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The favourite deity of the caste is Siva or Mahādeo, whom they consider to be their ultimate ancestor. On the festival of Shivrātri (Siva's night) they observe a total fast, and pass the whole day and night singing songs in honour of the god, while offerings of bel leaves, flowers, rice and sandalwood are made on the following morning. In Hoshangābād the caste have two minor deities, Rāmji Deo and Bairam Deo, who are presumably the spirits of defunct warriors. These are worshipped on the eleventh day of every month, and many Jāts wear an impression of their images on a piece of gold or silver round the neck. On the Dasahra festival the caste worship their swords and horses in memory of their soldier ancestors, and they revere their implements of husbandry on the Akshaya Tritiya of Baisākh (June), the commencement of the agricultural year, while each cultivator does the same on the days that he completes the sowing of his rain crops and winter crops.
The caste employ Brāhmans for the performance of their ceremonies, and also as their gurus or spiritual preceptors. They eat flesh and drink liquor in the Central Provinces, but in Hoshangābād they do not consume either birds or fish; and when they eat mutton or the flesh of the wild pig, they do this only outside the house, in order not to offend their women, who will not eat flesh. In Hoshangābād the Jāts, like other immigrants from Mārwār, commonly wear their hair long and keep the face unshaven, and this gives them rather a wild and farouche appearance among the neatly shorn Hindus of the Nerbudda Valley. They are of light complexion, the difference in shade between the Jāts and ordinary residents in the locality being apparent to the casual observer. Their women are fond of the hollow anklets known as bora, which contain small balls or pebbles, and tinkle as they walk. Girls are tattooed before marriage, and while the operation is being carried out the women of the caste collect and sing songs to divert the sufferer's attention from the pain. The men have pagris or turbans made of many little strings of twisted cloth, which come down over the
If a man kills a cow or a squirrel, he must stay outside the village for five weeks and nobody looks upon his Aegle marmelos.
2 Hoshangūbūd Settlement Report, loc. cit.
face. After this he should go and bathe in the Ganges, but if he is too poor the Nerbudda may be substituted for it with the permission of the caste committee. The penalty for killing a cat is almost as severe, but to slay a dog involves
If a man who has committed a murder escapes conviction but his guilt is known to the caste, it is absolutely incumbent on him to go and bathe in the Ganges and be purified there, having his head and face shaved. After this he may be readmitted to caste intercourse. The caste observe some curious rules or taboos : they never drink the milk of a black cow; their women do not have their noses bored for nose-rings, but if a woman loses several children she will have the nose bored of the next one which is born ; women never wear glass bangles, but have them made of ivory or lac and clay ; they never wear the bāzuband or armlet with bars crossed on hinges which can be pulled in or out, but instead of it the kara or rigid bangle ; and the caste never keep a basil plant in the house for worship, though they may revere it outside the house. As the basil is the emblem of Vishnu, and the Jāts consider themselves to be descended from Siva, they would naturally not be inclined to pay any special respect to the plant.
The Jāts are good cultivators, and at the thirty years' 14. Occusettlement (1865) several members of the caste held con
pation. siderable estates ; but a number of these have now been lost, owing probably to extravagance of living. In Saugor the Jāts are commonly employed as masons or navvies.
LIST OF PARAGRAPHS
1. General notice.
1. General notice.
Jhādi Telenga. —A small caste in the Bastar State who appear to be a mixture of Gonds and the lower Telugu castes, the name meaning ‘The jungly Telugus.' Those living in the open country are called Māndar Telengas. In the census of 1901 these Telengas were wrongly classified under the Balji or Balija caste. They numbered about 5000 persons. The caste have three divisions according to their comparative purity of descent, which are named Purāit, Surāit and Pohni. The son of a Purāit by a woman of different caste will be a Surāit, and the son of a Surāit by such a woman will be a Pohni. Such alliances are now, however, infrequent, and most of the Telengas in Bastar belong to the Purāit or legitimate group. A Pohni will take cooked food from the two higher groups and a Surāit from a Purāit. The last will take water froin the two lower groups, but not food.
For the purposes of marriage the caste is divided into the usual exogamous septs, and these are further arranged in two groups.
