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II

ORIGIN AND TRADITIONS

297

Central Provinces say that their original ancestor was one Kānoba Ramjān who handed a twig to his sons and told them to earn their livelihood by it. Since then they have subsisted by making baskets from the stalks of the cottonplant, the leaves of the date-palm and grass. They themselves derive their name from Kai, standing for Kānoba Ramjān and kādi, a twig, an etymology which may be dismissed with that given in the Berār Census Report that they are the remnants of the Kaikeyas, who before the Christian era dwelt north of the Jalandhar Doāb. Two subcastes exist in Nimār, the Marāthas and the Phirasti or wandering Kaikāris, the former no doubt representing recruits from Marātha castes, not improbably from the Kunbis. The Marātha Kaikāris look down on the Phirastis as the latter take cooked food from a number of castes including the Telis, while the Marāthas refuse to do this. In the Nāgpur country there are several divisions which profess to be endogamous, as the Kāmāthis or those selling toys made of palm-leaves, the Bhāmtis or those who steal from bazārs, the Kunbis or cultivators, the Tokriwālas or makers and sellers of baskets and the Boriwālas or those who carry bricks, gravel and stone. Kunbi and Bhāmti are the names of other castes, and Kāmāthi is a general term applied in the Marātha country to Telugu immigrants ; the names thus show that the Kaikāris, like other vagrant groups, are largely recruited from persons expelled from their own caste for social offences. These groups cannot really be endogamous as yet, but as in the case of several other wandering tribes they probably have a tendency to become so. In Berār? an entirely different set of 121 subcastes is recorded, several of which are territorial, and two, the Pungis or blowers of gourds, and the Wājantris or village musicians, are occupational. In Nimār as in Khāndesh 3 the Kaikāris have only two exogamous clans, Jādon and Gaikwār, who must marry with each other. In the southern Districts there are a number of exogamous divisions, as Jādon, Māne, Kūmre, Jeshti, Kāde, Dāne and others. Jādon is a well-known Rājpūt sept, and the Kaikāris do not explain

2 lbidem.
1 1881, p. 141.
3 Bombay Gazetteer (Campbell), vol. xii. p. 120.

2. Mar

riage.

how they came by the name, but claim to have fought as soldiers under several kings, during which occasions the name may have been adopted from some Rājpūt leader in accordance with the common practice of imitation. Māne and Gaikwār are family names of the Marātha caste. The names and varied nomenclature of the subdivisions show that the Kaikāris, as at present constituted, are a very mixed caste, though they may not improbably have been originally connected with the Korvas of Madras.

Marriage within the same gotra or section is prohibited, but with one or two exceptions there are no other restrictions on intermarriage between relatives.

A sister's son may marry a brother's daughter, but not vice versa.

A man may not marry his wife's elder sister either during his wife's lifetime or after her death, and he may marry her younger sister, but not the younger but one. Girls are generally married between 8 and 12 years of age. If a girl cannot get a partner nothing is done, but when the marriage of a boy has not been arranged, a sham rite is performed with an akao plant (swallow-wort) or with a silver ring, all the ceremonies of a regular marriage being gone through. The tree is subsequently carefully reared, or the ring worn on the finger. Should the tree die or the ring be lost, funeral obsequies are performed for it as for a member of the family. A bride-price is paid which may vary from Rs. 20 to Rs. 100. In the southern Districts the following custom is in vogue at weddings. After the ceremony the bridegroom pretends to be angry and goes out of the mandap or shed, on which the bride runs after him, and throwing a piece of cloth round his neck, drags him back again. Her father then gives him some money or ornaments to pacify him. After this the same performance is gone through with the bride. The bride is taken to her husband's house, but is soon brought back by her relatives. On her second departure the husband himself does not go to fetch her, and she is brought home by his father and other relations, her own family presenting her with new clothes on this occasion. Widow-marriage is permitted, and the widow is expected to marry the next younger brother of the deceased husband. She may not marry any except the next younger, and if

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II

MARRIAGE-RELIGION

299

another should take her he is expelled from the caste until the connection is severed. If she marries somebody else he must repay to her late husband's brother a half of the expenses incurred on the first marriage. In the southern Districts she may not marry a brother of her husband's at all.

A widow cannot be married in her late husband's house, but is taken to her parents' house and married from there. In Nimār her family do not take anything, but in the south they are paid a small sum. Here also the marriage is performed at the second husband's house ; the woman carries to it a new earthen pitcher filled with water, and, placing it on the chauk or pattern of lines traced with flour in the courtyard, touches the feet of the Panch or caste committee, after which her skirt is tied to her husband's cloth. The pair are seated on a blanket and new bangles are placed on the woman's wrist, widows officiating at the ceremony. The couple then leave the village and pass the night outside it, returning next morning, when the woman manages to enter the house without being perceived by a married woman or unmarried girl. A bachelor marrying a widow must first go through the ceremony with a ring or akao plant, as already described, this being his real marriage; if he omits the rite his daughters by the widow will not be considered as members of the caste, though his sons will be admitted. Polygamy is allowed, but the consent of the first wife must be obtained to the taking of a second, and she may require a written promise of good treatment after the second marriage. A second wife is usually only taken if the first is barren, and if she has children her parents usually interfere to dissuade the husband, while other parents are always averse to giving their daughter in marriage to a man under such circumstances. Divorce is permitted for the usual reasons, a deed being drawn up and attested by the panchāyat, to whom the husband pays a fine of Rs. 8 or Rs. 10.

The tutelary god of the Kaikāris is the Nāg or 3. Relicobra, who is worshipped at marriages and on the day of gion. Nāg-Panchmi. Every family has in the house a platform dedicated to Khandoba, the Marātha god of war. They also worship Marīmāta, to whom Aowers are offered at

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