beyond four is indicated by the word 
oknira, meaning ' much ' or ' great.' One is nintha, two 
thrama or thenr, three mapitcJia^ four therankathera, five 
therajtkathera-nintha!'' The form of these words is inter- 
esting, because it is clear that the word for four is two and 
two, or twice two, and the word for five is two and two and 
one. These words indicate the prolonged and painful efforts 
which must have been necessary to count as far as five, and 
this though in other respects the Australian natives show 
substantial mental development, having a most complicated 
system of exogamy, and sometimes two personal names for 
each individual. Again, the Andamanese islanders, despite 
the extraordinary complexity of their agglutinative language, 
have no names for the numerals beyond two." It is said 
that the Majhwar tribe can only count up to three, while 
among the Bhatras the qualification for being a village 
astrologer, who foretells the character of the rainfall and 
gives auspicious days for sowing and harvest, is the ability 
to count a certain number of posts. The astrologer's 
title is Meda Gantia, or Counter of Posts. The above 
facts demonstrate that counting is a faculty acquired 
with difficulty after considerable mental progress, and 
primitive man apparently did not feel the necessity for 

1 Nalive Tribes of Central Australia, - Dr. A. H. Keane, The JVorlcfs 

Introduction, p. 25. Peoples, p. 62. 


it.^ But if he could not count, it seems a proper deduction 
that his eye would not distinguish a number of animals 
of the same species together, because the ability to do 
this, and to appraise distinct individuals of like appear- 
ance appears to depend ultimately on the faculty of 
counting. Major Hendley, a doctor and therefore a 
skilled observer, states that the Bhils were unable to dis- 
tinguish colours or to count numbers, apparently on account 
of their want of words to express themselves.^ Now it 
seems clearly more easy for the eye to discriminate 
between opposing colours than to distinguish a number of 
individuals of the same species together. There are a few 
things which we still cannot count, such as the blades of 
grass, the ears of corn, drops of rain, snowflakes, and hail- 
stones. All of these things are still spoken of in the singular, 
though this is well known to be scientifically incorrect. We 
say an expanse of grass, a field of corn, and so on, as if 
the grass and corn were all one plant instead of an in- 
numerable quantity of plants. Apparently when primitive 
man saw a number of animals or trees of the same species 
together, the effect on him must have been exactly the same 
as that of a field of grass or corn on us. He could be 
conscious only of an indefinite .sense of magnitude. But he 
did not know, as we do in the cases cited, that the objects 
he saw were really a collection of distinct individuals. He 
would naturally consider them as all one, just as children 
would think a field of grass or corn to be one great plant 
until they were told otherwise. But there was no one to 
tell him, nor any means by which he could find out his 
mistake. He had no plural number, and no definite or 
indefinite articles. Whether he saw one or a hundred tigers 
together, he could only describe them by the one word tiger. 
It was a long time before he could even say ' much tiger,' as 
the Australian natives still have to do if they see more 
animals than five together, and the Andamanese if they see 
more than two. The hypothesis therefore seems reasonable 
that at first man considered each species of animals or 
plants which he distinguished to have a separate single life, 

' For counting, see Priinitir- Ctil- - Account of the Me%va7' Bhils, 

ture, 5th ed. pp. 240, 254, 265, 266. J.A.S.B., vol. xxiv. (1875) P- 369- 



of which all the individuals were pieces or members. The 
separation of different parts of one living body presented no 
difficulties to his mind, since, as already seen, he believed 
the life to continue in severed fractions of the human body. 
A connection between individuals, apparently based on 
the idea that they have a common life, has been noticed in 
other cases. Thus at the commencement of the patriarchal 
state of society, when the child is believed to derive its life 
from its father, any carelessness in the father's conduct 
may injuriously affect the child. Sir E. B. Tylor notes this 
among the tribes of South America. After the birth of a 
child among the Indians of South America the father would 
cat no regular cooked food, not suitable for children, as he 
feared that if he did this his child would die,^ " Among the 
Arawaks of Surinam for some time after the birth of a child 
the father must fell no tree, fire no gun, hunt no large game ; 
he may stay near home, shoot little birds with a bow and 
arrow, and angle for little fish ; but his time hanging heavy 
on his hands the only comfortable thing he can do is to 
lounge in his hammock." "^ On another occasion a savage 
who had lately become a father, refused snuff, of which he 
was very fond, because his sneezing would endanger the life 
of his newly-born child. They believed that any intemper- 
ance or carelessness of the father, such as drinking, eating 
large quantities of meat, swimming in cold weather, riding 
till he was tired and sweated, would endanger the child's life, 
and if the child died, the father was bitterly reproached with 
having caused its death by some such indiscretion.^ Here 
the idea clearly seems to be that the father's and child's life 
are one, the latter being derived from and part of the former. 
The custom of the Couvade may therefore perhaps be assigned 
to the early patriarchal stage. The first belief was that the 
child derived its life from its mother, and apparently that the 
weakness and debility of the mother after childbirth were 
due to the fact that she had given up a part of her life to 
the child. When the system of female descent changed to 
male descent, the woman was taken from another clan into 
her husband's ; the child, being born in its father's clan, 

1 Early History of Mankind, p. 293. 
2 Ibidem, p. 294. ^ Ibidem, p. 295. 


obviously could not draw its life from its mother, who was 
originally of a different clan. The inference was that it 
drew its life from its father ; consequently the father, having 
parted with a part of his life to his child, had to imitate the 
conduct of the mother after childbirth, abstain from any 
violent exertion, and sometimes feign weakness and lie up 
in the house, so as not to place any undue strain on the 
severed fraction of his life in his child, which would be 
simultaneously affected with his own, but was much more 
6i. Simi- Again, primitive man had no conception of likeness or 

idemitv" similarity, nor did he realise an imitation as distinct from the 
thing imitated. Likeness or similarity and imitation are 
abstract ideas, for which he had no words, and conse- 
quently did not conceive of them. And clearly if one had 
absolutely no term signifying likeness or similarity, and if 
one wished to indicate say, that something resembled a goat, 
all one could do would be to point at the goat and the 
object resembling it and say ' goat,' ' goat.' Since the name 
was held to be part of the thing named, such a method would 
strengthen the idea that resemblance was equivalent to 
identity. This point of view can also be observed in 
children, who have no difficulty in thinking that any imita- 
tion or toy model is just as good as the object or animal 
imitated, and playing with it as such. Even to call a thing 
by the name of any object is sufficient with' children to 
establish its identity with that object for the purposes of a 
game or mimicry, and a large part of children's games are 
based on such pretensions. They also have not yet clearly 
grasped the difference between likeness and identity, and 
between an imitation of an object and the object itself A 
large part of the category of substituted ceremonies and 
sacrifices are based on this confusion between similarity and 
identity. Thus when the Hindus put four pieces of stick 
into a pumpkin and call it a goat, they do not mean to 
cheat the god to whom it is offered, but fancy that when 
they have made a likeness of a goat and called it a goat, 
it is a goat, at any rate for the purpose of sacrifice. And 
when the Jains, desiring to eat after sunset against the rule 
of their religion, place a lamp under a sieve and call it the 


sun, and eat b}' it, they are acting on the same principle and 
think they have avoided committing a sin. A Baiea should 
go to his wedding on an elephant, but as he cannot obtain 
a real elephant, two wooden cots are lashed together and 
covered with blankets, with a black cloth trunk in front, and 
this arrangement passes muster for an elephant. A small 
gold image of a cat is offered to a Brahman in expiation for 
killing a cat, silver eyes are offered to the goddess to save 
the eyes of a person suffering from smallpox, a wisp of straw 
is burnt on a man's grave as a substitute for cremating the 
body, a girl is married to an image of a man made of kusha 
grass, and so on. In rites where blood is required vermilion 
is used as a substitute for blood ; on the other hand castes 
which abstain from flesh sometimes also decline to eat red 
vegetables and fruits, because the red colour is held to make 
them resemble and be equivalent to blood. These beliefs 
survive in religious ceremonial long after the hard logic of 
facts has dispelled them from ordinary life.^ Thus when an 
image of a god was made it was at once the god and con- 
tained part of his life. Primitive man had no idea of an 
imitation or an image nor of a lifeless object, and therefore 
could not conceive of the representation being anything else 
than the god. Only in later times was some ceremony of 
conveying life to the image considered requisite. The prohibi- 
tion of sculpture among the Jews and of painting among the 
Muhammadans was based on this view," because sculptures 
and paintings were not considered as images or representa- 
tions, but as living beings or gods, and consequently false 
gods. The world-wide custom of making an image of a 
man with intent to injure him arises from the same belief 
Since primitive man could conceive neither of an imitation 
nor of an inanimate object, the image of a man was to his 
view the man ; there w^as nothing else which it could be. 
And thus it contained part of the man's life, just as every 
idol of a god was the god himself and contained part of the 
god's life. Since the man's life was common to himself and 
the image, by injuring or destroying the image it was held 

' See also Primitive Culture, i. p. Muhammadan reference. The Jewish 
493, ii. p. 431. reference is of course to the Second 

2 See article on Mochi for the Commandment. 


that the man's life would similarly be injured or destroyed, 
on the analogy already explained of injury to life being 
frequently observed to follow a hurt or wound of any part 
of the body. Afterwards the connection between the man 
and the image was strengthened by working into the material 
of the latter some fraction of his body, such as severed hair 
or the earth pressed by his foot. But this was not necessary 
to the original belief. The objection often raised by savages 
to having their photographs taken or pictures painted may 
be explained in the same manner. Here the photograph 
or picture cannot be realised as a simple imitation ; it is 
held to be the man himself, and must therefore contain 
part of his life. Hence any one in whose possession it is 
can do him harm by injuring or destroying the photograph 
or picture, according to the method of reasoning already 
explained. The superstitions against looking in a mirror, 
especially after dark, or seeing one's reflection in water, are 
analogous cases. Here the reflection in the mirror or water 
is held to be the person himself, because savages do not 
understand the nature of the reflected image. It is the 
person himself, but has no corporeal substance ; therefore 
the reflection must be his ghost or spirit. But if the spirit 
appears once it is an omen that it will appear again ; and in 
order that it may do so the man will have to die so that the 
spirit may be set free from the body in order to appear. 
The special reason for not looking into a mirror at night 
would thus be because the night is the usual time for the 
appearance of spirits. The fable of Narcissus, who fell in 
love with his own image reflected in the water and was 
drowned, probably arose from the superstition against seeing 
one's image reflected in water. And similarly the belief 
was that a man's clothes and other possessions contained 
part of his life by contact; this is the explanation of the 
custom of representing a person by some implement or 
article of clothing, such as performing the marriage ceremony 
with the bridegroom's sword instead of himself, and sending 
the bride's shoes home with the bridegroom to represent 
her. A barren woman will try to obtain a piece of a 
pregnant woman's breast-cloth and will burn it and eat 
the ashes, thinking thereby to transfer the pregnant 


woman's quality of fertility to herself When a Hindu 
widow is remarried her clothes and ornaments are some- 
times buried on the boundary of her second husband's 
village and she puts on new clothes, because it is thought 
that her first husband's spirit will remain in the old clothes 
and give trouble. 

A brief digression may be made here in order to suggest 62. The 
an explanation of another important class of primitive ideas, ^''eventsr 
These arise from the belief that when somethino- has 


happened, that same event, or some other resembling it, 
will again occur, or, more briefly, the belief in the recurrence 
of events. This view is the origin of a large class of omens, 
and appears to have been originally evolved simply from 
the recurring phenomena of day and night and of the 
months and climatic seasons. For suppose that one was 
in the position of primitive man, knowing absolutely 
nothing of the nature and constitution of the earth and 
the heavenly bodies, or of the most elementary facts of 
astronomy ; then, if the question were asked why one 
expected the sun to rise to - morrow, the only possible 
answer, and the answer which one would give, would be 
because it had risen to-day and every day as long as one 
could remember. The reason so stated might have no 
scientific value, but would at any rate establish a strong 
general probability. But primitive man could not have 
given it in this form, because he had no memory and could 
not count. Even now comparatively advanced tribes like 
the Gonds have a hopelessly inaccurate memory for ordinary 
incidents ; and, as suggested subsequently, the faculty of 
memory was probably acquired very slowly with the 
development of language. And since he could not count, 
the continuous recurrence of natural phenomena had no 
cumulative force with him, so that he might distinguish 
them from other events. His argument was thus simply 
" the sun will rise again because it rose before ; the moon 
will wax and wane again because she waxed and waned 
before " ; grass and leaves and fruit would grow again 
because they did so before ; the animals which gave him 
food would come again as before ; and so on. But these 
were the only events which his brain retained at all, and 


that only because his existence depended upon them and 
they continually recurred. The ordinary incidents of life 
which presented some variation passed without record in 
his mind, as they still do very largely in those of primitive 
savages. And since he made no distinction between the 
different classes of events, holding them all to be the acts 
of volitional beings, he applied this law of the recurrence of 
events to every incident of life, and thought that whenever 
anything happened, reason existed for supposing that the 
same thing or something like it would happen again. It 
was sufficient that the second event should be like the first, 
since, as already seen, he did not distinguish between 
similarity and identity. Thus, to give instances, the Hindus 
think that if a man lies full length inside a bed, he is lying 
as if on a bier and will consequently soon be dead on a 
real bier ; hence beds should be made so that one's feet 
project uncomfortably over the end. By a similar reasoning 
he must not lie with his feet to the south because corpses 
are laid in this direction. A Hindu married woman always 
wears glass bangles as a sign of her state, and a widow may 
not wear them. A married woman must therefore never 
let her arms be without bangles or it is an omen that she 
will become a widow. She must not wear wholly white 
clothes, because a widow wears these. If a man places one 
of his shoes over the other in the house, it is an omen that 
he will go on a journey when the shoes will be in a similar 
position as he walks along. A Kolta woman who desires 
to ascertain whether she will have a son, puts a fish into a 
pot full of water and spreads her cloth by it. If the fish 
jumps into her lap, it is thought that her lap will shortly 
hold another living being, that is a son. At a wedding, in 
many Hindu castes, the bride and bridegroom perform the 
business of their caste or an imitation of it. Among the 
Kuramwar shepherds the bride and bridegroom are seated 
with the shuttle which is used for weaving blankets between 
them. A miniature swing is put up and a doll is placed in 
it in imitation of a child and swung to and fro. The bride 
then takes the doll out and gives it to the bridegroom, 
saying: — " Here, take care of it, I am now going to cook 
food " ; while, after a time, the boy returns the doll to the 


girl saying, " 1 must now weave the blanket and go to tend 
the flock." Thus, having performed their life's business at 
their wedding, it is thought that they will continue to do so 
happily as long as they live. Many castes, before sowing 
the real crop, make a pretence of sowing seed before the 
shrine of the god, and hope thus to ensure that the subse- 
quent sowing will be auspicious. The common stories of 
the appearance of a ghost, or other variety of apparition, 
before the deaths of members of a particular family, are 
based partly on the belief in the recurrence of associated 
events. The well-known superstition about sitting down 
thirteen to dinner, on the ground that one of the party 
may die shortly afterwards, is an instance of the same 
belief, being of course based on the Last Supper. But the 
number thirteen is generally unlucky, being held to be so 
by the Hindus, Muhammadans and Persians, as well as 
Europeans, and the superstition perhaps arose from its 
being the number of the intercalary month in the soli-lunar 
calendar, which is present one year and absent the next 
year. Thirteen is one more than twelve, the auspicious 
number of the months of the year. Similarly seven was 
perhaps lucky or sacred as being the number of the planets 
which gave their names to the days of the week, and three 
because it represented the sun, moon and earth. When a 
gambler stakes his money on a number such as the date of 
his birth or marriage, he acts on the supposition that a 
number which has been propitious to him once will be so 
again, and this appears to be a survival of the belief in the 
recurrence of events. 

But primitive man was not actuated by any abstract 63. Con- 
love of knowledge, and when he had observed what appeared ^^^''"S the 
to him to be a law of nature, he proceeded to turn it to 
advantage in his efforts for the preservation of his life. 
Since events had the characteristic of recurrence, all he had 
to do in order to produce the recurrence of any particular 
event which he desired, was to cause it to happen in the first 
instance ; and since he did not distinguish between imitation 
and reality, he thought that if he simply enacted the event 
he would thus ensure its being brought to pass. And so he 
assiduously set himself to influence the course of nature to 


his own advantage. When the Australian aborigines are 
performing ceremonies for the increase of witchetty grubs, a 
long narrow structure of boughs is made which represents 
the chrj'salis of the grub. The men of the witchetty grub 
totem enter the structure and sing songs about the production 
and growth of the witchetty grub. Then one after another 
they shuffle out of the chrysalis, and glide slowly along for 
a distance of some yards, imitating the emergence and move- 
ments of the witchetty grubs. By thus enacting the pro- 
duction of the grubs they think to cause and multiply the 
real production.^ When the men of the emu totem wish to 
multiply the number of emus, they allow blood from their 
arms, that is emu blood, to fall on the ground until a certain 
space is covered. Then on this space a picture is drawn 
representing the emu ; two large patches of yellow indicate 
lumps of its fat, of which the natives are very fond, but the 
greater part shows, by means of circles and circular patches, 
the eggs in various stages of development, some before and 
some after laying. Then the men of the totem, placing on 
their heads a stick with a tuft of feathers to represent the long 
neck and small head of the bird, stand gazing about aimlessly 
after the manner of the emu. Here the picture itself is held 
to be a living emu, perhaps the source or centre from which 
all emus will originate, and the men, pretending to be emus, 
will cause numbers of actual emus to be produced." Before 
sowing the crops, a common practice is to sow small 
quantities of grain in baskets or pots in rich soil, so that it 
will sprout and grow up quickly, the idea being to ensure 
that the real crop will have a similarly successful growth. 
These baskets are the well-known Gardens of Adonis fully 
described in The Golden Bough. They are grown for nine 
days, and on the tenth day are taken in procession by the 
women and deposited in a river. The women may be seen 
carrying the baskets of wheat to the river after the nine days' 
fasts of Chait and Kunwar (March and September) in many 
towns of the Central Provinces, as the Athenian women 
carried the Gardens of Adonis to the sea on the day that the 
expedition under Nicias set sail for Syracuse.^ The fire 

^ Native Tribes of Central Australia, p. 176. 
* Ibidcin, pp. 181, 182. ^ The Golden Bough, 2nd ed. ii. p. 120. 


kindled at the Holi festival in spring is meant, as explained 
by Sir J. G. Frazer, to increase the power of the sun for 
the growth of vegetation. By the production of fire the 
quantity and strength of the heavenly fire is increased. He 
remarks : ^ — " The custom of throwing blazing discs, shaped 
like suns, into the air, is probably also a piece of imitative 
magic. In these, as in so many cases, the magic force is 
supposed to take effect through mimicry or sympathy ; by 
imitating the desired result you actually produce it ; by 
counterfeiting the sun's progress through the heavens \'Ou 
really help the luminary to pursue his celestial journey with 
punctuality and despatch. The name ' fire of heaven,' by 
which the midsummer fire is sometimes popularly known, 
clearly indicates a consciousness of the connection between 
the earthly and the heavenly flame." The obscene songs of 
the Holi appear to be the relic of a former period of pro- 
miscuous sexual debauchery, which, through the multiplied 
act of reproduction, was intended to ensure that nature 
should also reproduce on a generous scale. The red powder 
thrown over everybody at the Holi is said to represent the 
seed of life. The gifts of Easter eggs seem to be the vestige 
of a rite having the same object. At a wedding in the 
Lodhi caste the bride is seated before the family god while 
an old woman brings a stone rolling-pin wrapped up in a 
piece of cloth, which is supposed to be a baby, and the old 
woman imitates a baby crying. She puts the roller in the 
bride's lap, saying, " Take this and give it milk." The bride 
is abashed and throws it aside. The old woman picks it up 
and shows it to the assembled women, saying, " The bride 
has just had a baby," amid loud laughter. Then she gives 
the stone to the bridegroom, who also throws it aside. This 
ceremony is meant to induce fertility, and it is supposed that by 
making believe that the bride has had a baby she will quickly 
have one. Similar rites are performed in several other castes, 
and when a girl becomes adult her lap is filled with fruits 
with the idea that this will cause it subsequently to be filled 
with the fruit of her womb. The whole custom of giving dolls 
to girls to play with, perhaps originated in the belief that by 
doing so they would afterwards come to play with children. 
1 The Golden Bough, 2nd ed. iii. p. 301. 


The dances of the Kol tribe consist partly of symbolical 
enactments of events which they desired to be successfully 
accomplished. Some variations of the dance, Colonel 
Dalton states, represent the different seasons and the 
necessary acts of cultivation that each brings with it. In 
one the dancers, bending down, make a motion with their 
hands, as though they were sowing the grain, keeping step 
with their feet all the time. Then comes the reaping of 
the crop and the binding of the sheaves, all done in perfect 
time and rhythm, and making, with the continuous droning 
of the voices, a quaint and picturesque performance.-^ The 
Karma dance of the Gonds and Oraons is also connected 
with the crops, and probably was once an enactment of the 
work of cultivation.' The Bhils danced at their festivals 
and before battles. The men danced in a ring, holding 
sticks and striking them against one another. Before a 
battle they had a war-dance in which the performers were 
armed and imitated a combat. To be carried on the 
shoulders of one of the combatants was a great honour, 
perhaps because it symbolised being on horseback. TJie 
object was to obtain success in battle by going through an 
imitation of a successful battle beforehand. This was also 
the common custom of the Red Indians, whose war-dances 
are well known ; they brandished their weapons and killed 
their foe in mimicry in order that they might soon do so in 
reality. The Sela dance of the Gonds and Baigas, in which 
they perform the figure of the grand chain of the lancers, 
only that they strike their sticks together instead of clasping 
hands as they pass, was probably once an imitation of a 
combat. It is still sometimes danced before their communal 
hunting and fishing parties. In these mimetic rehearsals 
of events with the object of causing them to occur we may 
perhaps discern the origin of the arts both of acting and 
dancing. Another, and perhaps later form, was the re- 
production of important events, or those which had 
influenced history. For to the primitive mind, as already 
seen, the results were not conceived of as instrumentally 
caused by the event, but as part of the event itself and of 

1 Section on the Kol tribe in - Mr. S. C. Roy, The Oraons, p. 

Dal ton's Ethnology of Bengal. 262. 



its life and personality. Hence by the ic-enactment of the 
event the beneficial results would be again obtained or at 
least preserved in undiminished potency and vigour. This 
was perhaps the root idea of the drama and the representa- 
tion of sacred or heroic episodes on the stage. 

Thus, resuming from paragraph 61, primitive man had no 64. The 
difficulty in conceiving of a life as shared between two or more J^^"*"""" 
persons or objects, and it does not seem impossible that he 
should have at first conceived it to extend through a whole 
species.^ A good instance of the common life is afforded by 
the gods of the Hindu and other pantheons. Each god was 
conceived of as performing some divine function, guiding the 
chariot of the sun, manipulating the thunder and so on ; but 
at the same time thousands of temples existed throughout the 
country, and in each of these the god was alive and present 
in his image or idol, able to act independently, receive and 
consume sacrifices and offerings, protect suppliants and 
punish transgressors. No doubt at all can be entertained 
that each idol was in itself held to be a living god. In 
India food is offered to the idol, it goes through its ablu- 
tions, is fanned, and so on, exactly like a human king. The 
ideas of sanctuary and sacrilege appear to depend primarily 
on the belief in the actual presence of the god in his shrine. 
And in India no sanctity at all attaches to a temple from 
which the idol has been removed. Thus we see the life of 
the god distributed over a multitude of personalities. Again, 
the same god, as Vishnu or the sun, is held to have had a 
number of incarnations, as the boar, the tortoise, a man-lion, 
a dwarf, Rama and Krishna, and these are venerated simul- 
taneously as distinct deities. The whole Brahman caste 
considered itself divine or as partaking in the life of the 
god, the original reason for this perhaps being that the 
Brahmans obtained the exclusive right to perform sacrifices, 
and hence the life of the sacrificial animal or food passed 
to them, as in other societies it passed to the king who 
performed the sacrifice. A Brahman further holds that 
the five gods, Indra, Brahma, Siva, Vishnu and Ganesh, are 
present in different parts of his body,' and here again the 

* See also Primitive Culture, Sth ed. ii. pp. 243, 244, 246. 

2 See article on Brahman. 



life of the god is seen to be divided into innumerable 
fragments. The priests of the Vallabhacharya sect, the 
Gokulastha Gosains, were all held to be possessed by the god 
Krishna, so that it was esteemed a high privilege to perform 
the most menial offices for them, because to touch them 
was equivalent to touching the god, and perhaps assimilating 
by contact a fragment of his divine life and nature.^ The 
belief in a common life would also explain the veneration 
of domestic animals and the prohibition against killing them, 
because to kill one would injure the whole life of the species, 
from which the tribe drew its subsistence. Similarly in a 
number of cases the first idea of seasonal fasts is that the 
people abstain from the grain or fruit which is growing or 
sown in the ground. Thus in India during the rains the 
vegetables growing at this period are not eaten, and are 
again partaken of for the first time after the sacrificial 
offering of the new crop. This rule could not possibly be 
observed in the case of grain, but instead certain single fast- 
days are prescribed, and on these days no cultivated grain 
or fruit, but only those growing wild, should be eaten. 
These rules seem to indicate that the original motive of the 
fast was to avoid injuring the common life of the grain or 
fruit, which injury would be caused by a consumption of 
any part of it, at a time when the whole of the common 
life and vigour was required for its reproduction and 
multiplication. This idea may have operated to enable 
the savage to restrain himself from digging up and eating 
the grain sown in the ground, or slaughtering his domestic 
animals for food, and a taboo on the consumption of 
grain and fruits during their period of ripening may have 
first begun in their wild state. The Intichiuma ceremonies 
of the Australian natives are carried out with the object of 
increasing the supply of the totem for food purposes. In 
the Ilpirla or Manna totem the members of the clan go 
to a large boulder surrounded by stones, which are held to 
represent masses of Ilpirla or the manna of the inulga tree. 
A Churinga stone is dug up, which is supposed to represent 
another mass of manna, and this is rubbed over the boulder, 
and the smaller stones are also rubbed over it. While the 

' See article Bairagi. 



leader does this, the others sing a song which is an invita- 
tion to the dust produced by the rubbing of the stones to 
go out and produce a plentiful supply of Ilpirla on the nmlga 
trees.^ Then the dust is swept off the surface of the stones 
with twigs of the mulga tree. Here apparently the large 
boulder and other stones are held to be the centre or focus of 
the common life of the manna, and from them the seed issues 
forth which will produce a crop of manna on all the mulga 
trees. The deduction seems clear that the trees are not 
conceived of individually, but are held to have a common 
life. In the case of the hakea flower totem they go to a 
stone lying beneath an old tree, and one of the members lets 
his blood flow on to the stone until it is covered, while the 
others sing a song inciting the Jiakea tree to flower much 
and to the blossoms to be full of honey.^ The blood is 
said to represent a drink prepared from the hakea flowers, but 
probably it was originally meant to quicken the stone with 
the blood of a member of the totem, that is its own blood 
or life, in order that it might produce abundance of flowers. 
Here again the stone seems to be the centre of the common 
life of the hakea flower. The songs are sung with the idea 
that the repetition of words connoting a state of facts will have 
the effect of causing that state of facts to exist, in accordance 
with the belief already explained in the concrete virtue of words. 
Sir E. B. Tylor states : " In Polynesia, if a village god 
were accustomed to appear as an owl, and one of his votaries 
found a dead owl by the roadside, he would mourn over the 
sacred bird and bury it with much ceremony, but the god 
himself would not be thought to be dead, for he remains in- 
carnate in all existing owls. According to Father Geronimo 
Boscana, the Acagchemen tribe of Upper California furnish 
a curious parallel to this notion. They worshipped the panes 
bird, which seems to have been an eagle or vulture, and each 
year, in the temple of each village, one of them was solemnly 
killed without shedding blood, and the body buried. Yet 
the natives maintained and believed that it was the same 
individual bird they sacrificed each year, and more than this, 
that the same bird was slain by each of the villages." ^ An 

1 Native Tribes of Central Australia, pp. 1S5, 186. ^ Jbidefti, pp. 154, 155. 

3 Primitive Culture, 5th ed. ii. pp. 243, 244. 


account of the North American Indians quoted by the same 
author states that they believe all the animals of each species 
to have an elder brother, who is as it were the principle and 
origin of all the individuals, and this elder brother is marvel- 
lously great and powerful. According to another view each 
species has its archetype in the land of souls ; there 
exists, for example, a manitu or archetype of all oxen, which 
animates all oxen.^ 

Generally in the relations between the totem-clan and 
its totem-animal, and in all the fables about animals, one 
animal is taken as representing the species, and it is tacitly 
assumed that all the animals of the species have the same 
knowledge and qualities and would behave in the same 
manner as the typical one. Thus when the Majhwar says 
that the tiger would run away if he met a member of the 
tiger-clan who was free from sin, but would devour any 
member who had been put out of caste for an offence, he 
assumes that every tiger would know a member of the clan 
on meeting him, and also whether that member was in or 
out of caste. He therefore apparently supposes a common 
knowledge and intelligence to exist in all tigers as regards 
the clan, as if they were parts of one mind or intelligence. 
And since the tigers know instinctively when a member of 
the clan is out of caste, the mind and intelligence of the 
tigers must be the same as that of the clan. The Kols of the 
tiger clan think that if they were to sit up for a tiger over a 
kill the tiger would not come and would be deprived of his 
food, and that they themselves would fall ill. Here the evil 
effects of the want of food on one tiger are apparently held to 
extend to all tigers and also to all members of the tiger clan. 
65. The The totem-clan held itself to partake of the life of its 

common totem, and on the above hypothesis one common life would 

life of the ^ 

clan. flow through all the animals and plants of the totem and all 

the members of the clan. An Australian calls his totem 
his Wingong (friend) or Tumang (flesh), and nowadays 
expresses his sorrow when he has to eat it.^ If a man 
wishes to injure any man of a certain totem, he kills any 

1 rrimitwe Culture, 5th ed. ii. pj). of Sotith-East Australia, p. 146. In 
243, 244. this case the reference seems to be to 

2 Dr. A. W. Ilowitt, Native Tribes any one of several totems of a sub-class. 


animal of that man's totem.' This clearly shows that one 
common life is held to bind together all the animals of the 
totem-species and all the members of the totem-clan, and 
the belief seems to be inexplicable on any other hypothesis. 
The same is the case with the sex-totems of the Kurnai 
tribe. In addition to the clan-totems all the boys have the 
Superb Warbler bird as a sex-totem, and call it their elder 
brother ; and all the girls the Emu-wren, and call it their 
elder sister. If the boys wish to annoy the girls, or vice 
versa, each kills or injures the other's totem-bird, and such 
an act is always followed by a free fight between the boys 
and girls.^ Sex-totems are a peculiar development which 
need not be discussed here, but again it would appear that 
a common life runs through the birds of the totem and the 
members of the sex. Professor Robertson Smith describes 
the clan or kin as follows : " A kin was a group of persons 
whose lives were so bound up together, in what must be 
called a physical unity, that they could be treated as parts 
of one common life. The members of one kindred looked 
on themselves as one living whole, one single animated mass 
of blood, flesh and bones, of which no member could be 
touched without all the members suffering. This point of 
view is expressed in the Semitic tongue in many familiar 
forms of speech. In case of homicide Arabian tribesmen 
do not say, ' The blood of M. or N. has been spilt ' (naming 
the man) : they say, ' Our blood has been spilt.' In Hebrew 
the phrase by which one claims kinship is, ' I am your bone 
and your flesh.' Both in Hebrew and in Arabic flesh is 
synonymous with * clan ' or kindred group." ^ The custom 
of the blood-feud appears to have arisen from the belief in a 
common life of the clan. " The blood-feud is an institution 
not peculiar to tribes reckoning descent through females ; 
and it is still in force. By virtue of its requirements every 
member of a kin, one of whom had suffered at the hands of 
a member of another kin, was bound to avenge the wrong 
upon the latter kin. .Such is the solidarity between members 
of a kin that vengeance might be taken upon any member 

^ Dr. A. W. Howitt, Native Tribes ^ 77,^ Reh\non of the Semites, pp. 

of South-East Australia, p. 145. 273, 274. 

''' Ibidem, pp. 148, 149. 


of the offending kin, though he might be personally quite 
innocent. In the growth of civilisation vengeance has 
gradually come to be concentrated upon the offender only."^ 
Thus the blood-feud appears to have originated from the 
idea of primary retributive justice between clan and clan. 
When a member of a clan had been killed, one of the 
offending clan must be killed in return. Who he might be, 
and whether the original homicide was justifiable or not, 
were questions not regarded by primitive man ; motives 
were abstract ideas with which he had no concern ; he only 
knew that a piece of the common life had been lopped off, and 
the instinct of self-preservation of the clan demanded that a 
piece of the life of the offending clan should be cut off in 
return. And the tie which united the kin was eating and 
drinking together. " According to antique ideas those who 
eat and drink together are by this very act tied to one 
another by a bond of friendship and mutual obligation." ^ 
This was the bond which first united the members of the 
totem -clan both among themselves and with their totem. 
And the relationship with the totem could only have arisen 
from the fact that they ate it. The belief in a common life 
could not possibly arise in the totem-clan towards any animal 
or plant which they did not eat or otherwise use. These they 
would simply disregard. Nor would savages, destitute at 
first of any moral ideas, and frequently on the brink of starva- 
tion, abstain from eating any edible animal from sentimental 
considerations ; and, as already seen, the first totems were 
generally edible. They could not either have in the first 
place eaten the totem ceremonially, as there would be no 
reason for such a custom. But the ceremonial eating of the 
domestic animal, which was the tie subsequently uniting the 
members of the tribe,^ cannot be satisfactorily explained 
except on the hypothesis that it was evolved from the 
customary eating of the totem -animal. Primitive savages 
would only feel affection towards the animals which they ate, 
just as the affection of animals is gained by feeding them. 
The objection might be made that savages could not feel 

' Primitive Palernity, vol. i. pp. 3 gg^ paragrapli So below and the 

272, 273. article on Kasai. 

- ThcRelififlUoflhcSeviitcs,^. 265. 


affection and kinship for an animal which they killed and 
ate, but no doubt exists that they do. 

"In British Columbia, when the fishing season com- 
menced and the fish began coming up the rivers, the 
Indians used to meet them and speak to them. They 
paid court to them and would address them thus : ' You 
fish, you fish ; you are all chiefs, you are ; you are all 
chiefs,' Among the Northas when a bear is killed, it is 
dressed in a bonnet, covered with fine down, and solemnly 
invited to the chiefs presence." ^ And there are many 
other instances." Savages had no clear realisation of 
death, and they did not think that the life of the animal 
was extinguished but that it passed to them with the 
flesh. Moreover they only ate part of the life. In many 
cases also the totem -animal only appeared at a certain 
season of the year, in consequence of the habit of hiberna- 
tion or migration in search of food, while trees only bore 
fruit in their season. The savage, regarding all animals 
and plants as possessed of self-conscious life and volition, 
would think that they came of their own accord to give him 
subsistence or life. Afterwards, when they had obtained 
the idea of a soul or spirit, and of the survival of the soul 
after death, and when, on the introduction of personal names, 
the personality of individuals could be realised and re- 
membered after death, they frequently thought that the spirits 
of ancestors went back to the totem-animal, whence they 
derived their life. The idea of descent from the totem 
would thus naturally arise. As the means of subsistence 
increased, and especially in those communities which had 
domesticated animals or cultivated plants, the conception of 
the totem as the chief source of life would gradually die 
away and be replaced by the belief in descent from it ; and 
when they also thought that the spirits of ancestors were 
in the totem, they would naturally abstain from eating it. 
Perhaps also the Australians consider that the members 
of the totem -clan should abstain from eating the totem 
for fear of injuring the common life, as more advanced 
communities abstained from eating the flesh of domestic 

^ The Origin of Civilisation, p. 240. 
2 See The Golden Bough, ii. p. 396 et scq. 


animals. This may be the ground for the rule that they 
should only eat sparingly of the totem. To the later period 
may be ascribed the adoption of carnivorous animals as 
totems ; when these animals came to be feared and also 
venerated for their qualities of strength, ferocity and courage, 
warriors would naturally wish to claim kinship with and 
descent from them. 

When the members of the totem-clan who lived together 
recognised that they owed something to each other, and that 
the gratification of the instincts and passions of the individual 
must to a certain degree be restrained if they endangered 
the lives and security of other members of the clan, they 
had taken the first step on the long path of moral and social 
progress. The tie by which they supposed themselves to 
be united was quite different from those which have con- 
stituted a bond of union between the communities who 
have subsequently lived together in the tribe, the city-state 
and the country. These have been a common religion, 
common language, race, or loyalty to a common sovereign ; 
but the real bond has throughout been the common good or 
the public interest. And the desire for this end on the part 
of the majority of the members of the community, or the 
majority of those who were able to express their opinions, 
though its action was until recently not overt nor direct, and 
was not recognised, has led to the gradual evolution of the 
whole fabric of law and moral feeling, in order to govern 
and control the behaviour and conduct of the individual in 
his relations with his family, neighbours and fellow-citizens 
for the public advantage. The members of the totem-clan 
would have been quite unable to understand either the 
motives by which they were themselves actuated or the ab- 
stract ideas which have united more advanced communities ; 
but they devised an even stronger bond than these, in sup- 
posing that they were parts or fractions of one common body 
or life. This was the more necessary as their natural im- 
pulses were uncontrolled by moral feeling. They conceived 
the bond of union in the concrete form of eating together. 
As language improved and passing events were recorded in 
speech and in the mind, the faculty of memory was perhaps 
concurrently developed. Then man began to realise the 


insecurity of his life, the dangers and misfortunes to which 
he was subject, the periodical failure or irregularity of the 
supply of food, and the imminent risks of death. Memory 
of the past made him apprehensive for the future, and holding 
that every event was the result of an act of volition, he began 
to assume an attitude either of veneration, gratitude, or fear 
towards the strongest of the beings by whom he thought his 
destinies were controlled — the sun, moon, sky, wind and rain, 
the ocean and great rivers, high mountains and trees, and 
the most important animals of his environment, whether they 
destroyed or assisted to preserve his life. The ideas of 
propitiation, atonement and purification were then imparted 
to the sacrifice, and it became an offering to a god.^ But the 
primary idea of eating or drinking together as a bond of 
union was preserved, and can be recognised in religious and 
social custom to an advanced period of civilisation. 

Again, Dr. Westermarck shows that the practice of 57. The 
exogamy or the avoidance of intermarriage did not at first °l^'o'"n°y 
arise between persons recognised as blood relations, but 
between those who lived together. " Facts show that the 
extent to which relatives are not allowed to intermarry is 
nearly connected with their close living together. Generally 
speaking the prohibited degrees are extended much further 
among savage and barbarous peoples than in civilised 
societies. As a rule the former, if they have not remained 
in the most primitive social condition of man, live not in 
separate families but in large households or communities, all 
the members of which dwell in very close contact with each 
other." " And later, after adducing the evil results of self- 
fertilisation in plants and close interbreeding in animals, Dr. 
Westermarck continues : " Taking all these facts into con- 
sideration, I cannot but believe that consanguineous marriages, 
in some way or other, are more or less detrimental to the 
species. And here I think we may find a quite sufficient 
explanation of the horror of incest ; not because man at an 
early stage recognised the injurious influence of close inter- 
marriage, but because the law of natural selection must 

1 This view of sacrifice was first Religion of (he Semites. 
enunciated by Professor Robertson 2 History of Human Marriage, p. 

Smith in the article on Sncrifice in 324. 
the Encyclop(rdia Britannica, and The 


inevitably have operated. Among the ancestors of man, as 
among other animals, there was no doubt a time when blood 
relationship was no bar to sexual intercourse. But variations 
here, as elsewhere, would naturally present themselves ; and 
those of our ancestors who avoided in-and-in breeding would 
survive, while the others would gradually decay and ultimately 
perish. Thus an instinct would be developed, which would 
be powerful enough as a rule to prevent injurious unions. 
Of course it would display itself simply as an aversion on 
the part of individuals to union with others with whom 
they lived ; but these as a matter of fact would be blood 
relations, so that the result would be the survival of the 
68. Pro- The instinct of exogamy first developed in the totem- 

anTfemaie ^'^" whcn it was migratory and lived by hunting, at least 
descent. among the Australians and probably the American Indians. 
The first condition of the clan was one of sexual 
promiscuity, and in Totemisni and Exogamy Sir J. G. 
Frazer has adduced many instances of periodical promiscuous 
debauchery which probably recall this state of things.^ The 
evil results which would accrue from in-breeding in the con- 
dition of promiscuity may have been modified by such 
incidents as the expulsion of the young males through the 
spasmodic jealousy of the older ones, the voluntary segrega- 
tion of the old males, fights and quarrels leading to the 
rearrangement of groups, and the frequent partial destruction 
of a group, when the survivors might attach themselves to a 
new group. Primitive peoples attached the utmost import- 
ance to the rule of exogamy, and the punishments for the 
breach of it were generally more severe than those for the 
violation of the laws of affinity in civilised countries. The 
Australians say that the good spirit or the wise men prescribed 
to them the rule that the members of each totem-clan should 
not marry with each other." Similarly the Gonds say that 
their divine hero. Lingo, introduced the rule of exogamy and 
the division into clans before he went to the gods. 

At first, however, the exogamous clan was not con- 
stituted by descent through males, but through females. 

' Many instances are also given by ^ jsfativc Tiihcs of Sotilh-East Aiis- 

^fr. I fart land in Priviilii'c Patcrnify. tralia, p. 48 1. 


The hypothesis that female everywhere preceded male 
descent is strongly supported by natural probability. In 
the first instance, the parentage of children was no more 
observed and remembered than that of animals. When first 
observed, it was necessarily through the mother, the identity 
of the father being wholly uncertain. The mother would 
also be the first parent to remember her children, her 
affection for them being based on one of the strongest 
natural instincts, whereas the father neither knew nor cared 
for his children until long afterwards. Sir J. G. Frazer 
has further shown that even now some of the Australian 
aborigines are ignorant of the physical fact of paternity and 
its relation to sexual intercourse. That such ignorance 
could have survived so long is the strongest evidence in 
favour of the universal priority of female to male descent. 
It is doubtful, however, whether even the mother could 
remember her children after they had become adult, prior 
to the introduction of personal names. Mr. M'Lennan 
states : " The tie between mother and child, which exists as 
a matter of necessity during infancy, is not infrequently 
found to be lost sight of among savages on the age of 
independence being reached." ^ Personal names were 
probably long subsequent to clan -names, and when they 
were first introduced the name usually had some reference 
to the clan. The Red Indians and other races have 
totem-names which are frequently some variant of the 
name of the totem.^ When personal names came to be 
generally introduced, the genesis of the individual family 
might soon follow, but the family could scarcely have come 
into existence in the absence of personal names. As a rule, 
in the exogamous clan with female descent no regard was 
paid to the chastity of women, and they could select their 
partners as they pleased. Mr. Hartland has shown in 
Primitive Paternity that in a large number of primitive 
communities the chastity of women was neither enforced nor 
desired by the men, this state of things being probably a 

* Primitive Marriage, p. 135, foot- Churinga names, the Churingas appar- 

note. ently representing the spirits of an- 

2 Tote77iisinand Exogamy, li-Yi- ^73, cestors which have returned to the 

iii. pp. 34, 76, loi, 225, 272, 308, totem. (Spencer and Gillan, ibidem, 

360. The Australians have secret Appendix A.) 


relic of the period of female descent. Thus exogamy first 
arose through the women of the clan resorting to men out- 
side it. When we consider the extreme rigour of life and 
the frequent danger of starvation to which the small clans 
in the hunting stage must have been exposed, it does not 
seem impossible that the evil effects of marriage within 
the clan may have been noticed. At that time probably 
only a minority even of healthy children survived, and 
the slight congenital weakness produced by in - breeding 
might apparently be fatal to a child's chance of life. 
Possibly some dim perception may have been obtained of 
the different fates of the children of women who restricted 
their sexual relations to men within the clan and those who 
resorted to strangers, even though the nature of paternity 
may not have been understood. The strength of the feeling 
and custom of exogamy seems to demand some such 
recognition for its satisfactory explanation, though, on the 
other hand, the lateness of the recognition of the father's 
share in the production of children militates against this 
view. The suggestion may be made also that the belief 
that the new life of a child must be produced by a spirit 
entering the woman, or other extraneous source, does not 
necessarily involve an ignorance of the physical fact of 
paternity ; the view that the spirits of ancestors are 
reborn in children is still firmly held by tribes who have 
long been wholly familiar with the results of the commerce 
of the sexes. The practice of exogamy was no doubt, as 
shown by Dr. Westermarck, favoured and supported by the 
influence of novelty in sexual attraction, since according 
to common observation and experience sexual love or 
desire is more easily excited between strangers or slight 
acquaintances than between those who have long lived 
together in the same household or in familiar intercourse. 
In the latter case the attraction is dulled by custom and 

The exogamous clan, with female descent, was, however, 
an unstable social institution, in that it had no regular pro- 
vision for marriage nor for the incorporation of married 
couples. The men who associated with the women of the 
clan were not necessarily, nor as a rule, admitted to it, but 


remained in their own clans. How this association took 
place is not altogether clear. At a comparatively late period 
in Arabia, according to Professor Robertson Smith/ the 
woman would have a tent, and could entertain outside men 
for a shorter or longer period according to her inclination. 
The practice of serving for a wife also perhaps dates from 
the period of female descent. The arrangement would have 
been that a man went and lived with a woman's family and 
gave his services in return for her conjugal society. 
Whether the residence with the wife's family was permanent 
or not is perhaps uncertain. When Jacob served for Leah 
and Rachel, society seems to have been in the early 
patriarchal stage, as Laban was their father and he was 
Laban's sister's son. But it seems doubtful whether his 
right was then recognised to take his wives away with him, 
for even after he had served fourteen years Laban pursued 
him, and would have taken them back if he had not been 
warned against doing so in a vision. The episode of 
Rachel's theft of the images also seems to indicate that she 
intended to take her own household gods with her and not 
to adopt those of her husband's house. And Laban's chief 
anxiety was for the recovery of the images. A relic of 
the husband's residence with his wife's family during the 
period of female descent may perhaps be found in the 
Banjara caste, who oblige a man to go and live with his wife's 
father for a month without seeing her face. Under the 
patriarchal system this rule of the Banjaras is meaningless, 
though the general practice of serving for a wife survives as 
a method of purchase. 

Among the Australian aborigines apparently the clans, 
or sections of them, wander about in search of food and 
game, and meet each other for more or less promiscuous 
intercourse. This may perhaps be supposed to have been the 
general primitive condition of society after the introduction 
of exogamy combined with female descent. And its 
memory is possibly preserved in the tradition of the Golden 
Age, golden only in the sense that man was not troubled 
either by memory or anticipation, and lived only for the 
day. The entire insecurity of life and its frequent end by 

1 Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 198, 200. 


starvation or a violent death did not therefore trouble him 
any more than is the case with animals. He took no 
thought for the morrow, nor did the ills of yesterday 
oppress his mind. As when one of a herd of deer is shot 
by a hunter and the others stand by it pityingly as it lies 
dying on the ground, uncertain of its mishap, though they 
would help it if they could ; yet when they perceive the 
hunter they make quickly off and in a few minutes are 
again grazing happily a mile or two away : little or no 
more than this can primitive man be supposed to have been 
affected by the deaths of his fellows. But possibly, since 
he was carnivorous, the sick and old may have been killed 
for food, as is still the practice among some tribes of 
savages. In the natural course, however, more or less 
permanent unions, though perhaps not regular marriages, 
must have developed in the female exogamous clan, which 
would thus usually have men of other clans living with it. 
And since identification of individuals would be extremely 
difficult before the introduction of personal names, there 
would be danger that when two clans met, men and women 
belonging to the same totem-clan would have sexual inter- 
course. This offence, owing to the strength of the feeling 
for exogamy, was frequently held to entail terrible evils for 
the community, and was consequently sometimes punished 
with death as treason. Moreover, if we suppose a number 
of small clans, A, B, C, D and E, to meet each other again 
and again, and the men and women to unite promiscuously, 
it is clear that the result would be a mixture of relationships 
of a very incestuous character. The incest of brothers and 
sisters by the same father would be possible and of almost 
all other relations, though that of brothers and sisters by the 
same mother would not be caused. This may have been 
the reason for the introduction of the class system among 
the Australians and Red Indians, by which all the clans 
of a certain area were divided into two classes, and the 
men of any clan of one class could only marry or have inter- 
course with the women of a clan of the other class. By 
such a division the evil results of the mixture of totems 
in exogamous clans with female descent would be avoided. 
The class system was sometimes further strengthened by 


the rule, in Australia, that different classes should, when 
they met, encamp on opposite sides of a creek or other 
natural division ^ ; whilst among the Red Indians, the classes 
camp on opposite sides of the road, or live on different sides 
of the same house or street.^ In Australia, and very occa- 
sionally elsewhere, the class system has been developed into 
four and eight sub-classes. A man of one sub-class can only 
marry a woman of one other, and their children belong to one 
of those different from either the father's or mother's. This 
highly elaborate and artificial system was no doubt, as stated 
by Sir J. G. Frazer, devised for the purpose of preventing 
the intermarriage of parents and children belonging to 
different clans where there are four sub-classes, and of first 
cousins where there are eight sub-classes.^ The class system, 
however, would not appear to have been the earliest form of 
exogamy among the Australian tribes. Its very complicated 
character, and the fact that the two principal classes some- 
times do not even have names, seem to preclude the idea of 
its having been the first form of exogamy, which is a strong 
natural feeling, so much so that it may almost be described 
as an instinct, though of course not a primitive animal instinct. 
And just as the totem clan, which establishes a sentiment of 
kinship between people who are not related by blood, was 
prior to the individual family, so exogamy, which forbids 
the marriage of people who are not related by blood, must 
apparently have been prior to the feeling simply against con- 
nections of persons related by blood or what we call incest. 
If the two-class system was introduced in Australia to pro- 
hibit the marriage of brothers and sisters at a time when they 
could not recognise each other in adult life, then on the intro- 
duction of personal names which would enable brothers and 
sisters to recognise and remember each other, the two-class 
system should have been succeeded by a modern table of 
prohibited degrees, and not by clan exogamy at all. It is sug- 
gested that the two-class system was a common and natural 
form of evolution of a society divided into exogamous totem 
clans with female descent, when a man was not taken into 

1 Native Tribes of Central Aus- ^ Totemism and E.xo:^a»ty, iii. pp. 

tralia, p. 70; Natives of Australia, 93, 120, 122, 124, 226, ii. p. 6. 
Mr. N. W. Thomas, p. 75. ^ Totemism and Exogamy, vol. iv. 


the clan of the woman with whom he lived. The further sub- 
division into four and eight sub-classes is almost peculiar to 
the Australian tribes ; its development may perhaps be attri- 
buted to the fact that these tribes have retained the system of 
female descent and the migratory hunting method of life for 
an abnormally long period, and have evolved this special 
institution to prevent the unions of near relatives which are 
likely to occur under such conditions. The remains of a two- 
class system appear to be traceable among the Gonds of the 
Central Provinces. In one part of Bastar all the Gond clans 
are divided into two classes without names, and a man cannot 
marry a woman belonging to any clan of his own class, but 
must take one from a clan of the other class. Elsewhere 
the Gonds are divided into two groups of six -god and 
seven-god worshippers among whom the same rule obtains. 
Formerly the Gonds appear in some places to have had seven 
groups, worshipping different numbers of gods from one to 
seven, and each of these groups was exogamous. But after 
the complete substitution of male for female kinship in the 
clan, and the settlement of clans in different villages, the 
classes cease to fulfil any useful purpose. They are now 
disappearing, and it is very difficult to obtain any reliable 
information about their rules. The system of counting 
kinship through the mother, or female descent, has long 
been extinct in the Central Provinces and over most of 
India. Some survival of it, or at least the custom of 
polyandry, is found among the Nairs of southern India and 
in Thibet. Elsewhere scarcely a trace remains, and this 
was also the condition of things with the classical races of 
antiquity ; so much so, indeed, that even great thinkers like 
Sir Henry Maine and M. Fustel de Coulanges, with the 
examples only of India, Greece and Rome before them, did 
not recognise the system of female descent, and thought that 
the exogamous clan with male descent was an extension of 
the patriarchal family, this latter having been the original 
unit of society. The wide distribution of exogamy and 
the probable priority of the system of female to that of 
male descent were first brought prominently to notice by 
Mr. M'Lennan. Still a distinct trace of the prior form 
survives here in the special relationship sometimes found to 


exist between a man and his sister's children. This is a 
survival of the period when a woman's children, under the 
rule of female descent, belonged to her own family and her 
husband or partner in sexual relations had no proprietary 
right or authority over them, the place and authority of a 
father belonging in such a condition of society to the mother's 
brother or brothers. Among the Halbas a marriage is 
commonly arranged when practicable between a brother's 
daughter and a sister's son. And a man always shows a 
special regard and respect for his sister's son, touching the 
latter's feet as to a superior, while whenever he desires to 
make a gift as an offering of thanks and atonement, or as a 
meritorious action, the sister's son is the recipient. At his 
death he usually leaves a substantial legacy, such as one or 
two buffaloes, to his sister's son, the remainder of the property 
going to his own family. Similarly among the Kamars the 
marriage of a man's children with his sister's children is 
considered the most suitable union. If a man's sister is 
poor, he will arrange for the weddings of her children. He 
will never beat his sister's children however much they may 
deserve it, and he will not permit his sister's son or daughter 
to eat from the dish from which he eats. The last rule, it 
is said, also applies to the maternal aunt. The Kunbis, and 
other Maratha castes, have a saying : ' At the sister's house 
the brother's daughter is a daughter-in-law.' The Gonds 
call the wedding of a brother's daughter to a sister's son 
Diidh lautdna, or * bringing back the milk.' The reason why 
a brother was formerly anxious to marry his daughter to 
his sister's son was that the latter would be his heir under 
the matriarchal system ; but now that inheritance is through 
males, and girls are at a premium for marriage, a brother is 
usually more anxious to get his sister's daughter for his son, 
and on the analogy of the opposite union it is sometimes 
supposed, as among the Gonds, that he also has a right to 
her. Many other instances of the special relation between 
a brother and his sister's children are given by Sir J. G. 
Frazer in Toteniism and Exogamy. In some localities also 
the Korkus build their villages in two long lines of houses on 
each side of the road, and it may be the case that this is a 
relic of the period when two or more clans with female 



descent lived in the same village, and those belonging to each 
class who could not marry or have sexual relations among 
themselves occupied one side of the road. 
70. Mar- The transfer of the reckoning of kinship and descent from 

the mother's to the father's side may perhaps be associated 
with the full recognition of the physical fact of paternity. 
Though they may not have been contemporaneous in all 
or even the majority of societies, it would seem that the 
former was in most cases the logical outcome of the latter, 
regard being had also to the man's natural function as pro- 
tector of the family and provider of its sustenance. But 
this transition from female to male kinship was a social 
revolution of the first importance. Under the system of 
female descent there had been generally no transfer of clan- 
ship ; both the woman and her partner or husband retained 
their own clans, and the children belonged to their mother's 
clan. In the totemic stage of society the totem-clan was 
the vital organism, and the individual scarcely realised his 
own separate existence, but regarded himself as a member 
of his totem-clan, being a piece or fraction of a common life 
which extended through all the members of the clan and 
all the totem animals of the species. They may have 
thought also that each species of animals and plants had a 
different kind of life, and consequently also each clan whose 
life was derived from, and linked to, that of its totem-species. 
For the name, and life, and qualities, and flesh and blood 
were not separate conceptions, but only one conception ; and 
since the name and qualities were part of the life, the life of 
one species could not be the same as that of another, and every 
species which had a separate name must have been thought 
to have a different kind of life. Nor would man have been 
regarded as a distinct species in the early totem-stage, and 
there would be no word for man ; but each totem-clan would 
regard itself as having the same life as its totem-species. 
With the introduction of the system of male kinship came 
also the practice of transferring a woman from her own clan to 
that of her husband. It may be suggested that this was the 
origin of the social institution of marriage. Primitive society 
had no provision for such a procedure, which was opposed to 
its one fundamental idea of its own constitution, and in- 


volved a change of the life and personality of the woman 

The view seems to have been long held that this transfer 71. Mar- 
could only be effected by violence or capture, the manner in "^^e by 


which presumably it was first practised. Marriage by cap- 
ture is very widely prevalent among savage races, as shown 
by Mr. M'Lennan in Primitive Marriage, and by Dr. 
Westermarck in The History of Hitman Marriage. Where 
the custom has given place to more peaceable methods of 
procuring a wife, survivals commonly occur. In Bastar 
the regular capture of the girl is still sometimes carried 
out, though the business is usually arranged by the couple 
beforehand, and the same is the case among the Kolams 
of Wardha. A regular part of the marriage procedure 
among the Gonds and other tribes is that the bride 
should weep formally for some hours, or a day before the 
wedding, and she is sometimes taught to cry in the proper 
note. At the wedding the bride hides somewhere and has 
to be found or carried off by the bridegroom or his brother. 
This ritualistic display of grief and coyness appears to be of 
considerable interest. It cannot be explained by the girl's 
reluctance to marriage as involving the loss of her virginity, 
inasmuch as she is still frequently not a virgin at her 
wedding, and to judge from the analogy of other tribes, 
could seldom or never have been one a few generations 
back. Nor is affection for her family or grief at the 
approaching separation from them a satisfactory motive. 
This would not account for the hiding at all, and not 
properly for the weeping, since she will after all only live 
a few miles away and will often return home ; and sometimes 
she does not only weep at her own house but at all the 
houses of the village. The suggestion may be made that 
the procedure really indicates the girl's reluctance to be 
severed from her own clan and transferred to another ; and 
that the sentiment is a survival of the resistance to marriage 
by capture which was at first imposed on the women by the 
men from loyalty to the clan totem and its common life, 
and had nothing to do with the conjugal relationship of 
marriage. But out of this feeling the sexual modesty of 
women, which had been non-existent in the matriarchal 


72. Trans- 
fer of the 
bride to 


condition of society, was perhaps gradually developed. The 
Chamars of Bilaspur have sham fights on the approach 
of the wedding party, and in most Hindu castes the bride- 
groom on his arrival performs some militant action, such 
as striking the marriage-shed or breaking one of its festoons. 
After the marriage the bride is nearly always sent home 
with the bridegroom's party for a few days, even though she 
may be a child and the consummation of the marriage im- 
possible. This may be in memory of her having formerly 
been carried off, and some analogous significance may attach 
to our honeymoon. When the custom of capture had died 
down it was succeeded by the milder form of elopement, or 
the bride was sold or exchanged against a girl from the bride- 
groom's family or clan, but there is usually a relic of a formal 
transfer, such as the Hindu Kanyaddn or gift of the virgin, the 
Roman Tradltio in maniiin or her transfer from her father's 
to her husband's power, and the giving away of the bride. 

These customs seem to mark the transfer of the woman 
from her father's to her husband's clan, which was in the 
first instance effected forcibly and afterwards by the free gift 
of her father or guardian, and the change of surname would 
be a relic of the change of clan. Among the Hindus a 
girl is never called by her proper name in her husband's 
house, but always by some other name or nickname. This 
custom seems to be a relic of the period when the name 
denoted the clan, though it no longer has any reference 
either to the girl's clan or family. Another rite portraying 
the transfer in India is the marking of the bride's forehead 
with vermilion, which is no doubt a substitute for blood. 
The ceremony would be a relic of participation in the clan 
sacrifice when the bride would in the first place drink the 
blood of the totem animal or tribal god with the bride- 
groom in sign of her admission to his clan and afterwards 
be marked with the blood as a substitute. This smear of 
vermilion a married woman always continues to wear as a 
sign of her state, unless she wears pink powder or a spangle 
as a substitute.^ Where this pink powder {kunkii) or 
spangles are used they must always be given by the bride- 

^ See article Lakhcra for further discussion of the marking with vermilion 
and its substitutes. 


groom to the bride as part of the So/idg or trousseau. At 
a Bhaina wedding the bride's father makes an image in clay 
of the bird or animal of the groom's sept and places it beside 
the marriage-post. The bridegroom worships the image, 
lighting a sacrificial fire before it, or offers to it the vermilion 
which he afterwards smears upon the forehead of the bride. 
The Khadals at their marriages worship their totem animal 
or tree, and offer to it flowers, sandalwood, vermilion, un- 
cooked rice, and the new clothes and ornaments intended 
for the bride, which she may not wear until this cere- 
mony has been performed. Again, the sacrament of the 
Meher or marriage cakes is sometimes connected with the 
clan totem in India. These cakes are cooked and eaten 
sacramentally by all the members of the family and their 
relatives, the bride and bridegroom commencing first. 
Among the Kols the relatives to whom these cakes are 
distributed cannot intermarry, and this indicates that the 
eating of them was formerly a sacrament of the exogamous 
clan. The association of the totem with the marriage cakes is 
sometimes clearly shown. Thus in the Dahait caste members 
of the clans named after certain trees, go to the tree at the 
time of their weddings and invite it to be present at the cere- 
mony. They offer the marriage cakes to the tree. Those 
of the Nagotia or cobi'a clan deposit the cakes at a snake's 
hole. Members of the Singh (lion) and Bagh (tiger) clans 
draw images of these animals on the wall at the time of their 
weddings and offer the cakes to them. The Basors of the 
Kulatia or somersault clan do somersaults at the time of eating 
the cakes ; those of the Karai Nor clan, who venerate a well, 
eat the cakes at a well and not at home. Basors of the 
Lurhia clan, who venerate a grinding-stone, worship this 
implement at the time of eating the marriage cakes. 
M. Fustel de Coulanges states that the Roman Confar- 
reatio, or eating of a cake together by the bride and 
bridegroom in the presence of the family gods of the 
latter, constituted their holy union or marriage. By this 
act the wife was transferred to the gods and religion of 
her husband.^ Here the gods referred to are clearly held 
to be the family gods, and in the historical period it 
1 La Cit^ Antique, Paris, Librairie Hachette, 21st ed. p. 4. 


seems doubtful whether the Roman gens was still exo- 
gamous. But if the patriarchal family developed within 
the exogamous clan tracing descent through males, and 
finally supplanted the clan as the most important social unit, 
then it would follow that the family gods were only a substi- 
tute for the clan gods, and the bride came to be transferred 
to her husband's family instead of to his clan. The mar- 
riage ceremony in Greece consisted of a common meal 
of a precisely similar character,^ and the English wedding- 
cake seems to be a survival of such a rite. At their wed- 
dings the Bhils make cakes of the large millet juari, calling 
it Juari Mata or Mother Juari. These cakes are eaten at 
the houses of the bride and bridegroom by the members of 
their respective clans, and the remains are buried inside the 
house as sacred food. Dr. Howitt states of the Kurnai 
tribe : " By and by, when the bruises and perhaps wounds 
received in these fights (between the young men and women) 
had healed, a young man and a young woman might meet, 
and he, looking at her, would say, for instance, ' Djiitgun ! ^ 
What does the Djiitgun eat ? ' The reply would be * She 
eats kangaroo, opossum,' or some other game. This con- 
stituted a formal offer and acceptance, and would be 
followed by the elopement of the couple as described in 
the chapter on Marriage." ^ There is no statement that 
the question about eating refers to the totem, but this 
must apparently have been the original bearing of the 
question, which otherwise would be meaningless. Since this 
proposal of marriage followed on a fight between the boys 
and girls arising from the fact that one party had injured 
the other party's sex-totem, the fight may perhaps really 
have been a preliminary to the proposal and have repre- 
sented a symbolic substitute for or survival of marriage by 
capture. Among the Santals, Colonel Dalton says, " the 
social meal that the boy and girl eat together is the most 
important part of the ceremony, as by the act the girl 
ceases to belong to her father's tribe and becomes a member 
of the husband's family." Since the terms tribe and family 

1 La Citi Antique, p. 45. their sex-totem, the emu-wren. 

2 This word seems to mean elder •* Native Tribes of S.-E. Australia, 
sister, and is applied hy the girls to p. 149. 


are obviously used loosely in the above statement, we may 
perhaj^s substitute clan in both cases. Many other instances 
of the rite of eating together at a wedding are given by 
Dr. Westermarck.^ If, therefore, it be supposed that the 
wedding ceremony consisted originally of the formal transfer 
of the bride to the bridegroom's clan, and further that the 
original tie which united the totem-clan was the common 
eating of the totem animal, then the practice of the bride 
and bridegroom eating together as a symbol of marriage 
can be fully understood. When the totem animal had 
ceased to be the principal means of subsistence, bread, 
which to a people in the agricultural stage had become the 
staff or chief support of life, was substituted for it, as argued 
by Professor Robertson Smith in The Religion of the Semites. 
If the institution of marriage was thus originally based on 
the forcible transfer of a woman from her own to her 
husband's clan, certain Indian customs become easily 
explicable in the light of this view. We can understand 
why a Brahman or Rajput thought it essential to marry his 
daughter into a clan or family of higher status than his 
own ; because the disgrace of having his daughter taken 
from him by what had been originally an act of force, was 
atoned for by the superior rank of the captor or abductor. 
And similarly the terms father-in-law and brother-in-law 
would be regarded as opprobrious because they originally 
implied not merely that the speaker had married the sister 
or daughter of the person addressed, but had married her 
forcibly, thereby placing him in a position of inferiority. 
A Rajput formerly felt it derogatory that any man should 
address him either as father- or brother-in-law. And the 
analogous custom of a man refusing to take food in the 
house of his son-in-law's family and sometimes even refusing 
to drink water in their village would be explicable on 
precisely the same grounds. This view of marriage would 
also account for the wide prevalence of female infanticide. 
Because in the primitive condition of exogamy with male 
descent, girls could not be married in their own clan, as 
this would transgress the binding law of exogamy, and they 
could not be transferred from their own totem-clan and 

' History of Human Marriage, pp. 418-420. 


married in another except by force and rape. Hence it 
was thought better to kill girl children than to suffer the 
ignominy of their being forcibly carried off. Both kinds 
of female infanticide as distinguished by Sir H. Risley ^ 
would thus originally be due to the same belief The 
Khond killed his daughter because she could not be married 
otherwise than by forcible abduction ; not necessarily be- 
cause he was unable to protect her, but because he could 
not conceive of her being transferred from one totem-clan 
to another by any other means ; and he was bound to 
resist the transfer because by acquiescing in it, he would 
have been guilty of disloyalty to his own totem, whose 
common life was injured by the loss of the girl. The 
Rajput killed his daughter because it was a disgrace to him 
to get her married at all outside his clan, and she could not 
be married within it. Afterwards the disgrace was removed 
by marrying her into a higher clan than his own and by 
lavish expenditure on the wedding ; and the practice of 
female infanticide was continued to avoid the ruinous 
outlay which this primitive view of marriage had originally 
entailed. The Hindu custom of the Swayamvara or armed 
contest for the hand of a Rajput princess, and the curious 
recognition by the Hindu law-books of simple rape as 
a legitimate form of marriage would be explained on the 
same ground. 
73. The It has been seen that the exogamous clan with female 

exogamous desccut Contained no married couples, and therefore it was 

clan with , 1 1 t • 1 • 

male neccssary either that outside men should live with it, or that 

descent |.j^g clans should continually meet each other, or that two or 

and the ■' ' 

village. more should live in the same village. With the change to 
male descent and the transfer of women to their husbands' 
clans, this unstable characteristic was removed. Henceforth 
the clan was self-contained, having its married couples, both 
members of it, whose children would also be born in and 
belong to it. Since the clan was originally a body of 
persons who wandered about and hunted together, its 
character would be maintained by living together, and 
there is reason to suppose that the Indian exogamous 
clan with male descent took its special character because its 

' The People of India (Tliacker & Co.), pp. 171, 173. 


members usually lived in one or more villages. This fact 
would account for the large number and multiplication of 
clans in India as compared with other places. As already 
seen one of the names of a clan is khera, which also 
means a village, and a large number of the clan names are 
derived from, or the same, as those of villages. Among the 
Khonds all the members of one clan live in the same 
locality about some central village. Thus the Tupa clan 
are collected about the village of Teplagarh in Patna State, 
the Loa clan round Sindhekala, the Borga clan round 
Bangomunda and so on. The Nunias of Mirzapur, Mr. 
Crooke remarks,^ have a system of local subdivisions called 
dtk, each subdivision being named after the village which is 
supposed to be its home. The word dih itself means a site 
or village. Those who have the same dIh do not intermarry. 
In the villages first settled by the Oraons, Father Dehon 
states,^ the population is divided into three khmtts or 
branches, the founders of the three branches being held to 
have been sons of the first settler. Members of each branch 
belong to the same clan or got. Each kJmnt or branch has 
a share of the village lands. The Mochis or cobblers have 
forty exogamous sections or gotras, mostly named after 
Rajput clans, and they also have an equal number of kheras 
or groups named after villages. The limits of the two 
groups seem to be identical ; and members of each group 
have an ancestral village from which they are supposed to 
have come. Marriage is now regulated by the Rajput sept- 
names, but the probability is that the kheras were the 
original divisions, and the Rajput gotras have been more 
recently adopted in support of the claims already noticed. 
The Parjas have totemistic exogamous clans and marriage 
is prohibited in theory between members of the same clan. 
But as the number of clans is rather small, the rule is not 
adhered to, and members of the same clan are permitted to 
marry so long as they do not come from the same village. 
The Minas of Rajputana are divided into twelve exogamous 
pals or clans ; the original meaning of the word pal was a 

1 Tribes and Castes of the N.-W. P. Oraons, Memoirs, As. Socy. of Bengal, 
and Oudh, art. Nunia. vol. i. No. 9. 

^ Religion and Customs of the 


defile or valley suitable for defence, where the members of 
the clan would live together as in a Scotch glen. 

Thus among the cultivating castes apparently each 
exogamous clan consisted originally of the residents of one 
village, though they afterwards spread to a number of 
villages. The servile labouring castes may also have arranged 
their clans by villages as the primitive forest-tribes did. How 
the menial castes formed exogamous clans is not altogether 
clear, as the numbers in one village would be only small. 
But it may be supposed that as they gradually increased, 
clans came into existence either in one large village or a 
number of adjacent ones, and sometimes traced their descent 
from a single family or from an ancestor with a nickname. 
As a rule, the artisan castes do not appear to have formed 
villages of their own in India, as they did in Russia, though 
this may occasionally have happened. When among the 
cultivating castes the lands were divided, separate joint 
families would be constituted ; the head only of each family 
would be its representative in the clan, as he would hold the 
share of the village land assigned to the family, which was 
their joint means of subsistence, and the family would live 
in one household. Thus perhaps the Hindu joint family 
came into existence as a subdivision of the exogamous clan 
with male descent, on which its constitution was modelled. 
In Chhattisgarh families still live together in large enclosures 
with separate huts for the married couples. A human 
ancestor gradually took the place of the totem as the giver 
of life to the clan. The members thought themselves bound 
together by the tie of his blood which flowed through all 
their veins, and frequently, as in Athens, Rome and Scotland, 
every member of the clan bore his name. In this capacity, 
as the source of the clan's life, the original ancestor was 
perhaps venerated, and on the development of the family 
system within the clan, the ancestors of the family were 
held in a similar regard, and the feeling extended to the 
living ancestor or father, who is treated with the greatest 
deference in the early patriarchal family. Even now Hindu 
boys, though they may be better educated and more intel- 
ligent than their father, will not as a rule address him at 
meals unless he speaks to them first, on account of their 


traditional respect for him. The regard for the father may 
be strengthened by his position as the stay and support of 
the family, but could scarcely have arisen solely from this 

Dr. Westermarck's view that the origin of exogamy lay in 
the feeling against the marriage of persons who lived together, 
receives support from the fact that a feeling of kinship still 
subsists between Hindus living in the same village, even 
though they may belong to different castes and clans. It 
is commonly found that all the households of a village 
believe themselves in a manner related. A man will address 
all the men of the generation above his own as uncle, though 
they may be of different castes, and the children of the 
generation below his own as niece and nephew. When a 
girl is married, all the old men of the village call her husband 
' son-in-law.' This extends even to the impure castes who 
cannot be touched. Yet owing to the fact that they live 
together they are considered by fiction to be related. The 
Gowari caste do not employ Brahmans for their weddings, 
but the ceremony is performed by the bhdnja or sister's son 
either of the girl's father or the boy's father. If he is not 
available, any one whom either the girl's father or the boy's 
father addresses as bhdnja or nephew in the village, even 
though he may be no relation and may belong to another 
caste, may perform the ceremony as a substitute. Among 
the Oraons and other tribes prenuptial intercourse between 
boys and girls of the same village is regularly allowed. It 
is not considered right, however, that these unions should 
end in marriage, for which partners should be sought from 
other villages.^ In the Maratha country the villagers have 
a communal feast on the occasion of the Dasahra festival, 
the Kunbis or cultivators eating first and the members of 
the menial and labouring castes afterwards. 

The Brahmans and Rajputs, however, and one or two 
other military castes, as the Marathas and Lodhis, do not 
have the small exogamous clans (which probably, as has 
been seen, represented the persons who lived together in a 
village), but large ones. Thus the Rajputs were divided 
into thirty-six royal races, and theoretically all these should 

1 Mr. S. C. Roy, The Oraons, p. 247. 



74. The 
large exo- 
clans of 
the Brah- 
nians and 

the gens 
and the 

have been exogamous, marrying with each other. Each 
great clan was afterwards, as a rule, .split into a number of 
branches, and it is probable that these became exogamous ; 
while in cases where a community of Rajputs have settled 
on the land and become ordinary cultivators, they have 
developed into an endogamous subcaste containing small 
clans of the ordinary type. It seems likely that the Rajput 
clan originally consisted of those who followed the chief to 
battle and fought together, and hence considered themselves 
to be related. This was, as a matter of fact, the case. 
Colonel Tod states that the great Rathor clan, who said 
that they could muster a hundred thousand swords, spoke 
of themselves as the sons of one father. The members of 
the Scotch clans considered themselves related in the same 
manner, and they were probably of similar character to 
the Rajpiit clans.^ I do not know, however, that there is 
any definite evidence as to the exogamy of the Scotch 
clans, which would have disappeared with their conversion 
to Christianity. The original Rajput clan may perhaps 
have lived round the chief's castle or headquarters and been 
supported by the produce of his private fief or demesne. 
The regular Brahman gotras are also few in number, 
possibly because they were limited by the paucity of 
eponymous saints of the first rank. The word gotra means 
a stall or cow-pen, and would thus originally signify those 
who lived together in one place like a herd of cattle. But 
the gotras are now exceedingly large, the same ones being 
found in most or all of the Brahman subcastes, and it is 
believed that they do not regulate marriage as a rule. 
Sometimes ordinary surnames have taken the place of clan 
names, and persons with the same surname consider them- 
selves related and do not marry. But usually Brahmans 
prohibit marriage between Sapindas or persons related to 
each other within seven degrees from a common ancestor. 
The word Sapinda signifies those who partake together of 
the pindas or funeral cakes offered to the dead. The 
Sapindas are also a man's heirs in the absence of closer 
relations ; the group of the Sapindas is thus an exact 
replica within the gotra of the primitive totem clan which 

' See article on Rajput, para. 9. 


was exogamous and constituted by the tic of living and 
eating together. Similarly marriage at Rome was prohibited 
to seven degrees of relationship through males within the 
gens} and this exogamous group of kinsmen appear to have 
been the body of agnatic kinsmen within the gens who are 
referred to by Sir H. Maine as a man's ultimate heirs.^ At 
Athens, when a contest arose upon a question of in- 
heritance, the proper legal evidence to establish kinship 
was the proof that the alleged ancestor and the alleged heir 
observed a common worship and shared in the same repast 
in honour of the dead.^ The distant heirs were thus a 
group within the Athenian <^kvo<i corresponding to the 
Sapindas and bound by the same tie of eating together. 
Professor Hearn states that there is no certain evidence that 
the Roman gens and Greek 761^09 were originally exogamous, 
but we find that of the Roman matrons whose names are 
known to us none married a husband with her own Gentile 
name ; and further, that Plutarch, in writing of the Romans, 
says that in former days men did not marry women of their 
own blood or, as in the preceding sentence he calls them, 
kinswomen {av^^evLha<;), just as in his own day they did 
not marry their aunts or sisters ; and he adds that it was 
long before they consented to wed with cousins.^ Professor 
Hearn's opinion was that the Hindu gotra, the Roman gens 
and the Greek 76^09 were originally the same institution, the 
exogamous clan with male descent, and all the evidence 
available, as well as the close correspondence in other 
respects of early Hindu institutions with those of the Greek 
and Latin cities would tend to support this view. 

In the admirable account of the early constitution of 75'.^°"^; 

-^ panson of 

the city-states of Greece and Italy contained in the work of Hindu 
M. Fustel de Coulanges, La Cite Antique, a close resemblance ^"tMhat 
may be traced with the main strata of Hindu society given of Greece 
earlier in this essay. The Roman state was composed of ^j^^ „.^,^^ ' 
a number of gentes or clans, each gens tracing its descent 

1 Professor W. E. Hearn's Aryan tioned in Early Law and Custom, pp. 
Household (London, Longmans, Green 238, 239, but not directly as heirs. 

& Co.), p. 160. ^ Aryaii Household, p. 28, quoting 

2 At first the whole gens were the Becker's Charicles, p. 394. 

heirs, Ancient Law, p. 221. The * Aryan Household, }^. xbo, Q;^\o\\x\g 

group of agnatic kinsmen are men- Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae, c. 6. 


from a common ancestor, whose name it usually bore. The 
termination of the Gentile name in ius signified descendant, 
as Claudius, Fabius, and so on. Similarly the names of the 
Athenian yivr} or clans ended in z'des or ades, as Butades, 
Phytalides, which had the same signification.^ The Gentile 
or clan name was the nomeji or principal name, just as the 
personal names of the members of the totem-clans were at 
first connected with the totems. The members of the gens 
lived together on a section of the city land and cultivated it 
under the control of the head of the gens. The original ager 
Koinanus is held to have been i i 5 square miles or about 
74,000 acres,^ and this was divided up among the clans. 
The heads of clans originally lived on their estates and went 
in to Rome for the periodical feasts and other duties. The 
principal family or eldest branch of the gens in the descent 
from a common ancestor ranked above the others, and its 
head held the position of a petty king in the territory of the 
gens. In Greece he was called ava^ or ^acrCkev^.^ Originally 
the Roman Senate consisted solely of the heads of gentes, 
and the consuls, flamens and augurs were also chosen 
exclusively from them ; they were known as patres ; after 
the expulsion of the kings, fresh senators were added from 
the junior branches of the gentes, of which there were at this 
period 160, and these were known as patres conscripti^ 
The distinction between the eldest and junior branches of the 
gentes may have corresponded to the distinction between 
the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, though as practically nothing 
is known of the constitution of the original Kshatriyas, this 
can only be hypothetical. 
76. The Within the gens, and living in the household or house- 

holds of its members, there existed a body of slaves, and also 
another class of persons called clients.^ The client was a 
servant and dependant ; he might be assigned a plot of land 
by his patron, but at first could not transmit it nor hold it 
against his patron. It is probable that originally he had no 
right of property of his own, but he gradually acquired it. 
First he obtained a right of occupancy in his land and of its 

1 La Citd Antique, 2ist ed. I'aris, ■' La Cite' An/ique, p. 299. 

Hachette et Cie. '' Za Cit^ Antique, p. 304. 