The first group contains the following septs: Kudmulwādu, from kudmul, a preparation of rice; Kolmulwādu, from kolmul, a treasure-pit ; Lingawādu, from the linga emblem; and Nāgulwādu, a ploughman. The second group contains the following septs: Kodamajjiwādu,
1 This article is entirely based on an account of the caste furnished by
Rai Bahādur Panda Baijnāth, Superintendent, Bastar State.
ADMISSION OF OUTSIDERS-MARRIAGE
a hunter and trapper of animals ; Wargaiwādu, one who makes ropes from wood - fibre; Paspulwādu, one who prepares turmeric ; Pankiwādu, one who distributes cooked food ; Bhandāriwādu, a rich man; and one or two others. The rule is that no man or woman of a sept belonging to the first group should marry in any other sept of that group,
, but always from some sept of the other. This, therefore, appears to be a relic of the classificatory system of marriage, which obtains among the Australian aborigines. The rule is now, however, sometimes violated. The caste say that their ancestors came from Warangal with the ruling family of Bastar.
They will admit Brāhmans, Rājpūts and Halbas into 3. Admisthe community. If a man of any of these castes has a child Outsiders
. by a Telenga woman, this child will be considered to belong to the same group of the Jhādi Telengas as its mother. If a man of lower caste, such as Rāwat, Dhākar, Jangam, Kumhār or Kalār has such a child it will be admitted into the next lower group than that to which the mother belonged. Thus the child of a Purāit woman by one of these castes will become a Surāit. A Telenga woman having a child by a Gond, Sunār, Lohār or Mehra man is put out of caste. A girl cannot be properly married unless the ceremony 4. Mar
riage. is performed before she arrives at puberty. After this she can only be married by an abridged rite, which consists of rubbing her with oil and turmeric, investing her with glass bangles and a new cloth, and giving a feast to the caste. In such a case the bridegroom first goes through a sham marriage with the branch of a mahua tree. The boy's father looks out for a girl, and the most suitable match is considered to be his sister's daughter. Before giving away his daughter he must ask his wife's brother and his own sister whether they want her for one of their sons. When setting out to make a proposal they take the omens from a bird called Usi. The best omen is to hear this bird's call on both sides of them as they go into the jungle. When asking for the girl the envoys say to her father, 'You have got rice and pulse; give them to us for our friend's son. The wedding should be held on a Monday or Thursday, and the bridegroom should arrive at the bride's village on a Sunday, Tuesday, Wednes
day or Friday. The sacred post in the centre of the marriageshed must be of the mahua' tree, which is no doubt held sacred by these people, as by the Gonds, because spirituous liquor is made from its fruit. A widow must mourn her husband for a month, and can then marry again. But she may not marry her late husband's brother, nor his first cousin, nor any member of her father's sept. Divorce is allowed, but no man will divorce his wife unless she leaves him of her own accord or is known to be intriguing with a man of lower caste.
Each sept has a deity of its own who is usually some local god symbolised by a wooden post or a stone. Instances of these are Kondrāj of Santoshpur represented by a wooden pillar carved into circular form at the top; Chikat Rāj of Bijāpur by two bamboos six feet in length leaning against a wall; Kaunam Rāj of Gongla by a stone image, and at fairs by a bamboo with peacock's feathers tied at the top. They offer incense, rice and a fowl to their ancestors in their own houses in Chait (March) at the new year, and at the festival of the new rice in Bhādon (August). At the sowing festival they go out hunting, and those who return emptyhanded think they will have ill-luck. Each tenant also worships the earth-goddess, whose image is then decorated with flowers and vermilion. He brings a goat, and rice is placed before it at her shrine. If the animal eats the sacrifice is held to be accepted, but if not it is returned to the owner, and it is thought that some misfortune will befall him. The heads of all the goats offered are taken by the priest and the bodies returned to the worshippers to be consumed at a feast. Each village has also its tutelary god, having a hut to himself. Inside this a post of mahua wood is fixed in the ground and roughly squared, and a peg is driven into it at the top. The god is represented by another bamboo peg about two inches long, which is first worshipped in front of the post and then suspended from it in a receptacle. In each village the smallpox goddess is also present in the form of a stone, either with or without a hut over it. A Jangam or devotee of the Lingāyat sect is usually the caste priest, and at a funeral he follows the
1 Bassia latifolia.