Wydawca: R. V. Russell Kategoria: Humanistyka Język: angielski Rok wydania: 2015

The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Book III ebook

R. V. Russell  

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Opis ebooka The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Book III - R. V. Russell

"Gadaria, G?dri:The occupational shepherd caste of northern India. The name is derived from the Hindi g?dar and the Sanskrit gandh?ra, a sheep, the Sanskrit name being taken from the country of Gandh?ra or Kandah?r, from which sheep were first brought. The three main shepherd castes all have functional names, that of the Dhangars or Mar?tha shepherds being derived from dhan, small stock, while the Kuramw?rs or Telugu shepherds take their name like the Gadarias from kuruba, a sheep. These three castes are of similar nature and status, and differ only in language and local customs. In 1911 the Gadarias numbered 41,000 persons. They are found in the northern Districts, and appear to have been amongst the earliest settlers in the Nerbudda valley, for they have given their name to several villages, as Gadariakheda and G?darw?ra..."

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Fragment ebooka The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Book III - R. V. Russell

R. V. Russell

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Table of contents

Pronunciation

Part III

Pronunciation

a has the sound ofu in but or murmur.ā has the sound ofa in bath or tar.e has the sound ofé in écarté or ai in maid.i has the sound ofi in bit, or (as a final letter) of y in sulky.ī has the sound ofee in beet.o has the sound ofo in bore or bowl.u has the sound ofu in put or bull.ū has the sound ofoo in poor or bootThe plural of caste names and a few common Hindustāni words is formed by adding s in the English manner according to ordinary usage, though this is not, of course, the Hindustāni plural.Note.—The rupee contains 16 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.

Part III

GadariaList of Paragraphs1. General notice. 32. Subdivisions. 33. Marriage customs. 54. Religion and funeral rites. 55. Social customs. 66. Goats and sheep. 67. Blanket-weaving. 88. Sanctity of wool. 91. General notice.Gadaria, Gādri.1—The occupational shepherd caste of northern India. The name is derived from the Hindi gādar and the Sanskrit gandhāra, a sheep, the Sanskrit name being taken from the country of Gandhāra or Kandahār, from which sheep were first brought. The three main shepherd castes all have functional names, that of the Dhangars or Marātha shepherds being derived from dhan, small stock, while the Kuramwārs or Telugu shepherds take their name like the Gadarias from kuruba, a sheep. These three castes are of similar nature and status, and differ only in language and local customs. In 1911 the Gadarias numbered 41,000 persons. They are found in the northern Districts, and appear to have been amongst the earliest settlers in the Nerbudda valley, for they have given their name to several villages, as Gadariakheda and Gādarwāra.2. Subdivisions.The Gadarias are a very mixed caste. They themselves say that their first ancestor was created by Mahādeo to tend his rams, and that he married three women who were fascinated by the sight of him shearing the sheep. These belonged to the Brāhman, Dhīmar and Barai castes respectively, and became the ancestors of the Nikhar, Dhengar and Barmaiyan subcastes of Gadarias. The Nikhar subcaste are the highest, their name meaning pure. Dhengar is probably, in reality, a corruption of Dhangar, the name of the Marātha shepherd caste. They have other subdivisions of the common territorial type, as Jheria or jungly, applied to the Gadarias of Chhattīsgarh; Desha from desh, country, meaning those who came from northern India; Purvaiya or eastern, applied to immigrants from Oudh; and Mālvi or those belonging to Mālwa. Nikhar and Dhengar men take food together, but not the women; and if a marriage cannot be otherwise arranged these subcastes will sometimes give daughters to each other. A girl thus married is no longer permitted to take food at her father’s house, but she may eat with the women of her husband’s subcaste. Many of their exogamous groups are named after animals or plants, as Hiranwār, from hiran, a deer; Sapha from the cobra, Moria from the peacock, Nāhar from the tiger, Phulsungha, a flower, and so on. Others are the names of Rājpūt septs and of other castes, as Ahirwār (Ahīr) and Bamhania (Brāhman).Another more ambitious legend derives their origin from the Bania caste. They say that once a Bania was walking along the road with a cocoanut in his hand when Vishnu met him and asked him what it was. The Bania answered that it was a cocoanut. Vishnu said that it was not a cocoanut but wool, and told him to break it, and on breaking the cocoanut the Bania found that it was filled with wool. The Bania asked what he should do with it, and Vishnu told him to make a blanket out of it for the god to sit on. So he made a blanket, and Vishnu said that from that day he should be the ancestor of the Gadaria caste, and earn his bread by making blankets from the wool of sheep. The Bania asked where he should get the sheep from, and the god told him to go home saying ‘Ehān, Ehān, Ehān,’ all the way, and when he got home he would find a flock of sheep following him; but he was not to look behind him all the way. And the Bania did so, but when he had almost got home he could not help looking behind him to see if there were really any sheep. And he saw a long line of sheep following him in single file, and at the very end was a ram with golden horns just rising out of the ground. But as he looked it sank back again into the ground, and he went back to Vishnu and begged for it, but Vishnu said that as he had looked behind him he had lost it. And this was the origin of the Gadaria caste, and the Gadarias always say ‘Ehān, Ehān,’ as they lead their flocks of sheep and goats to pasture.3. Marriage customs.Marriage within the clan is forbidden and also the union of first cousins. Girls may be married at any age, and are sometimes united to husbands much younger than themselves. Four castemen of standing carry the proposal of marriage from the boy’s father, and the girl’s father, being forewarned, sends others to meet them. One of the ambassadors opens the conversation by saying, ‘We have the milk and you have the milk-pail; let them be joined.’ To which the girl’s party, if the match be agreeable, will reply, “Yes, we have the tamarind and you have the mango; if the panches agree let there be a marriage.” The boy’s father gives the girl’s father five areca-nuts, and the latter returns them and they clasp each other round the neck. When the wedding procession reaches the bride’s village it is met by their party, and one of them takes the sarota or iron nut-cutter, which the bridegroom holds in his hand, and twirls it about in the air several times. The ceremony is performed by walking round the sacred pole, and the party return to the bridegroom’s lodging, where his brother-in-law fills the bride’s lap with sweetmeats and water-nut as an omen of fertility. The maihar or small wedding-cakes of wheat fried in sesamum oil are distributed to all members of the caste present at the wedding. While the bridegroom’s party is absent at the bride’s house, the women who remain behind enjoy amusements of their own. One of them strips herself naked, tying up her hair like a religious mendicant, and is known as Bāba or holy father. In this state she romps with her companions in turn, while the others laugh and applaud. Occasionally some man hides himself in a place where he can be a witness of their play, but if they discover him he is beaten severely with belnas or wooden bread-rollers. Widow-marriage and divorce are permitted, the widow