* Aryan Household, p. 215. ^ Ibidem, pp. 128, 129. 




devolution to his son if he had one. Finally he was given 
the power of making a will. But he was still obliged to con- 
tribute to such expenses of the patron as ransom in war, 
fines imposed by the courts, or the dowry of a daughter.' 
The client was considered as a member of the family and 
bore its name." But he was not a proper member of the 
family or gens, because his pedigree never ascended to a 
pater or the head of a gens? It was incumbent on the 
patron to protect the client, and guard his interests both in 
peace and war. The client participated in the household 
and Gentile sacrifices and worshipped the gods of the gens? 
At first the people of Rome consisted of three classes, the 
patricians, the clients and the plebeians. In course of time, 
as the rights and privileges of the plebeians increased after 
the appointment of tribunes, their position, from having 
originally been much inferior, became superior to that of the 
clients, and the latter preferred to throw off the tie uniting 
them to their patrons and become merged in the plebeians. 
In this manner the intermediate class of clients at length 
entirely disappeared.^ These clients must not be confused 
with the subsequent class of the same name, who are 
found during the later period of the republic and the empire, 
and were the voluntary supporters or hangers-on of rich men. 
It would appear that these early clients corresponded very 
closely to the household servants of the Indian cultivators, 
from whom the village menial castes were developed. The 
Roman client was sometimes a freed slave, but this would 
not have made him a member of the family, even in a sub- 
ordinate position. Apparently the class of clients may have 
to a great extent originated in mixed descent, as the Indian 
household and village menials probably did. This view 
would account satisfactorily for the client's position as a 
member of the family but not a proper one. From the fact 
that they were considered one of the three principal divisions 
of the people it is clear that the clients must at one time 
have been numerous and important. 

Below the clients came the plebeians, whose position, as 

1 Ibidem, p. 318. * Ibidem, p. 129. 

^ Ibidem, p. 129. ''' Ibidem, p. 320. 

^ Ibidem, p. 273. 



77. The 

M. Fustel de Coulanges himself points out, corresponded 
very closely to that of the Sudras. The plebeians had no 
religion and no ancestors ; they did not belong to a family 
or a gens} They were a despised and abject class, who 
lived like beasts outside the proper boundary of the city. 
The touch of the plebeian was impure." " When tribunes 
were created a special law was necessary to protect their life 
and liberty, and it was promulgated as follows : ' It is 
forbidden to strike or kill a tribune, as if he was an ordinary 
plebeian.' It would appear then that a patrician had the 
right to strike or kill an ordinary plebeian, or at least that 
he was amenable to no legal punishment for doing so." ^ 
Similarly in the ancient Greek cities the citizens were known 
as dyadoi or good, and the plebeians as KaKoi or bad. 
This latter class is described by the poet Theognis as having 
had aforetime neither tribunals nor laws ; they were not 
allowed even to enter the town, but lived outside like wild 
beasts. They had no part in the religious feasts and could 
not intermarry with the proper citizens.'^ 

This position corresponds exactly with that of the 
Sudras and the existing impure castes, who have to live 
outside the village and cannot enter or even approach 
Hindu temples. 

M. de Coulanges considers that the plebeians were to 
a large extent made up of conquered and subjected 
peoples. An asylum was also established at Rome for 
broken men and outlaws from other cities, with a view 
to increasing the population and strength of the state. 
Subsequently the class of clients became absorbed among 
the plebeians. 

Thus the gradation of society in the city - states of 
Greece and Italy, the account given above being typical of 
in the city- them all, is seen to correspond fairly closely with that of 
states. ^j^ Hindus, as exemplified in the Hindu classics and the 
microcosm of Hindu society, the village community. It is 
desirable, therefore, to inquire what was the tie which united 
the members of the gens, the curia or phratry, and the city, 
and which distinguished the patricians from the plebeians. 

73. The 
social tie 

' La CM Attfifjtfe, p. 279. 
'■^ Ibidem, pp. 281, 282. 

•* Ibidevt, p. 281. 
* Ibidem, p. 320. 


On this point M. Fustel de Coulanges leaves us in no doubt 
at all. The bond of union among all these bodies was a 
common sacrifice or sacrificial meal, at which all the members 
had to be present. " The principal ceremony of the religion 
of the household was a meal, which was called a sacrifice. 
To eat a meal prepared on an altar was, according to all 
appearance, the first form of religious worship." ' " The 
principal ceremony of the religion of the city was also a 
public feast ; it had to be partaken of communally by all 
the citizens in honour of the tutelary deities. The custom 
of holding these public feasts was universal in Greece ; and 
it was believed that the safety of the city depended on 
their accomplishment." ^ M. de Coulanges quotes from the 
Odyssey an account of one of these sacred feasts at which 
nine long tables were set out for the people of Pylos ; five 
hundred citizens were seated and nine bulls were slaughtered 
for each table. When Orestes arrived at Athens after the 
murder of his mother, he found the people, assembled round 
their king, about to hold the sacred feast. Similar feasts 
were held and numerous victims were slaughtered in 
Xenophon's time.^ At these meals the guests were crowned 
with garlands and the vessels were of a special form and 
material, such as copper or earthenware, no doubt dating 
from the antique past.^ As regards the importance and 
necessity of being present at the Gentile sacrificial feast, the 
same author states : " The Capitol was blockaded by the 
Gauls ; but Fabius left it and passed through the hostile 
lines, clad in religious garb, and carrying in his hand the 
sacred objects ; he was going to offer a sacrifice on the 
altar of his gens which was situated on the Ouirinal. In 
the second Punic war another Fabius, he who was called the 
buckler of Rome, was holding Hannibal in check ; it was 
assuredly of the greatest importance to the Republic that 
he should not leave his army ; he left it, however, in the 
hands of the imprudent Minucius ; it was because the 
anniversary day of the sacrifice of his gens had come and it 
was necessary that he should hasten to Rome to perform 
the sacred rite." In Greece the members of the gens were 

1 La Citt< Antique, p. 1 79. ^ Ibidem. 

2 Ibidem. ^ Ibidem, p. 181. 



known by the fact that they performed communal sacrifices 
together from a remote period.^ As already seen, a com- 
munal sacrifice meant the eating together of the sacred food, 
whether the flesh of a victim or grain. 
79. The The Roman city sacrifice of the Suovetaurilia, as 

described by M. de Coulanges, is of the greatest interest. 
The magistrate whose duty it was to accomplish it, that is 
in the first place the king, after him the consul, and after 
him the censor, had first to take the auspices and ascertain 
that the gods were favourable. Then he summoned the 
people through a herald by a consecrated form of words. 
On the appointed day all the citizens assembled outside the 
walls ; and while they stood silent the magistrate proceeded 
three times round the assembly, driving before him three 
victims — a pig, a ram and a bull. The combination of 
these three victims constituted with the Greeks as well as 
the Romans an expiatory sacrifice. Priests and attendants 
followed the procession : when the third round had been 
accomplished, the magistrate pronounced a prayer and 
slaughtered the victims. From this moment all sins were 
expiated, and neglect of religious duties effaced, and the 
city was at peace with its gods. 

There were two essential features of this ceremony : the 
first, that no stranger should be present at it ; and the 
second, that no citizen should be absent from it. In the 
latter case the whole city might not have been freed from 
impurity. The Suovetaurilia was therefore preceded by a 
census, which was conducted with the greatest care both 
at Rome and Athens. The citizen who was not enrolled 
and was not present at the sacrifice could no longer be a 
member of the city. He could be beaten and sold as a 
slave, this rule being relaxed only in the last two centuries 
of the Republic. Only male citizens were present at the 
sacrifice, but they gave a list of their families and belongings 
to the censor, and these were considered to be purified 
through the head of the family.' 

This sacrifice was called a lustratio or purification, and 
in the historical period was considered to be expiatory. 
But it does not seem probable that this was its original 

1 La CiU Antique, p. 113. - Ibidem, pp. 1 86- 188. 


significance. For there would not in that case have been 
the paramount necessity for every citizen to be present. All 
females and children under power were purified through the 
list given to the censor, and there seems no reason why 
absent citizens could not have been purified in the same 
manner. . But participation in this sacrifice was itself the 
very test and essence of citizenship. And it has been seen 
that a public meal was the principal religious rite of the 
city. The conclusion therefore seems reasonable that the 
Suovetaurilia was originally also a sacrificial meal of which 
each citizen partook, and that the eating of the deified 
domestic animals in common was the essence of the rite 
and the act which conferred the privilege of citizenship. 
The driving of the sacrificial animals round the citizens 
three times might well be a substitute for the previous 
communal meal, if for any reason, such as the large 
number of citizens, the practice of eating them had 
fallen into abeyance. The original ground for the taking 
of a census was to ensure that all the citizens were 
present at the communal sacrifice ; and it was by the 
place which a man occupied on this day that his rank in 
the city was determined till the next sacrifice. If the 
censor counted him among the senators, he remained a 
senator ; if among the equites, he remained a knight ; if 
as a simple member of a tribe, he belonged henceforward 
to the tribe in which he was counted. If the censor 
refused to enumerate him, he was no longer a citizen.^ 
Such was the vital importance of the act of participation in 
the sacrifice. 

The Roman sacrifice of the Suovetaurilia was in no way 80. The 
peculiar, similar rites being found in other Greek and Latin of^he'^^ 
cities. Some instances are recorded in the article on Kasai, domestic 
and in Themis ^ Miss Jane Harrison gives an account of a "'"'^ ' 
sacrifice at Magnesia in which a bull, ram and he- and she- 
goats were sacrificed to the gods and, partaken of commun- 
ally by the citizens. As already seen, the act of participa- 
tion in the sacrifice conferred the status of citizenship. 
The domestic animals were not as a rule eaten, but their 
milk was drunk, and they were used for transport, and 

1 La Citi Antique^ ibidem. 2 pp, i^j^ 15^. 


clothes were perhaps sometimes made from their hair and 
skins. Hence they were the principal source of life of the 
tribe, as the totem had been of the clan, and were venerated 
and deified. One common life was held to run through 
all the members of the tribe and all the domestic animals 
of the species which was its principal means of support. In 
the totem or hunting stage the clan had necessarily been 
small, because a large collection of persons could not subsist 
together by hunting and the consumption of roots and fruits. 
When an additional means of support was afforded by the 
domestication of an important animal, a much larger number 
of persons could live together, and apparently several clans 
became amalgamated into a tribe. The sanctity of the 
domestic animals was much greater than that of the totem 
because they lived with man and partook of his food, which 
was the strongest tie of kinship ; and since he still endowed 
them with self-consciousness and volition, he thought they 
had come voluntarily to aid him in sustaining life. Both 
on this account and for fear of injuring the common life 
they were not usually killed. But it was necessary to 
primitive man that the tie should take a concrete form and 
that he should actually assimilate the life of the sacred 
animal by eating its flesh, and this was accordingly done 
at a ceremonial sacrifice, which was held annually, and often 
in the spring, the season of the renewal and increase of life. 
Since this renewal of the communal life was the concrete tie 
which bound the tribe together, any one who was absent from 
it could no longer be a member of the tribe. The whole of 
this rite and the intense importance attached to it are inex- 
plicable except on the supposition that the tie which had 
originally constituted the totem-clan was the eating of the 
totem-animal, and that this tie was perpetuated in the tribe 
by the communal eating of the domestic animal. The com- 
munal sacrifice of the domestic animal was, as already seen, 
typical of society in the tribal or pastoral stage. But one very, 
important case, in addition to those given above and in the 
article on Kasai, remains for notice. The Id-ul-Zoha or Bakr- 
Id festival of the Muhammadans is such a rite. In pre-Islamic 
times this sacrifice was held at Mecca and all the Arab tribes 
went to Mecca to celebrate it. The month in which the 


sacrifice was held was one of those of truce, when the feuds 
between the different clans were in abeyance so that they 
could meet at Mecca. Muhammad continued the sacrifice of 
the Id-ul-Zoha and it is this sacrifice which a good Muham- 
madan takes the pilgrimage to Mecca to perform. He must 
be at Mecca on the tenth day of the month of Z'ul ?Iijjah 
and perform the sacrifice there, and unless he does this there 
is no special merit in making the journey to Mecca. It is 
incumbent on every Muhammadan who can afford it to make 
the pilgrimage to Mecca or the Hajj once in his life and 
perform the sacrifice there ; and though as a matter of fact 
only a very small minority of Muhammadans now carry out 
the rule, the pilgrimage and sacrifice may yet be looked 
upon as the central and principal rite of the Muhammadan 
religion. All Muhammadans who cannot go to Mecca 
nevertheless celebrate the sacrifice at home at the Indian 
festival of the Id-ul-Zoha and the Turkish and Egyptian 
Idu-Bairam. At the Id-ul-Zoha any one of four domestic 
animals, the camel, the cow, the sheep or the goat, may be 
sacrificed ; and this rule makes it a connecting link between 
the two great Semitic sacrifices described in the article on 
Kasai, the camel sacrifice of the Arabs in pre-Islamic times 
and the Passover of the Jews. At the present time one- 
third of the flesh of the sacrificial animal should be given 
to the poor, one -third to relations, and the remainder to 
the sacrificer's own family.^ Though it has now become a 
household sacrifice, the communal character thus still partly 

Both in Athens and Rome there was a division known 81. Sacri- 
as phratry or curia. This apparently consisted of a collec- ^^^^^ ^^^ 
tion of gentes, r^evq or clans, and would correspond roughly phratry. 
to a Hindu subcaste. The evidence does not show, how- 
ever, that it was endogamous. The bond which united the 
phratry or curia was precisely the same as that of the gens 
or clan and the city. It consisted also in a common meal, 
which was prepared on the altar, and was eaten with the 
recitation of prayers, a part being offered to the god, who 
was held to be present. At Athens on feast-days the members 

1 The above account of the festival T. P. Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, 
and pilgrimage is taken from the Rev. articles Idu-1-Azha and Ilajj. 


of the phratry assembled round their altar, A victim was 
sacrificed and its flesh cooked on the altar, and divided 
among the members of the phratry, great care being taken 
that no stranger should be present. A young Athenian was 
presented to the phratry by his father, who swore that the 
boy was his son. A victim was sacrificed and cooked on 
the altar in the presence of all the members of the phratry ; 
if they were doubtful of the boy's legitimacy, and hence 
wished to refuse him admittance, as they had the right to do, 
they refused to remove the flesh from the altar. If they did 
not do this, but divided and partook of the flesh with the 
candidate, he was finally and irrevocably admitted to the 
phratry. The explanation of this custom, M. de Coulanges 
states, is that food prepared on an altar and eaten by a 
number of persons together, was believed to establish between 
them a sacred tie which endured through life,^ Even a 
slave was to a certain degree admitted into the family by 
the same tie of common eating of food. At Athens he was 
made to approach the hearth ; he was purified by pouring 
water on his head, and ate some cakes and fruit with the 
members of the family. This ceremony was analogous to 
those of marriage and adoption. It signified that the new 
arrival, hitherto a stranger, was henceforth a member of the 
family and participated in the family worship.^ 
82. The The analogy of Greece and Rome would suggest the 

Hindu probability that the tie uniting the members of the Indian 

caste- f J & 

feasts, caste or subcaste is also participation in a common sacrificial 
meal, and there is a considerable amount of evidence to 
support this view. The Confarreatio or eating together of 
the bride and bridegroom finds a close parallel in the family 
sacrament of the MeJier or marriage cakes, which has already 
been described. This would appear formerly to have been a 
clan rite, and to have marked the admission of the bride to 
the bridegroom's clan. It is obligatory on relations of the 
families to attend a wedding and they proceed from great 
distances to do so, and clerks and other officials are much 
aggrieved if the exigencies of Government business prevent 
them from obtaining leave. The obligation seems to be of 
the same character as that which caused Fabius to leave the 

^ La Citi Antique, p. 134. - Ibidem, p. 127. 


army in order to attend his Gentile sacrifice at Rome. If 
he did not attend the Gentile sacrifice he was not a member 
of the gcfis, and if a Hindu did not attend the feast of his 
clan in past times perhaps he did not remain a member of 
the clan. Among the Maratha Brahmans the girl-bride eats 
with her husband's relations on this day only to mark her 
admission into their clan, and among the Bengali Brahmans, 
when the wedding guests are collected, the bride comes and 
puts a little sugar on each of their leaf-plates, which they eat 
in token of their recognition of her in her new status of 
married woman. The members of the caste or subcaste 
also assemble and eat together on three occasions : at a 
marriage, which will have the effect of bringing new life into 
the community ; at a death, when a life is lost ; and at the 
initiation of a new member or the readmission of an offender 
temporarily put out of caste. It is a general rule of the 
caste feasts that all members of the subcaste in the locality 
must be invited, and if any considerable number of them do 
not attend, the host's position in the community is impugned. 
For this reason he has to incur lavish expenditure on the 
feast, so as to avoid criticism or dissatisfaction among his 
guests. These consider themselves at liberty to comment 
freely on the character and quality of the provisions offered 
to them. In most castes the feast cannot begin until all 
the guests have assembled ; the Maheshri Banias and one 
or two other castes are distinguished by the fact that they 
allow the guests at the pangat or caste feast to begin eating 
as they arrive. Those who bear the host a grudge purposely 
stay away, and he has to run to their houses and beg them 
to come, so that his feast can begin. When the feast has 
begun it was formerly considered a great calamity if any 
accident should necessitate the rising of the guests before 
its conclusion. Even if a dog or other impure animal should 
enter the assembly they would not rise. The explanation 
of this rule was that it would be disrespectful to Um Deo, 
the food-god, to interrupt the feast. At the feast each man 
sits with his bare crossed knees actually touching those of 
the men on each side of him, to show that they are one 
brotherhood and one body. If a man sat even a few inches 
apart from his fellows, people would say he was out of caste ; 


and in recent times, since those out of caste have been 
allowed to attend the feasts, they sit a little apart in this 
manner. The Gowaris fine a man who uses abusive language 
to a fellow-casteman at a caste feast, and also one who 
gets up and leaves the feast without the permission of the 
caste headman. The Hatkars have as the names of two 
exogamous groups Wakindr, or one who left the Pangat or 
caste feast while his fellows were eating ; and Polya, or one 
who did not take off his turban at the feast. It has been 
seen also ^ that in one or two castes the exogamous sections 
are named after the offices which their members hold or the 
duties they perform at the caste feast. Among the Halbas 
the illegitimate subcaste Surait is also known as Chhoti 
Pangat or the inferior feast, with the implication that its 
members cannot be admitted to the proper feast of the 
caste, but have an inferior one of their own. 

When an outsider is admitted to the caste the rite is 
usually connected with food. A man who is to be admitted 
to the Dahait caste must clean his house, break his earthen 
cooking-vessels and buy new ones, and give a feast to the 
caste-fellows in his house. He sits and takes food with 
them, and when the meal is over he takes a grain of rice 
from the leaf-plate of each guest and eats it, and drinks a 
drop of water from his leaf-cup. After this he cannot be 
readmitted to his own caste. A new Mehtar or sweeper 
gives water to and takes bread from each casteman. In 
Mandla a new convert to the Panka caste vacates his house 
and the caste panchdyat or committee go and live in it, in 
order to purify it. He gives them a feast inside the house, 
while he himself stays outside. Finally he is permitted to 
eat with the pancJidyat in his own house in order to mark 
his admission into the caste. A candidate for admission 
in the Mahli caste has to eat a little of the leavings of the 
food of each of the castemen at a feast. The community 
of robbers known as Badhak or Baoria formerly dwelt in 
the Oudh forests. They were accustomed to take omens 
from the cry of the jackal, and they may probably have 
venerated it as representing the spirit of the forest and as a 
fellow-hunter. They were called jackal-eaters, and it was 

1 Para. 48 above. 


said that when an outsider was admitted to one of their bands 
he was given jackal's flesh to cat. 

Again, the rite of initiation or investiture with the sacred 
thread appears to be the occasion of the admission of a 
boy to the caste community. Before this he is not really 
a member of the caste and may eat any kind of food. The 
initiation is called by the BrShmans the second birth, and 
appears to be the birth of the soul or spirit. After it the 
boy will eat the sacrificial food at the caste feasts and be 
united with the members of the caste and their god. The 
bodies of children who have not been initiated are buried 
and not burnt. The reason seems to be that their spirits 
will not go to the god nor be united with the ancestors, 
but will be born again. Formerly such children were often 
buried in the house or courtyard so that their spirits might 
be born again in the same family. The lower castes some- 
times consider the rite of ear-piercing as the initiation and 
sometimes marriage. Among the Panwar Rajputs a child is 
initiated when about two years old by being given cooked 
rice and milk to eat. The initiation cannot for some reason 
be performed by the natural father, but must be done by a 
gtcru or spiritual father, who should thereafter be regarded 
with a reverence equal to or even exceeding that paid to 
the natural father. 

When a man is readmitted to caste after exclusion for 84. Penalty 
some offence, the principal feature of the rite is a feast at 
which he is again permitted to eat with his fellows. There 
are commonly two feasts, one known as the Maili Rati or 
impure meal, and the other as Chokhi or pure, both being 
at the cost of the offender. The former is eaten by the 
side of a stream or elsewhere on neutral ground, and by it 
the offender is considered to be partly purified ; the latter 
is in his own house, and by eating there the castemen 
demonstrate that no impurity attaches to him, and he is 
again a full member. Some castes, as the Dhobas, have 
three feasts : the first is eaten at the bank of a stream, and 
at this the offender's hair is shaved and thrown into the 
stream ; the second is in his yard ; and the third in his 
house. The offender is not allowed to partake of the first 
two meals himself, but he joins in the third, and before it 


begins the head of the pajichdyat gives him water to drink 
in which gold has been dipped as a purificatory rite. 
Among the Gonds the flesh of goats is provided at the first 
meal, but at the second only grain cooked with water, which 
they now, in imitation of the Hindus, consider as the sacred 
sacrificial food. Frequently the view obtains that the head 
of the caste panchajat takes the offender's sins upon himself 
by commencing to eat, and in return for this a present of 
some rupees is deposited beneath his plate. Similarly 
among some castes, as the Bahnas, exclusion from caste is 
known as the stopping of food and water. The Gowaris 
readmit offenders by the joint drinking of opium and water. 
One member is especially charged with the preparation of 
this, and if there should not be enough for all the castemen 
to partake of it, he is severely punished. Opium was also 
considered sacred by the Rajputs, and the chief and his 
kinsmen were accustomed to drink it together as a pledge 
of amity.^ 
85. Sane- Grain cooked with water is considered as sacred food by 

^^^y°^^ ^ the Hindus. It should be eaten only on a space within the 

gram-food. •' '■ 

house called chaiika purified with cowdung, and sometimes 
marked out with white quartz-powder or flour. Before taking 
his meal a member of the higher castes should bathe and 
worship the household gods. At the meal he should wear 
no sewn clothes, but only a waist-cloth made of silk or wool, 
and not of cotton. The lower castes will take food cooked 
with water outside the house in the fields, and are looked 
down upon for doing this, so that those who aspire to raise 
their social position abandon the practice, or at least pretend 
to do so. Sir J. G. Frazer quotes a passage showing that 
the ancient Brahmans considered the sacrificial rice-cakes 
cooked with water to be transformed into human bodies.^ 
The Urdu word bali means a sacrifice or offering, and is 
applied to the portion of the daily meal which is offered to 
the gods and to the hearth-fire. Thus all grain cooked with 
water is apparently looked upon as sacred or sacramental 
food, and it is for this reason that it can only be eaten 
after the purificatory rites already described. The grain is 

' See article on Rajput, para. 9. 
'^ The Magic Ait, ii. p. 89, quuting Salapatha Brahmana. 


venerated as the chief means of subsistence, and the com- 
munal eating of it seems to be analogous to the sacrificial 
eating of the domestic animals, such as the camel, horse, ox 
and sheep, which is described above and in the article on 
Kasai. Just as in the hunting stage the eating of the totem- 
animal, which furnished the chief means of subsistence, was 
the tie which united the totem-clan : and in the pastoral 
stage the domestic animal which afforded to the tribe its 
principal support, not usually as an article of food, but 
through its milk and its use as a means of transport, was 
yet eaten sacrificially owing to the persistence of the belief 
that the essential bond which united the tribe was the com- 
munal eating of the flesh of the animal from which the tribe 
obtained its subsistence : so when the community reaches 
the agricultural stage the old communal feast is retained as 
the bond of union, but it now consists of grain, which is the 
principal support of life. 

The totem-animal was regarded as a kinsman, and the 86. The 
domestic animal often as a god.^ But in Jaoth these cases ^°''"'^P"'''- 
the life of the kinsman and god was sacrificed in order that 
the community might be bound together by eating the body 
and assimilating the life. Consequently, when grain came 
to be the sacrificial food, it was often held that an animal or 
human being must be sacrificed in the character of the corn- 
god or spirit, whether his own flesh was eaten or the sacred 
grain was imagined to be his flesh. Numerous instances of 
the sacrifice of the corn-spirit have been adduced by Sir 
J. G, Frazer in TJie Golden Bough, and it was he who 
brought this custom prominently to notice. One of the 
most important cases in India was the Meriah-sacrifice of 
the Khonds, which is described in the article on that tribe. 

Two features of the Khond sacrifice of a human victim 
as a corn-spirit appear to indicate its derivation from the 
sacrifice of the domestic animal and the eating of the totem- 
animal, the ties uniting the clan and tribe : first, that the 
flesh was cut from the living victim, and, second, that the 
sacrifice was communal. When the Meriah-victim was 
bound the Khonds hacked at him with their knives while life 
remained, leaving only the head and bowels untouched, so 

1 See article on Kasai. 


that each man might secure a strip of flesh. This rite 
appears to recall the earliest period when the members of 
the primitive group or clan tore their prey to pieces and ate 
and drank the raw flesh and blood. The reason for its 
survival was apparently that it was the actual life of the 
divine victim, existing in concrete form in the flesh and 
blood which they desired to obtain, and they thought that 
this end was more certainly achieved by cutting the flesh off 
him while he was still alive. In the sacrifice of the camel 
in Arabia the same procedure was followed ; the camel was 
bound on an altar and the tribesmen cut the flesh from the 
body with their knives and swallowed it raw and bleeding.^ 
M. Salomon Reinach shows how the memory of similar 
sacrifices in Greece has been preserved in legend : ^ " Actaeon 
was really a great stag sacrificed by women devotees, who 
called themselves the great hind and the little hinds ; he 
became the rash hunter who surprised Artemis at her bath 
and was transformed into a stag and devoured by his own 
dogs. The dogs are a euphemism ; in the early legend 
they were the human devotees of the sacred stag who tore 
him to pieces and devoured him with their bare teeth. These 
feasts of raw flesh survived in the secret religious cults of 
Greece long after uncooked food had ceased to be consumed 
in ordinary life. Orpheus {pphreus, the haughty), who 
appears in art with the skin of a fox on his head, was 
originally a sacred fox devoured by the women of the fox 
totem-clan ; these women call themselves Bassarides in the 
legend, and bassareus is one of the old names of the fox. 
Hippolytus in the fable is the son of Theseus who repels 
the advances of Phaedra, his stepmother, and was killed by 
his runaway horses because Theseus, deceived by Phaedra, 
invoked the anger of a god upon him. But Hippolytus in 
Greek means ' one torn to pieces by horses.' Hippolytus is 
himself a horse whom the worshippers of the horse, calling 
themselves horses and disguised as such, tore to pieces and 
devoured." All such sacrifices in which the flesh was taken 
from the living victim may thus perhaps be derived from the 
common origin of totemism. The second point about the 
Khond sacrifice is that it was communal ; every householder 

^ See account in article on Kasai. ^ Orphctts, pp. 123, 125. 


desired a piece of the flesh, and for those who could not be 
present at the sacrifice relays of messengers were posted to 
carry it to them while it was still fresh and might be sup- 
posed to retain the life. They did not eat the strips of flesh, 
but each householder buried his piece in his field, which they 
believed would thereby be fertilised and caused to produce 
the grain which they would eat. The death of the victim 
was considered essential to the life of the tribe, which would 
be renewed and strengthened by it as in the case of the 
sacrifice of the domestic animal. Lord Avcbury gives in 
The Origin of Civilisation ^ an almost exact parallel to the 
Khond sacrifice in which the flesh of the victim actually 
was eaten. This occurred among the Marimos, a tribe of 
South Africa much resembling the Bechuanas. The cere- 
mony was called ' the boiling of the corn.' A young man, 
stout but of small stature, was usually selected and secured 
by violence or by intoxicating him with yaala. " They then 
lead him into the fields, and sacrifice him in the fields, 
according to their own expression, for seed. His blood, 
after having been coagulated by the rays of the sun, is 
burned along with the frontal bone, the flesh attached to it 
and the brain. The ashes are then scattered over the fields 
to fertilise them and the remainder of the body is eaten." 
In other cases quoted by the same author an image only 
was made of flour and eaten instead of a human being : " 
" In Mexico at a certain period of the year the priest of 
Quetzalcoatl made an image of the Deity, of meal mixed 
with infants' blood, and then, after many impressive cere- 
monies, killed the image by shooting it with an arrow, and 
tore out the heart, which was eaten by the king, while the 
rest of the body was distributed among the people, every 
one of whom was anxious to procure a piece to eat, however 
small." Here the communal sacrificial meal, the remaining 
link necessary to connect the sacrifice of the corn-spirit with 
that of the domestic animal and clan totem, is present. 
Among cases of animals sacrificed as the corn-spirit in India 
that of the buffalo at the Dasahra festival is the most 
important. The rite extends over most of India, and a full 
and interesting account of it has recently been published 

' 7th ed. p. 300. 2 Of'igin of Civilisation, 7th ed. p. 299. 


by Mr. W, Crooke.^ The buffalo is probably considered 
as the corn-spirit because it was the animal which mainly 
damaged the crops in past times. Where the sacrifice still 
survives the proprietor of the village usually makes the first 
cut in the buffalo and it is then killed and eaten by the 
inferior castes, as Hindus cannot now touch the flesh. In 
the Deccan after the buffalo is killed the Mahars rush on 
the carcase and each one secures a piece of the flesh. This 
done they go in procession round the walls, calling on the 
spirits and demons, and asking them to accept the pieces of 
meat as offerings, which are then thrown to them backwards 
over the wall.^ The buffalo is now looked upon in the light 
of a scape-goat, but the procedure described above cannot 
be satisfactorily explained on the scape -goat theory, and 
would appear clearly to have been substituted for the former 
eating of the flesh. In the Maratha Districts the lower 
castes have a periodical sacrifice of a pig to the sun ; they 
eat the flesh of the pig together, and even the Panwar 
Rajputs of the Waringanga Valley join in the sacrifice and 
will allow the impure caste of Mahars to enter their houses 
and eat of this sacrifice with them, though at other times 
the entry of a Mahar would defile a Panwar's house.^ The 
pig is sacrificed either as the animal which now mainly 
injures the crops or because it was the principal sacrificial 
animal of the non-Aryan tribes, or from a combination of 
both reasons. Probably it may be regarded as the corn- 
spirit because pigs are sacrificed to Bhanisasur or the buffalo 
demon for the protection of the crops. 
87. The When the community reached the national or agricultural 

stage some central executive authority became necessary for 
its preservation. This authority usually fell into the hands 
of the priest who performed the sacrifice, and he became a 
king. Since the priest killed the sacrificial animal in which 
the common life of the community was held to be centred, 
it was thought that the life passed to him and centred in his 
person. For the idea of the extinction of life was not 
properly understood, and the life of a human being or animal 

1 The Dasa/u-a : an Autumn Festi- the article on Kumhar. 

val of the Hindus, Folk-lore, March ^ Crooke, loc. at. p. 41. 
1915. Some notice of the Dasahra in 

the Central Provinces is contained in ^ See also article Mahar. 



might pass by contact, according to primitive ideas, to the 
person or even the weapon which killed it, just as it could 
pass by assimilation to those who ate the flesh. In most of 
the city-states of Greece and Italy the primary function of 
the kings was the performance of the communal or national 
sacrifices. Through this act they obtained political power 
as representing the common life of the people, and its per- 
formance was sometimes left to them after their political 
power had been taken away.^ After the expulsion of the 
kings from Rome the duty of performing the city sacrifices 
devolved on the consuls. In India also the kings performed 
sacrifices. When a king desired to be paramount over his 
neighbours he sent a horse to march through their territories. 
If it passed through them without being captured they 
became subordinate to the king who owned the horse. 
Finally the horse was sacrificed at the Ashva-medha, the 
king paramount making the sacrifice, while the other kings 
performed subordinate parts at it." Similarly the Raja of 
Nagpur killed the sacrificial buffalo at the Dasahra festival. 
But the common life of the people was sometimes conveyed 
from the domestic animal to the king by other methods than 
the performance of a sacrifice. The king of Unyoro in 
Africa might never eat vegetable food but must subsist 
on milk and beef. Mutton he might not touch, though he 
could drink beer after partaking of meat. A sacred herd 
was kept for the king's use, and nine cows, neither more nor 
less, were daily brought to the royal enclosure to be milked 
for his majesty. The boy who brought the cows from the 
pasture to the royal enclosure must be a member of a par- 
ticular clan and under the age of puberty, and was subject 
to other restrictions. The milk for the king was drawn into 
a sacred pot which neither the milkman nor anybody else 
might touch. The king drank the milk, sitting on a sacred 
stool, three times a day, and any which was left over must 
be drunk by the boy who brought the cows from pasture. 
Numerous other rules and restrictions are detailed by Sir 
J. G. Frazer, and it may be suggested that their object 
was to ensure that the life of the domestic animal and with 

1 La Citd Antique, pp. 202, 204. 
2 Imperial Gazetteer of India, ii. p. 312. 


it the life of the people should be conveyed pure and unde- 
filed to the king through the milk. The kings of Unyoro had 
to take their own lives while their bodily vigour was still 
unimpaired. When the period for his death arrived the king 
asked his wife for a cup of poison and drank it. " The public 
announcement of the death was made by the chief milkman. 
Taking a pot of the sacred milk in his hands he mounted 
the house-top and cried, ' Who will drink the milk ? ' With 
these words he dashed the pot on the roof ; it rolled off and 
falling to the ground was broken in pieces. That was the 
signal for war to the death between the princes who aspired 
to the throne. They fought till only one was left alive. 
He was the king." ^ After completing the above account, 
of which only the principal points have been stated. Sir 
J. G. Frazer remarks : " The rule which obliged the kings 
of Unyoro to kill themselves or be killed before their strength 
of mind and body began to fail through disease or age is 
only a particular example of a custom which appears to have 
prevailed widely among barbarous tribes in Africa and to 
some extent elsewhere. Apparently this curious practice 
rests on a belief that the welfare of the people is sympathetic- 
ally bound up with the welfare of their king, and that to 
suffer him to fall into bodily or mental decay would be to 
involve the whole kingdom in ruin." ^ Other instances con- 
necting the life of the king with the ox or other domestic 
animal are given in Totemism and Exogamy and The Golde7t 
Bough? Among the Hereros the body of a dead chief was 
wrapped up in the hide of an ox before being buried.^ In 
the Vedic horse-sacrifice in India the horse was stifled in 
robes. The chief queen approached him ; a cloak having 
been thrown over them both, she performed a repulsively 
obscene act symbolising the transmission to her of his 
fructifying powers.^ In other cases the king was identified 
with the corn-spirit, and in this manner he also, it may be 
suggested, represented the common life of the people. 

The belief that the king was the incarnation of the 

' Totemism and Exogamy, vol. ii. iii. p. 407. 
pp. 528, 530. '• Dr. A. H. Keane, The World'' s 

2 Ibidem. Peoples, p. 138. 

3 Totemism a7id Exogamy, vol. ii. p. •'' IMr. L. D. Barnetl's Antiquities 
608; The Golden Bough, 2nd ed. vol. of India, t^. 171. 


common life of the people led to the most absurd 
restrictions on his liberty and conduct, a few instances of 
which from the large collection in TJie Golden Bouoh 
have been quoted in the article on Nai. Thus in an old 
account of the daily life of the Mikado it is stated : " In 
ancient times he was obliged to sit on the throne for some 
hours every morning, with the imperial crown on his head, 
but to sit altogether like a statue, without stirring either 
hands or feet, head or eyes, nor indeed any part of his 
body, because, by this means, it was thought that he could 
preserve peace and tranquillity in his empire ; for if, un- 
fortunately, he turned himself on one side or the other, 
or if he looked a good while towards any part of his 
dominions, it was apprehended that war, famine, fire or 
some great misfortune was near at hand to desolate the 
country." ^ Here it would appear that by sitting absolutely 
immobile the king conferred the quality of tranquillity on 
the common life of his people incarnate in his person ; but 
by looking too long in any one direction he would cause 
a severe disturbance of the common life in the part to 
which he looked. And when the Israelites were fighting 
with the Amalekites, so long as Moses held up his hands 
the Israelites prevailed ; but when his hands hung down 
they gave way before the enemy. Here apparently the 
common life was held to be centred in Moses, and when 
he held his arms up it was vigorous, but declined as he 
let them down. Similarly it was often thought that the 
king should be killed as soon as his bodily strength showed 
signs of waning, so that the common life might be renewed 
and saved from a similar decay. Even the appearance of 
grey hair or the loss of a tooth were sometimes con- 
sidered sufficient reasons for putting the king to death in 
Africa.^ Another view was that any one who killed the 
king was entitled to succeed him, because the life of the 
king, and with it the common life of the people, passed 
to the slayer, just as it had previously passed from the 
domestic animal to the priest-king who sacrificed it. One 
or two instances of succession by killing the king are given 

1 The Golden Bough, 2nd ed. vol. i. pp. 234, 235. 
2 Ibidem, vol. ii. pp. 9, 10. 



88. Other 


of the 


meal as a 



in the article on Bhil. Sometimes the view was that the 
king should be sacrificed annually, or at other intervals, like 
the corn-spirit or domestic animal, for the renewal of the 
common life. And this practice, as shown by Sir J. G. 
Frazer, tended to result in the substitution of a victim, 
usually a criminal or slave, who was identified with the king 
by being given royal honours for a short time before his 
death. Sometimes the king's son or daughter was offered 
as a substitute for him, and such a sacrifice was occasionally 
made in time of peril, apparently as a means of strengthen- 
ing or preserving the common life. When Chitor, the 
home of the Sesodia clan of Rajpiats, was besieged by the 
Muhammadans, the tradition is that the goddess of their 
house appeared and demanded the sacrifice of twelve chiefs 
as a condition of its preservation. Eleven of the chiefs sons 
were in turn crowned as king, and each ruled for three days, 
while on the fourth he sallied out and fell in battle. Lastly, 
the Rana offered himself in order that his favourite son, 
Ajeysi, might be spared and might perpetuate the clan. 
In reality the chief and his sons seem to have devoted 
themselves in the hope that the sacrifice of the king might 
bring strength and victory to the clan. The sacrifice of 
Iphigenia and possibly of Jephthah's daughter appear to 
be parallel instances. The story of Alcestis may be an 
instance of the substitution of the king's wife. The position 
of the king in early society and the peculiar practices and 
beliefs attaching to it were brought to notice and fully 
illustrated by Sir J. G. Frazer. The argument as to the 
clan and the veneration of the domestic animal follows that 
outlined by the late Professor Robertson Smith in T/ie 
Religion of the Semites. 

Some other instances of the communal eating of grain 
or other food as a sacramental rite and bond of union have 
been given in the articles. Thus at a Kabirpanthi Chauka 
or religious service the priest breaks a cocoanut on a stone, 
and the flesh is cut up and distributed to the worshippers 
with betel-leaf and sugar. Each receives it on his knees, 
tal-cing the greatest care that none falls on the ground. The 
cocoanut is commonly regarded by the Hindus as a 
substituted offering for a human head. The betel-leaves 


which are distributed have been specially consecrated by the 
head priest of the sect, and are held to represent the body 
of Kablr.i 

Similarly, Guru Govind Singh instituted a prasdd or 
communion among the Sikhs, in which cakes of flour, butter 
and sugar are made and consecrated with certain ceremonies 
while the communicants sit round in prayer, and are then 
distributed equally to all the faithful present, to whatever 
caste they may belong. At a Guru-Mata or great council 
of the Sikhs, which was held at any great crisis in the 
affairs of the state, these cakes were laid before the Sikh 
scriptures and then eaten by all present, who swore on the 
scriptures to forget their internal dissensions and be united. 
Among the Rajpiits the test of legitimacy of a member of 
the chiefs family was held to depend on whether he had 
eaten of the chief's food. The rice cooked at the temple of 
Jagannath in Orissa may be eaten there by all castes 
together, and, when partaken of by two men together, is held 
to establish a bond of indissoluble friendship between them. 

Members of several low castes of mixed origin will only 
take food with their relatives, and not with other families of 
the caste with whom they intermarry." The Chaukhutia 
Bhunjias will not eat food cooked by other members of the 
same community, and will not take it from their own 
daughters after the latter are married. At a feast among 
the Dewars uncooked food is distributed to the guests, who 
cook it for themselves ; parents will not accept cooked food 
either from married sons or daughters, and each family 
with its children forms a separate commensal group. Thus 
the taking of food together is a more important and sacred 
tie than intermarriage. In most Hindu castes a man is not 
put out of caste for committing adultery with a woman of 
low caste, but for taking cooked food from her hands ; 
though it is assumed that if he lives with her openly he must 
necessarily have accepted cooked food from her. Opium 
and alcoholic liquor or wine, being venerated on account 
of their intoxicating qualities, were sometimes regarded 

^ Other features of the sacramental Westcott's Kabir and the Kablrpanth. 
rite, strengthening this hypothesis, are - See articles Dewar, Ehunjia, 

given in the article Kabirpanthi Sect. Gauria, Sonjhara, Malyar. 
The account is taken from Bishop 


as substitutes for the sacrificial food and partaken of 

8g. An important class of communal meals remaining for 

Funeral discussion consists in the funeral feasts. The funeral feast 


seems a peculiar and unseasonable observance, but several 
circumstances point to the conclusion that it was originally- 
held in the dead man's own interest. He or his spirit was 
indeed held to participate in the feast, and it seems to have 
been further thought that unless he did so and ate the 
sacred food, his soul would not proceed to the heaven or 
god, but would wander about as an unquiet spirit or meet 
with some other fate. Many of the lower Hindu castes, 
such as the Kohlis and Bishnois, take food after a funeral, 
seated by the side of the grave. This custom is now con- 
sidered somewhat derogatory, perhaps in consequence of 
a truer realisation of the fact of death. At a Baiga 
funeral the mourners take one white and one black fowl to a 
stream and kill and eat them there, setting aside a portion 
for the dead man. The Gonds also take their food and 
drink liquor at the grave. The Lobars think that the spirit 
of the dead man returns to join in the funeral feast. 
Among the Telugu Koshtis the funeral party go to the 
grave on the fifth day, and after the priest has worshipped 
the image of Vishnu on the grave, the whole party take 
their food there. After a Panka funeral the mourners bathe 
and then break a cocoanut over the grave and distribute it 
among themselves. On the tenth day they go again and 
break a cocoanut, and each man buries a little piece of it in 
the earth over the grave. Among the Tameras, at the feast 
with which mourning is concluded, a leaf-plate containing a 
portion for the deceased is placed outside the house with a 
pot of water and a burning lamp to guide his spirit to the 
food. On the third day after death the Kolhatis sometimes 
bring back the skull of a corpse and, placing it on the bed, 
offer to it powder, dates and betel-leaves, and after a feast 
lasting for three days it is again buried. It is said that the 
members of the Lingayat sect formerly set up the corpse in 
their midst at the funeral feast and sat round it, taking their 
food, but the custom is not known to exist at present. 

' Some instances are given in the article on Kalar and on Rajput, para. 9. 


Among the Bangalas, an African negro tribe, at a great 
funeral feast lasting for three days in honour of the chiefs 
son, the corpse was present at the festivities tied in a chair.' 

Thus there seems reason to suppose that the caste- 90. The 
tie of the Hindus is the same as that which united fijitjesand 
the members of the city-states of Greece and Italy, that the sacri- 
is the eating of a sacramental food together. Among 
the Vedic Aryans that country only was considered pure 
and fit for sacrifice in which the Aryan gods had taken 
up their residence." Hindustan was made a pure country 
in which Aryans could offer sacrifices by the fact that 
Agni, the sacrificial god of fire, spread himself over it. 
But the gods have changed. The old Vedic deities Indra, 
the rain-god, Varuna, the heaven-god, the Maruts or winds, 
and Soma, the divine liquor, have fallen into neglect. These 
were the principal forces which controlled the existence of a 
nomad pastoral people, dependent on rain to make the grass 
grow for their herds, and guiding their course by the sun and 
stars. The Soma or liquor apparently had a warming, 
exhilarating effect in the cold climate of the Central Asian 
steppes, and was therefore venerated. Since in the hot 
plains of India abstinence from alcoholic liquor has become 
a principal religious tenet of high-caste Hindus, Soma is 
naturally no more heard of. Agni, the fire-god, was also 
one of the greatest deities to the nomads of the cold uplands, 
as the preserver of life against cold. But in India, except 
as represented by the hearth, for cooking, little regard is 
paid to him, since fires are not required for warmth. New 
gods have arisen in Hinduism. The sun was an important 
Vedic deity, both as Mitra and under other names. Vishnu 
as the sun, or the spirit of whom the sun is the visible 
embodiment, has become the most important deity in his 
capacity of the universal giver and preserver of life. He is 
also widely venerated in his anthropomorphic forms of Rama, 
the hero-prince of Ajodhia and leader of the Aryan expedi- 
tion to Ceylon, and Krishna, the divine cowherd, perhaps 
some fabled hero sprung from the indigenous tribes. Siva 
is the mountain-god of the Himalayas and a moon-deity, 

1 Dr. A. H. Keane, The IVorlls Peoples, pp. 129, 130. 
2 Para. 1 1 . 


and in his character of god of destruction the lightning and 
cobra are associated with him. But he is really worshipped 
in his beneficent form of the phallic emblem as the agent 
of life, and the bull, the fertiliser of the soil and pro- 
vider of food. Devi, the earth, is the great mother goddess. 
Sprung from her are Hanuman, the monkey -god, and 
Ganpati, the elephant-god, and in one of her forms, as the 
terrible goddess Krdi, she is perhaps the deified tiger.^ 
Lachmi, the goddess of wealth, and held to have been 
evolved from the cow, is the consort of Vishnu. It was 
thus not the god to whom the sacrifice was offered, but the 
sacrifice itself that was the essential thing, and participation 
in the common eating of the sacrifice constituted the bond 
of union. In early times a sacrifice was the occasion for 
every important gathering or festivity, as is shown both in 
Indian history and legend. And the caste feasts above 
described seem to be the continuation and modern form of 
the ancient sacrifice. 
91. De- The Roman population, as already seen, consisted of 

oftTe"'^"^ a set of clans or gentes. The clans were collected in tribal 
occupa- groups such as the curia, but it does not appear that these 
from the^^^ latter were endogamous. The rite which constituted a 
tribe. Roman citizen was participation in the Suovetaurilia, the 

communal sacrifice of the domestic animals, the pig, the 
ram, and the bull. Since all the Roman citizens at first 
lived in a comparatively small area, they were all able to 
be present at the sacrifice. The other states of Greece and 
Italy had an analogous constitution, as stated by M. Fustel 
de Coulanges. It may be supposed that the Aryans were 
similarly divided into clans and tribes. The word visha, 
the substantive root of Vaishya, originally meant a clan." 
But as pointed out by M. Senart, they did not form city- 
states in India, but settled in villages over a large area of 
country. Their method of government was by small states 
under kings, and probably they had a kind of national 
constitution, of which the king was the centre and em- 
bodiment. But these states gradually lost their indi- 

' For further notice of Vishnu and article Ahir ; for Ganpati, article 

Siva see articles Vaishnava and Saiva Bania. 
sects; for Devi see article Kumhar, ~ See above, para. 13. 

and for Kali, article Thug; for Krishna, 


viduality, and were merged in large empires, where the 
king could no longer be the centre of the state or of the 
common life of his people, nor perform a sacrifice at which 
they could all be present, as the Roman kings did. This 
religious idea of nationality, based on participation in a 
common sacrifice, was the only one which existed in early 
times. Thus apparently the Aryans retained their tribal 
constitution instead of expanding it into a national one, 
and the members of clans within a certain local area 
gathered for a communal sacrifice. But there was a great 
class, that of the Sudras or indigenous inhabitants, who 
could not join in the sacrifices at all. And between the 
Sudras and the Vaishyas or main body of the Aryans there 
gradually grew up another mixed class, which also could not 
properly participate in them. The priests and rulers, 
Brahmans and Kshatriyas, tended to form exclusive bodies, 
and in this manner a classification by occupation gradually 
grew up, the distinction being marked by participation in 
separate sacrificial feasts. The cause which ultimately broke 
down the religious distinctions of the Roman and Greek 
states was the development of a feeling of nationality. In 
the common struggle for the preservation of the city the 
prejudices of the patricians weakened, and after a long 
internal conflict, the plebeians were admitted to full rights 
of citizenship. The plebeians were employed as infantry 
in the Roman armies, while the patricians rode, and the 
increased importance of infantry in war was one great cause 
of the improvement in the position of the plebeians.^ In 
India, in the absence of any national feeling, and with the 
growth of a large and powerful priestly order, religious 
barriers and prejudices became accentuated rather than 
weakened. The class distinctions grew more rigid, and 
gradually, as the original racial line of cleavage was fused 
by intermarriage and the production of groups of varying 
status, these came to arrange themselves on a basis of 
occupation. This is the inevitable and necessary rule in all 
societies whose activities and mode of life are at all com- 
plicated. Racial distinctions cannot be preserved unless in 
the most exceptional cases, where they are accentuated by 

^ La Citi Antique, p. 341. 


the difference of colour, and such a moral and social gulf 
as that which exists between the whites and negroes in 
North America. In primitive society there is no such 
mental cleavage to render the idea of fusion abhorrent to 
the superior race ; the bar is religious, and while it places 
the inferior race in a despised and abject position, there 
is no prohibition of illicit unions nor any such moral feeling 
or principle as would tend to restrict them. The ideas of 
the responsibilities and duties of parentage in connection 
with heredity, or the science of eugenics, are entirely modern, 
and have no place at all in ancient society. As racial and 
religious distinctions fade away, and social progress takes 
place, a fresh set of divisions by wealth and occupation 
grows up. But though this happened also in the Greek 
and Italian cities, the old religious divisions were not trans- 
ferred to the new occupational groups, but fell slowly into 
abeyance, and the latter assumed the simply social char- 
acter which they have in modern communities. The main 
reason for the obliteration of religious barriers, as already 
stated, was the growth of the idea of nationality and the 
public interest. But in India the feeling of nationality 
never arose. The Hindu states and empires had no national 
basis, since at the period in question the only way in which 
the idea of nationality could be conceived, was by participa- 
tion of the citizens in a common sacrifice, and this participa- 
tion is only possible to persons living in a small local area. 
Hence Hindu society developed on its own lines independ- 
ently of the form of government to which it was subject, 
and in the new grouping by occupation the old communal 
sacrifices were preserved and adapted to the fresh divisions. 
The result was the growth of the system of occupational 
castes which still exists. But since the basis of society was 
the participation of each social group in a communal meal, 
the group could not be extended to take in persons of the 
same occupation over a large area, and as a result the widely 
ramified system of subcastes came into existence. The sub- 
caste or commensal group was the direct evolutionary pro- 
duct of the pre-existing tribe. Its size was limited by the 
fact that its members had to meet at the periodical sacrificial 
feasts, by which their unity and the tie which bound them 


together was cemented and renewed. As already seen, 
when members of a subcaste migrated to a fresh local area, 
and were cut off from communication with those remaining 
behind, they tended as a rule to form a fresh endogamous 
and commensal group. Since the tie between the members 
of the subcaste was participation in a sacrificial meal of 
grain cooked with water, and as this food was held to be 
sacred, the members of the subcaste came to refuse to eat 
it except with those who could join in the communal feast ; 
and as the idea gradually gained acceptance, that a legiti- 
mate child must be the offspring of a father and mother 
both belonging to the commensal group, the practice of 
endogamy within the subcaste became a rule. 

Since all the citizens of the Roman State participated in a 92. Vcnei 
common sacrifice, they might be considered as a sinsfle caste. ''^"°" °^ 

. t> ' the caste 

or even a subcaste or commensal group. The Hindu castes impie- 
have a common ceremony which presents some analogy to '"^"'^• 
that of the Roman state. They worship or pay homage 
once or twice a year to the implements of their profession. 
The occasions for this rite are usually the Dasahra festival 
in September and the fast after the Holi festival in March. 
Both these are festivals of the goddess Devi or Mother Earth, 
when a fast is observed in her honour, first before sowing the 
spring crops and secondly before reaping them. On each 
occasion the fast lasts for nine days and the Jawaras or pots 
of wheat corresponding to the Gardens of Adonis are sown. 
The fasts and festivals thus belong primarily to the agri- 
cultural castes, and they worship the earth-mother, who 
provides them with subsistence. But the professional and 
artisan castes also take the occasion to venerate the imple- 
ments of their profession. Thus among the Kasars or brass- 
workers, at the festival of Mando Amawas or the new 
moon of Chait (March), every Kasar must return to the 
community of which he is a member and celebrate the feast 
with them. And in default of this he will be expelled from 
the caste until the next Amawas of Chait comes round. 
They close their shops and worship the implements of their 
profession on this day. The rule is thus the same as that 
of the Roman Suovetaurilia. He who does not join in the 
sacrificial feast ceases to be a member of the community. 


And the object of veneration is the same ; the Romans 
venerated and sacrificed the domestic animals which in the 
pastoral stage had been their means of subsistence. The 
Kasars and other occupational castes worship the implements 
of their profession which are also their means of livelihood, 
or that which gives them life. Formerly all these implements 
were held to be animate, and to produce their effect by their 
own power and volition. The Nats or acrobats of Bombay 
say that their favourite and only living gods are those which 
give them their bread : the drum, the rope and the balancing- 
pole. The Murha or earth-digger invokes the implements of 
his trade as follows : " O, my lord the basket, my lord the 
pickaxe shaped like a snake, and my lady the hod ! Come 
and eat up those who do not pay me for my work ! " 
Similarly the Dhlmar venerates his fishing-net, and will not 
wear shoes of sewn leather, because he thinks that the sacred 
thread which makes his net is debased if used for shoes. 
The Chamar worships his currier's knife ; the Ghasia or 
groom his horse and the peg to which the horse is secured 
in the stable ; the Rajput his horse and sword and shield ; 
the writer his inkpot, and so on. The Pola festival of the 
Kunbis has a feature resembling the Suovetaurilia. On this 
occasion all the plough - bullocks of the cultivators are 
mustered and go in procession to a ioran or arch constructed of 
branches and foliage. The bullock of the village proprietor 
leads the way, and has flaming torches tied to his horns. 
The bullocks of the other cultivators follow according to the 
status of each cultivator in the village, which depends upon 
hereditary right and antiquity of tenure, and not on mere 
wealth. A Kunbi feels bitterly insulted if his bullocks are 
not awarded the proper place in the procession. A string 
across the arch is broken by the leading bullock, and the 
cattle are then all driven helter-skelter through the arch and 
back to the village. The rite would appear to be a relic 
of the communal sacrifice of a bullock, the torches tied to 
the proprietor's bullock signifying that he was formerly 
killed and roasted. It is now said that this bullock is full of 
magic, and that he will die within three years. The rite 
may be compared to the ncedfire as practised in Russia 
when all the horses of the village were driven between 


two fires, or through fire, and their bridles thrown into the 
fire and burnt. The burning of the bridles would appear 
to be a substitute for the previous sacrifice of the horse.^ 
The Pola ceremony of the Kunbis resembles the Roman 
Suovetaurilia inasmuch as all the cultivators participate 
in it according to their status, just as the rank of Roman 
citizens was determined by their position at the ceremony. 
Formerly, if a bull was sacrificed and eaten sacramcntally 
it would have been practically an exact parallel to the 
Roman rite. 

The tribunal for the punishment of caste offences is known 93- Ti^e 
as the panchdyat, because it usually consists of five persons 'tancMyat 
{pdnch, five). As a rule a separate /<rr;/^//cr;'(7^ exists for every and its 
subcaste over an area not too large for all the members of offences, 
it to meet. In theory, however, the panchdyat is only the 
mouthpiece of the assembly, which should consist of all the 
members of the subcaste. Some castes fine a member who 
absents himself from the meeting. The panchdyat may 
perhaps be supposed to represent the hand acting on 
behalf of the subcaste, which is considered the body. The 
panchdyat, however, was not the original judge. It was at 
first the god before whom the parties pleaded their cause, 
and the god who gave judgment by the method of trial by 
ordeal. This was probably the general character of primitive 
justice, and in some of the lower castes the ordeal is still 
resorted to for decisions. The tribe or subcaste attended as 
jurors or assessors, and carried out the proceedings, perhaps 
after having united themselves to the god for the purpose by 
a sacrificial meal. The pancJidyat, having succeeded the god 
as the judge, is held to give its decisions by divine inspiration, 
according to the sayings : ' God is on high and the pancJi on 
earth,' and ' The voice of the pancJidyat is the voice of God.' " 
The headship of the panchdyat and the subcaste commonly 
descends in one family, or did so till recently, and the utmost 
deference is shown to the person holding it, even though he 
may be only a boy, for the above reason. The offences in- 

^ Early History of Mankind, pp. form, any more than in the case of the 

259, 260. The needfire, as described Suovetaurilia or Pola ceremonies, 
by Sir E. B. Tyler, had the character 2 Mr. J. T. Marten's Central Pro- 

of a purificatory rite, but it may be vinces Census Report, p. 238. 
doubted whether this was its oricinal 


volving temporary or permanent excommunication from 
caste are of a somewhat peculiar kind. In the case of both 
a man and woman, to take food from a person of a caste 
from whom it is forbidden to do so, and especially from one 
of an impure caste, is a very serious offence, as is also that 
of being beaten by a member of an impure caste, especially 
with a shoe. It is also a serious offence to be sent to jail, 
because a man has to eat the impure jail food. To be hand- 
cuffed is a minor offence, perhaps by analogy with the major 
one of being sent to jail, or else on account of the indignity 
involved by the touch of the police. As regards sexual 
offences, there is no direct punishment for a man as a rule, 
but if he lives with a low-caste woman he is temporarily 
expelled because it is assumed that he has taken food from 
her hands. Sometimes a man and woman of the caste com- 
mitting adultery together are both punished. A married 
woman who commits adultery should in the higher and 
middle castes, in theory at least, be permanently expelled, 
but if her husband does not put her away she is sometimes 
readmitted with a severe punishment. A girl going wrong 
with an outsider is as a rule expelled unless the matter can 
be hushed up, but if she becomes pregnant by a man of the 
caste, she can often be readmitted with a penalty and married 
to him or to some other man. There are also some religious 
crimes, such as killing a cow or a cat or other sacred domestic 
animal ; and in the case of a woman it is a very serious 
offence to get the lobe of her ear torn apart at the large 
perforation usually made for earrings ; ^ while for either a 
man or a woman to get vermin in a wound is an offence of 
the first magnitude, entailing several months' exclusion and 
large expenditure on readmission. Offences against ordinary 
morality are scarcely found in the category of those entailing 
punishment. Murder must sometimes be expiated by a 
pilgrimage to the Ganges, but other criminal offences against 
the person and property are not taken cognisance of by the 
caste committee unless the offender is sent to jail. Both in its 
negative and positive aspects the category of offences affords 
interesting deductions on the basis of the explanation of 
the caste system already given. The reason why there is 

' For further notice of this offence see article Sunar under Eai"-piercing. 


scarcely any punishment for offences against ordinary 
morality is that the caste organisation has never developed 
any responsibility for the maintenance of social order and 
the protection of life and property. It has never exercised 
the function of government, because in the historical Hindu 
period India was divided into large military states, while 
since then it has been subject to foreign domination. The 
social organisation has thus maintained its pristine form, 
neither influenced by the government nor affording to it any 
co-operation or support. And the aims of the caste tribunal 
have been restricted to preserving its own corporate exist- 
ence free from injury or pollution, which might arise mainly 
from two sources. If a member's body was rendered impure 
either by eating impure food or by contact with a person of 
impure caste it became an unfit receptacle for the sacred food 
eaten at the caste feast, which bound its members together 
in one body. This appears to be the object of the rules 
about food. And since the blood of the clan and of the 
caste is communicated by descent through the father under 
the patriarchal system, adultery on the part of a married 
woman would bring a stranger into the group and under- 
mine its corporate existence and unity. Hence the severity 
of the punishment for the adultery of a married woman, 
which is a special feature of the patriarchal system. It has 
already been seen that under the rule of female descent, as 
shown by Mr. Hartland in Primitive Paternity, the chastity 
of women was as a rule scarcely regarded at all or even 
conceived of. After the change to the patriarchal system a 
similar laxity seems to have prevailed for some period, and 
it was thought that any child born to a man in his house or 
on his bed was his own, even though he might not be the 
father. This idea obtained among the Arabs, as pointed 
out by Professor Robertson Smith in Kinship and Marriage 
in Early Arabia, and is also found in the Hindu classics, 
and to some extent even in modern practice. It was perhaps 
based on the virtue assigned to concrete facts ; just as the 
Hindus think that a girl is properly married by going through 
the ceremony with an arrow or a flower, and that the fact of 
two children being suckled by the same woman, though she 
is not their mother, establishes a tie akin to consanguinity 


between them, so they might have thought that the fact of 
a boy being born in a man's house constituted him the 
man's son. Subsequently, however, the view came to be 
held that the clan blood was communicated directly 
through the father, to whom the life of the child was 
solely assigned in the early patriarchal period. And the 
chastity of married women then became of vital import- 
ance to the community, because the lack of it would 
cause strangers to be born into the clan, which now based 
its tie of kinship on descent from a common male ancestor. 
Thus the adultery of women became a crime which would 
undermine the foundations of society and the state, and as 
such was sometimes punished with death among communities 
in the early patriarchal stage. It is this view, and not 
simply moral principle, which has led to the severe caste 
penalties for the offence. Some of the primitive tribes care 
nothing about the chastity of unmarried girls, but punish 
unfaithful wives rigorously. Among the Maria Gonds a 
man will murder his wife for infidelity, but girls are commonly 
unchaste. Another rule sometimes found is that an un- 
married girl becoming with child by an outsider is put out 
of caste for the time. When her child, which does not 
belong to the caste, has been born, she must make it over to 
some outside family, and she herself can then be readmitted 
to the community. Out of the view of adultery as a religious 
and social offence, a moral regard for chastity is however 
developing among the Hindus as it has in other societies. 
g^ i"!^^ It has been seen that the SUdras as well as the plebeians 

stilus of were regarded as impure, and the reason was perhaps that 
they were considered to belong to a hostile god. By their 
participation in the sacrifice and partaking of the sacrificial 
food, the Indian Aryans and other races considered that 
they were not only in fellowship with, but actually a part 
of the god. And similarly their enemies were part of the 
substance of a hostile god, whose very existence and contact 
were abhorrent to their own. Hence their enemies should 
as far as possible be completely exterminated, but when 
this was impossible they must dwell apart and not pollute 
by contact of their persons, or in any other way, the sacred 
soil on which the gods dwelt, nor the persons of those who 




became part of the substance of the god by participation in 
the sacrificial meal. For this reason the plebeians had to 
live outside the Roman city, which was all sacred ground, 
and the Sudras and modern impure castes have to live out- 
side the village, which is similarly sacred as the abode of 
the earth-goddess in her form of the goddess of the land of 
that village. For the same reason their contact had to be 
avoided by those who belonged to the village and were 
united to the goddess by partaking of the crops which she 
brought forth on her land. As already seen, the belief 
existed that the life and qualities could be communicated 
by contact, and in this case the worshippers would assimilate 
by contact the life of a god hostile to their own. In the 
same manner, as shown by M. Salomon Reinach in Cults, 
Myths and Religions, all the weapons, clothes and material 
possessions of the enemy were considered as impure, perhaps 
because they also contained part of the life of a hostile god. 
As already seen,^ a man's clothing and weapons were con- 
sidered to contain part of his life by contact, and since the 
man was united to the god by partaking of the sacrificial 
feast, all the possessions of the enemy might be held 
to participate in the life of the hostile god, and hence 
they could not be preserved, nor taken by the victors 
into their own houses or dwellings. This was the offence 
which Achan committed when he hid in his tent part of 
the spoils of Jericho ; and in consequence Jehovah ceased 
to be with the children of Israel when they went up against 
Ai, that is ceased to be in them, and they could not stand 
before the enemy. Achan and his family were stoned and his 
property destroyed by fire and the impurity was removed. For 
the same reason the ancient Gauls and Germans destroyed 
all the spoils of v.'ar or burned them, or buried them in lakes 
where they are still found. At a later stage the Romans, 
instead of destroying the spoils of war, dedicated them to 
their own gods, perhaps as a visible sign of the conquest and 
subjection of the enemy's gods ; and they were hung in 
temples or on oak-trees, where they could not be touched 
except in the very direst need, as when Rome was left 
without arms after Cannae. Subsequently the spoils were 

1 Para. 61. 


permitted to decorate the houses of the victorious generals, 
where they remained sacred and inviolable heirlooms.^ 
95. Caste In Tlic Religions of India M. Barth defined a Hindu as 

^]1^ , ■ a man who has a caste : ' The man who is a member of a 
caste is a Hindu ; he who is not, is not a Hindu.' His 
definition remains perhaps the best. There is practically no 
dogma which is essential to Hinduism, nor is the veneration 
of any deity or sacred object either necessary or heretical. 
As has often been pointed out, there is no assembly more 
catholic or less exclusive than the Hindu pantheon. Another 
writer has said that the three essentials of a Hindu are to 
be a member of a caste, to venerate Brahmans, and to hold 
the cow sacred. Of the latter two, the veneration of 
Brahmans cannot be considered indispensable ; for there are 
several sects, as the Lingayats, the Bishnois, the Manbhaos, 
the Kablrpanthis and others, who expressly disclaim any 
veneration for Brahmans, and, in theory at least, make no 
use of their services ; and yet the members of these sects 
are by common consent acknowledged as Hindus. The 
sanctity of the bull and cow is a more nearly universal 
dogma, and extends practically to all Hindus, except the 
impure castes. These latter should not correctly be classed 
as Hindus ; the very origin of their status is, as has been 
seen, the belief that they are the worshippers of gods 
hostile to Hinduism. But still they must now practically 
be accounted as Hindus. They worship the Hindu gods, 
standing at a distance when they are not allowed to enter 
the temples, perform their ceremonies by Hindu rites, and 
employ Brahmans for fixing auspicious days, writing the 
marriage invitation and other business, which the Brahman 
is willing to do for a consideration, so long as he does not 
have to enter their houses. Some of the impure castes eat 
beef, while others have abandoned it in order to improve 
their social position. At the other end of the scale are 
many well-educated Hindu gentlemen who have no objection 
to eat beef and may often have done so in England, though 
in India they may abstain out of deference to the prejudices 
of their relatives, especially the women. And Hindus of all 

' "Tarpeia" in M. Salomon Reinach's Culls, Myths and Religions (English 
edition, London, David Nutt, 191 2). 


castes are beginning to sell worn-out cattle to the butchers 
for slaughter without scruple — an offence which fifty years 
ago would have entailed permanent expulsion from caste. 
The reverence for the cow is thus not an absolutely essential 
dogma of Hinduism, though it is the nearest approach to one. 
As a definition or test of Hinduism it is, however, obviously 
inadequate. Caste, on the other hand, regulates the whole 
of a Hindu's life, his social position and, usually, his occupa- 
tion. It is the only tribunal which punishes religious and 
social offences, and when a man is out of caste he has, for 
so long as this condition continues, no place in Hinduism. 
Theoretically he cannot eat with any other Hindu nor marry 
his child to any Hindu. If he dies out of caste the 
caste-men will not bury or burn his body, which is regarded 
as impure. The binding tie of caste is, according to 
the argument given above, the communal meal or feast 
of grain cooked with water, and this, it would therefore 
seem, may correctly be termed the chief religious function 
of Hinduism. Caste also obtains among the Jains and Sikhs, 
but Sikhism is really little more than a Hindu sect, while 
the Jains, who are nearly all Banias, scarcely differ from 
Vaishnava Hindu Banias, and have accepted caste, though 
it is not in accordance with the real tenets of their religion. 
The lower industrial classes of Muhammadans have also 
formed castes in imitation of the Hindus. Many of these 
are however the descendants of converted Hindus, and nearly 
all of them have a number of Hindu practices. 

There have not been wanting reformers in Hinduism, and 96. The 
the ultimate object of their preaching seems to have been ^mdu 

r^ reformers. 

the abolition of the caste system. The totem-clans, perhaps, 
supposed that each species of animals and plants which they 
distinguished had a different kind of life, the qualities of each 
species being considered as part of its life. This belief may 
have been the original basis of the idea of difference of blood 
arising from nobility of lineage or descent, and it may also 
have been that from which the theory of caste distinctions 
was derived. Though the sacrificial food of each caste is 
the same, yet its members may have held themselves to be 
partaking of a different sacrificial feast and absorbing a 
different life ; just as the sacrificial feasts and the gods of 


the different Greek and Latin city-states were held to be 
distinct and hostile, and a citizen of one state could not 
join in the sacrificial feast of another, though the gods and 
sacrificial animals might be as a matter of fact the same. 
And the earth-goddess of each village was a separate form 
or part of the goddess, so that her land should only be 
tilled by the descendants of the cultivators who were in 
communion with her. The severe caste penalties attached 
to getting vermin in a wound, involving a long period of 
complete ostracism and the most elaborate ceremonies of 
purification, may perhaps be explained by the idea that the 
man so afflicted has in his body an alien and hostile life 
which is incompatible with his forming part of the common 
life of the caste or subcaste. The leading feature of the 
doctrines of the Hindu reformers has been that there is only 
one kind of life, which extends through the whole of creation 
and is all equally precious. Everything that lives has a 
spark of the divine life and hence should not be destroyed. 
The belief did not extend to vegetable life, perhaps because 
the true nature of the latter was by then partly realised, 
while if the consumption of vegetable life had been pro- 
hibited the sect could not have existed. The above doctrine 
will be recognised as a comparatively simple and natural 
expansion of the beliefs that animals have self-conscious 
volitional life and that each species of animals consists of one 
common life distributed through its members. If the true 
nature of individual animals and plants had been recognised 
from the beginning, it is difficult to see how the idea of 
one universal life running through them all could have been 
conceived and have obtained so large a degree of acceptance. 
As the effect of such a doctrine was that all men were of 
the same blood and life, its necessary consequence was the 
negation of caste distinctions. The transmigration of souls 
followed as a moral rule apportioning reward and punishment 
for the actions of men. The soul passed through a cycle of 
lives, and the location or body of its next life, whether an 
animal of varying importance or meanness, or a human being 
in different classes of society, was determined by its good or 
evil actions in previous lives. Finally, those souls which had 
been purified of all the gross qualities appertaining to the 


body were released from the cycle of existence and reabsorbed 
into the divine centre or focus of life. In the case of the 
Buddhists and Jains the divine centre of life seems to have 
been conceived of impersonally. The leading authorities on 
Buddhism state that its founder's doctrine was pure atheism, 
but one may suggest that the view seems somewhat improbable 
in the case of a religion promulgated at so early a period. And 
on such a hypothesis it is difficult to understand either the stress 
laid on the escape from life as the highest aim or the sanctity 
held to attach to all kinds of animal life. But these doctrines 
follow naturally on the belief in a divine centre or focus of 
life from which all life emanates for a time, to be ultimately 
reabsorbed. The Vaishnava reformers, who arose subse- 
quently, took the sun or the spirit of the sun as the divine 
source of all life. They also preached the sanctity of animal 
life, the transmigration of souls, and the final absorption of 
the purified soul into the divine centre of life. The abolition 
of caste was generally a leading feature of their doctrine and 
may have been its principal social aim. The survival of the 
individual soul was not a tenet of the earlier reformers, 
though the later ones adopted it, perhaps in response to the 
growing perception of individuality. But even now it is 
doubtful how far the separate existence of the individual soul 
after it has finally left the world is a religious dogma of the 
Hindus. The basis of Hindu asceticism is the necessity of 
completely freeing the soul or spirit from all the appetites 
and passions of the body before it can be reabsorbed into 
the god. Those who have so mortified the body that the 
life merely subsists in it, almost unwillingly as it were, and 
absolutely unaffected by human desires or affections or 
worldly events, have rendered their individual spark of life 
capable of being at once absorbed into the divine life and 
equal in merit to it, while still on earth. Thus Hindu 
ascetics in the last or perfect stage say, * I am God,' or ' I am 
Siva,' and are revered by their disciples and the people as 
divine. Both the Buddhists and Jains lay the same stress 
on the value of asceticism as enabling the soul to attain 
perfection through complete detachment from the appetites 
and passions of the body and the cares of the world ; and 
the deduction therefore seems warranted that the end of the 


perfect soul would be a similar reabsorption in the divine 

97. Decline The castc systcm has maintained its vigour unimpaired 

of the either by the political vicissitudes and foreign invasions of 


system. India or by Muhammadan persecution. Except where it 
has been affected by European education and inventions, 
Hindu society preserved until recently a remarkably close 
resemblance to that of ancient Greece and Rome in the 
classical period. But several signs point to the conclusion 
that the decay of caste as the governing factor of Indian 
society is in sight. The freedom in selection of occupation 
which now obtains appears to strike at the root of the 
caste system, because the relative social status and gradation 
of castes is based on their traditional occupations. When 
in a large number of the principal castes the majority of the 
members have abandoned their traditional occupation and 
taken freely to others, the relative status of castes becomes 
a fiction, which, though it has hitherto subsisted, cannot 
apparently be indefinitely maintained. The great extension 
of education undertaken by Government and warmly ad- 
vocated by the best Indian opinion exercises an analogous 
influence. Education is free to all, and, similarly, in the 
careers which it opens to the most successful boys there is 
no account of caste. Thus members of quite low castes 
obtain a good social position and, as regards them person- 
ally, the prejudices and contempt for their caste necessarily 
fall into abeyance. The process must, probably, in time 
extend to general social toleration. The educated classes 
are also coming to regard the restrictions on food and 
drink, and on eating and drinking with others, as an irk- 
some and unnecessary bar to social intercourse, and are 
gradually abandoning them. This tendency is greatly 
strengthened by the example and social contact of Euro- 
peans. Finally, the facilities for travelling and the demo- 
cratic nature of modern travel have a very powerful effect. The 
great majority of Hindus of all castes are obliged by their 
comparative poverty to avail themselves of the cheap third- 
class fares, and have to rub shoulders together in packed 
railway carriages. Soon they begin to realise that this does 
them no harm, and get accustomed to it, with the result 


that the prejudices about bodily contact tend to disappear. 
The opinion has been given that the decline of social cx- 
clusiveness in England was largely due to the introduction 
of railway travelling. Taking account of all these influences, 
and assuming their continuance, the inference may safely be 
drawn that the life of the Indian caste system is limited, 
though no attempt can be made to estimate the degree of 
its vitality, nor to predict the form and constitution of the 
society which will arise on its decay. 




YBibliography : Sir E. D. Maclagan's Punjab Cetisus Repori of iSgi ; Mr- 
R. Burn's United Provinces Censtis Report of igoi ; Professor J. C. Oman's 
Cults, Customs and Superstitions of India.'\ 


1. The f 01177 der of the sect. Day a- 3. Tefiets of the Smndj. 

nand Sdraswati. 4. Modernising tendencies. 

2. His methods and the scientific 5. Aims and educational i?istitu- 

ititerpretatio7i of the Vedas. tions. 

6. Prospects of the sect. 

Arya Samaj Religion. — This important reforming sect of 1. The 
Hinduism numbered nearly 2 50,000 persons in India in 1 9 1 1, [^g"g^[ °^ 
as against 92,000 in 1901. Its adherents belong principally Dayanand 
to the Punjab and the United Provinces. In the Central saraswati. 
Provinces 974 members were returned. The sect was 
founded by Pandit Dayanand Saraswati, a Gujarati Brahman, 
born in 1824. According to his own narrative he had been 
carefully instructed in the Vedas, which means that he had 
been made to commit a great portion of them to memory, 
and had been initiated at an early age into the Saiva sect 
to which his family belonged ; but while still a mere boy 
his mind had revolted against the practices of idolatry. He 
could not bring himself to acknowledge that the image of 
Siva seated on his bull, the helpless idol, which, as he 
himself observed in the watches of the night, allowed the 
mice to run over it with impunity, ought to be worshipped 
as the omnipotent deity.^ He also conceived an intense 
aversion to marriage, and fled from home in order to avoid 
the match which had been arranged for him. He was 
attracted by the practice of Yoga, or ascetic philosophy, and 

' Cults, Custo/ns, p. I ^o. 


2. His 
and the 
tion of the 

studied it with great ardour, claiming to have been initiated 
into the highest secrets of Yoga Vidya. He tells in one of 
his books of his many and extensive travels, his profound 
researches in Sanskritic lore, his constant meditations and 
his ceaseless inquirings. He tells how, by dissecting in his 
own rough way a corpse which he found floating on a river, 
he finally discerned the egregious errors of the Hindu medical 
treatises, and, tearing up his books in disgust, flung them into 
the river with the mutilated corpse. By degrees he found 
reason to reject the authority of all the sacred books of the 
Hindus subsequent to the Vedas. Once convinced of this, 
he braced himself to a wonderful course of missionary effort, 
in which he formulated his new system and attacked the 
existing orthodox Hinduism/ He maintained that the 
Vedas gave no countenance to idolatry, but inculcated 
monotheism, and that their contents could be reconciled 
with all the results of modern science, which indeed he held 
to be indicated in them. The Arya Samaj was founded 
in Lahore in 1877, and during the remainder of his life 
Dayanand travelled over northern India continually preach- 
ing and disputing with the advocates of other religions, and 
founding branches of his sect. In 1883 he died at Ajmer, 
according to the story of his followers, from the effects of 
poison administered to him at the instigation of a prostitute 
against whose profession he had been lecturing." 

