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II JAVIDUSTRIAL ARTS 34 I
mill which is very widely used. This consists of two circular stones of equal diameter; the upper one, which is the thicker and heavier, revolves on a wooden pivot fixed in the centre of the lower one and is propelled by two women, each holding the same handle. But it is also not less frequent for one woman to grind alone.” It is perhaps not realised what this business of grinding her own grain instead of buying flour means to the Indian woman. She rises before daybreak to commence the work, and it takes her perhaps two or three hours to complete the day's provision. Grain-grinding for hire is an occupation pursued by poor women. The pisanhári, as she is called, receives an anna (penny) for grinding 16 lbs. of grain, and can get through 30 lbs. a day. In several localities temples are shown supposed to have been built by some pious pisanhäri from her earnings. “The Kanjars,” Mr. Nesfield continues, “also gather the white wool-like fibre which grows in the pods of the semal or Indian cotton tree and twist it into thread for the use of weavers." In the manufacture of brushes for the cleaning of cotton-yarn the Kanjars enjoy almost a complete monopoly. In these brushes a stiff mass of horsehair is attached to a wooden handle by sinews and strips of hide; and the workmanship is remarkably neat and durable.” Another complete or almost complete monopoly enjoyed by Kanjars is the collection and sale of sweetscented roots of the khas-khas grass, which are afterward made up by the Chhaparbands and others into door-screens, and through being continually watered cool the hot air which passes through them. The roots of this wild grass, which grows in most abundance on the outskirts of forests or near the banks of rivers, are dug out of the earth by an instrument called khunti. This has a handle three feet long, and a blade about a foot long resembling that of a knife. The same implement serves as a dagger or short spear for killing wolves or jackals, as a tool for carving a secret entrance through the clay wall of a villager's hut in which a burglary is meditated, as a spade or hoe for digging snakes, field-rats, and lizards out of their holes, and edible roots out of the earth, and as a hatchet for chopping wood.”
1. It is not, I think, used for weaving that the brushes are made from the now, but only for stuffing quilts and khas-khas grass, and this is, I think, the cushions. case in the Central Provinces. 2 But elsewhere Mr. Nesfield says
Käpewär, Munurwär.—A great cultivating caste of the Telugu country, where they are known as Kāpu or Reddi, and correspond to the Kurmi in Hindustān and the Kunbi in the Marātha Districts. In the Central Provinces about 18,000 persons of the caste were enumerated in the Chānda District and Berär in 19 II. The term Käpu means a watchman, and Reddi is considered to be a corruption of Rāthor or Rāshtrakuta, meaning a king, or more properly the headman of a village. Käpewär is simply the plural form of Kāpu, and Munurwär, in reality the name of a subcaste of Käpewärs, is used as a synonym for the main caste in Chānda. They are divided into various occupational subcastes, as the Upparwars or earth-diggers, from uppar, earth; the Gone, who make gonas or hemp gunny-bags; the Elmas, who are household servants; the Gollewärs, who sell milk; and the Gamadis or masons. The Kunte or lame Käpewärs, the lowest group, say that their ancestor was born lame; they are also called Bhiksha Kunte or lame beggars and serve as the bards of the caste besides begging from them. They are considered to be of illegitimate origin. No detailed account of the caste need be given here, but one or two interesting customs reported from Chānda may be noted. Girls must be married before they are ten years old, and in default of this the parents are temporarily put out of caste and have to pay a penalty for readmission. But if they take the girl to some sacred place on the Godāvari river and marry her there the penalty is avoided. Contrary to the usual custom the bride goes to the bridegroom's house to be married. On the fourth night of the marriage ceremony the bridegroom takes with him all the parts of a plough as if he was going out to the field, and walks up the marriage-shed to the further end followed by the bride, who carries on her head some cooked food tied up in a cloth. The skirts of the couple are knotted together. On reaching the end of the shed the
1 This article is compiled principally from a note by Mr. Paiku, Inspector of Police, Chānda.
il ATA RAA/ 343
bridegroom makes five drills in the ground with a bullockgoad and sows cotton and juári seeds mixed together. Then the cooked food is eaten by all who are present, the bridal couple commencing first, and the seed is irrigated by washing their hands over it. This performance is a symbolical portrayal of the future life of the couple, which will be spent in cultivation. In Chānda a number of Käpewärs are stonemasons, and are considered the most proficient workers at this trade in the locality. Major Lucie Smith, the author of the Chānda Settlement Report of 1869, thought that the ancestors of the caste had been originally brought to Chānda to build the fine walls with ramparts and bastions which stretch for a length of six or seven miles round the town. The caste are sometimes known as Telugu Kunbis. Men may be distinguished by the single dot which is always tattooed on the forehead during their infancy. Men of the Gowäri caste have a similar mark.