being usually expected to marry her late husband’s younger brother, whether he already has a wife or not. Sexual offences are not severely reprobated, and may be atoned for by a feast to the caste-fellows.4. Religion and funeral rites.The Gadarias worship the ordinary Hindu deities and also Dishai Devi, the goddess of the sheep-pen. No Gadaria may go into the sheep-pen with his shoes on. On entering it in the morning they make obeisance to the sheep, and these customs seem to indicate that the goddess Dishai Devi2 is the deified sheep. When the sheep are shorn and the fleeces are lying on the ground they take some milk from one of the ewes and mix rice with it and sprinkle it over the wool. This rite is called Jimai, and they say that it is feeding the wool, but it appears to be really a sacrificial offering to the material. The caste burn the dead when they can afford to do so, and take the bones to the Ganges or Nerbudda, or if this is not practicable, throw them into the nearest stream.5. Social customs.Well-to-do members of the caste employ Brāhmans for ceremonial purposes, but others dispense with their services. The Gadarias eat flesh and drink liquor, but abstain from fowls and pork. They will take food cooked with water from a Lodhi or a Dāngi, members of these castes having formerly been their feudal chieftains in the Vindhyan Districts and Nerbudda valley. Brāhmans and members of the good cultivating castes would be permitted to become Gadarias if they should so desire. The head of the caste committee has the title of Mahton and the office is hereditary, the holder being invariably consulted on caste questions even if he should be a mere boy. The Gadarias rank with those castes from whom a Brāhman cannot take water, but above the servile and labouring castes. They are usually somewhat stupid, lazy and good-tempered, and are quite uneducated. Owing to their work in cleaning the pens and moving about among the sheep, the women often carry traces of the peculiar smell of these animals. This is exemplified in the saying, ‘Ek to Gadaria, dusre lahsan khae,’ or ‘Firstly she is a Gadaria and then she has eaten garlic’; the inference being that she is far indeed from having the scent of the rose.6. Goats and sheep.The regular occupations of the Gadarias are the breeding and grazing of sheep and goats, and the weaving of country blankets from sheep’s wool. The flocks are usually tended by the children, while the men and women spin and weave the wool and make blankets. Goats are bred in larger numbers than sheep in the Central Provinces, being more commonly used for food and sacrifices, while they are also valuable for their manure. Any Hindu who thinks an animal sacrifice requisite, and objects to a fowl as unclean, will choose a goat; and the animal after being sacrificed provides a feast for the worshippers, his head being the perquisite of the officiating priest. Muhammadans and most castes of Hindus will eat goat’s meat when they can afford it. The milk is not popular and there is very little demand for it locally, but it is often sold to the confectioners, and occasionally made into butter and exported. Sheep’s flesh is also eaten, but is not so highly esteemed. In the case of both sheep and goats there is a feeling against consuming the flesh of ewes. Sheep are generally black in colour and only occasionally white. Goats are black, white, speckled or reddish-white. Both animals are much smaller than in Europe. Both sheep and goats are in brisk demand in the cotton tracts for their manure in the hot-weather months, and will be kept continually on the move from field to field for a month at a time. It is usual to hire flocks at the rate of one rupee a hundred head for one night; but sometimes the cultivators combine to buy a large flock, and after penning them on their fields in the hot weather, send them to Nāgpur in the beginning of the rains to be disposed of. The Gadaria was formerly the bête noir of the cultivator, on account of the risk incurred by the crops from the depredations of his sheep and goats. This is exemplified in the saying:Ahīr, Gadaria, Pāsi,Yeh tinon satyanāsi,or, ‘The Ahīr (herdsman), the Gadaria and the Pāsi, these three are the husbandmen’s foes.’ And again:Ahīr, Gadaria, Gūjar,Yeh tinon chāhen ujar,or ‘The Ahīr, the Gadaria and the Gūjar want waste land,’ that is for grazing their flocks. But since the demand for manure has arisen, the Gadaria has become a popular personage in the village. The shepherds whistle to their flocks to guide them, and hang bells round the necks of goats but not of sheep. Some of them, especially in forest tracts, train ordinary pariah dogs to act as sheep-dogs. As a rule, rams and he-goats are not gelt, but those who have large flocks sometimes resort to this practice and afterwards fatten the animals up for sale. They divide their sheep into five classes, as follows, according to the length of the ears: Kanāri, with ears a hand’s length long; Semri, somewhat shorter; Burhai, ears a forefinger’s length; Churia, ears as long as the little finger; and Neori, with ears as long only as the top joint of the forefinger. Goats are divided into two classes, those with ears a hand’s length long being called Bangalia or Bagra, while those with small ears a forefinger’s length are known as Gujra.7. Blanket-weaving.While ordinary cultivators have now taken to keeping goats, sheep are still as a rule left to the Gadarias. These are of course valued principally for their wool, from which the ordinary country blanket is made. The sheep3 are shorn two or sometimes three times a year, in February, June and September, the best wool being obtained in February from the cold weather coat. Members of the caste commonly shear for each other without payment. The wool is carded with a kamtha, or simple bow with a catgut string, and spun by the women of the household. Blankets are woven by men on a loom like that used for cotton cloth. The fabric is coarse and rough, but strong and durable, and the colour is usually a dark dirty grey, approaching black, being the same as that of the raw material. Every cultivator has one of these, and the various uses to which it may be put are admirably described by ‘Eha’ as follows: 4 “The kammal is a home-spun blanket of the wool of black sheep, thick, strong, as rough as a farrier’s rasp, and of a colour which cannot get dirty. When the Kunbi (cultivator) comes out of his hole in the morning it is wrapped round his shoulders and reaches to his knees, guarding him from his great enemy, the cold, for the thermometer is down to 60° Fahrenheit. By-and-by he has a load to carry, so he folds his kammal into a thick pad and puts it on the top of his head. Anon he feels tired, so he lays down his load, and arranging his kammal as a cushion, sits with comfort on a rugged rock or a stony bank, and has a smoke. Or else he rolls himself in it from head to foot, like a mummy, and enjoys a sound sleep on the roadside. It begins to rain, he folds his kammal into an ingenious cowl and is safe. Many more are its uses. I cannot number them all. Whatever he may be called upon to carry, be it forest produce, or grain or household goods, or his infant child, he will make a bundle of it with his kammal and poise it on his head, or sling it across his back, and trudge away.”8. Sanctity of wool.Wool is a material of some sanctity among the Hindus. It is ceremonially pure, and woollen clothing can be worn by Brāhmans while eating or performing sacred functions. In many castes the bridegroom at a wedding has a string of wool with a charm tied round his waist. Religious mendicants wear jatas or wigs of sheep’s wool, and often carry woollen charms. The beads used for counting prayers are often of wool. The reason for wool being thus held sacred may be that it was an older kind of clothing used before