Dayanand's attempt to found a sect which, while not 
going entirely outside Hinduism, should prove acceptable to 
educated Hindus desiring a purer faith, appears to have 
been distinctly successful. The leaders of the Brahmo 
Samaj were men of higher intelligence and ability than he, 
and after scrupulously fair and impartial inquiry were led to 
deny the infallibility of the Vedas, while they also declined 
to recognise caste. But by so doing they rendered it im- 
possible for a man to become a Brahmo and remain a Hindu, 
and their movement has made little hcadwa)-. By retaining 
the tenet of the divine authority of the Vedas, Dayanand 
made it possible for educated Hindus to join his sect without 
absolutely cutting themselves adrift from their old faith. 

^ Maclagan, Punjab Census Report, 
p. 174. 

^ Burn, United Provinces Censtts 
Report, p. 82. 

I AJ^VA SAM Ay 203 

But Dayanand's contention that the Vedas should be 
figuratively interpreted, and are so found to foreshadow 
the discoveries of modern science, will naturally not bear 
examination. The following instances of the method arc 
given by Professor Oman : " At one of the anniversary 
meetings of the society a member gravely stated that the 
Vedas mentioned /«;r fire, and as pure fire was nothing but 
electricity, it was evident that the Indians of the Vedic period 
were acquainted with electricity. A leading member of the 
sect, who had studied science in the Government college, 
discovered in two Vedic texts, made up of on/y eighteen 
words in all, that oxygen and hydrogen with their char- 
acteristic properties were known to the writers of the Rig 
Veda, who were also acquainted with the composition of 
water, the constitution of the atmosphere, and had anticipated 
the modern kinetic theory of gases." ^ Mr. Burn gives the 
following parallel versions of a verse of the Rig Veda by 
Professor Max Muller and the late Pandit Guru Datt, M.A., 
of the Arya Samaj : 

Professor Max Miiller. — " May Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, 
Ayu, Indra, the Lord of the Ribhus, and the Maruts not 
rebuke us because we shall proclaim at the sacrifice the 
virtues of the swift horse sprung from the Gods." 

Pandit Guru Datt. — " We shall describe the power- 
generating virtues of the energetic horses endowed with 
brilliant properties (or the virtues of the vigorous force of 
heat) which learned or scientific men can evoke to work for 
purposes of appliances. Let not philanthropists, noble men, 
judges, learned men, rulers, wise men and practical mechanics 
ever disregard these properties." In fact, the learned Pandit 
has interpreted horse as horse-power. 

Nevertheless the Arya Samaj does furnish a haven for 3. Tenets 
educated Hindus who can no longer credit Hindu mythology, gamaj. 
but do not wish entirely to break away from their religion ; 
a step which, involving also the abandonment of caste, would 
in their case mean the cessation to a considerable extent 
of social and family intercourse. The present tenets and 
position of the Arya Samaj as given to Professor Oman by 
Lala Lajpat Rai " indicate that, while tending towards the 

1 Cults, Customs, p. 144. 2 Ibidem, pp. 176, 177. 


complete removal of the over-swollen body of Hindu ritual 
and the obstacles to social progress involved in the narrow 
restrictions of the caste system, the sect at present permits 
a compromise and does not require of its proselytes a full 
abjuration. In theory members of any religion may be 
admitted to the Samaj, and a few Muhammadans have been 
initiated, but unless they renounce Islam do not usually 
participate in social intercourse. Sikhs are freely admitted, 
and converts from any religion who accept the purified 
Hinduism of the Samaj are welcome. Such converts go 
through a simple ceremony of purification, for which a 
Brahman is usually engaged, though not required by rule. 
Those who, as Hindus, wore the sacred thread are again 
invested with it, and it has also been conferred on converts, 
but this has excited opposition. A few marriages between 
members of different subcastes have been carried out, and 
in the case of orphan girls adopted into the Samaj caste, 
rules have been set aside and they have been married to 
members of other castes. Lavish expenditure on weddings 
is discouraged. Vishnu and Siva are accepted as alternative 
names of the one God ; but their reputed consorts Kali, 
Durga, Devi, and so on, are not regarded as deities. Brah- 
mans are usually employed for ceremonies, but these may 
also, especially birth and funeral ceremonies, be performed 
by non-Brahmans. In the Punjab members of the Samaj 
of different castes will take food together, but rarely in the 
United Provinces. Dissension has arisen on the question of 
the consumption of flesh, and the Samaj is split into two 
parties, vegetarians and meat-eaters. In the United Pro- 
vinces, Mr. Burn states, the vegetarian party would not 
object to employ men of low caste as cooks, excepting such 
im[)ure castes as Chamars, Doms and sweepers, so long as 
they were also vegetarians. The Aryas still hold the 
doctrine of the transmigration of souls and venerate the cow, 
but they do not regard the cow as divine. In this respect 
their position has been somewhat modified from that of 
Dayanand, who was a vigorous supporter of the Gaoraksha 
or cow-protection movement. 
4. Modern- Again Dayanand enunciated a very peculiar doctrine on 

'Sing Niyoga or the custom of childless women, either married or 

tendencies. -' ^ ' 

I A/^VA SAMAJ 205 

widows, resorting to men other than their husbands for 
obtaining an heir. This is permitted under certain circum- 
stances by the Hindu lawbooks. Dayanand laid down that 
a Hindu widow might resort in succession to five men until 
she had borne each of them two children, and a married 
woman might do the same with the consent of her husband, 
or without his consent if he had been absent from home for 
a certain number of years, varying according to the purpose 
for which he was absent.^ Dayanand held that this rule 
would have beneficial results. Those who could restrain 
their impulses would still be considered as following the 
best way ; but for the majority who could not do so, the 
authorised method and degree of intimacy laid down by him 
would prevent such evils as prostitution, connubial unfaithful- 
ness, and the secret liaisons of widows, resulting in practices 
like abortion. The prevalence of such a custom would, 
however, certainly do more to injure social and family life 
than all the evils which it was designed to prevent, and it is 
not surprising to find that the Samaj does not now consider 
Niyoga an essential doctrine ; instead of this they are trying 
in face of much opposition to introduce the natural and 
proper custom of the remarriage of widows. The principal 
rite of the Samaj is the old Hom sacrifice of burning clarified 
butter, grain, and various fragrant gums and spices on the 
sacred fire, with the repetition of Sanskrit texts. They now 
explain this by saying that it is a sanitary measure, designed 
to purify the air. 

The Samaj does not believe in any literal heaven and 
hell, but considers these as figurative expressions of the 
state of the soul, whether in this life or the life to come. 
The Aryas therefore do not perform the sJiradJiJi ceremony 
nor offer oblations to the dead, and in abolishing these they 
reduce enormously the power and influence of the priesthood. 

The above account indicates that the Arya Samaj is 5. Aims 
tending to become a vaguely theistic sect. Its religious ^"^ 

fc> fc> y » educa- 

observances will probably fall more and more into the back- tionai in- 
ground, and its members will aspire to observe in their ^" " '°"^" 
conduct the code of social morality obtaining in Europe, 
and to regulate their habit of life by similar considerations 

^ Cults, Customs, pp. 148, 149. 


of comfort and convenience. Already the principal aims of 
the Samaj tend mainly to the social improvement of its 
members and their fellow-Indians. It sets its face against 
child-marriage, and encourages the remarriage of widows. 
It busies itself with female education, with orphanages and 
schools, dispensaries and public libraries, and philanthropic 
institutions of all soi'ts.^ Its avowed aim is to unite and 
regenerate the peoples of Aryavarrta or India. 
As one of its own poets has said : ^ 

Ah! long have ye slept, Sons of India, too long ! 
Your country degenerate, your morals all wrong. 

Its principal educational institutions are the Dayanand 
Anglo-Vedic College at Lahore and the Anglo- Vedic School 
at Meerut, a large orphanage at Bareilly, smaller ones at 
Allahabad and Cawnpore, and a number of primary schools. 
It employs a body of travelling teachers or Upadeshaks to 
make converts, and in the famine of 1900 took charge of as 
many famine orphans as the Local Governments would 
entrust to it, in order to prevent them from being handed 
over to Christian missionaries. All members of the Samaj 
are expected to contribute one per cent of their incomes to 
the society, and a large number of them do this. The Arya 
Samaj has been accused of cherishing political aims and of 
anti-British propaganda, but the writers quoted in this article 
unite in acquitting it of such a charge as an institution, 
though some of its members have been more or less 
identified with the Extremist party. From the beginning, 
however, and apparently up to the present time, its religious 
teaching has been directed to social and not to political 
reform, and so long as it adheres to this course its work must 
be considered to be useful and praiseworthy. Nevertheless 
some danger may perhaps exist lest the boys educated in its 
institutions may with youthful intemperance read into the 
instruction of their teachers more than it is meant to convey, 
and divert exhortations for social improvement and progress 
to political ends. 
5. Pros- The census of 1 9 1 i showed the Arya Samaj to be in 

pects of flourishing and progressive condition. There seems good 

the sect. b r- & a 

1 Maclagan, I.e. ^ Ibidem. 

I AI?VA SAM A J 207 

reason to suppose that its success may continue, as it meets 
a distinct religious and social requirement of educated Hindus. 
Narsinghpur is the principal centre of the sect in the Central 
Provinces, and here an orphanage is maintained with about 
thirty inmates ; the local members have an ata fund, to which 
they daily contribute a handful of flour, and this accumulates 
and is periodically made over to the orphanage. There is 
also a Vedic school at Narsinghpur, and a Sanskrit school 
has been started at Drug.^ 

1 J. T. Marten, Census Report (191 1). 


\Bibliog7-aphy : Professor J. C. Oman's Brdhmaiis, Theists and Mttsliins of 
India (1907) ; Cults, Customs a7id Superstitions of India (1908) ; Rev. F. 
Lillingston's Brahmo Samdj and Arya Samaj (1901). The following brief 
account is simply compiled from the above works and makes no pretence to be 


1. Riivi Mohan Roy, foi/ndc?- of 

the sect. 

2. Much esteemed by the English. 

3. Foundation of the lirahnio 


4. Debc7idra Ndth Tagorc. 

5. Keshiib Chandar Se>t. 

6. The Civil Marriage Act. 

7. Keshub Chandar' s relapse into 


8. Recent history of the SanidJ. 

9. Character of the movement. 

I. Ram Brahmo Samaj Religrion. — This monotheistic sect of 

Mohan Bengal numbered only thirty-two adherents in the Central 

founder of Provinccs in 191 I, of whom all or nearly all were probably 

the sect. Bengalis. Nevertheless its history is of great interest as 

representing an attempt at the reform and purification of 

Hinduism under the influence of Christianity. The founder 

of the sect, Ram Mohan Roy, a Brahman, was born in 1772 

and died in England in 1833. He was sent to school at 

Patna, where under the influence of Muhammadan teachers 

he learnt to despise the extravagant stories of the Puranas. 

At the age of sixteen he composed a tract against idolatry, 

which stirred up such a feeling of animosity against him that 

he had to leave his home. He betook himself first to 

Benares, where he received instruction in the Vedas from the 

Brahmans. From there he went to Tibet, that he might 

learn the tenets of Buddhism from its adherents rather than 

its opponents ; his genuine desire to form a fair judgment 

of the merits of every creed being further evidenced by his 

' learning the language in which each of these finds its 

expression : thus he learnt Sanskrit that he might rightly 



understand the Vedas, Pali that he might read the l> 
Tripitaka, Arabic as the key to the Koran, and Hebrew 
and Greek for the Old and New Testaments.^ In 181 9, after 
a diligent study of the Bible, he published a book entitled 
The Precepts of Jesus, the Guide to Peace and Ilappuiess. 
Although this work was eminently appreciative of the character 
and teaching of Christ, it gave rise to an attack from the 
missionaries of Serampore. Strange to say. Ram Mohan 
Roy so far converted his tutor Mr. Adam (himself a mission- 
ary) to his own way of thinking that that gentleman 
relinquished his spiritual office, became editor of the Indian 
Gazette, and was generally known in Calcutta as ' The second 
fallen Adam.' ^ 

Ram Mohan Roy was held in great esteem by his English 2. Much 
contemporaries in India. He dispensed in charities the bulk b^'^jhe^'^ 
of his private means, living himself with the strictest economy English, 
in order that he might have the more to give away. It was 
to a considerable extent due to his efforts, and more especially 
to his demonstration that the practice of Sati found no 
sanction in the Vedas, that this abominable rite was declared 
illegal by Lord William Bentinck in 1829. The titular 
emperor of Delhi conferred the title of Raja upon him in 
1830 and induced him to proceed to England on a mission 
to the Home Government. He was the first Brahman who 
had crossed the sea, and his distinguished appearance, 
agreeable manners, and undoubtedly great ability, coupled 
with his sympathy for Christianity, procured him a warm 
welcome in England, where he died in 1833.^ 

Ram Mohan Roy, with the help of a few friends and 3. I'ounda- 
disciples, founded, in 1830, the Brahmo Samaj or Society of prahmo 
God. In the trust deed of the meeting-house it was laid Samaj. 
down that the society was founded for " the worship and 
adoration of the eternal, unsearchable and immutable Being 
who is the Author and Preserver of the Universe, but not by 

1 Lillingston, p. 45, on the author- a book in Persian and knew English 

ity of Max Miiller. Professor Oman well. 

states, however, that he had but little ^ Oman, quoting from Dr. George 

acquaintance with the Vedas {Brah- Smith's Life of Dr. Alexander Dtiff, 

mans, Theisis, p. 103), and if this was vol. i. p. 118. 

so it would seem likely that his know- ^ Oman, quoting Mary Carpenter's 

ledge of the other ancient languages was Last Days in En,^land of the RCxja 

not very profound. But he published RCnii Mohan. Roy, p. 67. 

VOL. I r 


any other name, designation or title peculiarly used by any 
men or set of men ; and that in conducting the said worship 
and adoration, no object, animate or inanimate, that has been 
or is or shall hereafter become ... an object of worship by 
any men or set of men, shall be reviled or slightingly or 
contemptuously spoken of or alluded to either in preaching, 
or in the hymns or other mode of worship that may be 
delivered or used in the said messuage or building." ^ This 
well exemplifies the broad toleration and liberality of the sect. 
The service in the new theistic church consisted in the recital 
of the Vedas by two Telugu Brahmans, the reading of texts 
from the Upanishads, and the expounding of the same in 
Bengali. The Samaj, thus constituted, based its teaching 
on the Vedas and was at this time, though unorthodox, still 
a Hindu sect, and made no attempt a:t the abolition of caste. 
" Indeed, in establishing this sect. Ram Mohan Roy professed 
to be leading his countrymen back to the pure, uncorrupted, 
monotheistic religion of their Vedic ancestors ; but his 
monotheism, based, as it was, essentially upon the Vedanta 
philosophy, was in reality but a disguised Pantheism, enriched 
as regards its ethics by ideas derived from Muslim and 
Christian literature and theology." ^ 
4- Deben- After the death of its founder the sect languished for a 

period of ten years until it was taken in hand by Debendra 
Nath Tagore, whose father Dwarka Nath had been a friend 
and warm admirer of Ram Mohan Roy, and had practically 
maintained the society by paying its expenses during the 
interval. In 1843 Debendra drew up a form of initiation 
which involved the renunciation of idolatry. He established 
branches of the Brahmo Samaj in many towns and villages 
of Bengal, and in 1845 he sent four Pandits to Benares 
to copy out and make a special study of the Vedas. On 
their return to Calcutta after two years Debendra Nath 
devoted himself with their aid to a diligent and critical 
study of the sacred books, and eventually, after much con- 
troversy and even danger of disruption, the Samaj, under 
his guidance, came to the important decision that the 
teaching of the Vedas could not be reconciled with the 
conclusions of modern science or with the religious con- 

' Lilliiigston, p. 5'- " Ih-dlLiiiaiis, Thcisis, p. 105. 

dra Nath 


victions of the Brahmos, a result which soon led to an open 
and public denial of the infallibility of the Vedas, 

" There is nothing," Professor Oman remarks, " in the 
Brahmic movement more creditable to the parties concerned 
than this honest and careful inquiry into the nature of the 
doctrines and precepts of the Vedas." ^ 

The tenets of the Brahmo Samaj consisted at this time s- Keshub 
of a pure theism, without special reliance on the Hindu sacred se^n^"''"" 
books or recognition of such Hindu doctrines as the trans- 
migration of souls. But in their ordinary lives its members 
still conformed generally to the caste practices and reli- 
gious usages of their neighbours. But a progressive party 
now arose under the leadership of Keshub Chandar Sen, 
a young man of the Vaidya caste, which desired to break 
altogether with Hinduism, abolish the use of sect marks 
and the prohibition of intermarriage between castes, and 
to welcome into the community converts from all religions. 
Meanwhile Debendra Nath Tagore had spent three years 
in seclusion in the Himalayas, occupied with meditation 
and prayer ; on his return he acceded so far to the views 
of Keshub Chandar Sen as to celebrate the marriage of his 
daughter according to a reformed theistic ritual ; but when 
his friend pressed for the complete abolition of all caste 
restrictions, Debendra Nath refused his consent and retired 
once more to the hills.'^ The result was a schism in the 
community, and in 1866 the progressive party seceded and 
set up a Samaj of their own, calling themselves the Brahmo 
Samaj of India, while the conservative group under Debendra 
Nath Tagore was named the Adi or original Samaj. In 
1905 the latter was estimated to number only about 300 

Keshub Chandar Sen had been educated in the Presi- 
dency College, Calcutta, and being more familiar vv'ith 
English and the Bible than with the Sanskrit language and 
Vedic literature, he was filled with deep enthusiastic ad- 
miration of the beauty of Christ's character and teaching.^ 
He had shown a strong passion for the stage and loved 
nothing better than the plays of Shakespeare. He was 

1 Bnihiiians, Thcisls, p. ill. ^ Braktiiaiis, Theists, p. 116. 

2 Lillingston, p. 73. "* Ibidem, p. 113. 


fond of performing himself, and especially delighted in 
appearing in the role of a magician or conjurer before his 
family and friends. The new sect took up the position that 
all religions were true and worthy of veneration. At the 
inaugural meeting, texts from the sacred scriptures of the 
Christians, Hindus, Muhammadans, Parsis and Chinese 
were publicly read, in order to mark and to proclaim to 
the world the catholicity of spirit in which it was formed.^ 
Keshub by his writings and public lectures kept himself 
prominently before the Indian world, enlisting the sympathies 
of the Viceroy (Sir John Lawrence) by his tendencies towards 
6. The By this time several marriages had been performed 

^r' • accordinij to the revised ritual of the Brahmic Church, which 

Marriage "^ ' 

Act. had given great offence to orthodox Hindus and exposed 

the participators in these novel rites to much obloquy. 
The legality of marriages thus contracted had even been 
questioned. To avoid this difficulty Keshub induced 
Government in 1872 to pass the Native Marriage Act, 
introducing for the first time the institution of civil marriage 
into Hindu society. The Act prescribed a form of marriage 
to be celebrated before the Registrar for persons who did 
not profess either the Hindu, the Muhammadan, the Farsi, 
the Sikh, the Jaina or the Buddhist religion, and who were 
neither Christians nor Jews ; and fixed the minimum age 
for a bridegroom at eighteen and for a bride at fourteen. Only 
six years later, however, Keshub Chandar Sen committed the 
fatal mistake of ignoring the law which he had himself been 
instrumental in passing : he permitted the marriage of his 
daughter, below the age of fourteen, to the young Maharaja of 
Kuch Bihar, who was not then sixteen years of age." This 
event led to a public censure of Keshub Chandar Sen by his 
community and the secession of a section of the members, who 
formed the Sadharan or Universal Brahmo Samaj, The creed 
of this body consisted in the belief in an infinite Creator, the 
immortality of the soul, the duty and necessity of the spiritual 
worship of God, and disbelief in any infallible book or man 
as a means of salvation.^ 

1 Brdhntans, Theists, p. 1 1 8. 2 Lillingston, p. 96. 

^ Brdhmaiis, Theists, p. 133. 


From about this period, or a little before, Kcshub 7. Keshub 
Chandar Sen appears to have attempted to make a wider ^-'^•""'•^'''s 
appeal to Indians by developing the emotional side of his into mysti- 
religion. And he gradually relapsed from a pure unitarian '^'^'"' 
theism into what was practically Hindu pantheism and the 
mysticism of the Yogis. At the same time he came to 
consider himself an inspired prophet, and proclaimed him- 
self as such. The following instances of his extravagant 
conduct are given by Professor Oman.^ 

"In 1873 he brought forward the doctrine of Adesh 
or special inspiration, declaring emphatically that inspira- 
tion is not only possible, but a veritable fact in the lives of 
many devout souls in this age. The following years witnessed 
a marked development of that essentially Asiatic and 
perhaps more especially Indian form of religious feeling, 
which finds its natural satisfaction in solitary ecstatic con- 
templation. As a necessary consequence an order of 
devotees was established in 1876, divided into three main 
classes, which in ascending gradation were designated 
Shabaks, Bhaktas and Yogis. The lowest class, divided 
into two sections, is devoted to religious study and the 
practical performance of religious duties, including doing 
good to others. The aspiration of the Bhakta is . . . 
' Inebriation in God. He is most passionately fond of God 
and delights in loving Him and all that pertains to Him. 
. . . The very utterance of the divine name causes his 
heart to overflow and brings tears of joy to his eyes.' As for 
the highest order of devotees, the Yogis, ' They live in the 
spirit-world and readily commune with spiritual realities. 
They welcome whatever is a help to the entire subjugation 
of the soul, and are always employed in conquering selfish- 
ness, carnality and worldliness. They are happy in prayer 
and meditation and in the study of nature.' 

" The new dispensation having come into the world to 
harmonise conflicting creeds and regenerate mankind, must 
have its outward symbol, its triumphal banner floating 
proudly on the joyful air of highly-favoured India. A flag 
was therefore made and formally consecrated as ' The Banner 
of the New Dispensation.' This emblem of ' Regenerated 

1 Brdhmans, Theists, pp. 131, 139, 140. 


and saving theism ' the new prophet himself formed with 
a yak's tail and kissed with his own inspired lips. In 
orthodox Hindu fashion his missionaries — apostles of the 
new Dispensation — went round it with lights in their hands, 
while his less privileged followers respectfully touched the 
sacred pole and humbly bowed down to it. In a word, the 
banner was worshipped as Hindu idols are worshipped any 
day in India. Carried away by a spirit of innovation, 
anxious to keep himself prominently before the world, and 
realising no doubt that since churches and sects do not 
flourish on intellectual pabulum only, certain mystic rites 
and gorgeous ceremonials were necessary to the success of 
the new Dispensation, Keshub introduced into his Church 
various observances which attracted a good deal of attention 
and did not escape criticism. On one occasion he went 
with his disciples in procession, singing hymns, to a stagnant 
tank in Calcutta, and made believe that they were in 
Palestine and on the side of the Jordan. Standing near 
the tank Keshub said, ' Beloved brethren, we have come 
into the land of the Jews, and we are seated on the bank of 
the Jordan. Let them that have eyes see. Verily, verily, 
here was the Lord Jesus baptised eighteen hundred years 
ago. Behold the holy waters wherein was the Son of God 
immersed.' We learn also that Keshub and his disciples 
attempted to hold communication with saints and prophets 
of the olden time, upon whose works and teaching they 
had been pondering in retirement and solitude. On this 
subject the following notice appeared in the Sjinday 
Mirror : 

" ' It is proposed to promote communion with departed 
saints among the more advanced Brahmos. With a view 
to achieve this object successfully ancient prophets and 
saints will be taken one after another on special occasions 
and made the subject of close study, meditation and prayer. 
Particular places will also be assigned to which the devotees 
will resort as pilgrims. There for hours together they will 
try to draw inspiration from particular saints. We believe 
a spiritual pilgrimage to Moses will be shortly undertaken. 
Only earnest devotees ought to join.' " 

Keshub Chandar Sen died in 1884, ^"tl the Brahmo 


Samaj seems subsequently to luive returned more or less 8. Recunt 
to its first position of pure theism coupled with Hindu 'l'^'"''^ "'^. 

'■ ^ llie .Saniilj. 

social reform. His successor in the leadership of the sect 
was Babu P. C. Mazumdar, who visited America and created 
a favourable impression at the Parliament of Religions at 
Chicago. Under his guidance the Samaj seems to have 
gradually drifted towards American Unitarianism, and to 
have been supported in no slight degree by funds from 
the United States of America.^ He died in 1905, and 
left no one of prominent character and attainments to 
succeed to the leadership. In 191 i the adherents of the 
different branches of the Samaj numbered at the census 
only 5500 persons. 

The history of the Brahmo Samaj is of great interest, 9. Char- 
because it was the first attempt at the reform and purifica- ^^^'^ °^ 

^ 1 the move- 

tion of Hinduism made under the influence of Christianity, ment. 
the long line of Vaishnavite reformers who strove to abrogate 
Hindu polytheism and the deadening restrictions of caste, 
having probably been inspired by the contemplation of Islam. 
The Samaj is further distinguished by the admirable tolera- 
tion and broadness of view of its religious position, and by 
having had for its leaders three men of exceptional character 
and attainments, two of whom, and especially Keshub Chandar 
Sen, made a profound impression in England among all classes 
of society. But the failure of the Samaj to attract anj' large 
number of converts from among the Hindus was only what 
might have been expected. For it requires its followers 
practically to cut themselves adrift from family and caste ties 
and offers nothing in return but an undefined theism, not 
calculated to excite any enthusiasm or strong feeling in 
ordinary minds. Its efforts at social reform have probably, 
however, been of substantial value in weakening the rigidity 
of Hindu rules on caste and marriage. 

Dadupanthi Sect." — One of the sects founded by 
Vaishnava reformers of the school of Kabir ; a few of its 
members are found in the western Districts of the Central 

1 BrdJwians, Theists, p. 148. Maclagan's Punjab Census Report, 

2 This article is compiled from the 189 1 ; and Mr. Bhimbhai Kirparam's 
notices in Wilson's Hindu Sects, As. Hindus of Gujarat, Bombay Gazetteer, 
Res. vol. xvi. pp. 79-81 ; Sir E. vol. ix. 


Provinces. Dadu was a Pinjara or cotton-cleaner by caste. 
He was born at Ahmadabad in the sixteenth century, and 
died at Narayana in the Jaipur State shortly after A.D. 1600. 
He is said to have been the fifth successor in spiritual 
inspiration from Kablr, or the sixth from Ramanand. Dadu 
preached the unity of God and protested against the 
animistic abuses which had grown up in Hinduism. " To 
this day," writes Mr. Coldstream, " the Dadupanthis use the 
words Sat Ram, the True God, as a current phrase expressive 
of their creed. Dadu forbade the worship of idols, and did 
not build temples ; now temples are built by his followers, 
who say they worship in them the Dadubani or Sacred 
Book." This is what has been done by other sects such 
as the Sikhs and Dhamis, whose founders eschewed the 
veneration of idols ; but their uneducated followers could 
not dispense with some visible symbol for their adoration, 
and hence the sacred script has been enthroned in a temple. 
The worship of the Dadupanthis, Professor Wilson says, 
is addressed to Rama, but it is restricted to the Japa or 
repetition of his name, and the Rama intended is the deity 
negatively described in the Vedanta theology. The chief 
place of worship of the sect is Narayana, where Dadu died. 
A small building on a hill marks the place of his disappear- 
ance, and his bed and the sacred books are kept there as 
objects of veneration. 

Like other sects, the Dadupanthis are divided into 
celibate or priestly and lay or householder branches. But 
they have also a third offshoot, consisting in the Naga 
Gosains of Jaipur, nearly naked ascetics, who constituted 
a valuable part of the troops of Jaipur and other States. 
It is said that the Nagas always formed the van of the 
army of Jaipur. The sect have white caps with four 
corners and a flap hanging down at the back, which each 
follower has to make for himself. To prevent the destruc- 
tion of animal life entailed by cremation, the tenets of the 
sect enjoin that corpses should be laid in the forests to be 
devoured by birds and beasts. This rule, however, is not 
observed, and their dead are burnt at early dawn. 

Dhami, Prannathi Sect. — A small religious sect or order. 


having its headquarters in the Panna State of Bundelkhand. 
A few members of the sect are found in the Saugor and 
Damoh Districts of the Central Provinces. The name 
Dhami is simply a derivative from dlidm, a monastery, and 
in northern India they are called Prannathi after their 
founder. They are also known as Sathi Bhai, brothers 
in religion, or simply as Bhai or brothers. The sect takes 
its origin from one Prannath, a Rajpiit who lived in the 
latter part of Aurangzeb's reign towards the end of the 
seventeenth century. He is said to have acquired great 
influence with Chatra Sal, Raja of Panna, by the discovery 
of a diamond mine there, and on this account Panna was 
made the home of the sect. Prannath was well acquainted 
with the sacred books of Islam, and, like otlier Hindu 
reformers, he attempted to propagate a faith which should 
combine the two religions. To this end he composed 
a work in Gujarati called the Kulzam Sarup, in which texts 
from the Koran and the Vedas are brought together and 
shown not to be incompatible. His creed also proclaimed 
the abolition of the worship of idols, and apparently of 
caste restrictions and the supremacy of Brahmans. As 
a test of a disciple's assent to the real identity of the 
Hindu and Muhammadan creeds, the ceremony of initiation 
consists in eating in the society of the followers of both 
religions ; but the amalgamation appears to be carried 
no further, and members of the sect continue to follow 
generally their own religious practices. Theoretically they 
should worship no material objects except the Founder's 
Book of Faith, which lies on a table covered with gold 
cloth in the principal temple at Panna. But in fact they 
adore the boy Krishna as he was at Mathura, and in some 
temples there are images of Radha and Krishna, while in 
others the decorations are so arranged as to look like an 
idol from a distance. All temples, however, contain a copy 
of the sacred book, round which a lighted lamp is waved 
in the morning and evening. The Dhamis now say also 
that their founder Prannath was an incarnation of Krishna, 
and they observe the Janam-Ashtami or Kri.shna's birth- 
day as their principal festival. They wear the Radha 
Vallabhi tilak or sect-mark, consisting of two white lines 


drawn down the forehead from the roots of the hair, and 
curving to meet at the top of the nose, with a small red 
dot between them. On the cheeks and temples they make 
rosette-like marks by bunching up the five fingers, dipping 
them in a solution of sandalwood and then applying them 
to the face.^ They regard the Jumna as a sacred river and 
its water as holy, no doubt because Mathura is on its banks, 
but pay no reverence to the Ganges. Their priests observe 
celibacy, but do not practise asceticism, and all the Dhamis 
are strict vegetarians. 

There is also a branch of the sect in Gujarat, where the 
founder is known as Meheraj Thakur. He appears to have been 
identical with Prannath, and instituted a local headquarters 
at Surat." It is related by Mr. Bhimbhai Kirparam that 
Meheraj Thakur was himself the disciple of one Deo Chand, 
a native of Amarkot in Sind. The latter was devoted to 
the study of the Bhagvvat Puran, and came to Jamnagar in 
Kathiawar, where he founded a temple to Radha and 
Krishna. As there is a temple at Panna consecrated to 
Deo Chand as the Guru or preceptor of Prannath, and as 
the book of the faith is written in Gujarati, the above 
account would appear to be correct, and it follows that the 
sect originated in the worship of Krishna, and was refined 
by Prannath into a purer form of faith. A number ot 
Cutchis in Surat are adherents of the sect, and usually visit 
the temple at Panna on the full -moon day of Kartik 
(October). Curiously enough the sect has also found a 
home in Nepal, having been preached there, it is said, 
by missionary Dhamis in the time of Raja Ram Bahadur 
Shah of Nepal, iibout 150 years ago. Its members there 
are known as Pranami or Parnami, a corruption of Pran- 
nathi, and they often come to Panna to study the sacred 
book. It is reported that there are usually about forty 
Nepalis lodging in the premises of the great temple at 

' Captain C. E. Luard, in Cetttral p. 545. 
India Census Report {\<)o\), p. 88. •' This information was kindly fur- 

2 Bombay Gazetteer, Hindus of nished l)y the Diwan of Panna, through 

Gujarat (Mr. Bhimbhai Kirparam), the Political Agent at Bundelkhand. 


[^Bibliography : The Jainas, by Dr. J. G. Buhler and J. Burgess, London, 
1903; The Religions of India, Professor E. W. Hopkins; 7/^1? Religions of 
India, Professor A. Barth ; Punjab Census Report (1891), Sir E. D. Maclagan ; 
article on Jainism in Dr. Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.^ 


1. Numbers atid dtstribi(tio?i. 8. Jam subcastes of Banias. 

2. The Jain religion. Its con nee- 9. Rules ajid customs of ihe laity. 

tio7i with Buddhism. 10. Connectio7i with Hinduism. 

3. The Jain tenets. The Tirthakdrs. 11. Temples and car festival. 

4. The transmigratio?! of souls. 12. Images of the Tirthakdrs. 

5. Strict rules against taking life. 13. Religious observances. 

b. Jain sects. 14. Tetiderness for animal life, 

y. Jain ascetics. 15. Social condition of the Jains. 

Jain. — The total number of Jains in the Central Provinces i. Num- 
in 191 I was 71,000 persons. They nearly all belong to the |i|'s\ribu^ 
Bania caste, and are engaged in moneylending and trade tion. 
like other Banias. They reside principally in the Vindhyan 
Districts, Saugor, Damoh and Jubbulpore, and in the 
principal towns of the Nagpur country and Berar. 

The Jain tenets present marked features of resemblance 2. The 
to Buddhism, and it was for some time held that Jainism J^'"*"^'- 
was merely a later offshoot from that religion. The more its connec- 
generally accepted view now, however, is that the Jina or buddhism, 
prophet of the Jains was a real historical personage, who 
lived in the sixth century B.C., being a contemporary of 
Gautama, the Buddha. Vardhamana, as he was commonly 
called, is said to have been the younger son of a small 
chieftain in the province of Videha or Tirhut. Like Sakya- 
Muni the Buddha or enlightened, Vardhamana became an 
ascetic, and after twelve years of a wandering life he 
appeared as a prophet, proclaiming a modification of the 



doctrine of his own teacher Parsva or Parasnath. From 
this time he was known as Mahavira, the great hero, the 
same name which in its famiHar form of Mahablr is appHed 
to the god Hanuman. The title of Jina or victorious, from 
which the Jains take their name, was subsequently conferred 
on him, his sect at its first institution being called Nirgrantha 
or ascetic. There are very close resemblances in the tradi- 
tions concerning the lives of Vardhamana and Gautama or 
Buddha. Both were of royal birth ; the same names recur 
among their relatives and disciples ; and they lived and 
preached in the same part of the country, Bihar and Tirhijt.^ 
Vardhamana is said to have died during Buddha's lifetime, 
the date of the latter's death being about 480 B.C.^ Their 
doctrines also, with some important differences, present, on 
the whole, a close resemblance. Like the Buddhists, the 
Jains claim to have been patronised by the Maurya princes. 
While Asoka was mainly instrumental in the propagation 
of Buddhism over India, his grandfather Chandragupta is 
stated to have been a Jain, and his grandson Sampadi also 
figures in Jain tradition, A district which is a holy land 
for one is almost always a holy land for the other, and their 
sacred places adjoin each other in Bihar, in the peninsula 
of Gujarat, on Mount Abu in Rajputana and elsewhere.^ 
The earliest of the Jain books belongs to the sixth century 
A.D., the existence of the Nirgrantha sect in Buddha's life- 
time being proved by the Cingalese -books of the Buddhists, 
and by references to it in the inscriptions of Asoka and 
others."* While then M. Barth's theory that Jainism was 
simply a later sect of Buddhism has been discarded by 
subsequent scholars, it seems likely that several of the 
details of Vardhamana's life now recorded in the Jain books 
are not really authentic, but were taken from that of Buddha 
with necessary alterations, when the true facts about their 
own prophet had been irrevocably lost. 
3. The Like the Buddhists, the Jains recognise no creator of 

Jain tenets, j-j^^ world, and supposc it to have existed from eternity. 
Tirthakars. Similarly, they had originally no real god, but the Jina or 

1 Barth, p. 148. " Earth, p. 149- 

2 Hopkins, p. 310, and Tlie Jains, * Tlie Jaiitas, pp. 38-47. 
p. 40. 


victor, like the Buddha or Enlightened One, was held to 
have been an ordinary mortal man, who by his own pcnvcr 
had attained to omniscience and freedom, and out of pity 
for suffering mankind preached and declared the way of 
salvation which he had found.^ This doctrine, however, was 
too abstruse for the people, and in both cases the prophet 
himself gradually came to be deified, l-'urther, in order 
perhaps to furnish objects of worship less distinctively 
human and to whom a larger share of the attributes of deity 
could be imputed, in both religions a succession of mythical 
predecessors of the prophet was gradually brought into 
existence. The Buddhists recognise twenty-five Buddhas 
or divine prophets, who appeared at long epochs of time and 
taught the same system one after another ; and the Jains 
have twenty-four Tirthakars or Tirthankars, who similarly 
taught their religion. Of these only Vardhamana, its real 
founder, who was the twenty-fourth, and possibly Parsva or 
Parasnath, the twenty-third and the founder's preceptor, are 
or may be historical. The other twenty-two Tirthakars are 
purely mythical. The first, Rishaba, was born more than 
100 billion years ago, as the son of a king of Ajodhya ; he 
lived more than 8 million years, and was 500 bow-lengths 
in height. He therefore is as superhuman as any god, and 
his date takes us back almost to eternity. The others 
succeeded each other at shorter intervals of time, and show 
a progressive decline in stature and length of life. The 
images of the Tirthakars are worshipped in the Jain temples 
like those of the Buddhas in Buddhist temples. As with 
Ikiddhism also, the main feature of Jain belief is the trans- 
migration of souls, and each successive incarnation depends on 
the sum of good and bad actions or karinan in the previous 
life. They hold also the primitive animistic doctrine that souls 
exist not only in animals and plants but in stones, lumps of 
earth, drops of water, fire ami wind, and the human soul ma}- 
pass even into these if its sins condemn it to such a fate." 

The aim which Jainism, like l^uddhism, sets before its i- I'le 
disciples is the escape from the endless round of successive m'igration 

.of souls. 
' The writer is inclined to doubt theism ; but the above is the view of 

whether either Buddhism or Jainism the best authorities. 

were really atheistic, and to think that 

they were perhaps rather forms of pan- ^ I'he Jaiitas, \i. 10. 


existences, known as Samsara, through the extinction of the 
karman or sum of actions. This is attained by complete 
subjection of the passions and destruction of all desires and 
appetites of the body and mind, that is, by the most rigid 
asceticism, as well as by observing all the moral rules pre- 
scribed by the religion. It was the J In a or prophet who 
showed this way of escape, and hence he is called Tirthakar 
or * The Finder of the Ford,' through the ocean of existence.^ 
But Jainism differs from Buddhism in that it holds that the 
soul, when finally emancipated, reaches a heaven and there 
continues for ever a separate intellectual existence, and is 
not absorbed into Nirvana or a state of blessed nothingness. 
5 Strict The moral precepts of the Jains are of the same type as 

rules those of Buddhism and Vaishnavite Hinduism, but of an 

taking life, excessive rigidity, at any rate in the case of the Yatis or Jatis, 
the ascetics. They promise not to hurt, not to speak un- 
truths, to appropriate nothing to themselves without per- 
mission, to preserve chastity and to practise self-sacrifice. 
But these simple rules are extraordinarily expanded on the 
part of the Jains. Thus, concerning the oath not to hurt, 
on which the Jains lay most emphasis : it prohibits not 
only the intentional killing or injuring of living beings, 
plants or the souls existing in dead matter, but requires 
also the utmost carefulness in the whole manner of life, and 
a watchfulness also over all movements and functions of the 
body by which anything living might be hurt. It demands, 
finally, strict watch over the heart and tongue, and the avoid- 
ance of all thoughts and words which might lead to disputes 
and quarrels, and thereby do harm. In like manner the 
rule of sacrifice requires not only that the ascetic should 
have no houses or possessions, but he must also acquire a 
complete unconcern towards agreeable or disagreeable im- 
pressions, and destroy all feelings of attachment to anything 
living or dead." Similarly, death by voluntary starvation is 
prescribed for those ascetics who have reached the Kewalin 
or brightest stage of knowledge, as the means of entering 
their heaven. Owing to the late date of the Jain scriptures, 
any or all of its doctrines may have been adopted from 
l^uddhism between the commencement of the two religions 
' 77te Jaiitas, p. 6. ^ Ibidem, p. lo. 


and the time when they were compiled. The Jains did not 
definitely abolish caste, and hence escaped the persecution to 
which Buddhism was subjected during the period of its 
decline from the fifth or sixth century A.i). On account of 
this trouble many Buddhists became Jains, and hence a 
further fusion of the doctrines of the rival sects may have 
ensued. The Digambara sect of Jains agree with the Buddhists 
in holding that women cannot attain Nirvana or heaven, 
while the Swetambara sect say that they can, and also admit 
women as nuns into the ascetic order. The Jain scripture, 
the Yogashastra, speaks of women as the lamps that burn 
on the road that leads to the gates of hell. 

The Jains are divided into the above two principal sects, 6. Jain 
the Digambara and the Swetambara. The Digambara are ^'^'^'^' 
the more numerous and the stricter sect. According to 
their tenets death by voluntary starvation is necessary for 
ascetics who would attain heaven, though of course the rule 
is not now observed. The name Digambara signifies sky-clad, 
and Swetambara white - clad. Formerly the Digambara 
ascetics went naked, and were the gymnosophists of the 
Greek writers, but now they take off their clothes, if at all, 
only at meals. The theory of the origin of the two sects is 
that Parasnath, the twenty-third Tirthakar, wore clothes, 
while Mahavira the twenty-fourth did not, and the two sects 
follow their respective examples. The Digambaras now 
wear ochre-coloured cloth, and the Swetambaras white. The 
principal difference at present is that the images in 
Digambara temples are naked and bare, while those of the 
Swetambaras are clothed, presumably in white, and also 
decorated with jewellery and ornaments. The Digambara 
ascetics may not use vessels for cooking or holding their 
food, but must take it in their hands from their disciples 
and eat it thus ; while the Swetambara ascetics may use 
vessels. The Digambara, however, do not consider the 
straining-cloth, brush, and gauze before the mouth essential 
to the character of an ascetic, while the Swetambara insist 
on them. There is in the Central Provinces another small 
sect called Channagri or Samaiya, and known elsewhere as 
Dhundia. These do not put images in their temples at all, 
but only copies of the Jain sacred books, and pay reverence 


to them. They will, -however, worship in regular Jain 
temples at places where there are none of their own. 
7. Jain The initiation of a Yati or Jati, a Jain ascetic, is thus 

ascetics, described : It is frequent for Banias who have no children 
to vow that their first-born shall be a Yati. Such a boy 
serves a novitiate with a guru or preceptor, and performs 
for him domestic offices ; and when he is old enough and 
has made progress in his studies he is initiated. P'or this 
purpose the novice is carried out of the tower with music 
and rejoicing in procession, followed by a crowd of Sravakas 
or Jain laymen, and taken underneath the banyan, or any 
other tree the juice of which is milky. His hair is pulled 
out at the roots with five pulls ; camphor, musk, sandal, 
saffron and sugar are applied to the scalp ; and he is then 
placed before his guru, stripped of his clothes and with his 
hands joined. A text is whispered in his ear by the guru, 
and he is invested with the clothes peculiar to Yatis ; two 
cloths, a blanket and a staff; a plate for his victuals and a 
cloth to tie them up in ; a piece of gauze to tie over his 
mouth to prevent the entry of insects ; a cloth through 
which to strain his drinking-water to the same end ; and a 
broom made of cotton threads or peacock feathers to sweep 
the ground before him as he walks, so that his foot may not 
crush any living thing. The duty of the Yati is to read 
and explain the sacred books to the Sravakas morning 
and evening, such functions being known as Sandhya. His 
food consists of all kinds of grain, vegetables and fruit 
produced above the earth ; but no roots such as yams or 
onions. Milk and g/il are permitted, but butter and honey 
are prohibited. Some strict Yatis drink no water but what has 
been first boiled, lest they should inadvertently destroy any 
insect, it being less criminal to boil them than to destroy 
them in the drinker's stomach. A Yati having renounced 
the world and all civil duties can have no family, nor does 
he perform any office of mourning or rejoicing.^ A Yati 
was directed to travel about begging and preaching for 
eight months in the year, and during the four rainy months 
to reside in some village or town and observe a fast. The 
rules of conduct to be observed by him were extremely 
^ 'biloor's Iliiidti Itifaii/uide, pp. 175-176. 

Beinrosc, Collp., Derby. 



strict, as has already been seen. Those who observed them 
successfully were believed to acquire miraculous powers. 
He who was a Siddh or victor, and had overcome his 
Karma or the sum of his human actions and affections, 
could read the thoughts of others and foretell the future. 
He who had attained Kewalgyan, or the state of perfect 
knowledge which preceded the emancipation of the soul and 
its absorption into paradise, was a god on earth, and even 
the gods worshipped him. Wherever he went all plants 
burst into flower and brought forth fruit, whether it was 
their season or not. In his presence no animal bore 
enmity to another or tried to kill it, but all animals lived 
peaceably together. This was the state attained to by each 
Tirthakar during his last sojourn on earth. The number 
of Jain ascetics seems now to be less than formerly and 
they are not often met with, at least in the Central 
Provinces. They do not usually perform the function of 
temple priest. 

Practically all the Jains in the Central Provinces are of s. Jain 
the Bania caste. There is a small subcaste of Jain Kalars, subcastes 

•' 'of Banias. 

but these are said to have gone back to Hinduism. Of 
the Bania subcastes who are Jains the principal are the 
Parwar, Golapurab, Oswal and Saitwal. Saraogi, the name 
for a Jain layman, and Charnagar, a sect of Jains, are also 
returned as subcastes of Jain Banias. Other important 
subcastes of Banias, as the Agarwal and Maheshri, have a 
Jain section. Nearly all Banias belong to the Digambara 
sect, but the Oswal are Swetambaras. They are said 
to have been originally Rajpiits of Os or Osnagar in 
Rajputana, and while they were yet Rajputs a Swetambara 
ascetic sucked the poison from the wound of an Oswal boy 
whom a snake had bitten, and this induced the community 
to join the Swetambara sect of the Jains."' 

The Jain laity are known as Shrawak or Saraogi, learners. 9. Rules 
There is comparatively little to distinguish them from their ^^g^J^^g oc 
Hindu brethren. Their principal tenet is to avoid the the laity, 
destruction of all animal, including insect life, but the 
Hindu Banias are practically all Vaishnavas, and observe 

' '^V.w'iQVi.C.r. Census Rcpori{\(^\i), ^ Maclagan, /'w/yafJ Census Report 

p. 67. (1S91), p. 183. 




lo. Con- 

almost the same tenderness for animal life as the Jains. 
The Jains are distinguished by their separate temples and 
method of worship, and they do not recognise the authority 
of the Vedas nor revere the lingajii of Siva. Consequently 
they do not use the Hindu sacred texts at their weddings, 
but repeat some verses from their own scriptures. These 
weddings arc said to be more in the nature of a civil contract 
than of a religious ceremony. The bride and bridegroom 
walk seven times round the sacred post and are then seated 
on a platform and promise to observe certain rules of conduct 
towards each other and avoid offences. It is said that 
formerly a Jain bride was locked up in a temple for the first 
night and considered to be the bride of the god. But as 
scandals arose from this custom, she is now only locked up 
for a minute or two and then let out again. Jain boys are in- 
vested with the sacred thread on the occasion of their weddings 
or at twenty-one or twenty-two if they are still unmarried at 
that age. The thread is renewed annually on the day before 
the full moon of Bhadon (August), after a ten days' fast in 
honour of Anant Nath Tirthakar. The thread is m.ade by 
the Jain priests of tree cotton and has three knots. At 
their funerals the Jains do not shave the moustaches off as 
a rule, and they never shave the choti or scalp-lock, which 
they wear like Hindus. They give a feast to the caste- 
fellows and distribute money in charity, but do not perform 
the Hindu sJirdddJi or offering of sacrificial cakes to the dead. 
The Agarwal andKhandelwal Jains, however, invoke the spirits 
of their ancestors at weddings. Traces of an old hostility be- 
tween Jains and Hindus survive in the Hindu saying that one 
should not take refuge in a Jain temple, even to escape from a 
mad elephant ; and in the rule that a Jain beggar will not 
take alms from a Hindu unless he can perform some service 
in return, though it may not equal the value of the alms. 

In other respects the Jains closely resemble the Hindus. 
Brahmans are often employed at their weddings, they reverence 
the cow, worship sometimes in Hindu temples, go on pilgrim- 
ages to the Hindu sacred places, and follow the Hindu law 
of inheritance. The Agarwal Bania Jains and Hindus will 
take food cooked with water together and intermarry in 
Ikjndclkhand, although it is doubtful whether they do this 


in the Central Provinces. In such a case each party pays a 
fine to the Jain temple fund. In respect of caste distinctions 
the Jains are now scarcely less strict than the Hindus. The 
different Jain subcastes of Banias coming from Bundelkhand 
will take food together as a rule, and those from Marwar will 
do the same. The Khandelwal and Oswal Jain Banias will 
take food cooked with water together when it has been 
cooked by an old woman past the age of child-bearing, but 
not that cooked by a young woman. The spread of educa- 
tion has awakened an increased interest among the Jains in 
their scriptures and the tenets of their religion, and it is quite 
likely that the tendency to conform to Hinduism in caste 
matters and ceremonies may receive a check on this account.^ 

The Jains display great zeal in the construction of temples n. 
in which the images of the Tirthakars are enshrined. The '^'-''"P^'^^ 

and car • 

temples are commonly of the same fashion as those of the festival. 
Hindus, with a short, roughly conical spire tapering to 
a point at the apex, but they are frequently adorned 
with rich carved stone and woodwork. There are fine 
collections of temples at Muktagiri in Betul, Kundalpur 
in Damoh, and at Mount Abu, Girnar, the hill of Parasnath 
in Chota Nagpur, and other places in India. The best 
Jain temples are often found in very remote spots, and it 
is suggested that they were built at times when the Jains 
had to hide in such places to avoid Hindu persecution. And 
wherever a community of Jain merchants of any size has 
been settled for a generation or more several fine temples 
will probably be found. A Jain Bania who has grown rich 
considers the building of one or more temples to be the best 
method of expending his money and acquiring religious 
merit, and some of them spend all their fortune in this 
manner before their death. At the opening of a new temple 
the ratli or chariot festival should be held. Wooden cars 
are made, sometimes as much as five stories high, and 
furnished with chambers for the images of the Tirthakars. 
In these the idols of the hosts and all the guests are placed. 
Each car should be drawn by two elephants, and the pro- 
cession of cars moves seven times round the temple or 
pavilion erected for the ceremony. For building a temple 

1 Mr. Marten's Central Provinces Census Report, 191 1. 

of the 


and performing this ceremony honorary and hereditary titles 
are conferred. Those who do it once receive the designation 
of Singhai ; for carrying it out twice they become Sawai 
Singhai ; and on a third occasion Seth. In such a ceremony 
performed at Khurai in Saugor one of the participators was 
already a Seth, and in recognition of his great liberality a 
new title was devised and he became Srimant Seth. It is 
said, however, that if the car breaks and the elephants refuse 
to move, the title becomes derisive and is either ' Lule 
Singhai,' the lame one, or ' Arku Singhai,' the stumbler. If 
no elephants are available and the car has to be dragged by 
men, the title given is Kadhore Singhai. 
Images In the temples are placed the images of Tirthakars, either 

of brass, marble, silver or gold. The images may be small 
or life-size or larger, and the deities are represented in a 
sitting posture with their legs crossed and their hands lying 
upturned in front, the right over the left, in the final attitude 
of contemplation prior to escape from the body and attain- 
ment of paradise. There may be several images in one 
temple, but usually there is only one, though a number of 
temples are built adjoining each other or round a courtyard. 
The favourite Tirthakars found in temples are Rishab Deva, 
the first; Anantnath, the fourteenth; Santnath, the sixteenth; 
Nemnath, the twenty-second ; Parasnath, the twenty-third ; 
and Vardhamana or Mahavira, the twenty-fourth.^ As already 
stated only Mahavira and perhaps Parasnath, his preceptor, 
were real historical personages, and the remainder are 
mythical. It is noticeable that to each of the Tirthakars is 
attached a symbol, usually in the shape of an animal, and 
also a tree, apparently that tree under which the Tirthakar 
is held to have been seated at the time that he obtained 
release from the body. And these animals and trees are in 
most cases those which are also revered and held sacred by 
the Hindus. Thus the sacred animal of Rishab Deva is the 
bull, and his tree the banyan ; that of Anantnath is the 
falcon or bear, and his tree the holy Asoka ; " that of 
Santnath is the black-buck or Indian antelope, and his tree 
the tun or cedar ; ^ the symbol of Nemnath is the conch 

' The particulars about the Tirthakars and the animals and trees associated 
with them are taken from The Jainas. 

- Jonesia Asoka. ^ Qedrela (oona. 


shell (sacred to Vishnu), but his tree, the vciasa, is not known ; 
the animal of Parasnath is the serpent or cobra and his tree 
the dhdtaki ; ^ and the animal of Mahfivlra is the lion or 
tiger and his tree the teak tree. Among the symbols of the 
other Tirthakars are the elephant, horse, rhinoceros, boar, 
ape, the Brahmani duck, the moon, the pipal tree, the lotus 
and the swasiik figure ; and among their trees the mango, 
\.\\Q jdviun'^ and the chaiiipak? Most of these animals and 
trees are sacred to the Hindus, and the elephant, boar, ape, 
cobra and tiger were formerly worshipped themselves, and 
are now attached to the principal Hindu gods. Similarly 
the asoka, pipal, banyan and mango trees are sacred, and 
also the Brahmani duck and the swastik sign. It cannot be 
supposed that the Tirthakars simply represent the deified 
anthropomorphic emanations from these animals, because the 
object of Vardhamana's preaching was perhaps like that of 
Buddha to do away with the promiscuous polytheism of the 
Hindu religion. But nevertheless the association of the 
sacred animals and trees with the Tirthakars furnished a 
strong connecting link between them and the Hindu gods, 
and considerably lessens the opposition between the two 
systems of worship. The god Indra is also frequently found 
sculptured as an attendant guardian in the Jain temples. 
The fourteenth Tirthakar, Anantnath, is especially revered 
by the people because he is identified with Gautama Buddha. 

The priest of a Jain temple is not usually a Yati or 13. Reiigi- 
ascetic, but an ordinary member of the community. He 
receives no remuneration and carries on his business at the 
same time. He must know the Jain scriptures, and makes 
recitations from them when the worshippers are assembled. 
The Jain will ordinarily visit a temple and see the god every 
morning before taking his food, and his wife often goes with 
him. If there is no temple in their own town or village 
they will go to another, provided that it is within a practicable 
distance. The offerings made at the temple consist of rice, 
almonds, cocoanuts, betel-leaves, areca, dates, cardamoms, 
cloves and similar articles. These are appropriated by the 
Hindu Mali or gardener, who is the menial servant em- 

1 Griska tomeutosa. ^ Eitgeiiia jambolana. 

3 Michelia champaka. 

ous observ- 


ployed to keep the temple and enclosures clean. The Jain 
will not take back or consume himself anything which has 
been offered to the god. Offerings of money are also made, 
and these go into the bhanddr or fund for maintenance 
of the temple. The Jains observe fasts for the last week 
before the new moon in the months of Phagun (February), 
Asarh (June) and Kartik (October). They also fast on the 
second, fifth, eighth, eleventh and fourteenth days in each 
fortnight of the four months of the rains from Asarh to 
Kartik, this being in lieu of the more rigorous fast of the 
ascetics during the rains. On these days they eat only 
once, and do not eat any green vegetables. After the 
week's fast at the end of Kartik, at the commencement of 
the month of Aghan, the Jains begin to eat all green 
14, Ten- The great regard for animal life is the most marked 

animal life, feature of the Jain religion among the laity as well as the 
clergy. The former do not go to such extremes as the 
latter, but make it a practice not to eat food after sunset or 
before sunrise, owing to the danger of swallowing insects. 
Now that their beliefs are becoming more rational, however, 
and the irksome nature of this rule is felt, they 
place a lamp with a sieve over it to produce rays of light, 
and consider that this serves as a substitute for the sun. For- 
merly they maintained animal hospitals in which all kinds 
of animals and reptiles, including monkeys, poultry and 
other birds were kept and fed, and any which had broken a 
limb or sustained other injuries were admitted and treated. 
These were known as pinjrapol or places of protection.^ A 
similar institution was named jivuti, and consisted of a 
small domed building with a hole at the top large enough 
for a man to creep in, and here weevils and other insects 
which the Jains might find in their food were kept and pro- 
vided with grain.' In Rajputana, where rich Jains probably 
had much influence, considerable deference was paid to their 
objections to the death of any living thing. Thus a Mewar 
edict of A.D. 1693 directed that no one might carry animals 
for slaughter past their temples or houses. Any man or 

' Crooke, Things Indian, art. Pinjrapol. 
- Moor, Hindu Infanticide, p. 1S4. 

rase, Collo., Derhy. 



animal led past a Jain house for the purpose of being killed 
was thereby saved and set at liberty. Traitors, robbers or 
escaped prisoners who fled for sanctuary to the dwelling of a 
Jain Yati or ascetic could not be seized there by the officers 
of the court. And during the four rainy months, when 
insects were most common, the potter's wheel and Teli's oil- 
press might not be worked on account of the number of 
insects which would be destroyed by them.^ 

As they are nearly all of the Bania caste the Jains are 15. Social 
usually prosperous, and considering its small size, the standard '^o"^'"°" 
of wealth in the community is probably very high for India, Jains, 
the total number of Jains in the country being about half a 
million. Beggars are rare, and, like the Parsis and Europeans, 
the Jains feeling themselves a small isolated body in the 
midst of a large alien population, have a special tenderness 
for their poorer members, and help them in more than the 
ordinary degree. Most of the Jain Banias are grain-dealers 
and moneylenders like other Banias. Cultivation is pro- 
hibited by their religion, owing to the destruction of animal 
life which it involves, but in Saugor, and also in the north 
of India, many of them have now taken to it, and some 
plough with their own hands. Mr. Marten notes " that the 
Jains are beginning to put their wealth to a more practical 
purpose than the lavish erection and adornment of temples. 
Schools and boarding-houses for boys and girls of their 
religion are being opened, and they subscribe liberally for 
the building of medical institutions. It may be hoped that 
this movement will continue and gather strength, both for 
the advantage of the Jains themselves and the country 

1 Rdjasthdn, vol. i. p. 449, and pp. 696, 697, App. 
2 Central Provimes CeJistis Report, 191 1. 


\Bibliography : Right Reverend G. H. Westcott, Kahir and the R'abirpanth, 
Cawnpore, 1907 ; Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi. pp. 53-75 (Wilson's Hindu Sects) ; 
Mr. Crooke's Tribes and Castes, article Kablrpanlhi ; Central Provinces Census 
Report {iSg I), Sir B. Robertson.] 


1 . Li/e of Kablr. 5 . Tlie religious service. 

2. Kabir's teachings. 6. Iftitiation. 

3. His sayings. 7. Funeral rites. 

4. The Kabirpa7ithi sect i7i the 8. Idol worship. 

Central Provinces. 9. Statistics of the sect. 

I. Life of KabiPpanthi Sect. — A well-known religious sect founded 

Kabir. y-^y ^^ reformer Kabir, who flourished in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, and is called by Dr. Hunter the Luther of India. The 
sect has now split into two branches, the headquarters of 
one of these being at Benares, and of the other at Kawardha, 
or Damakheda in Raipur. Bishop Westcott gives the date 
of Kabir's life as A.D. 1440-15 18, while Mr. Crooke states 
that he flourished between 1488 and 15 12. Numerous 
legends are now told about him ; thus, according to one of 
these, he was the son of a virgin Brahman widow, who had 
been taken at her request to see the great reformer Ramanand. 
He, unaware of her condition, saluted her with the benedic- 
tion which he thought acceptable to all women, and wished 
her the conception of a son. His words could not be 
recalled, and the widow conceived, but, in order to escape 
the disgrace which would attach to her, exposed the child, 
who was Kabir. He was found by a Julaha or Muham- 
madan weaver and his wife, and brought up by them. The 
object of this story is probably to connect Kabir with 
Ramanand as his successor in reformation and spiritual 
heir ; because the Ramanandis are an orthodox Vaishnava 



sect, while the Kabirpanthi.s, if they adhered to all Kabii's 
preaching, must be considered as quite outside the pale c)f 
Hinduism. To make out that Kablr came into the world 
by Ramanand's act provides him at any rate with an 
orthodox spiritual lineage. For the same reason ^ the date of 
Kablr's birth is sometimes advanced as early as 139S in 
order to bring it within the period of Ramanand's lifetime 
{circa 1300-1400). Another story is that the deity took 
mortal shape as a child without birth, and was found by a 
newly-married weaver's wife lying in a lotus flower on a 
tank, like Moses in the bulrushes. Bishop Westcott thus 
describes the event : " A feeling of thirst overcame Nima, 
the newly-wedded wife of Niru, the weaver, as after the 
marriage ceremony she was making her way to her husband's 
house. She approached the tank, but was much afraid 
when she there beheld the child. She thought in her heart, 
* This is probably the living evidence of the shame of some 
virgin widow.' Niru suggested that they might take the 
child to their house, but Nima at first demurred, thinking 
that such action might give rise to scandal. Women would 
ask, ' Who is the mother of a child so beautiful that its eyes 
are like the lotus ? ' However, laying aside all fears, they 
took pity on the child. On approaching the house they 
were welcomed with the songs of women, but when the 
women saw the child dark thoughts arose in their heads, and 
they began to ask, ' How has she got this child ? ' Nima 
replied that she had got the child without giving birth to it, 
and the women then refrained from asking further questions." 
It is at any rate a point generally agreed on that Kabir was 
brought up in the house of a Muhammadan weaver. It is 
said that he became the chela or disciple of Ramanand, but 
this cannot be true, as Ramanand was dead before his birth. 
It seems probable that he was married, and had two children 
named Kamal and Kamali. Bishop Westcott states - that 
the Kabir Kasauti explains the story of his supposed mar- 
riage by the fact that he had a girl disciple named Loi, a 
foundling brought up by a holy man ; she followed his 
precepts, and coming to Benares, passed her time in the 
service of the saints. Afterwards Kabir raised two children 
1 Westcott, op. cit. p. 3. - Op. cit. p. 12. 


from the dead and gave them to Loi to bring up, and the 
ignorant suppose that these were his wife and children. 
Such a statement would appear to indicate that Kablr was 
really married, but after his sect had become important, this 
fact was felt to be a blot on his claim to be a divine prophet, 
and so was explained away in the above fashion. 

The plain speaking of Kabir and his general disregard 
for religious conventions excited the enmity of both Hindus 
and IMuhammadans, and he was accused before the Emperor 
Sikandar Lodi, by whose orders various attempts were made 
to kill him ; but he was miraculously preserved in each case, 
until at last the Emperor acknowledged his divine character, 
asked his forgiveness, and expressed his willingness to 
undergo any punishment that he might name. To this 
Kabir replied that a man should sow flowers for those who 
had sown him thorns. Bishop Westcott continues : — " All 
accounts agree that the earthly life of Kabir came to a close 
at Maghar, in the District of Gorakhpur. Tradition relates 
that Kabir died in extreme old age, when his body had 
become infirm and his hands were no longer able to produce 
the music with which he had in younger days celebrated the 
praises of Rama. 

" A difficulty arose with regard to the disposal of his 
body after death. The Muhammadans desired to bury it 
and the Hindus to cremate it. As the rival parties dis- 
cussed the question with growing warmth Kabir himself 
appeared and bade them raise the cloth in which the body 
lay enshrouded. They did as he commanded, and lo ! 
beneath the cloth there lay but a heap of flowers. Of these 
flowers the Hindus removed half and burnt them at 
Benares, while what remained were buried at Maghar by 
the Muhammadans." 

2. Kabir s The religion preached by Kabir was of a lofty character. 

teachings, jj^ rejected the divine inspiration of the Vedas and the 
whole Hindu mythology. He taught that there was no 
virtue in outward observances such as shaving the head, 
ceremonial purity and impurity, and circumcision among 
Muliammadans. He condemned the worship of idols and 
the use of sect - marks and religious amulets, but in all 
ordinary matters allowed his followers to conform to usage 


in order to avoid giving offence. He abolished distinctions 
of caste. He enjoined a virtuous life, just conduct and 
kindly behaviour and much meditation on the virtues of 
God. He also condemned the love of money and gain. In 
fact, in many respects his creed resembles Christianity, just 
as the life of Kablr contains one or two episodes parallel to 
that of Christ. He prescribed obedience to the Guru or 
spiritual preceptor in all matters of faith and morals. His 
religion appears to have been somewhat of a pantheistic 
character and his idea of the deity rather vague. But he 
considered that the divine essence was present in all human 
beings, and apparently that those who freed themselves from 
sin and the trammels of worldly desires would ultimately be 
absorbed into the godhead. It does not seem that Kabir 
made any exact pronouncement on the doctrine of the trans- 
migration of souls and re-birth, but as he laid great stress on 
avoiding the destruction of any animal life, a precept which 
is to some extent the outcome of the belief in transmigra- 
tion, he may have concurred in this tenet. Some Kablr- 
panthis, however, have discarded transmigration. Bishop 
Westcott states that they do believe in the re-birth of the 
soul after an intervening period of reward or punishment, but 
always apparently in a human body. 

He would seem never to have promulgated any definite 3- i^'s 
account of his own religion, nor did he write anything him- " 
self. He uttered a large number of Sakhis or apothegms 
which were recorded by his disciples in the Bijak, Sukhani- 
dhan and other works, and are very well known and often 
quoted by Kablrpanthis and others. The influence of Kablr 
extended beyond his own sect. Nanak, the founder of the 
Nanakpanthis and Sikhs, was indebted to Kablr for most of 
his doctrine, and the Adi - Granth or first sacred book of 
the Sikhs is largely compiled from his sayings. Other sects 
such as the Dadupanthis also owe much to him. A small 
selection of his sayings from those recorded by Bishop 
Westcott may be given in illustration of their character : 

I. Adding cowrie to cowrie he brings together lakhs 
and crores. 

At the time of his departure he gets nothing at all, even 
his loin-cloth is plucked away. 


2. Fire does not burn it, the wind does not carry it away, 
no thief comes near it ; collect the wealth of the name of 
Rama, that wealth is never lost. 

3. By force and love circumcision is made, I shall not 
agree to it, O brother. If God will make me a Turk by 
Him will I be circumcised ; if a man becomes a Turk by 
being circumcised what shall be done with a woman ? She 
must remain a Hindu. 

4. The rosaries are of wood, the gods are of stone, the 
Ganges and Jumna are water. Rama and Krishna are dead. 
The four Vedas are fictitious stories. 

5. If by worshipping stones one can find God, I shall 
worship a mountain ; better than these stones (idols) are the 
stones of the flour-mill with which men grind their corn. 

6. If by immersion in the water salvation be obtained, 
the frogs bathe continually. As the frogs so are these men, 
again and again they fall into the womb. 

7. As long as the sun does not rise the stars sparkle ; 
so long as perfect knowledge of God is not obtained, men 
practise rites and ceremonies. 

8. Brahma is dead with Siva who lived in Kashi ; the 
immortals are dead. In Mathura, Krishna, the cowherd, died. 
The ten incarnations (of Vishnu) are dead. Machhandranath, 
Gorakhnath, Dattatreya and Vyas are no longer living. 
Kablr cries with a loud voice. All these have fallen into 
the slip-knot of death. 

9. While dwelling in the womb there is no clan nor 
caste ; from the seed of Brahm the whole of creation is made. 

Whose art thou the Brahman ? Whose am I the Sudra? 
Whose blood am I ? Whose milk art thou ? 

Kabir says, ' Who reflects on Brahm, he by me is made 
a Brahman.' 

10. To be truthful is best of all if the heart be truthful. 
A man may speak as much as he likes ; but there is no 
pleasure apart from truthfulness. 

11. If by wandering about naked union with Hari be 
obtained ; then every deer of the forest will attain to God. 
If by shaving the head perfection is achieved, the sheep is 
saved, no one is lost. 

If salvation is got by celibacy, a eunuch should be the 


first saved. Kablr says, ' Hear, O Man and Brother ; without 
the name of Rama no one has obtained salvation,' 

The resemblance of some of the above ideas to the 
teaching of the Gospels is striking, and, as has been seen, 
the story of Kablr's birth might have been borrowed from 
the Bible, while the Kabirpanthi Chauka or religious service 
has one or two features in common with Christianity. 
These facts raise a probability, at any rate, that Kabir or 
his disciples had some acquaintance with the l^ible or with 
the teaching of Christian missionaries. If such a supposi- 
tion were correct, it would follow that Christianity had in- 
fluenced the religious thought of India to a greater extent 
than is generally supposed. Because, as has been seen, the 
Nanakpanthi and Sikh sects are mainly based on the teach- 
ing of Kabir. Another interesting though accidental re- 
semblance is that the religion of Kabir was handed down in 
the form of isolated texts and sayings like the Logia of 
Jesus, and was first reduced to writing in a connected form 
by his disciples. The fact that Kabir called the deity by 
the name of Rama apparently does not imply that he 
ascribed a unique and sole divinity to the hero king of 
Ajodhia. He had to have some name which might convey 
a definite image or conception to his uneducated followers, 
and may have simply adopted that which was best known 
and most revered by them. 

The two principal headquarters of the Kabirpanthi sect are 4. The 
at Benares and at Kawardha, the capital of the State of that ^^^^^^^ gg^t 
name, or Damakheda in the Raipur District. These appear in the 
to be practically independent of each other, the head provinces. 
Mahants exercising separate jurisdiction over members of 
the sect who acknowledge their authority. The Benares 
branch of the sect is known as Bap (father) and the 
Kawardha branch as Mai (mother). In 1901 out of 
850,000 Kablrpanthis in India 500,000 belonged to the 
Central Provinces. The following account of the practices 
of the sect in the Province is partly compiled from local 
information, and it differs in some minor, though not in 
essential, points from that given by Bishop Westcott. The 
Benares church is called the Kablrchaura Math and the 
Kawardha one the Dharam Das Math. 


One of the converts to Kablr's teaching was Dharam 
Das, a Kasaundhan Bania, who distributed the whole of his 
wealth, eighteen lakhs of rupees, in charity at his master's 
bidding and became a mendicant. In reward for this Kablr 
promised him that his family should endure for fort\^-two 
generations. The Mahants of Kawardha claim to be the 
direct descendants of Dharam Das. They marry among 
Kasaundhan Banias, and their sons are initiated and succeed 
them. The present Mahants Dayaram and Ugranam are 
twelfth and thirteenth in descent from Dharam Das. Kablr 
not only promised that there should be forty-two Mahants, 
but gave the names of each of them, so that the names of all 
future Mahants are known. ^ Ugranam was born of a Marar 
woman, and, though acclaimed as the successor of his father, 
was challenged by Dhlrajnam, whose parentage was legiti- 
mate. Their dispute led to a case in the Bombay High 
Court, which was decided in favour of Dhlrajnam, and he 
accordingly occupied the seat at Kawardha. Dayaram is 
his successor. But Dhlrajnam was unpopular, and little 
attention was paid to him. Ugranam lives at Damakheda, 
near Simga," and enjoys the real homage of the followers of 
the sect, who say that Dhlraj was the official Mahant but 
Ugra the people's Mahant. Of the previous Mahants, four 
are buried at Kawardha, two at Kudarmal in Bilaspur, the 
site of a Kablrpanthi fair, and two at Mandla. Under the 
head Mahant are a number of subordinate Mahants or Gurus, 
each of whom has jurisdiction over the members of the sect 
in a certain area. The Guru pays so much a year to the 
head Mahant for his letter of jurisdiction and takes all the 
offerings himself. These subordinate Mahants may be 
celibate or married, and about two-thirds of them are married. 
A dissenting branch called Nadiapanthi has now arisen in 
Raipur, all of whom are celibate. The Mahants have a 
high peaked cap somewhat of the shape of a mitre, a long 
sleeveless white robe, a chauri or whisk, cJiauba or silver 
stick, and a staff called kuari or aska. It is said that on 
one occasion there was a very high flood at Puri and the 
sea threatened to submerge Jagannath's temple, but Kablr 
planted a stick in the sand and said, * Come thus far and 

' Kabir and the Kabirpaiith, pp. 115 and 116. - Kaipur District. 


no further,' and the flood was sta}'cd. In memory of this 
the Mahants carry the crutched staff, which also serves as a 
means of support. When officiating they wear a small 
embroidered cap. Each Mahant has a Diwan or assistant, 
and he travels about his charge during the open season, 
visiting the members of the sect. A Mahant should not 
annoy any one by begging, but rather than do so should 
remain hungry. He must not touch any flesh, fish or 
liquor. And if any living thing is hungry he should give it 
of his own food. 

A Kablrpanthi religious service is called Chauka, the 5. The 
name given to the space marked out for it with lines of wheat- '"^''S'ous 

'^ - '^ , service. 

flour, 5 or 7^ yards square. In the centre is made a pattern 
of nine lotus-flowers to represent the sun, moon and seven 
planets, and over this a bunch of real flowers is laid. At 
one corner is a small hollow pillar of dough serving as 
a candle-stick, in which a stick covered with cotton-wool 
burns as a lamp, being fed with butter. The Mahant sits 
at one end and the worshippers sit round. BJiajans or 
religious songs are sung to the music of cymbals by one or 
two, and the others repeat the name of Kablr counting on 
their kmiiJii or necklace of beads. The Mahant lights a 
piece of camphor and waves it backwards and forwards in 
a dish. This is called Arti, a Hindu rite. He then breaks 
a cocoanut on a stone, a thing which only a Mahant may 
do. The flesh of the cocoanut is cut up and distributed to 
the worshippers with betel-leaf and sugar. Each receives 
it on his knees, taking the greatest care that none fall on 
the ground. If any of the cocoanut remain, it is kept by 
the Mahant for another service. The Hindus think that the 
cocoanut is a substitute for a human head. It is supposed 
to have been created by Viswamitra and the bucJi or tuft of 
fibre at the end represents the hair. The Kablrpanthis 
will not eat any part of a cocoanut from other Hindus from 
which this tuft has been removed, as they fear that it may 
have been broken off in the name of some god or spirit. 
Once the biicJi is removed the cocoanut is not an acceptable 
offering, as its likeness to a human head is considered to be 

1 The description of the Chaukg, service is mainly taken from Bishop West- 
cott's full and detailed account. 


destroyed. After this the Mahant gives an address and an 
interval occurs. Some little time afterwards the worshippers 
reassemble. Meanwhile, a servant has taken the dough 
candle-stick and broken it up, mixing it with fragments of 
the cocoanut, butter and more flour. It is then brought 
to the Maliant, who makes it into little puris or wafers. 
The Mahant has also a number of betel-leaves known 
as parwdna or message, which have been blessed by the 
head guru at Kawardha or Damakheda. These are cut 
up into small pieces for delivery to each disciple and 
are supposed to represent the body of Kablr. He has 
also brought CJiaran Amrita or Nectar of the Feet, consisting 
of water in which the feet of the head gum have been 
washed. This is mixed with fine earth and made up into 
pills. The worshippers reassemble, any who may feel 
unworthy absenting themselves, and each receives from the 
Mahant, with one hand folded beneath the other, a wafer 
of the dough, a piece of the pm^zvana or betel-leaf, and a 
pill of the foot-nectar. After partaking of the sacred food 
they cleanse their hands, and the proceedings conclude 
with a substantial meal defrayed either by subscription 
or by a well-to-do member. Bishop Westcott states that 
the parzvdna or betel-leaf is held to represent Kabir's bod}% 
and the Kablrpanthis say that the flame of the candle is 
the life or spirit of Kablr, so that the dough of the candle- 
stick might also be taken to symbolise his body. The 
cocoanut eaten at the preliminary service is undoubtedly 
offered by Hindus as a substitute for a human body, though 
the Kablrpanthis may now disclaim this idea. And the 
foot-nectar of the guru might be looked upon as a substitute 
for the blood of Kablr. 
6. iniiia- The initiation of a proselyte is conducted at a similar 

service, and he is given cocoanut and betel-leaf. He solemnly 
vows to observe the rules of the sect, and the Mahant whispers 
a text into his ear and hangs a necklace of wooden 
beads of the wood of the tiilsi or basil round his neck. 
This kantlii or necklace is the mark of the Kablrpanthi, 
but if lost, it can be replaced by any other necklace, not 
necessarily of tulsi. One man was observed with a necklace 
of pink beads bought at Allahabad. Sometimes only a 



single tulsi bead is worn on a string. The convert is also 
warned against eating the fruit of the giilar ^ fig-tree, as these 
small figs are always full of insects. Kablr condemned sect- 
marks, but many Kabirpanthis now have them, the mark 
usually being a single broad streak of white sandalwood from 
the top of the forehead to the nose. 

The Kabirpanthis are usually buried. Formerly, the 7. Funeral 
bodies of married people both male and female were buried ''"'^^' 
inside the compound of the house, but this is now prohibited 
on sanitary grounds. A cloth is placed in the grave 
and the corpse laid on it and another cloth placed over 
it covering the face. Over the grave a little platform is 
made on which the Mahant and two or three other persons 
can sit. On the twenty-first day after the death, if possible, 
the Mahant should hold a service for the dead. The form 
of the service is that already described, the Mahant sitting 
on the grave and the cJiauka being made in front of it. 
He lays a cocoanut and flowers on the grave and lights the 
lamp, afterwards distributing the cocoanut. The Kabir- 
panthis think that the soul of the dead person remains 
in the grave up to this time, but when the lamp is burnt 
the soul mingles with the flame, which is the soul of Kablr, 
and is absorbed into the deity. When breaking a cocoanut 
over the grave of the dead the Kabirpanthis say, ' I am 
breaking the skull of Yama,' because they think that the 
soul of a Kablrpanthi is absorbed into the deity and there- 
fore is not liable to be taken down to hell and judged 
by Chitragupta and punished by Yama. From this it 
would appear that some of them do not believe in the 
transmigration of souls. 

