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I call them mine and am lost in my selfish concerns.
Remember your guru, go to him and touch his feet.
The caste beg between dawn and noon, wearing a long white or red robe and a red turban folded from twisted strings of cloth like the Marāthas. Their status is somewhat low, but they are usually simple and honest. Occasionally a man becomes a Gondhali in fulfilment of a vow without leaving his own caste; he will then be initiated by a member of the caste and given the necklace of cowries, and on every Tuesday he will wear this and beg from five persons in honour of the goddess Devi; while except for this observance he remains a member of his own caste and pursues his ordinary business.
Gopāl, Borekar. — Bibliography : Major Gunthorpe's Criminal Tribes ; Mr. Kitt's Berār Census Report, 1881.
A small vagrant and criminal caste of Berār, where they numbered about 2000 persons in 1901. In the Central Provinces they were included among the Nats in 1901, but in 1891 a total of 681 were returned. Here they belong principally to the Nimār District, and Major Gunthorpe considers that they entered Berār from Nimār and Indore.
They are divided into five classes, the Marāthi, Vir, Pangul, Pahalwān, or Khām, and Gujarāti Gopāls. The ostensible occupation of all the groups is the buying and selling of buffaloes. The word Gopāl means a cowherd and is a name of Krishna. The Marāthi Gopāls rank higher than the rest, and all other classes will take food from them, while the Vir Gopāls eat the flesh of dead cattle and are looked down upon by the others. The ostensible occupation of the Vir Gopāls is that of making mats from the leaves of the date-palm tree. They build their huts of date-leaves outside a village and remain there for one or two years or more until the headman tells them to move on. The name Borekar is stated to have the meaning of mat-maker. The Pāngul Gopāls also make mats, but in addition to this
they are mendicants, begging from off trees, and must be the same as the Harbola mendicants of the Central Provinces. The Pāngul spreads a cloth below a tree and climbing it sits on some high branch in the early morning. Here he sings and chants the praises of charitable persons until somebody throws a small present on to the cloth. This he does only between cock-crow and sunrise and not after sunrise. Others walk through the streets, ejaculating dam ! ' dam ! and begging from door to door. With the exception of shaving after a death they never cut the hair either of their head or face. Their principal deity is Dāwal Mālik, but they also worship Khandoba ; and they bury the bodies of their dead. The corpse is carried to the grave in a jholi or wallet and is buried in a sitting posture. In order to discover whether a dead ancestor has been reborn in a child they have recourse to magic. A lamp is suspended from a thread, and the upper stone of the grinding-mill is placed standing upon the lower one. If either of them moves when the name of the dead ancestor is pronounced they consider that he has been reborn. One section of the Pānguls has taken to agriculture, and these refuse to marry with the mendicants, though eating and drinking with them. The Pahalwān Gopāls live in small tents and travel about, carrying their belongings on buffaloes. They are wrestlers and gymnasts, and belong mainly to Hyderābād.The Khām Gopāls are a similar group also belonging to Hyderābād ; and are so named because they carry about a long pole (khām) on which they perform acrobatic feats. They also have thick canvas bags, striped blue and white, in which they carry their property. The Gujarāti Gopāls are lower than the other divisions, who will not take food from them. They are tumblers and do feats of strength and also perform on the tight-rope. All five groups, Major Gunthorpe states, are inveterate cattlethieves ; and have colonies of their people settled on the Indore and Hyderābād borders and between them along the foot of the Satpūra Hills. Buffaloes or other animals which they steal are passed along from post to post and taken to foreign territory in an incredibly short space of time. A
1 Dam apparently here means life or breath.
2 Gunthorpe, p. 91.
considerable proportion of them, however, have now taken to agriculture, and their proper traditional calling is to sell milk and butter, for which they keep buffaloes. Gopāl is a name of Krishna, and they consider themselves to be descended from the herdsmen of Brindāban.
LIST OF PARAGRAPHS
1. Names for the Gosains.
7. The Rāwanvansis.
1. Names Gosain, Gusain, Sanniāsi, Dasnāmi. —A name for the for the
- orders of religious mendicants of the Sivite sect, from which Gosains.
a caste has now developed. In 1911 the Gosains numbered a little over 40,000 persons in the Central Provinces and Berār, being distributed over all Districts.
The name Gosain signifies either gao-swāmi, master of cows, or goswāmi, master of the senses. Its significance sometimes varies. Thus in Bengal the heads of Bairāgi or Vaishnava monasteries are called Gosain, and the priests of the Vishnuite Vallabhachārya sect are known as Gokulastha Gosain. But over most of India, as in the Central Provinces, Gosain appears to be a name applied to members of the Sivite orders. Sanniāsi means one who abandons the desires of the world and the body. Properly every Brāhman should become a Sanniāsi in the fourth stage or ashrām of his life, when after marrying and begetting a son to celebrate his funeral rites in the second stage, he should retire to the forest, become a hermit and conquer all the appetites and passions of the body in the third stage. Thereafter, when
1 This article contains material from J. N. Bhattachārya's Hindu Castes and Mr. J. C. Oman's Mystics, Ascetics Sects (Calcutta, Messrs. Thacker,'Spink and Saints of India, Sir E. Maclagan's and Co.). Punjab Census Report, 1891, and Dr.