cotton was introduced, and thus acquired sanctity by being worn at sacrifices. Perhaps the Aryans wore woollen clothing when they entered India.1This article is based on information collected by Mr. Hīra Lāl in Jubbulpore, and the author in Mandla.2The word Dishai really means direction or cardinal point, but as the goddess dwells in the sheep-pen it is probable that she was originally the sheep itself.3The following particulars are taken from the Central Provinces Monograph on Woollen Industries, by Mr. J. T. Marten.4A Naturalist on the Prowl, 3rd ed., p. 219. In the quotation the Hindustāni word kammal, commonly used in the Central Provinces, is substituted for the Marāthi word kambli.Gadba1. Description and structure of the tribe.Gadba, Gadaba.1—A primitive tribe classified as Mundāri or Kolarian on linguistic grounds. The word Gadba, Surgeon-Major Mitchell states, signifies a person who carries loads on his shoulders. The tribe call themselves Guthau. They belong to the Vizagapatam District of Madras, and in the Central Provinces are found only in the Bastar State, into which they have immigrated to the number of some 700 persons. They speak a Mundāri dialect, called Gadba, after their tribal name, and are one of the two Mundāri tribes found so far south as Vizagapatam, the other being the Savars.2 Their tribal organisation is not very strict, and a Bhatra, a Parja, a Muria, or a member of any superior caste may become a Gadba at an expenditure of two or three rupees. The ceremony consists of shaving the body of the novice, irrespective of sex, clean of hair, after which he or she is given to eat rice cooked in the water of the Ganges. This is followed by a feast to the tribe in which a pig must be killed. The Gadbas have totemistic exogamous septs, usually named after animals, as gutāl dog, angwān bear, dungra tortoise, surangai tiger, gūmal snake, and so on. Members of each sept abstain from killing or injuring the animal or plant after which it is named, but they have no scruple in procuring others to do this. Thus if a snake enters the hut of a person belonging to the Gūmal sept, he will call a neighbour of another sept to kill it. He may not touch its carcase with his bare hand, but if he holds it through a piece of rag no sin is incurred.2. Marriage.Marriage is adult, but the rule existing in Madras that a girl is not permitted to marry until she can weave her own cloth does not obtain in the Central Provinces.3 As a rule the parents of the couple arrange the match, but the wishes of the girl are sometimes consulted and various irregular methods of union are recognised. Thus a man is permitted with the help of his friends to go and carry off a girl and keep her as his wife, more especially if she is a relation on the maternal side more distant than a first cousin. Another form is the Paisa Mundi, by which a married or unmarried woman may enter the house of a man of her caste other than her husband and become his wife; and the Upaliya, when a married woman elopes with a lover. The marriage ceremony is simple. The bridegroom’s party go to the girl’s house, leaving the parents behind, and before they reach it are met and stopped by a bevy of young girls and men in their best clothes from the bride’s village. A girl comes forward and demands a ring, which one of the men of the wedding party places on her finger, and they then proceed to the bride’s house, where the bridegroom’s presents, consisting of victuals, liquor, a cloth, and two rupees, are opened and carefully examined. If any deficiency is found, it must at once be made good. The pair eat a little food together, coloured rice is applied to their foreheads, and on the second day a new grass shed is erected, in which some rice is cooked by an unmarried girl. The bride and bridegroom are shut up in this, and two pots of water are poured over them from the roof, the marriage being then consummated. If the girl is not adult this ceremony is omitted. Widow-marriage is permitted by what is called the tīka form, by which a few grains of rice coloured with turmeric are placed on the foreheads of the pair and they are considered as man and wife. There is no regular divorce, but if a married woman misbehaves with a man of the caste, the husband goes to him with a few friends and asks whether the story is true, and if the accusation is admitted demands a pig and liquor for himself and his friends as compensation. If these are given he does not turn his wife out of his house. A liaison of a Gadba woman with a man of a superior caste is also said to involve no penalty, but if her paramour is a low-caste man she is excommunicated for ever. In spite of these lax rules, however, Major Mitchell states that the women are usually very devoted to their husbands. Mr. Thurston4 notes that among the Bonda Gadabas a young man and a maid retire to the jungle and light a fire. Then the maid, taking a burning stick, places it on the man’s skin. If he cries out he is unworthy of her, and she remains a maid. If he does not, the marriage is at once consummated. The application of the brand is probably light or severe according to the girl’s feelings towards the young man.3. Religious beliefs and festivals.The Gadbas worship Burhi Māta or Thākurāni Māta, who is the goddess of smallpox and rinderpest. They offer to her flowers and incense when these diseases are prevalent among men or cattle, but if the epidemic does not abate after a time, they abuse the goddess and tell her to do her worst, suspending the offerings. They offer a white cock to the sun and a red one to the moon, and various other deities exercise special functions, Bhandārin being the goddess of agriculture and Dharni of good health, while Bharwān is the protector of cattle and Dand Devī of men from the attacks of wild beasts. They have vague notions of a heaven and hell where the sinful will be punished, and also believe in re-birth. But these ideas appear to be borrowed from their Hindu neighbours. When the new rice crop is ripe, the first-fruits are cooked and served to the cattle in new bamboo baskets, and are then partaken of by men. The ripening of the mango crop is also an important festival. In the bright fortnight of Chait (March) the men go out hunting, and on their return cook the game before Mātideo, the god of hunting, who lives in a tree. In Madras the whole male population turn out to hunt, and if they come back without success the women pelt them with cowdung on their return. If successful, however, they have their revenge on the women in another way.5 On festival days men and women dance together to the music of a pipe and drum. Sometimes they form a circle, holding long poles, and jump backwards and forwards to and from the centre by means of the pole; or the women dance singly or in pairs, their hands resting on each other’s waists. A man and woman will then step out of the crowd and sing at each other, the woman reflecting on the man’s ungainly appearance and want of skill as a cultivator or huntsman, while the man retorts by reproaching her with her ugliness and slatternly habits.64. Disposal of the dead.The dead are buried with their feet to the west, ready to start for the region of the setting sun. On their return from the funeral the mourners stop on the way, and a fish is boiled and offered to the dead. An egg is cut in half and placed on the ground, and pieces of mango bark are laid beside it on which the mourners tread. The women accompany the corpse, and in the meantime the house of the dead person is cleaned with cowdung by the children left behind. On the first day food is supplied to the mourners by their relatives, and in the evening some cooked rice and vegetables are offered to the dead. The mourning lasts for nine days, and on the last day a cow or bullock is killed with the blunt head of an axe, the performance