Ordinarily the Kabirpanthis have no regular w^orship 8. idol 
except on the occasion of a visit of XkiO. guru. But sometimes ^^°^^ 'P' 
in the morning they fold their hands and say ' Sat Sahib,' 
or the ' True God,' two or three times. They also clean 
a space with cowdung and place a lighted lamp on it and 
say ' Jai Kablr Kil or ' Victory to Kablr.' They conceive 
of the deity as consisting of light, and therefore it seems 
probable that, like the other Vaishnava sects, they really 
take him to be the Sun. Kablr prohibited the worship 

^ Ficus gloincrata. 


of all idols and visible symbols, but as might be expected 
the illiterate Kabirpanthis cannot adhere strictly to this. 
Some of them worship the Bijak, the principal sacred book 
of their sect. At Rudri near Dhamtari on the Mahanadi 
one of the Gurus is buried, and a religious fair is held there. 
Recently a platform has been made with a footprint of 
Kablr marked on it, and this is venerated by the pilgrims. 
Similarly, Kudarmal is held to contain the grave of 
Churaman, the first guru after Dharam Das, and a religious 
fair is held here at which the Kabirpanthis attend and 
venerate the grave. Dharam Das himself is said to be 
buried at Puri, the site of Jagannath's temple, but it seems 
doubtful whether this story may not have been devised in 
order to give the Kabirpanthis a valid reason for going 
on pilgrimage to Puri. Similarly, an arch and platform in 
the court of the temple of Rama at Ramtek is considered 
to belong to the Kabirpanthis, though the Brahmans of 
the temple say that the arch was really made by the 
daughter of a Surajvansi king of the locality in order to 
fasten her swing to it. Once in three years the Mahar 
Kabirpanthis of Mandla make a sacrificial offering of a 
goat to Dulha Deo, the bridegroom god, and eat the flesh, 
burying the remains beneath the floor. On this occasion 
they also drink liquor. ^ Other Kabirpanthis venerate 
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, and light a lamp and burn 
camphor in their names, but do not make idols of them. 
They will accept the cooked food offered to Vishnu as 
Satnarayan and a piece of the cocoanut kernel offered to 
Devi, but not the offerings to any other deities. And 
a number even of illiterate Kabirpanthis appear to abstain 
from any kind of idol-worship. 
9. Statistics About 600,000 Kabirpanthis were returned in the 

c tesect. (^gj^|-j.^i Provinces in 191 i, this being equivalent to an 
increase of 19 per cent since the previous census. As this 
was less than the increase in the total population the sect 
appears to be stationary or declining in numbers. The 
weaving castes are usually Kabirpanthis, because Kablr was 
a weaver. The Brahmans call it ' The weaver's religion.' Of 
the Panka caste 84 per cent were returned as members of 
the sect, and this caste appears to be of sectarian formation. 


consisting- of Tans or Gandas who have become Kablr- 
panthis. Other weaving castes such as Balahis, Koris, 
Koshtis and Mahars belong to the sect in considerable 
numbers, and it is also largely professed by other low castes 
as the Telis or oilmen, of whom 16 per cent adhere to it, 
and by Dhobis and Chamars ; and by some castes from 
whom a Brahman will take water, as the Ahlrs, Kurmis, 
Lodhis and Kachhis. Though there seems little doubt that 
one of the principal aims of Kablr's preaching was the 
abolition of the social tyranny of the caste system, which is 
the most real and to the lower classes the most hateful and 
burdensome feature of Hinduism, yet as in the case of so 
many other reformers his crusade has failed, and a man 
who becomes a Kablrpanthi does not cease to be a member 
of his caste or to conform to its observances. And a few 
Brahmans who have been converted, though renounced by 
their own caste, have, it is said, been compensated by 
receiving high posts in the hierarchy of the sect. Formerly 
all members of the sect took food together at the conclusion 
of each Chauka or service conducted by a Mahant, But 
this is no longer the case, and presumably different Chaukas 
are now held for communities of different castes. Only on 
the 13th day of Bhadon (August), which was the birthday 
of Kablr, as many Kabirpanthis as can meet at the head- 
quarters of the Guru take food together without distinction 
of caste in memory of their Founder's doctrine. Otherwise 
the Kabirpanthis of each caste make a separate group 
within it, but among the lower castes they take food and 
marry with members of the caste who are not Kabirpanthis. 
These latter are commonly known as Saktaha, a term which 
in Chhattlsgarh signifies an eater of meat as opposed to a 
Kablrpanthi who refrains from it. The Mahars and Pankas 
permit intermarriage between Kablrpanthi and Saktaha 
families, the wife in each case adopting the customs and 
beliefs of her husband. Kabirpanthis also wear the cJioti 
or scalp-lock and shave the head for the death of a relative, 
in spite of Kablr's contempt of the custom. Still, the sect 
has in the past afforded to the uneducated classes a some- 
what higher ideal of spiritual life than the chaotic medley 
of primitive superstitions and beliefs in witchcraft and 


devil worship, from which the Brahmans, carint^ only for 
the recognition of their social supremacy, made no attempt 
to raise them. 

Ling"ayat Sect. — ^A sect devoted to the worship of Siva 
which has developed into a caste. The Lingayat sect is 
supposed ^ to have been founded in the twelfth century by 
one Basava, a Brahman minister of the king of the Carnatic. 
He preached the equality of all men and of women also by 
birth, and the equal treatment of all. Women were to be 
treated with the same respect as men, and any neglect or 
incivility to a woman would be an insult to the god whose 
image she wore and, with whom she was one. Caste dis- 
tinctions were the invention of Brahmans and consequently 
unworthy of acceptance. The Madras Census Report" of 
1 87 1 further states that Basava preached the immortality 
of the soul, and mentions a theory that some of the traditions 
concerning him might have been borrowed from the legends 
of the Syrian Christians, who had obtained a settlement 
in Madras at a period not later than the seventh century. 
The founder of the sect thus took as his fundamental tenet 
the abolition of caste, but, as is usual in the history of 
similar movements, the ultimate result has been that the 
Ivingayats have themselves become a caste. In Bombay 
they have two main divisions, Mr. Enthoven states : ^ the 
Panchamsalis or descendants of the original converts from 
13rahmanism and the non-Panchamsalis or later converts. 
The latter are further subdivided into a number of groups, 
apparently endogamous. Converts of each caste becoming 
Lingayats form a separate group of their own, as Ahir 
Lingayats, Bania Lingayats and so on, severing their con- 
nection with the parent caste. A third division consists of 
members of unclean castes attached to the Lingayat com- 
munity by reason of performing to it menial service. A 
marked tendency has recently been displayed by the 
community in liombay to revert to the original Brahmanic 
configuration of society, from which its founder sought to 

' ':^hQxv\ng, Hindu Cas/cs and Trilies, ^ Bombay Census Report, 1901, pp 

iii. |)p. 96, 123. 181-183. 

- Uy Surgeon-Major Cornisli. 


free it. On the occasion of the census a complete scheme 
was supplied to the authorities professing to show the 
division of the Lingayats into the four groups of Brahman, 
Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra. 

In the Central Provinces Lingayats were not shown as 
a separate caste, and the only return of members of the sect 
is from the Bania caste, whose subcastes were abstracted. 
Lingayat was recorded as a subcaste by 8000 Banias, and 
these form a separate endogamous group. But members 
of other castes as Gaolis, Malis, Patwas and the Telugu 
Balijas are also Lingayats and marry among themselves. 
A child becomes a Lingayat by being invested with the 
liui^ain or phallic sign of Siva, seven days after its birth, by 
the Jangam priest. This is afterwards carried round the 
neck in a small casket of silver, brass or wood throughout 
life, and is buried with the corpse at death. The corpse 
of a Lingayat cannot be burnt because it must not be 
separated from the lingain^ as this is considered to be the 
incarnation of Siva and must not be destroyed in the fire. 
If it is lost the owner must be invested with a fresh one by 
the Jangam in the presence of the caste. It is worshipped 
three times a day, being washed in the morning with the 
ashes of cowdung cakes, while in the afternoon leaves of the 
bel tree and food are offered to it. When a man is initiated 
as a Lingayat in after-life, the Jangam invests him with the 
lingain, pours holy water on to his head and mutters in his 
ear the sacred text, ^ Ahain so ahavil or ' I and you are now 
one and the same.' The Lingayats are strict vegetarians, 
and will not expose their drinking water to the sun, as they 
think that by doing this insects would be bred in it and 
that by subsequently swallowing them they would be guilty 
of the destruction of life. They are careful to leave no 
remains of a meal uneaten. Their own priests, the Jangams, 
officiate at their weddings, and after the conclusion of the 
ceremony the bride and bridegroom break raw cakes of 
pulse placed on the other's back, the bride with her foot 
and the bridegroom with his fist. Widow-marriage is 
allowed. The dead are buried in a sitting posture with 
their faces turned towards the east. Water sanctified by 
the Jangam having dipped his toe into it is placed in the 


mouth of the corpse. The Jangam presses down the earth 
over the grave and then stands on it and refuses to come 
off until he is paid a sum of money varying with the means 
of the man, the minimum payment being Rs. 1-4. In some 
cases a platform with an image of Mahadeo is made over 
the grave. When meeting each other the Lingayats give 
the salutation Sharndt, or, ' I prostrate myself before you.' 
They address the Jangam as Maharaj and touch his feet 
with their head. The Lingayat Banias of the Central 
Provinces usually belong to Madras and speak Telugu in 
their houses. As they deny the authority of Brahmans, 
the latter have naturally a great antipathy for them, and 
make various statements to their discredit. One of these 
is that after a death the Lingayats have a feast, and, setting 
up the corpse in the centre, arrange themselves round it 
and eat their food. But this is not authenticated. Similarly 
the Abb6 Dubois stated : ^ " They do not recognise the 
laws relating to defilement which are generally accepted by 
other castes, such, for instance, as those occasioned by a 
woman's periodical ailments, and by the death and funeral 
of relations. Their indifference to all such prescriptive 
customs relating to defilement and cleanliness has given 
rise to a Hindu proverb which says, 'There is no river for 
a Lingayat,' meaning that the members of the sect do not 
recognise, at all events on many occasions, the virtues and 
merits of ablutions." The same author also states that 
they entirely reject the doctrine of migration of souls, and 
that, in consequence of their peculiar views on this point, 
they have no tithis or anniversary festivals to commemorate 
the dead. A Lingayat is no sooner buried than he is 
forgotten. In view of these remarks it must be held to be 
doubtful whether the Lingayats have the doctrine of the 
immortality of the soul. 

' Hindu Manners^ Customs and Ceremonies, p. 1 1 7. 


{Bibliography : Rev. T. ^ P. Hughes, N»ies on Mtihammadanism, and 
Dictionary of Islam, London, W. H. Allen, 1895 > Bombay Gazetteer, vol. ix. 
Part II. Muhauimadans of Gujariit, by Khan Bahadur Fazalullah Lutfullah 
Faridi ; Qaiiun-i-Islain, G. A. Herklots, Madras, Iligginbothani, reprint 1S95 > 
Aluhaminadanism and Early Developments of AluhamtnadaniiVi, by Professor 
D. S. Margoliouth ; Life of Mahomet, by Sir. W. Muir ; Mr. J. T. Marten's 
Central Provinces Census Report, 191 1. This article is mainly compiled from 
the excellent accounts in the Bombay Gazetteer and the Dictionary of I slain. "[ 






Statistics and distribution. 1 6. 


Miihammadan castes. 17. 

The four tribal divisions. 18. 

Marriage. 1 9. 

Polygamy, divo7'ce arid widow- 2 o. 

remarriage. 2 1 . 

Devices for procuring childreri, 1 2 . 

atid beliefs about them. 23. 

Pregfiancy rites. 24. 

Childbirth and naming 25. 

children. 26. 

The Uklka sacrifice. 27. 

Shaving the hair and ear- 28. 

piercing. 2 g. 

Birthdays. 30. 

Circumcision, and maturity of 31. 

girls. 32. 

Funer'al 7-ites. 33. 

Muhanimadan sects. Shiah 34. 

and Sunni. 35. 
36. Muhammadan 

Leading religious observances. 

The fast of Ramazan. 
TJie pilgrimage to Mecca. 
Festivals, The Miiharntm 

The Friday service. 
Priests. ALulla and Maulvi. 
The Kdzi. 

General features of Lsldm. 
The Koran. 
The Traditions. 
The schools of law. 

Social rules. Salutations. 

Position of women. 
Lnterest on money, 

Muhammadan Religion. — The Muhammadans numbered 
nearly 600,000 persons in the Central Provinces in 191 1, or 
about 3 per cent of the population. Of these about two- 
fifths belong to Berar, the Amraoti and Akola Districts con- 


I. Statistics 
and dis- 


taining more than 70,000 each; while of the 350,000 rcturnep 
from the Central Provinces proper, about 40,000 reside in 
each of the Jubbulpore, Nagpur and Nimar Districts. Berar 
was for a long period governed by the Muhammadan Bahmani 
dynasty, and afterwards formed part of the Mughal empire, 
passing to the Mughal Viceroy, the Nizam of Hyderabad, 
when he became an independent ruler. Though under 
British administration, it is still legally a part of Hyderabad 
territory, and a large proportion of the official classes as well 
as many descendants of, retired soldiers are Muhammadans. 
Similarly Nimar was held by the Muhammadan FarSki 
dynasty of Khandesh for 200 years, and was then included 
in the Mughal empire, Burhanpur being the seat of a viceroy. 
At this period a good deal of forcible conversion probably 
took place, and a considerable section of the Bhils nominally 
became Muhammadans. 

When the Gond Raja of Deogarh embraced Islam 
after his visit to Delhi, members of this religion entered his 
service, and he also brought back with him various artificers 
and craftsmen. The cavalry of the Bhonsla Raja of Nagpur 
was largely composed of Muhammadans, and in many cases 
their descendants have settled on the land. In the Chhattls- 
garh Division and the Feudatory States the number of 
Muhammadans is extremely small, constituting less than one 
per cent of the population. 

No less than 37 per cent of the total number of 
Muhammadans live in towns, though the general proportion 
of urban population in the Provinces is only 7^- per 
cent. The number of Muhammadans in Government service 
excluding the police and army, is quite disproportionate to 
their small numerical strength in the Provinces, being 20 
per cent of all persons employed. In the garrison they 
actually outnumber Hindus, while in the police they form 
■^yj per cent of the whole force. In the medical and teaching 
professions also the number of Muhammadans is com- 
paratively large, while of persons of independent means a 
proportion of 29 per cent are of this religion. Of persons 
employed in domestic services nearly 14 per cent of the 
total are Muhammadans, and of beggars, vagrants and 
prostitutes 23 per cent. Muhammadans are largely engaged 


in making and selling clothes, outnumbering the Hindus in 
this trade ; they consist of two entirely different classes, the 
Muhammadan tailors who work for hire, and the Bohra and 
Khoja shopkeepers who sell all kinds of cloth ; but both 
live in towns. Of dealers in timber and furniture 36 per 
cent are Muhammadans, and they also engage in all branches 
of the retail trade in provisions. The occupations of the 
lower-class Muhammadans are the manufacture of glass 
bangles and slippers and the dyeing of cloth.^ 

About 14 per cent of the Muhammadans returned caste 3. Muhnm- 
names. The principal castes are the Bohra and Khoja "^stcg" 
merchants, who are of the Shiah sect, and the Cutchis or 
Memans from Gujarat, who are also traders ; these classes 
are foreigners in the Province, and many of them do not 
bring their wives, though they have now begun to settle 
here. The resident castes of Muhammadans are the 
Bahnas or cotton-cleaners ; Julahas, weavers ; Kacheras, glass 
bangle-makers ; Kunjras, greengrocers ; Kasais, butchers ; 
and the Rangrez caste of dyers who dye with safflower. As 
already stated, a section of the Bhils are at least nominally 
Muhammadans, and the Fakirs or Muhammadan beggars are 
also considered a separate caste. But no caste of good 
standing such as the Rajput and Jat includes any consider- 
able number of Muhammadans in the Central Provinces, 
though in northern India large numbers of them belong to 
this religion, while retaining substantially their caste usages. 
The Muhammadan castes in the Central Provinces probably 
consist to a large extent of the descendants of Hindu con- 
verts. Their religious observances present a curious mixture 
of Hindu and Muhammadan rites, as shown in the separate 
articles on these castes. Proper Muhammadans look down 
on them and decline to take food or intermarry with them. 

The Muhammadans proper are usually divided into four 4. The 
classes. Shaikh, Saiyad, Mughal and Pathan. Of these the JJj^f^n'i!' 
Shaikhs number nearly 300,000, the Pathans nearly i 50,000, 
the Saiyads under 50,000, and the Pathans about 9000 in 
the Central Provinces. The term Saiyad properly means a 
descendant of Ali, the son-in-law, and the lady Fatimah, the 

^ Mr. Marten's C.P. Census Report (191 1), Subsidiary Table, ix., Occupation, 
p. 276. 


daughter of the Prophet. They use the title Saiyad or Mir ^ 
before, and sometimes Shah after, their name, while women 
employ that of Begum. Many Saiyads act as Plrs or 
spiritual guides to other Muhammadan families. The ex- 
ternal mark of a Saiyad is the right to wear a green turban, 
but this is of course no longer legally secured to them. The 
title Shaikh properly belongs only to three branches of the 
Ouraish tribe or that of Muhammad : the Siddlkis, who 
claim descent from Abu Bakr Siddlk,^ the father-in-law of 
the Prophet and the second Caliph ; the Farukis claiming it 
from Umar ul Faruk, the third Caliph, and also the father- 
in-law of the Prophet ; and the Abbasis, descended from 
Abbas, one of the Prophet's nine uncles. The Farukis are 
divided into two families, the Chistis and Faridls. Both 
these titles, however, and especially Shaikh, are now arrogated 
by large numbers of persons who cannot have any pretence 
to the above descent. Sir D. Ibbetson quotes a proverb, 
' Last year I was a butcher ; this year I am a Shaikh ; next 
year if prices rise I shall become a Saiyad.' And Sir 
H. M. Elliot relates that much amusement was caused in 
i860 at Gujarat by the Sherishtadar or principal officer of 
the judicial department describing himself in an official 
return as Saiyad Hashimi Quraishi, that is, of the family and 
lineage of the Prophet. His father, who was living in 
obscurity in his native town, was discovered to be a Lobar or 
blacksmith.^ The term Shaikh means properly an elder, 
and is freely taken by persons of respectable position. 
Shaikhs commonly use either Shaikh or Muhammad as their 
first names. The Pathans were originally the descendants 
of Afghan immigrants. The name is probably the Indian 
form of the word Pushtun (plural Pushtanah), now given to 
themselves by speakers of the Pushtu language.' The men 
add Khan to their names and the women Khatun or 
Khatu. It is not at all likely either that the bulk of the 
Muhammadans who returned themselves as Pathans in 
the Central Provinces are really of Afghan descent. The 

' Short for Amir or Prince. ^ Supplemental Glossary, vol. i. p. 

2 Siddlk means veracious or truthful, 195. 

and he was given the name on account ■* Mr. A. M. T. Jackson in Bomb. 

of his straightforward character {Horn- Caz. Miih. Git/', p. 10. 
bay Gazelteer). 


Mughals proper are of two classes, Irani or Persian, who 
belong to the Shiah sect, and Turani, Turkish or Tartar, who 
are Sunnis. Mughals use the title Mirza (short for Amlrzacla, 
son of a prince) before their names, and add Beg after them. 
It is said that the Prophet addressed a Mughal by the title 
of Beg after winning a victory, and since then it has always 
been used. Mughal women have the designation Khanum 
after their names.^ Formerly the Saiyads and Mughals 
constituted the superior class of Muhammadan gentry, and 
never touched a plough themselves, like the Hindu Brahmans 
and RajpUts. These four divisions are not proper subcastes, 
as they are not endogamous. A man of one group can 
marry a woman of any other and she becomes a member of 
her husband's group ; but the daughters of Saiyads do not 
usually marry others than Saiyads. Nor is there any real 
distinction of occupation between them, the men following 
any occupation indifferently. In fact, the divisions are now 
little more than titular, a certain distinction attaching to the 
titles Saiyad and Shaikh when borne by families who have 
a hereditary or prescriptive right to use them. 

The census returns of 191 i show that three-fourths of 5- ^^ar- 
Muhammadan boys now remain unmarried till the age of '^'^^'^' 
20; while of girls 31 per cent are unmarried between 15 
and 20, but only 13 per cent above that age. The age of 
marriage of boys may therefore be taken at 18 to 25 or 
later, and that of girls at 10 to 20. The age of marriage 
both of girls and boys is probably getting later, especially 
among the better classes. 

Marriage is prohibited to the ordinary near relatives, but 
not between first cousins. A man cannot marry his foster- 
mother or foster-sister, unless the foster-brother and sister 
were nursed by the same woman at intervals widely separated. 
A man may not marry his wife's sister during his wife's life- 
time unless she has been divorced. A Muhammadan cannot 
marry a polytheist, but he may marry a Jewess or a Christian. 
No specific religious ceremony is appointed, nor are any rites 
essential for the contraction of a valid marriage. If both 
persons are legally competent, and contract marriage with 
each other in the presence of two male or one male and 

^ Bombay Gazetteer, ibidem. 


two female witnesses, it is sufficient. And the Shiah law- 
even dispenses with witnesses. As a rule the Kazi performs 
the ceremony, and reads four chapters of the Koran with 
the profession of belief, the bridegroom repeating them after 
him. The parties then express their mutual consent, and 
the Kazi, raising his hands, says, " The great God grant that 
mutual love may reign between this couple as it existed 
between Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph and 
Zuleika, Moses and Zipporah, His Highness Muhammad 
and Ayesha, and His Highness Ali and Fatimah." ^ A 
dowry or mehcr must be paid to the wife, which under the 
law must not be less than ten silver dirliams or drachmas ; 
but it is customary to fix it at Rs. 17, the dowry of Fatimah, 
the Prophet's favourite daughter, or at Rs. 750, that of the 
Prophet's wife, Ayesha." The wedding is, however, usually 
accompanied by feasts and celebrations not less elaborate or 
costly than those of the Hindus. Several Hindu ceremonies 
are also included, such as the anointing of the bride and 
bridegroom with oil and turmeric, and setting out earthen 
vessels, which are meant to afford a dwelling-place for the 
spirits of ancestors, at least among the lower classes.^ 
Another essential rite is the rubbing of the hands and 
feet of the bridegroom with meJindi or red henna. The 
marriage is usually arranged and a ceremony of betrothal 
held at least a year before it actually takes place. 
6. Poly- A husband can divorce his wife at pleasure by merely 

dfTOfce repeating the prescribed sentences. A wife can obtain 
and widow- divorce from her husband for impotence, madness, leprosy 
remarriage. ^^ non-payment of the dowry. A woman who is divorced 
can claim her dowry if it has not been paid. Polygamy is 
permitted among Muhammadans to the number of four 
wives, but it is very rare in the Central Provinces. Owing 
to the fact that members of the immigrant trading castes 
leave their wives at home in Gujarat, the number of married 
women returned at the census was substantially less than that 
of married men. A feeling in favour of the legal prohibition 
of polygamy is growing up among educated Muhammadans, 
and many of them sign a contract at marriage not to take 

1 Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, s.v. '-^ Bomb. Gaz. Muh. Giij. p. l66. 

Marriage. ^ Ibidem, p. 66. 


a second wife during the lifetime of the first. There is no 
prohibition on the remarriage of widows in Muhammadan 
law, but the Hindu rule on the subject has had considerable 
influence, and some Muhammadans of good position object 
to the marriage of widows in their family. The custom 
of the seclusion of women also, as Mr. Marten points out, 
operates as a bar to a widow finding a husband for herself 

Women who desire children resort to the shrines of 7. Devices 
saints, who are supposed to be able to induce fertility. ^<^''P'"°" 

' ^" J curing 

" Blochmann notes that the tomb of Saint Sallm-i-Chishti children, 
at Fatehpur-Sikri, in whose house the Emperor Jahanglr ^^^m^'*^ ^ 
was born, is up to the present day visited by childless them. 
Hindu and Musalman women. A tree in the compound 
of the saint Shaih Alam of Ahmedabad yields a peculiar 
acorn-like fruit, which is sought after far and wide by those 
desiring children ; the woman is believed to conceive from 
the moment of eating the fruit. If the birth of a child 
follows the eating of the acorn, the man and woman who 
took it from the tree should for a certain number of years 
come at every anniversary of the saint and nourish the tree 
with a supply of milk. In addition to this, jasmine and 
rose-bushes at the shrines of certain saints are supposed to 
possess issue-giving properties. To draw virtue from the 
saint's jasmine the woman who yearns for a child bathes 
and purifies herself and goes to the shrine, and seats herself 
under or near the jasmine bush with her skirt spread out. 
As many flowers as fall into her lap, so many children will 
she have. In some localities if after the birth of one child 
no other son is born, or being born does not live, it is sup- 
posed that the first-born child is possessed by a malignant 
spirit who destroys the young lives of the new-born brothers 
and sisters. So at the mother's next confinement sugar and 
sesame-seed are passed seven or nine times over the new- 
born infant from head to foot, and the elder boy or girl is 
given them to eat. The sugar represents the life of the 
young one given to the spirit who possesses the first-born. 
A child born with teeth already visible is believed to exer- 
cise a very malignant influence over its parents, and to render 
the early death of one of them almost certain." ^ 

' Bomb. Gaz. Muh. Guj. pp. 147, 14S, from which ihe whole paragraph is taken. 


8. Preg- In the seventh or ninth month of pregnancy a fertiHty 
nancy rites. ^-^^^ j^ performed as among the Hindus. The woman is 

dressed in new clothes, and her lap is filled with fruit and 
vegetables by her friends. In some localities a large number 
of pots are obtained, and a little water is placed in each of 
them by a fertile married woman who has never lost a child. 
Prayers are repeated over the pots in the names of the male 
and female ancestors of the family, and especially of the 
women who have died in childbirth. This appears to be a 
propitiation of the spirits of ancestors.^ 

9. Child- A woman goes to her parents' home after the last 
birth and nreonancv rite and stays there till her confinement is over. 

naming l o j j 

children. The ritcs performed by the midwife at birth resemble those 
of the Hindus. When the child is born the azati or summons 
to prayer is uttered aloud in his right ear, and the takbir or 
Muhammadan creed in his left. The child is named on the 
sixth or seventh day. Sometimes the name of an ancestor 
is given, or the initial letter is selected from the Koran at 
a venture and a name beginning with that letter is chosen. 
Some common names are those of the hundred titles of God 
combined with the prefix abd or servant. Such are Abdul 
Aziz, servant of the all-honoured ; Ghani, the everlasting ; 
Karim, the gracious ; Rahim, the pitiful ; Rahman, the 
merciful ; Razzak, the bread-giver ; Sattar, the concealer ; 
and so on, with the prefix Abdul, or servant of, in each 
case. Similarly Abdullah, or servant of God, was the 
name of Muhammad's father, and is a very favourite one. 
Other names end with Baksh or ' given by,' as Haidar 
Baksh, given by the lion (Ali) ; these are similar to the 
Hindu names ending in Prasad. The prefix Ghulam, or 
slave of, is also used, as Ghulam Hussain, slave of Hussain ; 
and names of Hebrew patriarchs mentioned in the Koran 
are not uncommon, as Ayub Job, Harun Aaron, Ishaq Isaac, 
Musa Moses, Yakub Jacob, Yusaf Joseph, and so on." 

10. The After childbirth the mother must not pray or fast, touch 
Ukika |.]^g Koran or enter a mosque for forty days ; on the expiry 

sacnhce. , , '■ j j ^ i. j 

of this period she is bathed and dressed in good clothes, and 
her relatives bring presents for the child. Some people do 

' /io»ib. G11Z. A I nil. Guj. p. 150. 
2 Temple's ProJ^er Na?nes of the Punjabis, pp. 41, 43. 


not let her oil or comb her hair during these days. The 
custom would seem to be a relic of the period of impurity 
of women after childbirth. On the fortieth day the child is 
placed in a cradle for the first time. In some localities a 
rite called Uklka is performed after the birth of a child. It 
consists of a sacrifice in the name of the child of two he- 
goats for a boy and one for a girl. The goats must be above 
a year old, and without spot or blemish. The meat must be 
separated from the bones so that not a bone is broken, and 
the bones, skin, feet and head are afterwards buried in the 
earth. When the flesh is served the following prayer is said 
by the father : " O, Almighty God, I offer in the stead of 
my own offspring life for life, blood for blood, head for head, 
bone for bone, hair for hair, and skin for skin. In the name 
of God do I sacrifice this he-goat." This is apparently a 
relic of the substitution of a goat for Ishmael when Abraham 
was offering him as a sacrifice. The Muhammadans say 
that it was Ishmael instead of Isaac who was thus offered, 
and they think that Ishmael or Ismail was the ancestor of 
all the Arabs.^ 

Either on the same day as the Uklka sacrifice or soon n. Shav- 
afterwards the child's hair is shaved for the first time. By j"JrVnd 
the rich the hair is weighed against silver and this sum is ear- 
distributed to beggars. It is then tied up in a piece of P"^^'^'"^" 
cloth and either buried or thrown into a river, or sometimes 
set afloat on a little toy raft in the name of a saint. 
Occasionally tufts of hair or even the whole head may be 
left unshaven in the name of a saint, and after one or more 
years the child is taken to the saint's tomb and the hair 
shaved there ; or if this cannot be done it is cut off at home 
in the name of the saint.^ 

When a girl is one or two years old the lobes of her 
ears are bored. By degrees other holes are bored along the 
edge of the ear and even in the centre, till by the time she 
has attained the age of two or three years she has thirteen 
holes in the right ear and twelve in the left. Little silver 
rings and various kinds of earrings are inserted and worn in the 
holes. But the practice of boring so many holes has now 
been abandoned by the better-class Muhammadans. 

' Qaiifin-i- Islam, p. 20. '^ Ihidei>i. 



12. Birth- 

13. Cir- 

of girls. 

14. Funeral 

The child's birthday i.s known as sdl-girah and i.s cele- 
brated by a feast. A knot is tied in a red thread and 
annually thereafter a fresh knot to mark his age, and prayers 
are offered in the child's name to the patriarch Noah, who is 
believed to have lived to five hundred or a thousand years, 
and hence to have the power of conferring longevity on the 
child. When a child is four years, four months and four 
days old the ceremony of liismillah or taking the name of 
God is held, which is obligatory on all Muhammadans. 
Friends are invited, and the child is dressed in a flowered 
robe {sahrd) and repeats the first chapters of the Koran 
after his or her tutor.^ 

A boy is usually circumcised at the age of six or seven, 
but among some classes of Shiahs and the Arabs the opera- 
tion is performed a few days after birth. The barber 
operates and the child is usually given a little bJidng or 
other opiate. Some Muhammadans leave circumcision till 
an age bordering on puberty, and then perform it with a 
pomp and ceremony almost equalling those of a marriage. 
When a girl arrives at the age of puberty she is secluded 
for seven days, and for this period eats only butter, bread 
and sugar, all fish, flesh, salt and acid food being prohibited. 
In the evening she is bathed, warm water is poured on her 
head, and among the lower classes an entertainment is 
given to friends.^ 

The same word jajidzaJi is used for the corpse, the bier 
and the funeral. When a man is at the point of death a 
chapter of the Koran, telling of the happiness awaiting the 
true believer in the future life, is read, and some money or 
sherbet is dropped into his mouth. After death the body is 
carefully washed and wrapped in three or five cloths for a 
male or female respectively. Some camphor or other sweet- 
smelling stuff is placed on the bier. W^omcn do not usually 
attend funerals, and the friends and relatives of the deceased 
walk behind the bier. There is a tradition among some 
Muhammadans that no one should precede the corpse, as 
the angels go before. To carry a bier is considered a very 
meritorious act, and four of the relations, relieving each other 
in turn, bear it on their shoulders. Muhammadans carry 

1 QCinfin-i-Ish'im, pp. 26, 27. - Ibidem, pp. 30, 35. 



Be'itrose, Collo., Derby, 



their dead quickly to the place of interment, for Muhammad 
is stated to have said that it is good to carry the dead 
quickly to the grave, so as to cause the righteous person to 
attain the sooner to bliss ; and, on the other hand, in the case 
of a bad man it is well to put wickedness away from one's 
shoulders. Funerals should always be attended on foot, for 
it is said that Muhammad once rebuked people who were 
following a bier on horseback, saying, " Have you no shame, 
since God's angels go on foot and you go upon the backs of 
quadrupeds ? " It is a highly meritorious act to attend a 
funeral whether it be that of a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian. 
The funeral service is not recited in the cemetery, this being 
too polluted a place for so sacred an office, but either in a 
mosque or in some open space close to the dwelling of the 
deceased person or to the graveyard. The nearest relative 
is the proper person to recite the service, but it is usually 
said by the family priest or the village Kazi. The grave 
sometimes has a recess at the side, in which the body is laid 
to prevent the earth falling upon it, or planks may be laid 
over the body slantwise or supported on bricks for the same 
purpose. Coffins are only used by the rich. When the 
body has been placed in the grave each person takes up a 
clod of earth and pronouncing over it a verse of the Koran, 
' From earth we made you, to earth we return you and out 
of earth we shall raise you on the resurrection day,' places 
it gently in the grave over the corpse.^ The building of 
stone or brick tombs and writing verses of the Koran on 
them is prohibited by the Traditions, but large masonry 
tombs are common in all Muhammadan countries and very 
frequently they bear inscriptions. On the third day a feast 
is given in the morning and after it trays of flowers with a 
vessel containing scented oil are handed round and the 
guests pick flowers and dip them into the oil. They then 
proceed to the grave, where the oil and flowers are placed. 
Maulvis are employed to read the whole of the Koran over 
the grave, which they accomplish by dividing it into sections 
and reading them at the same time. Rich people some- 
times have the whole Koran read several times over in this 
manner. A sheet of white or red cloth is spread over the 

' Hughes, Notes on Muhanwtadanisni, pp. 122, 1 3 1. 




Shiah and 

grave, green being usually reserved for Fakirs or saints. On 
the evening of the ninth day another feast is given, to which 
friends and neighbours, and religious and ordinary beggars 
are invited, and a portion is sent to the Fakir or mendicant 
in charge of the burying-ground. Some people will not eat 
any food from this feast in their houses but take it outside.^ 
On the morning of the tenth day they go again to the grave 
and repeat the offering of flowers and scented oil as before. 
Other feasts are given on the fortieth day, and at the expira- 
tion of four, six and nine months, and one year from the 
date of the death, and the rich sometimes spend large sums 
on them. None of these observances are prescribed by the 
Koran but have either been retained from pre-Islamic times 
or adopted in imitation of the Hindus. For forty days all 
furniture is removed from the rooms and the whole family 
sleep on the bare ground. Sometimes a cup of water and a 
wheaten cake are placed nightly for forty days on the spot 
where the deceased died, and a similar provision is sent to 
the mosque. When a man dies his mother and widow break 
their glass bangles. The mother can get new ones, but the 
widow does not wear glass bangles or a nose-ring again 
unless she takes a second husband. For four months and 
ten days the widow is strictly secluded and does not leave 
the house. Prayers for ancestors are offered annually at the 
Shab-i-Barat or Bakr-Id festival.^ The property of a de- 
ceased Muhammadan is applicable in the first place to the 
payment of his funeral expenses ; secondly, to the discharge 
of his debts ; and thirdly, to the payment of legacies up to 
one-third of the residue. If the legacies exceed this amount 
they are proportionately reduced. The remainder of the 
property is distributed by a complicated system of shares to 
those of the deceased's relatives who rank as sharers and 
residuarics, legacies to any of them in excess of the amount 
of their shares being void. The consequence of this law is 
that most Muhammadans die intestate.'^ 

Of the two main sects of Islam, ninety-four per cent of 
the IMuhamn.adans in the Central Province were returned as 
being Sunnis in 191 i and three per cent as Shiahs, while 

' Q('i)iuii-i-/sldni, p. 286. 2 Dictionary of Islam, art. Inherit- 

- Bomb. Gaz. Mali. Giij. pp. 168, ance. 


the remainder gave no sect. Only the Cutchi, Bohra and 
Khoja immigrants from Gujarat are Shiahs and practically 
all other Muhammadans are Sunnis. With the exception 
of Persia, Oudh and part of Gujarat, the inhabitants of 
which are Shiahs, the Sunni sect is generally prevalent in 
the Muhammadan world. The main difference between the 
Sunnis and Shiahs is that the latter think that according to 
the Koran the Caliphate or spiritual headship of the 
Muhammadans had to descend in the Prophet's family and 
therefore necessarily devolved on the Lady Fatimah, the 
only one of his children who survived him, and on her 
husband Ali the fourth Caliph. They therefore reject the 
first three Caliphs after Muhammad, that is Abu Bakr, Omar 
and Othman. After Ali they also hold that the Caliphate 
descended in his family to his two sons Hasan and Hussain, 
and the descendants of Hussain. Consequently they reject 
all the subsequent Caliphs of the Muhammadan world, as 
Hussain and his children did not occupy this position. 
They say that there are only twelve Caliphs, or Imams, as 
they now prefer to call them, and that the twelfth has never 
really died and will return again as the Messiah of whom 
Muhammad spoke, at the end of the world. He is known 
as the Mahdi, and the well-known pretender of the Soudan, 
as well as others elsewhere, have claimed to be this twelfth 
or unrevealed Imam. Other sects of the Shiahs, as the 
Zaidiyah and Ismailia, make a difference in the succession 
of the Imamate among Hussain's descendants. The central 
incident of the Shiah faith is the slaughter of Hussain, the 
son of Ali, with his family, on the plain of Karbala in Persia 
by the sons of Yazld, the second Caliph of the Uniaiyad 
dynasty of Damascus, on the loth day of the month 
Muharram, in the 6 1st year of the Hijra or A.D. 680. The 
martyrdom of Hussain and his family at Karbala is cele- 
brated annually for the first ten days of the month of 
Muharram by the Shiahs. Properly the Sunnis should take 
no part in this, and should observe only the tenth day of 
Muharram as that on which Adam and Eve and heaven and 
hell were created. But in the Central Provinces the Sunnis 
participate in all the Muharram celebrations, which now 
have rather the character of a festival than of a season of 



1 6. Lead- 
ing religi- 
ous observ- 

17. The 
fast of 

mourning. The Shiahs also reject the four great schools 
of tradition of the Sunnis, and have separate traditional 
authorities of their own. They count the month to begin 
from the full moon instead of the new moon, pray three 
instead of five times a day, and in praying hold their hands 
open by their sides instead of folding them below the breast. 
The word Shiah means a follower, and Sunni one proceed- 
ing on the sumiaJi^ the path or way, a term applied to the 
traditions of the Prophet. The two words have thus almost 
the same signification. Except when otherwise stated, the 
information in this article relates to the Sunnis. 

The five standard observances of the Muhammadan 
religion are the Kalima, or creed ; Sula, or the five daily 
prayers ; Roza, or the thirty-day fast of Ramazan ; Zakab, 
the legal alms ; and Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which 
should be performed once in a lifetime. The Kalima, or 
creed, consists simply in the sentence, ' There is but one 
God and Muhammad is His prophet,' which is frequently on 
the lips of Muhammadans. The five periods for prayer are 
Fajr ki namaz, in the morning before sunrise ; Zohar, or 
the midday prayer, after the sun has begun to decline ; 
Asur, or the afternoon prayer, about four ; Maghrib, or the 
evening prayer, immediately after sunset ; and Aysha, or 
the evening prayer, after the night has closed in. These 
prayers are repeated in Arabic, and before saying them the 
face, hands and feet should be washed, and, correctly speak- 
ing, the teeth should also be cleaned. At the times of 
prayer the Azan or call to prayer is repeated from the 
mosque by the muezzan or crier in the following terms : 
'• God is great, God is great, God is great, God is great ! 
I bear witness that there is no God but God ! (twice). I 
bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of God ! 
(twice). Come to prayers ! Come to prayers ! Come to 
salvation ! Come to salvation ! God is great ! There is no 
other God but God." In the early morning the following 
sentence is added, ' Prayers are better than sleep.' ^ 

The third necessary observance is the fast in the month 
of Ramazan, the ninth month of the Muhammadan year. 
The fast begins when the new moon is seen, or if the sky is 
1 Hughes, Notes on Miihaiiimadaiiism, ])p. 63, 75. 

Belli) OiC, Collo., Derby. 



clouded, after thirty days from the beginning of the previous 
month. During its continuance no food or water must be 
taken between sunrise and sunset, and betel-leaf, tobacco 
and conjugal intercourse must be abjured for the whole 
period. The abstention from water is a very severe penance 
during the long days of the hot weather when Ramazan 
falls at this season. Mr, Hughes thinks that the Prophet 
took the thirty days' fast from the Christian Lent, which 
was observed very strictly in the Eastern Church during 
the nights as well as days. In ordaining the fast he said 
that God ' would make it an ease and not a difficulty,' but 
he may not have reflected that his own action in discarding 
the intercalary month adopted by the Arabs and reverting 
to the simple lunar months would cause the fast to revolve 
round the whole year. During the fast people eat before 
sunrise and after sunset, and dinner-parties are held lasting 
far into the night. 

It is a divine command to give alms annually of money, 
cattle, grain, fruit and merchandise. If a man has as much 
as eighty rupees, or forty sheep and goats, or five camels, he 
should give alms at specified rates amounting roughly to 
two and a half per cent of his property. In the case of 
fruit and grain the rate is one -tenth of the harvest for 
unirrigated, and a twentieth for irrigated crops. These 
alms should be given to pilgrims who desire to go to Mecca 
but have not the means ; and to religious and other beggars 
if they are very poor, debtors who have not the means to 
discharge their debts, champions of the cause of God, 
travellers without food and proselytes to Islam. Religious 
mendicants consider it unlawful to accept the zakdt or legal 
alms unless they are very poor, and they may not be given 
to Saiyads or descendants of the Prophet. 

The Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca is incumbent on all 18. The 
men and women who have sufficient means to meet the f'fV^rf^ 

to Mecca. 

expenses of the journey and to maintain their families at 
home during their absence. Only a very small proportion 
of Indian Muhammadans, however, now undertake it. 
Mecca is the capital of Arabia and about seventy miles 
from the Red Sea. The pilgrimage must be performed 
during the month Zu'l Hijjah, so that the pilgrim may be 


at Mecca on the festival of Id-ul-Zoha or the Bakr-Id. At 
the last stage near Mecca the pilgrims assume a special 
dress, consisting of two seamless wrappers, one round the 
waist and the other over the shoulders. Sandals of wood 
may also be worn. Formerly the pilgrim would take with 
him a little compass in which the needle in the shape of 
a dove pointed continually towards Mecca in the west. On 
arrival at Mecca he performs the legal ablutions, proceeds 
to the sacred mosque, kisses the black stone, and encom- 
passes the Kaaba seven times. The Kaaba or ' Cube ' is a 
large stone building and the black stone is let into one 
of its walls. He drinks the water of the sacred well Zem- 
Zem from which Hagar and Ishmael obtained water when 
they were dying of thirst in the wilderness, and goes 
through various other rites up to the day of Id-ul-Zoha, 
when he performs the sacrifice or kurbdn, offering a ram 
or he-goat for every member of his family, or for every 
seven persons a female camel or cow. The flesh is dis- 
tributed in the same manner as that of the ordinary Bakr-Id 
sacrifice.^ He then gets himself shaved and his nails pared, 
which he has not done since he assumed the pilgrim's garb, 
and buries the cuttings and parings at the place of the 
sacrifice. The pilgrimage is concluded after another circuit 
of the Kaaba, but before his departure the pilgrim should visit 
the tomb of Muhammad at Medina. One who has performed 
the pilgrimage to Mecca thereafter has the title of Haji. 
19. Festi- The principal festivals are the Muharram and the two 

Ids. The month of Muharram is the first of the year, 
and the first ten days, as already stated, are devoted to 
mourning for the death of Hussain and his family. This 
is observed indifferently by Sunnis and Shiahs in the 
Central Provinces, and the proceedings with the Sunnis at 
any rate have now rather the character of a festival than 
a time of sorrow. Models of tlie tomb of Hussain, called 
tdzia, are made of bamboo and pasteboard and decorated 
with tinsel. Wealthy Shiahs have expensive models, richly 
decorated, which are permanently kept in a chamber of 
the house called the Imambara or Imam's place, but this 

' See post. The account is compiled mainly from the Dictionary of Isldi/i, 
articles Idu-1-Azha and Hajj. 

vals. The 


is scarcely ever done in the Central Provinces. As a rule 
the tdzias are taken in procession and deposited in a river 
on the last and great day of the Muharram. Women who 
have made vows for the recovery of their children from an 
illness dress them in green and send them to beg ; and men 
and boys of the lower classes have themselves painted as 
tigers and go about mimicking a tiger for what they can 
get from the spectators. It seems likely that the repre- 
sentations of tigers may be in memory of the lion which 
is said to have kept watch over the body of Hussain after 
he had been buried. In Persia a man disguised as a tiger 
appears on the tomb of Hussain in the drama of his murder 
at Karbala, which is enacted at the Muharram. In Hindu 
mythology the lion and tiger appear to be interchangeable. 
During the tragedy at Karbala, Kasim, a young nephew of 
Hussain, was married to his little daughter Sakinah, Kasim 
being very shortly afterwards killed. It is supposed that 
the cast shoe of Kasim's horse was brought to India, and at 
the Muharram models of horse-shoes are made and carried 
fixed on poles. Men who feel so impelled and think that 
they will be possessed by the spirit of Kasim make these 
horse-shoes and carry them, and frequently they believe 
themselves to be possessed by the spirit, exhibiting the 
usual symptoms of a kind of frenzy, and women apply to 
them for children or for having evil spirits cast out.^ 

The Id-ul-Fitr, or the breaking of the fast, is held on 20. id-ui- 


the first day of the tenth month, Shawwal, on the day after 
the end of the fast of Ramazan. On this day the people 
assemble dressed in their best clothes and proceed to the 
Id-Gah, a building erected outside the town and consisting 
of a platform with a wall at the western end in the direction 
of Mecca. Here prayers are offered, concluding with one 
for the King-Emperor, and a sermon is given, and the people 
then return escorting the Kazi or other leading member of 
the community and sometimes paying their respects in a 
body to European officers. They return to their homes 
and spend the rest of the day in feasting and merriment, a 
kind of vermicelli being a special dish eaten on this day. 

The Idu-1-Azha or Id-ul-Zoha, the feast of sacrifice, 
1 Bomb. Gaz. Muh. Git;, p. 138. 


21. id-ui- also called the Bakr-Id or cow - festival, is held on the 

tenth day of the last month, Zu'l Hijjah. It is the principal 
day of the Muhammadan year, and pilgrims going to 
Mecca keep it there.^ At this time also the Arabs were 
accustomed to go to Mecca and offer animal sacrifices 
there to the local deities. According to tradition, when 
Abraham (Ibrahim) founded Mecca the Lord desired him to 
prepare a feast and to offer his son Ishmael (Ismail). But 
when he had drawn the knife across his son's throat the 
angel Gabriel substituted a ram and Ishmael was saved, and 
the festival commemorates this. As already stated, the 
Arabs believe themselves to be descended from Ishmael or 
Ismail. According to a remarkable Hadls or tradition, 
related by Ayesha, Muhammad said : " Man hath not done 
anything on the Id-ul-Zoha more pleasing to God than 
spilling blood in sacrifice ; for, verily, its blood reacheth the 
acceptance of God before it falleth upon the ground, there- 
fore be joyful in it." " On this day, as on the other Id, the 
people assemble for prayers at the Id-Gah. On returning 
home the head of a family takes a sheep, cow or camel to 
the entrance of his house and sacrifices it, repeating the 
formula, ' In the name of God, God is great,' as he cuts its 
throat. The flesh is divided, two-thirds being kept by the 
family and one-third given to the poor in the name of God. 
This is the occasion on which Muhammadans offend Hindu 
feeling by their desire to sacrifice cows, as camels are un- 
obtainable or too valuable, and the sacrifice of a cow has 
probably more religious merit than that of a sheep or goat. 
But in many cases they abandon their right to kill a cow in 
order to avoid stirring up enmity. 

22. The entrance to a Muhammadan mosque consists of a 
Mosques, g^one gateway, bearing in verse the date of its building ; this 

leads into a paved courtyard, which in a large mosque may 
be 40 or 50 yards long and about 20 wide. The court- 
yard often contains a small tank or cistern about 20 feet 
square, its sides lined with stone seats. Beyond this lies the 
building itself, open towards the courtyard, which is on its 
eastern side, and closed in on the other three sides, with a 
roof. The floor is raised about a foot above the level of the 

' Hughes, Didionary of Isliiin, s.v. Idii-l-Azlia. - Hughes, ibidem. 


courtyard. In the back wall, which is opposite the court- 
yard to the west in the direction of Mecca, is an arched 
niche, and close by a wooden or masonry pulpit raised four 
or five feet from the ground. Against the wall is a wooden 
staff, which the preacher holds in his hand or leans upon 
according to ancient custom.^ The walls are bare of decora- 
tions, images and pictures having been strictly prohibited 
by Muhammad, and no windows are necessary ; but along 
the walls are scrolls bearing in golden letters the name of 
the Prophet and the first four Caliphs, or a chapter of the 
Koran, the Arabic script being especially suitable for this 
kind of ornamental writing.^ The severe plainness of the 
interior of a mosque demonstrates the strict monotheism of 
Islam, and is in contrast to the temples and shrines of 
most other religions. The courtyard of a mosque is often 
used as a place of resort, and travellers also stay in it. 

A service is held in the principal mosque on Fridays 23. The 
about midday, at which public prayers are held and a sJrvice. 
sermon or khutbah is preached or recited. Friday is known 
as Jumah, or the day of assembly. Friday was said by 
Muhammad to have been the day on which Adam was 
taken into paradise and turned out of it, the day on which 
he repented and on which he died. It will also be the 
day of Resurrection. The Prophet considered that the Jews 
and Christians had erred in transferring their Sabbath from 
Friday to Saturday and Sunday respectively.'' 

The priest in charge of a mosque is known as Mulla. 24. Priests. 
Any one can be a Mulla who can read the Koran, and say Mauivi. 
the prayers, and the post is very poorly paid. The Mulla 
proclaims the call to prayer five times a day, acts as Imam 
or leader of the public prayers, and if there is no menial 
servant keeps the mosque clean. He sometimes has a little 
school in the courtyard in which he teaches children the 
Koran. He also sells charms, consisting of verses of the 
Koran written on paper, to be tied round the arm or hung 
on the neck. These have the effect of curing disease and 
keeping off evil spirits or the evil eye. Sometimes there 
is a mosque servant who also acts as sexton of the local 

' Bomb. Gaz. Muh. Ghj.^. \T,\. ^ Professor Margolioutli's /J/zz/^awwai/a^uw. 

^ Bomb. Caz. Muh. Guj. p. 13 1. 


cemetery. The funds of the mosque and any endowment 
attached to it are in charge of some respectable resident, 
who is known as Mutawalli or churchwarden. The principal 
religious officer is the Maulvi, who corresponds to the Hindu 
Guru or preceptor. These men are frequently intelligent 
and well-educated. They are also doctors of law, as all 
Muhammadan law is based on the Koran and Traditions 
and the deductions drawn from them by the great com- 
mentators. The Maulvi thus acts as a teacher of religious 
doctrine and also of law. He is not permanently attached to a 
mosque, but travels about during the open season, visiting his 
disciples in villages, teaching and preaching to them, and also 
treating the sick. If he knows the whole of the Koran by 
heart he has the title of Hafiz, and is much honoured, as it 
is thought that a man who has earned the title of Hafiz 
frees twenty generations of his ancestors and descendants 
from the fires of hell. Such a man is much in request during 
the month of Ramazan, when the leader of the long night 
prayers is expected to recite nightly one of the thirty sections 
of the Koran, so as to complete them within the month.^ 

25. The The Kazi was under Muhammadan rule the civil and 
'^'' criminal judge, having jurisdiction over a definite local area, 

and he also acted as a registrar of deeds. Now he only 
leads the public prayers at the Id festivals and keeps 
registers of marriages and divorces. He does not usually 
attend marriages himself unless he receives a special fee, 
but pays a deputy or ndib to do so." The Kazi is still, 
however, as a rule the leading member of the local Muham- 
madan community, the office being sometimes elective and 
sometimes hereditary. 

26. In proclaiming one unseen God as the sole supernatural 
feamres t)eing, Muhammad adopted the religion of the Jews of Arabia, 
of Islam, with whose sacred books he was clearly familiar. He looked 

on the Jewish prophets as his predecessors, he himself being 
the last and greatest. The Koran says, "We believe in God, 
and that which hath been sent down to us, and that which 
was sent down unto Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac, and 
Jacob, and the tribes, and that which was delivered unto 

1 Boiii/i. Gaz. Mnh. Gtij. \)\^. 132, 135. 
2 Bomb. Gaz., ibidem. 


Moses, and Jesus and the prophets from the Lord, and 
we make no distinction between any of them." Thus 
Muhammad accepted the bulk of the Old but not of the 
New Testament, which the Jews also do not receive. His 
deity was the Jewish Jehovah of the Old Testament, though 
called Allah after the name of a god worshipped at Mecca. 
The six prophets who brought new laws were Adam, the 
chosen of God ; Noah, the preacher of God ; Abraham, the 
friend of God ; Moses, one who conversed with God ; Jesus, 
the Spirit of God ; and Muhammad, the Messenger of God. 
His seven heavens and his prophecy of a Messiah and Day of 
Judgment were Jewish beliefs, though it is supposed that he 
took the idea of the Sirat or narrow bridge over the midst of 
hell, sharper than the edge of a sword, over which all must 
pass, while the wicked fall from it into hell, from Zoro- 
astrianism. Muhammad recognised a devil, known as Iblis, 
while the Jinns or Genii of pagan Arabia became bad angels. 
The great difference between Islam and Judaism arose from 
Muhammad's position in being obliged continually to fight 
for his own existence and the preservation of his sect. This 
circumstance coloured the later parts of the Koran and gave 
Islam the character of a religious and political crusade, a 
kind of faith eminently fitted to the Arab nature and train- 
ing. And to this character may be assigned its extra- 
ordinary success, but, at the same time, probably the religion 
itself might have been of a somewhat purer and higher 
tenor if its birth and infancy had not had place in a 
constant state of war. Muhammad accomplished most 
beneficent reforms in abolishing polytheism and such 
abuses as female infanticide, and at least regulating poly- 
gamy. In forbidding both gambling and the use of alcohol 
he set a very high standard to his disciples, which if 
adhered to would remove two of the main sources of vice. 
His religion retained fewer relics of the pre-existing animism 
and spirit-worship than almost any other, though in practice 
uneducated Indian Muhammadans, at least, preserve them in 
a large measure. And owing to the fact that the Muham- 
madan months revolve round the year, its festivals have been 
dissociated from the old pagan observances of the changes of 
the sun and seasons and the growth of vegetation. At the 



same time the religious sanction given to polygamy and 
slavery, and the sensual nature of the heaven promised to 
true believers after death, must be condemned as debasing 
features ; and the divine authority and completeness ascribed 
to the Koran and the utterances of the Prophet, which were 
beyond criticism or question, as well as the hostility towards 
all other forms of religion and philosophy, have necessarily 
had a very narrowing influence on Muhammadan thought. 
While the formal and lifeless precision of the religious ser- 
vices and prayers, as well as the belief in divine interference 
in the concerns of everyday life, have produced a strong 
spirit of fatalism and resignation to events. 
27. The The word Kuran is derived from kuraa, to recite or 

proclaim. The Muhammadans look upon the Koran as the 
direct word of God sent down by Him to the seventh or 
lowest heaven, and then revealed from time to time to the 
Prophet by the angel Gabriel. A few chapters are supposed 
to have been delivered entire, but the greater part of the 
book was given piecemeal during a period of twenty-three 
years. The Koran is written in Arabic prose, but its 
sentences generally conclude in a long -continued rhyme. 
The language is considered to be of the utmost elegance 
and purity, and it has become the standard of the Arabic 
tongue. Muhammadans pay it the greatest reverence, and 
their most solemn oath is taken with the Koran placed on 
the head. Formerly the sacred book could only be touched 
by a Saiyad or a Mulla, and an assembly always rose when 
it was brought to them. The book is kept on a high shelf 
in the house, so as to avoid any risk of contamination, and 
nothing is placed over it. Every chapter in the Koran 
except one begins with the invocation, ' Bisniillah-nirrahmdn- 
nimiJiinil or ' In the name of God, the Compassionate, the 
Merciful ' ; and nearl}' all Muhammadan prayers and religious 
writings also begin with this. As the Koran is the direct 
word of God, any statement in it has the unquestioned and 
complete force of law. On some points, however, separate 
utterances in the work itself are contradictory, and the 
necessity then arises of determining which is the later and 
more authoritative statement.^ 

' Professor Margoliouth's Mukammadanisin and the Dictio]iary of IslCitn. 


Next to the Koran in point of authority come the 28. The 
Traditions of the sayings and actions of the Prophet, which ''''■*"^'"°"^- 
are known as Hadis or Sunnah. These were eagerly 
collected as the jurisdiction of Islam was extended, and 
numerous cases arose for decision in which no ruling was 
provided by the Koran. For some time it was held 
necessary that a tradition should be oral and not have been 
reduced to writing. When the necessity of collecting and 
searching for the Traditions became paramount, indefatigable 
research was displayed in the work. The most trustworthy 
collection of traditions was compiled by Abu Abdullah 
Muhammad, a native of Bokhara, who died in the Hijra 
year 256, or nearly 250 years after Muhammad. He 
succeeded in amassing no fewer than 600,000 traditions, 
of which he selected only 7275 as trustworthy. The 
authentic traditions of what the Prophet said and did were 
considered practically as binding as the Koran, and any 
case might be decided by a tradition bearing on it. The 
development of Moslem jurisdiction was thus based not on 
the elucidation and exposition of broad principles of law 
and equity, but on the record of the words and actions of 
one man who had lived in a substantially less civilised 
society than that existing in the countries to which Muham- 
madan law now came to be applied. Such a state of things 
inevitably exercised a cramping effect on the Moslem 
lawyers and acted as a bar to improvement. Thus, because 
the Koran charged the Jews and Christians with having 
corrupted the text of their sacred books, it was laid down 
that no Jew or Christian could be accepted as a credible 
witness in a Moslem lawsuit ; and since the Prophet had 
forbidden the keeping of dogs except for certain necessary 
purposes, it was ruled by one school that there was no 
property in dogs, and that if a man killed a dog its owner 
had no right to compensation.^ 

After the Koran and Traditions the decisions of certain 29. The 
lawyers during the early period of Islam were accepted as ^'^^°°'^ 
authoritative. Of them four schools are recognised by the 
Sunnis in different countries, those of the Imams Abu 
Hanifa, Shafei, Malik, and Hambal. In northern India 

1 Early Developments 0/ Mtihanniiadamsvt, pp. 87, 97. 


the school of Abu Hanifa is followed. He was born at 
Kufa, the capital of Irak, in the Hijra year 8o, when four 
of the Prophet's Companions were still alive. He is the 
great oracle of jurisprudence, and with his two pupils was 
the founder of the Hanifi code of law. In southern India 
the Shafei school is followed.^ The Shiahs have separate 
collections of traditions and schools of law, and they say 
that a Mujtahid or doctor of the law can still give decisions 
of binding authority, which the Sunnis deny. Except as 
regards marriage, divorce and inheritance and other personal 
matters, Muhammadan law is of course now superseded by 
the general law of India. 
30. Food. An animal only becomes lawful food for Muhammadans 

if it is killed by cutting the throat and repeating at the 
time the words, ' Bismillah Allaho Akbar,' or 'In the name 
of God, God is great.' But in shooting wild animals, if the 
invocation is repeated at the time of discharging the arrow 
or firing the gun, the carcase becomes lawful food. This 
last rule of Sunni law is, however, not known to, or not 
observed by, many Muhammadans in the Central Provinces, 
who do not eat an animal unless its throat is cut before 
death. Fish and locusts may be eaten without being killed 
in this manner. The animal so killed by Zabh is lawful 
food when slain by a Moslem, Jew or Christian, but not if 
slaughtered by an idolater or an apostate from Islam. 
Cloven-footed animals, birds that pick up food with their 
bills, and fish with scales are lawful, but not birds or beasts 
of prey. It is doubtful whether the horse is lawful. 
Elephants, mules, asses, alligators, turtles, crabs, snakes and 
frogs are unlawful, and swine's flesh is especially prohibited. 
Muhammadans eat freely of mutton and fish when they 
can afford it, but some of them abstain from chickens in 
imitation of the Hindus. Their favourite drink is sherbet, 
or sugar and water with cream or the juice of some fruit. 
Wine is forbidden in the Koran, and the prohibition is held 
to include intoxicating drugs, but this latter rule is by no 
means observed. According to his religion a Muhammadan 
need have no objection to eat with a Christian if the food 
eaten is of a lawful kind; but he should not eat with Hindus, 

' Notes on MiihaDunadanisin, p. 168. 


as they are idolaters. In practice, however, many Muham- 
madans have adopted the Hindu rule against eating food 
touched by Christians, while owing to long association 
together they will partake of it when cooked by Hindus.^ 

The most distinctive feature of Muhammadan dress is 31- Uress. 
that the men always wear trousers or pyjamas of cotton, 
silk or chintz cloth, usually white. They may be either 
tight or loose below the knee, and are secured by a string 
round the waist. A Muhammadan never wears the Hindu 
dhoti or loin-cloth. He has a white, sleeved muslin shirt, 
made much like an English soft-fronted shirt, but usually 
without a collar, the ends of which hang down outside the 
trousers. Over these the well-to-do have a waistcoat of 
velvet, brocade or broadcloth. On going out he puts on 
a long coat, tight over the chest, and with rather full skirts 
hanging below the knee, of cotton cloth or muslin, or some- 
times broadcloth or velvet. In the house he wears a small 
cap, and on going out puts on a turban or loose headcloth. 
But the fashion of wearing the small red fez with a tassel 
is now increasing among educated Muhammadans, and this 
serves as a distinctive mark in their dress, which trousers 
no longer do, as the Hindus have also adopted them. The 
removal of the shoes either on entering a house or mosque 
is not prescribed by Muhammadan law, though it has 
become customary in imitation of the Hindus. The Prophet 
in fact said, * Act the reverse of the Jews in your prayers, 
for they do not pray in boots or shoes.' But he himself 
sometimes took his shoes off to pray and sometimes not. 
The following are some of the sayings of the Prophet with 
regard to dress : ' Whoever wears a silk garment in this 
world shall not wear it in the next.' ' God will not have 
compassion on him who wears long trousers (below the 
ankle) from pride.' ' It is lawful for the women of my 
people to wear silks and gold ornaments, but it is unlawful 
for the men.' ' Wear white clothes, because they are the 
cleanest and the most agreeable, and bury your dead in 
white clothes.' Men are prohibited from wearing gold 
ornaments and also silver ones other than a signet ring. 
A silver ring, of value sufficient to produce a day's food in 

^ Dictionary of Islam, s.v. Food, 



32. Social 

case of need, should always be worn. The rule against 
ornaments has been generally disregarded, and gold and 
silver ornaments have been regularly worn by men, but the 
fashion of wearing ornaments is now going out, both among 
Muhammadan and Hindu men. A rich Muhammadan 
woman has a long shirt of muslin or net in different colours, 
embroidered on the neck and shoulders with gold lace, and 
draping down to the ankles. Under it she wears silk 
pyjamas, and over it an angia or breast-cloth of silk, brocade 
or cloth of gold, bordered with gold and silver lace. On 
the head she has a shawl or square kerchief bordered with 
lace. A poor woman has simply a bodice and pyjamas, 
with a cloth round the waist to cover their ends. Women 
as a rule always wear shoes, even though they do not go 
out, and they have a profusion of ornaments of much the 
same character as Hindu women.^ 

There are certain social obligations known as Farz or im- 
perative, but if one person in eight or ten perform them it is as 
if all had done so. These are, to return a salutation ; to visit 
the sick and inquire after their welfare ; to follow a bier on foot 
to the grave ; to accept an invitation ; and that when a person 
sneezes and says immediately, ' AlJianid ul lillaJi ' or ' God be 
praised,' one of the party must reply, ' Yar Jianiak Allah ' or 
' God have mercy on you.' The Muhammadan form of salu- 
tation is ' Salam u alaikum ' or ' The peace of God be with 
you,' and the reply is ' Wo alaikum as saldm ' or * And on 
you also be peace.' "^ From this form has come the common 
Anglo-Indian use of the word Salaam. 

When invitations are to be sent for any important 
function, such as a wedding, some woman who does not 
observe parda is employed to carry them. She is dressed 
in good clothes and provided with a tray containing betel- 
leaf biras or packets, cardamoms wrapped in red paper, 
sandalwood and sugar. She approaches any lady invited 
with great respect, and says : " So-and-so sends her best 
compliments to you and embraces you, and says that ' as 
to-morrow there is a little gaiety about to take place in my 

' Bomb. Gaz. Muh. Guj. pp. 100- 
103, and Dictionary of Islam, art. 
Dress and Ornaments. 

- Hughes, Azotes on Muhammad- 


house, and I wish all my female friends by their presence 
to grace and ornament with their feet the home of this 
poor individual, and thereby make it a garden of roses, 
you must also positively come, and by remaining a couple 
of hours honour my humble dwelling with your company." 
If the invitation is accepted the woman carrying it applies 
a little sandalwood to the neck, breast and back of the 
guest, puts sugar and cardamoms into her mouth, and gives 
her a betel-leaf. If it is declined, only sandalwood is 
applied and a betel-leaf given.^ 

Next day dhoolies or litters are sent for the guests, or if the 
hostess is poor she sends women to escort them to the house 
before daybreak. The guests are expected to bring presents. 
If any ceremony connected with a child is to be performed 
they give it clothes or sweets, and similar articles of higher 
value to the bride and bridegroom in the case of a wedding. 

Certain customs known as Fi trail are supposed to have 33. Cus- 
existed among the Arabs before the time of the Prophet, ^'^^^' 
and to have been confirmed by him. These are : To keep 
the moustache clipped short so that food or drink cannot 
touch them when entering the mouth ; not to cut or shave 
the beard ; to clean the teeth with a miswdk or wooden 
toothbrush ; this should really be done at all prayers, but 
presumably once or twice a day are held sufficient ; to clean 
the nostrils and mouth with water at the time of the usual 
ablutions ; to cut the nails and clean the finger-joints ; and 
to pull out the hair from under the armpits and the pubic 
hair. It is noticeable that though elaborate directions are 
given for washing the face, hands and feet before each 
prayer, there is no order to bathe the whole body daily, and 
this may probably not have been customary in Arabia owing 
to the scarcity of water."-^ And while many Muhammadans 
have adopted the Hindu custom of daily bathing, yet others 
in quite a respectable position have not, and only bathe 
once a week before going to the mosque. Gambling as 
well as the drinking of wine is prohibited in the Koran 
according to the text : " O believers ! Surely wine and 

^ Qdnfin-i-Isld/n, pp. 24, 25. This been abandoned, 
account is a veiy old one, and the - Hughes, Dictionary of Isldiii, s.v. 

elaborate procedure may now have Fitrah. 



games of chance and statues and the divining-arrows are an 
abomination of Satan's work." Statues as well as pictures 
were prohibited, because at this time they were probably 
made only as idols to be worshipped, the prohibition 
being exactly analogous to that contained in the Second 
Commandment. The Koran enjoins a belief in the exist- 
ence of magic, but forbids its practice. Magic is considered 
to be of two kinds, that accomplished with the help of the 
Koran and the names of prophets and saints, which is divine 
or good, and evil magic practised with the aid of genii and 
evil spirits which is strongly condemned. Divining-rods 
apparently belong to the latter class. Perfection in divine 
magic consists in the knowledge of the Ismi Aazam or 
Great Name, a knowledge first possessed by the prophet 
Sulaiman or Solomon, and since Solomon transmitted only 
to those who are highly favoured by Providence. This 
appears to be the true name of God, which is too awful 
and potent to be known or used by the commonalty ; 
hence Allah, really an epithet, is used instead. It was 
in virtue of engraving the great name on his ring that 
Solomon possessed dominion over men and genii, and over 
the winds and birds and beasts. The uttering of Solomon's 
own name casts out demons, cures the sick, and raises the 
dead. The names of certain prophets and holy men have 
also a special virtue, and written charms of mj^sterious 
numerical combinations and diagrams have power for good.^ 
Both kinds of magic are largely practised by Muhammadans. 
Muhammad disapproved of whistling, apparently because 
whistling and clapping the hands were part of the heathen 
ritual at Mecca. Hence it is considered wrong for good 
Muhammadans to whistle.- 

The inferior status of women in Islam is inherited from 
tioiii^of Arabian society before the time of Muhammad. Among 
the pagan Arabs a woman was a mere chattel, and descended 
by inheritance. Hence the union of men with their step- 
mothers and mothers-in-law was common. Muhammad 
forbade these incestuous marriages, and also the prevalent 
practice of female infanticide. He legalised polygamy, 

' Bomb. Gaz. Muh. Guj. pp. 143, ^ Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, s.v. 

144. Whistling. 

34. Posi- 


but limited it to four wives, and taught that women as well 
as men could enter paradise. It would have been quite 
impossible to abolish polygamy in Arabia at the time when 
he lived, nor could he strike at the practice of secluding 
women even if he had wished to do so. This last custom 
has shown an unfortunate persistence, and is in full force 
among Indian Muhammadans, from whom the higher castes 
of Hindus in northern India have perhaps imitated it. 
Nor can it be said to show much sign of weakening at 
present. It is not universal over the Islamic world, as in 
Afghanistan women are not usually secluded. As a matter 
of fact both polygamy and divorce are very rare among 
Indian Muhammadans. Mr. Hughes quotes an interesting 
passage against polygamy from a Persian book on marriage 
customs: "That man is to be praised who confines himself 
to one wife, for if he takes two it is wrong and he will 
certainly repent of his folly. Thus say the seven wise 
women : 

Be that man's life immersed in gloom 

Who weds more wives than one, 

With one his cheeks retain their bloom. 

His voice a cheerful tone ; 

These speak his honest heart at rest. 

And he and she are always blest ; 

But when with two he seeks his joy. 

Together they his soul annoy ; 

With two no sunbeam of delight 

Can make his day of misery bright." 

Adultery was punished by stoning to death in accordance 
with the Jewish custom. 

Usury or the taking of interest on loans was prohibited 35. inter- 
by the Prophet. This precept was adopted from the Mosaic 
law and emphasised, and while it has to all appearance 
been discarded by the Jews, it is still largely adhered to 
by Moslems. In both cases the prohibition was addressed 
to a people in the pastoral stage of culture when loans were 
probably very rare and no profit could as a rule be made 
by taking a loan, as it would not lead to any increase. 
Loans would only be made for subsistence, and as the 
borrower was probably always poor, he would frequently 
be unable to pay the principal much less the interest, and 

est on 





would ultimately become the slave of the creditor in lieu 
of his debt. Usury would thus result in the enslavement 
of a large section of the free community, and would be 
looked upon as an abuse and instrument of tyranny. As 
soon as the agricultural stage is reached usury stands on 
a different footing. Loans of seed for sowing the land 
and of cattle or money for ploughing it then become 
frequent and necessary, and the borrower can afford to pay 
interest from the profit of the harvest. It is clearly right 
and proper also that the lender should receive a return for 
the risk involved in the loan and the capacity of gain thus 
conferred on the borrower, and usury becomes a properly 
legitimate and necessary institution, though the rate, being 
probably based on the return yielded by the earth to the 
seed, has a tendency to be very excessive in primitive 
societies. The prohibition of interest among Muhammadans 
is thus now a hopeless anachronism, which has closed to 
those who observe it some of the most important professions. 
A tendency is happily visible towards the abrogation of 
the rule, and Mr. Marten notes that the Berar Muhammadan 
Council has set an example by putting out its own money 
at interest.^ 

The Indian Muhammadans have generally been con- 
sidered to be at a disadvantage in modern India as compared 
with the Hindus, owing to their unwillingness to accept 
regular English education for their sons, and their adherence 
to the simply religious teaching of their own Maulvis. How- 
ever this may have been in the past, it is doubtful whether 
it is at all true of the present generation. While there is no 
doubt that Muhammadans consider it of the first importance 
that their sons should learn Urdu and be able to read the 
Koran, there are no signs of Muhammadan boys being kept 
away from the Government schools, at least in the Central 
Provinces. The rationalising spirit of Sir Saiyad Ahmad, 
the founder of the Ali;i;-arh College, and the general educa- 
tional conference for Indian Muhammadans has, through the 
excellent training given by the College, borne continually 
increasing fruit. A new class of educated and liberal-minded 
Muhammadan gentlemen has grown up whose influence on 

* C.P. Census Report, 191 1, p. 66. 


the aims and prejudices of the whole Muhammadan com- 
munity is gradually becoming manifest. The statistics of 
occupation given at the commencement of this article show 
that the Muhammadans have a much larger share of all 
classes of administrative posts under Government than they 
would obtain if these were awarded on a basis of population. 
Presumably when it is asserted that Muhammadans are less 
successful than Hindus under the British Government, what 
is meant is that they have partly lost their former position 
of the sole governing class over large areas of the country. 
The community are now fully awake to the advantages of 
education, and their Anjumans or associations have started 
high schools which educate students up to the entrance of 
the university on the same lines as the Government schools. 
Where these special schools do not exist, Muhammadan boys 
freely enter the ordinary schools, and their standard of 
intelligence and application is in no way inferior to that of 
Hindu boys. 

Nanakpanthi ^ Sect, Nanakshahi, Udasi, Suthra Shahi. i. Account 
— The Nanakpanthi sect was founded by the well-known ° ^ e sect. 
Baba Nanak, a Khatri of the Lahore District, who lived 
between 1469 and 1538-39. He is the real founder of 
Sikhism, but this development of his followers into a 
military and political organisation was the work of his 
successors, Har Govind and Govind Singh. Nanak him- 
self was a religious reformer of the same type as Kablr 
and others, who tried to abolish the worship of idols and 
all the body of Hindu superstition, and substitute a belief 
in a single unseen deity without form or special name. As 
with most of the other Vaishnava reformers, Nanak's creed 
was largely an outcome of his observation of Islam. 
" There is nothing in his doctrine," Sir E. D. Maclagan 
says, " to distinguish it in any marked way from that of 
the other saints who taught the higher forms of Hinduism 
in northern India. The unity of God, the absence of 
any real distinction between Hindus and Musalmans, the 
uselessness of ceremonial, the vanity of earthly wishes, 

1 This article is compiled from Sir of 1881, and Sir E. D. Maclagan's 
Denzil Vohtison's Punjab Censtis Report Punjab Cettsus Report of 1891. 


even the equality of castes, are topics common to Nanak 
and the Bhagats ; and the Adi - Granth or sacred book 
compiled by Nanak is full of quotations from elder or 
contemporary teachers, who taught essentially the same 
doctrine as Nanak himself" It was partly, he explains, 
because Nanak was the first reformer in the Punjab, and 
thus had the field practically to himself, and partly in 
consequence of the subsequent development of Sikhism, 
that his movement has been so successful and his adherents 
now outnumber those of any other reformer of the same 
period. Nanak's doctrines were also of a very liberal 
character. The burden of his teaching was that there is 
no Hindu and no Muhammadan. He believed in trans- 
migration, but held that the successive stages were but 
purifications, and that at last the soul, cleansed from sin, 
went to dwell with its maker. He prescribed no caste 
rules or ceremonial observances, and indeed condemned 
them as unnecessary and even harmful ; but he made no 
violent attack on them, he insisted on no alteration in 
existing civil and social institutions, and was content to 
leave the doctrine of the equality of all men in the sight 
of God to work in the minds of his followers. He respected 
the Hindu veneration of the cow and the Muhammadan 
abhorrence of the hog, but recommended as a higher rule 
than either total abstinence from flesh. Nothing could 
have been gentler or less aggressive than his doctrine, 
nothing more unlike the teaching of his great successor 
Govind.^ Two other causes contributed to swell the 
numbers of the Nanakpanthis. The first of these was that 
during the late Mughal Empire the Hindus of the frontier 
tracts of the Punjab were debarred by the fanaticism of 
their Muhammadan neighbours from the worship of idols ; 
and they therefore found it convenient to profess the faith 
of Nanak which permitted them to declare themselves as 
worshippers of one God, while not forcing them definitely 
to break with caste and Hinduism. The second was that 
Guru Govind Singh required the absolute abandonment of 
caste as a condition of the initiation of a Sikh ; and hence 
many who would not consent to this remained Nanakpanthis 

^ IbbcUon, i)ara. 260. 


without adopting Sikhism. The Nanakpanthis of the present 
day are roughly classified as Sikhs who have not adopted 
the term Singh, which is attached to the names of all true 
Sikhs ; they also do not forbid smoking or insist on the 
adoption of the five Kakkas or K's which are in theory 
the distinguishing marks of the Sikh ; the Kes or uncut 
hair and unshaven beard ; the Kachh or short drawers 
ending above the knee ; the Kara or iron bangle ; the 
Khanda or steel knife ; and the Kanga or comb. The 
Nanakpanthi retains the Hindu custom of shaving the whole 
head except the ckoti or scalp - lock, and hence is often 
known as a Munda or shaven Sikh.^ The sect do not 
prohibit the consumption of meat and liquor, but some of 
them eat only the flesh of animals killed by the Sikh 
method of Jatka, or cutting off the head by a blow on the 
back of the neck. Their only form of initiation is the 
ordinary Hindu practice of drinking the foot-nectar or sugar 
and water in which the toe of the guru has been dipped, 
and this is not very common. It is known as the Charan 
ka pdhul or foot - baptism, as opposed to the Khande ka 
pdhul or sword-baptism of the Govindi Sikhs." Baba Nanak 
himself, Sir E. Maclagan states, is a very favourite object 
of veneration among Sikhs of all kinds, and the picture 
of the guru with his long white beard and benevolent 
countenance is constantly met with in the sacred places 
of the Punjab. 