Karan, Karnam, Mahanti.—The indigenous writer caste of Orissa. In 1901 a total of 5ooo Karans were enumerated in Sambalpur and the Uriya States, but the bulk of these have since passed under the jurisdiction of Bihār and Orissa, and only about I ooo remain in the Central Provinces. The total numbers of the caste in India exceed a quarter of a million. The poet Kālidās in his Rāghuvansa describes Karans as the offspring of a Vaishya father and a Südra mother. The caste fulfils the same functions in Orissa as the Kāyasths elsewhere, and it is said that their original ancestors were brought from northern India by Yayāti Kesari, king of Orissa (A.D. 447–526), to supply the demand for writers and clerks. The original of the word Karan is said to be the Hindi karání, kirán, which Wilson derives from Sanskrit karan, ‘a doer. The word karäni was at one time applied by natives to the junior members of the Civil Service—“Writers, as they were designated. And the “Writers Buildings’ of Calcutta were known as karání ki5arik. From this term a corruption ‘Cranny’ came into use, and was applied in Bengal to a clerk writing English,
1 This article is based principally on a paper by Nand Kishore, Bohidār, Sambalpur.
and thence to the East Indians or half-castes from whom English copyists were subsequently recruited. The derivation of Mahanti is obscure, unless it be from maha, great, or from Mahant, the head of a monastery. The caste prefer the name of Karan, because that of Mahanti is often appropriated by affluent Chasas and others who wish to get a rise in rank. In fact a proverb says: /ár nahin Jāti, taku bolanti Mahanti, or ‘He who has no caste calls himself a Mahanti. The Karans, like the Kāyasths, claim Chitragupta as their first ancestor, but most of them repudiate any connection with the Kāyasths, though they are of the same calling. The Karans of Sambalpur have two subcastes, the Jhādua or those of the jhādi or jungle and the Utkali or Uriyas. The former are said to be the earlier immigrants and are looked down on by the latter, who do not intermarry with them. Their exogamous divisions or gotras are of the type called eponymous, being named after well-known Rishis or saints like those of the Brähmans. Instances of such names are Bhāradwāj, Parāsar, Vālmik and Vasishtha. Some of the names, however, are in a manner totemistic, as Nāgas, the cobra; Kounchhas, the tortoise; Bachās, a calf, and so on. These animals are revered by the members of the gotra named after them, but as they are of semi-divine nature, the practice may be distinguished from true totemism. In some cases, however, members of the Bhāradwāj gotra venerate the blue-jay, and of the Parāsar gotra, a pigeon. Marriage is regulated according to the table of prohibited degrees in vogue among the higher castes. Girls are commonly married before they are ten years old, but no penalty attaches to the postponement of the ceremony to a later age. The binding portion of the marriage is Hastabandhan or the tying of the hands of the couple together with kusha grass,” and when this has been done the marriage cannot be annulled. The bride goes to her husband's house for a few days and then returns home until she attains maturity. Divorce and remarriage of widows are prohibited, and an unfaithful wife is finally expelled from the caste. The Karans worship the usual Hindu gods and call themselves Smārths. Some belong to the local Parmārth and Kumbhipatia sects, the former of
* Hobson:/obson, art. Cranny. * Eragrostis cynosuroides.
which practises obscene rites. They burn their dead, excepting the bodies of infants, and perform the shrāddh ceremony. The caste have a high social position in Sambalpur, and Brähmans will sometimes take food cooked without water from them. They wear the sacred thread. They eat fish and the flesh of clean animals but do not drink liquor. Bhandāris or barbers will take katcha food from a Karan. They are generally engaged in service as clerks, accountants, schoolmasters or patwāris. Their usual titles are Patnäik or Bohidār. The Karans are considered to be of extravagant habits, and one proverb about them is—
Mahanti jati, udhar paile kinanti hathi,
or, ‘The Mahānti if he can get a loan will at once buy an elephant. Their shrewdness in business transactions and tendency to overreach the less intelligent cultivating castes have made them unpopular like the Kāyasths, and another proverb says— Patarkata, Tankarkata, Paniota, Gaudini mai E chari jati ku vishwas nai, or, ‘Trust not the palm-leaf writer (Karan), the weaver, the liquor-distiller nor the milk-seller.’