of this function being hereditary in certain families of the caste. Some blood from the animal and some cooked rice are put in leaf-cups and placed on the grave by the head of the corpse. The animal is cooked and eaten by the grave, and they then return to the cooking shed and place its jawbone under a stick supported on two others, blood and cooked rice being again offered. The old men and women bathe in warm water, and all return to the place where the dead man breathed his last. Here they drink and have another meal of rice and beef, which is repeated on the following day, and the business of committing the dead to the ancestors is complete. Liquor is offered to the ancestors on feast days.5. Occupation and mode of living.The caste are cultivators and labourers, while some are employed as village watchmen, and others are hereditary pālki-bearers to the Rāja of Bastar, enjoying a free grant of land. They practise shifting cultivation, cleaning a space by indiscriminate felling in the forest, and roughly ploughing the ground for a single broad-cast crop of rice; in the following year the clearing is usually abandoned. Their dress is simple, though they now wear ordinary cloth. Forty years ago it is said that they wore coverings made from the bark of the kuring tree and painted with horizontal bands of red, yellow and blue.7 A girdle of the thickness of a man’s arm made from fine strips of bark is still worn and is a distinguishing feature of the Gadba women. They also carry a circlet round their forehead of the seeds of kusa grass threaded on a string. Both men and women wear enormous earrings, the men having three in each ear. The Gadbas are almost omnivorous, and eat flesh, fish, fowls, pork, buffaloes, crocodiles, non-poisonous snakes, large lizards, frogs, sparrows, crows and large red ants. They abstain only from the flesh of monkeys, horses and asses. A Gadba must not ride on a horse under penalty of being put out of caste. Mr. Thurston8 gives the following reason for this prejudice:—“The Gadbas of Vizagapatam will not touch a horse, as they are palanquin-bearers, and have the same objection to a rival animal as a cart-driver has to a motor-car.” They will eat the leavings of other castes and take food from all except the impure ones, but like the Mehtars and Ghasias elsewhere they will not take food or water from a Kāyasth. Only the lowest castes will eat with Gadbas, but they are not considered as impure, and are allowed to enter temples and take part in religious ceremonies.1This article is compiled from an excellent monograph contributed by Surgeon-Major Mitchell of Bastar State, with extracts from Colonel Glasfurd’s Report on Bastar (Selections from the Records of the Government of India in the Foreign Department, No. 39 of 1863).2India Census Report (1901), p. 283.3Madras Census Report (1891), p. 253.4Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, p. 22.5Madras Census Report (1891), p. 253.6Report on the Dependency of Bastar, p. 37.7Report on the Dependency of Bastar, p. 37.8Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, p. 270.Gānda1. Distribution and origin.Gānda.—A servile and impure caste of Chota Nāgpur and the Uriya Districts. They numbered 278,000 persons in 1901, resident largely in Sambalpur and the Uriya States, but since the transfer of this territory to Bengal, only about 150,000 Gāndas remain in the Central Provinces in Raipur, Bilāspur and Raigarh. In this Province the Gāndas have become a servile caste of village drudges, acting as watchmen, weavers of coarse cloth and musicians. They are looked on as an impure caste, and are practically in the same position as the Mehras and Chamārs of other Districts. In Chota Nāgpur, however, they are still in some places recognised as a primitive tribe,1 being generally known here as Pān, Pāb or Chik. Sir H. Risley suggests that the name of Gānda may be derived from Gond, and that the Pāns may originally have been an offshoot of that tribe, but no connection between the Gāndas and Gonds has been established in the Central Provinces.2. Caste subdivisions.The subcastes reported differ entirely from those recorded in Orissa. In the Central Provinces they are mainly occupational. Thus the Bajna or Bajgari are those who act as musicians at feasts and marriages; the Māng or Mangia make screens and mats, while their women serve as midwives; the Dholias make baskets; the Doms skin cattle and the Nagārchis play on nakkāras or drums. Panka is also returned as a subcaste of Gānda, but in the Central Provinces the Pankas are now practically a separate caste, and consist of those Gāndas who have adopted Kabīrpanthism and have thereby obtained some slight rise in status. In Bengal Sir H. Risley mentions a group called Patradias, or slaves and menials of the Khonds, and discusses the Patradias as follows:—“The group seems also to include the descendants of Pāns, who sold themselves as slaves or were sold as Merias or victims to the Khonds. We know that an extensive traffic in children destined for human sacrifice used to go on in the Khond country, and that the Pāns were the agents who sometimes purchased, but more frequently kidnapped, the children, whom they sold to the Khonds, and were so debased that they occasionally sold their own offspring, though they knew of course the fate that awaited them.2 Moreover, apart from the demand for sacrificial purposes, the practice of selling men as agricultural labourers was until a few years ago by no means uncommon in the wilder parts of the Chota Nāgpur Division, where labour is scarce and cash payments are almost unknown. Numbers of formal bonds have come before me, whereby men sold themselves for a lump sum to enable them to marry.” The above quotation is inserted merely as an interesting historical reminiscence of the Pāns or Gāndas.3. Marriage.The Gāndas have exogamous groups or septs of the usual low-caste type, named after plants, animals or other inanimate objects. Marriage is prohibited within the sept, and between the children of two sisters, though the children of brothers and sisters may marry. If a girl arrives at maturity without a husband having been found for her, she is wedded to a spear stuck up in the courtyard of the house, and then given away to anybody who wishes to take her. A girl going wrong with a man of the caste is married to him by the ceremony employed in the case of widows, while her parents have to feed the caste. But a girl seduced by an outsider is permanently expelled. The betrothal is marked by a present of various articles to the father of the bride. Marriages must not be celebrated during the three rainy months of Shrāwan, Bhādon or Kunwār, nor during the dark fortnight of the month, nor on a Saturday or Tuesday. The marriage-post is of the wood of the mahua tree, and beneath it are placed seven cowries and seven pieces of turmeric. An elderly male member of the caste known as the Sethia conducts the ceremony, and the couple go five times round the sacred pole in the morning and thrice in the evening. When the bride and bridegroom return home after the wedding, an image of a deer is made with grass and placed behind the ear of the bride. The bridegroom then throws a toy arrow at it made of grass or thin bamboo, and is allowed seven shots. If he fails to knock it out of her ear after these the bride’s brother takes it and runs away and the bridegroom must follow and catch him. This is clearly a symbolic process representing the chase, of the sort practised by the Khonds and other primitive tribes, and may be taken as a reminiscence among the Gāndas of their former life in the forests. The remarriage of widows is permitted, and the younger brother of the deceased husband takes his widow if he wishes to do so. Otherwise she may marry whom she pleases. A husband may divorce his wife for adultery