In 1 90 1 about 13,000 persons returned themselves as 2. Nanak- 
Nanakpanthis in the Central Provinces, of whom 7000 were fhe"centmi 
Banjaras and the remainder principally Kunbis, Ahirs and Provinces. 
Telis. The Banjaras generally revere Nanak, as shown in 
the article on that caste. A certain number of Mehtars 
or sweepers also profess the sect, being attached to it, as to 
the Sikh religion, by the abolition of caste restrictions and 
prejudices advocated by their founders ; but this tolerance 
has not been perpetuated, and the unclean classes, such as 
the Mazbi or scavenger Sikhs, are as scrupulously avoided 
and kept at a distance by the Sikh as by the Hindu, and 
are even excluded from communion, and from the rites and 
holy places of their religion.^ 

1 Maclagan, para. 88. ^ Maclagan, lor. cit. ^ Ibbetson, para. 265. 



3. Udasis. 

4. Siithra 

The Udasis are a class of ascetics of the Nanakpanthi 
or Sikh faith, whose order was founded by Sri Chand, the 
younger son of Nanak. They are recruited from all castes 
and will eat food from any Hindu. They are almost all 
celibates, and pay special reverence to the Adi-Granth of 
Nanak, but also respect the Granth of Govind Singh and 
attend the same shrines as the Sikhs generally. Their 
service consists of a ringing of bells and blare of instru- 
ments, and they chant hymns and wave lights before the 
Adi-Granth and the picture of Baba Nanak. In the Central 
Provinces members of several orders which have branched 
off from the main Nanakpanthi community are known as 
Udasi. Thus some of them say they do not go to any 
temples and worship Nirankal or the deity without shape 
or form, a name given to the supreme God by Nanak, 
In the Punjab the Nirankaris constitute a separate order 
from the Udasis.^ These Udasis wear a long rope of 
sheep's wool round the neck and iron chains round the 
wrist and waist. They carry half a cocoanut shell as 
a begging-bowl and have the chameta or iron tongs, which 
can also be closed and used as a poker. Their form of 
salutation is ' Matha Tek^ or ' I put my head at your 
feet.' They never cut their hair and have a long string of 
wool attached to the cJioti or scalp-lock, which is coiled up 
under a little cap. They say that they worship Nirankal 
without going to temples, and when they sit down to pray 
they make a little fire and place ghi or sweetmeats upon 
it as an offering. When begging they say ' Alakh,' and 
they accept any kind of uncooked and cooked food from 

Another mendicant Nanakpanthi order, whose members 
visit the Central Provinces, is that of the Suthra Shahis. 
Here, however, they often drop the special name, and call 
themselves simply Nanakshahi. The origin of the order is 
uncertain, and Sir E. Maclagan gives various accounts. Here 
they say that tlicir founder was a disciple of Nanak, who 
visited Mecca and brought back the Seli and Syahi which 
are their distinctive badges. The Seli is a rope of black 
wool which they tie round their heads like a turban, and 

' Maclagan, para. 95. 

I PARMARTHI sect 281 

Syahi the ink with which they draw a black Hne on their 
foreheads, though this is in fact usually made with charcoal. 
They carry a wallet in which these articles are kept, and also 
the two small ebony sticks which they strike against each 
other as an accompaniment to their begging -songs. The 
larger stick is dedicated to Nanak and the smaller to the 
Goddess Kali. They are most importunate beggars, and 
say that the privilege of levying a pice (farthing) was given 
to them by Aurangzeb. They were accustomed in former 
times to burn their clothes and stand naked at the door of 
any person who refused to give them alms. They also have 
a bahi or account - book in which the gifts they receive, 
especially from Banias, are recorded. Mr. Crooke states 
that " They indulge freely in intoxicants and seldom cease 
from smoking. Their profligacy is notorious, and they are 
said to be composed mainly of spendthrifts who have lost 
their wealth in gambling. The}' are recruited from all 
castes and always add the title Shah to their names. A 
proverb says in allusion to their rapacity : 

Kehu marc^ Kehu jtye, 
Suthra gur batdsa piye; 

or, ' Others may live or die, but the Suthra Shahi must have 
his drink of sugar and water.' ^ 

Parmartlii Sect. — A Vishnuite sect of which 26,000 
persons were returned as members in the census of 1901. 
Nearly all of these belonged to the Uriya State of Kalahandi, 
since transferred to Bihar and Orissa. The following account 
of the sect has been furnished by Rai Bahadur Panda Baij- 
nath, formerly Diwan of Kalahandi State. 

This sect penetrated the State from the Orissa side, and 
seems to belong to Bengal. In the beginning it consisted 
only in pure devotion to the worship of Krishna, but later it 
has been degraded by sexual indulgence and immorality, and 
this appears to be the main basis of its ritual at present. 
Outwardly its followers recite the Bhagavad Gita and pretend 
to be persons of very high morals. Their secret practices 
were obtained from one of his officials who had entered 

^ Tribes and Castes, article Suthra Shahi. 


the sect in the lowest grade. On the day of initiation there 
is a great meeting of members at the cost of the neophyte. 
A text is taught to him, and the initiation is completed by 
all the members partaking together of a feast without dis- 
tinction of caste. The food eaten at this is considered to be 
Mahaprasad, or as if offered to Vishnu in his form of Jagannath 
at Puri, and to be therefore incapable of defilement. The 
mantra or text taught to the disciple is as follows : 

O Hari, O Krishna, O Hari, O Krishna, 
O Krishna, O Krishna, O Hari, O Hari, 
O Hari, O Ramo, O Hari, O Ramo, 
O Ramo, O Ramo, O Hari, O Hari. 

The disciple is enjoined to repeat this text a prescribed 
number of times, io8 or more, every day. To those pupils 
who show their devotional ardour by continual repetition of 
the first text others are taught. 

The next step is that the disciple should associate him- 
self or herself with some other Parmarthi of the opposite sex 
and tend and serve them. This relation, which is known as 
Asra-patro, cannot exist between husband and wife, some 
other person having to be chosen in each case, and it results 
of course in an immoral connection. Following this is the 
further rite of Alnw-Samarpana or offering of oneself, in 
which the disciple is required to give his wife to the Guru 
or preceptor as the acme of self-sacrifice. The gtcru calls 
the disciple by a female name of one of the milkmaids of 
Brindaban to indicate that the disciple regards Krishna with 
the same devotion as they did. Sometimes the guru and a 
woman personate Krishna and Radha, but reverse the names, 
the guru calling himself Radha and the woman Krishna. 
The other disciples wait upon and serve them, and they per- 
form an immoral act in public. Parmarthi women some- 
times have the mantra or text, ' O Hari, O Krishna,' 
tattooed on their breasts. 

The Parmarthis often deny the accusation of immorality, 
and the above statements may not be true of all of them ; 
but they are believed to be true as regards a considerable 
part of the sect at any rate. " With all his cleanliness, 
vegetarianism and teetotal ism," one writer remarks, "the 
Vaishnava is perhaps the most dangerous in the whole list 


of Hindu sects. He has done very good service in civilising 
the lower classes to some extent and in suppressing the 
horrors of the Tantric worship. But the moral laxity which 
the Vaishnava encourages by the stories of the illicit loves 
between the God and Goddess, and by the strong tendency 
to imitate them which his teachings generate, outweigh the 
good done by him." This statement applies, however, prin- 
cipally to one or two sects devoted to Krishna, and by no 
means to all nor to the majority of the Vaishnava sects. 

pArsi or zoroastrian religion 

\Bibliography of works quoted : Dr. Martin Haug's Essays on the Par sis, 
Trtibner's Oriental Series; Bombay Gazetteer, vol. ix. part ii., Pdrsis of 
Gujarat, by the late Mr. Kharsedji Nasarvanji Seervai, J. P., and Khan Bahadur 
Bamanji Behramji Patel ; M. Salomon Reinach's Orphhts ; Rev. J. Murray 
Mitchell's Great Religions of India. The whole account of the customs and 
social life of the Parsis is taken from the excellent description in the Bombay 
Gazetteer. 1 


1. Introductory. 9. Their migration to India and 

2. The Zoroastrian religion. settlement there. 

3. The Zend-Avesta. 10. Their wealth and prosperity. 

4. The Zend-Avesta and the Vedas. 11. Marriage customs. 

5. Reasons for the schis7n between 12. Religion. Worship of fire. 

the Persia?i and hidian 13. The Hoiiia liquor. 
Aryans. 14. Parsi priests. 

6. The dual principle and the con- i 5 . The sacred shirt and cord. 

flict between good and evil. 1 6. Disposal of the dead. 

7. The dual priftciple derived from 17. Previous exposure of the dead, 

the antagofiis7n of light attd and migration of souls, 

darkness. 18. Clothes, food and ceremonial 

8. The Zoroastriafis in Persia. observances. 

r. Intro- The numbcr of Parsis in the Central Provinces in 191 i 

ductory. ^^^g about I 800. Thcy are immigrants from Bombay, and 

usually reside in large towns, where they are engaged in 

different branches of trade, especially in the manufacture and 

vend of liquor and the management of cotton mills and 

factories.' The word Parsi means a resident of the province 

of Fars or Pars in Persia, from which the name of the country 

is also derived. 

2. The Also known as Mazdaism, the Zoroastrian religion was 

Zoroastrian j-j-jj^^ ^f ^^ ancient Magi or fire -worshippers of Persia, 

mentioned in Scripture. It is supposed that Zoroaster or 

Spitama Zarathustra, if he was a historical personage, effected 

1 C.P. Census Report (191 1), p. 69. 


a reformation of this religion and placed it on a new basis 
at some time about 11 00 B.C. It is suggested by Haug^ 
that Zarathustra was the designation of the high priests of 
the cult, and Spitama the proper name of that high priest 
who carried out its distinctive reformation, and perhaps 
separated the religion of the Persian from the Indian Aryans. 
This would account for the fact that the sacred writings, 
which, according to the testimony of Greek and Roman 
authors, were of great extent, their compilation probably 
extending over several centuries, were subsequently all 
ascribed to one man, or to Zarathustra alone. The Zend- 
Avesta or sacred book of the Parsis does not mention the fire 
priests under the name of Magi, but calls them Athravan, the 
same word as the Sanskrit Atharva-Veda. The reason for 
this, M. Reinach suggests, is that the Magi had rebelled against 
Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, in the sixth century B.C., during 
his absence in Egypt, and placed a rival creature of their own 
on the throne. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, overthrew him 
and re-established the Persian kingdom in 523 B.C., and this 
may have discredited the Magian priests and caused those of 
the reformed religion to adopt a new name." It is certain 
that Cyrus conformed to the precept of the Avesta against 
the pollution of the sacred element water, when he diverted 
the course of the river Gyndanes in order to recover the body 
of a horse which had been drowned in it, and that Darius I. 
invokes in his inscriptions Ormazd or Ahura Mazda, the 
deity of the Avesta.^ On the subversion of the Persian 
empire by Alexander, and the subsequent conquest of Persia 
by the Arsacid Parthian dynasty, the religion of the fire- 
worshippers fell into neglect, but was revived on the establish- 
ment of the Sassanian dynasty of Ardeshir Babegan or 
Artaxerxes in A.D. 226, and became the state religion, warmly 
supported by its rulers, until the Arab conquest in A.D. 652. 
It was at the beginning of this second period of prosperity 
that the Zend-Avesta as it still exists was collected and 
reduced to writing, but it is thought that the greater part ot 
the remains of the ancient texts recovered at the time were 
again lost during the Arab invasion, as the original literature 
is believed to have been very extensive. 

1 P. 276. ^ Orpheus, p. 94. ^ Ibidem. 


-. The i he language of the Zend-Avesta is the ancient east 

Zend- Iranian or Bactrian dialect, which probably died out finally 

in the third century B.C., modern Persian being descended 
from the west Iranian or Median tongue. The Bactrian 
language of the Zend-Avesta is, Haug states, a genuine 
sister of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Gothic. " The relation- 
ship of the Avesta language to the most ancient Sanskrit, 
the so-called Vedic dialect, is as close as that of the different 
dialects of the Greek language, Aeolic, Ionic, Doric or Attic, 
to each other. The languages of the sacred hymns of the 
Brahmans, and of those of the Parsis, are only the two 
dialects of two separate tribes of one and the same nation. 
As the lonians, Dorians, Aetolians, etc., were different tribes 
of the Greek nation whose general name was Hellenes, so the 
ancient Brahmans and Parsis were two tribes of the nation 
which is called Aryas both in the Veda and Zend-Avesta." ^ 
The sections of the Zend-Avesta which remain are about 
equal in size to the Bible. They consist of sacrificial hymns, 
prayers and accounts of the making of the world, in the 
form of conversations between Ahura Mazda and Zoroaster. 
The whole arrangement is, however, very fragmentary and 
chaotic, and much of the matter is of a trivial character. It 
cannot be compared in merit with the Old Testament. 
4. The ^ cuneiform inscription discovered in the centre of Asia 

Zend- Minor at Ptorium proves that about 1400 B.C. certain tribes 

the Vedas. ^ho had relations with the Hittite empire had for their deities 
Mitra, Indra, Varuna and the Nasatyas. The first two 
names are common to the Persian and Indian Aryans, while 
the last two are found only in India. It appears then 
that at this time the ancestors of the Hindus and Iranians 
were not yet separated." Certain important contrasts 
between the ancient Zoroastrian and Vedic religions have 
led to the theory that the separation was the result of 
a religious and political schism. The words Deva and Asura 
have an exactly opposite significance in the two religions. 
Deva ^ is the term invariably used for the gods of the 
Hindus in the whole Vedic and Brahmanical literature. In 
the Zend-Avesta, on the other hand, Deva (Pers. dh<) is the 
general name of an evil spirit, a fiend, demon or devil, who 

1 Haug, loc. cit. pp. 69, 70. - Oiphhis, pp. 91, 92. •' liaug, pp. 267, 268. 


is inimical to all that is good and comes from God. The part 
of the Avesta called the Vendidad, consisting of a collec- 
tion of spells and incantations, means vi-daevo-ddta or given 
against the Devas or demons. The Devas, Dr. Haug states, 
are the originators of all that is bad, of every impurity, of 
death ; and are constantly thinking of causing the destruction 
of the fields and trees, and of the houses of religious men. 
" Asura, occurring as Ahura in the first part of Ahura-Mazda 
(Hormazd), is the name of God among the Parsis ; and 
the Zoroastrian religion is distinctly called the Ahura 
religion, in strict opposition to the Deva religion. But 
among the Hindus Asura has assumed a bad meaning, and 
is applied to the bitterest enemies of their Devas (gods), 
with whom the Asuras are constantly waging war. This 
is the case throughout the whole Puranic literature and as far 
back as the later parts of the Vedas ; but in the older parts 
of the Rig- Veda Sanhita we find the word Asura used in as 
good and elevated a sense as in the Zend-Avesta. The 
chief gods, such as Indra, Varuna, Agni, Savitri, Rudra or 
Siva, are honoured with the epithet ' Asura,' which means 
' living, spiritual,' and signifies the divine in its opposition to 
human nature. 

" In a bad sense we find Asura only twice in the older 
parts of the Rig-Veda, in which passages the defeat of the 
'sons or men of the Asura' is ordered or spoken of; but 
we find the word more frequently in this sense in the last 
book of the Rig- Veda (which is only an appendix to the 
whole made in later times), and in the Atharva - Veda, 
where the Rishis are said to have frustrated the tricks of 
the Asuras and to have the power of putting them down. 
In the Brahmanas or sacrificial books belonging to each of 
the Vedas we find the Devas always fighting with the 
Asuras. The latter are the constant enemies of the Hindu 
gods, and always make attacks upon the sacrifices offered 
by devotees. To defeat them, all the craft and cunning of 
the Devas were required ; and the means of checking them 
was generally found in a new sacrificial rite." ^ 

Professor Haug adduces other arguments in this con- 
nection from resemblance of metres. Again the principal 

1 Haug, p. 269. 


Vedic God, Indra, is included in the list of Devas or 
demons in the Zoroastrian scripture, the Vendidad. Siva 
and the Nasatyas or Ashvlns, the divine horsemen of the 
Vedas, are also said to be found in the list of Devas or 
demons. Others of the Vedic gods as Mitra the sun, 
Aryaman, either another name for the sun or his constant 
associate and representative, Vayu the wind, and one or two 
more are found as Yazatas or angels in the Zend-Avesta.^ 
5. Reasons Profcssor Haug's suggestion as to the cause of the 

for the schism between the Iranian and Indian branches of the 

schism . . TT 1 • 1 1 

between Aryans is very mterestmg. He thmks that the Aryan tribes 
'^^^^""^1^" after they had left their original home, which was in all 
Aryans. likclihood a cold country, led mainly a pastoral life, and 
cultivated only occasionally some patches of land for their 
own support. But when they arrived in the tract between 
the Oxus and Jaxartes rivers, and the highlands of Bactria, 
which were suitable for permanent settlement, certain of 
them, who were the ancestors of the Iranian branch, forsook 
the pastoral life of their ancestors and became agriculturists. 
Others, the ancestors of the Indian Aryans, retained their 
nomadic habits, and took to the practice of making 
predatory incursions into the territories of the settled 
communities. Hence arose a bitter hostility between them ; 
and as the success of the raiders was attributed to their 
religious spells and incantations, and especially to the 
consumption of the Soma liquor under the auspices of the 
God Indra, this part of their joint religion became hateful 
to the Iranians and led to the founding of the reformed 
Zoroastrian religion, in which special stress is laid on the 
virtue obtained from bringing land under cultivation, making 
enclosures and permanent settlements and protecting 
agricultural cattle. This is forcibly expressed in the saying, 
' He who cultivates barley cultivates righteousness,' and 
others." Finally the nomadic tribes left the common 
residence in the Central Asian highlands and migrated into 
India. It is not certain that scholars generally accept the 
above hypothesis. 

The most prominent feature of the religion of 
Zarathustra is the dual principle of good and evil and the 

' Hauy, pp. 272, 273. - Ureal Kcligioiis of India. 


conflict between them. Ahura Ma/.da is the supreme deity, 6. riie 
the creator of the world, and Ahriman or Anf{ro Mainvush 'l"^' f^''"' 

o J ciple and 

is the evil one, his constant opponent. A perpetual the conflict 
struggle proceeds between them, extending over the whole ^^j^^T^^d 
of creation, and will continue for a period of 1 2,000 years, evil. 
The virtuous lives and prayers and sacrifices of men help 
the cause of Ahura Mazda, while every bad action and all 
kinds of ceremonial impurity constitute an assistance rendered 
by them to Ahriman. Not only virtue, courage, charity 
humility and kindness to animals, when displayed by men, 
are held to reinforce Ahura Mazda, but also such useful acts 
as cleaning a field for cultivation, digging a canal or building 
a bridge. The animals are also divided into good and bad, 
the latter being considered the creation of Ahriman and 
designated the seed of the serpent. The bad animals include 
tigers, snakes, cats, wolves, frogs, mice, ants and others, and 
to kill them is to perform a virtuous act in the cause of 
Ahura Mazda. Among good animals dogs and agricultural 
cattle appear to be the chief. The division is very imperfect, 
and it would seem that the classification does not extend to 
birds and fish. Most trees are good, but their bark is evil. 
Hail, snow and all kinds of diseases are believed to be the 
work of Ahriman and his evil spirits." As all ceremonial 
impurity renders assistance to the evil one, the Parsis are 
very careful in such matters, as will be noticed subsequently. 
Ahura Mazda is assisted in his struggle for the good by six 
Amesha-Spentas or good spirits, who are something like 
archangels. They consist of the spirits of cattle, fire, 
metals, the earth, health and immortality. With the first 
four of these some moral quality or attribute as truth, 
wisdom and the curing of diseases is now associated. 
Another great spirit Sraosha is the judge of the dead. 
Similarly Ahriman is assisted by six arch-fiends and a whole 
host of evil spirits (Deva and Druj) of all kinds, against 
whom men have to be perpetually on their guard. One of 
the principal bad spirits is Aeshma Deva, the roaring demon, 
who appears to be the Asmodeus mentioned in the 
Apocrypha. At the end of the period of struggle Ahura 
Mazda will engage in a final contest with Ahriman and will 

1 Great Religions of India. 



7. The 

from the 
ism of 
light and 

conquer with the help of the Archangel Sraosha, who will 
overcome the demon Aeshma. A virgin will then conceive 
and bring forth the second Zoroaster as a Messiah, who will 
cause the resurrection of the dead. The good will be 
separated from the bad, but the punishment of the latter 
will not be eternal ; and after the purification of the world 
by a general conflagration all humanity will unite in the 
adoration of Ahura Mazda.^ Meanwhile after death the 
souls of all men are weighed and have to pass over a narrow 
bridge called Chinvad. The good souls, lightened by the 
absence of sin, find it a broad and easy path to heaven, 
while to the bad ones, weighed down with their sins, it 
becomes narrow as a razor's edge, and they fall over into 
hell. M. Salomon Reinach points out that their beliefs have 
several points of resemblance with those of Judaism, but it is 
not easy to say which religion has borrowed from the other.^ 
The word paradise, according to Dr. Haug, comes from pairi- 
daeza in the Zend-Avesta and means a park or beautiful 
garden protected by a fence. 

It is noticeable that Ahura Mazda is considered as 
luminous and good, and Ahriman as gloomy and bad. 
Ahura Mazda, according to Darmesteter, can be traced back- 
to Asura, the supreme god of Indo-Iranian times, and is 
the representative of Varuna, Zeus or Jupiter, that is the 
sky or heavens. Similarly Ahura Mazda is described in 
the Zend-Avesta as righteous, brilliant, glorious, the origin- 
ator of the spirit of nature, of the luminaries and of the self- 
shining brightness which is in the luminaries. Again he is 
the author of all that is bright and shining, good and useful 
in nature, while Ahriman called into existence all that is 
dark and apparently noxious. Both are complementary as 
day and night, and though opposed to each other, are indis- 
pensable for the preservation of creation. The beneficent 
spirit appears in the blazing flame, the presence of the hurt- 
ful one is marked by the wood converted into charcoal. 
Ahura Mazda created the light of day and Ahriman the 
darkness of night ; the former awakens men to their duties 
and the latter lulls them to sleep. These features of the 
good and evil spirits .seem to point to the conclusion that 

' OrpMus, p. 96. ^ Ibidevt, p. 98. 


the original antithesis which is portrayed in the conflict 
between the principles of good and evil is that of night and 
day or darkness and light. The light of day and all that 
belongs to it is good, and the darkness of night and that 
which belongs to it evil. As already seen, Ahura Mazda is 
considered to be equivalent to Varuna or Zeus, that is the 
god of the sky or heavens. Originally it seems likely that 
this deity also comprised the sun, but afterwards the sun 
was specialised, so to speak, into a separate god, perhaps in 
consequence of a clearer recognition of his distinctive 
attributes and functions in nature. Thus in the Zoroastrian 
religion Mithra became the special sun-god, and may be com- 
pared with Vishnu and Surya in India and Apollo in Greece. 
In the Avesta the sun is addressed as the king.^ Ahura 
Mazda speaks of the sun-deity Mithra as follows to Zoroaster : 
"I created Mithra, who rules over large fields, to be of the same 
rank and dignity as I myself am (for purposes' of worship)." 
The only visible emblem of Ahura Mazda worshipped by 
the Parsis is fire, and it would seem that the earthly fire, 
which is called Ahura Mazda's son, is venerated as the off- 
spring and representative of the heavenly fire or the sun. 
Thus Ahura Mazda may have been originally an old god 
of the heavens, and may have become the abstract spirit of 
light from whom the sun in turn was derived. If, as is now 
supposed, the orginal home of the Aryan race was somewhere 
in northern Europe, whence the Iranian and Indian branches 
migrated to the east, the religious tenets of the Parsis may 
perhaps have arisen from the memory of this journey. 
Their veneration of fire would be more easily understood if 
it was based on the fact that they owed their lives to this 
element during their wanderings across the steppes of 
eastern Europe. The association of cold, darkness and 
snow with Ahriman or the evil one supports this hypothesis. 
Similarly among the Indian Aryans the god of fire was one 
of the greatest Vedic gods, and fire was essential to the 
preservation of life in the cold hilly regions beyond the 
north-west of India. But in India itself fire is of far less 
importance and Agiri has fallen into the background in 
modern Hinduism, except for the domestic reverence of the 

1 Haug, p. 199. 



8. The 
astrians in 

9. Their 
to India 
and settle- 
ment there. 

hearth-fire. But Zoroastrianism has preserved the old form 
of its religion without change. The narrow bridge which 
spans the gulf leading to heaven and from which the wicked 
fall into hell, may have originally been suggested by the 
steep and narrow passes by which their ancestors must have 
crossed the mountain ranges lying on their long journey, 
and where, no doubt, large numbers had miserably perished ; 
while their paradise, as already seen, was the comparatively 
warm and fertile country to which they had so hardly 
attained, where they had learnt to grow corn and where 
they wanted to stay thenceforth and for ever. 

In Persia itself the Zoroastrian faith is now almost 
extinct, but small colonies still survive in the towns of 
Yezd and Kerman. They are in a miserable and oppressed 
condition and are subjected to various irritating restrictions, 
as being forbidden to make wind towers to their houses for 
coolness, to wear spectacles or to ride horses. In 1904 
their number was estimated at 9000 persons.^ 

The migration of the Parsis to India dates from the 
Arab conquest of Persia in A.D. 638-641. The refugees 
at first fled to the hills, and after passing through a period 
of hardship moved down to the coast and settled in the city 
of Ormuz. Being again persecuted, a party of them set 
sail for India and landed in Gujarat. There were probably 
two migrations, one immediately after the Arab conquest in 
641, and the second from Ormuz as described above in A.D, 
750. Their first settlement was at Sanjan in Gujarat, and 
from here they spread to various other cities along the 
coast. During their period of prosperity at Sanjan they 
would seem to have converted a large section of the Hindu 
population near Thana. The first settlers in Gujarat 
apparently took to tapping palm trees for toddy, and the 
Parsis have ever since been closely connected with the 
liquor traffic. The Portuguese writer Garcia d'Orta (A.D. 
1535) notices a curious class of merchants and shopkeepers, 
who were called Coaris, that is Gaurs, in Bassein, and 
Esparis or Parsis in Cambay. The Portuguese called them 
Jews ; but they were no Jews, for they were uncircumcised and 
ate pork. Besides they came from Persia and had a curious 

' Sykes' Persia and its People, p. i8o ; Great Religions of India, p. 173. 


written character, strange oaths and many foolish supersti- 
tions, taking their dead out by a special door and exposing 
the bodies till they were destroyed. In i 578, at the request 
of the Emperor Akbar, the Parsis sent learned priests to 
explain to him the Zoroastrian faith. They found Akbar a 
ready listener and taught him their peculiar rites and cere- 
monies. Akbar issued orders that the sacred fire should be 
made over to the charge of Abul Fazl, and that after the 
manner of the kings of Persia, in whose temples blazed 
perpetual fires, Abul Fazl should take care that the sacred 
fire was never allowed to go out either by night or day, for 
that it was one of the signs of god and one light from 
among the many lights of his creation. Akbar, according 
to Portuguese accounts, was invested with the sacred shirt 
and girdle, and in return granted the Gujarat priest Mchcrji 
Rana an estate near Naosari, v/here his descendants have 
ever since been chief priests.-^ 

The Parsis had begun to settle in Bombay under the 10. Their 
Portuguese (A.D. 1530— 1666). One of them, Dorabji pr^'ogpcrhy. 
Nanabhai, held a high position in the island before its 
transfer to the British in the latter year, and before the end 
of the seventeenth century several more families, of whom 
the Modis, Pandes, Banajis, Dadiseths and Vadias were 
among the earliest, settled in the island. To the Gujarat 
Parsis more than to any class of native merchants was due the 
development of the trade of Bombay, especially with China. 
Though many Parsis came to Bombay, almost all continued 
to consider Surat or Naosari their home ; and after its 
transfer to the British in 1759 the Surat Parsis rose greatly 
in wealth and position. They became the chief merchants 
of Surat, and their leading men were the English, Portu- 
guese and Dutch brokers. Shortly afterwards, owing to the 
great development of the opium and cotton trade with 
China, the Parsis made large profits in commerce both at 
Surat and Bombay. After the great fire at Surat in 1857 
Bombay became the headquarters of the Parsis, and since 
then has had as permanent settlers the largest section of 
the community. The bulk of the native foreign trade fell 
into their hands, and the very great liberality of some of 

1 Bombay Gazetteer, vol. ix. part ii., Parsis of Gtijaral p. 190. 


the leading Parsis has made their name honourable. They 
secured a large share of the wealth that was poured into 
western India by the American War and the making of rail- 
ways, and have played a leading part in starting and 
developing the great factory industry of Bombay. Many 
of the largest and best managed mills belong to Parsis, 
and numbers of them find highly paid employment as 
mechanical engineers, and weaving, carding and spinning 
masters. Broach ranks next to l^ombay in the prosperity 
of its Parsis ; they deal extensively in cotton, timber, fuel 
and the manufacture of spirit from the flowers of the mahua 
tree.^ From the Bombay Presidency the Parsis have spread 
to other parts of India, following the same avocations ; they 
are liquor and timber contractors, own and manage weaving 
mills and ginning factories, and keep shops for retailing 
European stores, and are the most prosperous and enter- 
prising section of the native population. Two Parsis have 
become members of Parliament, and others have risen to 
distinction in Government service, business and the pro- 
fessions. The sea -face road in Bombay in the evening, 
thronged with the carriages and motor-cars of Parsi men 
and ladies, is strong testimony to the success which the 
ability and industry of this race have achieved under the 
encouragement of peace, the protection of property and the 
liberty to trade. Though they have a common Aryan 
ancestry and their religion is so closely connected with 
Hinduism, the Parsis feel themselves a race alien to the 
Hindus and probably have no great sympathy with them. 
Their wealth and position have been mainly obtained under 
British rule, and the bulk of them are believed to be its 
warm adherents. The Parsis now make no proselytes, and 
no regular provision exists for admitting outsiders to their 
religion, though it is believed that, in one or two cases, 
wives taken from outside the community have been ad- 
mitted. They object strongly to the adoption of any other 
religion, such as Christianity, by members of their body. 
The Parsis are notable for the fact that their women are very 
well educated and appear quite freely in society. This is a 
comparatively recent reform and may be ascribed to the 

' Bombay Gazetteer, ibidem. 


English example, though the credit they deserve for having 
broken through prejudice and tradition is in no way 
diminished on that account. The total number of Parsis in 
India in 191 i was just 100,000 persons. 

Polygamy among the Parsis has been forbidden by the n. Mar- 
Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1865. The remarriage cus^o^s 
of widows is allowed but is celebrated at midnight. If a 
bachelor is to marry a widow, he first goes through a sham 
rite with the branch of a tree, as among the Hindus. 
Similarly before the wedding the bride and bridegroom 
are rubbed with turmeric, and for the ceremony a marriage- 
shed is erected. At a feast before the wedding one of the 
women beats a copper dish and asks the ancestral spirits to 
attend, calling them by name. Another woman comes 
running in, barking like a dog. The women drive her 
away, and with fun and laughing eat all the things they can 
lay their hands on. Prior to the rite the bride and bride- 
groom are purified in the same manner as when invested 
with the sacred shirt and cord. The bridegroom wears a 
long white robe reaching to his ankles and a white sash 
round his waist ; he has a garland of flowers round his neck, 
a red mark on his forehead, and carries a bunch of flowers 
and a cocoanut in his right hand. At every street corner 
on his way to the bride's home a cocoanut is waved round 
his head, broken and thrown away. He sets his right foot 
in the house first, and as he enters rice and water are 
thrown under his feet and an egg and cocoanut are broken. 
At the wedding the couple throw rice on each other, and it 
is supposed that whoever is quickest in throwing the rice 
will rule the other. They are then seated side by side, and 
two priests stand before them with a witness on each side, 
holding brass plates full of rice. The two priests pronounce 
the marriage blessing in old Persian and Sanskrit, at each 
sentence throwing rice on the bride's and bridegroom's 
heads. At intervals in the midst of the blessing the bride- 
groom and bride are asked in Persian, ' Have you chosen 
her ? ' and ' Have you chosen him ? ' They answer in 
Persian, or if they are too young their mothers answer for 
them, ' I have chosen.' ^ 

1 Bombay Gazetteer, vol. ix. part ii., Parsis of Giijardt, pp. 233, 237. 



12. Reli- 

of fire. 

13. The 



The religiou.s ritual of the Parsis of the worship 
of fire. The fire temples are of a single storey and contain 
three rooms. On reaching the outer hall the worshipper 
washes his face, hands and feet, and recites a prayer. Then, 
carrying a piece of sandalwood and some money for the 
officiating priest, he passes to the inner hall, in which a 
carpet is spread. He takes off his shoes and rings one of 
four brass bells hanging at the corners of the room. The 
priest also rings one of these bells at each watch when he 
performs worship. He then proceeds to the threshold of 
the central fire-room, kneels there, and again standing 
begins to recite prayers. None may enter the fire- room 
except the priests. Here the fire is kept always blazing in 
a silver or copper urn on a solid stone pedestal, and is fed 
day and night with sandal and other commoner woods. A 
priest is always present, dressed in long white robes, his 
hands covered with white cloths and his face veiled. The 
worshipper lays down his offering of sandalwood at the 
entrance, and the priest takes it up with a pair of tongs, and 
gives him some ashes from the urn in a silver or brass ladle. 
These the worshipper rubs on his forehead and eyebrows. 
On concluding his prayers, which are in the Avesta language, 
he walks backward to where he left his shoes and goes 
home. A Parsi man never allows his hearth fire to go out, 
and if he changes his residence he carries it with him to the 
next place of abode. 

Like the Hindus, the Iranian ancestors of the Parsis 
revered the sacred liquor made from the Soma or Homa 
plant. It was considered a panacea for all diseases, and 
many stories about the miraculous effects obtained from 
drinking the juice are contained in a hymn of the Zend- 
Avesta compo.sed in its honour. According to Dr. Mitchell ^ 
the offering of Homa is still made at Parsi temples, though 
apparently some substitute must have been obtained for the 
original plant, which does not grow in the plains of India. 
At any rate the offering and sacrificial drinking of the liquor 
were probably continued so long as the Parsis remained in 
Persia. As this is a comparatively cool country, the bad 
effects of alcohol did not perhaps become apparent to the 

' !'• 133- 


Parsis as they did to the Hindus in the plains of India, and 
hence the sanctity attaching to the Hquor underwent no 
similar decline. From this it perhaps results that the Parsis 
havq no feeling at all against alcohol, and drink it for 
pleasure, like Europeans. Both the toddy of the date-palm 
and mahua spirit are freely consumed at their feasts, while 
the rich members of the community drink European wines 
and spirits. As any dealing in alcohol is practically pro- 
hibited to high-caste Hindus and also to Muhammadans, 
and low - caste Hindus have hitherto scarcely ever been 
literate, the Parsis on account of this peculiarity have found 
a profitable opening in the wholesale liquor trade, and until 
recently have had very little effective competition to face. 
This is perhaps a reason for their special addiction to it, 
and also for their engaging in the sale of European stores 
and wines. 

The Parsi priests form a hereditary caste, and are all 14. Psrsi 
supposed to be descended from one Shapur Sheheriar, who P'""^^'^- 
with his sons and grandsons, one of whom translated the 
Zend-Avesta into Sanskrit, are believed to have been among 
the first Parsi settlers of the priestly caste at Sanjan in 
north Thana. The training of a priest consists of learning 
substantial portions of the Zend-Avesta by heart, and in 
going through elaborate ceremonies of purification, in which 
the drinking of nerang and 7ierangdm^ or cow's and bull's urine, 
being bathed, chewing pomegranate leaves and rubbing the 
same urine and sand on his body are leading features. 
Priests always dress in white and wear a full beard. They 
must never shave the head or face, and never allow the head 
to be bare nor wear coloured clothes. If a priest's turban 
happens to fall off, or if he travels by rail or sea, his state of 
purity ends, and he must go through the whole ceremony of 
purification again and pass nine days in retreat at a 
temple.^ The principal business of a priest, as already seen, 
is the tending of the sacred fire in the temples, and he also 
conducts marriage and other ceremonies. 

Parsi boys and girls are received into the Zoroastrian 15- The 
faith between the ages of seven and nine. The child is gfji^t ^nd 
purified by being bathed, sipping bull's urine and chewing a cord. 

' Bombay Gazetteei; vol. ix. part ii., rCtrsis of Gujarat, pp. 221-226. 


pomegranate leaf, and makes the profession of belief in 
the faith. He or she is then invested with the sacred 
shirt, sadra, and the sacred cord or thread called kusti. 
The shirt is of thin muslin, with short sleeves and falling 
a little below the hip. The sacred cord is of wool, 
and can be made only by the wives and daughters of Parsi 
16. Dis- The Parsi method of exposing the dead in Dakhmas or 

ti°e dead towcrs of silence to be devoured by vultures has often been 
described. It has objectionable features, and the smaller 
communities in the interior of India do not as a rule erect 
towers of silence, and are content simply to bury the dead. 
It seems probable that the original custom was simply to 
expose the dead on waste land, the towers of silence being a 
substitute which became necessary when the Parsis began to 
live in towns. This hypothesis would explain some points 
in their funeral customs recorded in the Bombay Gazetteer. 
The dead body is washed, dressed in an old clean cloth and 
laid on the floor of the house, the space being marked off. 
If the floor is of earth the surface of this enclosed space is 
broken up. If the floor is of cement or stone one or two 
stone slabs are set on it and the body laid on them ; it is 
never laid on a wooden floor, nor on stone slabs placed on 
such a floor. The space where the body was laid is marked 
off, and is not used for a month if the death occurs between 
the eighth and twelfth months of the year, and for ten days 
if the death occurs between the first and seventh months. 
The last are said to be the hottest months." It would 
appear that these rules are a reminiscence of the time when 
the body was simply exposed. It was then naturally always 
laid on earth or rock, and never on wood, hence the prohibi- 
tion of a wooden floor. The fact that the spot where the 
body is now laid in the house is held impure for a shorter 
period during the summer months may be explained on the 
ground that all traces of the decaying corpse, after it had 
been devoured by wild animals and vultures, would have 
been dried up by the sun more quickly at this time than 
during the winter months. In the latter period, as the 

' Bombay Gazcl/ccr, vol. ix. part ii., Parsis of Gitjarai, p. 231. 
- Ibidem, pp. 239-242. 


process would take longer, the place in the home is similarly 
held impure for a month, as against ten days in summer, 
though at present neither the sun nor weather can possibly 
affect a site inside the house. The fact that when the floor 
is of earth the site for the corpse is broken up may indicate 
that it was formerly laid on rough waste ground, and not on 
a floor beaten smooth, though it might also be simply a 
means of avoiding contamination of the floor. But if this 
was the object it would be simpler to avoid letting the body 
come into contact with the floor at all. The corpse may 
still be wrapped in an old cloth because it was originally 
exposed in .the cloth worn at death. The body is carried to 
the tower on an iron bier by special bearers ; if the journey 
is a long one a bullock cart may be used, but in this case 
the cart must be broken up and the pieces buried near the 
tower. Before the funeral starts a number of priests attend 
at the house and recite the prayers for the dead. During 
the service a dog is brought in to look on the face of the 
dead. The mourners follow in the usual manner, and on 
arrival at the tower the bearers alone take the corpse inside 
and lay it naked on one of the slabs, which are built in 
circular terraces in the interior. The mourners must be 
purified at the tower by pouring a little cow's urine into 
their hands, and on returning home they wash their face 
and hands, and recite a prayer before entering the house. 
They must bathe and have their clothes washed before these 
are again used. When a married man dies his widow 
breaks her glass bangles and wears only metal bracelets, 
and so long as she remains a widow she takes no part in 
any festal celebrations. Every morning for three days after 
a death rice is cooked and laid in the veranda for dogs to 
eat. No other food is cooked in the house of death, the 
family being supplied by their friends. During these three 
days prayers are said for the dead several times a day by 
priests, and kinsmen pay short visits of condolence. On 
the third day a meeting is held in the house and prayers 
are said for the dead ; trays of flowers and burning incense 
are placed before the spot where the body lay, and a list of 
charitable gifts made by the family in memory of the dead 
man is read. On the fourth day a feast is held specially 


for priests, and friends are also asked to join in it. A little 
of the food cooked on this day is sent to all relations and 
friends, who make a point of eating or at least of tasting it. 
On the tenth and thirtieth days after death, and on monthly 
anniversaries for the first year, and subsequently on annual 
anniversaries, ceremonies in honour of the dead are per- 
17. Previ- Some of these customs arc peculiar and interesting. It 

""sure of ^^^^ been seen that for three days the home is impure, and no 
the dead, food is cookcd in it except what is given to dogs ; and since 
i^io'nof'' o" ^he third day offerings are made on the spot where the 
souls. body lay, it seems to be supposed that the dead man's spirit 

is still there. On the fourth day is the funeral feast, in which 
all relations and friends join, and after this the house becomes 
pure, it being presumably held that the dead man's spirit has 
taken its departure. For these three days food is cooked in 
the house and given to dogs, and immediately after the man 
is dead a dog is brought in to look at his face. It has been 
suggested that the manner of laying out the body recalls the 
time when it was simply exposed. But when it v.'as exposed 
the body would have been devoured principally by dogs and 
vultures, and the customs connected with dogs seem to arise 
from this. The cooked food given to dogs for three days is 
perhaps a substitute for the flesh of the dead man which they 
would have eaten, and the display of the body to a dog is in 
substitution for its being devoured by these animals, who now 
that it is exposed in a tower of silence no longer have access 
to it. It has further been seen how during the marriage 
rites, after an invitation has been issued to the ancestors to 
attend, a woman comes in barking like a dog. The other 
women drive her away and laughingly eat everything they 
can lay their hands on, perhaps in imitation of the way dogs 
devour their food. This custom seems to indicate that the 
Parsis formerly believed that the spirits of their ancestors 
went into the dogs which devoured their bodies, a belief 
which would be quite natural to primitive people. Such a 
hypothesis would explain the peculiar customs mentioned, and 
also the great sanctity which the Parsis attach to dogs. On 
the same analogy they should apparently also have believed 

' Bombay Gazetteer, vol. ix. part ii., Piirsis 0/ Gujarat, pp. 241, 243. 


that the spirits of ancestors went into vultures ; but it is not 
recorded that they show any special veneration for these 
birds, though it must be almost certain that they do not kill 
them. The explanation given for the custom of the exposure 
of the dead is that none of the holy elements, earth, fire or 
water, can be polluted by receiving dead bodies. But, as 
already stated, towers of silence cannot be a primitive insti- 
tution, and the bodies in all probability were previously 
exposed on the ground. The custom of exposure probably 
dates from a period prior to the belief in the extreme sanctity 
of the earth. It may have been retained in order that the 
spirits of ancestors might find a fresh home in the animals 
which devoured their bodies ; and some platform, from which 
the towers of silence subsequently developed, may have been 
made to avoid defilement of the earth ; while in after times 
this necessity of not defiling the earth and other elements 
might be advanced as a reason justifying the custom of 

Parsi men usually wear a turban of dark cloth spotted 18. 
with white, folded to stand up straight from the forehead, and ^^ °^j '.^^|j 
looking somewhat as if it was made of pasteboard. This is ceremonial 
very unbecoming, and younger men often abandon it and ances. 
simply wear the now common felt cap. They usually have 
long coats, white or dark, and white cotton trousers. Well- 
to-do Parsi women dress very prettily in silks of various 
colours. The men formerly shaved the head, either entirely, 
or leaving a scalp-lock and two ear-locks. But now many 
of them simply cut their hair short like the English. They 
wear whiskers and moustaches, but with the exception of the 
priests, not usually beards. Neither men nor women ever 
put off the sacred shirt or the thread. They eat the flesh 
only of goats and sheep among animals, and also consume 
fish, fowls and other birds ; but they do not eat a cock after it 
has begun to crow, holding the bird sacred, because they think 
that its crowing drives away evil spirits. If Ahura Mazda 
represented the sun and the light of day, the cock, the herald 
of the dawn, might be regarded as his sacred bird. Sometimes 
when a cock or parrot dies the body is wrapped in a sacred 
shirt or thread and carefully buried. Palm-juice toddy is a 
favourite drink at almost all meals in Gujarat, and mahua 


spirit is also taken. Parsis must never smoke, as this would 
be derogatory to the sacred element fire.^ 

Saiva, Shaiva, Sivite Sect.— The name given to Hindus 
who venerate Siva as their special god. Siva, whose name 
signifies ' The Propitious,' is held to have succeeded to the 
Vedic god Rudra, apparently a storm-god. Siva is a highly 
composite deity, having the double attributes of destroyer 
and creator of new life. His heaven, Kailas, is in the Hima- 
layas according to popular belief. He carries the moon on 
his forehead, and from the central one of his three eyes the 
lightning flashes forth. He has a necklace of skulls, and 
snakes are intertwined round his waist and arms. And he 
has long matted hair {j'ata), from which the Ganges flows. 
It seems likely that the matted locks of the god represent 
the snow on the Himalayas, as the snow is in reality the 
source of the Ganges ; the snow falling through the air and 
covering the peaks of the mountains might well suggest the 
hair of a mountain-god ; and this interpretation seems to be 
accepted in Mr. Bain's In the Great God's Hair. Siva has 
thus three components from which the idea of death might 
be derived : First, his residence on the Himalaya mountains, 
the barren, lifeless region of ice and snow, and the cause of 
death to many pilgrims and travellers who ventured into it. 
Secondly, he is the god of the moon, and hence of darkness 
and night, which are always associated with death. In this 
light he might well be opposed to Vishnu, the god of the sun 
and day, and the source of growth and life ; their association 
as the two supreme deities representing the preservation and 
destruction of life, would thus, to some extent, correspond to 
the conflict of good and bad deities representing light and 
darkness among the Zoroastrians. Thirdly, Siva is a snake- 
god, and the sudden death dealt out by the poisonous snake 
has always excited the greatest awe among primitive people. 
The cobra is widely revered in India, and it is probably this 
snake which is associated with the god. In addition the 
lightning, a swift, death-dealing power, is ascribed to Siva, 
and this may have been one of his earliest attributes, as it 
was probably associated with his Vedic prototype Rudra. 
Whether Siva obtained his character as a god of destruc- 

' liombay Gazetteer, Parsis of Gujarat, pp. 205, 207, 219, 220. 

Beinrose, Collo., Derby. 



tion from one only of the above associations, or from a 
combination of them, is probably not known. Two great 
forces lend the deity his character of a god of reproduction, 
the bull and the phallic emblem. The bull tills the soil and 
renders it fertile and capable of bringing forth the crops 
which form the sustenance of mankind ; while the phallic 
emblem is worshipped as the instrument of generation. It 
is believed that there is a natural tendency to associate these 
two objects, and to ascribe to the bull the capacity of induc- 
ing human fertility as well as the increase of the earth. It 
is in these two attributes that Siva is worshipped in the rural 
tract ; he is represented by the emblem referred to standing 
on a circular grooved stone, which is the yoni, and in front 
of him is a stone bull. And he is revered almost solely as a 
beneficent deity under the name of Mahadeo or the Great God. 
Thus his dual qualities of destruction and reproduction appear 
to be produced by the combination in him of different objects 
of worship ; the Himalayas, the moon, the cobra and the 
lightning on the one hand, and the bull and the emblem of 
regeneration on the other. Other interesting characteristics 
of Siva are that he is the first and greatest of ascetics and 
that he is immoderately addicted to the intoxicating drugs 
gdnja and bhang, the preparations of Indian hemp. It may 
be supposed that the god was given his character as an ascetic 
in order to extend divine sanction and example to the practice 
of asceticism when it came into favour. And the drugs,^ first 
revered themselves for their intoxicating properties, were after- 
wards perpetuated in a sacred character by being associated 
with the god. Siva's throat is blue, and it is sometimes said 
that this is on account of his immoderate consumption of 
bhang. The nilkanth or blue-jay, which was probably vene- 
rated for its striking plumage, and is considered to be a bird 
of very good omen, has become Siva's bird because its blue 
throat resembles his. His principal sacred tree is the bel 
tree,"^ which has trifoliate leaves, and may have been held 
sacred on this account. The practice of Sati or the self- 
immolation of widows has also been given divine authority 
by the story that Sati was Siva's first wife, and that she 
committed suicide because she and her husband were not 

1 See also article on Kalar. ^ Aegle marmelos. 


invited to Daksha's sacrifice.^ Siva's famous consort is 
the multiform Devi, Kali or Parvati, of whom some notice 
is given elsewhere.^ The cult of Siva has produced the 
important Sakta sect, who, however, venerate more especially 
the female principle of energy as exemplified in his consort.^ 
Another great sect of southern India, the Lingayats, worship 
him in the character of the lingavi or phallic emblem, and 
are noticeable as being a Sivite sect who have abolished 
caste. The Sivite orders of Gosains or Dasnamis and Jogis 
also constitute an important feature of Hinduism. All these 
are separately described. Apart from them the Hindus who 
call themselves Saivas because they principally venerate 
Siva, do not appear to have any very special characteristics, 
nor to be markedly distinguished from the Vaishnavas. They 
abstain from the consumption of flesh and liquor, and think 
it objectionable to take life. Their offerings to the god 
consist of flowers, the leaves of the bel tree which is sacred 
to him, and ripe ears of corn, these last being perhaps 
intended especially for the divine bull. The sect-mark of 
the Saivas consists of three curved lines horizontally drawn 
across the forehead, which are said to represent the tirsul or 
trident of the god. A half-moon may also be drawn. The 
mark is made with Ganges clay, sandalwood, or cowdung 
cakes, these last being considered to represent the dis- 
integrating force of the deity.'' 

Sakta, Shakta Sect. — The name of a Hindu sect, whose 
members worship the female principle of energy, which is 
the counterpart of the god Siva. The metaphysical ideas 
of Saktism are thus described by Sir Edward Gait : '^ 

" Saktism is based on the worship of the active producing 
principle, Prakriti, as manifested in one or other of the 
goddess wives of Siva (Durga, Kali, Parvati) the female 
energy or Sakti of the primordial male, Purusha or Siva. 
In this cult the various forces of nature are deified under 
separate personalities, which are known as the divine mothers 

^ Dr. Bhattacharya's Hindu Castes ^ Mr. Marten's C. P. Census Report, 

and Sects, p. 371. 191 1. 

^ See articles Kunihar, Thug and 

Sakta sect. " India Census Report (1901), p. 

•* See art. Sakta Sect. 360. 

/.V-;;.'^,..i^, CoUo., Derby. 



or Matrigan. The ritual to be observed, the sacrifices to be 
offered, and the mantras or magic texts to be uttered, in 
order to secure the efficacy of the worship and to procure 
the fulfihnent of the worshipper's desire, are laid down in 
a series of religious writings known as Tantras. The cult 
is supposed to have originated in East Bengal or Assam 
about the fifth century." 

Dr. Bhattacharya states ' that the practical essence of 
the Sakta cult is the worship of the female organ of genera- 
tion. According to a text of the Tantras the best form of 
Sakti worship is to adore a naked woman, and it is said 
that some Tantrics actually perform their daily worship in 
their private chapels by placing before them such a woman. 
A triangular plate of brass or copper may be taken as a 
substitute, and such plates are usually kept in the houses 
of Tantric Brahmans. In the absence of a plate of the 
proper shape a triangle may be painted on a copper dish. 
In public the veneration of the Saktas is paid to the goddess 
Kali. She is represented as a woman with four arms. In 
one hand she has a weapon, in a second the hand of the 
giant she has slain, and with the two others she is en- 
couraging her worshippers. For earrings she has two dead 
bodies, she wears a necklace of skulls, and her only clothing 
is a garland made of men's skulls. In the Kalika Puran ' 
the immolation of human beings is recommended, and 
numerous animals are catalogued as suitable for sacrifice. 
At the present time pigeons, goats, and more rarely buffaloes, 
are the usual victims at the shrine of the goddess. The 
ceremony commences with the adoration of the sacrificial 
axe ; various mantras are recited, and the animal is then 
decapitated at one stroke. As soon as the head falls to 
the ground the votaries rush forward and smear their fore- 
heads with the blood of the victim. It is of the utmost 
importance that the ceremony should pass off without any 
hitch or misadventure,^ and special services are held to 
supplicate the goddess to permit of this. If in spite of 
them the executioner fails to sever the head of the animal 

^ Hindu Castes and Sects (Thacker, Report. 
Spink & Co., Calcutta), pp. 407-413. ^ Hindu Castes and Sects. 

^ Sir E. Gait's note, India Census 



at one stroke, it is thought that the goddess is angry and 
that some great calamity will befall the family in the next 
year. If a death should occur within the period, they 
attribute it to the miscarriage of the sacrifice, that is to the 
animal not having been killed with a single blow. If any 
such misfortune should happen. Dr. Bhattacharya states, the 
family generally determine never to offer animal sacrifices 
again ; and in this way the slaughter of animals, as part of 
the religious ceremony in private houses, is becoming more 
and more rare. If a goat is sacrificed, the head is placed 
before the goddess and the flesh cooked and served to the 
invited guests ; but in the case of a buffalo, as respectable 
Hindus do not eat the flesh of this animal, it is given to the 
low -caste musicians employed for the occasion. Wine is 
also offered to the goddess, and after being consecrated is 
sprinkled on every kind of uncooked food brought before 
her. But the worshipper and his family often drink only 
a few drops. The Saktas are divided into the Dakshina- 
charis and Bamacharis, or followers of the right- and left- 
handed paths respectively. The Dakshinacharis have largely 
abandoned animal sacrifices, and many of them substitute 
red flowers or red sandalwood as offerings, to represent 
blood. An account of those Bamacharis who carry sexual 
practices to extreme lengths, has been given in the article 
on Vam-Margi. The sect -mark of the Saktas is three 
horizontal lines on the forehead made with a mixture of 
charcoal and butter. Some of them have a single vertical 
line of charcoal or sandalwood. In the Central Provinces 
Sakta is a general term for a Hindu who eats meat, as 
opposed to the VaTshnavas and Kablrpanthis, who abjure it. 
The animals eaten are goats and chickens, and they are 
usually sacrificed to the goddess Devi prior to being con- 
sumed by the worshippers. 




I. Origin of the sect. 5. Social profligacy. 

1. Ghdsi Das, foimder of the 6. Divisiotis of the Satndmis. 

Satndmi sect. 7. Customs of the Satndiiiis. 

3. The message of Ghdsi Dds. 8. Character of the Satndmi move- 

4. Subsequent history of the Sat- ment. 

Satnami Sect^ (A worshipper of the true name of God), i. Origin 
— A dissenting sect founded by a Chamar reformer in the of 'Resect. 
Chhattlsgarh country of the Central Provinces. It is 
practically confined to members of the Chamar caste, about 
half of whom belong to it. In 1901 nearly 400,000 
persons returned themselves as adherents of the Satnami 
sect, of whom all but 2000 were Chamars. The Satnami 
sect of the Central Provinces, which is here described, is 
practically confined to the Chhattlsgarh plain, and the 
handful of persons who returned themselves as Satnamis 
from the northern Districts are believed to be adherents of 
the older persuasion of the same name in Northern India. 
The Satnami movement in Chhattlsgarh was originated by 
one Ghasi Das, a native of the Bilaspur District, between 
A.D. 1820 and 1830. But it is probable that Ghasi Das, 
as suggested by Mr. Hira Lai, got his inspiration from a 
follower of the older Satnami sect of northern India. This 
was inaugurated by a Rajput, JagjTwan Das of the Bara 
Banki District, who died in 1761. He preached the worship 
of the True Name of the one God, the cause and creator of 
all things, void of sensible qualities and without beginning 

' This article is based principally on a paper by Mr. Uurga Prasad Pande, 
Tahsildar, Raipur. 






or end. lie prohibited the use of meat, lentils (on account 
of their red colour suggestinj^ blood) of the brinjal or egg- 
plant, which was considered, probably on account of its 
shape, to resemble flesh, and of intoxicating liquors. The 
creed of Ghasi Das enunciated subsequently was nearly 
identical with that of Jagjiwan Das, and was no doubt 
derived from it, though Ghasi Das never acknowledged the 
source of his inspiration. 
Ghasi Ghasi Das was a poor farmservant in Girod, a village 

formerly in Bilaspur and now in Raipur, near the Sonakan 
of the forests. On one occasion he and his brother started on 
atnami ^ pilgrimage to the temple at Puri, but only got as far as 
Sarangarh, whence they returned ejaculating ' Satndin, 
Saindin' From this time Ghasi Das began to adopt the 
life of an ascetic, retiring all day to the forest to meditate. 
On a rocky hillock about a mile from Girod is a large tendu 
tree {Diospyros touientosd) under which it is said that he was 
accustomed to sit. This is a favourite place of pilgrimage 
of the Chamars, and two Satnami temples have been built 
near it, which contain no idols. Once these temples were 
annually visited by the successors of Ghasi Das. But at 
present the head of the sect only proceeds to them, like the 
Greeks to Delphi, in circumstances of special difficulty. In 
the course of time Ghasi Das became venerated as a saintly 
character, and on some miracles, such as the curing of 
snake-bite, being attributed to him, his fame rapidly spread. 
The Chamars began to travel from long distances to venerate 
him, and those who entertained desires, such as for the birth 
of a child, believed that he could fulfil them. The pilgrims 
were accustomed to carry away with them the water in 
which he had washed his feet, in hollow bamboos, and their 
relatives at home drank this, considering it was nectar. 
Finally, Ghasi Das retired to the forests for a period, and 
emerged with what he called a new Gospel for the Chamars; 
but this really consisted of a repetition of the tenets of 
Jagjiwan Das, the founder of the Satnami sect of Upper 
India, with a few additions. Mr. Chisholm ^ gave a graphic 
account of the retirement of Ghasi Das to the Sonakan 
forests for a period of six months, and of his reappearance 

' Bilaspur Setdemenl Report (\^?>'!i), p. 45. 

I SA TNAMI sect 309 

and proclamation of his revelation on a fixed date before a 
great multitude of Chamilrs, who had gathered from all parts 
to hear him. An inquiry conducted locally by Mr. Hira 
Lai in 1903 indicates that this story is of doubtful authen- 
ticity, though it must be remembered that Mr. Chisholm 
wrote only forty years after the event, and forty more had 
elapsed at the time of Mr. Hira Lfd's investigation.^ Of the 
Chamar Reformer himself Mr. Chisholm writes : " " Ghasi 
Das, like the rest of his community, was unlettered. He 
was a man of unusually fair complexion and rather imposing 
appearance, sensitive, silent, given to seeing visions, and 
deeply resenting the harsh treatment of his brotherhood by 
the Hindus. He was well known to the whole community, 
having travelled much among them ; had the reputation of 
being exceptionally sagacious and was universally respected." 

The seven precepts of Ghasi Das included abstinence 3. The 
from liquor, meat and certain red vegetables, such as lentils Ghas^^Dc^*^ 
chillies and tomatoes, because they have the colour of blood, 
the abolition of idol worship, the prohibition of the employ- 
ment of cows for cultivation, and of ploughing after midday 
or taking food to the fields, and the worship of the name of 
one solitary and supreme God. The use of tai^oi ^ is said to 
have been forbidden on account of its fancied resemblance 
to the horn of the buffalo, and of the brinjal * from its 
likeness to the scrotum of the same animal. The prohibition 
against ploughing after the midday meal was probably 
promulgated out of compassion for animals and was already 
in force among the Gonds of Bastar. This precept is still 
observed by many Satnamis, and in case of necessity they 
will continue ploughing from early morning until the late 
afternoon without taking food, in order not to violate it. 
The injunction against the use of the cow for ploughing was 
probably a sop to the Brahmans, the name of Gondwana 
having been historically associated with this practice to its 

^ Some of Mr. Chisholm's statements doubted fact, as shown by Mr. Hira 

are undoubtedly inaccurate. For in- Lai and others, that Ghasi Das was 

stance, he says that Ghasi Das decided born in Girod and had lived there all 

on a temporary withdrawal into the his life up to the time of his proclama- 

wilderness, and proceeded for this tion of his gospel, 
purpose to a small village called Girod ^ Ibidem. 

near the junction of the Jonk and ^ Luffa acntangula. 

Mahfinadi rivers. But it is an un- * Solamim melongenum. 


disgrace among Hindus.^ The Satnamis were bidden to 
cast all idols from their homes, but they were permitted to 
reverence the sun, as representing the deity, every morning and 
evening, with the ejaculation ' Lord, protect me.' Caste was 
abolished and all men were to be socially ecjual except the 
family of Ghasi Das, in which the priesthood of the cult was 
to remain hereditary. 
4. Subse- The creed enunciated by their prophet was of a 

qiuin creditable simplicity and purity, of too elevated a nature for 

of the the Chamars of Chhattlsgarh. The crude myths which are 
Satmimis. ^^^^ associated with the story of Ghasi Das and the obscenity 
which distinguishes the ritual of the sect furnish a good 
instance of the way in which a religion, originally of a high 
order of morality, will be rapidly degraded to their own 
level when adopted by a people who are incapable of living 
up to it. It is related that one day his son brought Ghasi 
Das a fish to eat. He was about to consume it when the 
fish spoke and forbade him to do so, Ghasi Das then 
refrained, but his wife and two sons insisted on eating the 
fish and shortly afterwards they died.- Overcome with grief 
Ghasi Das tried to commit suicide by throwing himself down 
from a tree in the forest, but the boughs of the tree bent with 
him and he could not fall. Finally the deity appeared, 
bringing his two sons, and commended Ghasi Das for his 
piety, at the same time bidding him go and proclaim the 
Satnami doctrine to the world. Ghasi Das thereupon went 
and dug up the body of his wife, who arose saying ' Satndm' 
Ghasi Das lived till he was eighty years old and died in 
1850, the number of his disciples being then more than a 
quarter of a million. He was succeeded in the office of high 
priest by his eldest son Balak Das. This man soon outraged 
the feelings of the Hindus by assuming the sacred thread 
and parading it ostentatiously on public occasions. So 
bitter was the hostility aroused by him, that he was finally 
assassinated at night by a party of Rajputs at the rest-house 
of Amabandha as he was travelling to Raipur. The murder 
was committed in i860 and its perpetrators were never 

* Some of the Bundela raids in the protection of the sacred animal, 
north of the Province were made on ^ Yxi^m. Mr. Durgu Prasad Pande's 

the pretext of being crusades for the paper. 


discovered. Balak Das had fallen in love with the daughter 
of a Chitari (painter) and married her, [)roclainiing a 
revelation to the effect that the next Chamar Guru should 
be the offspring of a Chitari girl. Accordingly his son by 
her, Sahib Das, succeeded to the office, but the real power 
remained in the hands of Agar Das, brother of Ealak Das, 
who married his Chitari widow. By her Agar Das had a 
son Ajab Das ; but he also had another son Agarman Das 
by a legitimate wife, and both claimed the succession. They 
became joint high priests, and the property has been par- 
titioned between them. The chief guru formerly obtained 
a large income by the contributions of the Chamars on his 
tours, as he received a rupee from each household in the 
villages which he visited on tour. He had a deputy, known 
as Bhandar, in many villages, who brought the commission 
of social offences to his notice, when fines were imposed. 
He built a house in the village of Bhandar of the Raipur 
District, having golden pinnacles, and also owned the village. 
But he has been extravagant and become involved in debt, 
and both house and village have been foreclosed by his 
creditor, though it is believed that a wealthy disciple has 
repurchased the house for him. The golden pinnacles were 
recently stolen. The contributions have also greatly fallen off. 

Formerly an annual fair was held at Bhandar to which all 
the Satnamis went and drank the water in which the guru 
had dipped his big toe. Each man gave him not less than 
a rupee and sometimes as much as fifty rupees. But the 
fair is no longer held and now the Satnamis only give the 
guru a cocoanut when he goes on tour. The Satnamis also 
have a fair in Ratanpur, a sacred place of the Hindus, 
where they assemble and bathe in a tank of their own, as 
they are not allowed to bathe in the Hindu tanks. 

Formerly, when a Satnami Chamar was married, a 5. Social 
ceremony called Satlok took place within three years of the i"o«'ga'-y- 
wedding, or after the birth of the first son, which Mr. Durga 
Prasad Pande describes as follows : it was considered to be 
the initiatory rite of a Satnami, so that prior to its perform- 
ance he and his wife were not proper members of the sect. 
When the occasion was considered ripe, a committee of 
men in the village would propose the holding of the ceremony 


to the bridegroom ; the elderly members of his family would 
also exert their influence upon him, because it was believed 
that if they died prior to its performance their disembodied 
spirits would continue a comfortless existence about the 
scene of their mortal habitation, but if afterwards that they 
would go straight to heaven. When the rite was to be held 
a feast was given, the villagers sitting round a lighted lamp 
placed on a water-pot in the centre of the sacred diauk or 
square made with lines of wheat-flour ; and from evening 
until midnight they would sing and dance. In the meantime 
the newly married wife would be lying alone in a room 
in the house. At midnight her husband went in to her 
and asked her whom he should revere as his guru or 
preceptor. She named a man and the husband went out 
and bowed to him and he then went in to the woman and 
lay with her. The process would be repeated, the woman 
naming different men until she was exhausted. Sometimes, 
if the head priest of the sect was present, he would nominate 
the favoured men, who were known as gurus. Next 
morning the married couple were seated together in the 
courtyard, and the head priest or his representative tied a 
kanthi or necklace of wooden beads round their necks, 
repeating an initiatory text.^ This silly doggerel, as shown 
in the footnote, is a good criterion of the intellectual 
capacity of the Satnamis. It is also said that during his 
annual progresses it was the custom for the chief priest to 
be allowed access to any of the wives of the Satnamis whom 
he might select, and that this was considered rather an 
honour than otherwise by the husband. But the Satnamis 
have now become ashamed of such practices, and, except in 
a {q.\m isolated localities, they have been abandoned. 
6. Divi- Ghasi Das or his disciples seem to have felt the want 

iiie"^ ° of a more ancient and dignified origin for the sect than one 
Satnamis. dating Only from living memory. They therefore say that 

' This text is recorded by Mr. Durga Or 
Prasad Pande as follows : <.^Ve have given up eating vegetables, 

*' Bhdji chhurai bhanta chhurdi we eat no brinjals : we eat onions with 

Gondii karai chhonka more relish ; we eat no more red vege- 

Liil bhaji kc chhu7-aivale tables. The chatika has been placed 

Gaon la viarai chauka. in the village. The true name is of God; 

Sahib ke Satndmia ; ' Thonka.^^' (to which the pair replied) ' Amen.'" 


it is a branch of that founded by Rohi Das, a Chamar 
disciple of the great Hberal and Vaishnavite reformer 
Ramanand, who flourished at the end of the fourteenth 
century. The Satnamis commonly call themselves Rohidasi 
as a synonym for their name, but there is no evidence 
that Rohi Das ever came to Chhattlsgarh, and there is 
practically no doubt, as already pointed out, that Ghasi 
Das simply appropriated the doctrine of the Satnami sect 
of northern India. One of the precepts of Ghasi Das was 
the prohibition of the use of tobacco, and this has led to 
a split in the sect, as many of his disciples found the 
rule too hard for them. They returned to their chongis 
or leaf-pipes, and are hence called Chungias ; they say that 
in his later years Ghasi Das withdrew the prohibition. 
The Chungias have also taken to idolatry, and their villages 
contain stones covered with vermilion, the representations 
of the village deities, which the true Satnamis eschew. 
They are considered lower than the Satnamis, and inter- 
marriage between the two sections is largely, though not 
entirely, prohibited. A Chungia can always become a 
Satnami if he ceases to smoke by breaking a cocoanut in the 
presence of his guru or preceptor or giving him a present. 
Among the Satnamis there is also a particularly select 
class who follow the straitest sect of the creed and are 
called Jaharia from jahar, an essence. These never sleep 
on a bed but always on the ground, and are said to wear 
coarse uncoloured clothes and to eat no food but pulse 
or rice. 

The social customs of the Satnamis resemble generally 7. customs 
those of other Chamars. They will admit into the com- ^^^}^^ . 

•' satnamis. 

munity all except members of the impure castes, as Dhobis 
(washermen), Ghasias (grass-cutters) and Mehtars (sweepers), 
whom they regard as inferior to themselves. Their weddings 
must be celebrated only during the months of Magh 
(January), Phagun (February), the light half of Chait (March) 
and Baisakh (April). No betrothal ceremony can take 
place during the months of Shrawan (August) and Pus 
(January). They always bury the dead, laying the body 
with the face downwards, and spread clothes in the grave 
above and below it, so that it may be warm and comfortable 


during the last long sleep. They obsen^e mourning for 
three days and have their heads shaved on the third day 
with the exception of the upper lip, which is never touched 
by the razor. The Satnamis as well as the KabJrpanthis 
in Chhattlsgarh abstain from spirituous liquor, and ordinary 
Hindus who do not do so are known as Saktaha or Sakta 
(a follower of Devi) in contradistinction to them. A Satnami 
is put out of caste if he is beaten by a man of another 
caste, however high, and if he is touched by a sweeper, 
Ghasia or Mahar. Their women wear nose-rings, simply to 
show their contempt for the Hindu social order, as this 
ornament was formerly forbidden to the lower castes. 
Under native dynasties any violation of a rule of this kind 
would have been severely punished by the executive Govern- 
ment, but in British India the Chamar women can indulge 
their whim with impunity. It was also a rule of the sect 
not to accept cooked food from the hands of any other 
caste, whether Hindu or Muhammadan, but this has fallen 
into abeyance since the famines. Another method by which 
the Satnamis show their contempt for the Hindu religion 
is by throwing milk and curds at each other in sport and 
trampling it under foot. This is a parody of the Hindu 
celebration of the Janam-Ashtami or Krishna's birthday, when 
vessels of milk and curds are broken over the heads of the 
worshippers and caught and eaten by all castes indiscrimin- 
ately in token of amity. They will get into railway 
carriages and push up purposely against the Hindus, saying 
that they have paid for their tickets and have an equal 
right to a place. Then the Hindus are defiled and have 
to bathe in order to become clean. 
8. Char- Several points in the above description point to the 

acteroftiie conclusion that the Satnami movement is in essence a social 

bat n ami 

movement, revolt on the part of the despised Chamars or tanners. 
The fundamental tenet of the gospel of Ghasi Das, as in 
the case of so inany other dissenting sects, appears to have 
been the abolition of caste, and with it of the authority of 
the Brahmans ; and this it was which provoked the bitter 
hostility of the priestly order. It has been seen that Ghasi 
Das himself had been deeply impressed by the misery and 
debasement of the Chamar community ; how his successor 


Balak Das was murdered for the assumption of the sacred 
thread ; and how in other ways the Satnamis try to show 
their contempt for the social order which brands them 
as helot outcastes. A large proportion of the Satnami 
Chamars are owners or tenants of land, and this fact may 
be surmised to have intensified their feeling of revolt against 
the degraded position to which they were relegated by the 
Hindus. Though slovenly cultivators and with little energy 
or forethought, the Chamars have the utmost fondness for 
land and an ardent ambition to obtain a holding, however 
small. The possession of land is a hall-mark of respectability 
in India, as elsewhere, and the low castes were formerly 
incapable of holding it ; and it may be surmised that the 
Chamar feels himself to be raised by his tenant-right above 
the hereditary condition of village drudge and menial. But 
for the restraining influence of the British power, the Satnami 
movement might by now have developed in Chhattlsgarh 
into a social war. Over most of India the term Hindu is 
contrasted with Muhammadan, but in Chhattlsgarh to call 
a man a Hindu conveys primarily that he is not a Chamar, 
or Chamara according to the contemptuous abbreviation in 
common use. A bitter and permanent antagonism exists 
between the two classes, and this the Chamar cultivators 
carry into their relations with their Hindu landlords by 
refusing to pay rent. The records of the criminal courts 
contain many cases arising from collisions between Chamars 
and Hindus, several of which have resulted in riot and 
murder. Faults no doubt exist on both sides, and Mr. 
Hemingway, Settlement Officer, quotes an instance of a 
Hindu proprietor who made his Chamar tenants cart timber 
and bricks to Rajim, many miles from his village, to build a 
house for him during the season of cultivation, their fields 
consequently remaining untilled. But if a proprietor once 
arouses the hostility of his Chamar tenants he may as well 
abandon his village for all the profit he is likely to obtain 
from it. Generally the Chamars are to blame, as pointed 
out by Mr. Blenkinsop who knows them well, and many 
of them are dangerous criminals, restrained only by their 
cowardice from the worst outrages against person and 
property. It may be noted in conclusion that the spread 


of Christianity among the Channars is in one respect a 
reph'ca of the Satnami movement, because by becoming 
a Christian the Chamar hopes also to throw off the social 
bondage of Hinduism. A missionary gentleman told the 
writer that one of the converted Chamars, on being directed 
to perform some menial duty of the village, replied : ' No, 
I have become a Christian and am one of the Sahibs ; I 
shall do no more bigdr (forced labour).' 



1 . Foundation of SikJdsiii — Bdba 5 . Character of the Ndnakpanthis 

Ndfiak. and Sikh sects. 

2. The earlier Gurus. 6. The Akdlis. 

3. Guru Govind Singh. 7. The Sikh Council or Guru- 

4. Sikh initiation aitd rules. Mdta. Their coviu/unal meal. 

Sikh, Akali. — The Sikh religion and the history of the i. Founda- 
tion of 

Sikhism — 

Sikhs have been fully described by several writers, and all 
that is intended in this article is a brief outline of the main Haba 
tenets of the sect for the benefit of those to whom the more ^"^ 
important works of reference may not be available. The 
Central Provinces contained only 2337 Sikhs in 191 i, of 
whom the majority were soldiers and the remainder probably 
timber or other merchants or members of the subordinate 
engineering service in which Punjabis are largely employed. 
The following account is taken from Sir Denzil Ibbetson's 
Census Report of the Punjab for 1 8 8 1 : 

" Sikhism was founded by Baba Nanak, a Khatri of 
the Punjab, who lived in the fifteenth century. But Nanak 
was not more than a religious reformer like Kabir, Ramanand, 
and the other Vaishnava apostles. He preached the unity 
of God, the abolition of idols, and the disregard of caste 
distinctions.^ His doctrine and life were eminently gentle 
and unaggressive. He was succeeded by nine gurus, the 
last and most famous of whom, Govind Singh, died in 1708. 

" The names of the gurus were as follows : 

1. Baba Nanak 1469-1538-9 

2. Angad 1 539-1 552 

3. Amar Das 1552-1574 

1 See article Nanakpanthi for an account of Nanak's creed. 



2. The 






Ram Das 


Har Govind 

Har Rai 

Har Kishen 

Teg Bahadur 

Govind Sinijb 


" Under the second Guru Angad an intolerant and ascetic 
spirit began to spring up among the followers of the new 
tenets ; and had it not been for the good sense and firmness 
displayed by his successor, Amar Das, who excommunicated 
the Udasis and recalled his followers to the mildness and 
tolerance of Nanak, Sikhism would probably have merely 
added one more to the countless orders of ascetics or devotees 
which arc wholly unrepresented in the life of the people. 
The fourth gum, Ram Das, founded Amritsar ; but it was 
his successor, Arjun, that first organised his following. He 
gave them a written rule of faith in the Granth or Sikh 
scripture which he compiled, he provided a common rallying- 
point in the city of Amritsar which he made their religious 
centre, and he reduced their voluntary contributions to a 
systematic levy which accustomed them to discipline and 
paved the way for further organisation. He was a great 
trader, he utilised the services and money of his disciples in 
mercantile transactions which extended far beyond the con- 
fines of India, and he thus accumulated wealth for his Church. 

" Unfortunately he was unable wholly to abstain from 
politics ; and having become a political partisan of the rebel 
prince Khusru, he was summoned to Delhi and there im- 
prisoned, and the treatment he received while in confinement 
hastened, if it did not cause, his death. And thus began that 
Muhammadan persecution which was so mightily to change 
the spirit of the new faith. This was the first turning-point 
in Sikh history ; and the effects of the persecution were 
immediately apparent. Arjun was a priest and a merchant ; 
his successor, Har Govind, was a warrior. He abandoned the 
gentle and spiritual teaching of Nanak for the use of arms 
and the love of adventure. He encouraged his followers to 
eat flesh, as giving them strength and daring ; he substituted 
zeal in the cause for saintlincss of life as the i)rice of salva- 
tion ; and he developed the organised disciplincMvliich Arjun 


had initiated. He was, however, a military adventurer rather 
than an enthusiastic zealot, and fought either for or against 
the Muhammadan empire as the hope of immediate gain 
dictated. His policy was followed by his two successors ; 
and under Teg Bahadur the Sikhs degenerated into little 
better than a band of plundering marauders, whose internal 
factions aided to make them disturbers of the public peace. 
Moreover, Teg Bahadur was a bigot, while the fanatical 
Aurangzeb had mounted the throne of Delhi. Him therefore 
Aurangzeb captured and executed as an infidel, a robber and 
a rebel, while he cruelly persecuted his followers in common 
with all who did not accept Islam. 

