Page images
PDF
EPUB

PART II

ADMISSION OF OUTSIDERS-MARRIAGE

239

sion of

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

[blocks in formation]

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.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

corpse ringing his bell. If a man is put out of caste through getting maggots in a wound or being beaten by a shoe, he must be purified by the Jangam. The latter rubs some ashes on his own body and places them in the offender's mouth, and gives him to drink some water from his own lota in place of water from a sacred river. For this the offender pays a fee of five rupees and a calf to the Jangam and must also give a feast to the caste. The dead are either buried or burnt, the head being placed to the east. The eldest son has his head and face shaved on the death of the father of the family, and the youngest on that of the mother.

A child is named on the seventh or eighth day after 6. Names. birth by the old women. If it is much given to crying they consider the name unsuitable and change it, repeating those of deceased relatives. When the child stops crying at the mention of a particular name, they consider that the relative mentioned has been born again in the child and name it after him. Often the name of the sept is combined with the personal name as Lingam-Lachha, Lingam-Kachchi, Pānki-Samāya, Pānki-Ganglu, Pānki-Buchcham, Nāgul-Sama, Nāgul-Mutta.

When a man wishes to destroy an enemy he makes an 7. Magical image of him with earth and offers a pig and goat to the family god, praying for the enemy's destruction. Then the operator takes a frog or a tree-lizard which has been kept ready and breaks all its limbs, thinking that the limbs of his enemy will similarly be broken and that the man will die. Or he takes some grains of kossa, a small millet, and proceeds to a sāj? or mahua tree. A pigeon is offered to the tree and to the family god, and both are asked to destroy the foe. The man then ascends the tree, and muttering incantations throws the grains in the direction of his enemy thinking that they will enter his body and destroy him. To counteract these devices a man who thinks himself bewitched calls in the aid of a wizard, who sucks out of his body the grains or other evil things which have been caused to enter it as shown above. Occasionally a man will promise a human sacrifice to his god. For this he must get

1 Boswellia serrata. VOL. III

devices.

R

some hair or a piece of cloth belonging to somebody else and wash it in water in the name of the god, who may then kill the owner of the hair or cloth and thus obtain the sacrifice. Or the sacrificer may pick a quarrel and assault the other person so as to draw blood from him.

He picks up a drop or two of the blood and offers it to the deity with

the same end in view. 8. Occupar

The caste are cultivators and farmservants, and are, as a tion.

rule, very poor, living from hand to mouth. They practise shifting cultivation and are too lazy to grow the more valuable crops. They eat grain twice a day during the four months from October to January only, and at other times eke out their scanty provision with edible roots and leaves, and hunt and fish in the forest like the Muria and Māria Gonds.

[Bibliography: Sir E. Maclagan's Punjab Census Report (1891); Mr. Crooke's Tribes and Castes, articles Jogi, Kānphata and Aghorpanthi ; Mr. Kitts' Berār Census Report (1881); Professor Oman's Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India (London : T. Fisher Unwin).]

LIST OF PARAGRAPHS

or

1. The Yoga philosophy.
2. Abstraction of the senses

autohypnotism.
3. Breathing through either nostril.
4. Self-torture of the Jogis.
5. Resort to them for oracles.
6. Divisions of the order.
7. Hair and clothes.

8. Burial.
9. Festivals.
10. Caste subdivisions.
II. Begging:
12. Other occupations.
13. Swindling practices.
14. Proverbs about Jogis.

Jogi, Yogi.—The well-known order of religious mendi- 1. The cants and devotees of Siva. The Jogi or Yogi, properly so Yoga

philosophy. called, is a follower of the Yoga system of philosophy founded by Pātanjali, the main characteristics of which are a belief in the

power of man over nature by means of austerities and the occult influences of the will. The idea is that one who has obtained complete control over himself, and entirely subdued all fleshly desires, acquires such potency of mind and will that he can influence the forces of nature at his pleasure. The Yoga philosophy has indeed so much substratum of truth that a man who has complete control of himself has the strongest will, and hence the most power to influence others, and an exaggerated idea of this power is no doubt fostered by the display of mesmeric control and similar phenomena. The fact that the influence which can be exerted over other human beings through their minds in no way extends to the physical phenomena of inanimate nature is obvious to us, but was by no means so to the uneducated

« PreviousContinue »