before the caste committee, and if she marries her lover he must repay to the husband the expenses incurred by the latter on his wedding.4. Religion.The Gāndas principally worship Dūlha Deo, the young bridegroom who was carried off by a tiger, and they offer a goat to him at their weddings. They observe the Hindu fasts and festivals, and at Dasahra worship their musical instruments and the weaver’s loom. Being impure, they do not revere the tulsi plant nor the banyan or pīpal trees. Children are named on the sixth day after birth without any special ceremony. The dead are generally buried from motives of economy, as with most families the fuel required for cremation would be a serious item of expenditure. A man is laid on his face in the grave and a woman on her back. Mourning is observed for three days, except in the case of children under three years old, whose deaths entail no special observances. On the fourth day a feast is given, and when all have been served, the chief mourner takes a little food from the plate of each guest and puts it in a leaf-cup. He takes another leaf-cup full of water and places the two outside the house, saying ‘Here is food for you’ to the spirit of the departed.5. Occupation and social status.The Gāndas are generally employed either in weaving coarse cloth or as village musicians. They sing and dance to the accompaniment of their instruments, the dancers generally being two young boys dressed as women. They have long hair and put on skirts and half-sleeved jackets, with hollow anklets round their feet filled with stones to make them tinkle. On their right shoulders are attached some peacocks’ feathers, and coloured cloths hang from their back and arms and wave about when they dance. Among their musical instruments is the sing-bāja, a single drum made of iron with ox-hide leather stretched over it; two horns project from the sides for purposes of decoration and give the instrument its name, and it is beaten with thick leather thongs. The dafla is a wooden drum open on one side and covered with a goat-skin on the other, beaten with a cane and a bamboo stick. The timki is a single hemispherical drum of earthenware; and the sahnai is a sort of bamboo flute. The Gāndas of Sambalpur have strong criminal tendencies which have recently called for special measures of repression. Nevertheless they are usually employed as village watchmen in accordance with long-standing custom. They are considered as impure and, though not compelled actually to live apart from the village, have usually a separate quarter and are not permitted to draw water from the village well or to enter Hindu temples. Their touch defiles, and a Hindu will not give anything into the hands of one of the caste while holding it himself, but will throw it down in front of the Gānda, and will take anything from him in the same manner. They will admit outsiders of higher rank into the caste, taking from them one or two feasts. And it is reported that in Raipur a Brāhman recently entered the caste for love of a Gānda girl.1Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. Pān.2The human sacrifices of the Khonds were suppressed about 1860. See the article on that tribe.GandhmāliGandhmāli,1 Thānāpati.—The caste of village priests of the temples of Siva or Mahādeo in Sambalpur and the Uriya States. They numbered about 700 persons in the Central Provinces in 1911. The caste appears to be an offshoot of the Mālis or gardeners, differentiated from them by their special occupation of temple attendants. In Hindustān the priests of Siva’s temples in villages are often Mālis, and in the Marātha country they are Guraos, another special caste, or Phulmālis. Some members of the caste in Sambalpur, however, aspire to Rājpūt origin and wear the sacred thread. These prefer the designation of Thānāpati or ‘Master of the sacred place,’ and call the others who do not wear the thread Gandhmālis. Gandh means incense. The Thānāpatis say that on one occasion a Rājpūt prince from Jaipur made a pilgrimage to the temple of Jagannāth at Puri, and on his return stopped at the celebrated temple of Mahādeo at Huma near Sambalpur. Mahādeo appeared before the prince and asked him to become his priest; the Rājpūt asked to be excused as he was old, but Mahādeo promised him three sons, which he duly obtained and in gratitude dedicated them to the service of the god. From these sons the Thānāpatis say that they are descended, but the claim is no doubt quite illusory. The truth is, probably, that the Thānāpatis are priests of the temples situated in towns and large villages, and owing to their calling have obtained considerable social estimation, which they desire to justify and place on an enduring basis by their claim to Rājpūt ancestry; while the Gandhmālis are village priests, more or less in the position of village menials and below the cultivating castes, and any such pretensions would therefore in their case be quite untenable. There are signs of the cessation of intermarriage between the two groups, but this has not been brought about as yet, probably owing to the paucity of members in the caste and the difficulty of arranging matches. Three functional subdivisions also appear to be in process of formation, the Pujāris or priests of Mahādeo’s temples, the Bandhādias or those who worship him on the banks of tanks, and the Mundjhulas2 or devotees of the goddess Somlai in Sambalpur, on whom the inspiration of the goddess descends, making them shake and roll their heads. When in this state they are believed to drink the blood flowing from goats sacrificed in the temple. For the purposes of marriage the caste is divided into exogamous groups or bargas, the names of which are usually titles or designations of offices. Marriage within the barga is prohibited. When the bride is brought to the altar in the marriage ceremony, she throws a garland of jasmine flowers on the neck of the bridegroom. This custom resembles the old Swayamwāra form of marriage, in which a girl chose her own husband by throwing a garland of flowers round his neck. But it probably has no connection with this and merely denotes the fact that the caste are gardeners by profession, similar ceremonies typifying the caste calling being commonly performed at marriages, especially among the Telugu castes. Girls should be married before adolescence and, as is usual among the Uriya castes, if no suitable husband is forthcoming a symbolic marriage is celebrated; the Thānāpatis make her go through the form with her maternal grandfather or sister’s husband, and in default of them with a tree. She is then immediately divorced and disposed of as a widow. Divorce and the remarriage of widows are permitted. A bachelor marrying a widow must first go through the ceremony with a flower. The Gandhmālis, as the priests of Mahādeo, are generally Saivas and wear red clothes covered with ochre. They consider that their ultimate ancestor is the Nāg or cobra and especially observe the festival of Nāg-Panchmi, abstaining from any cooked food on that day. They both burn and bury the dead and perform the shrāddh ceremony or the offering of sacrificial cakes. They eat flesh but do not drink liquor. Their social position is fairly good and Brāhmans will take water from their hands. Many of them hold free grants of land in return for their services at the temples. A few are ordinary cultivators.1This article is compiled from papers by Mr. Jhanjhan Rai, Tahsīldār, Sārangarh, and Satyabādi Misra of the Sambalpur Census office.2Mund-jhulānā, to swing the head.Gārpagāri1. Origin of the caste.Gārpagāri.1—A caste of village menials whose function it is to avert hailstorms from the crops. They are found principally in the Marātha Districts of the Nāgpur country and Berār, and numbered 9000 persons in 1911. The name is derived from the Marāthi gār, hail. The