" Teg Bahadur was succeeded by the last and greatest 3. Guru 
guru, his son Govind Singh ; and it was under him that ?.°'''"'^ 
what had sprung into existence as a quietist sect of a purely 
religious nature, and had become a military society of by no 
means high character, developed into the political organisa- 
tion which was to rule the whole of north-western India, 
and to furnish the British arms their stoutest and most 
worthy opponents. For some years after his father's execu- 
tion Govind Singh lived in retirement, and brooded over his 
personal wrongs and over the persecutions of the Musalman 
fanatic which bathed the country in blood. His soul was 
filled with the longing for revenge ; but he felt the necessity 
for a larger following and a stronger organisation, and, follow- 
ing the example of his Muhammadan enemies, he used his 
religion as the basis of political power. Emerging from his 
retirement he preached the Khalsa, the pure, the elect, the 
liberated. He openly attacked all distinctions of caste, and 
taught the equality of all men who would join him ; and 
instituting a ceremony of initiation, he proclaimed it as the 
pdhul or ' gate ' by which all might enter the society, while 
he gave to its members the prasdd or communion as a 
sacrament of union in which the four castes should eat of one 
dish. The higher castes murmured and many of them left 
him, for he taught that the Brahman's thread must be 
broken ; but the lower orders rejoiced and flocked in numbers 
to his standard. These he inspired with military ardour, 
with the hope of social freedom and of national independence, 
and with abhorrence of the hated Muhammadan. He grave 


them outward signs of their faith in the unshorn hair, the 
short drawers, and the bkie dress ; he marked the military 
nature of their calling by the title of Singh or ' lion,' by 
the wearing of steel, and by the initiation by sprinkling of 
water with a two-edged dagger ; and he gave them a feeling 
of personal superiority in their abstinence from the unclean 

" The Muhammadans promptly responded to the chal- 
lenge, for the danger was too serious to be neglected ; the 
Sikh army was dispersed, and Govind's mother, wife and 
children were murdered at Sirhind by Aurangzeb's orders. 
The death of the emperor brought a temporary lull, and a 
year later Govind himself was assassinated while fighting the 
Marathas as an ally of Aurangzeb's successor. He did not 
live to see his ends accomplished, but he had roused the 
dormant spirit of the people, and the fire which he lit was 
only damped for a while. His chosen disciple Banda suc- 
ceeded him in the leadership, though never recognised as 
gum. The internal commotions which followed upon the 
death of the emperor, Bahadur Shah, and the attacks of the 
Marathas weakened the power of Delhi, and for a time 
Banda carried all before him ; but he was eventually con- 
quered and captured in A.D. 1 7 1 6, and a period of persecution 
followed so sanguinary and so terrible that for a generation 
nothing more was heard of the Sikhs. How the troubles of 
the Delhi empire thickened, how the Sikhs again rose to 
prominence, how they disputed the possession of the Punjab 
with the Mughals, the Marathas and the Durani, and were at 
length completely successful, how they divided into societies 
under their several chiefs and portioned out the Province 
among them, and how the genius of Ranjit Singh raised him 
to supremacy and extended his rule beyond the limits of the 
Punjab, are matters of political and not of religious history. 
No formal alteration has been made in the Sikh religion since 
Govind Singh gave it its military shape ; and though changes 
have taken place, they have been merely the natural result of 
time and external influences, 
4- Sikh "The word Sikh is said to be derived from the common 

and rules. Hiudu tcrm Scwak and to mean simply a disciple; it may 
be applied thcrcfcjre t(j the followers of Nanak who held 


aloof from Govind Singh, but in practice it is perhaps 
understood to mean only the latter, while the Nanakpanthis 
are considered as Hindus. A true Sikh always takes the 
termination Singh to his name on initiation, and hence they 
are sometimes known as Singhs in ^ distinction to the 
Nanakpanthis. A man is also not born a Sikh, but must 
always be initiated, and the pdhul or rite of baptism cannot 
take place until he is old enough to understand it, the 
earliest age being seven, while it is often postponed till 
manhood. Five Sikhs must be present at the ceremony, 
when the novice repeats the articles of the faith and drinks 
sugar and water stirred up with a two-edged dagger. 
At the initiation of women a one-edged dagger is used, 
but this is seldom done. Thus most of the wives of Sikhs 
have never been initiated, nor is it necessary that their 
children should become Sikhs when they grow up. The 
faith is unattractive to women owing to the simplicity of 
its ritual and the absence of the feasts and ceremonies 
so abundant in Hinduism ; formerly the Sikhs were accus- 
tomed to capture their wives in forays, and hence perhaps 
it was considered of no consequence that the husband and 
wife should be of different faith. The distinguishing marks 
of a true Sikh are the five Kakkas or Ks which he is 
bound to carry about his person : the Kes or uncut hair 
and unshaven beard ; the KacJih or short drawers ending 
above the knee ; the Kasa or iron bangle ; the KJuuida or 
steel knife ; and the Kanga or comb. The other rules of 
conduct laid down by Guru Govind Singh for his followers 
were to dress in blue clothes and especially eschew red or 
saffron-coloured garments and caps of all sorts, to observe 
personal cleanliness, especially in the hair, and practise 
ablutions, to eat the flesh of such animals only as had been 
killed hy j'atka or decapitation, to abstain from tobacco in 
all its forms, never to blow out flame nor extinguish it with 
drinking-water, to eat with the head covered, pray and recite 
passages of the Granth morning and evening and before 
all meals, reverence the cow, abstain from the worship of 
saints and idols and avoid mosques and temples, and 
worship the one God only, neglecting Brahmans and 
Mullas, and their scriptures, teaching, rites and religious 


symbols. Caste distinctions he positively condemned and 
instituted the prasdd or communion, in which cakes of 
flour, butter and sugar are made and consecrated with 
certain ceremonies while the communicants sit round in 
prayer, and then distributed equally to all the faithful 
present, to whatever caste they may belong. The above 
rules, so far as they enjoin ceremonial observances, are still 
very generally obeyed. But the daily reading and recital 
of the Granth is discontinued, for the Sikhs are the most 
uneducated class in the Punjab, and an occasional visit to 
the Sikh temple where the Granth is read aloud is all 
that the villager thinks necessary. Blue clothes have been 
discontinued save by the fanatical Akali sect, as have been 
very generally the short drawers or Kachh. The prohibi- 
tion of tobacco has had the unfortunate effect of inducing 
the Sikhs to take to hemp and opium, both of which 
are far more injurious than tobacco. The precepts which 
forbid the Sikh to venerate Brahmans or to associate 
himself with Hindu worship are entirely neglected ; and 
in the matter of the worship of local saints and deities, 
and of the employment of and reverence for Brahmans, 
there is little, while in current superstitions and superstitious 
practices there is no difference between the Sikh villager 
and his Hindu brother." ^ 
5. Char- It scems thus clear that if it had not been for the 

Ni.nak^^'^^ political and military development of the Sikh movement, it 
panthisand would in time have lost most of its distinctive features and 
Si sects, j^^^g come to be considered as a Hindu sect of the same 
character, if somewhat more distinctive than those of the 
Nanakpanthis and Kablrpanthis. But this development 
and the founding of the Sikh State of Lahore created 
a breach between the Sikhs and ordinary Hindus wider 
than that caused by their religious differences, as was 
sufficiently demonstrated during the Mutiny. In their 
origin both the Sikh and Nanakpanthi sects appear to 

1 Here again, Sir U. Ibbetson notes, number of deities, and their answer in 

it is often the women who arc the every case has been that tliey do not 

original offenders : " I have often asked themselves believe in them; but their 

Sikhs how it is that, believing as they women do, and to please them they are 

do in only one God, they can put any obliged to pay attention to what the 

faith in and render any obedience to Brfdimans say." 
Ikahmans who acknowledge a largo 


have been mainly a revolt against the caste system, the 
supremacy of Brahmans and the degrading mass of super- 
stitions and reverence of idols and spirit-worship which the 
Brahmans encouraged for their own profit. But while 
Nanak, influenced by the observation of Islamic mono- 
theism, attempted to introduce a pure religion only, the 
aim of Govind was perhaps political, and he saw in the 
caste system an obstacle 'to the national movement which 
he desired to excite against the Muhammadans. So far 
as the abolition of caste was concerned, both reformers 
have, as has been seen, largely failed, the two sects now 
recognising caste, while their members revere Brahmans 
like ordinary Hindus. 

The Akalis or Nihangs are a fanatical order of Sikh 6. The 
ascetics. The following extract is taken from Sir E. 
Maclagan's account of them : ^ 

" The Akalis came into prominence very early by their 
stout resistance to the innovations introduced by the 
Bairagi Banda after the death of Guru Govind ; but they 
do not appear to have had much influence during the 
following century until the days of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 
They constituted at once the most unruly and the bravest 
portion of the very unruly and brave Sikh army. Their 
headquarters were at Amritsar, where they constituted 
themselves the guardians of the faith and assumed the 
right to convoke synods. They levied offerings by force 
and were the terror of the Sikh chiefs. Their good qualities 
were, however, well appreciated by the Maharaja, and when 
there were specially fierce foes to meet, such as the Pathans 
beyond the Indus, the Akalis were always to the front. 

" The Akali is distinguished very conspicuously by his 
dark -blue and checked dress, his peaked turban, often 
surmounted with steel quoits, and by the fact of his strutting 
about like Ali Baba's prince with his ' thorax and abdomen 
festooned with curious cutlery.' He is most particular in 
retaining the five Kakkas, and in preserving every outward 
form prescribed by Guru Govind Singh. Some of the 
Akalis wear a yellow turban underneath the blue one, leaving 
a yellow band across the forehead. The yellow turban is 
1 Punjab Census Report (1891), para. 107. 



7. The 
or Guru- 
Their com 

worn by many Sikhs at the Basant Panchmi, and the Akalis 
are fond of wearing it at all times. There is a couplet by 
Bhai Gurdas which says : 

Stall, Sufed, Surkh, Zardae, 
Jo pahne, sot Giirbhaij 

or, * Those that wear black (the Akalis), white (the Nirmalas), 
red (the Udasis) or yellow, are all members of the brother- 
hood of the Sikhs.' 

" The Akalis do not, it is true, drink spirits or eat meat 
as other Sikhs do, but they are immoderate in the consump- 
tion of bhang. They are in other respects such purists 
that they will avoid Hindu rites even in their marriage 

" The Akali is full of memories of the glorious day of 
the Khalsa ; and he is nothing if he is not a soldier, a 
soldier of the Guru. He dreams of armies, and he thinks in 
lakhs. If he wishes to imply that five Akalis are present, 
he will say that ' five lakhs are before you ' ; or if he would 
explain he is alone, he will say that he is with ' one and 
a quarter lakhs of the Khalsa.' You ask him how he is, 
and he replies that ' The army is well ' ; you inquire where 
he has come from, and he says, ' The troops marched from 
Lahore.' The name Akali means ' immortal.' When 
Sikhism was politically dominant, the Akalis were accus- 
tomed to extort alms by accusing the principal chiefs of 
crimes, imposing fines upon them, and in the event of their 
refusing to pay, preventing them from performing their 
ablutions or going through any of the religious ceremonies 
at Amritsar." 

The following account was given by Sir J. Malcolm of 
the Guru-Mata or great Council of the Sikhs and their 
religious meal : ^ " When a Guru-Mata or great national 
Council is called on the occasion of any danger to the 
country, all the Sikh chiefs assemble at Amritsar. The 
assembly is convened by the Akalis ; and when the chiefs 
meet upon this solemn occasion it is concluded that all 
private animosities cease, and that every man sacrifices his 
personal feelings at the shrine of the general good. 

' Accounl of the Sikhs, Asiatic Researches. 


" When the chiefs and principal leaders are seated, the 
Adi-Granth and Dasama Padshah Ka Granth ^ are placed 
before them. They all bend their heads before the Scriptures 
and exclaim, ' Wah Gtiruji ka Khdlsa ! zuah Guriiji ka 
Fateh ! ' ' A great quantity of cakes made of wheat, butter 
and sugar are then placed before the volumes of their sacred 
writings and covered with a cloth. These holy cakes, which 
are in commemoration of the injunction of Nanak to eat and 
to give to others to eat, next receive the salutation of the 
assembly, who then rise, while the Akalis pray aloud and 
the musicians play. The Akalis, when the prayers are 
finished, desire the Council to be seated. They sit down, 
and the cakes are uncovered and eaten by all classes of the 
Sikhs, those distinctions of tribe and caste which are on 
other occasions kept up being now laid aside in token of 
their general and complete union in one cause. The Akalis 
proclaim the Guru-Mata, and prayers are again said aloud. 
The chiefs after this sit closer and say to each other, ' The 
sacred Granth is between us, let us swear by our Scriptures 
to forget all internal disputes and to be united.' This 
moment of religious fervour is taken to reconcile all ani- 
mosities. They then proceed to consider the danger with 
which they are threatened, to devise the best plans for 
averting it and to choose the generals who are to lead their 
armies against the common enemy." The first Guru-Mata 
was assembled by Guru Govind, and the latest was called in 
1805, when the British Army pursued Holkar into the 
Punjab. The Sikh Army was known as Dal Khalsa, or the 
Army of God, khdlsa being an Arabic word meaning one's 
own.^ At the height of the Sikh power the followers of this 
religion only numbered a small fraction of the population of 
the Punjab, and its strength is now declining. In 191 i the 
Sikhs were only three millions in the Punjab population of 
twenty-four millions. 

Smarta Sect. — This is an orthodox Hindu sect, the 
members of which are largely Brahmans. The name is 

1 Apparently the Scripture of Victory to the Guru.' 
Govind, the tenth guru. '■' Sir Lepel Griffin's Life of Raiijit 

^ ' Hurrah for the Guru's Khalsa, Singh. 



derived from Smriti or tradition, a name given to the Hindu 
sacred writings, with the exception of the Vcdas, which last 
arc regarded as a divine revelation. Members of the sect 
worship the five deities, Siva, Vishnu, Suraj or the sun, 
Ganpati and Sakti, the divine principle of female energy 
corresponding to Siva. They say that their sect was founded 
by Shankar Acharya, the great Sivite reformer and opponent 
of Buddhism, but this appears to be incorrect. Shankar 
Acharya himself is said to have believed in one unseen God, 
who was the first cause and sole ruler of the universe ; but 
he countenanced for the sake of the weaker brethren the 
worship of orthodox Hindu deities and of their idols. 

I. The 

2. Tenets 
of the sect. 

Swami-Narayan Sect.^ — This, one of the most modern 
Vaishnava sects, was founded by Sahajanand Swami, a 
Sarwaria Brahman, born near Ajodhia in the United Pro- 
vinces in A.D. 1780. At an early age he became a religious 
mendicant, and wandered all over India, visiting the principal 
shrines. When twenty years old he was made a Sadhu of 
the Ramanandi order, and soon nominated as his successor 
by the head of the order. He preached with great success 
in Gujarat, and though his tenets do not seem to have 
differed much from the Ramanandi creed, his personal 
influence was such that his followers founded a new sect and 
called it after him. He proclaimed the worship of one sole 
deity, Krishna or Narayana, whom he identified with the 
sun, and apparently his followers held, and he inclined to 
believe himself, that he was a fresh incarnation of Vishnu. 
It is said that he displayed miraculous powers before his 
disciples, entrancing whomsoever he cast his eyes upon, and 
causing them in this mesmeric state (Samadhi) to imagine 
they saw Sahajanand as Krishna with- yellow robes, weapons 
of war, and other characteristics of the God, and to behold 
him seated as chief in an assembly of divine beings. 

His creed prohibited the destruction of animal life ; the 
use of animal food and intoxicating liquors or drugs on any 
occasion ; promiscuous intercourse with the other sex ; 

* Based on the account of the sect Swat/ii-N'fn-aj'an SectY>a.m\A\\c\.,\)Y\r\{cd 
in the volume, Hindus of Gujarat, at the Education Society's Press, Bom- 
of the Bombay Gazetteer, and The bay, 1887. 


suicide, theft and robbery, and false accusations, I\Iuch 
good was done, the Collector testified, by his preaching 
among the wild Kolis of Gujarat ; ' his morality was said to 
be far better than any which could be learned from the 
Shastras ; he condemned theft and bloodshed ; and those 
villages and Districts which had received him, from being 
among the worst, were now among the best and most 
orderly in the Province of Bombay, His success was great 
among the lower castes, as the Kolis, Bhils and Kathis. He 
was regarded by his disciples as the surety of sinners, his 
position in this respect resembling that of the Founder of 
Christianity, To Bishop Heber he said that while he per- 
mitted members of different castes to eat separately here 
below, in the future life there would be no distinction of 
castes.""^ His rules for the conduct of the sexes towards 
each other were especially severe. No Sadhu of the Swami- 
Narayan sect might ever touch a woman, even the accidental 
touching of any woman other than a mother having to be 
expiated by a whole-day fast. Similarly, should a widow- 
disciple touch even a boy who was not her son, she had to 
undergo the same penalty. There were separate passages 
for women in their large temples, and separate reading and 
preaching halls for women, attended by wives of the Acharyas 
or heads of the sect. These could apparently be married, 
but other members of the priestly order must remain single; 
while the lay followers lived among their fellows, pursuing 
their ordinary lives and avocations. The strictness of the 
Swami on sexual matters was directed against the licentious 
practices of the Maharaj or Vallabhacharya order. He 
boldly denounced the irregularities they had introduced into 
their forms of worship, and exposed the vices which charac- 
terised the lives of their clergy. This attitude, as well as 
the prohibition of the worship of idols, earned for him the 
hostility of the Peshwa and the Maratha Brahmans, and he 
was subjected to a considerable degree of persecution ; his 
followers were taught the Christian doctrine of suffering 

1 Bishop Heber's Narrative of a because in the Bombay Gazetteer the 
Journey through the Upper Proinnces, Swami is said to have prohibited the 
pp. 143, 153. taking of food with low-caste people, 

2 The Stvami-Narayan Sect, pp. 4, and caste pollution ; and this appears 
22. The above details are given, incorrect. 


injury without retaliation, and the devotees of hostile sects 
took advantage of this to beat them unmercifully, some 
being even put to death. 
3. Meeting In Order to protect the Swami, his followers constituted 

Bishop f^rom themselves an armed guard, as shown by Bishop Ileber's 
Heber. account of their meeting : " About eleven o'clock I had the 
expected visit from Swami-Narayan. He came in a some- 
what different guise from all which I expected, having with 
him near 200 horsemen, mostly well-armed with matchlocks 
and swords, and several of them with coats of mail and 
spears. Besides them he had a large rabble on foot with 
bows and arrows, and when I considered that I had my- 
self an escort of more than fifty horses and fifty muskets 
and bayonets, I could not help smiling, though my sensa- 
tions were in some degree painful and humiliating, at the 
idea of two religious teachers meeting at the head of 
little armies, and filling the city which was the scene of 
their interview with the rattling of gunners, the clash of 
shields and the tramp of the war-horse. Had our troops 
been opposed to each other, mine, though less numerous, 
would have been doubtless far more effective from the 
superiority of arms and discipline. But in moral grandeur 
what a difference was there between his troop and mine. 
Mine neither knew me nor cared for me ; they escorted me 
faithfully and would have defended me bravely, because they 
were ordered by their superiors to do so. The guards of 
Swami-Narayan were his own disciples and enthusiastic 
admirers, men who had voluntarily repaired to hear his 
lessons, who now took a pride in doing him honour, and 
would cheerfully fight to the last drop of blood rather than 
suffer a fringe of his garment to be handled roughly. . . . 
The holy man himself was a middle-aged, thin and plain- 
looking person, about my own age, with a mild expression 
of countenance, but nothing about him indicative of any 
extraordinary talent. I seated him on a chair at my right 
hand and offered two more to the Thakur and his son, of 
which, however, they did not avail themselves without first 
placing their hands under the feet of their spiritual guide 
and then pressing them reverently to their foreheads." 

Owing, apparently, to the high moral character of his 


preaching and his success in reducing to order and tran- 4- Meeting 
quillity the turbulent Kolis and Bhlls who accepted his (jovernor 
doctrines, Swami-Narayan enjoyed a large measure of esteem of Bombay, 
and regard from the officers of Government. This will be 
evidenced from the following account of his meeting with 
the Governor of Bombay : ^ " On the receipt of the above two 
letters, Swami-Narayan Maharaj proceeded to Rajkote to 
visit the Right Honourable the Governor, and on the 26th 
February 1830 was escorted as a mark of honourable 
reception by a party of troops and military foot-soldiers 
to the Political Agent's bungalow, when His Excellency 
the Governor, the Secretary, Mr. Thomas Williamson, six 
other European gentlemen, and the Political Agent, Mr. 
Blane, having come out of the bungalow to meet the 
Swami - Narayan, His Excellency conducted the Swami, 
hand in hand, to a hall in the bungalow and made him 
sit on a chair. His Excellency afterwards with pleasure 
enquired about the principles of his religion, which were 
communicated accordingly. His Excellency also made a 
present to Swami-Narayan of a pair of shawls and other 
piece-goods. Swami-Narayan was asked by the Governor 
whether he and his disciples have had any harm under 
British rule ; and His Excellency was informed in reply 
that there was nothing of the sort, but that on the contrary 
every protection was given them by all the officers in authority. 
His Excellency then asked for a code of the religion of 
Swami-Narayan, and the book called the Shiksapatri was 
presented to him accordingly. Thus after a visit extending 
to an hour Swami-Narayan asked permission to depart, 
when he was sent back with the same honours with which 
he had been received, all the European officers accompany- 
ing him out of the door from the bungalow." 

The author of the above account is not given, and it 5. Conciu- 
apparently emanates from a follower of the saint, but there 
seems little reason to doubt its substantial accuracy, and it 
certainly demonstrates the high estimation in which he was 
held. After his death his disciples erected Chauras or rest- 
houses and monuments to his memory in all the villages 
and beneath all the trees where he had at any time made 

' The Swami- Narayan Sect, p. 25. 


any stay in Gujarat ; and here he is worshipped by the sect. 
In 1 90 1 the sect had about 300,000 adherents in Gujarat. 
In the Central Provinces a number of persons belong to it 
in Nimar, principally of the Teli caste. The Telis of Nimar 
are anxious to improve their social position, which is very 
low, and have probably joined the sect on account of its 
liberal principles on the question of caste. 

I. Vishnu Vaishnava, Vishnuite Sect. — The name given to Hindus 
as repre- ^yj^Qgg special deity is the god Vishnu, and to a number of 

senting \ •' ° _ _' 

the sun. sccts wliich havc adopted various special doctrines based on 
the worship of Vishnu or of one of his two great incarna- 
tions, Rama and Krishna. Vishnu was a personification of 
the sun, though in ancient literature the sun is more often 
referred to under another name, as Savitri, Surya and Aditya. 
It may perhaps be the case that when the original sun-god 
develops into a supreme deity with the whole heavens as 
his sphere, the sun itself comes to be regarded as a separate 
and minor deity. His weapon of the cliakra or discus, which 
was probably meant to resemble the sun, supports the view 
of Vishnu as a sun-god, and also his vdhan, the bird Garuda, 
on which he rides. This is the Brahminy kite, a fine bird 
with chestnut plumage and white head and breast, which 
has been considered a sea-eagle. Mr. Dewar states that it 
remains almost motionless at a great height in the air for 
long periods ; and it is easy to understand how in these 
circumstances primitive people mistook it for the spirit of 
the sky, or the vehicle of the sun-god. It is propitious for 
a Hindu to see a Brfdiminy kite, especially on Sunday, the 
sun's day, for it is believed that the bird is then returning 
from Vishnu, whom it has gone to see on the previous even- 
ing.^ A similar belief has probably led to the veneration of 
the eagle in other countries and its association with the god 
of the sky or heavens, as in the case of Zeus, Similarly the 
Gayatri, the most sacred Hindu prayer, is addressed to the 
sun, and it could hardly have been considered so important 
unless the luminary was identified with one of the greatest 
Hindu gods. Every Brahman prays to the sun daily when 
he bathes in the morning. Vishnu's character as the pre- 

' Bombay Ducks, p. 194. 

.'■■riiiy.KU-, Coilo., Do by. 



server and fosterer of life is probably derived from the sun's 
generative power, so conspicuous in India. 

As the sun is seen to sink every night into the earth, so 2. His 
it was thought that he could come down to earth, and Vishnu J"'^''^''"^" 

^_ _ ' tions. 

has done this in many forms for the preservation of man- 

He is generally considered to have had ten incarnations, 
of which nine are past and one is still to come. The 
incarnations were as follows : 

1. As a great fish he guided the ark in which Manu the 
primeval man escaped from the deluge. 

2. As a tortoise he supported the earth and poised it in 
its present position ; or according to another version he lay 
at the bottom of the sea while the mountain INIeru was set 
on its peak on his back, and with the serpent Vasuki as a 
rope round the mountain the ocean was churned by the gods 
for making the divine Amrit or nectar which gives immor- 

3. As a boar he dived under the sea and raised the 
earth on his tusks after it had been submerged by a 

4. As Narsingh, the man-lion, he delivered the world 
from the tyranny of another demon. 

5. As Waman or a dwarf he tricked the King Bali, who 
had gained possession over the earth and nether world and 
was threatening the heavens, by asking for as much ground 
as he could cover in three steps. When his request was 
derisively granted he covered heaven and earth in two steps, 
but on Bali's intercession left him the nether regions and 
refrained from making the third step which would have 
covered tlicm. 

6. As Parasurama ^ he cleared the earth of the Kshat- 
riyas, who had oppressed the r>ra]iman hermits and stolen 
the sacred cow, bj' a slaughter of them thrice seven times 

7. As Rama, the divine king of Ajodhia or Oudh, he led 
an expedition to Ceylon for the recovery of his wite Sita, 
who had been abducted by Rawan, the demon king of 

' For a suggested explanation of the myth of ravasur.iina sec article 
Pan war RajpQt. 


Ceylon. This story probably refers to an early expedition 
of the Aryans to southern India, in which they may have 
obtained the assistance of the Munda tribes, represented by 
Hanuman and his army of apes. 

8. As Krishna he supported the Pandavas in their war 
against the Kauravas, and at the head of the Yadava clan 
founded the city of Dwarka in Gujarat, where he was after- 
wards killed. The popular group of legends about Krishna 
in his capacity of a cowherd in the forests of Mathura was 
perhaps at first distinct and afterwards combined with the 
story of the Yadava prince.^ But it is in this latter char- 
acter as the divine cowherd that Krishna is most generally 
known and worshipped. 

9. As Buddha he was the great founder of the religion 
known by his name ; the Brahmans, by making Buddha an 
incarnation of Vishnu, have thus provided a connecting link 
between Buddhism and Hinduism. 

In his tenth incarnation he will come again as Nishka- 

lanki or the stainless one for the final regeneration of the 

world, and his advent is expected by some Hindus, who 

worship him in this form. 

3. Wor- In the Central Provinces Vishnu is worshipped as 

Vishnu and Narayan Deo, who is identified with the sun, or as Parmesh- 

Vaishnava yy^r, the supreme beneficent god. He is also much wor- 

doctrines. ..... . t-, _ •, -rr • ^ 1 1 • 

shipped m his incarnations as Kama and Krishna, and their 
images, with those of their consorts, Sita and Radha, are 
often to be found in his temples as well as in their own. 
These images are supposed to be subject to all the condi- 
tions and necessities incident to living humanity. Hence in 
the daily ritual they are washed, dressed, adorned and even 
fed like human beings, food being daily placed before them, 
and its aroma, according to popular belief, nourishing the 
god present in the image. 

The principal Vishnuite sects are described in the article 
on Bairagi, and the dissenting sects which have branched off 
from these in special articles." The cult of Vishnu and his 
two main incarnations is the most prominent feature of 
modern Hinduism. The orthodox Vaishnava sects mainly 

' Sec also article Ahlr. 
2 Kabirpanthi, Nanakpanthi, Dadupanthi, Swami-Narayan, etc. 

1 VAM-MARGI sect 333 

differed on the point whether the human soul or spirit was a 
part of the divine soul or separate from it, and whether it 
would be reabsorbed into the divine soul, or have a separate 
existence after death. But they generally regarded all 
human souls as of one quality, and hence were opposed to 
distinctions of caste. Animals also have souls or spirits, and 
the Vishnuite doctrine is opposed to the destruction of 
animal life in any form. In the Bania caste the practices of 
Vaishnava Hindus and Jains present so little difference that 
they can take food together, and even intermarry. The 
creed is also opposed to suicide. 

Faithful worshippers of Vishnu will after his death be 
transported to his heaven, Vaikuntha, or to Golaka, the 
heaven of Krishna. The sect - mark of the Vaishnavas 
usually consists of three lines down the forehead, meeting at 
the root of the nose or below it. All three lines may be 
white, or the centre one black or red, and the outside ones 
white. They are made with a kind of clay called Gopi- 
chandan, and are sometimes held to be the impress of 
Vishnu's foot. To put on the sect-mark in the morning is 
to secure the god's favour and protection during the day. 

Vam-Margi, Bam-Marg-i, Vama-Chari Sect^ — A sect 
who follow the worship of the female principle in nature and 
indulge in sensuality at their rites according to the precepts 
of the Tantras. The name signifies ' the followers of the 
crooked or left-handed path.' Their principal sacred text is 
the Rudra-Yamal-Damru Tantra, which is said to have been 
promulgated by Rudra or Siva through his Damru or drum 
at the end of his dance in Kailas, his heaven in the Hima- 
layas. The Tantras, according to Professor Monier-Williams, 
inculcate an exclusive worship of Siva's wife as the source of 
every kind of supernatural faculty and mystic craft. The 
principle of female energy is known as Sakti, and is personi- 
fied in the female counterparts of all the Gods of the Hindu 
triad, but is practically concentrated in Devi or Kali. The 
five requisites for Tantra worship are said to be the five 
Makaras or words beginning with M : Madya, wine ; Mansa, 

1 This article is based on Professor Iccted by Munshi Kanhya Lai of the 
Wilson's Hindu Sects, M. Chevrillon's Gazetteer Office. 
RoDiantic India, and some notes col- 


flesh ; Matsya, fish ; Muclra, parched grain and mystic 
gesticulation ; and Maithuna, sexual indulgence. Among 
the Vam-Margis both men and women are said to assemble 
at a secret" meeting- place, arid their rite consists in the 
adoration of a naked woman who stands in the centre of the 
room with a drawn sword in her hand. The worshippers 
then eat fish, meat and grain, and drink liquor, and there- 
after indulge in promiscuous debauchery. The followers 
of the sect are mainly Brahmans, though other castes 
may be admitted. The Vam-Margis usually keep their 
membership of the sect a secret, but their special mark is 
said to be a semicircular line or lines of red powder or 
vermilion on the forehead, with a red streak half-way up the 
centre, and a circular spot of red at the root of the nose. 
They use a rosary of rudraksha or of coral beads, but of no 
greater length than can be concealed in the hand, or they 
keep it in a small purse or bag of red cloth. During 
worship they wear a piece of red silk round the loins and 
decorate themselves with garlands of crimson flowers. In 
their houses they worship a figure of the double triangle 
drawn on the ground or on a metal plate and make offerings 
of liquor to it. 

They practise various magical charms by which they 
think they can kill their enemies. Thus fire is brought from 
the pyre on which a corpse has been burnt, and on this the 
operator pours water, and with the charcoal so obtained he 
makes a figure of his enemy in a lonely place under a pipal 
tree or on the bank of a river. He then takes an iron bar, 
twelve finger-joints long, and after repeating his charms 
pierces the figure with it. When all the limbs have been 
pierced the man whose efifigy has been so treated will die. 
Other methods will procure the death of an enemy in a 
certain number of months or cause him to lose a limb. 
Sometimes they make a rosary of io8 fruits of the dhatura^ 
and pierce the figure of the enemy through the neck after 
repeating charms, and it is supposed that this will kill him 
at once. 

1 Dhatura alba, a plant sacred to Siva, whose seed is a powerful narcotic, 
and is used to poison travellers. 


Wahhabi Sect.' — A puritan sect of Miihammadans. The 
sect was not recorded at the census, but it is probable that 
it has a few adherents in the Central Provinces. The 
Wahhabi sect is named after its founder, Muhammad Abdul 
Wahhab, who was born in Arabia in A.D. 1691. He set 
his face against all developments of Islam not warranted 
by the Koran and the traditional utterances of the Com- 
panions of the Prophet, afld against the belief in omens 
and worship at the shrines of saints, and condemned as 
well all display of wealth and luxury and the use of in- 
toxicating drugs and tobacco. He denied any authority 
to Islamic doctrines other than the Koran itself and the 
utterances of the Companions of the Prophet who had 
received instruction from his lips, and held that in the 
interpretation and application of them Moslems must exer- 
cise the right of private judgment. The sect met with 
considerable military success in Arabia and Persia, and at 
one time threatened to spread over the Islamic world. The 
following is an account of the taking of Mecca by Saud, 
the grandson of the founder, in 1803: "The sanctity of 
the place subdued the barbarous spirit of the conquerors, 
and not the slightest excesses were committed against the 
people. The stern principles of the reformed doctrines 
were, however, strictly enforced. Piles of green huqqas 
and Persian pipes were collected, rosaries and amulets were 
forcibly taken from the devotees, silk and satin dresses were 
demanded from the wealthy and worldly, and the whole, 
piled up into a heterogeneous mass, were burnt by the 
infuriated reformers. So strong was the feeling against 
the pipes and so necessary did a public example seem to 
be, that a respectable lady, whose delinquency had well- 
nigh escaped the vigilant eye of the Muhtasib, was seized 
and placed on an ass, with a green pipe suspended from 
her neck, and paraded through the public streets — a terrible 
warning to all of her sex who might be inclined to indulge 
in forbidden luxuries. When the usual hour of prayer 
arrived the myrmidons of the law sallied forth, and with 
leathern whips drove all slothful Moslems to their devotions. 

1 This article consists entirely of ex- sect in the Rev. T. P. Hughes' Diction- 
tracts from the article on the Wahhabi ary of Islam. 


The mosques were filled. Never since the days of the 
Prophet had the sacred city witnessed so much piety and 
devotion. Not one pipe, not a single tobacco-stopper, was 
to be seen in the streets or found in the houses, and the 
whole population of Mecca prostrated themselves at least 
five times a day in solemn adoration." 

The apprehensions of the Sultan of Turkey were aroused 
and an army was despatched against the Wahhabis, which 
broke their political power, their leader, Saud's son, being 
executed in Constantinople in 1 8 1 8. But the tenets of 
the sect continued to be maintained in Arabia, and in 1822 
one Saiyad Ahmad, a freebooter and bandit from Rai 
Bareli, was converted to it on a pilgrimage to Mecca and 
returned to preach its doctrines in India. Being a Saiyad 
and thus a descendant of the Prophet, he was accepted by 
the Muhammadans of India as the true Khalifa or Mahdi, 
awaited by the Shiahs. Unheeded by the British Govern- 
ment, he traversed our provinces with a numerous retinue 
of devoted disciples and converted the populace to his 
reformed doctrine by thousands, Patna becoming a centre 
of the sect. In 1826 he declared 2l jihad ox religious war 
against the Sikhs, but after a four years' struggle was 
defeated and killed. The sect gave some trouble in the 
Mutiny, but has not since taken any part in politics. Its 
reformed doctrines, however, have obtained a considerable 
vogue, and still exercise a powerful influence on Muham- 
madan thought. The Wahhabis deny the aiithority of 
Islamic tradition after the deaths of the Companions of 
the Prophet, do not illuminate or pay reverence to the 
shrines of departed saints, do not celebrate the birthday of 
Muhammad, count the ninety-nine names of God on their 
fingers and not on a rosary, and do not smoke. 



Note. — In this Glossary the references under each heading are to the 
detailed articles on castes, religions and sects, in Part \. and Part II. 
of the work. The synonyms, subcastes and titles have been taken 
from the main articles and are arranged here in index form as an aid 
to identification. Section or clan names, however, will not usually 
be found in the main articles. They have been selected from an 
alphabetical list prepared separately, and are included as being of some 
interest, in addition to those contained in the articles. The Glossary 
also serves the purpose of indicating how subcaste and clan names are 
common to several castes and tribes. 



AbhimanchkiiL—A. section of Komti 
in Chanda. They abstain from using 
a preparation of lead which is 
generally ground to ' powder and 
applied to wounds. 

Abhlra. — An immigrant nomad tribe 
from which the modern Ahir caste 
is believed to have originated. A 
division of Maratha and Gujarati 
Brahmans, so called because they 
are priests of the Abhiras or the 
modern Ahirs. 

Abdhut. — Name for a religious mendi- 
cant. Applied to Gosains, q.v. 

Acharya, Acharaj. — (Superintendent of 
ceremonies.) Title of the heads of 
the Swami-Narayan sect. A sur- 
name of Adi Gaur Brahmans in 

A subcaste of Telis 
be illegitimate in 

considered to 

Adhaighar^ Arhaighar. — {z\ houses.) 
A subdivision of Saraswat Brahmans. 

Adhali. — A name given to Malyars by 

Adiganr. — A subdivision of Brahman, 
probably a branch of the Gaur Brah- 
mans, though in Saugor they are 
considered to be Kanaujias. 

Adkaiidh, Adikandh. — (Superior 
Khonds.) A subcaste of Khonds, 
being the most Hinduised section of 
this tribe. A title of Khond. 

Adnath, Adinath. — A subdivision of 
Jogi. Adinath was the father of 
Matsyendranath and grandfather of 
Gorakhnath, the first great Jogi. 

Aganmdayan. — A large Tamil cultivating caste, of which a few members 
reside in the Central Provinces in Jubbulpore and Raipur. They are the 
families of Madras sepoys who have retired from regiments stationed in these 
places. The Agamudayans sometimes call themselves by the title of Pillai, 
which means ' Son of a god ' and was formerly reserved to Brahmans. 

Agai-wdla, Agai-wdl. — A subcaste of Ahdria. — Clan of Rajput. Synonym 

Bania. See Bania-Agarwala. 

Agastya. — An eponymous section of 

Aghorpanthi. — Synonym for Aghori. 

Agnihotri. — A surname of Kanaujia 
and Jijhotia Brahmans in Saugor. 
(One who performs the sacrifice to 
Agni or the god of fire. ) 

Agnikida. — A name given to four 
clans of Rajputs said to have been 
born from the fire-pit on Mount Abu. 
See article Panwar Rajput. 

Agi'ahari. — A subcaste of Bania found 
chiefly in Jubbulpore District and 
Raigarh State. Their name has 
been connected with the cities of 
Agra and Agroha. 

Agrajanina. — (First-born.) A syno- 
nym for Brahmans. 

for Sesodia. 

Ahir. — The professional caste of herds- 
men. A clan of Maratha. A sub- 
caste of Rawat and Salewar Koshti 
in Nimar. A subcaste of Bishnoi, 
Gurao, and Sunar. 

Ahirwdr. — A resident of the old town 
of Ahar in the Bulandshahr district. 
Subcaste of Kori. 

Ahivdsi, Ahiwdsi. — (From Ahiwas, 
'The abode of the dragon,' the 
hermitage of Sanbhari Rishi in 
Mathura. ) A Brahmanical or pseudo- 
Brahmanical tribe. They are said 
to be sprung from a Brahman father 
and a Kshatriya mother, and were 
formerly pack -carriers. Found in 
Jubbulpore and the Nerbudda Valley. 

Alike. — (Seduced.) A sept of the 




Uika clan of Gonds in Betrd. They 
are said to be so named because 
their priests once seduced a Dhurwa 
girl, and her son was given this name. 

Aithdna. — A subcaste of Kayasth. 

Ajodhia. — Subcaste of Jadam. 

Ajudhiabdsi. — See Audhia. 

Akali. — Order of Sikh devotees. See 
article Sikh. 

Akhadcti'dle. — A class of Bairagis who 

do not marry. Also .known as 

Akhroti.- — A subdivisiim of Pathans. 

(From akhrot, walnut.) 
Akre. — A bastard Khatik. Title of a 

child a Khatik gets by a woman of 

another caste. 
Alia.- — A grower of the al plant. A 

subcaste of Bania and Kachhi, a 

synonym of Chasa, 

Alia, Alkari. — These terms are derived from the dl or Indian mulberry 
{Morinda citrifolia). The Alias are members of the Kachhi caste who 
formerly grew the dl plant in Nimar for sale to the dyers. Its cultivation 
then yielded a large profit and the Alias devoted themselves golely to it, while 
they excommunicated any of their members who were guilty of selling or 
giving away the seed. The imported alizarin has now almost entirely super- 
seded the indigenous dye, and dl as a commercial product has been driven 
from the market. Alkari is a term applied to Banias and others in the 
Damoh District who were formerly engaged in the cultivation of the dl plant. 
The members of each caste which took to the cultivation of this plant were 
somewhat looked down upon by the others and hence became a distinct group. 
The explanation generally given of the distaste for the crop is that in the 
process of boiling the roots to extract the dye a number of insects have to be 
killed. A further reason is that the red dye is considered to resemble or be 
equivalent to blood, the second idea being a necessary consequence of the first 
in primitive modes of thought, and hence to cause a certain degree of pollution 
to those who prepare it. A similar objection is held to the purveying of lac- 
dye as shown in the article on Lakhera. Notwithstanding this, clothes dyed 
red are considered lucky, and the dl dye was far more commonly used by 
Hindus than any other, prior to the introduction of aniline dyes. Tents were 
also coloured red with this dye. The tents of the Mughal Emperors and 
royal princes were of red cloth dyed with the roots of the dl plant.'' Simi- 
larly Nadir Shah, the victor of Panipat, had his field headquarters and lived 
in one small red tent. In these cases the original reason for colouring the 
tents red may probably have been that it was a lucky colour for battles, and 
the same belief may have led to the adoption of red as a royal and imperial 

Alkari. — Synonym for Alia. 

Altia. — A subcaste of Uriya Brahmans, 
so named because their forefathers 
grew the dlii or potato. 

Anial. — A section of Komti. The 
members of this section do not eat 
the plantain. 

Ambaddr. — (Mango-branch.) A sec- 
tion of Rawat (Ahir). 

Ambashta. — A subcaste of Kayasth, 

Atnethia. — (From Amethi, a pargana 
in Lucknow District.) A sept of 
Rajputs, who are Chauhans accord- 
ing to Sir II. M. Elliott, but others 
say they are a branch of the Chamar 

Amisht. — A subcaste of Kayasth. 

Amndit. — Subcaste of Bhatra. 

Amrite. — (From Amrit nectar.) A 
section of Kirar. 

Anapa. — (Leather-dealers.) Subcaste 
of Madgi. 

Anavala. — A subdivision of Gujarati 
or Khedawal Brahmans. They 
derive their name from' the village 
Anaval in Baroda. They are other- 
wise known as Bhatela, Desai or 

Aiid/ira, Tailanga. — One of the five 
orders of the Panch Dravid Brahmans 
inhabiting the Telugu country. 

An/a>~vedi. — A resident of Antarved or 
the Doab, the tract of land between 
the Ganges and the Jumna rivers. 
Subcaste of Chamar. 

Apaslavibha. — A Sutra of the Vedas. 

^ Irvine, Army of the Mughals, p. i< 



A subdivision of Brahmans following Atharvarvedi, Antlu'n-niarvcdi. — A 
that Sutra and forming a caste sub- subcaste of Brahmans who follow 

division. But they marry with the Atharvar- Veda and are very 

Rig-Vedis, though the Sutra belongs rarely met with, 

to the Black Yajur-Vedi. 
Arab. — This designation is sometimes returned by the descendants of the 
Arab mercenaries of the Bhonsla kings. These were at one time largely 
employed by the different rulers of southern India and made the best of 
soldiers. In the Maratha armies' their rate of pay was Rs. 12 a month, 
while the ordinary infantry received only Rs. 5. General Ilislop stated 
their character as follows : ^ 

" There are perhaps no troops in the world that will make a stouter or 
more determined stand at their posts than the Arabs. They are entirely 
unacquainted with military evolutions, and undisciplined ; but every Arab 
has a pride and heart of his own that never forsakes him as long as he has 
legs to stand on. They are naturally brave and possess the greatest coolness 
and quickness of sight : hardy and fierce through habit, and bred to the use 
of the matchlock from their boyhood : and they attain a precision and skill 
in the use of it that would almost exceed belief, bringing down or wounding 
the smallest object at a considerable distance, and not unfrequently birds 
with a single bullet. They are generally armed with a matchlock, a couple 
of swords, with three or four small daggers stuck in front of their belts, and 
a shield. On common occasions of attack and defence they fire but one 
bullet, but when hard pressed at the breach they drop in two, three, and 
four at a time, from their mouths, always carrying in them from eight to ten 
bullets, which are of a small size. We may calculate the whole number of 
Arabs in the service of the Peshwa and the Berar Raja at 6000 men, a loose 
and undisciplined body, but every man of them a tough and hardy soldier. 
It was to the Arabs alone those Provinces looked, and placed their depend- 
ence on. Their own troops fled and abandoned them, seldom or never 
daring to meet our smallest detachment. Nothing can exceed the horror 
and akrm with which some of our native troops view the Arab. At Nagpur 
in November 181 7 the Arabs alone attacked us on the defence and reduced 
us to the last extremity, when we were saved by Captain Fitzgerald's charge. 
The Arabs attacked us at Koregaon and would have certainly destroyed us 
had not the Peshwa withdrawn his troops on General Smith's approach. 
The Arabs kept General Doveton at bay with his whole army at Nagpur for 
several days, repulsing our attack at the breach, and they gained their 
fullest terms. The Arabs worsted us for a month at Malegaon and saved 
their credit. They terrified the Surat authorities by their fame alone. They 
gained their terms of money from Sir John Malcolm at Asirgarh. They 
maintained to the last for their prince their post at Alamner and nobly 
refused to be bought over there. They attacked us bravely, but unfortu- 
nately at Talner. They attacked Captain Spark's detachment on the defence 
and destroyed it. They attacked a battalion of the 14th Madras Infantry 
with 26-pounders and compelled them to seek shelter in a village ; and they 
gave us a furious wind-up at Asirgarh. Yet the whole of these Arabs were 
not 6000." 

There is no doubt that the Arabs are one of the finest fighting races of the 
world. Their ancestors were the Saracens who gained a great empire in 
Europe and Asia. Their hardihood and powers of endurance are brought to 
the highest pitch by the rigours of desert life, while owing to their lack of 
nervous sensibility the shock and pain of wounds affect them less than 
civilised troops. And in addition their religion teaches that all who die in 

1 Irvine, Army of the Mnghals, p. 232. 
2 Suimnary of the Maratha aiid Pinddri Campaigns, p. 264. 



battle against the infidel are transported straight to a paradise teeming with 
material and sensual delights. Arab troops are still employed in Hyderabad 
State. Mr. Stevens notices them as follows in his book In India : " A gang 
of half-a-dozen, brilliantly dishevelled, a faggot of daggers with an antique 
pistol or two in each belt, and a six-foot matchlock on each shoulder. They 
serve as irregular troops there, and it must be owned that if irregularity is 
what you want, no man on earth can supply it better. The Arab irregulars 
are brought over to serve their time and then sent back to Arabia ; there is 
one at this moment, who is a subaltern in Hyderabad, but as soon as he crosses 
the British border gets a salute of nine guns ; he is a Sheikh in his own 
country near Aden." 

The Arabs who have been long resident here have adopted the ways and 
manners of other Musalmans. Their marriages are in the Nikah form and are 
marked by only one ^ dinner, following the example of the Prophet, who gave 
a dinner at the marriage of his daughter the Lady Fatimah and Ali. In 
obedience to the order of the Prophet a death is followed by no signs of 
mourning. Arabs marry freely with other Sunni Muhammadans and have 
no special social or religious organisation. Tlie battle-cry of the Arabs at 
Sitabaldi and Nagpur was ^ Din, Din, Muhammad.' 

Arakh. — A caste. A subcaste of Aranya. — Name of one of the ten 
Dahait, Gond and Pasi. orders of Gosains. 

Are. — A cultivating caste of the Chanda District, where they numbered 2000 
persons in 191 1. The caste are also found in Madras and Bombay, where 
they commonly return themselves under the name of Marathi ; this name is 
apparently used in the south as a generic term for immigrants from the north, 
just as in the Central Provinces people coming from northern India are 
called Pardeshi. Mr. (Sir H.) Stuart says- that Are is a synonym for Arya, 
and is used as an equivalent of a Maratha and sometimes in a still wider 
sense, apparently to designate an immigrant Aryan into the Dravidian 
country of the south. The Ares of the Central Provinces appear to be 
Kunbis who have migrated into the Telugu country. The names of their 
subcastes are those of the Kunbis, as Khaire, Tirelle, a form of Tirole, and 
Dhanoj for Dhanoje. Other subdivisions are called Kayat and Kattri, and 
these seem to be the descendants of Kayasth and Khatri ancestors. The 
caste admit Brahmans, Banias, and Komtis into the community and seem to 
be, as shown by Mr. Stuart, a mixed group of immigrants from IMahar- 
ashtra into the Telugu country. Some of them wear the sacred thread and 
others do not. Some of their family names are taken from those of animals 
and plants, and they bury persons who die unmarried, placing their feet 
towards the north like the forest tribes. 

A7-ka. — A sept of Gonds in Chanda Annachi. — (The dhaura tree.) A 
who worship the saras crane. totemistic sept of Gonds. 

Arora, Rora. — An important trading and mercantile caste of the Punjab, of 
which a few persons were returned from the Nimar District in 1 90 1. Sir 
D. Ibbetson was of opinion that the Aroras were the Khatris of Aror, the 
ancient capital of Scinde, represented liy the modern Rori. He described 
the Arora as follows:' "Like the Khatri and unlike the Bania he is no 
mere trader ; but his social position is far inferior to theirs, partly no doubt 
because he is looked down upon simply as being a Hindu in the jjortions of 
the Province which are his special habitat. He is commonly known as 
a Kirar, a word almost synonymous with coward, and even more contemptuous 
than is the name Bania in the east of the province. The Arora is aclive and 
enterprising, industrious and thrifty. . . . ' When an Arora girds up his 

' Bombay Gazetteer, vol. ix. part ii. 221. 
p. 16. ■' Punjab Census Rcpo7-t {\%Z\), para. 

2 Madras Census Report (1891), p. 543. 


loins he makes it only two miles from Jhang to Lahore' He will turn his 
hand to any work, he makes a most admirable cultivator, and a larijo 
proportion of the Aroras of the lower Chenab are purely agricultural in their 
avocations. He is found throughout Afghanistan and even Turkistan and is 
the Hindu trader of those countries ; wdiile in the western Punjab he will 
sew clothes, weave matting and baskets, make vessels of brass and copper 
and do goldsmith's work. But he is a terrible coward, and is so branded in 
the proverbs of the countryside : The thieves were four and we eighty-four ; 
the thieves came on and we ran away ; and again : To meet a Rathi armed 
with a hoe makes a company of nine Kirars (Aroras) feel alone. Yet the 
peasant has a wholesome dread of the Kirar when in his proper place : Vex 
not the Jat in his jungle, nor the Kirar at his shop, nor the boatman at his 
ferry ; for if you do tiiey will break your head. Again : Trust not a crow, 
a dog or a Kirar, even when asleep. So again : You can't make a friend of 
a Kirar any more than a sati of a prostitute." 

Asdthi. — A subcaste of Bania. They 
are both Jains and Hindus. 

Ashram. — Name of one of the ten 
orders of Gosains. 

Ashthdna. — -A subcaste of Kayasth. 

Athdradesia. — (A man of eighteen 
districts.) Subcaste of Banjara. 

Athbhaiya. — (Eight brothers.) A 

subdivision of Saraswat Brahman in 
Hoshangabad. An Athbhaiya cannot 
take a wife from the Chaubhaiya 
subdivision, to whom the former 
give their daughters in marriage. 

Athia. — A subcaste of Chadar, so 
named because they worship their 
goddess Devi on the 8th day 
(Athain) of Kunwar (September), 
and correspond to the Brahmanical 
Sakta sect, as opposed to the other 
Chadar subcaste Parmasuria, who 
correspond to the Vaishnavas. 

Atidhalia. — Synonym for Audhelia. 

Andk/'a, Ajiidhiabdsi. — A resident of 
Oudh. Subcaste of Bania and of 
Kasar and Sunar. 

Aiidichya. — A subcaste of Brahmans 
coming from Oudh. 

Attghad. — A subdivision of Jogi. 
They resemble the Aghoris with 
the difference that they may not 
eat human flesh. 

Aughar. — A subdivision of Jogi. 

Aukule. — A subcaste of Koshtis. They 
are also called Vidurs, being of 
mixed descent from Koshtas and 
other castes. 

Aidia. — (A favourite of God.) Title of 
Muhammadan saints. 

Bdba. — Synonym of Gosain. 

Bdbhan. — Synonym for Bhuinhar, being 
the name of a landholding caste in 
Bengal. Used as a title by Bhuiyas. 

Bdbiidn. — Title for the descendants of 
the former ruling families of the 
Chero tribe. 

Bachhalya, Backhap, Bachhilia. — 
(From hachka, a calf) A section 
of Bania, Chadar and Khangiir. 
A section of Patwa in Raipur. They 
do not castrate bullocks. 

Bad. — (High or great.) Subcaste of 
Agharia and Sudh. 

Bad or Bhdnd. — A caste. Title of 

Bad. — (Banyan tree.) A section of 

Badaria.- — (From badar, cloud.) A 
section of Kandera. 

Badgainya. — (From Badgaon [bara 
gaon), a large village.) A surname 
of Sarwaria Brahmans. A section 
of Basdewa, Gadaria and Kurmi. 

Badgfijar. — (From bada, great.) One 
of the thirty-six royal races of Raj- 
puts. A subcaste of Gujar, also 
of Gaur Brahman. A section of 

Badhaiya. — (Barhai, carpenter.) A 
subcaste of Lohar and Kol. A 
sept of Savar. 

Badhdria.- — A resident of Badhas in 
Mirzapur. Subcaste of Bahna and 

Bddi. — (A. rope-walker.) Synonym of 

Badkur. — Title used in the Dhobi 

Badwdik. — (The great ones.) A sub- 
caste of Mana. A title of Dhobi 
and Pan or Ganda. 

Bagaria. — (A young buffalo.) A sept 
of Dhanwar and Sonkar. 

Bdgh, Bdghwa. — (Tiger.) A totem- 
istic sept of Ahir, Bhatra, Kawar, 



Munda, Oraon, Sonkar, Teli and 

Baghel, Baghela.—[K tiger or tiger- 
cub.) A clan of Rajputs which has 
given its name to Baghcllchand. A 
subcasle of Audhia Sunar and 
Chamar. A section of Bhilala, 
Dhanwar, Gond, Lodhi, Mali, and 
Panwar Rajput. 

BaghmCir, Baglunarya, Bagmar. — (A 
tiger-slayer.) A section of Oswal 
Bania, Basor, Chamar, Dhimar, 
Koilabhuti Gond, and Teli. A 

subsept of Nika Gonds in Betul, 
who abstain from killing tigers. 

Bdgri.- — A clan of Rajputs. A sub- 
caste of Jat. One of the 72^ 
sections of Maheshri Banias. 
People belonging to the Badhak or 
Bawaria, and Pardhi castes are 
sometimes known by this name. 

Bahargahiyan. — (From Bahar gaon, 
outside the village.) A subcaste of 

Baharketu. — (Bush-cutter.) A sub- 
caste of Korwa. 

Bahelia. — The caste of fowlers and hunters in northern India. In the 
Central Provinces the Bahelias are not to be distinguished from the Pardhis, 
as they have the same set of exogamous groups named after the Rajput clans, 
and resemble them in all other respects. The word Bahelia is derived from 
the Sanskrit Vyadha, ' one who pierces or wounds,' hence a hunter. Pardhi 
is derived from the MarathI paradh, hunting. The latter term is more 
commonly used in the Central Provinces, and has therefore been chosen as 
the title of the article on the caste. 

Bdhre. — (Outside the walls.) A sub- Bahrup. — Subcaste of Banjara. 
division of Khedawal Brahmans. 

Bahrupia. — A small class of mendicant actors and quick-change artists. They 
are recruited from all classes of the population, and though a distinct caste 
of Bahrupias appears to exist, people of various castes also call themselves 
Bahrupia when they take to this occupation. In Berar the Mahar, Mang 
and Maratha divisions of the Bahrupias are the most common : ^ the former 
two Ijegging only from the castes from which they take their name. In 
Gujarat they appear to be principally Muhammadans. Sir D. Ibbetson says 
of them : - " The name is derived from the Sanskrit bahu, many, and riipa, 
form, and denotes an actor, a mimic or one who assumes many forms or 
characters. One of their favourite devices is to ask for money, and when it 
is refused to ask that it may be given if the Bahrupia succeeds in deceiving 
the person who refused it. Some days later the Bahrupia will again visit 
the house in the disguise of a pedlar, a milkman or what not, sell his goods 
without being detected, throw off his disguise and claim the stipulated 
reward." In Gujarat "they are ventriloquists and actors with a special skill 
of dressing one side of their face like a man and the other side like a woman, 
and moving their head about so sharply that they seem to be two persons." ^ 
Mr. Kitts states that " the men are by profession story-tellers and mimics, 
imitating the voices of men and the notes of animals ; their male children are 
also trained to dance. In payment for their entertainment they are frequently 
content with cast-off clothes, which will of course be of use to them in 
assuming other characters."'* Occasionally also they dress up in European 
clothes and can successfully assume the character of a Eurasian. 

Baid. — (Physician.) A surname of Bajania.- — (One who plays on musical 
Sanadhia and Maratha Brahmans in instruments.) Subcaste of Panka. 

Saugor. A section of Oswal Bania, 

and Darzi. 
Bairagi. — A caste or religious order. 

Subcaste of Bhat. 
Bais. — A clan of Rajputs. 

Bajanya. — (Drummer.) A subcaste 

of Panka in Balaghat. 
Bajdrha. — (Bazar.) A section of 

Daraiha in Bilaspur. 

^ Berdr Census Report {r%Zx), p. 128. 
^ Punjab Census lieport (1881), para. 

2 Khan Bahadur Lutfullah Faridi in 
Bombay Gazetteer, Muh. Guj. 
* Berdr Census Report, ibidem. 




Bajna, Bajgari. — (Musicians at feasts 
and marriages. ) Subcaste of Ganda. 

Bajpai. — (A priest ofFidating at tiie 
horse sacrifice.) A surname of 
Kanaujia Brahmans. A section of 
Brahmans. Title of some old 
families whose ancestors were sacri- 
ficial priests. 

Bakar Kasai. — (Goat -butcher. ) A 
subcaste of Khatlk. 

Bah-a. — (Goat.) A totemistic sept of 
Bhatra and Halba. 

Baksaria. — From Buxar in Bengal. 
A clan of Rajputs. A section of 
Daraiha and Lodhi. 

Balla. — One of the 36 Rajkuls or 
royal clans of Rajputs noted in Tod's 

Balnlk. — Subcaste of Kayasth. 

BalTisiidia. — (Shaven.) Titleof Khond. 

Bdlnteddr. — Name for a village menial 
in Berar. Title of Dhobi. 

Bahvanda. — (Quarrelsome. ) A section 
of Teli. 

Bain-Mdrgi. — Synonym for the Vam- 
Margi sect. 

Banian or Brahman. Subcaste of 
Bishnoi, Darzi and Gondhali. 

Bdinania. — (From Brahman.) A 
section of Ahlr. They do not 
touch the pipal tree. A section of 
Mahar and of Rajjhar in Hoshanga- 

Bdmhan Gokt or Brdhmaii Go2tr. — A 
clan of Rajputs in Saugor and 

Bdmhania. — A subcaste of Kasar, 
from Idamhan or Brahman. A section 
of Kalia. 

Bdiiuiaiha. — (Belonging to a Bralim;in.) 
A section of Basor. 

Bandpliar, Bandfar. — A clan of 
Rajputs. A section of Daharia. 

Banbhainsa. — (Wild buffalo.) A 
section of Ravvat (Ahlr). 

Banda. — (Tailless.) A .section of 

Bdnda Bdgh. — (Tailless tiger. ) A 
section of Teli. 

Bandar. — (A rocket-thrower.) Syno- 
nym of Kadera. 

Banda7-wdle. — (One who catches 
monkeys. ) — Subcaste of Pardhi. 

Bandesia. — (A man of 52 districts.) 
Subcaste of Banjara. 

Bandliaiya. — A subcaste of Nunia who 
confine themselves to the excavation 
of tanks and wells. Also a subcaste 
of Dhimar. 

Bandhaiya. — (From Bandhogarh.) 
Subcaste of Nai. 

Bandhia — (From bdndh, an embank- 
ment.) A subcaste of Darzi and 
Dhimar. A section of Chamar. 

Bandrele. — (Monkey.) A section of 
Basor, and Barai. 

Banghore. — (Wild horses.) A section 
of Dom (Mehtar). 

Bania. — A caste. Subcaste of Bishnoi. 
A synonym of Suniir in Sambalpur. 
A subcaste of Banjara. A section 
of Nandvansi Gauli. 

Banka. — A small caste found principally in the Kalahandl Stale which now 
forms part of Bengal. The caste was formed from military service like the 
Khandaits, Paiks and Marathas, and some families bear the names of 
different castes, as Brahman Banka, Kumhar Biinka, and so on. They were 
formerly notorious freebooters, but have now settled down to cultivation. 
Each man, however, still carries a sword or knife on his person, and in 
Kalahandl they are permitted to do this without taking out a licence. 

Banka. — (One who frequents se- Banda. — (From band/, a red woollen 

questered parts of forests.) A sept 

of Korku. 
Bdnsberia. — (One who performs acro- 
batic feats on a stick or bamboo.) 

Synonym of Kolhati. 
Bansia. — (Angler.) From bansi, a 

fishing-hook. Subcaste of Dhimar. 
Bdnsphor. — (A breaker of bamboos.) 

Synonym of Basor. Subcaste of 

Mehtar and Mahli. 
Bdnstalai. — (A tank with bamboo trees 

on its bank.) A section of Teli. 
Bant. — Subcaste of Dhimar. 

blanket.) A section of 0.swal Bania. 

Baone or Baonia. — From the phrase 
Rdtvan Berdr, a term applied tf) the 
Province by the Mughals, because it 
paid fifty-two lakhs of revenue, as 
against only eight lakhs realised 
from the adjoining Jhadi or hilly 
country in the Central Provinces. 
Subcaste of Kunbi, Mahar and Mali. 

Baoria. — Synonym of Badhak. 

Bdra-hazdr. — (Twelve thousand.) Sub- 
caste of Chero. 

Barade, Berdri. — A resident of Berar. 

346 GLOSS AR V part 

Subcaste of Bahna, Barhai, Chamfir, Bardliia. — (From Inlf-dk, a term for 
Dhangar, Dhobi, Khalik, Mant^and the edge of a weapon.) Synonym 

Nai. of Sikligar. 

Baram Qx Birvi. — Subcaste of Bhat. Bardia. — -One who uses bullocks for 

Barapatre. — (A large leaf-plate.) A transport. Subcaste of Kunihar. 

section of Koshti. Baretha. — (A washerman.) Synonym 

Baraiia. — (A fisherman.) Synonym for Dhobi. 

of Dhimar ; title of Dhimar. Bar^a. — Subcaste of Oraon. 

Bargall,^ Bargaha, Barghat. — A small caste of cultivators belonging princi- 
pally to the Bilaspur District. They appear to be immigrants from Rewah, 
where the caste is numerically strong, and they are also found in the 
adjacent Districts of the United Provinces and Bengal. In the United 
Provinces they are employed as higher domestic servants and make leaf- 
plates, while their women act as mid wives.- Here they claim kinship with 
the Goala AhTrs, but in the Central Provinces and Bengal they advance 
pretensions to be Rajpfits. They have a story, however, which shows their 
connection with the AhTrs, to the effect that on one occasion Brahma stole 
Krishna's cows and cowherds. Krishna created new ones to replace them, 
exactly similar to those lost, but Brahma subsequently returned the originals, 
and the Bargahas are the descendants of the artificial cowherds created by 
Krishna. In Sarguja, Bargaha is used as a title by Ahirs, while in Rewah 
the Bargahs are looked on as the bastard offspring of Baghel Rajputs. 
Dr. Buchanan writes of them as follows:^ "In Gorakhpur the Rajput 
chiefs have certain families of AhTrs, the women of which act as wet-nurses 
to their children, while the men attend to their persons. These families are 
called Bargaha ; they have received, of course, great favours and many of them 
are very rich, but others look down upon them as having admitted their 
women to too great familiarity with their chiefs." In the United Provinces 
they also claim to be Rajputs, as they returned themselves as a clan of 
Rajputs in i88i.'* Their position as described by Buchanan is precisely the 
same as that of the Dauwa AhTrs, who are the household servants of Bundela 
Rajputs in Bundelkhand, and the facts set forth above leave little or no 
doubt that the Bargahs are a mixed caste, arising from the connection of 
Rajputs with the AhTr women who were their personal servants. In the 
Central Provinces no subdivisions of the caste exist at present, but a separate 
and inferior subcaste is in process of formation from those who have been 
turned out of caste. They are divided for the purpose of marriage into 
cxogamous gotras or clans, the names of which correspond to those of 
Rajputs, as Kaunsil, Chandel, Rana, Bundela, Rathor, Baghel, Chauhan 
and others. Marriage between members of the same clan and also between 
first cousins is prohibited. The custom of gui'cinwat or exchanging girls in 
marriage between families is very prevalent, and as there is a scarcity of 
girls in the caste, a man who has not got a daughter must pay Rs. loo to 
Rs. 200 to obtain a bride for his son. On the arrival of the marriage 
l^rocession the bridegroom touches with a dagger a grass mat hung in front 
of the marriage-.shed. During the marriage the bridegroom's father presents 
him with a grass ring, which he places on his wrist. The hands of the 
ijridegroom and bride are lied one over the other with a piece of thread, and 
the bride's parents catching the hands say to the bridegroom, ' We have 
given you our daughter ; protect her.' The couple then walk seven times 
round a sacrificial fire and a pestle and slab containing seven pieces of 
turmeric, nuts and heaps of coloured rice, the bride leading and kicking over 

1 In 191 1 about 3000 persons be- ^ Crooke, vol. i. p. 184. 

longing to the caste were returned, mainly •' Eastern India, ii. p. 467. 

from Bilaspur District, and the Korea ■' North - West Provinces Gazetteer, 

and Sarguja .States. vol. xiv. , Mirzapur, p. 365. 


a heap of rice from the slab at each turn. Tlic other common ceremonies 
are also performed. The Bargahs do not tolerate sexual ofTences and expel 
a girl or married woman who goes wrong. The Bargahs are usually 
cultivators in the Central Provinces, but they consider it beneath their 
dignity to touch the plough with their own hands. Many of them are 
malguzars or village proprietors. They take food cooked without water 
from a Brahman, and water only from a Rajput. Rajputs take water from 
their hands, and their social position is fairly high. 
Bargandi. — Synonym for Kaikari. Bastarha. — A resident of Bastar State. 

Barghat. — Synonym of Bargah. Subcaste of Ilalba. 

Barki. — High. Subcaste of Rautia. Bathri. — (From bathiir, a vegetable.) 

Barkia. — ^(A spinner of fine thread.) A subcaste of Dhobi and Tel i. 

Subcaste of Mahar. BCithudia. — Subcaste of Bhuiya. 

Bar>naiyan,Bar/iiia)t, Malaiya. — Sub- Batri. — A grower of batar, a kind 

caste of Basor, Dhimar and Gadaria. of pea. Subcaste of Teli. 

Baroni. — Title of a female Dhimar. Batti. — (A ball.) A subsept of the 

Barora or Warka7-a. — (Wild cat.) A Uika clan of Gonds in Betrd, so 

subsept of the Uika clan of Gonds named because their priest stole 

in Betrd. balls of cooked mahua. They do 

Barpaihi. — {Bai-, banyan tree.) A not kill or eat goats or sheep, and 

sept of the Uika clan of Gonds in throw away anything smelt by 

Betrd, so named because their priest them. 

offered food to their gods on the Bdwan, BCiwanjaye. — (Bdwau-^2.) 
leaves of a banyan tree. A subcaste of Saraswat Brahmans. 

Banaa. — Synonym for Garpagari. Bdwaria. — A dweller of Bhanwargarh 
One who wards off hailstones from tract in Betrd district. Subcaste of 

the standing crops. Subcaste of Korku. 

Jogi. Bdwisa. — (Twenty-two.) A subcaste 

Bashishta. — See Vasishta. A section of Gujarati Brahmans in Iloshanga- 

of Vidur. bad and Makrai State. 

Bayar, Eiyar, Biar. — A small caste of labourers belonging to the eastern 
Districts of the United Provinces, of whom about 200 persons were returned 
from Bilaspur in 1891. They are found in the Korba zamindari, and are 
professional diggers or navvies, like the Murhas. They are apparently a 
mixed caste derived from the primitive tribes with some liindu blood. They 
eat fowls and pork, but will not take food from any other caste. They work 
by contract on the dangri system of measurement, a dangri being a piece of 
bamboo five cubits long. For one rupee they dig a patch 8 dangris long by 
one broad and a cubit in depth, or 675 cubic feet. But this rate does not 
allow for lift or lead. 
BCizigar. — (An acrobat.) Synonym of Behera. — A subcaste of Taonla. A 
Nat. section of A title of 

Behdr. — (Cat.) A totemislic sept of Khadal. 

Belwar, Bilwar. — A small caste of carriers and cattle-dealers belonging to 
Oudh, whose members occasionally visit the northern Districts of the Central 
Provinces. They say that their ancestors v.'ere Sanadhya Brahmans, who 
employed bullocks as pack-animals, and hence, being looked down on by the 
rest of the caste, became a separate body, marrying among themselves. 
Benaika, Binaika. — A subcaste of Beiiditadla. — Name of a minor Vish- 
Parwar Bania, consisting of the nuite order. See Bairngi. 

offspring of remarried widows or Benetiya, Bcnatia. — Subcaste of Chasa 
illegitimate unions. Probably also and Sansia. 

found among other subcastes of Bengali. — Bengali immigrants are 
Bania. usually Brahmans or Kayasths. 

Benatia. — A subcaste of Sansia in Bengaiii. — (Brinjal.) One of the 
Sambalpur. 1444 sections of Oswal Bania. 

348 GLOSSARY part 

Bengldh. — An immigrant from Bengal. Dhimar, Kasar and Kunbi. 

Subcaste of IJharbhunja. Bcria. — A caste of gipsies and vagrants, 

Beora Basia.—{\^?L.\i\k.) A totemistic whose women are prostitutes. Hence 

sept of Bhatra. sometimes used generally to signify 

Berdria, Berddia. — (Belonging to a prostitute. A subcaste of Nat. 

Berar.) A subcaste of Bahna, Bcsra. — (Hawk.) A totemistic sept 

Barai, Barliai, Chamar, Dhangar, of Bhatra and Rawat (Ahir). 

Besta. — A Telugu caste of fishermen. They are also called Bhoi and 
Machchnfiik, and correspond to the Dhimars. They are found only in the 
Chanda District, where they numbered 700 persons in 191 1, and their 
proper home is Mysore. They are a low caste and rear pigs and eat pork, 
crocodiles, rats and fowls. They are stout and strong and dark in colour. 
Like the Dhimars they also act as palanquin-bearers, and hence has arisen 
a saying about them, ' The Besta is a great man when he carries shoes,' 
because the head of a gang of palanquin-bearers carries the shoes of the 
person who sits in it. At their marriages the couple place a mixture of 
cummin and jaggery on each other's heads, and then gently press their feet 
on those of the other seven times. Drums are beaten, and the bridegroom 
places rings on the toes of the bride and ties the mangal-sutravi or necklace 
of black beads round her neck. They are seated side by side on a plough- 
yoke, and the ends of their cloths are tied together. They are then taken 
outside and shown the Great Bear, the stars of which are considered to be 
the spirits of the seven principal Hindu Saints, and the pole-star, Arundhati, 
who represents the wife of Vasishtha and is the pattern of feminine virtue. 
On the following two days the couple throw flowers at each other for some 
time in the morning and evening. Before the marriage the bridegroom's 
toe-nails are cut by the barber as an act of purification. This custom, Mr. 
Thurston ^ states, corresponds among the Siidras to the shaving of the head 
among the Brahmans. The Bestas usually take as their principal deity the 
nearest large river and call it by the generic term of Ganga. On the fifth 
day after a death they offer cooked food, water and sesamum to the crows, 
in whose bodies the souls of the dead are believed to reside. The food and 
water are given to satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul, while the sesamum 
is supposed to give it coolness and quench its heat. On the tenth day tlie 
ashes are thrown into a river. Tne beard of a boy whose father is alive is 
shaved for the. first time before his marriage. Children are tattooed with 
a mark on the forehead within three months of birth, and this serves as a 
sect mark. A child is named on the eleventh day after birth, and if it is 
subsequently found to be continually ailing and sickly, the name is changed 
under the belief that it exercises an evil influence on the child. 
Betala. — (Goblin.) One of the 1444 as of one who begs with deceit or 

sections of Oswal Bania. fraud. 

Bhadauria. — (From Bhadawar in Bhadune. — (From the month Bhadon.) 

Gwalior State.) A clan of Rajputs. A section of Kalar. 

A clan of Dangi in Saugor from Bhagat. — (Devotee.) A section of 

whom Rajputs take daugliters in Ahir or Gaoli, Barai and Panwar 

marriage, but do not give daughters Rajput. 

to them. A surname of Sanadhia B/iams-Mdra. — (Killer of the buffalo.) 

Brahman. A section of Kanjar. 

Bhadoiiia. — Sul)caste of Dangi. Bhainsa. — (Buffalo.) A section of 

Bhaderia. — (A drum -beater.) Sub- Chamar, Dhanwar, Ganda, Kawar, 

caste of Chamar. Kanjar, Mali, Panka and Rawat 

Bhadri, Bhaddari. — A synonym for (Ahir). 

Joshi, having a derogatory sense, B/tatron. — (Tlie god Bhairon.) A 

' Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, page 72. 



section of Pan war Rajput. B/iale Sultan. — (Lords of the spear.) 

Bhaiya. — (Brother.) One of the 72^ A clan of Rajputs. 

sections of Maheshri Bania. BhUmli, BhCiintia. — Synonyms of 

Bhala. — (Spear.) One of the 72^, Bhfimta. 

sections of Maheshri Bania. Bhandrc. — Named after the town of 

Bhalddr.—{K spear-man.) A class of Bhandara in the Central Provinces. 

Dahaits, who have commonly been Subcaste of Dhimar. 

employed as village watchmen. 
Bhand, Bhanr,' — A small caste of story-tellers and buffoons. The name is 
derived from the Sanskrit Bhanda, a jester, and the caste are also known as 
Naqqal or actor. Only a trifling number of Bhands are shown by the census 
as belonging to the Central Provinces. Mr. Crooke remarks : " The Bhand 
is sometimes employed in the courts of Rajas and native gentlemen of rank, 
where he amuses the company at entertainments with buffoonery and a 
burlesque of European and native manners, much of which is of a very coarse 
nature. The Bhand is quite separate from and of a lower professional rank 
than the Bahrupia. The bulk of the caste are Muhammadans, but they 
have exogamous sections, some of which, as Kaithela (Kayaslh), Bamhaniya 
(Brahman), Gujartha (Giijar), Nonela (Lunia), and so on, are derived from 
those of Hindu castes, and indicate that the caste is a heterogeneous com- 
munity recruited from different sources. There are two recognised endogamous 
subcastes — the Chenr, which seems to mean little (Hindi, Chciira), and the 
Kashmiri. The former trace their origin to the time of Tamarlane, who, 
on the death of his son, gave himself over to mourning for twelve years. 
Then one Sayyid Hasan, a courtier of the Emperor, composed a humorous 
poem in Arabic, which gained him the title of Bhanr. Sayyid Hasan is 
regarded as the founder of the caste. Though he was a Sayyid the present 
Bhanrs are either Shaikhs or Mughals ; and the difference of faith, Sunni 
and Shiah, is a bar to intermarriage. The Kashmiri Bhanrs are said to be 
of quite recent origin, having been invited from Kashmir by NasIr-ud-DIn 
Haidar, king of Oudh." The Bhands perform their marriages by the Nikah 
form, in which a Kazi officiates. In virtue of being JNIuhammadans they 
abstain from pork and liquor. Dr. Buchanan ^ quaintly described them as 
" Impudent fellows, who make long faces, squeak like pigs, bark like dogs, 
and perform many other ludicrous feats. They also dance and sing, mimicking 
and turning into ridicule the dancing boys and girls, on whom they likewise 
pass many jokes, and are employed on great occasions." The Bhand, in fact, 
seems to correspond very nearly to the court jester of the Middle Ages. 
Bhanddri. — (A barber, also a cook in of Brahmans. Also a section of 

the Uriya country. ) A synonym for Joshi, Lobar, Prabhu, Sunar, and of 

Nai. A subcaste of Gondhali. A several clans of Rajputs. 

section of Oswal Bania and tialba. Bhareiua. — (From bharat, a mixture of 

Title of the deputies of the chief copper and lead.) A group of brass 

guru of the Satnami sect. or bell-metal workers classed with 

Bhangi. — (Hemp-smoker.) Synonym the Kasar caste, but of lower social 

of Mehtar. standing than the Kasars. A sub- 

Bhanr. — Synonym of Bhand, a story- caste of Sunar in Raipur. 

teller. Bhdrgava. — (Born of Bhrigu Rishi.) 

Bhdnwar. — (A bee, also honey.) A A subcaste of Kanaujia Brfihmans. 

section of Gadaria and Kawar. A section of Maratha Brahmans. 

Bhaosar. — Synonym of Chhipa. Bhargava IDhusar is a subcaste of 

Bkdradivdj. — (A skylark. Name of a Bania. See Bania-Dhusar. 

great Brahman Rishi or saint.) One Bharia. — (From the Bhar tribe.) A 

of the common eponymous sections tribe. A subcaste of Baiga in 

^ This article consists of extracts from Mr. Crooke's account of the caste in his, 
Tribes and Castes. ^ Eastern India, ii. 248. 

350 GLOSSARY part 

Mandla, and of Kol. caste of Baiga, also of Ahir. 

Bharia-BhiiDiia. — Synonym of Bharia. Bluu-thi. — Name of one of the ten 

Bharotia ox JMtidia. — (Shaven.) Sub- orders of Gosains. 

Bhatia, — A commercial caste of Sind and Gujarat, a few of whom settlf 
temporarily in the Central Provinces. Sir D. Ibbetson writes of them : * 
" Tlie Bhatias are a class of Rajprits, originally coming from Bhatner, 
Jaisalmer and the Rajputana desert, who have taken to domestic pursuits. 
The name would seem to show that they were Bhatis (called Bhatti in the 
Punjab) ; but be that as it may, their Rajput origin seems to be unquestioned. 
They stand distinctly below the Khatri, and perhaps below the Arora, and 
are for the most part engaged in petty shopkeeping, though the Bhatias 
of Dera Ismail Khan are described as belonging to a widely-spread and 
enterprising mercantile community. They are very strict Hindus, far more 
so than the other trading classes of the western Punjab ; and eschew meat 
and liquor. They do not practise widow-marriage." 

Mr. Crooke's account ^ leaves little doubt that the Bhatias are a branch 
of the Bhatti or Yaduvansi Rajpats of Jaisalmer who have gone into trade ; 
and Colonel Tod expresses the same view : " The Bhattiah is also one of 
the equestrian order converted into the commercial, and the exchange has 
been to his advantage. His habits are like those of the Arora, next to 
whom he ranks as to activity and wealth." ^ "The chief occupation of the 
Bhatias," Mr. Crooke states, "is moneylending, and to this they add trade 
of all kinds, agriculture, landholding and Government service. Many of 
them go on expeditions to Arabia, Kabul, Bokhara and other distant places 
of business. Many in Bombay carry on trade with Zanzibar, Java and the 
Malay Peninsula." 

Bkatnagar. — A subcaste of Kayasth. Bhilaophod. — (Those who extract oil 

Bhdtpagar. — (Wage of rice. ) A section from the bhilawa nut, Semecarpus 

of Katia. anacardiuni.) Subcaste of Kol. 