Gārpagāris are really Nāths or Jogis who have taken to this calling and become a separate caste. They wear clothes coloured with red ochre, and a garland of rudrāksha beads, and bury their dead in a sitting posture. According to their tradition the first Gārpagāri was one Rāut, a Jogi, who accompanied a Kunbi mālguzār on a visit to Benāres, and while there he prophesied that on a certain day all the crops of their village would be destroyed by a hailstorm. The Kunbi then besought him to save the crops if he could, and he answered that by his magic he could draw off the hail from the rest of the village and concentrate it in his own field, and he agreed to do this if the cultivators would recompense him for his loss. When the two came home to their village they found that there had been a severe hailstorm, but it had all fallen in the Jogi’s field. His loss was made good to him and he adopted this calling as a profession, becoming the first Gārpagāri, and being paid by contributions from the proprietor and tenants. There are no subcastes except that the Kharchi Gārpagāri are a bastard group, with whom the others refuse to intermarry.2. Marriage.Marriage is regulated by exogamous groups, two of which, Watāri from the Otāri or brass-worker, and Dhankar from the Dhangar or shepherds, are named after other castes. Some are derived from the names of animals, as Harnya from the black-buck, and Wāgh from the tiger. The Diunde group take their name from diundi, the kotwar’s2 drum. They say that their ancestor was so named because he killed his brother, and was proclaimed as an outlaw by beat of drum. The marriage of members of the same group is forbidden and also that of the children of two sisters, so long as the relationship between them is remembered. The caste usually celebrate their weddings after those of the Kunbis, on whom they depend for contributions to their expenses. Widow-marriage is permitted, but the widow sometimes refuses to marry again, and, becoming a Bhagat or devotee, performs long pilgrimages in male attire. Divorce is permitted, but as women are scarce, is rarely resorted to. The Gārpagāris say, “If one would not throw away a vegetable worth a damri (one-eighth of a pice or farthing), how shall one throw away a wife who is 3½ cubits long.” A divorced wife is allowed to marry again.3. Religion.The caste worship Mahādeo or Siva and Mahābīr or Hanumān, and do not usually distinguish them. Their principal festival is called Māhi and takes place on the first day of Poush (December), this being the day from which hailstorms may be expected to occur; and next to this Māndo Amāwas, or the first day of Chait (March), after which hailstorms need not be feared. They offer goats to Mahādeo in his terrible form of Kāl Bhairava, and during the ceremony the Kunbis beat the dāheka, a small drum with bells, to enhance the effect of the sacrifice, so that their crops may be saved. When a man is at the point of death he is placed in the sitting posture in which he is to be buried, for fear that after death his limbs may become so stiff that they cannot be made to assume it. The corpse is carried to the grave in a cloth coloured with red ochre. A gourd containing pulse and rice, a pice coin, and a small quantity of any drug to which the deceased may have been addicted in life are placed in the hands, and the grave is filled in with earth and salt. A lamp is lighted on the place where the death occurred, for one night, and on the third day a cocoanut is broken there, after which mourning ends and the house is cleaned. A stone brought from the bed of a river is plastered down on to the grave with clay, and this may perhaps represent the dead man’s spirit.4. Occupation.The occupation of the Gārpagāri is to avert hailstorms, and he was formerly remunerated by a customary contribution of rice from each cultivator in the village. He received the usual presents at seed-time and harvest, and two pice from each tenant on the Basant-Panchmi festival. When the sky is of mixed red and black at night like smoke and flame, the Gārpagāri knows that a hailstorm is coming. Then, taking a sword in his hand, he goes and stands before Mahābīr, and begs him to disperse the clouds. When entreaties fail, he proceeds to threats, saying that he will kill himself, and throws off his clothes. Sometimes his wife and children go and stand with him before Mahābīr’s shrine and he threatens to kill them. Formerly he would cut and slash himself, so it is said, if Mahābīr was obdurate, but now the utmost he does is to draw some blood from a finger. He would also threaten to sacrifice his son, and instances are known of his actually having done so.Two ideas appear to be involved in these sacrifices of the Gārpagāri. One is the familiar principle of atonement, the blood being offered to appease the god as a substitute for the crops which he seems about to destroy. But when the Gārpagāri threatened to kill himself, and actually killed his son, it was not merely as an atonement, because in that case the threats would have had no meaning. His intention seems rather to have been to lay the guilt of homicide upon the god by slaying somebody in front of his shrine, in case nothing less would move him from his purpose of destroying the crops. The idea is the same as that with which people committed suicide in order that their ghosts might haunt those who had driven them to the act. As late as about the year 1905 a Gond Bhumka or village priest was hanged in Chhindwāra for killing his two children. He owed a debt of Rs. 25 and the creditor was pressing him and he had nothing to pay. So he flew into a rage and exclaimed that the gods would do nothing for him even though he was a Bhumka, and he seized his two children and cut off their heads and laid them before the god. In this it would appear that the Bhumka’s intention was partly to take revenge on his master for the neglect shown to him, the god’s special servant. The Gārpagāri diverts the hail by throwing a handful of grain in the direction in which he wishes it to go. When the storm begins he will pick up some hailstones, smear them with his blood and throw them away, telling them to rain over rivers, hills, forests and barren ground. When caterpillars or locusts attack the crops he catches one or two and offers them at Mahābīr’s shrine, afterwards throwing them up in the air. Or he buries one alive and this is supposed to stay the plague. When rust appears in the crops, one or two blades are in like manner offered to Mahābīr, and it is believed that the disease will be stayed. Or if the rice plants do not come into ear a few of them are plucked and offered, and fresh fertile blades then come up. He also has various incantations which are believed to divert the storm or to cause the hailstones to melt into water. In some localities, when the buffalo is slaughtered at the Dasahra festival, the Gārpagāri takes seven different kinds of spring-crop seeds and dips them in its blood. He buries them in a spot beside his hearth, and it is believed that when a hailstorm threatens the grains move about and give out a humming sound like water boiling. Thus the Gārpagāri has warning of the storm. If the Gārpagāri is absent and a storm comes his wife will go and stand naked before Mahābīr’s shrine. The wives know the incantations, but they must not learn them from their husbands, because in that case the husband would be in the position of a guru or spiritual preceptor to his wife and the conjugal relation could no longer continue. No other caste will learn the incantations, for to make the hailstones melt is regarded as equivalent to causing an abortion, and as a sin for which heavy retribution would be incurred in a future life.In Chhattīsgarh the Baiga or village priest of the aboriginal tribes averts hailstorms in the same manner as the Gārpagāri, and elsewhere the Barais or betel-vine growers perform this function, which is especially important to them because their vines are so liable to be injured by hailstorms. In ancient Greece there existed a village functionary, the Chalazo phulax, who kept off hailstorms in exactly the same manner as the Gārpagāri. He would offer a victim, and if he had none would draw blood from his own fingers to appease the storm.3The same power has even been imputed to Christian priests as recorded by Sir James Frazer: “In many villages of Provence the priest is still required to possess the faculty of averting storms. It is not every priest who enjoys this reputation; and in some villages when a change of pastors takes place, the parishioners are eager to learn whether the new incumbent has the power (pouder) as they call it. At the first sign of a heavy storm they put him to the proof by inviting him to exorcise the threatening clouds; and if the result answers to their hopes, the new shepherd is assured of the sympathy and respect of his flock. In some parishes where the reputation of the curate in this respect stood higher than that of the rector, the relations between the two have been so strained in consequence that the bishop has had to translate the rector to another benefice.”4Of late years an unavoidable scepticism as to the Gārpagāri’s efficiency has led to a reduction of his earnings, and the cultivators now frequently decline to give him anything, or only a sheaf of corn at harvest. Some members of the caste have taken to weaving newār or broad tape for beds, and others have become cultivators.5. Social status.The Gārpagāris eat flesh and drink liquor. They will take cooked food from a Kunbi, though the Kunbis will not take even water from them. They are a village menial caste and rank with others of the same position, though on a somewhat lower level because they beg and accept cooked food at the weddings of Kunbis. Their names usually end in nāth, as Rāmnāth, Kisannāth and so on.1Based on notes taken by Mr. Hīrā Lāl at Chānda and the notices of the Gārpagāri in the District Gazetteers.2Village watchman.3Dr. Jevons, Introduction to the History of Religion, p. 171.4The Golden Bough, 2nd ed. vol. i. p. 68, quoting from French authorities.GauriaGauria.1—A small caste of snake-charmers and jugglers who are an offshoot of the Gond tribe. They number about 500 persons and are found only in Chhattīsgarh. They have the same exogamous septs as the Gonds, as Markām, Marai, Netām, Chhedaiha, Jagat, Purteti, Chichura and others. But they are no doubt of very mixed origin, as is shown by the fact that they do not eat together at their feasts, but the guests all cook their own food and eat it separately. And after a daughter has been married her own family even will not take food from her hand because they are doubtful of her husband’s status. It is said that the Gaurias were accustomed formerly to beg only from the Kewat caste, though this restriction is no longer maintained. The fact may indicate that they are partly descended from the unions of Kewats with Gond women.Adult marriage is the general rule of the caste and a fixed bride-price of sixteen rupees is paid. The couple go away together at once and six months afterwards return to visit the bride’s parents, when they are treated as outsiders and not allowed to touch the food cooked for the family, while they reciprocally insist on preparing their own. Male Gaurias will take food from any of the higher castes, but the women will eat only from Gaurias. They will admit outsiders belonging to any caste from whom they can take food into the community. And if a Gauria woman goes wrong with a member of any of these castes they overlook the matter and inflict only a feast as a penalty.Their marriage ceremony consists merely in the placing of bangles on the woman’s wrists, which is the form by which a widow is married among other castes. If a widow marries a man other than her husband’s younger brother, the new husband must pay twelve rupees to her first husband’s family, or to her parents if she has returned to them. If she takes with her a child born of her first husband with permission to keep it, the second husband must pay eight rupees to the first husband’s family as the price of the child. But if the child is to be returned as soon as it is able to shift for itself the second husband receives eight rupees instead of paying it, as remuneration for his trouble in rearing the baby. The caste bury their dead with the feet to the south, like the Hindus. The principal business of the Gaurias is to catch and exhibit snakes, and they carry a damru or rattle in the shape of an hour-glass, which is considered to be a distinctive badge of the caste. If a Gauria saw an Ojha snake-charmer carrying a damru he would consider himself entitled to take it from the Ojha forcibly if he could. A Gauria is forbidden to exhibit monkeys under penalty of being put out of caste. Their principal festival is the Nāg-Panchmi, when the cobra is worshipped. They also profess to know charms for curing persons bitten by snakes. The following incantation is cried by a Gauria snake-doctor three times into the ears of his patient in a loud voice: “The bel tree and the bel leaves are on the other side of the river. All the Gaurias are drowned in it. The breast of the koil; over it is a net. Eight snakes went to the forest. They tamed rats on the green tree. The snakes are flying, causing the parrots to fly. They want to play, but who can make them play? After finishing their play they stood up; arise thou also, thou sword. I am waking you (the patient) up by crying in your ear, I conjure you by the name of Dhanvantari2 to rise carefully.”Similar meaningless charms are employed for curing the bites of scorpions and for exorcising bad spirits and the influence of the evil eye.The Gaurias will eat almost all kinds of flesh, including pigs, rats, fowls and jackals, but they abstain from beef. Their social status is so low that practically no caste will take food or water from them, but they are not considered as impure. They are great drunkards, and are easily known by their damrus or rattles and the baskets in which they carry their snakes.1This article is based on papers by Mr. Jeorākhān Lāl, Deputy Inspector of Schools, Bilāspur, and Bhagwān Singh, Court of Wards Clerk, Bilāspur.2The Celestial Physician.GHASIAList of Paragraphs1. Description of the caste. 272. Subcastes. 283. Exogamous sections. 284. Marriage. 285. Religion and superstitions. 296. Occupation. 307. Social customs. 308. Ghasias and Kāyasths. 311. Description of the caste.Ghasia, Sais.1—A low Dravidian caste of Orissa and Central India who cut grass, tend horses and act as village musicians at festivals. In the Central Provinces they numbered 43,000 in 1911, residing principally in the Chhattīsgarh Division and the adjoining Feudatory States. The word Ghasia is derived from ghās (grass) and means a grass-cutter. Sir H. Risley states that they are a fishing and cultivating caste of Chota Nāgpur and Central India, who attend as musicians at weddings and festivals and also perform menial offices of all kinds.2 In Bastar they are described as an inferior caste who serve as horse-keepers and also make and mend brass vessels. They dress like the Māria Gonds and subsist partly by cultivation and partly by labour.3 Dr. Ball describes them in Singhbhūm as gold-washers and musicians. Colonel Dalton speaks of them as “An extraordinary tribe, foul parasites of the Central Indian hill tribes and submitting to be degraded even by them. If the Chandāls of the Purānas, though descended from the union of a Brāhmini and a Sūdra, are the lowest of the low, the Ghasias are Chandāls and the people further south who are called Pariahs are no doubt of the same distinguished lineage.”42. Subcastes.The