BhikshakuiUl. — {Bhiksha, begging; Bhilsaiyan, Bhilsia, Bhilasia. — (From 
hinti, lame.) A subcaste of Kape- Bhllsa, a town in Gwalior State.) 

war who are the Bhats or bards of A section and surname of Jijhotia 

the caste. Brahmans. A section of Purania 

Bhil. — A tribe. A subcaste of Pardhi. Sunar and of Rathor Teli and Teli. 

Bhima. — A small caste belonging to the Mandla and Seoni Districts. They 
are musicians of the Gond tribe and dance and beg at their weddings. The 
caste are an offshoot of the Gonds, their exogamous septs having Gond names, 
as Marabi, Markam, Dhurwa, Parteti, Tekam and so on ; but they now 
marry among themselves. They worship the Gond god, Bura Deo, their 
own elders serving as priests. At their performances the men play and dance, 
wearing hollow anklets of metal with little balls of iron inside to make them 
tinkle. The women are dressed like Hindu women and dance without 
ornaments. Their instrument is called Tuma or gourd. It consists of a 
hollow piece of bamboo fixed horizontally over a gourd. Over the bamboo 
a string is stretched secured to a peg at one end and passing over a bridge at 
the other. Little knobs of wax are made on the bamboo so that the siring 
touches them during its vibrations. The gourd acts as a sounding-board. 

Bhogla. — Subcaste of Khairwar. Blioir. — Synonym for Bhoyar. 

Bhoi. — (One who carries litters or Bhojni. — Subcaste of Chitrakathi. 
palanquins.) Synonym of Dhlmar They serve the food at marriage 

and Kahiir. A title or iionorific and other ceremonies, 

name for Gonds and one by which Bholia. — (From b/u'tliia, to forget.) 
they are often known. See article Synonym of Bhulia. 

Kahar. A section of Binjhal. 

1 Punjab Census Kc'Porl [iZZi), para. ^ Tribes and Castes, art. Bhatia. 

542. ^ Rdjasi/idn, ii. p. 292. 



Bhona. — A small caste of labourers in llie Mandla District. They are practically 
all employed by the local Pansaris (Barai) or /(7«-gro\vers in tending their 
barejas or betel-vine gardens. There is some ground for supposing that the 
Bhonas are an ofishoot of the Bharia or Bharia-Bhumia tribe of Jubbuipore, 
which is itself derived from the Bhars. One of the sections of the Bh.mas 
is named after the vulture, and at their weddings a man of this section catches 
a young chicken and bites off the head in imitation of a vulture. 
Bhondih. — (From bhotid, dung-beetle.) A section of Kurmi. 

A section of Ahlr. ^ Bhura.—{GxGy.) One of the sections 

Bhonsla. —A clan of Marathas to which of Oswal Bania. A proper name. 

the Rajas of Nagpur belong. Bhiisar. — (Lord of the earth.) A title 

Bhope or Bhoall. — Subcaste of Man- of Brahman. 

bhao. Bhusdrjin. — (From bhUsa, the chaff of 

Bhoriya. — Synonym of Bhulia. wheat.) Subcaste of Banjara. 

Bhoyar. — A caste. A subcaste of BJmskate. — (From bhiisa, fodder, one 
Koshti and Marar. who supplies fodder.) A family 

Bhitdt's. — (The gods on earth.) Title name. 

of Brahmans. Bhuta. — A subtribe of Gond in BetCil, 

BIniinhdr. — Name of a landhokling the same as Koilabhuta. They are 

caste in Benares and Bengal who said to be of immoral character, 

claim to be Brahmans or Rajputs. Biar. — Synonym of Bayar. 
They are also known as Babhan. Bichhuiva, Bichhi. — {From bichhii, 
A title of the Bhuiya tribe. See scorpion.) A section of Dhobi and 

article Bhuiya. A title of the Kawar. 

Bhaina tribe. Bidur. — Synonym of the Vidur caste. 

Bhumia. — (Born from the land, or Biloria. — (From <5//(7;7, marble stone. ) 

aboriginal.) A title of the Bharia A section of Chhipa. 

tribe in Jubbuipore, also a title of Bihvdr. — Synonym of Ik-lwar, a carrier 

Baiga and Korku. A synonym of and cattle-dealer. 

Bhuiya. A subdivision of Gond. 

Bind. — A large non-Aryan caste of Bihar and the United Provinces, of which 

380 persons were returned in 191 1. Sir H. Risley says of them :' "They 

are a tribe employed in agriculture, earthwork, fishing, hunting, making 

saltpetre and collecting indigenous drugs. Traditions current among the 

caste profess to trace their origin to the Vindhya hills, and one of these 

legends tells how a traveller, passing by the foot of the hills, heard a strange 

flute-like sound coming out of a clump of bamboos. He cut a shoot and 

took from it a fleshy substance which afterwards grew into a man, the supposed 

ancestor of the Binds. Another story says that the Binds and Nunias were 

formerly all Binds and that the present Nunias are the descendants of a Bind 

who consented to dig a grave for a Muhammadan king and was outcasted for 

doing so." A third legend tells how in the beginning of all things Mahadeo 

made a lump of earth and endowed it with life. The creature thus produced 

asked Mahadeo what he should eat. The god pointed to a tank and told 

him to eat the fish in it and the wild rice which grew near the banks. ]\Ir. 

Crooke-says that they use fish largely except in the fortnight (Pitripaksh) 

sacred to the dead in the month of Kunwar, and Sir H. Risley notes that 

after the rice harvest the Binds wander about the country digging up the 

stores of rice accumulated by field rats in their burrows. From four to six 

pounds of grain are usually found, but even this quantity is sometimes 

exceeded. The Binds also feast on the rats, but they deny this, saying that 

to do so would be to their own injury, as a reduction of the next year's find 

of grain would thus be caused. 

Binjhdl. — Synonym of Binjhwar. Binjhwdr. — A caste derived from the 

1 Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. Bind. 
" Tribes and Castes of the N. W.P. and Oudh, art. Bind. 

352 GLOSSARY part 

Baiga tribe. A subtribe of Baiga Subcaste of Ghosi. 

and Gond. A subcaste of Gowari. Birchhia. — (From /^i;r///^a, a tree.) A 
Bircliheya. — (A dweller in the forest.) subcaste of Ghosi. 

Birhor. — A small Kolarian tribe of whom about 150 persons were returned in 
191 1 from the Chota Nagpur States. The name means a dweller in the 
forest. Sir H. Risley states that the Birhors live in tiny huts made of 
branches of trees and leaves, and eke out a miserable living by snaring hares 
and monkeys, and collecting jungle products, especially the bark of the chob 
creeper,' from which a coarse kind of rope is made. They are great adepts 
at ensnaring monkeys and other small animals, and sell them alive or eat 
them. Colonel Dalton described them as,^ "A small, dirty, miserable- 
looking race, who have the credit of devouring their parents, and when I 
taxed them with it they did not deny that such a custom had once obtained 
among them. But they declared they never shortened lives to provide such 
feasts and shrank with horror from the idea of any bodies but those of their 
own blood-relatives being served up to them." It would appear that this 
custom may be partly ceremonial, and have some object, such as ensuring 
that the dead person should be born again in the family or that the survivors 
should not be haunted by his gHost. It has been recorded of the Bhunjias 
that they ate a small part of the flesh of their dead parents.^ Colonel Dalton 
considered the Birhors to be a branch of the Kharia tribe, and this is borne 
out by Dr. Grierson's statement that the specimen of the Birhor dialect 
returned from the Jashpur State was really Kharia.* Elsewhere the Birhor 
dialect resembles Mundari. 
Birjhia, Birjia. — (One who practises Chanda. 

bewar or shifting cultivation in a Bo:^am. — A name for Madrasi prosti- 
forest. ) Subcaste of Binjhwar, Baiga tutes, perhaps a separate caste. Their 

and Korwa. honorific title is Sani. 

Bn-khandia. — From Birkhand (Sand Bohra. — A Muhammadan caste. A 
of heroes), a name for Rajputana. section of Oswal Bania. 

A section of Teli. Bombay. — A subdivision of Valmiki 

Birtiya. — Title of Nai or barber. Kayasth. 

Biseti, Bisan. — A clan of Rajput. A Bondoya.—h. resident of Jitgarh and 
section of Daharia and of Panwar the Pachmarhi tract of the Central 

Rajput. A section of Marar. Provinces. Subcaste of Korku. 

Bobalaya. — (From Bobbili, a town in Bopchi.- — A section of Panwar Rajput. 

Madras.) A section of Teli in 
Bopchi. — A small caste in the Wardha District numbering a few hundred persons. 
They are in reality Korkus, the name being a corruption of that of the Bon- 
doya subtribe, but they have discarded their proper tribal name and formed 
a separate caste. They retain some of the Korku sept names, while others 
are derived from Marathi words or from the names of other castes, and these 
facts indicate that the Bopchis are of mixed descent from Korkus and other 
low Maratha castes with which unions have taken place. As might be 
expected, they are very tolerant of sexual and social offences, and do not 
expel a woman who has a liaison with a man of another caste or takes food 
from him. She is readmitted to caste intercourse, but has to undergo the 
penalty of washing her body with cowdung and having a lock of her hair 
cut off. A man committing a similar offence has his upper lip shaved. They 
employ Gosains for their gurus and their social position is very low. 
Bo7-ekar. — (A mat-maker.) Synonym Ilalba. 

of Gopal. B7-ah)iiacharc. — (A celibate. ) Subcaste 

Borjharia. — (5or-plum.) A sept of of Manbhao. 

^ Dauhinia scandens. * Linguistic Survey of India, vol. iv. , 

2 Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 158, 221. Munda and Dravidian Dialects, p. 

3 See art. Bhunjia. 102. 



Brahman Gaiir, or Bam /tan Gaiir. — 
A branch of the Gaur clan of Rajputs. 
A subcaste of Rhat. 

Brid-dhari. — Begging Bhats. Sub- 
caste of Bhat. 

Brihaspati, Brahaspati. — An eponym- 
ous section of Brahmans. 

Bitchar. — A corruption of the English 
word 'butcher.' Subcaste of Kha- 
tik in Agra. 

Bitdalgir. — (From bud la, a leathern 
bag made for the transport and 
storage of oil and^V/f (butter). ) Sub- 
caste of Chamar. 

Bukckari. — (A seller of scented powder 
(btikka).) Synonym of Atari. 

Btindela. — A clan of Rajputs of mixed 
descent. Name probably from the 
Vindhya hills. A subcaste of Basor. 
A sept of Manihar and Rawat. 

Bnndclkhandi. — A resident of Bun- 
delkhand. Subcaste of Basdewa, 
Barai, Basor, Chamar, Darzi, Dhobi, 
Kumhar, Lobar, Nai and Sunar. 

Bundhrajia. — Subcaste of Kamar. 

Bunkar. — (A weaver. ) Title of Balahi. 

Biu-ad. — A synonym for the Basor 
caste of bamboo- workers. A section 
of Koshti and Oswal Bania. 

Burthia. — Subcaste of Charan Banjara. 

Bn>-ud. — (A bamVjoo-worker. ) Syno- 
nym for Basor in the Maratha 

Biitka. — (One who brings leaves. ) 
Subcaste of Chasa. 

Byahut. — -(Married.) Subcaste of 

Chadar. — -A caste. A subcaste of Kori. 

Chakere. — (One who uses the potter's 
wheel in localities where other Kum- 
hars do not use it.) Subcaste of 

Chakla. — (A professional washerman.) 
Synonym for Dhobi. 

Chahikya. —A synonym for Solanki 
Rajputs. (Perhaps from chhnllu or 
challii, hollow of the hand.) A sub- 
caste of Panwar Rajput. 

Chamar, Chamara. — (From chamra, 
a hide.) The well-known caste of 
tanners. A subcaste of Banjara, 
Barhai and Darzi. 

Chamar Gaur. — (Chamar and Gaur.) 
A well-known clan of Rajputs. See 

Chambhdr. — Name of the Chamar 
caste in Berar. 

Chamra. — A contemptuous diminutive 
for the Chamar caste in Chhattls- 

Chandan, Chaitdania. — (Sandalwood. ) 
A section of Chamar, Kawar, Khan- 
gar and Kurmi. 

Chandel. — A famous clan of Rajputs. 
See Rajput-Chandel. 

Chdndewdr. — (Belonging to Chanda.) 
Subcaste of Injhwar. 

Chandi. — (One who hides behind a 
fishing-net.) A sept of Korku. 

Chandra, Chandrdha. (From chanda, 
the moon. ) A section of Gujar and 

Chandra'c'ansi or Somvansi. — • (De- 
scended from the moon.) A clan 
of Rajputs. 

Chandravedi.- — Synonym of .Sanaurhia, 
meaning ' One who observes the 

Chankhatia. — A subcaste of Bhuiya 
and Chamar. 

Channdgri. — A small Jain sect. A 
subcaste of Bania. 

Chanti. — Name derived from chiti, an 
ant. Subcaste of Kawar. A section 
of Kumhar. 

Chdnwar. — (Whisk.) A totemistic 
sept of Kawar and Pabia. 

Charak. — A subdivision of Maratha 
Brahman ; a section of Brahman. 

Chdran. — Subcaste of Banjara and 
Bhat. Title of Bhat in Rajputiina. 

Chdrdeve. — A clan of Gonds worship- 
ing four gods and paying special 
reverence to the tortoise. 

Chdrghar. — (Four houses.) A sub- 
division of Saraswat Brahmans. 

Chdrndgri. — A Jain sect or subcaste 
of Bania. 

Chatrapati. — (Lord of the umbrella.) 
Title of the ancient Indian kings. 

Chatri, Chhatri. — A common synonym 
for a Rajput. A subcaste of Bhamta. 

Chaturbhitji. — (Four-armed.) An 
epithet of \'ishnu. A title of the 
Chauhan clan of Rajputs. A class 
of Bairagis or religious mendicants. 

Chaube, Chaturz^edi. — (From Chaiur- 
vedi, or one learned in the four 
Vedas.) A surname for Kanaujia, 
Jijhotia and other Hindustani Brah- 
mans. Subcaste of Banjara. 

Chanbhaiya. — (Four brothers.) A 
subdivision of Saraswat Brahmans. 
They take wives from the Athbhaiya 
2 A 

354 GLOSSARY part 

subdivision, but do not give girls to wheat -flour or quartz -dust within 

them in marriage. which ceremonies are performed. 

Chaudhri, Chandhart, Chottdhri. — (A Chaukhutia. — A term which signifies a 

headman, the first person.) Title bastard in Chhattlsgarh. Subcaste 

of Kalar I'anwar, Rajput and other of Bhunjia. 

castes; title of Dhobi, vice-president Chatiske. — Subcaste of Kalar. The)' 
of the caste committee. A section are so called because they prohibit 
of Ahlr, Maheshri Bania, Gadaria, the marriage of persons having a 
Gujar, Halba and Marar (Mali). A common ancestor up to four genera- 
subdivision of Kapewar. tions. 

Chauhdn. — A famous clan of Rajputs. Ckaui'dsia. — Resident of a Chaurasi or 
Name of a low caste of village watch- estate of eighty-four villages. Sub- 
men in Chhattlsgarh, perhaps the caste of Barai and Bhoyar. A sec- 
illegitimate descendants of Panwar tion of Dhimar and Kumhar. Many 
Rajputs. estates are called by this name, grants 

Chauka. — Title of the Kablrpanthi of eighty - four villages having been 
religious service. The chatik is a commonly made under native rule, 
sanctified place on the floor of the Chawara, Chaura. — One of the thirty- 
house or yard, plastered with cow- six royal races of Rajputs, 
dung and marked out with lines of 

Chenchuwar, Chenchuwad or Chencliu.— A forest tribe of the Telugu 

country of whom a few persons were returned from the Chanda District in 
191 1. In Madras the tribe is known as Chenchu, and the affix tvad or 
wddii merely signifies person or man.^ The marriage ceremony of the 
Chenchus may be mentioned on account of its simplicity. The couple some- 
times simply run away together at night and return next day as husband and 
wife, or, if they perform a rite, walk round and round a bow and arrow stuck 
into the ground, while their relations bless them and throw rice on their 
heads. Each party to a marriage can terminate it at will without assigning 
any reason or observing any formality. The bodies of the dead are washed 
and then buried with their weapons. 

Chenr. — (Little.) Subcaste of Bhand. or pounded rice.) Subcaste of 

Cheordktda. — (One who prepares c/^t'sra Dhuri. 

Chero.^ — A well-known tribe of the Munda or Kolarian family, found in small 
numbers in the Chota Nagpur Feudatory States. They are believed to have 
been at one time the rulers of Bihar, where numerous monuments are 
attributed, according to the inquiries of Buchanan and Dalton, to the Kols and 
Cheros. "In Shahabad •' also most of the ancient monuments are ascribed 
to the Cheros, and it is traditionally asserted that the whole country belonged 
to them in sovereignty. An inscription at Budh Gaya mentions one Phudi 
Chandra who is traditionally said to have been a Chero. The Cheros were 
expelled from Shahabad, some say by the Sawaras (Saonrs), some say by a 
tribe called Hariha ; and the date of their expulsion is conjectured to be 
between the fifth and sixth centuries of the Christian era. Both Cheros and 
Sawaras were considered by the Brahmans of Shahabad as impure or 
Mlechchas, but the Harihas are reported good Kshatriyas. 

" The overthrow of the Cheros in Mithila and Magadha seems to have 
been complete. Once lords of the Gangetic provinces, they are now found 
in Shahabad and other Bihar Districts only holding the meanest offices or 
concealing themselves in the woods skirting the hills occupied by their 

' Caldwell's Dravidian Grammar, " This article consists only of extracts 

pp. 123 and 134. Captain Glasfurd from the accounts of Colonel Dalton and 

says : ' The termination war is a Telugu Sir H. Risley. 

affix signifying person or man ' {Settle- ^ Dalton's Ethnology of Bengal, pp. 

mcnt Report of the Upper Goddvari 126, 127. 
District (1868), p. 26). 


cousins, the Kharwars ; but in Palumau they retained till a recent period the 
position they had lost elsewhere. A Cliero family maintained almost an 
independent rule in that pargana till the accession of the iJiiiish Government ; 
they even attempted to hold their castles and strong places against that 
power, but were speedily subjugated, forced to pay revenue and submit to 
the laws. They were, however, allowed to retain their estates ; and though 
the rights of the last Raja of the race were purchased by Government in 
1813, in consequence of his falling into arrears, the collateral branches of the 
family have extensive estates there still. According to their own traditions 
(they have no trustworthy annals) they have not been many generations in 
Palamau. They invaded that country from Rohtas, and with the aid of 
Rajput chiefs, the ancestors of the Thakurais of Ranka and Chainpur drove 
out and supplanted a Rajput Raja of the Raksel family, who retreated into 
Sarguja and established himself there. 

" All the Cheros of note who assisted in the expedition obtained military 
service grants of land, which they still retain. The Kharwars were then the 
people of most consideration in Palamau, and they allowed the Cheros to 
remain in peaceful possession of the hill tracts bordering on Sarguja. It is 
popularly asserted that at the commencement of the Chero rule in Palamau 
they numbered twelve thousand families, and the Kharwars eighteen thousand ; 
and if an individual of one or the other is asked to what tribe he belongs, 
he will say, not that he is a Chero or a Kharwar, but that he belongs to 
the twelve thousand or to the eighteen thousand, as the case may be. The 
Palamau Cheros now live strictly as Rajputs and wear the paiia or caste 

It has been suggested in the article on Khairwar that the close connection 
between the two tribes may arise from the Kharwars or Khairwars having 
been an occupational offshoot of the Cheros and Santals. 

In Palamau 1 the Cheros are now divided into two subcastes, the Bara-hazar 
or twelve thousand, and the Terah-hazar or thirteen thousand, who are also 
known as Birbandhi. The former are the higher in rank and include most 
of the descendants of former ruling families, who assume the title Babuan. 
The Terah - hazar are supposed to be the illegitimate offspring of the 

"The distinctive physical traits of the Cheros," Colonel Dalton states, 

" have been considerably softened by the alliances with pure Hindu families, 

which their ancient power and large possessions enabled them to secure ; 

but they appear to me still to exhibit an unmistakable Mongolian 

physiognomy. They vary in colour, but are usually of a light brown. They 

have, as a rule, high cheek-bones, small eyes obliquely set, and eyebrows to 

correspond, low broad noses, and large mouths with protuberant lips." 

CheiTva. — Subcaste of Kawar. Chhattisgarhi, ChhattTsgarhia.- — Resi- 

Cheiti. — Subcaste of Gandli. dent of Chhattisgarh or the region of 

Chhachdn. — (A hawk.) A section of the thirty-six forts, a name given to 

Rawat (Ahir). the eastern tract of the Central Pro- 

Ckhadesia. — (A man of six districts.) vinces. Subcaste of Bahna, Darzi 

Subcaste of Banjara. and Halba. 

Chhadidar or Da>-wdn. — Title of the ChhehgJiar (Chhetighar). — (Members 
Dahaits, who were door-keepers of of the six houses.) A hypergamous 

the Rajas of Mahoba in former division of Kanaujia Brahmans. 

times. They take daughters from the other 

Chhanava Kule. — (The ninety - six two divisions, but do not give their 

houses. ) A subcaste of Maratha. daughters to them. 

Chhatakia. — An illegitimate group of Chhipa. — (A dyer.) Synonym of 
the Kumhar caste. Darzi. 

^ Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. Chero. 



Chhoha or Sororia. — A subcaste of 

Agharia of mixed descent. 
Chholia. — (Rubbish.) A section of 

Chhote. — (Inferior.) Subcaste of 

Agharia and Teh. 
Chhoti Pangat. — A subcaste of Halba. 

Synonym Surait. Chhoti Pan gat 

signifies the inferior caste feast, and 

the implication is that these members 

cannot join in the proper feast. 
Chhotki Bhir or Gorki. — (Low.) 

Subcaste of Rautia. 
Chhura. — (Razor.) A section of 

Panka. It was their business to 

shave other members of the caste 

after a death. 
Chichavi. — (Hawk.) — Aseptof Gonds. 
Chicheria. — (From church, forelock, 

which the children of this sept 

wear. ) A sept of Dhimar. 
Chika. — Subcaste of Majhwar. 
Chikwa. — Synonym of Khatik. 
Chinchkiil. — A section of Komti. 

They abstain from the use of ginger 

and from the juice of the bhilawa or 

marking-nut tree. 
Chita Piirdhi, Chitewala. — (Leopard- 
hunter.) A subcaste of Pardhi. 
Chitarkar, Chitrakar. — (A painter.) 

Synonym for Chitari. 
Chiter. — (A painter.) See Chitari. 
Chitevari. — (One who makes clay 

idols.) Synonym for Mochi. 
Chitpawan.-^(T)\e pure in heart.) A 

synonym for Konkanasth Brahman. 
Chitragupta Vansi. — (Descendants of 

Chitragupta.) A name for Kayasths. 
Chobdar. — (A mace-bearer.) Title of 

Chorbans. — (Family of thieves.) A 

section of Chamar. 
Chourdhar. — (A whisk-carrier.) A 

section of Sunar. 
CAM,^ra.— Subcaste of Mehtar. Name 

for the sweeper caste in the Punjab. 
Chungia. — (One who smokes a leaf- 
pipe.) Subcaste of Chamar and 

Chunwiha. — (From chunri, a coloured 

sheet worn by women.) A section 

of Tamera. 

Chiirha. — (Thief.) A subcaste of 
Sunar. A section of Chhipa. 

Ctifchuudha. — Clan of Rajput. Syno- 
nym for Kachhwaha. 

Daharia. — (From Dahar, the old name 
of the Jubbulpore country. ) A clan 
of Rajputs which has developed into 
a caste. A subcaste of Bhoyar, 
Kalar, Mahar, Maratha and Teli. 
A section of Chadar, Chamar and 

Dahdt. — A variant for Dahait. A 
subcaste of Khangar. 

Dahia. — One of the thirty-si.x royal 
races of Rajputs. 

Daijanya. — Subcaste of Chamar. 
They are so called because their 
women act as dai or midwives. 

Dakhne, Dakshne, Dakshni, Dakshmi. 
— (Belonging to the Deccan.) Sub- 
caste of Bahna, Chamar, Gondhali, 
Gurao, Kunbi, Mahar, Mang and 

Dakochia. — A synonym for Bhadri, an 

Dal.- — (From dal, an army. ) Subcaste 
of Khond. 

Dalhoha, Dalbuha. — (One who carries 
dhoolies or palanquins.) Subcaste of 
Ghasia and Katia. 

Dalia. — (From ddl or the pulse of 
Burhanpur which had a great repu- 
tation). Subcaste of Kunbi. 

Dal KhCilsa. — (Army of God.) Title of 
the Sikh army. 

Dandewdla. — (One who performs acro- 
batic feats on a stick or bamboo.) 
Synonym for Kolhati. 

Dandi. — (One who carries a stick.) 
Name of a class of religious mendi- 
cants. See article Gosain. 

Daudseita. — (One who carries a stick.) 
Subcaste of Kalar. 

Dang - charha. — (A rope - climber.) 
Synonym of Nat. 

Ddngiwdra. — Name of part of the 
Saugor District, which is called 
after the Dangi caste. Subcaste of 

Ddngita. — (A hill-dweller.) .Subcaste 
of Taonla. 

Dangiir. — A small caste of hemp weavers numbering about lOO persons, and 
residing almost entirely in the village of IMasod in Betul District. They are 
of the same standing as the caste of Kumrawat or Patbina which pursues 
this occupation in other Districts, but acknowledge no connection with them 
and are probably an occupational offshoot of the Kunbi caste, from whose 



membeis they readily accept any kind of cooked food. Like many other 
small occupational castes with no definite traditions, they profess to have a 
Kshatriya origin, calling themselves Bhagore Rajputs, while their families 
are known by such high-sounding titles as Rathor, Cliauhan, Gaur, Solanki 
and other well-known Rajput names. These pretensions have no foundation 
in fact, and the DaiigCirs formerly did not abjure pork, while they still eat 
fowls and drink liquor. They neither bathe nor clean their kitchens daily. 
They may eat food taken from one place to another, but not if they are 
wearing shoes, this being only permissible in the case when the bridegroom 
takes his food wearing his marriage shoes. 

Dantele. — (With teeth.) A section of Purania vSunars in Saugor. 

Daraihan. — A small caste of debased Rajputs found in the Bilaspur District of 
Chhatlisgarh and numbering some 2000 persons in 190 1. They say that 
their ancestors were Rajputs from Upper India who settled in Chhatlisgarh 
some generations back in the village of Dargaon in Raipur District. Thence 
they were given the name of Dargaihan, which has been corrupted into 
Daraihan. Others say that the name is derived from dari, a prostitute, but 
this is perhaps a libel. In any case they do not care about the name 
Daraihan and prefer to call themselves Kshatriyas. They have now no 
connection with the Rajputs of Upper India, and have developed into an 
endogamous group who marry among themselves. It seems likely that the 
caste are an inferior branch of the Daharia cultivating caste of Chhattisgarh, 
which is derived from the Daharia clan of Rajputs. ^ 

Like other Rajputs the Daraihans have an elaborate system of septs and 
subsepts, the former having the names of Rajput clans, while the latter are 
taken from the eponymous gotras of the Brahmans. There are fourteen 
septs, named as a rule after the principal Rajput clans, of whom four, the 
Chandel, Kachhwaha, Dhandhul and Sakrawara, rank higher than the other 
ten, and will take daughters from these in marriage, but not give their 
daughters in return. Besides the septs they have the standard Brahmanical 
gotras, as Kausilya, Bharadwaj, Vasishtha and so on to the number of seven, 
and the members of each sept are divided into these gotras. Theoretically 
a man should not take a wife whose sept or gotra is the same as his own. 
The marriage of first cousins is forbidden, and while the grandchildren of 
two sisters may intermarry, for the descendants of a brother and a sister the 
affinity is a bar till the third generation. But the small numbers of the 
caste must make the arrangement of matches very difficult, and it is 
doubtful whether these rules are strictly observed. They permit the practice 
of Gunravat or giving a bride for a bride. In other respects the social customs 
of the caste resemble those of their neighbours, the Daharias, and their rules 
as to the conduct of women are strict. The men are well built and have 
regular features and fair complexions, from which their Rajput ancestry may 
still be recognised. They wear the sacred thread. The Daraihans are 
good and intelligent cultivators, many of them being proprietors or large 
tenants, and unlike the Daharias they do not object to driving the plough 
with their own hands. In the poorer families even the women work in the 
fields. They have a strong clannish feeling and will readily combine for 
the support or protection of any member of the caste who may be in 
need of it. 

Darbdnia. — (Door-keeper.) Title of division of Jogi. 

Khangar. Darwaii. — (A door-keeper.) Title of 

Darshani. — Title of the most holy Dahait. 

members of the Kanphata Jogis. Darwe or Dakve. — A subcaste of 

Darshni. — (From darshan, seeing, Gonds in Chanda ; the Darwes 

beholding, as of a god.) A sub- are also called Naik. 

1 See also art. Daharia for a discussion of the origin of that caste. 



Darwesk. — Persian name for a 
Muhammadan Fakir or religious 

Darzi. — A caste of tailors. Subcaste 
of Ghasia. 

Das. — (Servant.) Used as the 
termination of their names by 
Bairagis or religious mendicants. 
A term applied by Pankas and 
other Kablrpanthis to themselves. 

Dasa. — (Ten.) A subdivision of Agar- 
wala and other subcastes of Bania, 
meaning those of pure blood. 

Dasghar. — (Ten houses.) One of the 
three subdivisions of Kanaujia 
Brahmans. They give their 
daughters to members of the Chhe- 
ghar or six houses and receive them 
from the Panchghar or five houses. 

Dasnami. — A member of the ten 
orders. Synonym for Gosain. 

Datta or Dutt. — Surname of Bengali 

Datine. — A subdivision of Prabhu or 
Parbhu in Nagpur, so called on 
account of their living in the island 
of Diu, a Portuguese possession. 

Deccani. — See Dakhne. 

Dehalwi. — (From Delhi.) A sub- 
division of Gaur Kayasths. 

Dehri. — (A worshipper.) Subcaste of 

Dekkala. — (A genealogist.) Subcaste 
of Madgi. 

Delhi . — Subcaste of Kharia. 

Deo.— {God.) A hereditary title 
borne by certain Feudatory Chiefs. 
A surname of Karhara Brahmans in 
Saugor. A subcaste of Gandli in 

Deobansi. — (A descendant of a god.) 
Subcaste of Patwa. 

Deogarhia or Kajktinwar. — (From 
Deogarh.) A subcaste of Pardhan. 
A subcaste of Audhelia made up of 
prostitutes. A sept of Dhlmar. 

Deokia. — Title used in the Bedar 

Deoputra. — (Son of god. ) .Synonym of 

Desa or Kota. — Subcaste of Balija. 

Desai. — A variant for Deshmukh or a 
Maratha revenue officer. Title of 
the Pardhan caste. 

Desdival. — A subdivision of Brahman 
in Jubbulpore. They take their 
name from Disa, a town in I'alanpur 

State in Bombay Presidency. 

Desha, Desaha. — (Belonging to the 
home country.) The name is 
usually applied to immigrants from 
Malwa or Hindustan. A subcaste 
of Ahir, Bargah, Bari, Chamar, 
Dhuri, Gadaria, Kalar, Kol, 
Kurmi, Lakhera, Lobar, Mahar, 
Sunar and Teli. 

Deshastha. — A subcaste of Maratha 
Brahmans inhabiting the country 
(Desh) above the Western Ghats. 
A subcaste of Gurao. 

Deshkar. — (One belonging to the 
country.) A subcaste of Gondhali, 
Gurao, Kasar, Koshti, Kunbi, 
Mahar, Mali, Maratha, Nai, Sunar 
and Teli. 

Deshmukh. — Under Maratha rule the 
Deshmukh was a Pargana officer who 
collected the revenue of the Par- 
gana or small subdivision, and other 
taxes, receiving a certain share. 
The office of Deshmukh was gener- 
ally held by a leading Kunbi of the 
neighbourhood. He also held 
revenue-free land in virtue of his 
position. The Deshmukh families 
now tend to form a separate sub- 
caste of Kunbis and marry among 

Deshpande. — The Deshpande was the 
Pargana accountant. He was 
generally a Brahman and the right- 
hand man of the Deshmukh, and 
having the advantage of education 
he became powerful like the Desh- 
mukh. Now used as a surname by 
Maratha Brahmans. 

Deswali. — Synonym for Mina. 

Devadasi. — (Handmaidens of the 
gods.) Synonym for Kasbi. 

Devarukhe. — A subdivision of Maratha 
Brahmans. The word is derived 
from Devarishi, a Shakha (branch) 
of the Atharva Veda, or from 
Devarukh, a town in Ralnagiri 
District of Bombay Presidency. 
Among Brahmans they hold rather 
a low position. 

Dewavgan. — (From the old town of 
this name on the Wardha river.) 
Subcaste of Koshti. 

Dhaighar, — (2^ houses.) A subcaste 
of Kliatri. 

Dhdkaii.— {K witch.) Subcaste of 



Dhdkar. — Name of a caste in Bastar. Barai, Bania and Kirar. A sept 

A clan of Rajputs, A subcaste of of Ilalba. 

Dhalgar. — A small occupational caste who made Icatlier shields, and are now 
almost extinct as the use of shields has gone out of fashion. They arc 
Muhammadans, but Mr. Crooke i considers them to be allied to the Dabgars, 
who make leather vessels for holding oil and ghl and are also known as 
Kuppesaz. The Dabgars are a Hindu caste whose place in the Central 
Provinces is taken by the Budalgir Chamars. These receive their designation 
from budla, the name of the leather bag which they make. Budlas were 
formerly employed for holding .^/^i" or melted butter, oil and the liquid extract 
of sugarcane, but vegetable oil is now generally carried in earthen vessels 
slung in baskets, and ghl in empty kerosene tins. Small bottles of very thin 
leather are still used by scent-sellers for holding their scents, though they also 
have glass bottles. The song of the Leather Bottel recalls the fact that 
vessels for holding liquids were made of leather in Europe prior to the intro- 
duction of glass. The Dhalgars also made targets for archery practice from 
the hides of buffaloes ; and the similar use of the hides of cattle in Europe 
survives in our phrase of the bull's eye for the centre of the target. 
Dhdnionia. — (From Dhamoni, a town Teli. 

in Saugor. ) A subcaste of Sonkar. Dhamihar. — (A corrupt form of 

A territorial sept of Darzi and Dhanusdhar or a holder of a bow. ) 

Dhobi. Synonym of Dhanwar. 

Dhanak Safumdiii. — (One who rever- Dhanuk. — (A bowman.) A caste. 

ences the bow.) A section of A subcaste of Mehtar. 

Barai. Dhanushban. — (Bow and arrow.) A 

Dhandere. — (Probably from Dhundhar, sept of Kawar. 

an old name of Jaipur or Amber Dharainpuria. — (Resident of Dharam- 

State.) A sept of Rajputs. pur.) Subcaste of Dhobi. 

Dhangar. — (A farmservant. ) Syno- Dhare. — Title of Gowari. 

nym of Oraon. Dhdri. — A subcaste of Banjara. They 

Dhanka. — Perhaps a variant for are the bards of the caste. 

Dhangar. Subcaste of Oraon. Dharkdr. — Subcaste of Basor. 

Dhanoj, Dhanoje. — {Yxom dhangar, z. Dhannik. — (Religious or virtuous.) 

shepherd.) Subcaste of Are and A subcaste of Mahar and Maratha. 

Kunbi. Dhed. — Synonym for Mahar. 

Dhdnpagar. — (One serving for a Dhengar. — A subcaste of Bharewa 

pittance of paddy.) A section of (Kasar) and Gadaria. 

Dhera.^ — A small Telugu caste of weavers, the bulk of whom reside in the 
Sonpur State, transferred to Bengal in 1905. The Dheras were brought from 
Orissa by the Raja of Sonpur to make clothes for the images of the gods, 
which they also claim to be their privilege in Puri. Their exogamous groups 
are named after animals, plants or other objects, and they practise totemism. 
The members of the Surya or sun group will not eat during an eclipse. Those 
of the Nalla (black) sept will not wear black clothes. Those of the Bansethi 
and Bhanala septs will not use the bandi, a kind of cart from which they 
consider their name to be derived. The Otals take their name from titti, a 
net, from which pots are hung, and they will not use this net. Those of the 
Gunda sept, who take their name [xovcv giuida, a bullet, will not eat any game 
shot with a gun. Marriage within the sept is prohibited, but the Dheras 
always, where practicable, arrange the marriage of a boy with his maternal 
uncle's daughter. Even in childhood the members of such families address 
each other as brother-in-law and sister-in-law. When the bridegroom and 
bride go home after the marriage ceremony, the bridegroom's sister bars the 
door of the house and will not let them in until they have severally promised 

1 Tribes and Castes, art. Dhalgar. 
2 From a paper by Narayan Bohidar, Schoolmaster, Sonpur State. 



to give her their daughter for her son. A girl must be married before arriving 
at adolescence on pain of permanent exclusion from the caste. If a suitable 
hu.sband has not therefore been found when the period approaches, the parents 
marry the girl to her elder sister's husband or any other married man. She 
is not bound to enter into conjugal relations with the man to whom she is 
thus united, and with his consent she may be consequently married to any 
other man in the guise of a widow. If a bachelor takes such a girl to wife, 
he must first be married to a Sahara tree [Streblus asper). When a betrothal is 
arranged, an elderly member of the bridegroom's family proceeds to the bride's 
house and asks her people three times in succession whether the betrothal is 
arranged, and at each reply in the affirmative ties a knot in his cloth. He 
then goes home and in the bridegroom's house solemnly unties the knots over 
another cloth which is spread on the ground. This cloth is then considered 
to contain the promises and it is wrapped up and carefully put away to keep 
them as if they were material objects. 

Dlierha. — (Brother-in-law or paternal 
aunt's husband.) Title of Kharia. 

Dhlinar. — A caste. Subcaste of Kori. 

Dhimra. — Synonym for Dhimar. 

Dhobi. — The caste of washermen. A 
sept of Bharia and Bhaina. 

DJiokhede. — One of doubtful parentage. 
A sept of Teli. 

Dhokwar. — {^xoradhola, a drum.) A 
subcaste of Bhoyar and Gaoli. A 
section of Basor. 

Dholi. — (A minstrel.) Subcaste of 

Dhubela. — Origin perhaps from the 
Dhobi caste. Subcaste of Basor. 

Dhulbajia. — (From dkol, a drum.) A 
subcaste of Chamar, also known as 

Dhtilia, Dholhi, Dholi. — (A player on 
a dhol or drum. ) Synonym for the 
Basor caste. A subcaste of Gond 
in Chanda and Betul. A subcaste 
of Mahar. 

DhimakPathdn. — Synonym for Bahna. 

Dhunia. — (From dhiutiia, to card 
cotton.) Synonym for Bahna. 

Dhtinka. — (A cotton-cleaner.) Sub- 
caste of Kadera. 

Dhur Gond. — (From dhtir, dust.) A 
subcaste of Gonds. They are also 
known as Rawanvansi or descend- 
ants of Rawan. 

Dhuri. — A caste of grain-parchers. 
A subcaste of Dhimar. 

Dhii7-ia. — Subcaste of Nagasia and 
Dhimar. They are so called be- 
cause they mark the forehead of 
the bride with dust (dhur) taken 
from the sole of the bridegroom's 

Dhurwa. — The word may be derived 
from dhitr, dust. Dhur is a name 

given to the body of Gonds as op- 
posed to the Raj -Gonds. One of the 
commonest septs of Gonds. A sept 
of Baiga, Kolta, Kalar and Nat. A 
title of Parja. 

Dhusar. — Subcaste of Bania. 

Dhiisia. — Subcaste of Murha. 

Digilmbari. — A sect of Jain Banias 
who do not clothe their idols and 
apply saffron to their feet. Also a 
class of Bairagis or religious mendi- 

Diharia or Kisan. — (One who lives in 
a village or a cultivator.) Subcaste 
of Korwa. 

Dikhit, Dikshit, Dixit.— ~{J\i<t Initia- 
tor.) A subcaste of Brahman. A 
clan of Rajputs of the solar race 
formerly dominant in the United 

Dila. — (A pointed stick tied to a calfs 
mouth to prevent him from sucking.) 
A totemistic sept of Kawar. They 
do not use a stick in this manntr. 
A section of Ahlr. 

Dillawdl. — A subcaste of Kas;lr. 
Those belonging to or coming from 

Diiighuchia. — (One who castrates 
cattle and ponies.) Subcaste of 

Dipawdlia. — (One who supplies oil for 
the lamps at Diwfdi.) A sept of 

Dlpbaus. — (Son of the lamp.) Title 
of Teli. 

Diwdn. — Title of the members of the 
Dahait caste committee. 

Dixit.— Stc Dikhit. 

Dohaile. — (One who yokes two bullocks 
to the oil-press. ) Subcaste of Tclis 
in the Nagpur country. 


Doblsya. — (Two score.) Subcasle of royal races of Kajputs. 

Ilalwai. Dogle. — Name applied lo Kayasths of 

Doda or Dor. — One of the thirly-six illegitimate descent. 

Dohor.' — A small caste of Berar, who are really Cliamars ; in the Central 
Provinces the Dohors are a well-know-n subcaste of Chamars, but in Herar 
they appear to have obtained a separate name, under which about 6000 persons 
were returned in 1911. They work in leather like the Chamars or Mochis. 
With the ambition of bettering their social status among the Hindus the caste 
strictly observe the sanctity of animal life. No Dohor may molest an animal 
or even pelt it with stones. A man who sells a cow or bullock to butchers 
is put out of caste, but if he repents and gets the animal back before it is 
slaughtered, a fine of Rs. 5 only is imposed. If, on the other hand, the 
animal is killed, the culprit must give his daughter in marriage without 
taking any price from the bridegroom, and must feed the whole caste and 
pay a fine of Rs. 50, which is expended on liquor. Failing this he is ex- 
pelled from the community. Similarly the Pardeshi Dohors rigidly enforce 
infant-marriage. If a girl is not married before she is ten her family are 
fined and put out of caste until the fine is paid. And if the girl has leprosy 
or any other disease, which prevents her from getting married, a similar 
penalty is imposed on the family. Nevertheless the Dohors are considered 
to be impure and are not allowed to enter Hindu temples ; the village 
barber does not shave them nor the washerman wash their clothes. A 
bachelor desiring to marry a widow must first perform the ceremony with a 
rtii or cotton-tree. But such a union is considered disgraceful ; the man 
himself must pay a heavy fine to get back into caste, and his children are 
considered as partly illegitimate and must marry with the progeny of similar 
unions. Either husband or wife can obtain a divorce by a simple application 
to the caste panchayat, and a divorced woman can marry again as a widow. 
The caste offer sheep and goats to their deities and worship the animals 
before killing them. At Dasahra they also pay reverence to the skinning- 
knife, and the needle with which shoes are sewn. The caste burn the bodies 
of those who die married and bury the unmarried. Before setting out for a 
funeral they drink liquor and again on their return, and a little liquor is 
sprinkled over the grave. When a man has been cremated his ashes are 
taken and thrown into a river on the third day. The chief mourner, after 
being shaved by his brother-in-law, takes the hair with some copper coins in 
his hand and, diving into the river, leaves them there as an offering to the 
dead man's spirit. 

Doha. — (Palanquin - bearer.) A sec- Di'ihe. — (A teacher and a man learned 
tion of Dhimar. in two Vedas.) A common sur- 

Dom. — An important caste in Bengal. name of Hindustani Brahmans. A 

See article Kanjar. Used as a subcaste of Banjara. 

synonym for Ganda in the Uriya Diidh.—{^\:\\V.) Dudh-Barai, a sub- 
country, caste of Barai ; Dudh-Gowari, a sub- 

Dotnra. — Subcaste of Turi. caste of Ahir or Gowari ; Dfidh- 

Dongaria, Dongarwar. — (From don- Ka war, a subcaste of Kawar. 

^«;-, a hill.) A sept of Bhil, Dhobi, Dudh ^/ia/. — (Milk - brothers.) A 
Mali, Mang and Sonkar. A sur- fraternity of Gonds in BetCd, who 

name of Maratha Brahmans. are apparently foster-brothers. They 

/?<?;-«.— (Sahib or Lord.) Title of the do not marry, though they have 

Mutrasi caste. different septs. 

Dosar. — Subcaste of Bania. Dakar. —A subcaste of Kolhati. From 

Z'raz'/^/a.— (Southern.) See Panch- (////w, hog, because they are accus- 

Dravida. tomed to hunt the wild pig with 

1 This article is based on papers by Buldana, and Mr. Khandekar, Head- 
Mr. D. P. Kshirsagar, Naib-Tahsildar, master, Nandura. 



dogs and spears when these animals 
become too numerous and damage 
the crops of the villagers. 

Dukaria. — Title of the officer of the 
Andh caste who constitutes the caste 

Dulha. — (Bridegroom.) A section of 

Dumar or Doiii. — A low caste of 
sweepers in Bengal. See Kanjar. 
Subcaste of Basor, Ganda, Panka 
and Turi. Synonym and subcaste 
of Mehtar. A section of Kawar. 

Dtirgbansi. — A clan of Rajputs in 

Ditsre. — (Second.) A subdivision of 
Shrivastab, Gaur and Saksena 
Kayasths, meaning those of inferior 
or mixed origin as opposed to Khare 
or those of pure origin. 

Dwdrka. — One of the most holy places 
in India, situated on or near the 
sea in Gujarat. It is supposed to 
have been founded by Krishna. 
Site of one of the monasteries (Ash- 
ram) of Sankaracharya, the founder 
of the non - dualistic or Vedanta 

Dwija. — (Twice-born. ) A title applied 
to the three higher classical castes, 
Biahman, Kshatriya and Vaishya, and 
now especially to Brahmans. 

Ekbahia. — (One-armed.) Subcaste of 
Teli, so called because their women 
wear glass bangles only on one arm. 

Ekbaile. — One who yokes one bullock 
only to the oil-press. Subcaste of 

Elama, Elina. — Synonym for Velama. 
A subcaste of Kapewar or Kapu. 

Erenga. — Subcaste of Kharia in Bengal. 

Erna. — (From Eran, in Saugor dis- 
trict.) A .section of Teli. 

Fakir. — A Muhammadan mendicant. 
Synonym Sain. See article. 

Farid. — Sheikh Farid was a well- 
known Muhammadan saint. A sec- 
tion of Panwar Rajput. 

Farsi. — Persian. From the Province 
of Fars. The term Farsi is also 
used by the Hindus to signify foreign 
or non-Aryan languages like Gondi. 

Fidawi. — (A disciple.) An order of 
devotees of the Khojah sect known 
to the Cru-saders as Assassins. Title 
of Khojah. 

Cadaba. — Synonym of Gadba. 

Gadaria. —A caste. Subcaste of Ahlr. 

Gadha. — (An ass. ) A sept of the Uika 
clan of Gonds in Betul, so named 
because their priest rode on an ass 
in crossing a river. 

Gadhao. — ^xova gadha, an ass.) Sub- 
caste of Kunbi. 

Gadhewal, Gadkere, Gadhive, Gadhilla. 
— (One who keeps donkeys. From 
gadha, an ass.) A subcaste of 
Dhimar, Katia, Koshti, Kumhar 
and Sonkar. A sept of Gond and 

Gadhivana. — (From Garha, near Jub- 
bulpore.) Subcaste of Nai. 

Gddhvdn.—(K cart-driver.) Subcaste 
of Dangri. 

Gadri. — (From gadar, a sheep.) A 
synonym of Gadaria. A subcaste of 

Gakanudr, Gakai-vdl, Gheriadl. — One 
of the thirty - six royal races of 
Rajputs chiefly found in Bilaspur 
and Khairagarh. A section of 

Gahbainya or Gahhoniya. — (Those 
who hid in a village when called by 
a king to his presence.) A subcaste 
of Kurmi. A section of Kurmi. 

Gahlot or Sesodia. — A famous clan of 
Rajputs. A section of Daraiha and 

Gahoi. — Subcaste of Bania. See 
article Bania-Gahoi. 

Galira. — Synonym for Ahir or herds- 
man in the Uriya country. 

CflZ-CiJifar?.— Subcaste of Gowari. 

Gaiki. — A cowherd. (A subcaste of 
Gond in Betul.) A section of 

Gaikwdr or Gaika. — (A cowherd.) A 
clan of Maratha. A section of 
Ahlr, Bhil, Kunbi and Mahar. 

Gaita. — Subcaste of Gond. 

Gaiwdle, — (Cow-keeper.) A subcaste 
of Moghia. 

Gajarha. — (Gdjar, a carrot.) A sec- 
tion of Teli in Mandla. 

Gajjdm. — A sept of the Dhurwa clan 
of Gonds in Betul named after 
Gajjami. (Bow and arrows in 

Gdnda.—~(A messenger.) A low caste 
of village watchmen. In the Uriya 
country the (jandas arc known as 
Dom. A subcaste of Pardhan. 
Title of Kharia. 


Gandhi. — Ascent-seller. {Yrom.gandh, of Atari. A section of Maheshir 

a Sanskrit word for scent.) Synonym Bani:i. 

Gandli. — The Telugu caste of oil-pressers, numbering about 3000 jjer.sons in 
the Central Provinces, in the Chilnda, Nagpur and Khandara Districts. 
They are immigrants from the Godavari District of Madras and have i)cen 
settled in the Central Provinces for some generations. Here many of them 
have prospered so that they have abandoned the hereditary calling and 
become landowners, traders and moneylenders. Like the well-to-do Telis 
they are keenly desirous of bettering their social position and now repudiate 
any connection with what may be known as ' the shop,' or the profession of 
oil-pressing. As this ranks very low, among the more despised village 
handicrafts, the progress of the Gandlis and Telis to the social standing of 
Banias, to which they generally aspire, is beset with difficulties ; but the 
Gandlis, in virtue of having migrated to what is practically a foreign country 
so far as they are concerned, have achieved a considerable measure of success, 
and may be said to enjoy a better position than any Telis. A few of them 
wear the sacred thread, and though they eat flesh, they have abjured liquor 
except in Chanda, where they are most numerous and the proportion of 
wealthy members is smallest. Here also they are said to eat pork. Others 
eat flesh and fowls. 

The Gandlis are divided into the Reddi, Chetti and Telkala subcastes, 
and the last are generally oil-pressers. It is probable that the Reddis are 
the same as the Redu-eddu or Rendu-eddu subcaste of Madras, who derive 
their name from the custom of using two bullocks to turn the oil-press, like 
the Do-baile Telis of the Central Provinces. But it has been changed to 
Reddi, a more respectable name, as being a synonym for the Kapu cultivating 
caste. Chetti really means a trader, and is, Mr. Francis says,i "One of 
those occupational or titular terms, which are largely employed as caste 
names. The weavers, oil-pressers and others use it as a title, and many more 
tack it on to their names to denote that trade is their occupation." Marriage 
is regulated by exogamous groups, the names of which are said to be derived 
from those of villages. Girls are generally married during childhood. A 
noticeable point is that the ceremony is celebrated at the bridegroom's house, 
to which the bride goes, accompanied by her party, including the women of 
her family. The ceremony follows the Maratha form of throwing fried rice 
over the bridal couple, and Brahman priests are employed to ofticiate. 
Widow- marriage is permitted. The dead are both buried and burnt, and 
during mourning the Gandlis refrain from eating khichri or mixed rice and 
pulse, and do not take their food off plantain leaves, in addition to the other 
usual observances. They have the shantik ceremony or the seclusion of a 
girl on the first appearance of the signs of adolescence, which is in vogue 
among the higher Maratha castes, and is followed by a feast and the consum- 
mation of her marriage. They now speak Marathi fluently, but still use 
Telugu in their houses and wear their head -cloths tied after the Tulugu 
Gaitoabalu.--{^^x^A of the Ganges.) t7aw^aya^ar.— (Sea of the Ganges.) A 

A family name of Ganda. section of Chitari and Kawar. 

G<z«^'-a(5a5za.— (Living on the banks of C^wi.wz'aw^. — (Descended from the 

the Ganges.) A section of Ahir. Ganges.) A clan of Rajputs. ^ The 

Gangtlpari. — (One coming from the chief of Bamra State is a Ganga- 

further side of the Ganges.) Sub- vansi. 

caste of Barai, Barhai, Chamar, (Jaw^/^a^'^.— Dwellers on the banks of 

Dhobi, Gondhali, Kumhar and the Godavari and Wainganga. These 

Umre Bania. rivers are sometimes called Ganga 

1 Madras Ce?isus Report (1901), p. ^ Dhandara Settlement Report (Mr. 

i^g. A. B. Napier), p. 8. 



or Ganges, which is used as a general 
term for a great river. A subcaste 
of Maratha. 
Gaiinore.- — -Name of a minor Rajput 

clan. Subcaste of Balahi. 
Ganth-chor. — (A bundle-thief.) Title 

of Bhamta. 
Gaolan. — A synonym of Ahir or Gaoli, 
applied to an inferior section of the 
Gaoli, Gazili. — (A milkman.) Synonym 

for Ahir. Subcaste of Hatkar. 
Gaontia.—{S. vHiUage headman.) Title 
of the head of the Kol caste com- 
mittee. Title of Kol. 
Garde. — (Dusty.) A surname of Kar- 

hara Brahmans in Saugor. 
Garg or Gargya. — The name of a 
famous Rishi or saint. An epony- 
mous section of Brahmans. A 
section of Agarwala Banias. Gar- 
gabansi is a clan of Rajputs. 
Garhaivdla, Garhewdla, Garkewdr. — 
A resident of Garha, an old town 
near Jubbulpore which gave its name 
to the Garha- Mandla dynasty, and is 
a centre of weaving. A subcaste of 
Katia, Koshti and Mahar, all weaving 
castes. A subcaste of Binjhal. 
Garkata. — (Cut-throat.) A section of 

Gdrpagdri. — A body of Jogis or Naths 
who avert hailstorms and are con- 
sidered a separate caste. See article. 
From gdr, hail. A subcaste of 
Koshta and Kumhiir. A section of 
Gate. — (A bastard.) Subcaste of 

Gaur. — The ancient name of part of 
Bengal and perhaps applied also to 
the tract in the United Provinces 
round about the modern Gonda 
District. A subcaste of Brahman 
and Kayasth. A clan of Rajputs. 
See articles. 
Gniria, Gaiiriya. — A caste. A sub- 
caste of Dliimar, Khond, Kumhar 
and Uriya Sansia. 
Gauripiitra. — A son of Gauri, the wife 

of Mahadeo. Title of Balija. 
Gautam. — A name of a famous Rishi 
or saint. A common eponymous 
section of Brahmans. A clan of 
Rajputs. A section of Agharia, 
Ahir, Maratha, I'anwar Rajput, 
Rangari and Jangam. 

Gdyake. — Subcaste of Pardhi, meaning 
a man who stalks deer behind a 
Gaydwdl. — (From the town of Gaya on 
the Ganges, a favourite place for 
performing the obsequies of the 
dead.) A subcaste of Brahmans 
who act as emissaries for the owners 
of the shrines at Gaya and wander 
about the country inducing villagers 
to undertake the pilgrimage and 
personally conducting their con- 
Gdzuhi. — (A bangle-seller.) Subcaste 

of Balija. 
Gedam. — A sept of Gonds. A sept of 

Ghadyachi Tong. — (The rim of the 

pitcher. ) A section of Kirar. 
Ghanta. — (Bell.) A section of Kum- 
Ghantra. — Name of a caste of Lohiirs 
or blacksmiths in the Uriya country. 
Gharbdri. — One who while leading 
a mendicant life is permitted to 
marry with the permission of his 
gum. A householder, synonym 
Grihastha. The married groups of 
the Gosain, Bairagi and Manbhao 
orders as distinguished from the 
Nihang or celibate section. 
Ghdsi yJ/(7//.— Subcaste of Mali. 
Ghdtole, Ghdtode. — Those who dwell 
on the ghdts or passes of the Sain- 
hyadri Hills to the south of the 
Berar plain. Subcaste of Bahna, 
Gondhali and Kunbi. 
Ghdttnathe. — (Residents of the Maha- 
deo plateau in Berar.) Subcaste of 
Ghei-wdl. — A clan of Rajputs. .Syn- 
onym for Gaharwar. 
Ghldoda. — (Giver o{ ghi.) A section 
of Telis so named because their first 
ancestors presented g/ii to the king 
Ghisddi, Ghisdri. — A group of wander- 
ing I^ohars or blacksmiths. .Synonym 
for Lobar. 
Ghodcrdo. — {Ghoda, a horse.) Sub- 
caste of Chitrakathi. They have 
the duty of looking after the horses 
and bullock -carts of the castemtn 
who assemble for marriage or other 
Ghodke. — Those who tend horses. 
Subcaste of Mang. 



Ghodmaria. — (Horse -killer.) A sept 
of Binjhwar. 

Ghopi. — (Wild janiun tree.) A sept 
of Gonds. 

Ghosi. — A caste. A subcaste of Ahir. 
A section of Chaniar. 

Ghuckhoda. — A subcaste of Pasi, who 
have become grooms. (From ghora, 
a horse. ) 

Ghzighu, Ghughwa. — (Owl.) A section 
of Ganda, Kawar, Kewat and Panka. 
Pankas of the Ghughu sept are said 
to have eaten the leavings of their 

Ghunnere. — (Worm-eater.) A sec- 
tion of Teli in Betul and Rathor 

Ghura or Giira. — (Dunghill.) A 
section of Chadar and Sunar. 

Ghuttin. — A sept of BhTls. They 
reverence the gfilar, or fig tree. 

Gingra. —A subcaste of Tiyar. 

Girgira. — A small caste found in 
Sonpur State and Sambalpur district. 
They are fishermen, and also parch 
rice. They are perhaps an offshoot 
of the Kewat caste. 

Giri or Gir. — {Gh\ mountain.) An 
order of Gosains. 

.Girnara. — -A subcaste -of Brahmans in 
Jubbulpore. They are said to take 
their name fromGirnar in Kathiawar, 
where they were settled by Krishna 
after he rose from the Damodar 
reservoir in the bed of the Sonrekha 
river at Junagarh. They have the 
monopoly of the office of priests to 
pilgrims visiting Girnar. {Bombay 
Gazetteer^ ix. ) 

Goal or Gowdla, Gtiala. — (Sanskrit 
Gopal, a cowherd.) Synonym of 
AhIr, also subcaste of Ahir. 

Gaoli. — (A cowherd.) Synonym for 
Ahir. Subcaste of Maratha. 

Gobardhtia. — (From gobar, cowdung. ) 
Subcaste of Chamar. 

Gohia, Gohi. — (From goh or gohi, a 
large lizard.) A section of Jain 
Bania or Khatik. A sept of Bhatra 
and Parja. 

Gohil. — A well-known clan of Rajpfils 
in the United Provinces. 

Goia. — (From gohi, a mango -stone.) 
A section of Chadar. They draw a 
picture of the mango -stone at the 
Maihar or distribution of sacrificial 

Gola. — Synonym of Golar. 

Golak. — Synonym Govardhan or Gao- 
mukh. An illegitimate group of 
Maratha Brahmans. 

Golalare. — A subcaste of Bania. 

GoLandaz. — (An artilleryman.) Syn- 
onym of Kadera. 

Golapurab. — A subcaste of Bania, 
Darzi and Kalar. 

Golkar. — Synonym of Golar and Ahir. 

Golia. — One who dyes cloth with 
golikd rang, the fugitive aniline dyes. 
Subcaste of Chhipa. 

Golla. — Synonym of Golar. 

Gollam. — Synonym of Golar. 

Gotidddya. — (Gond.) Subcaste of 

Gondi. — (From the Gonds.) A sub- 
caste of Ahir, Binjhwar and Lobar. 

Gondia.- — Subcaste of Dhimar. 

Gondi- Lohdr. — A Gond who works as 
a blacksmith. Subcaste of Lobar. 

Gondvajisi. — (Descendants of Gonds.) 
A section of Ghasia. 

Gondwaina. — Subcaste of Baiga. 

Gopdl. — A caste. Synonym of Ahir 
in Rajputana. 

Goranda. — Synonym of Goyanda. 

Gorakkndth. — A sect of Jogis. From 
Guru Gorakhnath, a great Jogi. 

Gorasia. — (From goras, milk.) A 
section of Lonare Mali. 

Gorigotvdr, Gaigowdl. — (A cowherd.) 
A section of Otari and Panka. 

Gosaiti, Goswdmi. — A caste. A sur- 
name of Sanadhya Brahmans in 

Gotte. — A subcaste of Gond. They 
are also called Made in Chanda. 

Goundia. — A class of Bairagi. Syn- 
onym Madhavachari. A section of 

Go7vdlvansi. — Subcaste of Ahir. 

Goyanda, Goranda. —A name applied to a small class of persons in Jubbulpore, 
who are descendants of Thug approvers, formerly confined there. The name is 
said to mean, ' One who speaks,' and to have been applied to those Thugs who 
escaped capital punishment by giving information against their confederates. 
Goranda is said to be a corruption of Goyanda. The Goyandas are both 
Hindus and Muhammadans. The latter commonly call themselves Deccani 
Musalmans as a more respectable designation. They are said to be a gipsy 



class of Muhammadans resembling the Kanjars. The Hindus are of different 
castes, but are also believed to include some Beria gipsies. The Goyandas 
are employed in making gloves, socks and strings for pyjamas, having 
probably taken to this kind of work because the Thug approvers were 
employed in the manufacture of tents. Their women are quarrelsome, and 
wrangle over payment when selling their wares. This calling resembles that 
of the Kanjar women, who also make articles of net and string, and sell them 
in villages. Some of the Goyandas are employed in Government and railway 
service, and Mr. Gayer notes that the latter are given to opium smuggling, 
and carry opium on their railway engines.^ 

Grihastha, Gharbai'i. — (A house- 
holder.) A name given to those 
divisions of the religious mendi- 
cant orders who marry and have 

Guar. — (From gudra ox gwdla, a milk- 
man.) Subcaste of Banjara. 

Gudarh or Gudar. — (From gtidra, a 
rag.) A sect of the Bairagi, Gosain 
and Jogi orders of mendicants. 

Gudha or Giirha. — (From gndh, a pig- 
sty. ) Subcaste of Basor. 

Gtigaria. — One who trades in gugar, 
a kind of gum. Subcaste of Ban- 

Gnjar. — A caste. A subcaste of Ahir, 
Darzi, Koshti and Pasi. A clan of 
Maratha. A section of Khatlk. 

Gujardti. — (From Gujarat.) A terri- 
torial subcaste of Bahelia, Bania, 
Barhai, Chhipa, Darzi, Gopal, Nai, 
Sunar and Teli. 

Gzirasthalu. — A synonym for the 
Balija caste. 

Gurbhelia. — (A ball of molasses.) A 
section of Gohira Ahirs in Chanda. 

Giiria. — (A preparer of ^?<r or unrefined 
sugar.) Synonym of Halwai in the 
Uriya country. 

Giintjwdle. — A class of I'akirs or 
Muhammadan beggars. 

Guni-Mdta. — Title of the great council 
of the Sikhs and their religious 

Guru. — (A preacher or teacher or 
spiritual guide.) Brahmans and 
members of the religious orders, 
Bairagis and Gosains, are the Gurus 
of ordinary Hindus. Most Hindu 
men and also women of the higher 
and middle castes have a Guru, 
whose functions are, however, gener- 
ally confined to whispering a sacred 
verse into the ear of the disciple on 
initiation, and paying him a visit 

about once a year ; it is not clear 
what happens on these occasions, but 
the Guru is entertained by this 
disciple, and a little moral exhortation 
may be given. 

Gurusthulu. — Synonym of Balija. 

Giithau. — Title of Gadba. 

Gwdlbansi, Gokulbansi, Godlbansi. — 
(Descended from a cowherd.) A 
subcaste of AhIr or Gaoli. A sub- 
caste of Khairwar. 

Gwdlhare. — (Cowherd. ) A subcaste of 

Habshi. — Synonym of Siddi. An 

Hadi. — (Sweeper or scavenger.) One 

of the 72^ gotras of Meheshri Bania. 

A synonym for Mangan. 
Hadia. — (From hadi, bone.) A section 

of Raghuvansi. 
Haihaya, Hailiaivansi. — (Race of the 

horse.) A clan of Rajputs of the 

lunar race. 
//a^V7w.— Muhammadan name for Nai 

or barber. 
Hakkya.—T\W^ of Hatkar. 
Halai. — Subcaste of Gulch i. 
Halbi. — Synonym of Halba. Subcaste 

of Koshti. 
Haldia, Hardiya^ Hardiha, Haldc. — 

(A grower of ha/di, or turmeric.) 

Subcaste of Kachhi, Lodhi, Mali, 

Rajjhar and Teli. A section of 

Halia. — (Ploughman.) A subcaste of 

Teli in Nandgaon State. 
Halua. — A subcaste of Uriya Brah- 
mans, so called because they use the 

plough [kal). 
Hans, Hdnsi, Hdnsa. — (The swan.) 

A .section of Agharia, Ahir, Mali 

and .Savar. 
Hansele. — (I/ausna, to laugh.) A 

section of Ahlr. 

Criminal Tribes of the C.P., p. 61. 


Hatiiimdn, Hamimanta. — (The nion- Haria. — (//«/, plouj;!!.) A subcasto of 

key-god Hanuman.) A section of Mahar. 

Bhatra, Mahar and Mowar. Harial. — (Green pigeon'.) A section 

Hara. — A clan of Rajputs, a liranch of of Ahlr. 

the Chauhans. //arj/;^.— (Glad.) .Surname of Karhara 

Harbola. — Derived from Ilari, a name Brahmans in Saugor. 

of Vishnu or Krishna, and bolna to Hatgar. — Synonym of Hatkar. 

speak. .Synonym of Basdewa and Hatghar. — Subcaste of Koshti. 

also subcaste of Basdewa. Hathgarhia. — Subcaste of Kumhar, 

Hardas. — A religious mendicant who meaning one who moulds vessels 

travels about and tells stories with his hands only, without using 

about heroes and gods accompanied the wheel as an implement. 

with music. Synonym of Chitra- Hdthia, Hasti. — (From liiithi, ele- 

l<athi. phant.) A section of Ahir, Chasa, 

Hilri. — (A bone -gatherer.) Synonym Mehra and Mowar. 

of Mehtar and subcaste of Meh- Hatkar, Hatgar.- — A caste. A su-Ii- 

tar. caste of Koshta and Maratha. 

Hatwa. — A small caste of pedlars and hawkers in the Uriya country, who 
perambulate the village bazars or hats, from which word their name is derived. 
They sell tobacco, turmeric, salt, and other commodities. The caste are in 
reality a branch of the Kewats, and are also called .Semli Kewat, because their 
ancestors travelled on the Mahanadi and other rivers in canoes made from the 
bark of the senial tree {Bomhax Malabariaim). They were thus Kewats or 
boatmen who adopted the practice of carrying small articles up and down the 
river for sale in their canoes, and then beginning to travel on land as well as 
on water, became regular pedlars, and were differentiated into a separate 
caste. The caste originated in Orissa where river travelling has until lately 
been much in vogue, and in Sambalpur they are also known as Uriyas, because of 
their recent immigration into this part of the country. The Hatwas consider 
themselves to be descended from the Nag or cobra, and say that they all belong 
to the Nag gotra. They will not kill a cobra, and will save it from death at 
the hands of others if they have the opportunity, and they sometimes pay the 
snake-charmers to set free captive snakes. The oath on the snake is their 
most solemn form of affirmation. For the purposes of marriage they liave a 
number of exogamous sections or vargas, the names of which in some cases 
indicate a military calling, as Dalai, from Dalpati, commander of an army, 
and Senapati, commander-in-chief; while others are occupational, as Maha- 
rana (painter), Dwari (gatekeeper) and Mangual (steersman of a boat). The 
latter names show, as might be expected, that the caste is partly of functional 
origin, while as regards the military names, the Hatwas say that the)' formerly 
fought against the Bhonslas, under one of the Uriya chiefs. They say that 
they have the perpetual privilege of contributing sixteen poles, called Naikas, 
for the car of Jagannath, and that in lieu of this they hold seven villages in 
Orissa revenue-free. Those of them who use pack-bullocks for carrying their 
wares worship Banjari Devi, a deity who is held to reside in the sacks used 
for loading the bullocks ; to her they offer sweetmeats and grain boiled with 
Havclia. — (Resident of a Haveli or subcaste of Gondhali. 

fertile wheat tract.) Subcaste of Hmdnstani. — Subcaste of Kunbi. 

Ghosi and Kurmi. Hira, Hirmti. — (Diamond.) A section 

Hawaidar. — (A maker of fireworks.) of Bhulia and of Uriya Sansia. 

Synonym of Kadera. Hirangotri. — (Hiran,dter.) A section 

Hela. — (From /^e/a, a cry.) Subcaste of Agarwal Bania. 

of Mehtar. Ho. — Synonym of Kol. 

Hicha>ni. — (A comb.) A sept of Holer. — (A hide-curer.) Subcaste of 

Maria Gonds. Mang. 

Hip-a. — (A eunuch.) See article. A Holia, Holer.— K caste. A subcaste 



of Golar. Holer, perhaps from 
Holia, a subcaste of Mang. 

Hudila. — (Wolf. ) A totemistic sept 
of Kawar. 

Hulhidia Sahu. — A section of Chasa 
so named, because as a mark of re- 
spect they make the noise ' Hulhuli,' 
when a king passes through the 

Ht'tna, Hoon oxHiin. — One of the thirty- 
six royal races of Rajputs. Probably 
descendants of the Hun invaders 
of the fifth century. See articles 
Rajput and Panwar Rajput. 

Husaini. — Subcaste of Brahman. 

Ikbaiiika. — A subcaste of Kurmi, so 
called because their women put 
bangles on one arm only. 

Iksha Kul or Ikshawap Kiil. — A 
section of Konati. They abstain 
from using the sugarcane and the 
sendia flower. 

Ildkeba)id. — (From ilaqa or aldqa, 
meaning connection, and bdndhna, 
to bind. ) Synonym of Patwa. 

higa, — Subcaste of Gowari. 

Irpachi. — (Mahua flowers.) A sept of 
Dhurvva Gonds in Betul. 

Ivna Inde. — {hide, chicken.) A sept 
of Dhurwa Gonds in Betiil. They 
offer chickens to their gods. 

Ivna Jaglcya. — {Jagna, to be awake.) 
A sept of the Dhurwa clan of Gonds 
in Betul. They are so named be- 
cause they kept awake to worship 
their gods at night. 

Jddain, Jdduvansi, Yddava. — An im- 
portant clan of Rajputs now become 
a caste. Name derived from Yadu 
or Yadava. A subcaste of Gujar. 
A subcaste and section of Ahir ; a 
section of Rathor Rajputs in Betrd. 

Jadia, Jaria. — (An enameller.) A 
subcaste of Sunar. They practise 
hypergamy by taking wives from the 
Pilariye and Sudilie subdivisions, and 
giving daughters to the Sri Nagariye 
and Banjar Mahuwe subdivisions. 
Also an occupational term meaning 
one who sets precious stones in rings. 

Jddubansi, Yddubansi. — See Jadum. 
A subcaste of Ahir. 

Jaga. — (Awakener. ) Synonym of Bas- 

Jasondhi, KaroMa. — A small caste 

cinploycil at tiie Gond and Maratha 

Jagat. — (An awakener or sorcerer.) A 
sept of Gond in many localities. A 
section of Nat and Kasar. 

Jakarta. — (From jahai-, an essence.) 
Subcaste of Satnami. 

Jain. — Name of a religion. See article. 
A subcaste of Kalar, Kumhar and 
Simpi (Darzi). 

Jaina. — (One who follows tlie Jain 
faith.) Subcaste of Komti, Gurao. 

Jain Koshti. — Subcaste of Koshti. 

Jaipuria. — (Aresident of Jaipur.) Sub- 
caste of Mali. 

Jairu'dr. — (From the old town of Jais 
in Rai Bareli District.) A subcaste 
of Chamars, who usually call them- 
selves Jaiswara in preference to their 
caste name. A subcaste of Barai, 
Kunbi and Kalar. 

Jaldlia. — A class of Fakirs or Muham- 
madan beggars. 

Jaitwa or Kamari. — A clan of Raj- 
puts ; one of the thirty -six royal 
races mentioned by Colonel Tod. 

Jalldd. — (An executioner. ) Subcaste of 

Jamddagni. — An eponymous section of 
Karhare Brahman and Agharia. 

Jambu. — (From iYiQ Jdtnan tree.) A 
subcaste of Brahman and Marar. 
A sept of Korku. 

Jambu Ddlia. — (Born in a shed made 
oi jdtnan branches.) A section of 

Janntabdsi. — (Residing on the banks 
of the Jumna.) A subcaste of 

Jangam. — A caste of Saiva mendicants, 
who call themselves Vir Sliaiva, and 
are priests of the Lingayat sect ; a 
subcaste of Jogi. 

Jdngra. — (Perhaps the same asjharia 
or jungly.) A subcaste of Lodhi. 
A section of Dhimar, Mali and 

Jdni. — A wise man ; an exorciser. 

Janta. — (Flour grinding -mill.) A 
section of Panka, a sept of Kawar. 

Janugiianta. — Mendicants who tie bells 
to their thighs ; a kind of Jogis. 

Jaria. — A totemistic section of Basor, 
who worship the bcr or wild plum 

Jasondhi, Dasattndhi. — A caste. A 

subcaste of Bhat. 
of the Narsinghpur District, who were 
courts to sing \\\q jas or hymns in praise 



of the chiefs. They may be considered as a branch of the Hhfit caste, and 
some of them are said to be addicted to petty theft. Some Jasondhis, 
who are also known as Karohla, now wander about as religious mendicants, 
singing the praises of Devi. They carry an image of the goddess suspended 
by a chain round the neck and ask for gifts of lil/i (sesamum) or other 
vegetable oil, which they pour over their heads antl over the image. Their 
clothes and bodies are consequently always saturated with this oil. They 
also have a little cup of vermilion which they smear on the goddess and on 
their own bodies after receiving an offering. They call on Devi, saying, 
' Mai/'i, Maijl Maia meri, kahe ko Janam diya ' or ' Mother, mother, why 
did you bring me into the world ?' Women who have no children sometimes 
vow to dedicate their first-born son as a Karohla, and it is said that such 
children were bound to sacrifice themselves to the goddess on attaining 
manhood in one of three ways. Either they went to Benares and were cut 
in two by a sword, or else to Badrinarayan, a shrine on the summit of the 
Himalayas, where they were frozen to death, or to Dhaolagiri, where they 
threw themselves down from a rock, and one might occasionally escape 
death. Their melancholy refrain may thus be explained by the fate in 
store for them. The headquarters of the order is the shrine of the Bind- 
hyachal Devi in the Vindhyan Hills. 

Jhara, Jhi7-a, Jhora.- — Synonym of 

Jharha.— Subcasle of Lodhi. 

Jharia. — (Jungly.) See Jhadi. 

Jharola. — (Perhaps from the town of 
Jhalor in Marwar.) A subcaste of 
Brahmans in Jubbulpore. 

Jhinga.- — (A prawn-catcher.) Subcaste 
of Dhimar. 

Jijhotia or Jiijhotia. — (From Jajhoti, 
the old name of the country of 

Jat. — A caste. One of the thirty-six 
royal races of Rajputs. A subcaste 
of Barhai, Bishnoi and Kumhar. 

Jatadhari. — (With matted hair.) A 
sect of celibate Manbhaos. 

Jati. — Name of Jain mendicant ascetics. 

Jaunpuri. — (From Jaunpur. ) A sub- 
caste of Halwai and Lobar. 

Jemadar. — Honorific title of Khangar 
and Mehtar. 

Jemdddrin. — Title of the female leaders 
of the Yerukala communities of 

Jera. — (A forked stick for collecting 
thorny wood.) A section of Dangi. 

Jhddi, JhCide, Jharia, Jharkua. 
(Jungly.) — A name often applied to 
the oldest residents of a caste in any 
locality of the Central Provinces. 
In Berar it is used to designate the 
Wainganga Valley and adjacent hill 
ranges. A subcaste of Ahlr, Barai, 
Barhai, Chamar, Dhangar, Dhanwar, 
Dhobi, Gadaria, Gurao, Kapewar, 
Kasar, Katia, Kewat, Khatik, Khond, 
Kirar, Kumhar, Kunbi, Kurmi, 
Mahar, Mali, Nai, Sunar, Teli and 

Jhadukar.- — (From Jkddu, a broom.) 
A synonym of Mehtar. 

Jkal or Jhala. — One of the thirty-six 
royal races of Rajputs. A subcaste 
of Raj-Gond. 

Jhdnkar. — Name of a village priest in 
the Uriya country. The Jhankar is 
usually a Binjhwar or member of 
another primitive tribe 

Lalitpur and Saugor. ) A subcaste 

of Brahmans of the Kanaujia division. 

A subcaste of Ahir ; a section of 

Joshi and Kumhar. 
Jlldgar. — (A bookbinder.) A class of 

Jingar. — (A saddlemaker.) A class of 

Mochi. A subcaste of Chamar and 

of Simpi (Darzi). 
Jirdyat. — Synonym for Mochis in Berar 

who have taken up the finer kinds 

of ironwork, such as mending guns, 

Jire-Mdli. — Formerly was the only 

subcaste of Mali who would grow 

cnmin ox jira. 
Jiria. — (From jira, or cumin.) Sub- 
caste of Kachhi. 
Jogi, Jugi. A caste. A subcaste of 

Dewar. A section of Chamar, 

Chhipa and Lobar. 
Joharia. — (From johar, a form of 

salutation. ) Subcaste of Dahaits in 

Johri. — A subcaste of Rajput. 

2 B 



Jokliara. — A small class of Muhammadans who breed leeches and apply ihem 
to patients, the name being derived from jonk, a leech. They were not 
separately classified at the census, but a few families of them are found in 
Burhanpur, and they marry among themselves, because no other Muham- 
madans will marry with them. In other parts of India leeches are kept 
and applied by sweepers and sometimes by their women.' People suffering 
from boils, toothache, swellings of the face, piles and other diseases have 
leeches applied to them. For toothache the leeches are placed inside the 
mouth on the gum for two days in succession. There are two kinds of 
leeches known as Bhainsa-jonk, the large or buffalo-leech, and Rai-jonk, 
the small leech. They are found in the mud of stagnant tanks and in 
broken-down wells, and are kept in earthen vessels in a mixture of black 
soil and water ; and in this condition they will go without food for months 
and also breed. Some patients object to having their blood taken out of 
the house, and in such cases powdered turmeric is given to the leeches to 
make them disgorge, and the blood of the patient is buried inside the house. 
The same means is adopted to prevent the leeches from dying of repletion. 
In Gujarat the Jokharas are a branch of the Hajjam or Muhammadan barber 
caste,- and this recalls the fact that the barber chirurgeon or surgeon in 
medieval England was also known as the leech. It would be natural to 
suppose that he was named after the insect which he applied, but Murray's 
Dictionary holds that the two words were derived from separate early 
English roots, and were subsequently identified by popular etymology. 

Jondhara. — (Indian millet.) A totem- Chasa, Kamar and Khandait. 

istic sept of Korku and Halba. Kachhotia. — Subcaste of Jadam. 

Joshi, — (An astrologer. ) A caste. A 
surname of Karhara Brahmans. 

Juthia.—[OviQ who eats the leavings of 
others.) Subcaste of Basor. 

Jyotishi. — A synonym for Joshi; an 

Kabiraya. — (Followers of Kabir. ) A 
subcaste of Kori. A section of 

Kabtrpanthi . — A member of the Kabir- 
panthi sect. A subcaste of Panka 
and Agharia. A class of Bairagis 
or religious mendicants. 

Kabra. — (Spotted.) One of the 72^ 
sections of Maheshri Bania. 

Kabidari. — (Pigeon.) A synonym 
for Kolhati. A name given to 
female dancers of the Nat caste. 

Kabutkunia. — (Those who find place 
at the corner of the door.) A sub- 
caste of Sudh in Sambalpur, being 
the illegitimate issues of the Baro 
.Sudh subcaste. 

Kachdra. — Synonym of Kachera. 

Kachchhi. — (From Cutch in Gujarat.) 
A subdivision of lialmiki Kayasths 
and Mathur Kayasths. 

Kachhap. — (Tortoise.) A totemistic 
sept of Agharia, Sudh, Bhulia, 

Kachhuwa. — (The tortoise.) A totem- 
istic sept of several groups of Gonds, 
also of Darzi, Halba, Kol, Rawat, 
Munda, J at, Kachhi and Lobar. 

Kachhwaha. — (The tortoise.) One 
of the thirty-six royal races of Raj- 
puts, the princes of Jaipur or Amber 
being of this clan. They derive the 
name from Cutch, or from Kush, an 
eponymous ancestor. A section of 
Nandbansi Ahlr, Gadaria, Kachhi 
and Nat. The Kachhwaha section 
of Gadarias worship the tortoise. 

Kada-kalle-bhallavi . — One who uses 
donkeys for pack-carriage {bhallavi), 
but stole a horse {kalle-kada). A 
sept of the Dhurwa clan of Satdeve 
Gonds in Betrd. 

Kagar. — Synonym of Dhlmar. 

Kai^waria. — P"rom kagwar, an offering 
made to the ancestors in the month 
of Kunwar. Subcaste of Kol. 

Kaibarlta. — Synonym of Kewat. 

Kaikadi. — Synonym of Kaikari. 

Kainthivans .- — A subcaste of Pasi in 
Saugor and Betrd, said to have 
originated in a cross between a 
Badhak or Baori, and a Kayasth 

Kaith. — Synonym for Kayasth. 

^ Buchanan, i. p. 331. 

2 B.G. Muh. Guj., p. 84. 


K'aitha, Kaithia. — Subcaste of Khar- Muhammadan practices. 

bhunja and Darzi, KnlapJthia. — (Having; black backs.) 

Kakra. — One who arranges for the A subcaste of Savar.s in I'uri of 

lighting at the marriage and other Orissa. They have the right of 

ceremonies. Subcaste of Chitra- dragging the car of ]agann;ith. 

kathi. Killmvant. — Title of Mirasi. 

Kala. — (Black.) A subcaste of CJol- Kalbelia. — {Catcher of .snake.s.) A 

kar (Ahir). .subcaste of Nat. 

Kalachiiri. — Synonym for the Ilaihaya Kdlibclia. — {Bel, an ox.) A section 
clan of Rajputs. of Cliadar. They draw a picture (jf 

Kdlanga. — A caste. A subcaste of an o\ at their weddings. 

Good. Kalihari. — (I5ridle. ) A section of 

Kalanki. — A subdivision of Mahar- Teli in Nandgaon, so named because 

ashtra Brahmans found in Nagpur. they presented a bridle to their king. 

They are considered degraded, as Kalkhor. — (Castor-oil plant.) A toteni- 
their name indicates. They are istic sept of the Audhalia caste, 

said to have cut up a cow made of Kalutia, Kalota. — A subtribe of Gonds 
flour to please a Muhammadan in Chanda and Betrd. 

governor, and to follow some other Kalwar. — Synonym of Kalar. 
Kamad.^ — A small caste of jugglers, who come from Rajputana and travel 
about in the Hoshangabad and Nimar Districts. They were not returned 
at the census, and appear to Vjelong to Rajputana. Their special entertain- 
ment consists in playing with cymbals, and women are the chief performers. 
The woman has eight or nine cymbals secured to her legs before and behind, 
and she strikes these rapidly in turn with another held in her hand, twisting 
her body skilfully so as to reach all of them, and keeping time with the 
music played on guitar-like instruments by the men who accompany her. 
If the woman is especially skilful, she will also hold a naked sword in her 
mouth, so as to increase the difficulty of the performance. 

The Kamads dress after the Rajputana fashion, and wear yellow ochre- 
coloured clothes. Their exogamous sections have Rajput names, as Chauhan, 
Panwar, Gudesar, Jogpal and so on, and like the Rajputs they send a 
cocoanut-core to signify a proposal for marriage. But the fact that they 
have a special aversion to Dhobis and will not touch them makes it possible 
that they originated from the Dom caste, who share this prejudice.- Reason 
has been found to suppose that the Kanjars, Kolhatis and other migrant 
groups of entertainers are sprung from the Doms, and the Kamads may be 
connected with these. No caste, not even the sweepers, will accept food 
from the Kamads. They employ a Brahman, however, to officiate at their 
marriage and death ceremonies. Like the Gosains the Kamads bury tlieir 
dead in a sitting posture, a niche being hollowed out at the side of the grave 
in which the corpse is placed. Crushed bread (r/ialFda) and a gourd full of 
water are laid beside the corpse. The caste worship the footprints of 
Ramdeo, a saint of Marwar, and pay special reverence to the goddess Hinglaj, 
who is a deity of several castes in Rajputana, 
Kamalbansi. — (Stock of the lotus.) Kaviari, Kaitwa. — One of the thirty- 

Subcaste of Kawar. six royal races of Rajputs. 

Kanial Kul. — (L.otus.) A section of Kainaria. — (From kai/ibal, blanket.) 

Komti. They do not use lotus A subcaste of Ahir. A section of 

roots nor yams. Dhlmar and Sonkar. 

Kamathi, Kamati. — A term applied in the Maratha Districts to immigrants 

from Madras. It is doubtful whether the Kamathis have become a caste, 

but about 150 persons returned this name as their caste in the Central 

1 This article is based on information Bengal, and of the North - VVesleni 
collected by Mr. Hira Lai in Betul. Provinces and Ondh. 

^ Art. Dom. in Tribes and Castes of 

372 GLOSSARY part 

Provinces and Berar in 191 1, and there are about 7000 in India, none, how- 
ever, being recorded from the Madras Presidency. It is stated that the word 
Krimalhi means ' fool ' in Tamil, and that in Bombay all Telugus are called 
Kamathis, to whatever caste they may belong. Similarly, Maratha immigrants 
into Madras are known by the generic name of Arya,^ and those coming from 
Hindustan into the Nerbudda valley as Pardeshi, while in the same locality 
the Brahmans and Rajputs of Central India are designated by the Marathas 
as Rangra. This term has the signification of rustic or boorish, and is 
therefore a fairly close parallel to Kamathi, if the latter word has the meaning 
given above. In the Thana District of Bombay ^ people of many classes are 
included under the name of Kamathi. Though they do not marry or even 
eat together, the different classes of Kamathis have a strong feeling of fellow- 
ship, and generally live in the same quarter of the town. In the Central 
Provinces the Kamathis are usually masons and house-builders or labourers. 
They speak Telugu in their houses and Marathi to outsiders. In Sholapur ^ 
the Kamathis dress like Kunbis. They are bound together by a strong caste 
feeling, and appear to have become a regular caste. Their priests are Telugu 
Brahmans, and their ceremonies resemble those of Kunbis. On the third 
day after a child is born the midwife lifts it up for the first time, and it is 
given a few light blows on the back. For three days the child sucks one 
end of a rag the other end of which rests in a saucer of honey, and the mother 
is fed on rice and clarified butter. On the fourth day the mother begins to 
suckle the child. Until the mother is pregnant a second time, no choti or 
scalp-lock is allowed to grow on the child's head. When she becomes 
pregnant, she is taken with the child before the village god, and a tuft of 
hair is thereafter left to grow on the crown of its head. 
Kanmia. — A large cultivating caste of the Madras Presidency, of which a few 
representatives were returned from the Chanda District in 1911. They are 
derived from the same Dravidian stock as the other great cultivating castes 
of Madras, and, originally soldiers by profession, have now settled down to 
agriculture. No description of the caste need be given here, but the following 
interesting particulars may be recorded. The word Kamma means an ear 
ornament, and according to tradition a valuable jewel of this kind belonging 
to a Raja of Warangal fell into the hands of his enemies. One section of 
the great Kapu caste, boldly attacking the foe and recovering the jewel, were 
hence called Kamma, while another section, which ran away, received the 
derogatory title of Velama {veli^ away). Another story says that the Kammas 
and Velamas were originally one caste, and had adopted the Muhammadan 
system o'i i^osha or purda. But finding that they were thus handicapped in 
competition with the other cultivating castes, it was proposed that the new 
custom should be abandoned. Those who agreed to this signed a bond, 
which was written on a palm-leaf {kamma), and hence received their new 
name. In the Central Provinces the Kammas are divided into three 
subcastes, the Illuvellani or those who do not go out of the house, the 
Tadakchatu or those who live within tadaks or mat screens, and the Polumtir 
or those who go into the fields. Tiiese names are derived from the degrees 
in which the different subdivisions seclude their women, the Illuvellani 
observing strict purda and the Polumtir none whatever, while the Tadak- 
chatu follow a middle course. On this account some social diflTerence exists 
between the three subcastes, and when the Illuvellani dine with either of the 
other two they will not eat from the plates of their hosts, but take their food 
separately on a leaf. And the Tadakchatu practise a similar distinction with 
the Polumtir, but the two latter divisions do not decline to eat from plates 
or vessels belonging to an Illuvellani. The Kammas forbid a man to marry 

1 See article Are. ^ Tha»a Gazetteer, pp. 119, 120. 

^ Sholapur Gazeilecr, p. 158. 



in the gotra or family group to which he belongs, but a wife from the same 
gotra as his mother's is considered a most desirable match, and if his maternal 
uncle has a daughter he should always take her in marriage. A man is even 
permitted to marry his own sister's daughter, but he may not wed his mother's 
sister's daughter, who is regarded as his own sister. Among the Kanmias of 
the Tamil country Mr. (Sir H.) Stuart i states that a bride is often much <jlder 
than her husband, and a case is cited in which a wife of twenty-two years of 
age used to carry her boy-husband on her hip as a mother carries her child. 
One other curious custom recorded of the caste may be noticed. A woman 
dying within the lifetime of her husband is worshipped by her daughters, 
granddaughters or daughters-in-law, and in their absence by her husliand's 
second wife if he has one. The ceremony is performed on some festival such 
as Dasahra or Til-Sankrant, when a Brahman lady, who must not be a 
widow, is invited and considered to represent the deceased ancestor. .She is 
anointed and washed with turmeric and saffron, and decorated with sandal- 
paste and flowers ; a new cloth and breast-cloth are then presented to her 
which she puts on ; sweets, fruit and betel-leaf are offered to her, and the 
women of the family bow down before her and receive her benediction, 
believing that it comes from their dead relative. 
Kammala. — A small Telugu caste in the Chanda District. The name 
Kammala is really a generic term applied to the five artisan castes of Kamsala 
or goldsmith, Kanchara or brazier, Kammara or blacksmith, Vadra or 
carpenter, and Silpi or stone-mason. These are in reality distinct castes, but 
they are all known as Kammalas. The Kammalas assert that they are 
descended from Visva Karma, the architect of the gods, and in the Telugu 
country they claim equality with Brahmans, calling themselves Visva 
Brahmans. But inscriptions show that as late as the year A.D. 1033 they 
were considered a very inferior caste and confined to the village site.^ Mr. 
(Sir H.) Stuart writes in the Madras Cettsus Report that it is not difficult 
to account for the low position formerly held by the Kammalas, for it must 
be remembered that in early times the military castes in India as elsewhere 
looked down upon all engaged in labour, whether skilled or otherwise. With 
the decline of military power, however, it was natural that a useful caste like 
the Kammalas should gradually improve its position, and the reaction from this 
long oppression has led them to make the exaggerated claims described above, 
which are ridiculed by every other caste, high or low. The five main sub- 
divisions of the caste do not intermarry. They have priests of their own and 
do not allow even Brahmans to officiate for them, but they invite Bjrahnians 
to their ceremonies. Girls must be married before puberty. The binding 
ceremony of the marriage consists in the tying of a circular piece of gold on 
a thread of black beads round the bride's neck by the bridegroom. Wid(nv- 
marriage is prohibited. 
Kaiiimari. — Telugu Lobars or black- have come from the town of Kanauj 

smiths. in northern India, into the Central 

Kamsala. — (A goldsmith.) Subcaste of Provinces. A subcaste of Ahir, 

Kammala. Bahna, Bharbhilnja, Bhat, Brahman, 

Kanalsia. — (Artw^///, a tile.) A section Dahait, Darzi, Dholji, Ilalwai, 

of Ahir in Nimar who do not live in Lobar, Mali, Nai, Batwa, Sunar 

tiled huts. and Teli. 

Katiare. — (A resident of Canara.) Kanbajia or Ahinvar. — Same as 

A subcaste of Dhangar. Kanaujia. Subcaste of Chamar. 

Kanaiijia, Kaiikubja. — A very common Kanchara. — (A brassworker.) Sub- 

subcaste name, indicating persons caste of Kammala. 

whose ancestors are supposed to Kand. — (Roots or tubers of wild 

1 Madras Census Report [xZ^-i.), p. 238. 
"^ Ibidem, p. 280. 



Kandhana. — Subcaste of Khoiid. 
Kandhia. — (A big- beaked vullure. ) 

A sept of Dhanwar. 
Kaiidia. — {Kandi, a shell, also a snake. ) 

A section of Teli in Betul. 
Kandol. — A subcaste of Brahmans, 

who take their name from the village 

Kandol, in Kiilhiawar. 

■ plants.) A section of Raghuvansi 
Rajputs in Hoshangabad. 
Kanda Potcl. — (One who grows roots.) 

A section of Mali. 
Kandc. — Subcaste of Bedar. 
h'andcra. — Synonym for Kadera. Sub- 
caste of Bahna. 
Kaudh. — Synonym of Khond. A sub- 
caste of I'aonla in Sambalpur. 
Kandra. — A small caste of bamboo-workers in the Uriya country, akin to the 
Basors elsewhere. Members of the caste are found in small numbers 
in the Raipur and Balaghat Districts. The word Kandra may be derived 
from kd)id, an arrow, just as Dhanuk, often a synonym for Basor, has the 
meaning of an archer. It is not improbable that among the first articles 
made of bamboo were the bow and arrow of the forest tribes, and that the 
bow-maker was the parent of the modern Basor or basket-maker, bows being 
a requisite of an earlier stage of civilisation than baskets. In Bhandara the 
Kandras are an offshoot of Gonds. Their women do not wear their cloths 
over the head, and knot their hair behind without plaiting it. They talk a 
Gondi dialect and are considered an impure caste. 
Kandu. — (A grain-parcher. ) A syno- Kapasia. — (From kapCis, cotton.) A 

nym and subcaste of Bharbhunja. A 
subcaste of Halwai. 

Kandua. — (From hand, onion, as they 
eat onions.) A subcaste of Bhar- 

Kanera. — (From the kaner tree.) A 
totemistic section of (janda and 

Kangali. — (Poor.) A common sept of 

Kanhejin. — Subcaste of Banjara. 

Kanhpuria. — (From Cawnpore, which 
was founded by their eponymous 
hero Kanh. ) A clan of Rajputs. 

Kanjar.- — A caste of gipsies. A sub- 
caste of Banjara. 

Kankuhja. — See Kanaujia. 

Kdnnow. — A sectarian division of 

Kanphata. — (One who has his ears 
bored or pierced.) A class of Jogi 

Kansari. — Synonym of Kasar. 

Kanwar. — Synonym of Kawar. 

Kanwarbansi. — A subtribe of Khair- 

Kaonra or A'oj-a. — A caste. A sub- 
caste of Ahlr. 

Kaore. — A sept of Gonds. A surname 
of Maratha Brahmans. 

Kapalia. — (Covered with skulls.) A 
section of Telis in Betfd. 

Kaparia. — (From kapra cloth, owing 
to their wearing several dresses, 
which they change rapidly like the 
Bahrupia. ) Synonym of Basdewa. 

section of Mahar, 

Kapdi. — Synonym of Basdewa. 

Kapiir. — (Camphor.) A section of 

Kaptiria. — A subdivision of Arhaighar 
Saraswat Brahmans in Hoshangabad, 
probably deriving their title from 
being the priests of the Kapur section 
of Khatris. 

Karai Nor. — A section of Casor. They 
perform the Meher ceremony of 
eating the marriage cakes near a 
well and not in the house. 

Kardit. — (A poisonous snake.) A sec- 
tion of Ahir, Halba and Panka. 

Karan (Mahanti). — A caste. A sub- 
caste of Kayasth. An eponymous 
section of Binjhwar and Tanti. 

Karaola. — (One who pours sesamum 
oil on his clothes and begs.) Syno- 
nym for Jasondhi and Bhat. 

Karbal. — Subcaste of Khangar. 

A'anhuli. — A clan of Rajputs, formerly 
a ruling race in the Jubbulpore 
country. See Rajput-Ilaihaya. A 
section of Joshi and Mochi. 

Karc, Karia. — (Black.) A subcaste 
of Marar. A section of Binjhwar, 
Ahir, Chhipa and I.odhi. 

Karela. — (Bitter gourd.) A section of 

Karhdda. — A subcaste of Maharashtra 
Brahmans deriving their name from 
Karhad, near the junction of the 
Krishna and Koynna rivers, about 
fifteen miles from Satnra. 



Karhaiya. — (Frying-pan.) A section 
of Raghuvansi. 

Karlgay. — (A workman.) An honor- 
ific title of Barhai and Lobar. A 
subcaste and synonym of Beldar. 

Karijdt. — Subcaste of Pardhi. Tlie 
members of this subcaste only kill 
birds of a black colour. 

Karkarkadhe. — (Stone-diggers. ) Sub- 
caste of Mang. 

Karnain. — Synonym of Karan, a palm- 
leaf writer. 

Karnaia, Karnataka.- — One of the 
five orders of Panch Dravida or 
southern Brahmans, inhabiting the 
Canarese country. 

Karnati. — (From the Carnatic.) Syno- 
nym for a class of Nats or acrobats. 

Karohla. — A religious mendicant who 
wanders about singing praises of 
Devi. See Jasondhi. 

Karpachor. — (Stealer of straw.) A 
sept of the Uika clan of Gonds in 

A'arsaydl. — (A deer.) A sept of the 
Kawar tribe. Also a sept of Ahir, 
Bhaina, Dhobi in Chhattlsgarh, 
Kevvat, Lobar and Turi. 

Karsi. — (From kalas, a pitcher.) A 
totemistic sept of Kawar. They do 
not drink water from a red jar on 
the Akti festival. 

Kanua. — Subcaste of Kunbi. 

Karwar. — (An oar.) A section of 
Dangi in Damoh. A section of 

Kasai. — A caste of butchers. Name 
applied to Banjaras. 

Kasar. — A caste. A subdivision of 

Audhia Sunar. A section of Kewat. 

A'asanvdni. — A subcaste of Bania. 

Kasaundhan. — A subcaste of Bania. 

Kasda. — (One who hides himself in 
the bed of the river.) A sept oi 
Korku ; a man of this sept has the 
privilege of directing the cerenxjny 
for the readniission of an outcastc. 

Kasdhonia. — A subcaste of Dhimar. 
They wash the sand in the sacred 
rivers for coins thrown there by pil- 
grims, and dive into water to find 
lost ornaments or gold. 

Kasera. — Synonym of Kasar. 

Kashi. — (Benares.) A section of 
Agharia, Ahir, Dhuri, Kewat, 
Kurmi and Mali. 

Kashyap. — Name of a famous Rishi 
or saint. The name may perhaps 
be really derived from kachhap, a 
tortoise. One of the common ejiony- 
mous sections of Brahmans. Also 
a section of Barai, Bari, Beldar, 
Bharbhunja, Bhulia, Binjhwar, 
Chandnahu Kurmi, Gond, Jangam, 
Joshi, Kalar, Kasar, Kasarwani 
Bania, Khangar, Nai, Rajput, 
Sunar. Some castes say that they 
are all of the Kashyap gotra or sec- 
tion, the tortoise being considered a 
common ancestor of mankind, be- 
cause it supports the world. 

Kasia. — (Kansa, or bell-metal.) A 
section of Chamar. They draw a 
picture of a bell-metal dish at their 

Kasondhi. — A subcaste of Bania. 

A'assab, Kassia. — (A butcher.) Syno- 
nym of Kasai. 

Kast. — A small caste found in the Maratha Districts and Bombay, who appear to 
be a separate or inferior group of the Kayasths. In Chanda they work as 
patwaris and clerks t(j moneylenders, while some are merchants and land- 
holders. Like the Kayasths, they wash their pens and inkstands on the 
Dasahra festival and worship them. Their principal deity is the god Venka- 
tesh, a Maratha incarnation of Vishnu. In Bombay the Kasts claim to be 
Yajur-Vedi Brahmans, dress like them and keep the regular Brahman cere- 
monies. ^ But they are considered to be half Marathas and half Brahmans, 
and strict Deshasth and Kokanasth Brahmans hold their touch unclean. - 

Katdre. — (Katdr, dagger. ) A surname name of eastern Rohilkhand. ) A 

of Sanadhya Brahmans in Saugor. section of Gadaria and Kasar. 

A section of Aearwal and Oswal Kathbhahia. — Subcaste of Baiga in 

Bania, Chhattlsgarhi Ahir or Rawat, 
Chadar and Basor. The Katare 
sept of Basors worship a dagger. 
Katharia. — (From Kathibar, the old 

Kdthi. — A Rajput clan included in 
the thirty-six royal races of Rajputs. 
Originally an indigenous tribe of 

■' Sat dm Gazetteer, 

p. 41- 

- Ndsik Gazetteer, p. 54. 

376 GLOSSARY part 

Gujarat, who gave tlieir name to Kaiishik. — The name of a Rishi or 

Kathiawar. saint. An eponymous section of 

Kathia. — Name of an Akhara or school Brahmans. A section of Ahir, 

of Bairagi religious mendicants. Diiobi, Rajput, Sunar and other 

See Bairagi. castes. 

Kathotia. — {Kathotia, a wooden bowl.) Kavirdj. — Title of a IJhat who has the 

A section of Darzi. qualification of literacy, and can 

Kati or Khatti. — Subcaste of Bhuiya. therefore read the old Sanskrit 

Katia. — A caste of spinners. A sub- medical works. A physician. 

caste of Balahi and Mahar. Kayasth Palwa. — A subcaste of Patwa 

Kattri. — Subcaste of Are. in Hoshangabad and Saugor. 

Katwa. — (Yxom. kdtjia, to cut.) Syno- Kekre. — Subcaste of Gujar. 

nym of Katia and Chamar. Kesaria. — (From kesar, saffron.) A 

K'aiu-. — Synonym of Kawar. section of Ahir and Gadaria. 

Kaiishalya. — (From Koslial, the name Kewat. — A caste. A subcaste of 
of a famous Rishi or saint.) A sec- Dhimar and Mallah. 

lion of Agarwal Bania, Darzi, Lodhi Khad. — Subcaste of Mana. 
and Khatri Sunar. KhadCil. — A caste of palanquin-carriers. 

KhadaP (honorific titles Nayak and Behera). — A small Dravidian caste of 
labourers in the Uriya country. In 1901 they numbered 1200 persons and 
resided principally in the Patna and Sonpur States now transferred to Bengal. 
The Khadals are probably an offshoot of the great Bauri caste of Bengal, 
with which the members of the caste in Patna admitted their identity, though 
elsewhere they deny it. Their traditional occupations of palanquin-bearing 
and field labour are identical with those of tlie Bauris, as stated by Sir H. 
Risley.^ The name Khadal is a functional one, denoting persons who work 
with a hoe. The Khadals have totemistic exogamous groups, the Kilasi sept 
worshipping a tree, the Julsi and Kandualsi sept a snake-hole, the Balunasi 
a stone and others the sun. Each sept salutes the revered object or totem 
on seeing it, and those who worship trees will not burn them or stand in their 
shade. When a marriage takes place they worship the totem and offer to it 
flowers, sandalwood, vermilion, uncooked rice, and the new clothes and 
ornaments intended for the bride, which she may not wear until this ceremony 
has been performed. Another curious custom adopted by the Khadals in 
imitation of the Hindus is that of marrying adult boys and girls, for whom a 
partner has not been found, to a tree. But this does not occur when they 
arrive at puberty as among Hindu castes, but when a boy still unmarried 
becomes thirty years old and a girl twenty. In such a case he or she is 
married to a mango, cotton ox jaimin tree, and after this no second ceremony 
need be performed on subsequent union with a wife or husband. A widower 
must pay Rs. 10, or double the usual price, for a second wife, owing to the 
risk of her death being caused by the machinations of the first wife's spirit. 
When a corpse has been buried or burnt the mourners each take a twig of 
mango and beat about in the grass to start a grasshopper. Having captured 
one they wrap it in a piece of new cloth, and coming home place it beside 
the family god. This they call bringing back the life of the soul, and con- 
sider that the ceremony procures salvation for the dead. The Khadals are 
usually considered as impure, but those of .Sonpur have attained a somewhat 
higher status. 
Khadia. — (A kind of snake.) A sec- sept of Nahal. 

tion of Ahir and Raghuvansi. A 
Khadra,^ Khadura or Kharura. — A small Uriya caste whose occupation is 

^ This account is taken from inquiries ■' From a paper by Mr. Kripasindh 

made by Mr. Hira in Patna. Tripathi, Headmaster, Saria Middle 

- Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. School, Sarangarh State. 


to make brass ornaments. They are immigrants from Cuttack and say that they 
are called there Sankhari, so that the Khadras may not improbably l)c an ofT- 
shoot of the Sankhari caste of shell-cutters of Bengal. According to their tradi- 
tions their original ancestor was created by Viswakarma, the celestial archi- 
tect, for the business of making a pinnacle for the temple of Jagannath at I'uri, in 
which eight metals had to be combined. He left two sons, one of whom became 
the ancestor of the Khadras, and the other of the Kasars, with whom the 
Khadras thus claim affinity. They have no subcastes but iom goh-as or clans 
called after the Nag or cobra, the Singh or lion, and Kasyap and Kachchap, 
both derived from the tortoise. They also have four bargas or family names, 
which are Patra (a term of respect), Das (slave), Sao (banker) and Maharana 
(artificer). The groups are supposed to be descended from four families who 
migrated from Cuttack. Neither bargas nor gotras are now considered in the 
arrangement of marriages, which are prohibited between blood relatives for 
three generations. Marriage is infant, and a girl arriving at puberty while 
still unwed is permanently expelled from the caste. The Khadras still follow 
the old rule of writing the lagiin or date of the marriage on a palm-leaf, with 
which they send Rs. 10-4 as a bride-price to the girl's father, the accept- 
ance of this constituting a confirmation of the betrothal. The marriage 
ceremony resembles that of the other Uriya castes, and the Khadras have the 
rite called badopani or breaking the bachelorhood. A little water brought 
from seven houses is sprinkled over the bridegroom and his loin-cloth is then 
snatched away, leaving him naked. In this state he runs towards his own 
house, but some boys are posted at a little distance who give him a new 
cloth. Widow-marriage and divorce are permitted, but the hand of a widow 
must not be sought so long as she remains in her late husband's house, and 
does not return to her father. When a bachelor marries a widow he must 
first perform the regular ceremony with a leaf-cup filled with flowers, after 
which he can take the widow as his second wife. All important agreements 
are confirmed by a peculiar custom called keskdni. A deer-skin is spread on 
the ground before the caste committee, and the person making the agreement 
bows before it a number of times. To break an agreement made by the 
heskani rite is believed to involve terrible calamities. The Khadras eat 
the flesh of animals and fish but not that of birds, and they do not drink 
country liquor. W^hen an estate is to be partitioned the eldest son first takes 
a tenth of the whole in right of primogeniture and the remainder is then 
divided equally. The Khadras rank as an artisan caste of somewhat low 
Khadura. — Synonym of Khadra. Khalifa. — (Lord.) An honorific title 

Khaijrdha. — (A resident of Khaira, a for Darzis or tailors, and Muham- 

town in Central India. ) Subcaste of madan barbers. 

Chamar. Khaltaha. — Subcaste of Ghasia. 

Khair, Khaira. — {^tovs\khair, catechu Khaltdti. — (Illegitimate.) Subcaste of 

or the catechu tree. A maker of Andh. 

catechu.) Synonym for Khairwar. Khaltia. — Subcaste of Basdewa. 

Khairchura. — (Catechu preparer.) A Khamari. — (Farmservant.) A section 

subcaste of Khairwar. of Kolta. 

Khaire. — A subcaste of Are (Gondhali), AV^awii?.— (One who hides behind the 

Kunbi and Oraon. graveyard. ) A sept of Korku. 

Khairwdr. — A catechu-making caste. Khanda. — (A sword.) A section of 

A section of Chamar. Panka and Mahar. 

Khaiyawdre. — (AV/rt/, ditch ; owing to Khandait. — (.'\ swordsman.) An Uriya 

their houses having been originally caste. A subcaste of Sansia, Taenia 

built on the ditch of Hatta fort.) A and Chasa. Also a name of Koltas 

section of Beldar Sonkars in Damoh. in Cuttack. 

/r/%^^/.— (From /J/^rt/&, ashes.) A class Khandapaira. — [One who cleans 

of Bairagi, or religious mendicants. swords.) A section of Khandwal. 



Khandapi. — {A'haiida, a sword.) A 
sept of the Dhurwa clan of Sahdeve 
or six-god Gonds in Betid, named 
after the sword of Raja Durga Shah 
by which a victory was gained over 
the Muhammadans. 

Khandele. — (From khanda, sword.) 
A section of Raghuvansi Rajputs in 

Khandelwal. — A subcaste of Bania. 

Khandeshi. — (A resident of Khandesh. ) 
A territorial subcaste of Darzi, Joshi, 
Mahar and Mang. 

Khanne, Khanna. — A subdivision of 
Chargarh Saraswat Brahmans in 
Hoshangabad, probably deriving 
their name from being priests of the 
Khanna section of Khatris. A 
section of Khatri. 

Khanonkha. — (A kind of basket to 
catch birds with.) A totemistic sept 
of Rautia Kawars in Bilaspur. 

Kharddi. — -(A turner, one who turns 
woodwork on a lathe.) A synonym 
of Kundera and Barhai. 

Kharchi. — Bastard Mavathas forming 
a separate division as distinguished 
from the Khasi or pure Marathas. 

Khare. — A subdivision of Srivastab, 
Gaur and Saksena Kayasths, mean- 
ing those of pure descent. 

Khari Bind Kewat. — Title of the 
Murha caste. 

Khai'odia. — (A resident of Kharod in 
Bilaspur.) A subcaste of Nunia. 

Kharsisjha. — (Maker of cowdung 
cakes.) A section of Mali. 

Kharwade. — (Refuse.) A subcaste of 
Simpi or Maratha Darzi (tailor) 
originally formed of excommunicated 
members of the caste, but now 
occupying a position equal to other 
subcastes in Nagpur. 

Khanvdr. — Synonym of the Khairwar 
tribe. Subcaste ofCheroand Kol. 

Khasi. — A subdivision of Marathas, 
meaning those born in wedlock. 

Khasiia. — (A eunuch.) Synonym of 

Khdti. — (From the Sanskrit kshatri, 
one who cuts.) A subcaste of Barhai 
and Lobar. 

Khatik. — • A caste. Synonym of 
Chikwa. A subcaste of Pasi in 
Saugor, said to have originated in 
a cross between a Bauri and a 
Khatik woman. 

Khatkiidia. — (Illegitimate.) A section 

of Teli in Betfd. 
Khairi. — A caste. A subcaste of 

Chhipa and of Sunar in Narsinghpur. 
Khatiia. — (Having a cot.) A section 

of the Hatwa caste. 
Khatulha or Khatola. — A subtribe of 

Khattthvdr. — A subtribe of Gonds in 

Chanda, the same as the Khatulha of 

the northern Districts. 
Khaivds. — A title of Nai or barber. 

A subcaste of Dhuri. A section of 

Kkeddziidl.—K subcaste of Gujarati 

Brahmans. They take their name 

from Kheda or Kaira, a town in 

Khedule. — From kheda, a village. 

Subcaste of Kunbi. 
Khendro. — Subcaste of Oraon. 
Kheralawdla. — An immigrant from 

Kherala in Malwa. Subcaste of 

Kherdzvdl. — See Khedawal. 
Kheti. — (Cultivation.) A section of 

Khcwat. — Synonym of Kewat. 
Khichi. — A clan of Rajputs, a branch 

of the .Sesodia clan. 
Khoba. — (Sticks for fencing the grain- 
store. ) A sept of Kawar ; they 

abstain from using these sticks. 
Khoksa. — (A kind of fish.) A totem- 
istic sept of Rautia Kawar in Bil- 
Kliiiiitia. — A subcaste of Agaria. 

One who uses a khunti or peg to 

fix the bellows in the ground for 

smelting iron. A sept of Savars. 

(Those wlio bury their dead on a 

high place.) 
Khtirsdni. — A sept of Pardhan and 

Dhur Gond. 
Khtitha. — (Impure.) A section of 

Tamera in Mandla. 
Khyatirokar. — (One who shaves, from 

kshaiir, to shave.) A synonym of 

Nai or Bhandari. 
A'ilandya.—{A'iliia, a dog-house.) A 

nickname section of Ahlr. 
K'ilkila. — (The kingfisher.) A sept 

of Khairwar. 
Killihusiim. — (One who eats dead 

animals.) A sept of Korku. 
A'iiidra.- — (One who hides behind a 

tree.) A sept of Korkii. 



Kirachi or Karachi. — A sept of Gonds 
of Raipur and Betul. 

Kirad. — Synonym of Kirur. 

Kirdhiboijir. — (A kind of fruit.) A 
section of Teli in Nandgaon. 

Kirdr. — A caste. Synonym Dhakar. 
A subcaste of Kachhi. A section of 

Kirnakha. — A sept of Gonds in 

Kii~vant or Kilvant. — A subdivision of 
Maharashtra Brahmans in Khaira- 
garh. The name is said to be 
derived from kira, an insect, because 
they kill insects in working their 
betel -vine gardens. Another ex- 
planation is that the name is really 
Kriyavant, and that they are so 
called because they conducted kriya 
or funeral services, an occupation 
which degraded them. A third 
form of the name is Kramwant or 
reciters of the Veda. 

Kisd7i. — (A cultivator.) Oraons are 
commonly known by this name in 
Chota Nagpur and Gonds in Mandla 
and other Districts. A section of 
Marar, Rawat or Ahir, and Savar. 

Koathia. — A section of Bais Rajputs. 

Kochia. — Perhaps a name for Bahnas 
or cotton cleaners. 

Kodjet. — (A conqueror of crores of 
people.) A section of Bhulia. 

Kohistdni. — (A dweller on mountains.) 
A section of Pathan. 

Kohkatta. — -A sept of Gonds in Khaira- 

Kohri. — A synonym for the Kohli 

Koi. — A class of Gonds. 

Koikopdl. — A subcaste of Gond. 

Koilabhftt or KoilabJmti. — A subtribe 
of Gonds. Their women are pro- 

Koiri. — A synonym of the Murao 

Koitui-. — A synonym for Gond. The 
name by which the Gonds call them- 
selves in many Districts. 

Kokonasth or Chitpdvan. — A subcaste 
of Maharashtra Brahmans inhabiting 
the Konkan country. Chitpavan 
means the pure in heart. 

Koksinghia. — {Koka, the Brahmani 
duck. ) A subsection of the Pardhan 
section of Koltas. 

Kol. — A tribe. Subcaste of Dahait. 

Kolabhfit. — A name for Gonds. 

Koldin. — A tribe. A subtribe of Gonds 
in Chanda. 

Kolckar. — A clan of Maratha. 

Kolia. — (From kolti, oil-press.) A 
section of Teli in BetCd. 

Koliha. — (Jackal.) A section of Pan- 
war Rajput, Chamiir and Kawar. 

Kolita, Kulla. — Synonyms of Kolta. 

Kolta.—h caste. A subcaste of Chasa. 

Kolya. — (One who hides behind a 
jackal-hole.) A sept of Korku. 

Komalwdr. — {Komal, soft.) A section 
of Kurumwar. 

Komati. — Synonym of Komti. 

Konunii. — (A story-teller. ) Subcaste of 

Kondazvd7-. — (A'onda, a mountain.) 
A section of Palewar Dhlmar and 
Koshti in Chanda. 

Kondjvdn or Ktmdi.- — A name of a 
tract south of the Mahanadi which 
is called after the Khond tribe, and 
was formerly owned by them. Sub- 
caste of Baiga. 

Korai. — A subcaste of Aliir or Rawat 
in Bilaspur. 

Kordku. — (Young men.) Subcaste of 

Koi'atkul. — A section of Komti ; they 
do not eat the kiunhra or pumpkin, 

A'brat'a. —Synonym of Yerukala. 

Korchamdr, — A descendant of alliances 
between Chamars and Koris or 
weavers. Subcaste of Chamar. 

Kori. — A caste. A subcaste of Balahi, 
Jaiswara Chamar and Katia. 

Korku. — A tribe. A subtribe of Nahal. 

Korre. — (Residents of the Korai hill- 
tract in Seoni. ) Subcaste of Injh war. 

Kosaria. — A subcaste of Rawat or Ahir, 
Barai, Dhobi, Kalar,]Mali, Pankaand 
Teli ; a section of Chamar and Gond. 

Koshti, Koshta. — A caste of weavers. 
See article. A subcaste of Katia 
and Bhulia. 

Koskdti. — A subcaste of Koshti. 

Kothari — (A store-keeper, from hatha, 
a store-room.) A section of Oswal 
and Maheshri Banias. 

Kotharya. — (A store-keeper. ) Subcaste 
of Chitrakathi. 

A'otwdl. — (Keeper of a castle, or a 
village watchman.) Honorific title 
of the Khangar caste. A surname 
of Yajurvedi Brahmans in Saugor. 
A section of Halba. 

38o GLOSSARY part 

Kotwar. — A person holding the office of village watchman. This post is usually 
assigned to members of the lowest or imj^ure castes derived from the aboriginal 
tribes, such as the Mahars, Ramosis, Gandas, Pankas, Minas and Khangars. 
Some of these were or still are much addicted to crime. The name kotwar 
appears to be a corruption of kotwal, the keeper or guardian of a kot or castle. 
Under native rule the kotwal was the chief of police in important towns, and 
the central police office in some towns is still called the kotwali after him. In 
some villages there are still to be found both a kotwal and a kotwar ; in this 
case the former performs the duties of watch and ward of the village, and the 
latter has the menial work of carrying messages, collecting supplies and so on. 
Both are paid by fixed annual contributions of grain from the cultivators. In 
Hoshangabad the kotwar is allowed to glean for a day in the fields of each 
tenant after the crop has been removed. It would appear that the kotwar 
was chosen from ihe criminal castes as a method of insurance. The kotwar 
was held responsible for the good behaviour of his caste-fellows, and was often 
under the obligation of making good any property stolen by them. And if a 
theft occurred in another village and the thief was traced into the borders of 
the kotwar's village he was bound to take up the pursuit and show that the 
thief had passed beyond his village, or to pay for the stolen property. Thieves 
were sometimes tracked by the kotwar, and sometimes in Gujarat and Central 
India by a special official called Paggal,^ who measured their footprints with 
a string, and in this way often followed them successfully from village to 
village. 2 The rule that the kotwar had to make good all thefts occurring in 
his village or perpetrated by criminals belonging to it, can only have been 
enforced to a very partial extent, as unless he could trace the property he 
would be unable to pay any substantial sum out of his own means. Still, it 
apparently had a considerable effect in the protection of property in the 
rural area, for which the regular police probably did very little. It was 
similarly the custom to employ a chaukidar or night-watchman to guard 
private houses when the owners could afford it, and this man was taken from 
a criminal caste on the same principle. 

The kotwar was also the guardian of the village boundaries, and his 
opinion was often taken as authoritative in all cases of disputes about land. 
This position he perhaps occupied as a representative of the pre-Aryan tribes, 
the oldest residents of the country, and his appointment may have also been 
partly based on the idea that it was proper to employ one of them as the 
guardian of the village lands, just as the priest of the village gods of the earth 
and fields was usually taken from these tribes. 

In some localities those members of an impure caste such as the Mahars, 
who hold the office of village watchman, obtain a certain rise in status on 
account of the office, and show a tendency to marry among themselves. 
Similarly persons of the impure Gunda caste, who joined the Kabirpanthi 
sect and now form a separate and somewhat higher caste under the name of 
Panka, usually work as village watchmen in preference to the Gandas. Under 
British rule the kotwar has been retained as a village policeman, and his pay 
increased and generally fixed in cash. Besides patrolling the village, he has 
to report all cognisable crime at the nearest police post as well as births and 
deaths occurring in the village, and must give general assistance to the regular 
police in the detection of crime. Kotwar is used in Saugor as a synonym for 
the Chadar caste. It is also a subcaste of the Kori caste. 

KcTMa. — (A crow.) A section of Tamera Chanda used by Telugus. 

and of Gond in Chanda. Kramikul. — A section of Komti. They 

Koya. — A subtribe of Gond in Bastar. do not use the black radish. 

Koytidu. — A synonym of Gond in Kshatriya. — Nameof the second Hindu 

' From pag, a foot. 
^ Malcolm, Memoir of Central India, ii. p. 21. 



classical caste or the warrior caste. 
Synonym for Rajput. 

A'shirsfigar. — (Ocean of Milk.) A 
section of Panwar Rajput, and a 
proper name of Maratha Brahmans. 

Kuch. — (A weaver's brush.) A section 
of Raghuvansi Rajputs in Hoshan- 

Kuclibaitdhia, Kuiichbandhia. — (A 
maker of weavers' brushes.) Syno- 
nym and subcaste of Kanjar. Sub- 
caste of Beldar in Chhattisgarh. 

Kudaiya. — {A'odoii, a small millet.) 
A section of Ahir. 

Kudappa. — A sept of Gonds in Raipur 
and Khairagarh. 

Kiidarbohna. — A Hindu Bahna. 

Kudaria. — {A'uddli, a pickaxe.) A 
section of the Bharia tribe. 

Kiikra. — (A dog.) A totemistic sept 
of Bhatra Gonds. A section of 

Kukuta. — (Cock.) A sept of Gonds 
in Raipur. 

Kulatia. — A section of Basor. From 
kulara, a somersault, because they 
perform somersaults at the time of 
the maihir ceremony, or eating the 
marriage cakes. 

Kuldip. — (The lamp of the family.) 
A section of Panka in Raipur. 

Kiddiya. — (Those who stop eating if 
the lamp goes out at supper.) A 
section of Ghasia. 

Kitlin. — (Of high caste.) A well- 

known class of Bengali Braliman.s. 
A subdivision of Uriya Malianiis. 
A section of I'anka. 

A'lihhres/Ua. — (Of good family.) A 
subcaste of Kayasth. 

Kuinan. — Subcaste of Barai. 

Kiimarrha or A'umarra. — (A bird.) 
A sept of Sahdeve or six -god Gonds. 
In Betul the members of tliis sept do 
not eat or kill a goat or sheej), and 
throw away any article smelt by 

Ktimarshishta. — A section of Koniii. 
They do not use iitcJuidi or henna 

K'umbhar. — (Potter.) Marathi syno- 
nym for Kumhar. A section of 
(janda and Bhulia. 

Ktiinbhoj. — (Born of a pitcher, a Rishi 
or saint.) An eponymous section of 

Kiimbhira. — (Crocodile.) A totemistic 
sept of Bhulia. 

Kuiiibhtvar.- — [Kunibh, a pot.) A 
surname of Gandli in Chanda. 

Kiiinharbans. — (Descended from a 
potter.) A section of Ghasia. 

Kuiiu-ayete. — {Yete, a goat.) A .sept 
of the Uika clan of Sahdeve or six- 
god Gonds in Betul. They do not 
eat goats, and are said to have 
offered human sacrifices in ancient 

Kjinbi. — A caste. Subcaste of Dangri, 
Gondhali and Maratha. 

Kumrawat,^ Patbina, Dangur. — A small caste of ja«-hemp growers and 
weavers of sacking. They are called Kumrawat in the northern Districts and 
Patbina {pat patti, sacking, and bimia, to weave) in Chhattisgarh. A small 
colony of hemp-growers in the Betid District are known as Dangur, probably 
from the da7ig or wooden steelyard which they use for weighing hemp. Both 
the Kumrawats and Dangurs claim Rajput origin, and may be classed together. 
The caste of Barais or betel-vine growers have a subcaste called Kumrawat, 
and the Kumrawats may be an offshoot of the Barais, who split off from the 
parent body on taking to the cultivation of hemp. As most Hindu castes 
have until recently refused to grow hemp, the Kumrawats are often found con- 
centrated in single villages. Thus a number of Patbinas reside in Darri, a 
village in the Khujji zamlndari of Raipur, v.hilc the Dangurs are almost all 
found in the village of Masod in Betul ; in Jubbulpore Khapa is their prin- 
cipal centre, and in Seoni the village of Deori. The three divisions of the 
caste known by the names given above marry, as a rule, among themselves. 
For their exogamous groups the Dangurs have usually the names of diflerent 
Rajput septs, the Kumrawats have territorial names, and those of the Pat- 
binas are derived from inanimate objects, though they have no totemistic 

1 This paper is compiled from notes taken by Mr. Hira Lai at Raj-Nandgaon 

and Betul. 



The number of girls in the caste is usually insufficient, and hence they are married 
at a very early age. The boy's father, accompanied by a few friends, goes to 
the girl's father and addresses a proposal for marriage to him in the following 
terms : " You have planted a tamarind tree which has borne friiit. I don't 
know whether you will catch the fruit before it falls to the ground if I strike 
it with my stick." The girl's father, if he approves of the match, says in reply, 
'Why should I not catch it?' and the proposal for the marriage is then made. 
The ceremony follows the customary ritual in the northern Districts. When 
the family gods are worshipped, the women sit round a grinding-stone and in- 
vite the ancestors of the family by name to attend the wedding, at the same 
time placing a little cowdung in one of the interstices of the stone. When 
they have invited all the names they can remember they plaster up the re- 
maining holes, saying, 'We can't recollect anymore names.' This appears 
to be a precaution intended to imprison any spirits which may have been for- 
gotten, and to prevent them from exercising an evil influence on the marriage 
in revenge for not having been invited. Among the Dangurs the bride and 
bridegroom go to worship at Hanuman's shrine after the ceremony, and all 
along the way the bride beats the bridegroom with a tamarind twig. The 
dead are both buried and burnt, and mourning is observed during a period of 
ten days for adults and of three days for children. But if another child has 
been born to the mother after the one who has died, the full period of mourn- 
ing must be observed for the latter ; because it is said that in this case the 
mother does not tear off her sari or body-cloth to make a winding-sheet for the 
child as she does when her latest baby dies. The Kumrawats both grow and 
weave hemp, though they have no longer anything like a monopoly of its 
cultivation. They make the gons or double bags used for carrying grain on 
bullocks. In Chhattisgarh tlie status of the Patbinas is low, and no castes 
except the most debased will take food or water from them. The Kumrawats 
of Jubbulpore occupy a somewhat more respectable position and take rank 
with Kachhis, though below the good cultivating castes. The Dangurs of 
Betrd will take food from the hands of the Kunbis. 
Kumrayete. — {Yete, a goat.) A sept 
of the Uika clan of Sab d eve or six- 
god Gonds in Betrd. They do not 

eat goats, and are said to have 
offered human sacrifices in ancient 

Kiinbi. — A caste. Subcaste of Dangri, 

Gondhali and Maratha. 
Ktindera. — A caste. A subcaste of the 

Larhia Beldars. 

Kundera, Kharadi. — A small caste of wood-turners akin to the Barhais or 
carpenters. In 191 1 the caste numbered 120 persons, principally in Saugor. 
When asked for the name of their caste they not infrequently say that they 
are Rajputs ; but they allow widows to remarry, and their social customs and 
position are generally the same as those of the Barhais. Both names of the 
caste are functional, being derived from the Hindi kimd, and the Arabic 
khardf, a lathe. Some of them abstain from flesh and liquor, and wear the 
sacred thiead, merely with a view to improve their .social position. The 
Kunderas make toys from the dftdhi {I/olarrheiia an(idysciiterita) and hutjqa 
stems from the wood of the khair or catechu tree. The toys are commonly 
lacquered, and the surface is smoothed with a dried leaf of the kevara tree.' 
They also make chessmen, wooden flutes and other articles. 

Knndgolakar. — A subdivision of de- applied to Nats. 

graded Maratha Brahmans, the off- A'lDi/i or A'uti/e. — (Ktinti, lame.) A 

spring of adulterous connections. 

Kiinjdm. — A sept of Solaha in Raipur. 
A section of Basor and Bhunjia. A 
sept of Gond and Pardhan. 

A'nnnaiya. — (Rope-dancer.) A name 

subcaste of Kapewar, .synonym Bhik- 
slia Kunti or lame beggars. 
A'ltmvar. — (Prince.) A title of Rajput 
ruling families. A section of Rajput 
and Kawar. 

' Perhaps Pandanus fascicularis. 



Kura Sasura. — Husband's elder 
brother. Title of Kharia. 

Ku7-athiya, Kuratia. — (From kur, a 
fowl, which they have given up eat- 
ing. ) A sublribe of Gonds in Khaira- 

Kurha or Sethia. — Title of the Sonkar 
caste headman. 

Kurkere. — One who moulds his vessels 
on a stone slab revolving on a stick 
and not on a wheel. Subcaste of 

Kurmeta. — A sept of Gonds in Chanda. 

Kiirmgutia. — (From kurni, tortoise.) 
A section of Mahar. 

Kunni. — A caste. A subcaste of 
Aghaiia in the Uriya country. A 
subcaste of Barai. A sept of Pard- 
han. A section of Mahar. 

Kurochi.—{Knr, hen.) A sept of the 
Uika clan of Sahdeve or six -god 
Gonds in Betul, so named because 
their priest once stole a hen. 

Kiirpachi. — {Kur, hen.) A sept of 
the Uika clan of Goods in Betrd, so 
named because their priest offered 
the contents of a hen's intestines to 
the gods. 

Kurru or Kiwa. — Title of Yerukala. 

Kusangia. — (Of bad company. ) A sec- 
tion of Lobar. 

Kushbansi. — A subcaste of Ahlr. 
(Descendants of Kush, one of the 
two sons of Rama. ) 

Kush Ranjan. — A section of Brahman, 
Barai, Chamar, Chandnahu Kurmi, 
Rawat (Ahir), Marar and Rajbhar. 

Kushta, Koshta. — Subcaste of Kori. 
Kuslia. — [KusU, boat.) A subcaste 

of Mali. 
A'lisratn. — (Kusri, pulse.) A sept of 
the Uika Gonds in Betul and 

Labliana. — Synonym and subcaste of 

Lad. — The old name for the territory 

of Gujarat. A subcaste of Bania, 

Kalar, Koshti and Sunar. 
Ladainiar. — One who hunts jackals 

and sells and eats their flesh. Sub- 
caste of Jogi. 
Ladele. — (Quarrelsome.) A section 

of Shribathri Teli. 
Ladjin. — Subcaste of Banjara. 
Ladse or Ladvi. — Subcaste of Chamar 

and Dhangar. 

Ladwan, Ladvan. — A subcaste of 
Mahilr. Perhaps from Lad, the 
old name of Gujarat. 
Lahcri. — Synonym of Lakhera. 
Zrt//«7a.— Subcaste of Brahman. 
Lahgera or Lah ugcra. — ( La/iatiga, 

weaver.) A subcaste of Kori. 
Lahuri Sett. — A subcaste of Barai in 
the northern Districts who are 
formed of excommunicated members 
of the caste. 
Lahuria. — (From Lahore.) A section 

of Rathor and Chauhan Banjaras. 
Lajjhar. — Synonym of Kajjhar. 
Lakariha. — A subdivision of Pardhan 
in Kawardha. While begging 
they play a musical instrument, 
hence the name from lakri, a stick. 
LCda. — (A term of endearment.) 
Synonym for Kayasth. A subcaste 
of Chamar. 
Lalbegi. — A follower of Lalbeg, patron 
saint of the sweepers. Synonym of 
Lai Pddri. — Red priests, because they 
rub ge7-u or red ochre on their 
bodies. Title of Jogi. 
Latnechti. — A subcaste of Bania. 
Langoti. — Subcaste of Pardhi. They 
wear only a narrow strip of cloth 
called langoti round the loins. 
Lanjia. — A subcaste of Lobar and 
Nai, from Lanji in Balaghat. A 
subtribe of Gonds in Khairagarh. 
Ldnjiwdr. — (One living round Lanji 
in Balaghat. ) Subcaste of Injhwar. 
Laphangia. — (Upstart.) A section of 

Laria, Lat-hia. — (Belonging to Chhat- 
tisgarh. ) A synonym of Beldar. A 
subcaste of Bhaina, Binjhwar, 
Chamar, Ganda, Ghasia, Gond, 
Gosain, Kalar, Kewat, Koshti, 
Mahar, Marar, Mo war, Panka, 
Savar, Sunar and Teli. 
Lasgaria. — A class of Bairagi mendi- 
Lasukar. — A subcaste of Gondhalis 

who sell books and calendars. 
Ldt. — Subcaste of C^hamiir. 
Lave. — Subcaste of Kunbi. 
Laya. — (Bird.) A section of Binjh- 
war, Mahar, and Panka. 
Lekha. — Subcaste of Gujar. 
Lemuan, Limuan. — (Tortoise.) A 
totemistic sept of Audhelia, Munda 
and Oraon. 



Lidha. — (Excrement of swine. ) Sub- 
caste of Khatik in Jubbuipore. 

Lilia. — (From III or nil, the indigo 
plant.) Subcaste of Kachhi. 

Lilorhia. — Subcaste of Gujar. 

Liinba. — [Niin tree.) A totemistic 
section of Dumals. 

Lingayat. — A religious order which 
has become a caste. See article 
and subordinate article to Bania. 
A subcaste of Bania and Kum- 

Lodha.—%^viovcjtx\ of Lodhi. Sub- 
caste of Lodhi. 

Loliar. — A caste of blacksmiths, 

synonym Luhura. A section of 
Binjhwar' and Ganda. 

Lohar Barhai. — A subcaste of Barhai 
in Bundelkhand. 

Lohdria. — A subcaste of Ahlr. 

Londria. — A salt-maker. Subcaste 
of Mahar. 

Lonchatia. — (Salt-licker.) A sept of 
the Uika clan of Gonds. The 
members of this sept lick salt on 
the death of their relatives. Another 
account from Betul says that they 
spread salt on a platform raised in 
honour of the dead and make cattle 
lick it up. 

Londhari. — A small caste of cultivators found in the Bhandara District. They 
appear to be immigrants from northern India, as their women wear the 
Hindustani dress and they speak Hindi at home. At their weddings the 
bridal couple walk round the sacred post according to the northern custom. 
When a widow marries again the couple worship a sword before the 
ceremony. If a man is convicted of an intrigue with a low-caste woman, he 
has to submit to a symbolical purification by fire. A heap of juari-stalks is 
piled all round him and set alight, but as soon as the fire begins to burn he 
is permitted to escape from it. This rite is known as Agnikasht. The 
Londharis appear to be distinct from the Lonhare Kunbis of Betul, with 
whom I was formerly inclined to connect them. These latter derive their 
name from the Lonar Mehkar salt lake in the Buldana District, and are 
probably so called because they once collected the [salt evaporated from 
the lake. They thus belong to the Maratha country, whereas the Londharis 
probably came from northern India. The name Lonhare is also found as a 
subdivision of one or two other castes living in the neighbourhood of tlie 
Lonar Mehkar lake. 

Londhe, Londe. — (One who hides 

himself behind cloth.) A section of 

Kohli. A sept of Korku. 
Londibacha. — A subcaste of Kasar, 

including persons of illegitimate 

Lonhare, Londre. — (From Lonar- 

Mehkar, the well-known salt lake of 

the Buldana District.) A subcaste 

of Kunbi. A section of Arakh and 

Liidhela. — A section of Basor who 

worship the ludhia, a round stone 

for pounding food, at the Maihar 

Liikura. — (One who works in iron.) 

Synonym of Lobar. Subcaste of 

Liinia. — Synonym of Murha, Nunia. 

Machhanda}-. — (One who catches fish.) 

Synonym of Dhimar. 
Machhandra Ndth. — A subdivision of 

Machkia. — (From mackhi, fish.) A 

section of Dhimar and Lodhi. 
Machhri. — (Fish.) A sept of Oraon. 
Alada Kukuria. — (Dead dog.) A 

subsection of the Viswal section of 

A/adafikuL — A section of Komti. 

They do not use red clothes, nor 

the wood of the swallow - wort 

Madari. — A class of Fakirs or Mu- 

hammadan beggars. 
Made. — A resident of the Mad 

country in Chanda and Bastar. 

SuVjcaste of Pardhan. 

Madgi, Madiga.' — The Telugu caste of workers in leather corresponding 
to the Chamars, which numbers nearly i^ millions in Madras, Mysore and 
Hyderabad. In 191 1 there were nearly 6000 Madgis in the Central 

' This article is compiled from papers by C. Ramiah, Kanungo, Sironcha, and 
W. Cj. Padaya Naidu, clerk, District Office, Chanda. 



Provinces and 3000 in Berar. According to tradition, the Madigas derive 
their name from that of a sage called Matanga Muni, and it is said that a 
dynasty belonging to the caste once ruled in the Canarese country. The 
following legend of their origin comes from Mysore :^ In former times the 
sage Jambava Rishi was habitually late in attending at Siva's court. Siva 
asked him why this happened, and he replied that he was occupied in tending 
his children. On this Siva took pity on him and gave him the sacred cow, 
Kamdhenu, from which all the needs of the children could be satislied. 
But one day while Jambava was absent at Siva's court, another sage, 
Sankhya, visited his hermitage and was hospitably entertained by his son, 
Yugamuni. The cream which Sankhya was given was so good that he 
desired to kill the cow, Kamdhenu, thinking that her flesh would taste even 
better. In spite of Yugamuni's objections Sankhya killed the cow and 
distributed the meat to various persons. Wliile this was in progress Jambava 
returned, and, on hearing what had been done, dragged Sankhya and 
Yugamuni before Siva's judgment seat. The two offenders did not enter the 
court but stood outside the doorway, Sankhya on the right side and 
Yugamuni on the left. Siva condemned them to become Cliandalas or 
outcastes, and the descendants of Sankhya have become the right - hand 
Holias, while those of Yugamuni and his wife Matangi are the left-hand caste 
of Madigas. The latter were set to make shoes to expiate the sin committed 
by their ancestor in killing a cow. Another story given in the Central 
Provinces is that the Golla caste of cowherds, corresponding to the Ahirs 
and the Madgis, are the descendants of two brothers. The brothers had 
a large herd of cattle and wanted to divide them. At this time, however, 
cattle disease was prevalent, and many of the herd were affected. The 
younger brother did not know of this, and seeing that most of the herd were 
lying on the ground, he proposed to the elder brother that he himself 
should take all the cattle lying on the ground, and the elder brother all those 
which were standing up, as a suitable method of division. The elder brother 
agreed, but when the younger came to take his cattle which were on the 
ground he found that they were all dead, and hence he had no alternative 
but to take off the hides and cure and sell them. His descendants continued 
his degraded profession and became the Madgi caste. In Chanda the follow- 
ing six subcastes of Madgis are reported : The Nulka Chandriah or caste 
priests ; the Anapa or leather dealers ; the Sindhi who are supposed to have 
been performers of dramas ; the Masti or dancers ; the Kommu or tellers of 
stories ; and the Dekkala or genealogists of the caste. It is said that Kommu 
really means a horn and Dekka a hoof. These last two are the lowest sub- 
divisions, and occupy a most degraded position. In theory they should not 
sleep on cots, pluck the leaves of trees, carry loads on any animal other than 
a donkey, or even cook food for themselves, but should obtain their subsistence 
by eating the leavings of other Madgis or members of different castes. The 
Nulka Chandriah or priests are the highest subdivision and will not take food 
or water from any of the others, while the four remaining subcastes eat and 
drink together, but do not intermarry. There are also a number of exogamous 
groups, most of which have territorial names ; but a few are titular or totemistic, 
as — Mukkidi, noseless ; Kumawar, a potter ; Nagarwar, a citizen ; Dobbulwar, 
one who possesses a dobbuhi or copper coin ; Ippawar, from the mahua tree ; 
Itkalwar from itkal a brick, and so on. The caste customs of the Madigas 
need not be recorded in detail. They are an impure caste and eat all kinds 
of food, and the leavings of others, though the higher subdivisions refuse to 
accept these. They live outside the village, and their touch is considered to 
convey pollution. 

1 Mysore Census Report (1891), p. 205. 
VOL. I 2 C 



Madhavacharya.—h.W'sX'wmAQ. sect and 
order of religious mendicants. See 
Madhyanjan, Madhyandina. — A class 
of Brahmans, the same as the Yajur- 
Vedis, or a section of them. 
Madia. — A class of Gonds in Bastar. 

]\Iadpotwa. — (One who distils liquor.) 
Subcaste of Teli. 

Aladrdsi. — Subcaste of Dhobi. 

Magadha. — A subcaste of Ahir or 
Rawat in Chhattisgarh, who ask for 
food from others and do not cook 
for themselves. 

Magar, Alagra. — A sept of Khangar, 
Ahir or Rawat, Gond and Chadar. 

Magida. — Synonym of Madgi. 

Mahabrdhman. — A degraded class of 
Brahmans who accept gifts for the 

Mahadeva Thdkur. — (Lord Mahadeo. ) 
A section of Mali. 

Alahajalia. — (Deceitful.) A section 
of Lobar. 

Mahdjan. — A banker. Title of the 
Bania caste. 

Mahdkul. — Synonym for Ahir. 

Mahdlodhi. — (Great Lodhi.) Subcaste 
of Lodhi. 

Mahdnadiya. — (Those who came from 
the Mahanadi river.) A subcaste of 
Lodhi. A section of Ganda, Ghasia 
and Panka. 

ahant. — Chief of a 7nath or monas- 
tery. A superior class of priest. A 
section of Ahir, Panka, Chamar and 

Mahanti. — A synonym for the Karan 
or writer caste of Orissa. A section 
of Chasa. 

Makdpd/ra. — A subdivision of degraded 
Brahmans who take funeral gifts. 
An honorific title of Thanapati and 
of Uriya Brahmans. A subcaste of 

Mahdr. — A caste. A subcaste of 
Balahi and Gondhali. A section of 
Rawat in Raigarh. 

Mahdrdj. — (Great king.) A title of 

Mahdrdna. — Synonym of Chitari. 

Mahdrdshtra or Mardthe. — One of the 
five orders of Panch Dravida Brah- 
mans inhabiting the Maratha country. 
They are also called Dakshini Brah- 
mans. A subcaste of Kumhar, Kasar 
and Lobar. 

Mahedia. — A section of Basors who wor- 
ship pounded rice mixed with curds. 
Mahenga. — (An elephant.) A totem- 

istic sept of Rautia and Kawar in 

Maheshri. — Subcaste of Baina. 
Makili. — Synonym for Mahli. 
Alahipia, — (A drinker of curds.) A 

subsection of the Viswal section of 

Mahisur.—{l^oxA of the earth.) A 

synonym of Brahmans. 
Mahli-Munda. — Subcaste of Mahli. 
Mahobia. — (From the town of Mahoba 

in Central India.) A subcaste of 

Barai, Chamar, Dangi, Ghasia, 

Khangar and Mahar. A section of 

Dangi, Kumhar and Kori. 
Mahoda. — A subdivision of Brahmans 

in Jubbulpore. 
Makore, Mahure.—A subcaste of Bania, 

Kori, Kumhar and Kalar, 
Alahrdtta. — Synonym of Maratha. 
J\fdhto, Mdhton. — A chief or village 

headman. Subcaste and title of Teli 

and Khairwar ; title of the leader of 

the Bhuiya caste. A section of Ganda 

and Rawat (Ahir). 
J/a/«^r.— (Poison.) A subcaste of 

Sunars in Chhindwara. 
Malutre, Mahiiria. — (From Mahur, a 

town in Hyderabad.) Subcaste of 

Barhai and Dhangar. 
Mai. — (Mother.) A division of the 

Kablrpanthi sect. 
Maichhor. — A small clan of Rajputs. 

Perhaps from Maichuri in Jaipur. 
Maihvdr. — (Dirty.) A group of Sunars 

in Raipur. 
Maina. — Synonym of Mina. 
Mair. — A subcaste of Sunar named 

after Mair, their original ancestor, 

who melted down a golden demon, 
Maithil. — One of the five divisions of 

Panch Gaur Brahmans inhabiting 

the province of Maithil or Bihar 

and Tirhut. 
Majarewdr. — A territorial section of 

Binjhwar (from Majare in Balaghat). 
Mdjhi. — (A village headman. ) Title of 

Mdjhia. — Synonym of Majhwar. 
Majhli. — (Middle.) Subcaste of Rautia. 
Makaria. — (From makad, monkey.) A 

subcaste of Kamar, so called because 

they eat monkeys. 
Makhia. — Subcaste of Mehtar. 


Malaiya. — An immigrant from Malwa. Mal-Paharia. — Synonym of Mai. 
Subcaste of Chhipa. MCilvi, Md/wi. — (From Malwa.) A 

Male, Maler. — Synonyms of Mai. subdivision of Br.lhmans in Iloslian- 

Malha. — A boatman. Synonym of gabad and Betul. A subcaste of 

Mallah. Ahir, Harhai, Darzi, Diiobi, Gadaria, 

J/a/^rtr.— Subcaste of Koli. Kalar, Kosiiti, Kumhar, Nai and 

Mali. — (A caste. ) A section of Kalar. Sunar. 

Malyar.' — A small and curious caste of workers in gold and silver in Bastar 
State. They are known alternatively as Marhatia Sunar or Panchal, and 
outsiders call them Adhali. The name Malyar is said to be derived from vial, 
dirt, z.x\A Jar or Jaliia, to burn, the Malyars having originally been employed by 
Sunars or goldsmiths to clean and polish their ornaments. No doubt can be 
entertained that the Malyars are in reality Gonds, as they have a set of e.\o- 
gamous septs all of which belong to the Gonds, and have Gondi names. So 
far as possible, however, they try to disguise this fact and perform their mar- 
riages by walking round the sacred post like the Hindustani castes. They 
will take food cooked without water from Brahmans, Rajputs and Banias, but 
will not eat katcha (or food cooked with water) from anybody, and not even from 
members of their own caste unless they are relatives. This custom is common 
to some other castes of mixed descent, and indicates that illicit connections 
are frequent among the Malyars, as indeed would necessarily be the case 
owing to the paucity of their numbers. But their memories are short, and the 
offspring of such irregular unions are recognised as belonging to the caste 
after one or two generations. An outsider belonging to any higher caste may 
be admitted to the community. The caste worship Mata Devi or the goddess 
of smallpox, and revere the spirit of a Malyar woman who became a Sati. 
They have learned as servants of the Sunars the rudiments of their art, and 
manufacture rough ornaments for the primitive people of Bastar. 

Mdna Ojha. — Subcaste of Ojha. do not eat mangoes. 

Mandal. — (A name for a prosperous Mandldha. — (From Mandla town.) 
cultivator in Chhattisgarh.) Asection Subtribe of Gond. 

of Chamar and Panka. See article Mane Kiinbi. — Subcaste of Gondhali. 
Kurmi. Mdng ox Maiigia. — A caste. Subcaste 

Mandilwdr. — Name derived from of Ganda, Gondhali, Bahrupia. 

Mandla. Subcaste of Katia. Mangan. — (From i^/a;/i,'-/«/«/«, beggar.) 

Mandkiil. — A section of Komti who A caste. 

Mangan.'^ — A small caste found in Chhattisgarh and Sambalpur who are the 
musicians and genealogists of the Ghasias. The term is considered oppro- 
brius, as it means ' beggar,' and many Mangans probably return themselves as 
Ghasias. They are despised by the Ghasias, who will not take food or 
water from them. At the marriages of the former the Mangans play on a 
drum called ghiinghru, which they consider as the badge of the caste, their 
cattle being branded with a representation of it. The only point worth 
notice about the caste is that they are admittedly of mixed descent from the 
unions of members of other castes with Ghasia prostitutes. They have five 
totemistic exogamous sections, about each of which a song is sung relating 
its origin. The Sunani sept, which worships gold as its totem and occupies 
the highest position, is said to be descended from a Brahman father and a 
Ghasia mother ; the Sendaria sept, worshipping vermilion, from a Kewat 
ancestor and a Ghasia woman ; the Bhainsa sept, worshipping a buffalo, 
from a Gaur or Ahir and a Ghasia ; the Mahanadia sept, having the 
Mahanadi for their totem, from a Gond and a Ghasia woman ; while the 

1 This article is compiled from a in 191 1. The above notice is corn- 
paper by Mr. Ghasinam Dani, Deputy piled from a paper by Mr. Krishna 
Inspector of Schools, Bastar State. Sevvak, Naib-Tahsildar, Bargarh. 

" The caste numbered 85 persons 


Bagh sept, who revere the tiger, say that a cow once gave birth to two 
young, one in the form of a tiger and the other of a human being ; the latter 
on growing up took a Ghasia woman to himself and became the ancestor of 
the sept. As might be expected from their ancestry, the Mangan women are 
generally of loose character. The Mangans sometimes act as sweepers. 

Mangta. — (A beggar.) A subcaste of 
Pasi in Saugor, who beg from their 

Maniara. — (A pedlar.) Subcaste of 


Matiikdr. — A caste. The Manihars 
are also known as Bisati. An 
occupational name of Jogis. 

Manikpuria. — (A resident of Manik- 
pur.) Subcaste of Panka. 

Mdnjhi. — (Headman.) A synonym of 
Santal and Kewat. A section of 
Chasa, Dhanuhar and Kolta. A 
title of Chasa. 

Manjur. — (Peacock.) A totemistic 
sept of Munda. 

Manjzvai- — Term for a boatman. In- 
cluded in Kewat. 

Mdnkar. — Name of a superior class of 
village watchmen in Nimar District. 
See article Bhil. A subcaste of 
Joshi. A section of RIana and 

Manneptnvdr. — A subcaste of Mala. 
Synonym, Telugu Bhoi. 

Mdnwa. — Subcaste of Kunbi. 

Mardbi. — A common sept of Gond. 
A section of Nat. 

Marai. — (A name for the goddess of 
cholera, who is called Marai Mata.) 
A common sept of Gond. Also a 

sept of Baiga, Basor and Bhunjia. 
A subcaste of Majhwar. 

Mardl. — Synonym of Mali. 

Marapa. — A sept of Gonds in BetGl, 
who abstain from killing or eating a 
goat or sheep and throw away any 
article smelt by them. 

Mardr. — Synonym for Mali, a gar- 
dener. Also a subcaste of Kachhi. 

Mardtha, Mardthe. — A caste. A sub- 
caste of Barhai, Bedar, Chamar, 
Dhimar, Gadaria, Kumhar, Mahar, 
Mali, Mang, Nai and Teli. 

l\fa)-dlhi, Mardtha, Mdrthc, Mardthe. 
— ( A resident of the Maratha country. ) 
Subcaste of Bahrupia, Chamar, 
Dhangar, Gondhali, Gopal, Injhwar, 
Kaikari, Kasar, Koshti, Nahal, 

I\Iarethia.- — Resident of Bhandara or 
another Maratha District. Subcaste 
of Halba. 

Mdria. — A well-known tribe of Gonds 
in Bastar and Chanda. See article 
Gond. A subcaste of Govvari. A 
section of Ahir, Chamar and Kum- 

Markdm. — [»iarka, mango.) One of 
the principal septs of Gonds. Also 
a sept of Baiga, Basor, Bhunjia, 
Pardhan and Solaha. 

Marori.^ — A small caste of degraded Rajputs from Marwar found in the 
Bhandara and Chhindwara Districts and also in Berar. The name is a local 
corruption of Marwari, and is applied to them by their neighbours, though 
many of the caste do not accept it and call themselves Rajputs. In Chhind- 
wara they go by the name of Chhatri, and in the Tirora TahsU they are 
known as Alkari, because they formerly grew the al or Indian madder for a 
dye, though it has now been driven out of the market. They have been in 
the Central Provinces for some generations, and though retaining certain 
peculiarities of dress, which show their northern origin, have abandoned in 
many respects the caste usages of Rajputs. Their women wear the Hindu- 
stani ani^na tied with string behind in place of the Maratha choli or breast- 
cloth, and drape their sdris after the northern fashion. They wear ornaments 
of the Rajputana shape on their arms, and at their weddings they sing 
Marwari songs. They have Rajput sept names, as Parihar, Rathor, Solanki, 
Sesodia and otliers, which constitute exogamous groups and are called kulis. 
Some of these have split up into two or three subdivisions, as, for instance, 
the Pathar (stone) Panwars, the Pandhre or white Panwars and the Dhatura 
or thorn-apple Panwars ; and members of these different groups may inter- 

^ Based on inquiries made by Mr. Hira Lai, Assistant Gazetteer Super- 
intendent in Bhandara, 



many. The reason seems to be that it was recognised that people belonged 
to the same Panwar sept who were not blood l<in to each other, and the 
prohibition of marriage between them was a serious inconvenience in a small 
community. They also have eponymous ,!;oiras, as Vasishtha, Balsa anil 
others of the Brahmanical type, but these do not influence exogamy. The 
paucity of their numbers and the influence of local usage have caused them 
to relax the marriage rules adhered to by Rfijputs. Women are very scarce, 
and a price varying from forty to a hundred rupees is commonly paid for a 
bride, though they feel keenly the degradation attaching to the acceptance of 
a bride-price. Widow-marriage is permitted, no doubt for the same reasons, 
and a girl going wrong with a man of another caste may be readmitted to 
the community. Divorce is not permitted, and an unfaithful wife may be 
abandoned ; she cannot then marry again in the caste. Formerly, on the 
arrival of the marriage procession, the bride's and bridegroom's parties let ofi" 
fireworks, aiming them against each other, but tliis practice is now dis- 
continued. When the bridegroom approaches the marriage-shed the bride 
comes out and strikes him on the breast or forehead with a ball of dough, 
a sheet being held between them ; the bridegroom throws a handful of rice 
over her and strikes the festoons of the shed with a naked sword. A 
bachelor espousing a widow must first be married to a ring, which he there- 
after carries in his ear, and if it is lost funeral ceremonies must be performed 
as for a real wife. Women are tattooed on the arms only. Children have 
as many as five names, one for ordinary use, and the others for ceremonial 
purposes and the arrangement of marriages. If a man kills a cow or a cat 
he must have a miniature figure of the animal made of gold and give it to a 
Brahman in expiation of his sin. 

Marskola. — (From viat-kas, an axe.) 
A common sept of Gonds and 

Mdrii. — Subcaste of Charan Bhats. 

Mdrwdri. — A resident of Marwar or 
the desert tract of Rajputana ; Mar- 
war is also used as a name for 
Jodhpur State. See subordinate 
article Rajput -Rathor. The name 
Marwari is commonly applied to 
Banias coming from Marwar. See 
article Bania. A subcaste of Bahna, 
Gurao, Kumhar, Nai, Sunar and 

Masania. — (From masin, straw or 
grass mats, or inasina, thatched 
roof.) A section of Lobar. A 
synonym for San Bhatras in Bastar. 

Mashki.—(K water-bearer.) Synonym 
of Bhishti. 

Masrdm. — A common sept of Gonds. 

Masti. — (Dancer.) Subcaste of Madgi. 

Mz^/ra;/;. — (Mastra, brass bangles.) 
A sept of Gonds in Betid. The 
women of this sept wear brass 

Masiiria. — Asubcaste of Kurmi. From 
masm; lentil. A section of Rajput. 

Mathadhari. — (Living in a monastery. ) 
A celibate clan of Manbhao mendi- 

Mathpati. — (Lord of the hermitage.) 

A subcaste of Jangam. 
Mathtir, iMat/niria. — (From Mathura 

or Muttra.) A subcaste of Kayasth. 

A subdivision of Brahman. A sub- 
caste of Banjara, Darzi and Nai. 
Matki'ida, Matkora. — (Earth - digger. ) 

A subcaste and synonym of Beldar. 

A name for Gonds and Pardhans 

who take to earthwork. 
Mattha. — Corruption of Maratha. A 

subcaste of Koshti, Mahar and 

Teli, and a title of Teli. 
Matti. — A subdivision of low -class 

Brahmans returned from Khairagarh. 

Also a class of Kashmiri Brahmans. 
Mattvdla. — (A drinker of country 

liquor. ) Subcaste of Kadera. 
Maiudsi, Mirdhdn. — Subcaste of Da- 

hait. Title of the headman of the 

Dahait caste committee. 
Mayaluar. — (Chief man of the caste.) 

A subcaste of Turi. 
Mayur. — (Peacock.) A totemistic 

section of the Ahir, Ilatwa, Gond, 

Sonjhara and Sundi castes. 
MayurtHdra. — (Killer of peacock. ) A 

section of Bahelia. 
Meda Gantia. — (Counter of posts. ) 

Title of Bhatra. Official who fi