Ghasias generally, however, appear now to be a harmless caste of labourers without any specially degrading or repulsive traits. In Mandla their social position and customs are much on a par with those of the Gonds, from whom a considerable section of the caste seems to be derived. In other localities they have probably immigrated into the Central Provinces from Bundelkhand and Orissa. Among their subdivisions the following may be mentioned: the Udia, who cure raw hides and do the work of sweepers and are generally looked down on; the Dingkuchia, who castrate cattle and ponies; the Dolboha, who carry dhoolies or palanquins; the Nagārchi, who derive their name from the nakkāra or kettle-drum and are village musicians; the Khaltaha or those from Raipur; the Laria, belonging to Chhattīsgarh, and the Uria of the Uriya country; the Rāmgarhia, who take their name from Rāmgarh in the Mandla District, and the Mahobia from Mahoba in Bundelkhand. Those members of the caste who work as grooms have become a separate group and call themselves Sais, dropping the name of Ghasia. They rank higher than the others and marry among themselves, and some of them have become cultivators or work as village watchmen. They are also called Thānwar by the Gonds, the word meaning stable or stall. In Chota Nāgpur a number of Ghasias have become tailors and are tending to form a separate subcaste under the name of Darzi.3. Exogamous sections.Their septs are of the usual low-caste type, being named after animals, inanimate objects or nicknames of ancestors. One of them is Pānch-biha or ‘He who had five wives,’ and another Kul-dīp or ‘The sept of the lamp.’ Members of this sept will stop eating if a lamp goes out. The Janta Ragda take their name from the mill for grinding corn and will not have a grinding-mill in their houses. They say that a female ancestor was delivered of a child when sitting near a grinding-mill and this gave the sept its name. Three septs are named after other castes: Kumhārbans, descended from a potter; Gāndbans, from a Gānda; and Luha, from a Lohār or blacksmith, and which names indicate that members of these castes have been admitted into the community.4. Marriage.Marriage is forbidden within the sept, but is permitted between the children of brothers and sisters. Those members of the caste who have become Kabīrpanthis may also marry with the others. Marriages may be infant or adult. A girl who is seduced by a member of the caste is married to him by a simple ceremony, the couple standing before a twig of the ūmar5 tree, while some women sprinkle turmeric over them. If a girl goes wrong with an outsider she is permanently expelled and a feast is exacted from her parents. The boy and his relatives go to the girl’s house for the betrothal, and a present of various articles of food and dress is made to her family, apparently as a sort of repayment for their expenditure in feeding and clothing her. A gift of clothes is also made to her mother, called dudh-sāri, and is regarded as the price of the milk with which the mother nourished the girl in her infancy. A goat, which forms part of the bride-price, is killed and eaten by the parties and their relatives. The binding portion of the marriage is the bhānwar ceremony, at which the couple walk seven times round the marriage-post, holding each other by the little fingers. When they return to the bridegroom’s house, a cock or a goat is killed and the head buried before the door; the foreheads of the couple are marked with its blood and they go inside the house. If the bride is not adult, she goes home after a stay of two days, and the gauna or going-away ceremony is performed when she finally leaves her parents’ house. The remarriage of widows is permitted, no restriction being imposed on the widow in her choice of a second husband. Divorce is permitted for infidelity on the part of the wife.5. Religion and superstitions.Children are named on the sixth day after birth, special names being given to avert ill-luck, while they sometimes go through the ceremony of selling a baby for five cowries in order to disarm the jealousy of the godlings who are hostile to children. They will not call any person by name when they think an owl is within hearing, as they believe that the owl will go on repeating the name and that this will cause the death of the person bearing it. The caste generally revere Dūlha Deo, the bridegroom god, whose altar stands near the cooking place, and the goddess Devi. Once in three years they offer a white goat to Bura Deo, the great god of the Gonds. They worship the sickle, the implement of their trade, at Dasahra, and offer cocoanuts and liquor to Ghāsi Sādhak, a godling who lives by the peg to which horses are tied in the stable. He is supposed to protect the horse from all kinds of diseases. At Dasahra they also worship the horse. Their principal festival is called Karma and falls on the eleventh day of the second half of Bhādon (August). On this day they bring a branch of a tree from the forest and worship it with betel, areca-nut and other offerings. All through the day and night the men and women drink and dance together. They both burn and bury the dead, throwing the ashes into water. For the first three days after a death they set out rice and pulse and water in a leaf cup for the departed spirit. They believe that the ghosts of the dead haunt the living, and to cure a person possessed in this manner they beat him with shoes and then bury an effigy of the ghost outside the village.6. Occupation.The Ghasias usually work as grass-cutters and grooms to horses, and some of them make loom-combs for weavers. These last are looked down upon and called Madarchawa. They make the kūnch or brushes for the loom, like the Kūchbandhias, from the root of the babai or khas-khas grass, and the rāchh or comb for arranging the threads on the loom from the stalks of the bharru grass. Other Ghasias make ordinary hair combs from the kathai, a grass which grows densely on the borders of streams and springs. The frame of the comb is of bamboo and the teeth are fixed in either by thread or wire, the price being one pice (farthing) in the former case and two in the latter.7. Social customs.The caste admit outsiders by a disgusting ceremony in which the candidate is shaved with urine and forced to eat a mixture of cowdung, basil leaves, dub6 grass and water in which a piece of silver or gold has been dipped. The women do not wear the choli or breast-cloth nor the nose-ring, and in some localities they do not have spangles on the forehead. Women are tattooed on various parts of the body before marriage with the idea of enhancing their beauty, and sometimes tattooing is resorted to for curing a pain in some joint or for rheumatism. A man who is temporarily put out of caste is shaved on readmission, and in the case of a woman a lock of her hair is cut. To touch a dead cow is one of the offences entailing temporary excommunication. They employ a Brāhman only to fix the dates of their marriages. The position of the caste is very low and in some places they are considered as impure. The Ghasias are very poor, and a saying about them is ‘Ghasia ki jindagi hasia’, or ‘The Ghasia is supported by his sickle,’ the implement used for cutting grass. The Ghasias are perhaps the only caste in the Central Provinces outside those commonly returning themselves as Mehtar, who consent to do scavenger’s work in some localities.8. Ghasias and Kāyasths.The caste have a peculiar aversion to Kāyasths and will not take food or water from them nor touch a Kāyasth’s bedding or clothing. They say that they would not serve a Kāyasth as horse-keeper, but if by any chance one of them was reduced to doing so, he at any rate would not hold his master’s stirrup for him to mount. To account for this hereditary enmity they tell the following story: